The chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte, situated about a league from Melun, had been built by Fouquet in 1655, at a time when there was a scarcity of money in France; Mazarin had taken all that there was, and Fouquet expended the remainder.
Fouquet's friends had transported thither, some their actors and their dresses, others their troops of sculptors and artists; not forgetting others with their ready- mended pens, - floods of impromptus were contemplated.
That very man whose judgment was so sound and accurate where merit was concerned - he who had swept into his coffers the inheritance of Nicholas Fouquet, who had robbed him of Lenotre and Lebrun, and had sent him to rot for the remainder of his life in one of the state prisons - merely remembered the peaches of that vanquished, crushed, forgotten enemy!
With a perfect reliance that Aramis had made arrangements fairly to distribute the vast number of guests throughout the palace, and that he had not omitted to attend to any of the internal regulations for their comfort, Fouquet devoted his entire attention to the ensemble alone.
"Where are you going?" returned Fouquet, with a gloomy look.
And Fouquet, bowing, with a smile, passed on like a commander-in-chief who pays the different outposts a visit after the enemy has been signaled in sight.
As he spoke or thought thus, the door opened, and the superintendent of the finances, Fouquet, appeared before his nominal master.
He nodded, therefore, familiarly to Fouquet, whilst he continued to unfold the paper given to him by the usher.
"You know, Monsieur Fouquet," said Louis, "how ill M.
"Yes, sire, I know that," said Fouquet; "in fact, he is very ill.
"An hour and a half ago, yes, your majesty," said Fouquet, consulting a watch, richly ornamented with diamonds.
"You know, Monsieur Fouquet," said the queen, "that at the court of France it is not the custom for a subject to offer anything to his king."