"What shall I see?" interrupted I, "unless, indeed, it be an amount of your regrets that such a sum was not left in your hands to be pillaged by your mistresses and their spurious offspring. Really, to hear you talk, any one would suppose you a Sully for integrity, and a Colbert in financial talent."
This vigorous reply staggered the selfish and coarse-minded abbe, who easily perceived that he had carried matters too far, and had reckoned erroneously upon the feebleness and timidity of my natural disposition; he attempted to pacify me, but his cowardly insolence had exasperated me too highly to admit of any apology or peace-making.
"Have a care what you do," said I, "or rather employ yourself in packing up whatever may belong to you, for you shall quit your post whatever may befall. In the event of the king's death you will certainly be turned out by his successor, and if he regain his health, he must then choose between you and me, there can be no medium. Henceforward, you may consider me only in the light of your mortal enemy."
He wished to insist upon my hearing him, but I exclaimed, "Quit the room, I wish neither to see nor hear more of you."
The abbe saw that it was necessary to obey, he therefore bowed and retired. Two hours afterwards he sent me the sum which I had asked of him for my brother-in-law, accompanied by a most humble and contrite letter. Certainly, had I only listened to the inspiration of my heart, I should have sent back the money without touching it, and the epistle without reading it; but my heroism did not suit comte Jean, who chanced to be present. 'Take it, take it," cried he; "the only way of punishing such a miscreant, is to break his purse-strings. He would, indeed, have the laugh on his side were your fit of anger to change into a fit of generosity; besides, this may be the last we shall ever see."
My brother-in-law and the comptroller-general were an excellent pair. I treated the latter with silent contempt, not even replying to his letter; this was, however, my first and only stroke of vengeance, the disastrous events which followed did not permit me to pursue my plans for revenging this treacherous and contemptible conduct.
This quarrel, and the defection of the
"You are severe, madam," replied he, "yet I can solemnly affirm that circumstances, and not inclination, have kept me from your presence until now."