creator would be hailed as one of the greatest benefactors

Published on 2023-12-02 23:18:47 source:Spring Breeze and Summer Rain

"It was not his voice," Henry said, positively.

creator would be hailed as one of the greatest benefactors

"Then there is something here," I answered, "still unexplained. Consider the oddity of the conception, sire, the secrecy of the performance, the hour, the mode, all the surrounding circumstances! I can imagine a man currying favour with the basest and most dangerous class by such means. I can imagine a conspiracy recruited by such means. I can imagine this shibboleth of the shutter grown to a watchword as deadly as the 'TUEZ!' of '72. I can imagine all that, but I cannot imagine a man acting thus out of pure benevolence."

creator would be hailed as one of the greatest benefactors

"No?" Henry said, thoughtfully. "Well, I think that I agree with you." and far from being displeased with my warmth (as is the manner of some sovereigns when their best friends differ from them), he came over to my opinion so completely as to halt and express his intention of returning and probing the matter to the bottom. Midnight had gone, however; it would take some little time to retrace our steps; and with some difficulty I succeeded in dissuading him, promising instead to make inquiries on the morrow, and having learned who lived in the house, to turn the whole affair into a report, which should be submitted to him.

creator would be hailed as one of the greatest benefactors

This amused and satisfied him, and, expressing himself well content with the evening's diversion--though we had done nothing unworthy either of a King or a Minister--he parted from me at the Arsenal, and went home with his suite.

It did not occur to me at the time that I had promised to do anything difficult; but the news which my agents brought me next day--that the uppermost floor of the house in the Rue Pourpointerie was empty--put another face upon the matter. The landlord declared that he knew nothing of the tenant, who had rented the rooms, ready furnished, by the week; and as I had not seen the man's face, there remained only two sources whence I could get the information I needed--the child, and the cure of St. Marceau.

I did not know where to look for the former, however; and I had to depend on the cure. But here I carne to an obstacle I might easily have foreseen. I found him, though an honest man, obdurate in upholding his priest's privileges; to all my inquiries he replied that the matter touched the confessional, and was within his vows; and that he neither could, nor dared--to please anyone, or for any cause, however plausible--divulge the slightest detail of the affair. I had him summoned to the arsenal, and questioned him myself, and closely; but of all armour that of the Roman priesthood is the most difficult to penetrate, and I quickly gave up the attempt.

Baffled in the only direction in which I could hope for success, I had to confess my defeat to the King, whose curiosity was only piqued the more by the rebuff. He adjured me not to let the matter drop, and, suggesting a number of persons among whom I might possibly find the unknown, proposed also some theories. Of these, one that the benevolent was a disguised lady, who contrived in this way to give the rein at once to gallantry and charity, pleased him most; while I favoured that which had first occurred to me on the night of our sally, and held the unknown to be a clever rascal, who, to serve his ends, political or criminal, was corrupting the commonalty, and drawing people into his power.

Things remained in this state some weeks, and, growing no wiser, I was beginning to think less of the affair--which, of itself, and apart from a whimsical interest which the King took in it, was unimportant--when one day, stopping in the Quartier du Marais to view the works at the new Place Royale, I saw the boy. He was in charge of a decent-looking servant, whose hand he was holding, and the two were gazing at a horse that, alarmed by the heaps of stone and mortar, was rearing and trying to unseat its rider. The child did not see me, and I bade Maignan follow him home, and learn where he lived and who he was.

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