The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 712 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

The perspiration of shame stood on the brow of Louis.  He felt that it was inconsistent with his dignity to hear his brother thus insulted, but he did not yet know how to act with him to whom every one yielded, even his mother.  At last he made an effort.

“But,” said he, “my lord cardinal, it is not five hundred men, it is only two hundred.”

“Well, but you see I guessed what he wanted.”

“I never denied that you had a penetrating eye, and that was why I thought you would not refuse my brother Charles a thing so simple and so easy to grant him as what I ask of you in his name, my lord cardinal, or rather in my own.”

“Sire,” said Mazarin, “I have studied policy thirty years; first, under the auspices of M. le Cardinal Richelieu; and then alone.  This policy has not always been over-honest, it must be allowed, but it has never been unskillful.  Now that which is proposed to your majesty is dishonest and unskillful at the same time.”

“Dishonest, monsieur!”

“Sire, you entered into a treaty with Cromwell.”

“Yes, and in that very treaty Cromwell signed his name above mine.”

“Why did you sign yours so lo down, sire?  Cromwell found a good place, and he took it; that was his custom.  I return, then, to M. Cromwell.  You have a treaty with him, that is to say, with England, since when you signed that treaty M. Cromwell was England.”

“M.  Cromwell is dead.”

“Do you think so, sire?”

“No doubt he is, since his son Richard has succeeded him, and has abdicated.”

“Yes, that is it exactly.  Richard inherited after the death of his father, and England at the abdication of Richard.  The treaty formed part of the inheritance, whether in the hands of M. Richard or in the hands of England.  The treaty is, then, still as good, as valid as ever.  Why should you evade it, sire?  What is changed?  Charles wants to-day what we were not willing to grant him ten years ago; but that was foreseen and provided against.  You are the ally of England, sire, and not of Charles II.  It was doubtless wrong, from a family point of view, to sign a treaty with a man who had cut off the head of the king your father’s brother-in-law, and to contract an alliance with a parliament which they call yonder the Rump Parliament; it was unbecoming, I acknowledge, but it was not unskillful from a political point of view, since, thanks to that treaty, I saved your majesty, then a minor, the trouble and danger of a foreign war, which the Fronde — you remember the Fronde, sire?” — the young king hung his head — “which the Fronde might have fatally complicated.  And thus I prove to your majesty that to change our plan now, without warning our allies, would be at once unskillful and dishonest.  We should make war with the aggression on our side; we should make it, deserving to have it made against us; and we should have the appearance of fearing it whilst provoking it, for a permission

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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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