Palais de Faux
(Chateau D'If part 2)
The palace of Faux, creation of Fouquet, young King Louis' Minister of Finance
Fouquet welcomes his royal master
Fouquet it was who discovered the secret of the King's twin, Fouquet also who located the innocent youth in provincial obscurity and threw him into Chateau D'If.
Fouquet too who has been leading a manhunt across France for the past six months since the youth's mysterious escape from that impregnable rock
Amongst the watching courtiers stand the four musketeers, newly returned from the English island of Sark, safely beyond Fouquet's reach. They are accompanied by Auguste, Bathos' 'nephew', and by Louise La Valliere, Pathos' beautiful niece.
As the royal party reaches the central courtyard the musketeers' plan is kick-started, by a bucket boot to the rear of Louise's lap-dog, Wuffles, catapulting the adorable little mutt into the path of the approaching King
Naturally Louise rushes to the pooch's rescue and comes face to face with Louis - and the rest is history. Louis is instantly smitten, with more smite than anyone has ever been smited before.
n.b. Louise La Valliere had the kind of junoesque beauty that left Rubens chewing his brushes and Canova hitting his thumb - she had, in short, the message for the troops!!
Mesmerised, the young king leads La Valliere down the grand staircase towards the gardens - while 'Bertrand and his Baroque Beat Boys' knock out a bit of mood music to give him a helping hand
Perversely, in a house with over a hundred rooms it is only in the gardens that any privacy can be found. In the style of the times Fouquet has created a sylvan 'paradise' dotted with secluded arbors where a lady may read her latest billet doux, a gentleman compose his latest sonnet, or a pair of lovers get on with some serious hand-holding undisturbed.
Wuffles leads the way towards the secluded bower, where Bathos, Chanel and 'Auguste' lie hidden
When the pair emerge a little later looking slightly dishevelled no one is surprised, Queen Anne moves in to show her approval of the liaison. Only Fouquet senses something wrong, a change in the King's manner - though that might just be his preoccupation with La Valliere?
The King takes his leave, inviting Louise to join him. He will go on to fulfil the wildest hopes of Richelieu and Mazarin, becoming Le Soliel Roi, the wonder of his age - with La Valliere at his side as maitresse en titre to support him. Wuffles and Dribble the Doberman present their own honour guard.
Fouquet meanwhile is taken under arrest by Captain D'Artagnan, while Queen Anne looks on in triumph. The financier will be imprisoned in the distant fortress of Pinerola, never to see the light of day again. Some believe it was royal envy of Faux, others that seeing the palace merely opened the royal eyes to how much the man was embezzling. A shrewd few, noting the severity of the punishment, suspect he simply knew, or guessed, too much.
Some time later the prisoner of Chateau D'If is returned to the care of his jailers, though this time under constant supervision and encased in an iron mask that prevents all communication.
A decorative moat - the problem is stopping the water running out the screw holes
The gardens are a sylvan folly, offering leafy bowers where a lady may read her latest billet doux or a gentleman compose a sonnet - or lovers indulge in some serious hand holding
Over 100 hundred rooms and only one water closet between several hundred courtiers and several thousand servants