Louise de la Valliere
The Presentation of Porthos at Court.
At seven o'clock the same evening, the king gave an audience to an ambassador
from the United Provinces, in the grand reception-room. The audience lasted a
quarter of an hour. His majesty afterwards received those who had been recently
presented, together with a few ladies, who paid their respects first. In one corner
of the salon, concealed behind a column, Porthos and D'Artagnan were
conversing together, waiting until their turn arrived.
"Have you heard the news?" inquired the musketeer of his friend.
"Well, look, then." Porthos raised himself on tiptoe, and saw M. Fouquet in full
court dress, leading Aramis towards the king.
"Aramis!" said Porthos.
"Presented to the king by M. Fouquet."
"Ah!" ejaculated Porthos.
"For having fortified Belle-Isle," continued D'Artagnan.
"You - oh, you! as I have already had the honor of telling you, are the good-
natured, kind-hearted Porthos; and so they begged you to take care of Saint-
Mande a little."
"Ah!" repeated Porthos.
"But, happily, I was there," said D'Artagnan, "and presently it will be my turn."
At this moment Fouquet addressed the king.
"Sire," he said, "I have a favor to solicit of your majesty. M. d'Herblay is not
ambitious, but he knows when he can be of service. Your majesty needs a
representative at Rome, who would be able to exercise a powerful influence
there; may I request a cardinal's hat for M. d'Herblay?" The king started. "I do not
often solicit anything of your majesty," said Fouquet.
"That is a reason, certainly," replied the king, who always expressed any
hesitation he might have in that manner, and to which remark there was nothing
to say in reply.
Fouquet and Aramis looked at each other. The king resumed: "M. d'Herblay can
serve us equally well in France; an archbishopric, for instance."
"Sire," objected Fouquet, with a grace of manner peculiarly his own, "your
majesty overwhelms M. d'Herblay; the archbishopric may, in your majesty's
extreme kindness, be conferred in addition to the hat; the one does not exclude
The king admired the readiness which he displayed, and smiled, saying:
"D'Artagnan himself could not have answered better." He had no sooner
pronounced the name than D'Artagnan appeared.
"Did your majesty call me?" he said.
Aramis and Fouquet drew back a step, as if they were about to retire.