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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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said the cardinal, fixing his brilliant eye upon the young king, who sat
mute with stupefaction.

"However - " stammered the king.

"What, do you still doubt, sire?" said the cardinal.  "Well, here is a
proof of what I said."

And Mazarin drew from under his bolster the paper covered with figures,
which he presented to the king, who turned away his eyes, his vexation
was so deep.

"Therefore, as it is a million you want, sire, and that million is not
set down here, it is forty-six millions your majesty stands in need of.
Well, I don't think that any Jews in the world would lend such a sum,
even upon the crown of France."

The king, clenching his hands beneath his ruffles, pushed away his chair.

"So it must be then!" said he; "my brother the king of England will die
of hunger."

"Sire," replied Mazarin, in the same tone, "remember this proverb, which
I give you as the expression of the soundest policy: 'Rejoice at being
poor when your neighbor is poor likewise.'"

Louis meditated this for a few moments, with an inquisitive glance
directed to the paper, one end of which remained under the bolster.

"Then," said he, "it is impossible to comply with my demand for money, my
lord cardinal, is it?"

"Absolutely, sire."

"Remember, this will secure me a future enemy, if he succeed in
recovering his crown without my assistance."

"If your majesty only fears that, you may be quite at ease," replied
Mazarin, eagerly.

"Very well, I say no more about it," exclaimed Louis XIV.

"Have I at least convinced you, sire?" placing his hand upon that of the
young king.

"Perfectly."

"If there be anything else, ask it, sire; I shall most happy to grant it
to you, having refused this."

"Anything else, my lord?"

"Why yes; am I not devoted body and soul to your majesty?  _Hola!_
Bernouin! - lights and guards for his majesty!  His majesty is returning
to his own chamber."

"Not yet, monsieur: since you place your good-will at my disposal, I will
take advantage of it."

"For yourself, sire?" asked the cardinal, hoping that his niece was at
length about to be named.

"No, monsieur, not for myself," replied Louis, "but still for my brother
Charles."

The brow of Mazarin again became clouded, and he grumbled a few words
that the king could not catch.


Chapter XI:
Mazarin's Policy.

Instead of the hesitation with which he had accosted the cardinal a
quarter of an hour before, there might be read in the eyes of the young
king that will against which a struggle might be maintained, and which
might be crushed by its own impotence,  but which, at least, would
preserve, like a wound in the depth of the heart, the remembrance of its
defeat.

"This time, my lord cardinal, we have to deal with something more easily
found than a million."

"Do you think so, sire?" said Mazarin, looking at the king with that
penetrating eye which was accustomed to read to the bottom of hearts.

"Yes, I think so; and when you know the object of my request - "

"And do you think I do not know it, sire?"

"You know what remains for me to say to you?"

"Listen, sire; these are King Charles's own words - "

"Oh, impossible!"

"Listen.  'And if that miserly, beggarly Italian,' said he - "

"My lord cardinal!"

"That is the sense, if not the words.  Eh! Good heavens!  I wish him no
ill on that account; one is biased by his passions.  He said to you: 'If
that vile Italian refuses the million we ask of him, sire, - if we are
forced, for want of money, to renounce diplomacy, well, then, we will ask
him to grant us five hundred gentlemen.'"

The king started, for the cardinal was only mistaken in the number.

"Is not that it, sire?" cried the minister, with a triumphant accent.
"And then he added some fine words: he said, 'I have friends on the other
side of the channel, and these friends only want a leader and a banner.
When they see me, when they behold the banner of France, they will rally
around me, for they will comprehend that I have your support.  The colors
of the French uniform will be worth as much to me as the million M. de
Mazarin refuses us,' - for he was pretty well assured I should refuse him
that million. - 'I shall conquer with these five hundred gentlemen, sire,
and all the honor will be yours.'  Now, that is what he said, or to that
purpose, was it not? - turning those plain words into brilliant metaphors
and pompous images, for they are fine talkers in that family!  The father
talked even on the scaffold."

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 you 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 granted to
five hundred men, to two hundred men, to fifty men, to ten men, is still
a permission.  One Frenchman, that is the nation; one uniform, that is
the army.  Suppose, sire, for example, that you should have war with
Holland, which, sooner or later, will certainly happen; or with Spain,
which will perhaps ensue if your marriage fails" (Mazarin stole a furtive
glance at the king), "and there are a thousand causes that might yet make
your marriage fail, - well, would you approve of England's sending to the
United Provinces or to Spain a regiment, a company, a squadron even, of
English gentlemen?  Would you think that they kept within the limits of
their treaty of alliance?"

Louis listened; it seemed so strange to him that Mazarin should invoke
good faith, and he the author of so many political tricks, called
Mazarinades.  "And yet," said the king, "without manifest of my
authorization, I cannot prevent gentlemen of my states from passing over
into England, if such should be their good pleasure."

"You should compel them to return, sire, or at least protest against
their presence as enemies in a allied country."

"But come, my lord cardinal, you who are so profound a genius, try if you
cannot find a means to assist this poor king, without compromising
ourselves."

"And that is exactly what I am not willing to do, my dear sire," said
Mazarin.  "If England were to act exactly according to my wishes, she
could not act better than she does; if I directed the policy of England
from this place, I should not direct it otherwise.  Governed as she is
governed, England is an eternal nest of contention for all Europe.
Holland protects Charles II., let Holland do so; they will quarrel, they
will fight.  Let them destroy each other's navies, we can construct ours
with the wrecks of their vessels; when we shall save our money to buy
nails."

"Oh, how paltry and mean is all this that you are telling me, monsieur
le cardinal!"

"Yes, but nevertheless it is true, sire; you must confess that.  Sill
further.  Suppose I admit, for a moment, the possibility of breaking your
word, and evading the treaty - such a thing as sometimes happens, but
that is when some great interest is to be promoted by it, or when the
treaty is found to be too troublesome - well, you will authorize the
engagement asked of you: France - her banner, which is the same thing 
will cross the Straits and will fight; France will be conquered."

"Why so?"

"_Ma foi!_ we have a pretty general to fight under - this Charles
II.!  Worcester gave us proofs of that."

"But he will no longer have to deal with Cromwell, monsieur."

"But he will have to deal with Monk, who is quite as dangerous.  The

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