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Chapter 23: The King's Gratitude. (continued)
"Free?" repeated the king. "Oh! you set me at liberty, then, after having dared to lift up your hand against me."
"You do not believe that!" exclaimed Fouquet, indignantly; "you cannot believe me to be guilty of such an act."
And rapidly, warmly even, he related the whole particulars of the intrigue, the details of which are already known to the reader. While the recital continued, Louis suffered the most horrible anguish of mind; and when it was finished, the magnitude of the danger he had run struck him far more than the importance of the secret relative to his twin brother.
"Monsieur," he said, suddenly to Fouquet, "this double birth is a falsehood; it is impossible - you cannot have been the dupe of it."
"It is impossible, I tell you, that the honor, the virtue of my mother can be suspected, and my first minister has not yet done justice on the criminals!"
"Reflect, sire, before you are hurried away by anger," replied Fouquet. "The birth of your brother - "
"I have only one brother - and that is Monsieur. You know it as well as myself. There is a plot, I tell you, beginning with the governor of the Bastile."
"Be careful, sire, for this man has been deceived as every one else has by the prince's likeness to yourself."
"This Marchiali must be singularly like your majesty, to be able to deceive every one's eye," Fouquet persisted.
"Do not say so, sire; those who had prepared everything in order to face and deceive your ministers, your mother, your officers of state, the members of your family, must be quite confident of the resemblance between you."
"But where are these persons, then?" murmured the king.
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