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"Memoirs of Aramis, Book 6"

Автор: Вадим Жмудь
Chapter 215

Chapter 215

After the death of Mazarin, on March 9, Louis seemed to be replaced. On the morning of March 10, Louis summoned his key advisers and secretaries of state.

“Gentlemen, from now on I will rule my kingdom myself,” he announced. “Therefore, my ministers and secretaries should seek instructions directly from me.” No more orders will be signed and no funds will be allocated without my personal sanction. You have questions?

— Your Majesty, when can we hope to know your will regarding the person who will be appointed First Minister? — Chancellor Seguier inquired delicately.

— Were you not listening to me carefully? — asked Louis. — I said that I would decide everything myself. This means that I will not have a First Minister, or, if you prefer, I will be my own First Minister.

Segye bowed respectfully, and everyone else tried to quietly move away from him, noticing notes of dissatisfaction in the King’s answer.

— The high council will include War Minister Letelier, Foreign Minister Lyonne and Finance Minister Fouquet, - Louis said.

Everyone present moved another half step away from Segye, since his name, contrary to tradition, was not mentioned.

— Mr. Seguier, your duties will henceforth be limited to the field of justice and administrative affairs, - continued the King. — You will certify my decrees and put seals on them.

Those present smiled friendly at Segya and quietly tried to return to their previous places, coming a little closer to him.

— By the way, I instruct you, Monsieur Seguier, to inform Her Majesty and Monsieur, as well as Conde, that from now on their presence at the meeting of the royal council is not required, - Louis added.

Segye's stakes have increased again, since not every courtier is entrusted by the King to convey his orders to the Queen Mother, the King's brother and the prince of the blood!

— It's all for today, - Louis finished. — I won't keep you any longer, gentlemen.

The ministers took their leave and left the King's reception hall.

— What will it be? — asked the discouraged Segye.

— What actually worries you? — asked Fouquet with a pleased look. — Let's let His Majesty feel like the master of the state and enjoy absolute power. Sooner or later he will understand that it is not the King’s business to calculate finances, solve economic problems, or plan civil and military expenses. Not a single general ever deals with economic affairs; he has a quartermaster for that. So why should the King do this? Is there really not enough smart business people in his kingdom who are ready to do complex and routine work for him? You will see, Mr. Segier, in two weeks, or, at most, in a month, the King will call you and entrust you with all the work that you previously did, and even more. Who will be able to do all the gigantic work of governing the state that Mazarin did all this time? The king announced that he would do it himself. Wonderful! We shouldn't argue with this! But we must be prepared for the fact that very soon he will ask us who we could nominate from our ranks to do this work. This is what we should think about, gentlemen! If our decision is well-founded, thoughtful and agreed upon, if we all propose the same person, the King will accept this candidacy without doubt.

"He means himself," thought Letellier. — Cleverly wrapped up the case!

— What do you want me to do? — Segier asked. — Endorsement of papers and stamps on them? Or go and declare the royal will to the Queen Mother, Philippe d'Orléans and the great Condé?

— As for the second question, I believe there should be no doubt, because you cannot disobey the order of the King, - Lyonne said. — And regarding the first question, you have absolutely nothing to be offended by. After all, if you endorse the King’s orders, then without your visas these documents will be invalid! You will remain the chancellor as you were! Mr. Fouquet is right: we must allow His Majesty to play a little at absolutism, to enjoy the feeling of complete power. It's okay, it passes. Remember how Louis XIII was burdened by the need to make decisions on his own! How he left all decisions to Richelieu! Remember also how he rejoiced at the death of the cardinal, deciding that, finally, he had become completely free in all his actions! Three days later, he grabbed his head in horror from the abundance of papers that he needed to sort through, and on which he would now have to make decisions himself. And the glorious King Henry IV? Wasn't he the same? He entrusted the management of finances, and then the entire state, to Sully. All monarchs need first ministers, and ours will be no exception!

— Well, gentlemen, we have time to think about the candidacy and not make rash decisions in a hurry,” Fouquet summed up. — I don't see any significant changes in my duties except that we will meet a little less often with the Queen Mother, with Monsieur and with Condé. This doesn't upset me at all.

— Monsieur will be furious - Lyonne said. — God forbid, he will start plotting like his uncle Gaston.

— Philip is not like that at all, - objected Fouquet. — Besides, it seems that the Duchess de Chevreuse is not one of his friends?

— Hope so! — exclaimed Seguier. — Thank God, this lady has somewhat moderated her ardor and stopped interfering in all the affairs of the kingdom!

— Yeah! — Fouquet agreed. — It was not for nothing that Richelieu said that the main problem of France is the Duchess de Chevreuse, and if there were no duchess, then France would not have any problems!

— I believe that in the year when God gave the state King Louis XIII, as well as the future Queen Anne, the devil gave birth to Duchess Marie de Rohan, the future Chevreuse! — Letellier said.

— That's how it was! — Fouquet picked up. — I would give a million livres for this intriguer to get away somewhere far away from Europe, for example, to Africa or India, or, better yet, to snowy Russia!

Fouquet underestimated the duchess. We all underestimated her back then. If you could remove it for double or even triple the price, it would still be a great deal! But what can you do! At that time, I also underestimated Maria’s energy, this destructive power of her persistence, combined with amazing awareness and far from feminine cunning.

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Memoirs of Aramis, Book 6

Вадим Жмудь
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