The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

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

“That is true; — but uselessly, by good luck, — which was not their intention.”

“How much money had these men fraudulently obtained?”

“Ten millions, perhaps; of which six have been confiscated.”

“And is that money in my coffers?” said the king with a certain air of repugnance.

“It is there, sire; but this confiscation, whilst threatening M. Fouquet, has not touched him.”

“You conclude, then, M. Colbert — "

“That if M. Fouquet has raised against your majesty a troop of factious rioters to extricate his friends from punishment, he will raise an army when he has in turn to extricate himself from punishment.”

The king darted at his confidant one of those looks which resemble the livid fire of a flash of lightning, one of those looks which illuminate the darkness of the basest consciences.  “I am astonished,” said he, “that, thinking such things of M. Fouquet, you did not come to give me your counsels thereupon.”

“Counsels upon what, sire?”

“Tell me, in the first place, clearly and precisely, what you think, M. Colbert.”

“Upon what subject, sire?”

“Upon the conduct of M. Fouquet.”

“I think, sire, that M. Fouquet, not satisfied with attracting all the money to himself, as M. Mazarin did, and by that means depriving your majesty of one part of your power, still wishes to attract to himself all the friends of easy life and pleasure — of what idlers call poetry, and politicians, corruption.  I think that, by holding the subjects of your majesty in pay, he trespasses upon the royal prerogative, and cannot, if this continues so, be long in placing your majesty among the weak and the obscure.”

“How would you qualify all these projects, M. Colbert?”

“The projects of M. Fouquet, sire?”

“Yes.”

“They are called crimes of lese majeste.”

“And what is done to criminals guilty of lese majeste?

“They are arrested, tried, and punished.”

“You are quite certain that M. Fouquet has conceived the idea of the crime you impute to him?”

“I can say more, sire; there is even a commencement of the execution of it.”

“Well, then, I return to that which I was saying, M. Colbert.”

“And you were saying, sire?”

“Give me counsel.”

“Pardon me, sire; but in the first place, I have something to add.”

“Say — what?”

“An evident, palpable, material proof of treason.”

“And what is that?”

“I have just learnt that M. Fouquet is fortifying Belle-Isle.”

“Ah, indeed!”

“Yes, sire.”

“Are you sure?”

“Perfectly.  Do you know, sire, what soldiers there are in Belle-Isle?”

“No, ma foi! Do you?”

“I am ignorant, likewise, sire; I should therefore propose to your majesty to send somebody to Belle-Isle?”

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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.