List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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fifty thousand francs by the transaction."

"So much the better for you.  In what way shall I have the money?"

"Either in gold, or in bills of the bank of Lyons, payable at M.

"I agree," said the marquise, eagerly; "return home and bring the sum in
question in notes, as soon as possible."

"Yes, madame, but for Heaven's sake - "

"Not a word, M. Faucheux.  By the by, I was forgetting the silver plate.
What is the value of that which I have?"

"Fifty thousand francs, madame."

"That makes a million," said the marquise to herself.  "M. Faucheux, you
will take away with you both the gold and silver plate.  I can assign, as
a pretext, that I wish it remodeled on patters more in accordance with my
own taste.  Melt it down, and return me its value in money, at once."

"It shall be done, your ladyship."

"You will be good enough to place the money in a chest, and direct one of
your clerks to accompany the chest, and without my servants seeing him;
and order him to wait for me in a carriage."

"In Madame de Faucheux's carriage?" said the jeweler.

"If you will allow it, and I will call for it at your house."

"Certainly, your ladyship."

"I will direct some of my servants to convey the plate to your house."
The marquise rung.  "Let the small van be placed at M. Faucheux's
disposal," she said.  The jeweler bowed and left the house, directing
that the van should follow him closely, saying aloud, that the marquise
was about to have her plate melted down in order to have other plate
manufactured of a more modern style.  Three hours afterwards she went to
M. Faucheux's house and received from him eight hundred francs in gold
inclosed in a chest, which one of the clerks could hardly carry towards
Madame Faucheux's carriage - for Madame Faucheux kept her carriage.  As
the daughter of a president of accounts, she had brought a marriage
portion of thirty thousand crowns to her husband, who was syndic of the
goldsmiths.  These thirty thousand crowns had become very fruitful during
twenty years.  The jeweler, though a _millionaire_, was a modest man.  He
had purchased a substantial carriage, built in 1648, ten years after the
king's birth.  This carriage, or rather house upon wheels, excited the
admiration of the whole quarter in which he resided - it was covered with
allegorical paintings, and clouds scattered over with stars.  The
marquise entered this somewhat extraordinary vehicle, sitting opposite
the clerk, who endeavored to put his knees out of the way, afraid even of
touching the marquise's dress.  It was the clerk, too, who told the
coachman, who was very proud of having a marquise to drive, to take the
road to Saint-Mande.

Chapter XXVIII:
The Dowry.

Monsieur Faucheux's horses were serviceable animals, with thickset knees
and legs that had some difficulty in moving.  Like the carriage, they
belonged to the earlier part of the century.  They were not as fleet as
the English horses of M. Fouquet, and consequently it took two hours to
get to Saint-Mande.  Their progress, it might be said, was majestic.
Majesty, however, precludes hurry.  The marquise stopped the carriage at
the door so well known to her, although she had seen it only once, under
circumstances, it will now be remembered, no less painful than those
which brought her now to it again.  She drew a key from her pocket, and
inserted it into the lock, pushed open the door, which noiselessly
yielded to her touch, and directed the clerk to carry the chest upstairs
to the first floor.  The weight of the chest was so great that the clerk
was obliged to get the coachman to assist him with it.  They placed it in
a small cabinet, ante-room, or boudoir rather, adjoining the saloon where
we once saw M. Fouquet at the marquise's feet.  Madame de Belliere gave
the coachman a louis, smiled gracefully at the clerk, and dismissed them
both.  She closed the door after them, and waited in the room, alone and
barricaded.  There was no servant to be seen about the rooms, but
everything was prepared as though some invisible genius had divined the
wishes and desires of an expected guest.  The fire was laid, candles in
the candelabra, refreshments upon the table, books scattered about, fresh-
cut flowers in the vases.  One might almost have imagined it an enchanted

