“One word, monsieur le governeur, will you take the trouble to get into my carriage?” The officer placed himself opposite Fouquet in the coach.
“Monsieur,” said Fouquet, “I have a service to ask of you.”
“A service that will be compromising for you, monsieur, but which will assure to you forever my protection and my friendship.”
“Were it to cast myself into the fire for you, monseigneur, I would do it.”
“That is well,” said Fouquet; “what I require is much more simple.”
“That being so, monseigneur, what is it?”
“To conduct me to the chamber of Messieurs Lyodot and D’Eymeris.”
“Will monseigneur have the kindness to say for what purpose?”
“I will tell you that in their presence, monsieur;
at the same time that
I will give you ample means of palliating this escape.”
“Escape! Why, then, monseigneur does not know?”
“That Messieurs Lyodot and D’Eymeris are no longer here.”
“Since when?” cried Fouquet, in great agitation.
“About a quarter of an hour.”
“Whither have they gone, then?”
“To Vincennes — to the donjon.”
“Who took them from here?”
“An order from the king.”
“Oh! woe! woe!” exclaimed Fouquet, striking his forehead. “Woe!” and without saying a single word more to the governor, he threw himself back into his carriage, despair in his heart, and death on his countenance.
“Well!” said Pelisson, with great anxiety.
“Our friends are lost. Colbert is conveying them to the donjon. They crossed our path under the arcade Saint-Jean.”
Pelisson, struck as by a thunderbolt, made no reply. With a single reproach he would have killed his master. “Where is monseigneur going?” said the footman.
“Home — to Paris. You, Pelisson, return to Saint-Mande, and bring the Abbe Fouquet to me within an hour. Begone!”
The night was already far advanced when the Abbe Fouquet joined his brother. Gourville had accompanied him. These three men, pale with dread of future events, resembled less three powers of the day than three conspirators, united by one single thought of violence. Fouquet walked for a long time, with his eyes fixed upon the floor, striking his hands one against the other. At length, taking courage, in the midst of a deep sigh: “Abbe,” said he, “you were speaking to me only to-day of certain people you maintain.”