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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Three millions nine hundred thousand livres."

"Well, monseigneur?"

"Upon Bordeaux, seven millions."

"Seven?" repeated Bernouin.

"Yes," said the cardinal, pettishly, "seven."  Then, recollecting
himself, "You understand, Bernouin," added he, "that all this money is
to be spent?"

"Eh! monseigneur; whether it be spent or put away is of very little
consequence to me, since none of these millions are mine."

"These millions are the king's; it is the king's money I am reckoning.
Well, what were we saying?  You always interrupt me!"

"Seven millions upon Bordeaux."

"Ah! yes; that's right.  Upon Madrid four millions.  I give you to
understand plainly to whom this money belongs, Bernouin, seeing that
everybody has the stupidity to believe me rich in millions.  I repel the
silly idea.  A minister, besides, has nothing of his own.  Come, go on.
_Rentrees generales_, seven millions; properties, nine millions.  Have
you written that, Bernouin?"

"Yes, monseigneur."

"_Bourse_, six hundred thousand livres; various property, two millions.
Ah!  I forgot - the furniture of the different chateaux - "

"Must I put of the crown?" asked Bernouin.

"No, no; it is of no use doing that - that is understood.  Have you
written that, Bernouin?"

"Yes, monseigneur."

"And the ciphers?"

"Stand straight under one another."

"Cast them up, Bernouin."

"Thirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty thousand livres, monseigneur."

"Ah!" cried the cardinal, in a tone of vexation; "there are not yet forty
millions!"

Bernouin recommenced the addition.

"No, monseigneur; there want seven hundred and forty thousand livres."

Mazarin asked for the account, and revised it carefully.

"Yes, but," said Bernouin, "thirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty
thousand livres make a good round sum."

"Ah, Bernouin; I wish the king had it."

"Your eminence told me that this money was his majesty's."

"Doubtless, as clear, as transparent as possible.  These thirty-nine
millions are bespoken, and much more."

Bernouin smiled after his own fashion - that is, like a man who believes
no more than he is willing to believe - whilst preparing the cardinal's
night draught, and putting his pillow to rights.

"Oh!" said Mazarin, when the valet had gone out; "not yet forty
millions!  I must, however, attain that sum, which I had set down for
myself.  But who knows whether I shall have time?  I sink, I am going, I
shall never reach it!  And yet, who knows that I may not find two or
three millions in the pockets of my good friends the Spaniards?  They
discovered Peru, those people did, and - what the devil! they must have
something left."

As he was speaking thus, entirely occupied with his ciphers, and thinking
no more of his gout, repelled by a preoccupation which, with the
cardinal, was the most powerful of all preoccupations, Bernouin rushed
into the chamber, quite in a fright.

"Well!" asked the cardinal, "what is the matter now?"

"The king, monseigneur, - the king!"

"How? - the king!" said Mazarin, quickly concealing his paper.  "The king
here! the king at this hour!  I thought he was in bed long ago.  What is
the matter, then?"

The king could hear these last words, and see the terrified gesture of
the cardinal rising up in his bed, for he entered the chamber at that
moment.

"It is nothing, monsieur le cardinal, or at least nothing which can alarm
you.  It is an important communication which I wish to make to your
eminence to-night, - that is all."

Mazarin immediately thought of that marked attention which the king had
given to his words concerning Mademoiselle de Mancini, and the
communication appeared to him probably to refer to this source.  He
recovered his serenity then instantly, and assumed his most agreeable
air, a change of countenance which inspired the king with the greatest
joy; and when Louis was seated, -

"Sire," said the cardinal, "I ought certainly to listen to your majesty
standing, but the violence of my complaint - "

"No ceremony between us, my dear monsieur le cardinal," said Louis
kindly: "I am your pupil, and not the king, you know very well, and this
evening in particular, as I come to you as a petitioner, as a solicitor,
and one very humble, and desirous to be kindly received, too."

Mazarin, seeing the heightened color of the king, was confirmed in his
first idea; that is to say, that love thoughts were hidden under all
these fine words.  This time, political cunning, as keen as it was, made
a mistake; this color was not caused by the bashfulness of a juvenile
passion, but only by the painful contraction of the royal pride.

Like a good uncle, Mazarin felt disposed to facilitate the confidence.

"Speak, sire," said he, "and since your majesty is willing for an instant
to forget that I am your subject, and call me your master and
instructor, I promise your majesty my most devoted and tender
consideration."

"Thanks, monsieur le cardinal," answered the king; "that which I have to
ask of your eminence has but little to do with myself."

