Prayers, promises, entreaties were alike uselessly employed to change the resolution of Sulton; the fact was evidently this, he knew himself to be a mere pretender to his art, for had he been certain of what he advanced, had he even conceived the most slender hopes of saving the life of the king, he would not have hesitated for a single instant to have done all that was asked.
This chance of safety was, therefore, at an end, and spite of the opinion I entertained of Sulton, I could not but feel sorry Bordeu had not given him a better reception when he first made known his professed ability to surmount this fatal disorder. However, I was careful not to express my dissatisfaction, for it was but too important for me to avoid any dispute at a time when the support of my friends had become so essentially necessary to me.
In proportion as the king became worse, my credit also declined. Two orders, addressed to the comptroller-general and M. de la Borde, for money, met with no attention. The latter replied, with extreme politeness, that the 100,000 francs received by comte Jean a few days before the king was taken ill, and the 50,000 paid to madame de Mirepoix recently, must be a convincing proof, in my eyes, of his friendly intentions towards me, but that he had no money at present in his possession, the first he received should be at my disposal.
The abbe Terray acted with less ceremony, for he came himself to say, that, so long as the king remained ill, he would pay no money without his majesty's signature, for which my brother-in-law might either ask or wait till there no longer existed any occasion for such a precaution; and that, for his own part, he could not conceive how he could have consumed the enormous sums he had already drawn from the treasury.
This manner of speaking stung me to the quick.
"I find you," said I to him, "precisely the mean, contemptible wretch you were described to me; but you are premature. I am not yet an exile from court, and yet you seem already to have forgotten all you owe to me."
"I have a very good memory, madam," replied he, "and if you wish it, I can count upon my fingers the money you and your family have received of me. You will see--"
"What shall I see?" interrupted I, "unless, indeed, it be an amount of your regrets that such a sum was not left in your hands to be pillaged by your mistresses and their spurious offspring. Really, to hear you talk, any one would suppose you a Sully for integrity, and a Colbert in financial talent."
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