horseback at the end of the drawbridge. He immediately uttered almost a shout of delight, and got out, or rather darted out of his carriage, running towards Aramis, whose hands he seized, making a thousand apologies. He almost embraced him. "What a difficult matter to enter the Bastile!" said Aramis. "Is it the same for those who are sent here against their wills, as for those who come of their own accord?" "A thousand pardons, my lord. How delighted I am to see your Grace!" "Hush! What are you thinking of, my dear M. Baisemeaux? What do you suppose would be thought of a bishop in my present costume?" "Pray, excuse me, I had forgotten. Take this gentleman's horse to the stables," cried Baisemeaux. "No, no," said Aramis; "I have five thousand pistoles in the saddle-bags." The governor's countenance became so radiant, that if the prisoners had seen him they would have imagined some prince of the royal blood had arrived. "Yes, you are right, the horse shall be taken to the government house. Will you get into the carriage, my dear M. d'Herblay? and it shall take us back to my house." "Get into a carriage to cross a courtyard! do you believe I am so great an invalid? No, no, we will go on foot." Baisemeaux then offered his arm as a support, but the prelate did not accept it. They arrived in this manner at the government house, Baisemeaux rubbing his hands and glancing at the horse from time to time, while Aramis was looking at the bleak bare walls. A tolerably handsome vestibule and a staircase of white stone led to the governor's apartments, who crossed the ante-chamber, the dining-room, where breakfast was being prepared, opened a small side door, and closeted himself with his guest in a large cabinet, the windows of which opened obliquely upon the courtyard and the stables. Baisemeaux installed the prelate with that all-inclusive politeness of which a good man, or a grateful man, alone possesses the secret. An arm-chair, a footstool, a small table beside him, on which to rest his hand, everything was prepared by the governor himself. With his own hands, too, he placed upon the table, with much solicitude, the bag containing the gold, which one of the soldiers had brought up with the most respectful devotion; and the soldier having left the room, Baisemeaux himself closed the door after him, drew aside one of the window-curtains, and looked steadfastly at Aramis to see if the prelate required anything further. "Well, my lord," he said, still standing up, "of all men of their word, you still continue to be the most punctual." "In matters of business, dear M. de Baisemeaux, exactitude is not a virtue only, it is a duty as well." "Yes, in matters of business, certainly; but what you have with me is not of that character; it is a service you are rendering me." "Come, confess, dear M. de Baisemeaux, that, notwithstanding this exactitude, you have not been without a little uneasiness." "About your health, I certainly have," stammered out Baisemeaux. "I wished to come here yesterday, but I was not able, as I was too fatigued," continued Aramis. Baisemeaux anxiously slipped another cushion behind his guest's back. "But," continued Aramis, "I promised myself to come and pay you a visit to-day, early in the morning." "You are really very kind, my lord." "And it was a good thing for me I was punctual, I think." "What do you mean?" "Yes, you were going out." At which latter remark Baisemeaux colored and said, "It is true I was going out." "Then I prevent you," said Aramis; whereupon the embarrassment of Baisemeaux became visibly greater. "I am putting you to inconvenience," he continued, fixing a keen glace upon the poor governor; "if I had known that, I should not have come." "How can your lordship imagine that you could ever inconvenience me?" "Confess you were going in search of money." "No," stammered out Baisemeaux, "no! I assure you I was going to - " "Does the governor still intend to go to M. Fouquet?" suddenly called out the major from below. Baisemeaux ran to the window like a madman. "No, no," he exclaimed in a state of desperation, "who the deuce is speaking of M. Fouquet? are you drunk below there? why am I interrupted when I am engaged on business?" "You were going to M. Fouquet's," said Aramis, biting his lips, "to M. Fouquet, the abbe, or the superintendent?" Baisemeaux almost made up his mind to tell an untruth, but he could not summon courage to do so. "To the superintendent," he said. "It is true, then, that you were in want of money, since you were going to a person who gives it away!" "I assure you, my lord - " "You were afraid?" "My dear lord, it was the uncertainty and ignorance in which I was as to where you were to be found." "You would have found the money you require at M. Fouquet's, for he is a man whose hand is always open." "I swear that I should never have ventured to ask M. Fouquet for money. I only wished to ask him for your address." "To ask M. Fouquet for my