"Then of what other scourge are you afraid, my dear Blacas?"
de Blacas, "if it only be to reassure a faithful servant, will your majesty send into Languedoc, Provence, and Dauphine, trusty men, who will bring you back a faithful report as to the feeling in these three provinces?"
"My dear Blacas," said the king, "you with your alarms prevent me from working."
"Sire," said Blacas, who had for a moment the hope of sacrificing Villefort to his own profit, "I am compelled to tell you that these are not mere rumors destitute of foundation which thus disquiet me; but a serious-minded man, deserving all my confidence, and charged by me to watch over the south" (the duke hesitated as he pronounced these words), "has arrived by post to tell me that a great peril threatens the king, and so I hastened to you, sire."
de Blacas pondered deeply between the confident monarch and the truthful minister.
"Well, well, Dandre," said Louis XVIII., "Blacas is not yet convinced; let us proceed, therefore, to the usurper's conversion." The minister of police bowed.
"Well, Blacas, what think you of this?" inquired the king triumphantly, and pausing for a moment from the voluminous scholiast before him.
de Blacas, I must change your armorial bearings; I will give you an eagle with outstretched wings, holding in its claws a prey which tries in vain to escape, and bearing this device -- Tenax."
"Sire, I listen," said De Blacas, biting his nails with impatience.
"No, no, Blacas; he is a man of strong and elevated understanding, ambitious, too, and, pardieu, you know his father's name!"
"Blacas, my friend, you have but limited comprehension.
de Blacas returned as speedily as he had departed, but in the ante-chamber he was forced to appeal to the king's authority.