"So much the worse!" replied the cardinal; "so much the worse!  Sire, I
should wish your majesty to ask of me something of importance, even a
sacrifice; but whatever it may be that you ask me, I am ready to set your
heart at rest by granting it, my dear sire."

"Well, this is what brings me here," said the king, with a beating of the
heart that had no equal except the beating of the heart of the minister;
"I have just received a visit from my brother, the king of England."

	Mazarin bounded in his bed as if he had been put in relation with a
Leyden jar or a voltaic pile, at the same time that a surprise, or rather
a manifest disappointment, inflamed his features with such a blaze of
anger, that Louis XIV., little diplomatist as he was, saw that the
minister had hoped to hear something else.

"Charles II.?" exclaimed Mazarin, with a hoarse voice and a disdainful
movement of his lips.  "You have received a visit from Charles II.?"

"From King Charles II.," replied Louis, according in a marked manner to
the grandson of Henry IV. the title which Mazarin had forgotten to give
him.  "Yes, monsieur le cardinal, that unhappy prince has touched my
heart with the relation of his misfortunes.  His distress is great, monsieur le
cardinal, and it has appeared painful to me, who have seen my own throne
disputed, who have been forced in times of commotion to quit my capital,
- to me, in short, who am acquainted with misfortune, - to leave a
deposed and fugitive brother without assistance."

"Eh!" said the cardinal, sharply; "why had he not, as you have, a Jules
Mazarin by his side?  His crown would then have remained intact."

"I know all that my house owes to your eminence," replied the king,
haughtily, "and you may well believe that I, on my part, shall never
forget it.  It is precisely because my brother, the king of England has
not about him the powerful genius who has saved me, it is for that, I
say, that I wish to conciliate the aid of that same genius, and beg you
to extend your arm over his head, well assured, monsieur le cardinal,
that your hand, by touching him only, would know how to replace upon his
brow the crown which fell at the foot of his father's scaffold."

"Sire," replied Mazarin, "I thank you for your good opinion with regard
to myself, but we have nothing to do yonder: they are a set of madmen who
deny God, and cut off the heads of their kings.  They are dangerous,
observe, sire, and filthy to the touch after having wallowed in royal
blood and covenantal murder.  That policy has never suited me, - I scorn
it and reject it."

"Therefore you ought to assist in establishing a better."

"What is that?"

"The restoration of Charles II., for example."

"Good heavens!" cried Mazarin, "does the poor prince flatter himself with
that chimera?"

"Yes, he does," replied the young king, terrified at the difficulties
opposed to this project, which he fancied he could perceive in the
infallible eye of his minister; "he only asks for a million to carry out
his purpose."

"Is that all - a little million, if you please!" said the cardinal,
ironically, with an effort to conquer his Italian accent.  "A little
million, if you please, brother!  Bah! a family of mendicants!"

"Cardinal," said Louis, raising his head, "that family of mendicants is a
branch of my family."

"Are you rich enough to give millions to other people, sire?  Have you
millions to throw away?"

"Oh!" replied Louis XIV., with great pain, which he, however, by a strong
effort, prevented from appearing on his countenance; - "oh! yes, monsieur
le cardinal, I am well aware I am poor, and yet the crown of France is
worth a million, and to perform a good action I would pledge my crown if
it were necessary.  I could find Jews who would be willing to lend me a
million."

"So, sire, you say you want a million?" said Mazarin.

"Yes, monsieur, I say so."

"You are mistaken, greatly mistaken, sire; you want much more than
that, - Bernouin! - you shall see, sire, how much you really want."

"What, cardinal!" said the king, "are you going to consult a lackey about
my affairs?"

"Bernouin!" cried the cardinal again, without appearing to remark the
humiliation of the young prince.  "Come here, Bernouin, and tell me the
figures I gave you just now."

"Cardinal, cardinal! did you not hear me?" said Louis, turning pale with
anger.

"Do not be angry, sire; I deal openly with the affairs of your majesty.
Every one in France knows that; my books are as open as day.  What did I
tell you to do just now, Bernouin?"

"Your eminence commanded me to cast up an account."

"You did it, did you not?"

"Yes, my lord."

"To verify the amount of which his majesty, at this moment, stands in
need.  Did I not tell you so?  Be frank, my friend."

"Your eminence said so."

"Well, what sum did I say I wanted?"

"Forty-five millions, I think."

"And what sum could we find, after collecting all our resources?"

"Thirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty thousand."

"That is correct, Bernouin; that is all I wanted to know.  Leave us now,"

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