At these words he made a sign for Lemonnier to advance, and after having explained to him the subject of conversation, begged of him to speak his opinion openly and candidly. Lemonnier was somewhat of a courtier, and one glance at the two noblemen before whom he stood, was sufficient to apprize him what opinion was expected from him. He, therefore, fully and unhesitatingly confirmed all that Bordeu had previously advanced.
Strong in these decisions, the duc de Duras expressed his regret to the confessor at being unable to accord his request. "But," added he, "You perceive the thing is impossible, unless to him who would become a regicide."
This terrible expression renewed the former terror of the abbe, who, satisfied with having shown his zeal, was, perhaps, not very sorry for having met with such insurmountable obstacles. He immediately returned to the apartment of madame Sophie, where the council was still assembled, and related the particulars of his visit; whilst the poor archbishop of Paris, thus foiled in every attempt, was compelled to leave Versailles wholly unsuccessful.
I heard all these things from the duc de Richelieu; he told me that nothing could have been more gratifying than the conduct of Bordeu and Lemonnier, and that I had every reason for feeling satisfied with the conduct of all around me. "It is in the moment of peril," said he, "that we are best able to know our true friends."
"I see it," replied I; "and since our danger is a mutual one ought we not to forget our old subjects of dispute?"
"For my own part, madam," returned he, "I do not remember that any ever existed; besides, is not my cause yours likewise? A new reign will place me completely in the background. The present king looks upon me as almost youthful; while, on the contrary, his grandson will consider me as a specimen of the days of Methuselah. The change of masters can be but to my disadvantage; let us, therefore, stand firmly together, that we may be the better enabled to resist the attacks of our enemies."
"Do you consider," inquired I, "that we may rely upon the firmness of the duc de Duras?"
"As safely as you may on mine," answered he, "so long as he is not attacked face to face; but if they once assail him with the arms of etiquette, he is a lost man, he will capitulate. It is unfortunate for him that I am not likely to be near him upon such an occasion."
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