Château de Versailles - L'Orangerie - 26-05-2007 - 17h31, originally uploaded by Panoramas.
Le Compte de Dumazet and Madame Baudoin (of Louis XIV's court) are strolling about the orangery at Versailles when we drop in to overhear their fascinating conversation.
"She is la belle dame sans merci."
"Who, Madame Clairvoi?"
"Oui, that is the one."
"Why, Count, I think you rather unkind! What crime has Madame ever committed against you?"
"She has ignored me and scoffed at me. And I am only one man! The entire court has been riddled with the woman's bullets."
"Truly, has she broken all your hearts? Perhaps she merely does not want to be paid attention to."
"How can she not be attended? The way she dresses, walks, speaks in one's ear, it is too much! One cannot help attending."
"Surely she is not all that attractive. If she does not want to be bothered why do you men insist on wooing her?"
"She is the most irresistible woman in the world."
"Goodness! Have you any idea how many women here at court would give their front teeth to have such a man as you thinking that way about them?"
"Many of them have lost those bargaining chips already."
"What are you insinuating, Count?"
"Only that Madame Clairvoi is one of the few women at this court who are still possessed of the teeth they were born with."
"Oh, how cruel of you! You know that it is hardly these womens' fault. Do we not all fear the barber's weapons? Surely even you tremble before a dentist."
"I may tremble, Madame, but I overcome my fear."
"Lest you lose what you value most in the world? Namely your beauty? What do you value most, my dear Count? I should really like to know."
"The love of a good woman."
"Oh, most unfortunate of all men! What a terrible curse to wish for that which is completely impossible in this day and place. Perhaps a good game of tennis would calm your yearning."
"Nonsense, Madame. My romantic notions refuse to be quelled."
"On the contrary, I believe that a man's sporting nature often rivals and can overcome his romantic spirits."
"We are come to an impasse. I believe myself hopelessly in love, and you believe that my ailment may be cured by tennis. I say that the only cure is a kiss from Madame Clairvoi."
"You are incorrigible! That woman is not worthy of your high praise and approbation, no matter how many teeth she may have in her head."
"Shall we walk once more about L'Orangerie, Madame?"
"Yes indeed, that I may convince you of the foolishness of your infatuation...."