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

“Certainly, when those who govern are bad.”

“Patience, I have a reply for all.”

“Even for what I have just said to you?”

“Listen! would you submit to those who govern ill?  Oh! it is written:  Cacos politeuousi.  You grant me the text?”

Pardieu! I think so.  Do you know, you speak Greek as well as Aesop did, my dear La Fontaine.”

“Is there any wickedness in that, my dear Conrart?”

“God forbid I should say so.”

“Then let us return to M. Fouquet.  What did he repeat to us all the day?  Was it not this?  ’What a cuistre is that Mazarin! what an ass! what a leech!  We must, however, submit to that fellow.’  Now, Conrart, did he say so, or did he not?”

“I confess that he said it, and even perhaps too often.”

“Like Epicurus, my friend, still like Epicurus; I repeat, we are Epicureans, and that is very amusing.”

“Yes; but I am afraid there will rise up, by the side of us, a sect like that of Epictetus; you know him well; the philosopher of Hierapolis, he who called bread luxury, vegetables prodigality, and clear water drunkenness; he who, being beaten by his master, said to him, grumbling a little it is true, but without being angry, ’I will lay a wager you have broken my leg!’ — and who won his wager.”

“He was a goose, that fellow Epictetus.”

“Granted, but he might easily become the fashion by only changing his name into that of Colbert.”

“Bah!” replied La Fontaine, “that is impossible.  Never will you find Colbert in Epictetus.”

“You are right, I shall find — Coluber there, at the most.”

“Ah! you are beaten, Conrart; you are reduced to a play upon words.  M. Arnaud pretends that I have no logic; I have more than M. Nicole.”

“Yes,” replied Conrart, “you have logic, but you are a Jansenist.”

This peroration was hailed with a boisterous shout of laughter; by degrees the promenaders had been attracted by the exclamations of the two disputants around the arbor under which they were arguing.  The discussion had been religiously listened to, and Fouquet himself, scarcely able to suppress his laughter, had given an example of moderation.  But with the denouement of the scene he threw off all restraint, and laughed aloud.  Everybody laughed as he did, and the two philosophers were saluted with unanimous felicitations.  La Fontaine, however, was declared conqueror, on account of his profound erudition and his irrefragable logic.  Conrart obtained the compensation due to an unsuccessful combatant; he was praised for the loyalty of his intentions, and the purity of his conscience.

At the moment when this jollity was manifesting itself by the most lively demonstrations, when the ladies were reproaching the two adversaries with not having admitted women into the system of Epicurean happiness, Gourville was seen hastening from the other end of the garden, approaching Fouquet, and detaching him, by his presence alone, from the group.  The superintendent preserved on his face the smile and character of carelessness; but scarcely was he out of sight than he threw off the mask.

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