"Nothing! very admirable, indeed; but, my good soul, these fine sentiments sometimes leave people to eat the bread of charity. So, then, you have not followed my advice. Once more, I repeat, lose not the present opportunity, and, in your place, I would set about securing my own interest without one instant's delay."
"That I could not do, madam," said I; "it is wholly foreign to my nature to take advantage of the weakness of a dying man."
"Dying man!" repeated the marechale incredulously, "come, come,
he is not dead yet; and whilst there is life there is hope; and I suppose you have carried your ideas of disinterestedness so far as to omit mentioning your friends, likewise. You will never have any worldly sense, I believe. My dear soul," said she, stooping down and whispering in my ear, "you are surrounded by a set of selfish wretches, who care nothing for you unless you can f forward their interests."
"I see it, I know it," exclaimed I impatiently; "but though I beg my bread, I will not importune the king."
"As you please," cried madame de Mirepoix, "pray do not let me disturb your intentions. Silly woman that you are, leave others to act the sublime and grand, your part should be that of a reasonable creature. Look at myself, suppose I had not seized the ball at the bound."
"You were born at Versailles," answered I, smiling in spite of myself.
"True, and I confess that with me the greatest of all sense is common sense, which produces that instinctive feeling of self-preservation implanted even in animals. But is the king indeed so very ill?"
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