A coach of mixed feelings
The Cardinal was fuming still, as the carriage rumbled on, on its journey to Paris. He kept looking at the door, as though he might jump out and grab the man who took his money, worse, held him at the point of a pistol. He was making the two men opposite him very nervous. Bassenge cracked,
“Come Eminence, the purse didn’t seem too large or too heavy.”
The Cardinal looked up and stared, but seemed to be looking through him, before finally closing his eyes, and opening them again.
“Do you gentlemen get stopped often? You seem remarkably calm, considering the ordeal you’ve been through, and what you’ve lost.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re held up a lot, that would be the, what? Second time, perhaps?”
Boehmer shrugged, and looked with some concern at the perspiring churchman.
“But he took that necklace, its value must be, at least, for me, several year’s income. I am not a poor man, but that is a lot of money, and you are, relaxed.”
Bassenge smiled to himself and nodded. Then, with a sly look at his partner, who was still looking intently at the Cardinal, he reached into his coat.
“We are calm Eminence, because we were prepared.”
From the inside pocket, he slid a tube of leather and unstopped one end. Seeming oblivious to the shock, and small squeak of his partner, he slid from the tube a leather wrap. He reached across to the Cardinal, and brushed away his hands, to lay out the wrap on the man’s knees. The Cardinal gasped, as the unravelling wrap was shown to hold the necklace. De Rohan kept his hands back from the jewellery, and simply stared as though its appearance was magic. Bassenge, was very happy at the response to his show, still not seeing the horror in Boehmer’s face. As the Cardinal turned to look at him, Boehmer wiped the expression away with a professional smile, and a wave of the hand.
“You see Eminence, the villain might have gained more by searching us, but as is usual with these people, he was in a hurry, and quite rightly too.”
“What was in the box?”
“A display item, glass, coloured and exactly set, We have to bring the real thing to show the Queen, but for others, that will do, for demonstration purposes, you understand.”
As the necklace disappeared from view, the Cardinal watched and nodded, and he smiled.
“So. It still upsets me to be threatened at gunpoint, but even that, you took in your stride.”
“Eminence, these men are professionals, not cut-throats. They take a certain pride in their work, and wish only to profit from the evening. Killing people would, especially people of your standing, would be bad for business, and a shortcut to the gallows. No, I think we were in no danger, this evening.”
Again de Rohan nodded, and then sat back.
“So we have all been a bit smarter, and our highwayman has failed to make the catch he thought he had, and he may well be snagged by our gallant Count de Rochefort, but even if not,”
He grinned, and reached in to his cloak pulling out a fat purse, much heavier than the one he’d given over to the bandit. It is now the jewellers turn to be impressed.
“This is what he might have taken. Have you eaten gentlemen? I find facing a pistol, and imagining death is imminent, gives me an appetite, join me.”
Even Boehmer now smiled, and relaxed. Bassenge laughed, and sat back, but failed to notice another venomous glance from the man beside him. Relaxed then, but not that relaxed. They all agreed, supper in Paris was exactly what was called for. Sure the Count de Rochefort would catch his prey.