The marquise lighted the candles, inhaled the perfume of the flowers, sat
down, and was soon plunged in profound thought.  Her deep musings,
melancholy though they were, were not untinged with a certain vague joy.
Spread out before her was a treasure, a million wrung from her fortune as
a gleaner plucks the blue corn-flower from her crown of flowers.  She
conjured up the sweetest dreams.  Her principal thought, and one that
took precedence of all others, was to devise means of leaving this money
for M. Fouquet without his possibly learning from whom the gift had
come.  This idea, naturally enough, was the first to present itself to
her mind.  But although, on reflection, it appeared difficult to carry
out, she did not despair of success.  She would then ring to summon M.
Fouquet and make her escape, happier than if, instead of having given a
million, she had herself found one.  But, being there, and having seen
the boudoir so coquettishly decorated that it might almost be said the
least particle of dust had but the moment before been removed by the
servants; having observed the drawing-room, so perfectly arranged that it
might almost be said her presence there had driven away the fairies who
were its occupants, she asked herself if the glance or gaze of those whom
she had displaced - whether spirits, fairies, elves, or human creatures 
had not already recognized her.  To secure success, it was necessary that
some steps should be seriously taken, and it was necessary also that the
superintendent should comprehend the serious position in which he was
placed, in order to yield compliance with the generous fancies of a
woman; all the fascinations of an eloquent friendship would be required
to persuade him, and, should this be insufficient, the maddening
influence of a devoted passion, which, in its resolute determination to
carry conviction, would not be turned aside.  Was not the superintendent,
indeed, known for his delicacy and dignity of feeling?  Would he allow
himself to accept from any woman that of which she had stripped herself?
No!  He would resist, and if any voice in the world could overcome his
resistance, it would be the voice of the woman he loved.

Another doubt, and that a cruel one, suggested itself to Madame de
Belliere with a sharp, acute pain, like a dagger thrust.  Did he really
love her?  Would that volatile mind, that inconstant heart, be likely to
be fixed for a moment, even were it to gaze upon an angel?  Was it not
the same with Fouquet, notwithstanding his genius and his uprightness of
conduct, as with those conquerors on the field of battle who shed tears
when they have gained a victory?  "I must learn if it be so, and must
judge of that for myself," said the marquise.  "Who can tell whether that
heart, so coveted, is not common in its impulses, and full of alloy?  Who
can tell if that mind, when the touchstone is applied to it, will not be
found of a mean and vulgar character?  Come, come," she said, "this is
doubting and hesitation too much - to the proof," she said, looking at
the timepiece.  "It is now seven o'clock," she said; "he must have
arrived; it is the hour for signing his papers."  With a feverish
impatience she rose and walked towards the mirror, in which she smiled
with a resolute smile of devotedness; she touched the spring and drew out
the handle of the bell.  Then, as if exhausted beforehand by the struggle
she had just undergone, she threw herself on her knees, in utter
abandonment, before a large couch, in which she buried her face in her
trembling hands.  Ten minutes afterwards she heard the spring of the door
sound.  The door moved upon invisible hinges, and Fouquet appeared.  He
looked pale, and seemed bowed down by the weight of some bitter
reflection.  He did not hurry, but simply came at the summons.  The
preoccupation of his mind must indeed have been very great, that a man,
so devoted to pleasure, for whom indeed pleasure meant everything, should
obey such a summons so listlessly.  The previous night, in fact, fertile
in melancholy ideas, had sharpened his features, generally so noble in
their indifference of expression, and had traced dark lines of anxiety
around his eyes.  Handsome and noble he still was, and the melancholy
expression of his mouth, a rare expression with men, gave a new character
to his features, by which his youth seemed to be renewed.  Dressed in
black, the lace in front of his chest much disarranged by his feverishly
restless hand, the looks of the superintendent, full of dreamy
reflection, were fixed upon the threshold of the room which he had so
frequently approached in search of expected happiness.  This gloomy
gentleness of manner, this smiling sadness of expression, which had
replaced his former excessive joy, produced an indescribable effect upon
Madame de Belliere, who was regarding him at a distance.

A woman's eye can read the face of the man she loves, its every feeling
of pride, its every expression of suffering; it might almost be said that
Heaven has graciously granted to women, on account of their very
weakness, more than it has accorded to other creatures.  They can conceal
their own feelings from a man, but from them no man can conceal his.  The
marquise divined in a single glace the whole weight of the unhappiness of
the superintendent.  She divined a night passed without sleep, a day
passed in deceptions.  From that moment she was firm in her own strength,
and she felt that she loved Fouquet beyond everything else.  She arose
and approached him, saying, "You wrote to me this morning to say you were
beginning to forget me, and that I, whom you had not seen lately, had no
doubt ceased to think of you.  I have come to undeceive you, monsieur,
and the more completely so, because there is one thing I can read in your

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