house and street illumination were of two generic kinds—grease

Published on 2023-12-02 22:57:36 source:Spring Breeze and Summer Rain

"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.

house and street illumination were of two generic kinds—grease

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.

house and street illumination were of two generic kinds—grease

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.

house and street illumination were of two generic kinds—grease

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.

In an hour my equerry returned with the information I desired. The child was the only son of Fauchet, one of the Receivers- General of the Revenue; a man who kept great state in the largest of the old-fashioned houses in the Rue de Bethisy, where he, had lately entertained the King. I could not imagine anyone less likely to be concerned in treasonable practices; and, certain that I had made no mistake in the boy, I was driven for a while to believe that some servant had, perverted the child to this use. Presently, however, second thoughts, and the position of the father, taken, perhaps, with suspicions that I had for a long time entertained of Fauchet--in common with most of his kind-- suggested an explanation, hitherto unconsidered. It was not an explanation very probable at first sight, nor one that would have commended itself to those who divide all men by hard and fast rules and assort them like sheep. But I had seen too much of the world to fall into this mistake, and it satisfied me. I began by weighing it carefully; I procured evidence, I had Fauchet watched; and, at length, one evening in August, I went to the Louvre.

The King was dicing with Fernandez, the Portuguese banker; but I ventured to interrupt the game and draw him aside. He might not have taken this well, but that my first word caught his attention.

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