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Chapter 15: Colbert. (continued)
"Oh! sire, if I be indeed so, and if my eyes are indeed full of tears, I am sorrowful only at the sadness which seems to oppress your majesty."
"My sadness? You are mistaken, mademoiselle; no, it is not sadness I experience."
"What is it, then, sire?"
"Humiliation? oh! sire, what a word for you to use!"
"I mean, mademoiselle, that wherever I may happen to be, no one else ought to be the master. Well, then, look round you on every side, and judge whether I am not eclipsed - I, the king of France - before the monarch of these wide domains. Oh!" he continued, clenching his hands and teeth, "when I think that this king - "
"Well, sire?" said Louise, terrified.
" - That this king is a faithless, unworthy servant, who grows proud and self-sufficient upon the strength of property that belongs to me, and which he has stolen. And therefore I am about to change this impudent minister's fete into sorrow and mourning, of which the nymph of Vaux, as the poets say, shall not soon lose the remembrance."
"Oh! your majesty - "
"Well, mademoiselle, are you about to take M. Fouquet's part?" said Louis, impatiently.
"No, sire; I will only ask whether you are well informed. Your majesty has more than once learned the value of accusations made at court."
Louis XIV. made a sign for Colbert to approach. "Speak, Monsieur Colbert," said the young prince, "for I almost believe that Mademoiselle de la Valliere has need of your assistance before she can put any faith in the king's word. Tell mademoiselle what M. Fouquet has done; and you, mademoiselle, will perhaps have the kindness to listen. It will not be long."
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