THE Y100MTE DE BRAGELONNE. 361 "She was my convent friend." "And you say that she has informed you that Monsieur vJolbert was named intendant?" "Yes, she did." "Well, enlighten me, marquise; granted Monsieur Col- bert is intendant — so be it — in what can an intendant, that is to say, my subordinate, my clerk, give me umbrage or injure me, even were he Monsieur Colbert?" "You do not reflect, monsieur, apparently," replied the marquise. "Upon what?" "This: that Monsieur Colbert hates you." "Hates me!" cried Fouquet. "Good heavens! marquise, whence do you come? where can you live? Hates me why, all the world hates me, he as others do." "He more than others." "More than others? Let him." "He is ambitious." "Who is not, marquise?" "Yes, but with him ambition has no bounds." "I am quite aware of that, since he made it a point to succeed me with Madame Vanel." "And obtained his end; look to that." "Do you mean to say he has the presumption to hope to pass from intendant to surintendant?" "Have you not yourself already had the same fear?" "Oh! oh!" said Fouquet; "to succeed with Madame Vanel is one thing, to succeed me with the king is another. France is not to be purchased so easily as the wife of a tnaitre des comtes." "Eh, monsieur, everything is to be bought; if not by gold, by intrigue." "Nobody knows to the contrary better than you, ma- dame, you to whom I have offered millions." "Instead of millions, Fouquet, you should have offered me a true, only, and boundless love; I might have accepted that. So, you see, still, everything is to be bought, if not in one way, by another." "So Colbert, in your opinion, is in a fair way of bargain- ing for my place of surintendant. Make yourself easy on that head, my dear marquise, he is not yet rich enough to purchase it." "But if he should rob you of it?" "Ah! that is another thing. Unfortunately, before he can reach me, that is to say, the body of the place, he must
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THE VICOMTE DE BRAGELONNE