THE QUEEN’S NECKLACE
ALEXANDER DUMAS (Three Musketeers)
ANNE OP AUSTRIA . Queen of France and wife of Louis XIII.
She is a tall, very beautiful woman with a commanding
presence, and is about twenty-six years of age.
GEORGE VILLIERS . . . . . Duke of Buckingham.
Also tall and extremely handsome, and is very sumptuously
dressed. He is some thirty-five years of age.
PERIOD . . 1625.
SCENE. A room in the Queen’s apartments at the Louvre.
The room is small and hung with tapestries. At
the back there is a heavily curtained door and a small
cabinet. About the stage are several chairs, and in
one corner is a prie-dieu. The DUKE OF BUCKING-
HAM is discovered standing before a long glass R.
Enter ANNE OF AUSTRIA. BUCKINGHAM sees her
reflection and turns.
BUCKINGHAM. Madame! (He drops upon one knee
and presses the hem of her robe to his lips.)
ANNE. Duke, you already know it was not I who
wrote you the letter that has brought you here ?
BUCKINGHAM. Yes, yes, madame. I know now I
2 THE QUEEN’S NECKLACE
was a madman to suppose the snow would become
animated or the marble warm. But when one is in
love one easily believes in love. And since I see you,
I have not lost everything by this journey.
ANNE. Yes, but you know why I see you, milord ?
I see you out of pity for yourself. I see you, because
insensible to my suffering and your own danger, you
persist in remaining in a city, where every moment by
remaining you run the risk of losing your own life and
endangering my honour. I see you that I may tell
you everything separates us the sea, the enmity of
two kingdoms, and the sanctity of oaths. It is sacrilege
to struggle against so many things. I tell you we must
never meet again. That is why I see you.
BUCKINGHAM. Madame, the sweetness of your voice
conceals the harshness of your words. You talk of
sacrilege. But the sacrilege is in the separation of
hearts that love one another.
ANNE. Milord, you forget I have never said I loved
BUCKINGHAM. Neither, madame, have you told me
you do not ; indeed, to speak such words would be a
too deep ingratitude. For where could you find a
love to equal mine ? A love that neither time, nor
absence, nor despair can extinguish; a love that is
contented with a passing word or a stray look. It is
three years since I saw you first, madame, and for
three years I have loved you thus. Shall I tell you
how you were dressed when I first saw you ? I see you
still. You wore a robe of emerald satin broidered with
gold, hanging sleeves upon those lovely arms, fastened
with diamonds. Madame, I have but to close my eyes
and I see you as you were then ; I open them and I
see you as you are now a hundred times more lovely.
THE QUEEN’S NECKLACE 3
ANNE. What folly to cherish such remembrances.
BUCKINGHAM. What have I else to live for ? There
is nothing left but remembrances. They are my
happiness, my hopes, my all. Each time I see you
is another diamond enshrined in my heart. Madame,
do you remember our last meeting in the gardens of
ANNE. Hush, milord, do not speak of that evening.
BUCKINGHAM. And wherefore not, madame, for was
it not the happiest night of all my life ? Do you not
remember the soft and perfumed air ? Have you
forgotten that blue, star-studded sky ? Madame, I can
never forget that night of nights, for then for an all
too short moment I was alone with you. You poured
out your heart to me, you told me of the isolation of
your life and of your grief. You leaned upon my arm,
and as I bent my head I felt your lovely hair touch
my cheek. My Queen, my Queen, all the joys of
paradise were centred in that one moment, for I
swear that then you loved me.
ANNE. No, no, milord, no more. It was the influence
of the place, the charm of the gardens, the ardour in
your voice, the thousand circumstances that some-
times unite to destroy a woman. And remember, Duke,
you saw the queen come to the aid of the yielding
woman, and at the first word of love you presumed
to utter I summoned my attendants.
BUCKINGHAM. Yes, yes, it is true ; any other love but
mine would have withered and died but my love came
out more ardent and more everlasting. You thought
you could fly me by returning to Paris, believing I
would never dare to follow you. But, madame, I
did, and risked my very life to see you again for
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ANNE. Yes, Duke, and how I have suffered because
of your mad love for me! Calumny seized upon all
those follies in which, as you know, I had no part.
The King’s anger, fed by the Cardinal, made my life
a hell on earth. My dearest friends one by one were
taken from me, and strangers, spies of his Eminence,
put in their place. Even Madame de Chevreuse
was driven into exile, and when you wished to
return to France as Ambassador the King himself
BUCKINGHAM. Yes, rnadame, and France is about
to pay for her King’s presumption with a war.
