“Come, he has begun,” said he. “Love urges him on, and he goes forward — he goes forward! The king is nobody in his own palace; but the man perhaps may prove to be worth something. Well, we shall see to-morrow morning. Oh! oh!” cried he, all at once starting up, “that is a gigantic idea, mordioux! and perhaps my fortune depends, at least, upon that idea!” After this exclamation, the officer arose and marched, with his hands in the pockets of his justaucorps, about the immense ante-chamber that served him as an apartment. The wax-light flamed furiously under the effects of a fresh breeze, which stole in through the chinks of the door and the window, and cut the salle diagonally. It threw out a reddish, unequal light, sometimes brilliant, sometimes dull, and the tall shadow of the lieutenant was seen marching on the wall, in profile, like a figure by Callot, with his long sword and feathered hat.
“Certainly!” said he, “I am mistaken if Mazarin is not laying a snare for this amorous boy. Mazarin, this evening, gave an address, and made an appointment as complacently as M. Daangeau himself could have done — I heard him, and I know the meaning of his words. ‘To-morrow morning,’ said he, ‘they will pass opposite the bridge of Blois.’ Mordioux! that is clear enough, and particularly for a lover. That is the cause of this embarrassment; that is the cause of this hesitation; that is the cause of this order — ’Monsieur the lieutenant of my musketeers, be on horseback to-morrow at four o’clock in the morning.’ Which is as clear as if he had said, — ’Monsieur the lieutenant of my musketeers, to-morrow, at four, at the bridge of Blois, — do you understand?’ Here is a state secret, then, which I, humble as I am, have in my possession, while it is in action. And how do I get it? Because I have good eyes, as his majesty just now said. They say he loves this little Italian doll furiously. They say he threw himself at his mother’s feet, to beg her to allow him to marry her. They say the queen went so far as to consult the court of Rome, whether such a marriage, contracted against her will, would be valid. Oh, if I were but twenty-five! If I had by my side those I no longer have! If I did not despise the whole world most profoundly, I would embroil Mazarin with the queen-mother, France with Spain, and I would make a queen after my own fashion. But let that pass.” And the lieutenant snapped his fingers in disdain.
“This miserable Italian — this poor creature — this sordid wretch — who has just refused the king of England a million, would not perhaps give me a thousand pistoles for the news I would carry him. Mordioux! I am falling into second childhood — I am becoming stupid indeed! The idea of Mazarin giving anything! ha! ha! ha!” and he laughed in a subdued voice.
“Well, let us go to sleep — let us go to sleep; and the sooner the better. My mind is wearied with my evening’s work, and will see things to-morrow more clearly than to-day.”