“Well, this morning Marguerite sent for me.”
“And what did she want with you?”
“‘I dare not see M. Fouquet myself,’ said she.”
“Bah! why should she think I would reproach her? Poor woman, she vastly deceives herself.”
“‘See him yourself,’ said she, ‘and tell him to beware of M. Colbert.’”
“What! she warned me to beware of her lover?”
“I have told you she still loves you.”
“Go on, marquise.”
“‘M. Colbert,’ she added, ’came to me two hours ago, to inform me he was appointed intendant.’”
“I have already told you, marquise, that M. Colbert would only be the more in my power for that.”
“Yes, but that is not all: Marguerite is intimate, as you know, with Madame d’Eymeris and Madame Lyodot.”
“I know it.”
“Well, M. Colbert put many questions to her, relative to the fortunes of these two gentlemen, and as to the devotion they had for you.”
“Oh, as to those two, I can answer for them; they must be killed before they will cease to be mine.”
“Then, as Madame Vanel was obliged to quit M. Colbert for an instant to receive a visitor, and as M. Colbert is industrious, scarcely was the new intendant left alone, before he took a pencil from his pocket, and, there was paper on the table, began to make notes.”
“Notes concerning d’Eymeris and Lyodot?”
“I should like to know what those notes were about.”
“And that is just what I have brought you.”
“Madame Vanel has taken Colbert’s notes and sent them to me?”
“No; but by a chance which resembles a miracle, she has a duplicate of those notes.”
“How could she get that?”
“Listen; I told you that Colbert found paper on the table.”
“That he took a pencil from his pocket.”
“And wrote upon that paper.”
“Well, this pencil was a lead-pencil, consequently hard; so, it marked in black upon the first sheet, and in white upon the second.”
“Colbert, when tearing off the first sheet, took no notice of the second.”
“Well, on the second was to be read what had been written on the first; Madame Vanel read it, and sent for me.”
“Then, when she was assured I was your devoted friend, she gave me the paper, and told me the secret of this house.”
“And this paper?” said Fouquet, in some degree of agitation.
“Here it is, monsieur — read it,” said the marquise.
“Names of the farmers of revenue to be condemned by the Chamber of Justice: D’Eymeris, friend of M. F.; Lyodot, friend of M. F.; De Vanin, indif.”
“D’Eymeris and Lyodot!” cried Fouquet, reading the paper eagerly again.
“Friends of M. F.,” pointed the marquise with her finger.