Although, my Queen, I am not allowed to see you,
you shall daily hear tell of me. That is my object
in projecting the expedition to Re and to help the
Protestants of La Rochelle. Then, madame, it will
mean my seeing you again. Oh, I know well
enough I have no hope of penetrating to Paris,
sword in hand; but when this war is spent a
negotiator for peace will be required, and, madame,
I, I shall be that negotiator. Neither King, nor
Cardinal, nor France herself will dare to say nay
to me. And then, my Queen, we shall meet again.
Thousands of men will have to pay for that meeting
with their lives, but what is that to me so that I see
you again ?
ANNE. Milord, milord, your passion makes you
mad. All these proofs of the love you boast of are
little better than crimes.
BUCKINGHAM. Ah, madame, if you loved me as
I love you, you could not say that to me. Madame
de Chevreuse, of whom you spoke a moment since,
was less cruel than you. Holland loved her, and she
responded to his love.
THE QUEEN’S NECKLACE 5
ANNE. Madame de Chevreuse was not a queen.
BUCKINGHAM. Then, madame, you would love me
were you not one. Your words give me new life, for
now I know ’tis but the dignity of your rank that
makes you cruel to me. If you had been other than
Queen of France you would have loved poor Bucking-
ham might have hoped. Oh, my beautiful Queen, I
thank you a thousand times for those kind words.
ANNE. Oh, hush, hush, milord. You have but ill
BUCKINGHAM. Then, madame, I beg you, if I am
happy in an error, not to deprive me of the joy of
it. You said just now you did not write the letter
that brought me here.
ANNE. No, no ; you know I never wrote it.
BUCKINGHAM. Maybe I have been drawn into a
snare, and perhaps shall leave my life in it. Although
it may sound strange, I have a presentiment that I
shall shortly die.
ANNE. Oh, my God !
BUCKINGHAM. Ah, madame, I do not tell you this
to terrify you, for, believe me, I do not heed dreams
or presentiments. But the words you have spoken
to me, the hope you have inspired, will have richly
repaid me even for my life itself.
ANNE. Oh! but I, too, Duke, have had dreams.
I dreamt I saw you lying bleeding and wounded.
BUCKINGHAM . In the left side, was it not, with a knife ?
ANNE. Yes, milord, it was in the left side and with
a knife. Who can possibly have told you I had such
a dream ? I have imparted to no one but my God,
and that in my prayers.
BUCKINGHAM. My Queen, it is enough. I ask for
no more. I know now that you love me.
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ANNE. I love you ! I !
BUCKINGHAM. Yes! Yes! If you did not, would
God send the same dreams to you as to me ? (She
covers her face with her hands and weeps.) Ah, madame,
we have the same presentiments because our hearts are
united. Yes, you love and weep for me.
ANNE. Oh, my God ! this is more than I can bear.
In Heaven’s name, Duke, leave me ! I cannot tell
whether I love you or not. Oh, take pity on me and
go. If you are struck down in France, if I could
imagine your love of me were the cause of your death,
I should go mad. Go, go then, I implore you !
BUCKINGHAM. How beautiful you are thus !
ANNE. Go, go! Come back hereafter as Minister,
as Ambassador ; come back surrounded with guards to
defend and watch over you. And then I shall not be
in fear for your life, and shall be happy in seeing you.
BUCKINGHAM. Is this true, madame ; oh, is this true ?
BUCKINGHAM. Then give me some pledge of your
affection, some object that will assure that this meeting
of ours is real and not a dream. A ring, a chain
something you have worn and that I may wear.
ANNE. Will you go, then, if I give you what you
ANNE. At once ?
ANNE. You will leave France and return to England ?
BUCKINGHAM. I will, madame ; I swear it, upon my
(ANNE goes to a small cabinet, opens it, and takes out a
casket, which she hands to BUCKINGHAM.)
THE QUEEN’S NECKLACE 7
ANNE. Here, milord, are twelve diamond studs.
Keep them in memory of me.
(BUCKINGHAM takes the casket, and, falling upon his
knees, seizes the Queen’s hand.)
ANNE. Go, go, you gave me your word.
BUCKINGHAM. Ay, madame, and I will keep it. Let
me but kiss your hand, and I am gone. (He imprints a
passionate kiss upon her hand, and, rising to his feet, takes
up his hat and cloak which lie upon a chair.) Six months
hence, madame, if I am not dead, I shall be by your
side again, even though I have to overturn the world to
do so. My Queen, farewell.
(He disappears through the curtained doorway. ANNE
looks after him for a moment, and then falls, passion-
ately weeping, upon the prie-dieu.)