“Not a sou. I have always understood that in matters of comptabilite, as you call it, a good cashier never gives back or takes back.”
“Then, monsieur, we shall see what the king will say about it. I will show him this note, which proves that M. Fouquet not only pays what he does not owe, but that he does not even take care of vouchers for the sums that he has paid.”
“Ah! now I understand why you have taken that paper, M. Colbert!”
Colbert did not perceive all that there was of a threatening character in his name pronounced in a certain manner. “You shall see hereafter what use I will make of it,” said he, holding up the paper in his fingers.
“Oh!” said D’Artagnan, snatching the paper from him with a rapid movement; “I understand perfectly well, M. Colbert; I have no occasion to wait for that.” And he crumpled up the paper he had so cleverly seized.
“Monsieur, monsieur!” cried Colbert, “this is violence!”
“Nonsense! You must not be particular about a soldier’s manners!” replied D’Artagnan. “I kiss your hands, my dear M. Colbert.” And he went out, laughing in the face of the future minister.
“That man, now,” muttered he, “was about to grow quite friendly; it is a great pity I was obliged to cut his company so soon.”
For a man who had seen so many much more dangerous ones, the position of D’Artagnan with respect to M. Colbert was only comic. D’Artagnan, therefore, did not deny himself the satisfaction of laughing at the expense of monsieur l’intendant, from the Rue des Petits-Champs to the Rue des Lombards. It was a great while since D’Artagnan had laughed so long together. He was still laughing when Planchet appeared, laughing likewise, at the door of his house; for Planchet, since the return of his patron, since the entrance of the English guineas, passed the greater part of his life in doing what D’Artagnan had only done from the Rue Neuve des Petits-Champs to the Rue des Lombards.
“You are home, then, my dear master?” said Planchet.
“No, my friend,” replied the musketeer; “I am off, and that quickly. I will sup with you, go to bed, sleep five hours, and at break of day leap into my saddle. Has my horse had an extra feed?”
“Eh! my dear master,” replied Planchet, “you know very well that your horse is the jewel of the family; that my lads are caressing it all day, and cramming it with sugar, nuts, and biscuits. You ask me if he has had an extra feed of oats; you should ask if he has not had enough to burst him.”
“Very well, Planchet, that is all right. Now, then, I pass to what concerns me — my supper?”
“Ready. A smoking roast joint, white wine, crayfish, and fresh-gathered cherries. All ready, my master.”
“You are a capital fellow, Planchet; come on, then, let us sup, and I will go to bed.”