address?" exclaimed Aramis, opening his eyes in real astonishment. "Yes," said Baisemeaux, greatly disturbed by the glance which the prelate fixed upon him, - "at M. Fouquet's certainly." "There is no harm in that, dear M. Baisemeaux, only I would ask, why ask my address of M. Fouquet?" "That I might write to you." "I understand," said Aramis smiling, "but that is not what I meant; I do not ask you what you required my address for: I only ask why you should go to M. Fouquet for it?" "Oh!" said Baisemeaux, "as Belle-Isle is the property of M. Fouquet, and as Belle-Isle is in the diocese of Vannes, and as you are bishop of Vannes - " "But, my dear Baisemeaux, since you knew I was bishop of Vannes, you had no occasion to ask M. Fouquet for my address." "Well, monsieur," said Baisemeaux, completely at bay, "if I have acted indiscreetly, I beg your pardon most sincerely." "Nonsense," observed Aramis calmly: "how can you possibly have acted indiscreetly?" And while he composed his face, and continued to smile cheerfully on the governor, he was considering how Baisemeaux, who was not aware of his address, knew, however, that Vannes was his residence. "I shall clear all this up," he said to himself; and then speaking aloud, added, - "Well, my dear governor shall we now arrange our little accounts?" "I am at your orders, my lord; but tell me beforehand, my lord, whether you will do me the honor to breakfast with me as usual?" "Very willingly, indeed." "That's well," said Baisemeaux, as he struck the bell before him three times. "What does that mean?" inquired Aramis. "That I have some one to breakfast with me, and that preparations are to be made accordingly." "And you rang thrice. Really, my dear governor, I begin to think you are acting ceremoniously with me." "No, indeed. Besides, the least I can do is to receive you in the best way I can." "But why so?" "Because not even a prince could have done what you have done for me." "Nonsense! nonsense!" "Nay, I assure you - " "Let us speak of other matters," said Aramis. "Or rather, tell me how your affairs here are getting on." "Not over well." "The deuce!" "M. de Mazarin was not hard enough." "Yes, I see; you require a government full of suspicion - like that of the old cardinal, for instance." "Yes; matters went on better under him. The brother of his 'gray eminence' made his fortune here." "Believe me, my dear governor," said Aramis, drawing closer to Baisemeaux, "a young king is well worth an old cardinal. Youth has its suspicions, its fits of anger, its prejudices, as old age has its hatreds, its precautions, and its fears. Have you paid your three years' profits to Louvidre and Tremblay?" "Most certainly I have." "So that you have nothing more to give them than the fifty thousand francs I have brought with me?" "Nothing." "Have you not saved anything, then?" "My lord, in giving the fifty thousand francs of my own to these gentlemen, I assure you that I gave them everything I gain. I told M. d'Artagnan so yesterday evening." "Ah!" said Aramis, whose eyes sparkled for a moment, but became immediately afterwards as unmoved as before; "so you have been to see my old friend D'Artagnan; how was he?" "Wonderfully well." "And what did you say to him, M. de Baisemeaux?" "I told him," continued the governor, not perceiving his own thoughtlessness; "I told him that I fed my prisoners too well." "How many have you?" inquired Aramis, in an indifferent tone of voice. "Sixty." "Well, that is a tolerably round number." "In former times, my lord, there were, during certain years, as many as two hundred." "Still a minimum of sixty is not to be grumbled at." "Perhaps not; for, to anybody but myself, each prisoner would bring in two hundred and fifty pistoles; for instance, for a prince of the blood I have fifty francs a day." "Only you have no prince of the blood; at least, I suppose so," said Aramis, with a slight tremor in his voice. "No, thank heaven! - I mean, no, unfortunately." "What do you mean by unfortunately?" "Because my appointment would be improved by it. So fifty francs per day for a prince of the blood, thirty-six for a marechal of France - " "But you have as many marechals of France, I suppose, as you have princes of the blood?" "Alas! no more. It is true lieutenant-generals and brigadiers pay twenty- six francs, and I have two of them. After that, come councilors of parliament, who bring me fifteen francs, and I have six of them." "I did not know," said Aramis, "that councilors were so productive." "Yes; but from fifteen francs I sink at once to ten francs; namely, for an ordinary judge, and for an ecclesiastic." "And you have seven, you say; an excellent affair." "Nay, a bad one, and for this reason. How can I possibly treat these poor fellows, who are of some good, at all events, otherwise than as a councilor of parliament?" "Yes, you are right; I do not see five francs difference between them."
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