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Ten Years Later

Chapter 18
King Louis XIV. does not think Mademoiselle de la Valliere either rich enough or pretty
enough for a Gentleman of the Rank of the Vicomte de Bragelonne.
Raoul and the Comte de la Fere reached Paris the evening of the same day on which
Buckingham had held the conversation with the queen-mother. The count had scarcely
arrived, when, through Raoul, he solicited an audience of the king. His majesty had
passed a portion of the morning in looking over, with madame and the ladies of the
court, various goods of Lyons manufacture, of which he had made his sister-in-law a
present. A court dinner had succeeded, then cards, and afterwards, according to his
usual custom, the king, leaving the card-tables at eight o'clock, passed into his cabinet
in order to work with M. Colbert and M. Fouquet. Raoul entered the ante-chamber at the
very moment the two ministers quitted it, and the king, perceiving him through the half-
closed door, said, "What do you want, M. de Bragelonne?"
The young man approached: "An audience, sire," he replied, "for the Comte de la Fere,
who has just arrived from Blois, and is most anxious to have an interview with your
"I have an hour to spare between cards and supper," said the king. "Is the Comte de la
Fere at hand?"
"He is below, and awaits your majesty's permission."
"Let him come up at once," said the king, and five minutes afterwards Athos entered the
presence of Louis XIV. He was received by the king with that gracious kindness of
manner which Louis, with a tact beyond his years, reserved for the purpose of gaining
those who were not to be conquered by ordinary favors. "Let me hope, comte," said the
king, "that you have come to ask me for something."
"I will not conceal from your majesty," replied the comte, "that I am indeed come for that
"That is well," said the king, joyously.
"It is not for myself, sire."
"So much the worse; but, at least, I will do for your protege what you refuse to permit
me to do for you."
"Your majesty encourages me. I have come to speak on behalf of the Vicomte de