“I should like to know the rest,” said Philip, impetuously. “You know, — you, my brother.”
Louis XIV. colored again. That was the third time within an hour. “Ask my lord cardinal,” replied he, in a tone which made Mazarin, Anne of Austria, and everybody else open their eyes.
“That means, my son,” said Anne of Austria, laughing, “that the king does not like affairs of state to be talked of out of the council.”
Philip received the reprimand with good grace, and bowed, first smiling at his brother, and then at his mother. But Mazarin saw from the corner of his eye that a group was about to be formed in the corner of the room, and that the Duc d’Anjou, with the Comte de Guiche, and the Chevalier de Lorraine, prevented from talking aloud, might say, in a whisper, what it was not convenient should be said. He was beginning, then, to dart at them glances full of mistrust and uneasiness, inviting Anne of Austria to throw perturbation in the midst of the unlawful assembly, when, suddenly, Bernouin, entering from behind the tapestry of the bedroom, whispered in the ear of Mazarin, “Monseigneur, an envoy from his majesty, the king of England.”
Mazarin could not help exhibiting a slight emotion, which was perceived by the king. To avoid being indiscreet, rather than to appear useless, Louis XIV. rose immediately, and approaching his eminence, wished him good-night. All the assembly had risen with a great noise of rolling of chairs and tables being pushed away.
“Let everybody depart by degrees,” said Mazarin in a whisper to Louis XIV., “and be so good as to excuse me a few minutes. I am going to dispatch an affair about which I wish to converse with your majesty this very evening.”
“And the queens?” asked Louis XIV.
“And M. le Duc d’Anjou,” said his eminence.
At the same time he turned round in his ruelle, the curtains of which, in falling, concealed the bed. The cardinal, nevertheless, did not lose sight of the conspirators.
“M. le Comte de Guiche,” said he, in a fretful voice, whilst putting on, behind the curtain, his dressing-gown, with the assistance of Bernouin.
“I am here, my lord,” said the young man, as he approached.
“Take my cards, you are lucky. Win a little money for me of these gentlemen.”
“Yes, my lord.”
The young man sat down at the table from which the king withdrew to talk with the two queens. A serious game was commenced between the comte and several rich courtiers. In the meantime Philip was discussing the questions of dress with the Chevalier de Lorraine, and they had ceased to hear the rustling of the cardinal’s silk robe from behind the curtain. His eminence had followed Bernouin into the closet adjoining the bedroom.
The cardinal, on passing into his cabinet, found the Comte de la Fere, who was waiting for him, engaged in admiring a very fine Raphael placed over a sideboard covered with a plate. His eminence came in softly, lightly, and as silently as a shadow, and surprised the countenance of the comte, as he was accustomed to do, pretending to divine by the simple expression of the face of his interlocutor what would be the result of the conversation.