The Grey Cloak (Chapter 6, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 6

"What are you doing here?" demanded the Chevalier roughly.

"Paul," sadly, "you are drunk."

"So I am," moodily. "How long ago since I was sober? Bah! every pore
in my body is a voice that calls loudly for wine. Drunk? My faith,
yes! You make me laugh, Victor. When was I ever sober? As a boy I
used to fall asleep in the cellars of the ch√Ęteau. But you . . . What
are you doing here in Rochelle?"

"I am here to command your immediate return to Paris."

"Paris? Body of Bacchus! but it is fine gratitude on your part to
accept this mission. So his Eminence thinks that I shall be safer in
the Bastille? What a compliment!"

"No, Paul. He wishes simply to exonerate you and return to you your
privileges. Ah! how could you do it?"

"Do what?" sinking upon one of the benches and striving to put together
his wine-befuddled thoughts.

"Take the brunt of a crime you supposed I had done?"

"Supposed? Come, now; you are laughing!"

"Word of honor: supposed I had done. It was not till a week ago that I
learned what you had done. How I galloped back to Paris! It was
magnificent of you; it was fine."

"But you? And that cloak which I lent to you?"

"Well, I was as little concerned as you, which I proved to Mazarin. I
was at my sister's wedding at Blois. Your grey cloak was stolen from
my room the day before De Brissac met his violent end. My lad, Hector,
found the cloak in a tavern. How, he would not say. He dared not keep
it, so sent it to the Candlestick in care of another lad. He
understood that its disappearance might bring harm to you. I trounced
him well for his carelessness in permitting the cloak to be stolen."

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