Law turned languidly toward the attendant. “Henri,” said he, “tell them to be more quiet.”
“My master, ’tis the regent!” expostulated the other, with somewhat of anxiety in his tones.
“Let him wait,” replied Law, coolly. “I have waited for him.”
“But, my master, they protest, they clamor—”
“Very well. Let them do so—but stay. If it is indeed the regent, I may as well meet him now and say that which is in my mind. Open the door.”
The door swung open and there entered the form of Philippe of Orleans, preceded by his halberdiers and followed close by a rush of humanity which the guards and the Swiss together had much pains to force back into the anteroom.
“How now, Monsieur L’as, how now?” fumed the regent, his heavy face glowing a dull red, his prominent eyes still more protruding, his forehead bent into a heavy frown. “You deny entrance to our person, who are next to the body of his Majesty?”
“Did you have delay?” asked Law, sweetly. “’Twas unfortunate.”
“True. I myself find these crowds execrable.”
“Nay, execrable to suffer this annoyance of delay!”
“Your Grace’s pardon,” said Law, coolly. “You should have made an appointment a few days in advance.”
“What! The regent of France need to arrange a day when he would see a servant!”
“Your Grace is unfortunate in his choice of words,” replied Law, blandly. “I am not your servant. I am your master.”
The regent sank back into a chair, gasping, his hand clutching at the hilt of his sword.
“Seize him! Seize him! To the Bastille with him! The presumer! The impostor!”
Yet even the guards hesitated before the commanding presence of that man whom all had been so long accustomed to obey. With hand upraised, Law gazed at them for one instant, and then gave them no further attention.
“Yet these words I must hasten to qualify,” resumed he. “True, I am at this moment your master, your Grace, but two minutes hence, and for all time thereafter, I shall no longer be your master. Your Grace was once so good as to make me head of certain financial matters, and to give me control of them. The fabric of this Messasebe, which you see without, was all my own. It was this which made me master of Paris, and of every man within the gates of Paris. So far, very well. My plans were honest, and the growth of France—nay, let us say the resurrection of France—the new life of France—shows how my own plans were made and how well I knew that which was to happen. I made you rich, your Grace. I gave you funds to pay off millions of your private debts, millions to gratify your fancies. I gave you more millions to pay the debts of France. France and her regent have again taken a position of honor in the eyes of the world. You may well call me master of your fate, who have been able to accomplish these things. So long as you knew your master, you did well. Now your Grace has seen fit to change masters. He would be his own master again. There can not be two in control of a concern like this. Sir, the two minutes hare elapsed. I am your very humble servant!”