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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"_In three days?_"

"When I think," resumed Fouquet, "that just now as I passed along the
streets, the people cried out, 'There is the rich Monsieur Fouquet,' it
is enough to turn my brain."

"Stay, monsieur, the matter is not worth so much trouble," said Aramis,
calmly, sprinkling some sand over the letter he had just written.

"Suggest a remedy, then, for this evil without a remedy."

"There is only one remedy for you, - pay."

"But it is very uncertain whether I have the money.  Everything must be
exhausted; Belle-Isle is paid for; the pension has been paid; and money,
since the investigation of the accounts of those who farm the revenue, is
scarce.  Besides, admitting that I pay this time, how can I do so on
another occasion?  When kings have tasted money, they are like tigers who
have tasted flesh, they devour everything.  The day will arrive - _must_
arrive - when I shall have to say, 'Impossible, sire,' and on that very
day I am a lost man."

Aramis raised his shoulders slightly, saying:

"A man in your position, my lord, is only lost when he wishes to be so."

"A man, whatever his position may be, cannot hope to struggle against a
king."

"Nonsense; when I was young I wrestled successfully with the Cardinal
Richelieu, who was king of France, - nay more - cardinal."

"Where are my armies, my troops, my treasures?  I have not even Belle-
Isle."

"Bah! necessity is the mother of invention, and when you think all is
lost, something will be discovered which will retrieve everything."

"Who will discover this wonderful something?"

"Yourself."

"I!  I resign my office of inventor."

"Then _I_ will."

"Be it so.  But set to work without delay."

"Oh! we have time enough!"

"You kill me, D'Herblay, with your calmness," said the superintendent,
passing his handkerchief over his face.

"Do you not remember that I one day told you not to make yourself uneasy,
if you possessed courage?  _Have_ you any?"

"I believe so."

"Then don't make yourself uneasy."

"It is decided then, that, at the last moment, you will come to my
assistance."

"It will only be the repayment of a debt I owe you."

"It is the vocation of financiers to anticipate the wants of men such as
yourself, D'Herblay."

"If obligingness is the vocation of financiers, charity is the virtue of
the clergy.  Only, on this occasion, do you act, monsieur.  You are not
yet sufficiently reduced, and at the last moment we will see what is to
be done."

"We shall see, then, in a very short time."

"Very well.  However, permit me to tell you that, personally, I regret
exceedingly that you are at present so short of money, because I myself
was about to ask you for some."

"For yourself?"

"For myself, or some of my people, for mine or for ours."

"How much do you want?"

"Be easy on that score; a roundish sum, it is true, but not too
exorbitant."

"Tell me the amount."

"Fifty thousand francs."

"Oh! a mere nothing.  Of course one has always fifty thousand francs.
Why the deuce cannot that knave Colbert be as easily satisfied as you are
- and I should give myself far less trouble than I do.  When do you need
this sum?"

"To-morrow morning; but you wish to know its destination?"

"Nay, nay, chevalier, I need no explanation."

"To-morrow is the first of June."

"Well?"

"One of our bonds becomes due."

"I did not know we had any bonds."

"Certainly, to-morrow we pay our last third instalment."

"What third?"

"Of the one hundred and fifty thousand francs to Baisemeaux."

"Baisemeaux?  Who is he?"

"The governor of the Bastile."

"Yes, I remember.  On what grounds am I to pay one hundred and fifty
thousand francs for that man."

"On account of the appointment which he, or rather we, purchased from
Louviere and Tremblay."

"I have a very vague recollection of the matter."

"That is likely enough, for you have so many affairs to attend to.
However, I do not believe you have any affair in the world of greater
importance than this one."

"Tell me, then, why we purchased this appointment."

"Why, in order to render him a service in the first place, and afterwards
ourselves."

"Ourselves?  You are joking."

"Monseigneur, the time may come when the governor of the Bastile may
prove a very excellent acquaintance."

"I have not the good fortune to understand you, D'Herblay."

"Monseigneur, we had our own poets, our own engineer, our own architect,
our own musicians, our own printer, and our own painters; we needed our
own governor of the Bastile."

"Do you think so?"

"Let us not deceive ourselves, monseigneur; we are very much opposed to
paying the Bastile a visit," added the prelate, displaying, beneath his
pale lips, teeth which were still the same beautiful teeth so much
admired thirty years previously by Marie Michon.

"And you think it is not too much to pay one hundred and fifty thousand
francs for that?  I thought you generally put out money at better
interest than that."

