Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 556 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

“To make restitution of a part, — that is to say, his majesty’s part; and that, monseigneur, may have its dangers.  Your eminence is too skillful a politician not to know that, at this moment, the king does not possess a hundred and fifty thousand livres clear in his coffers.”

“That is not my affair,” said Mazarin, triumphantly; “that belongs to M. le Surintendant Fouquet, whose accounts I gave you to verify some months ago.”

Colbert bit his lips at the name of Fouquet.  “His majesty,” said he, between his teeth, “has no money but that which M. Fouquet collects:  your money, monseigneur, would afford him a delicious banquet.”

“Well, but I am not the superintendent of his majesty’s finances — I have my purse — surely I would do much for his majesty’s welfare — some legacy — but I cannot disappoint my family.”

“The legacy of a part would dishonor you and offend the king.  Leaving a part to his majesty, is to avow that that part has inspired you with doubts as to the lawfulness of the means of acquisition.”

“Monsieur Colbert!”

“I thought your eminence did me the honor to ask my advice?”

“Yes, but you are ignorant of the principal details of the question.”

“I am ignorant of nothing, my lord; during ten years, all the columns of figures which are found in France, have passed into review before me; and if I have painfully nailed them into my brain, they are there now so well riveted, that, from the office of M. Letellier, who is sober, to the little secret largesses of M. Fouquet, who is prodigal, I could recite, figure by figure, all the money that is spent in France from Marseilles to Cherbourg.”

“Then, you would have me throw all my money into the coffers of the king!” cried Mazarin, ironically; and from whom, at the same time the gout forced painful moans.  “Surely the king would reproach me with nothing, but he would laugh at me, while squandering my millions, and with good reason.”

“Your eminence has misunderstood me.  I did not, the least in the world, pretend that his majesty ought to spend your money.”

“You said so, clearly, it seems to me, when you advised me to give it to him.”

“Ah,” replied Colbert, “that is because your eminence, absorbed as you are by your disease, entirely loses sight of the character of Louis XIV.”

“How so?”

“That character, if I may venture to express myself thus, resembles that which my lord confessed just now to the Theatin.”

“Go on — that is?”

“Pride!  Pardon me, my lord, haughtiness, nobleness; kings have no pride, that is a human passion.”

“Pride, — yes, you are right.  Next?”

“Well, my lord, if I have divined rightly, your eminence has but to give all your money to the king, and that immediately.”

“But for what?” said Mazarin, quite bewildered.

“Because the king will not accept of the whole.”

Follow Us on Facebook