The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 712 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

And he gayly climbed into his carriage.  The others, a little uneasy at the turn things had taken, went back to Paris together.  Towards ten o’clock the king repaired to the apartment of his mother, with whom he had a long and private conversation.  After dinner, he got into his carriage, and went straight to the Louvre.  There he received much company, and took a degree of pleasure in remarking the hesitation of each, and the curiosity of all.  Towards evening he ordered the doors of the Louvre to be closed, with the exception of only one, which opened on the quay.  He placed on duty at this point two hundred Swiss, who did not speak a word of French, with orders to admit all who carried packages, but no others; and by no means to allow any one to go out.  At eleven o’clock precisely, he heard the rolling of a heavy carriage under the arch, then of another, then of a third; after which the gate grated upon its hinges to be closed.  Soon after, somebody scratched with his nail at the door of the cabinet.  The king opened it himself, and beheld Colbert, whose first word was this:  — “The money is in your majesty’s cellar.”

The king then descended and went himself to see the barrels of specie, in gold and silver, which, under the direction of Colbert, four men had just rolled into a cellar of which the king had given Colbert the key in the morning.  This review completed, Louis returned to his apartments, followed by Colbert, who had not apparently warmed with one ray of personal satisfaction.

“Monsieur,” said the king, “what do you wish that I should give you, as a recompense for this devotedness and probity?”

“Absolutely nothing, sire.”

“How! nothing?  Not even an opportunity of serving me?”

“If your majesty were not to furnish me with that opportunity, I should not the less serve you.  It is impossible for me not to be the best servant of the king.”

“You shall be intendant of the finances, M. Colbert.”

“But there is already a superintendent, sire.”

“I know that.”

“Sire, the superintendent of the finances is the most powerful man in the kingdom.”

“Ah!” cried Louis, coloring, “do you think so?”

“He will crush me in a week, sire.  Your majesty gives me a controle for which strength is indispensable.  An intendant under a superintendent, — that is inferiority.”

“You want support — you do not reckon upon me?”

“I had the honor of telling your majesty, that during the lifetime of M. de Mazarin, M. Fouquet was the second man in the kingdom; now M. de Mazarin is dead, M. Fouquet is become the first.”

“Monsieur, I agree to what you told me of all things up to to-day; but to-morrow, please to remember, I shall no longer suffer it.”

“Then I shall be of no use to your majesty?”

“You are already, since you fear to compromise yourself in serving me.”

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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.