"The day will come when you will admit your mistake."

"My dear D'Herblay, the very day on which a man enters the Bastile, he is
no longer protected by his past."

"Yes, he is, if the bonds are perfectly regular; besides, that good
fellow Baisemeaux has not a courtier's heart.  I am certain, my lord,
that he will not remain ungrateful for that money, without taking into
account, I repeat, that I retain the acknowledgements."

"It is a strange affair! usury in a matter of benevolence."

"Do not mix yourself up with it, monseigneur; if there be usury, it is I
who practice it, and both of us reap the advantage from it - that is all."

"Some intrigue, D'Herblay?"

"I do not deny it."

"And Baisemeaux an accomplice in it?"

"Why not? - there are worse accomplices than he.  May I depend, then,
upon the five thousand pistoles to-morrow?"

"Do you want them this evening?"

"It would be better, for I wish to start early; poor Baisemeaux will not
be able to imagine what has be become of me, and must be upon thorns."

"You shall have the amount in an hour.  Ah, D'Herblay, the interest of
your one hundred and fifty thousand francs will never pay my four
millions for me."

"Why not, monseigneur?"

"Good-night, I have business to transact with my clerks before I retire."

"A good night's rest, monseigneur."

"D'Herblay, you wish things that are impossible."

"Shall I have my fifty thousand francs this evening?"

"Yes."

"Go to sleep, then, in perfect safety - it is I who tell you to do so."

Notwithstanding this assurance, and the tone in which it was given,
Fouquet left the room shaking his head, and heaving a sigh.


Chapter XXIII:
M. Baisemeaux de Montlezun's Accounts.

The clock of St. Paul was striking seven as Aramis, on horseback, dressed
as a simple citizen, that is to say, in colored suit, with no distinctive
mark about him, except a kind of hunting-knife by his side, passed before
the Rue du Petit-Musc, and stopped opposite the Rue des Tournelles, at
the gate of the Bastile.  Two sentinels were on duty at the gate; they
made no difficulty about admitting Aramis, who entered without
dismounting, and they pointed out the way he was to go by a long passage
with buildings on both sides.  This passage led to the drawbridge, or, in
other words, to the real entrance.  The drawbridge was down, and the duty
of the day was about being entered upon.  The sentinel at the outer
guardhouse stopped Aramis's further progress, asking him, in a rough tone
of voice, what had brought him there.  Aramis explained, with his usual
politeness, that a wish to speak to M. Baisemeaux de Montlezun had
occasioned his visit.  The first sentinel then summoned a second
sentinel, stationed within an inner lodge, who showed his face at the
grating, and inspected the new arrival most attentively.  Aramis
reiterated the expression of his wish to see the governor; whereupon the
sentinel called to an officer of lower grade, who was walking about in a
tolerably spacious courtyard and who, in turn, on being informed of his
object, ran to seek one of the officers of the governor's staff.  The
latter, after having listened to Aramis's request, begged him to wait a
moment, then went away a short distance, but returned to ask his name.
"I cannot tell it you, monsieur," said Aramis; "I need only mention that
I have matters of such importance to communicate to the governor, that I
can only rely beforehand upon one thing, that M. de Baisemeaux will be
delighted to see me; nay, more than that, when you have told him that it
is the person whom he expected on the first of June, I am convinced he
will hasten here himself."  The officer could not possibly believe that a
man of the governor's importance should put himself out for a person of
so little importance as the citizen-looking visitor on horseback.  "It
happens most fortunately, monsieur," he said, "that the governor is just
going out, and you can perceive his carriage with the horses already
harnessed, in the courtyard yonder; there will be no occasion for him to
come to meet you, as he will see you as he passes by."  Aramis bowed to
signify his assent; he did not wish to inspire others with too exalted an
opinion of himself, and therefore waited patiently and in silence,
leaning upon the saddle-bow of his horse.  Ten minutes had hardly elapsed
when the governor's carriage was observed to move.  The governor appeared
at the door, and got into the carriage, which immediately prepared to
start.  The same ceremony was observed for the governor himself as with a
suspected stranger; the sentinel at the lodge advanced as the carriage
was about to pass under the arch, and the governor opened the carriage-
door, himself setting the example of obedience to orders; so that, in
this way, the sentinel could convince himself that no one quitted the
Bastile improperly.  The carriage rolled along under the archway, but at
the moment the iron-gate was opened, the officer approached the carriage,
which had again been stopped, and said something to the governor, who
immediately put his head out of the door-way, and perceived Aramis on

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