- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
394

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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at any cost. He was expecting news any day
from a very confidential source to return to
Paris at any moment. So far we were on safe
ground, I had heard many Frenchmen abolish
the republic. But when he began to talk family
matters I had to be very careful lest he should
let the jealously kept secret of his past out of
the bag. Luckily I was always warned in time
by his brother-in-law: mon beau-frère le
sous-préfet. It was a tacit understanding between
my friends and me that at the very mentioning
of this mysterious personage the decanter was
to be put away and not another drop of wine
poured in Monsieur Alphonse’s glass.

I remember it quite well, Waldo Storey, the
well known American sculptor and a particular
friend of Monsieur Alphonse, was lunching with
us that Thursday. Monsieur Alphonse was in
tearing spirits and unusually talkative. Already
before he had finished his first glass of Frascati
he was consulting Waldo about raising an army
of ex-Garibaldians to invade France and march
on Paris to overthrow the Republic. After all
it was only a question of money, five million
francs would be ample, he was willing to raise
one million himself if it came to the worst.

I thought he looked somewhat flushed, I felt
sure his brother-in-law was not far away. I
gave Waldo the usual signal not to give him
another drop of wine.

“Mon beau-frère le sous-préfet. . . .” he
chuckled.

He stopped short as I pushed the decanter
out of his reach and looked down on his plate

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