While the body of the noblesse formed the high court, the court of the burgesses was composed of twelve legists (probably named by the king) under the presidency of the vicomte - a knight also named by the king, who was a great financial as well as a judicial officer.
It was evident that he did not like the vicomte and was aiming his remarks at him, though without looking at him.
Monsieur le Vicomte quite rightly supposes that matters have already gone too far.
It is true that the king had a revenue, collected by the vicomte and paid into the secretum or treasury - a revenue composed of tolls on the caravans and customs from the ports, of the profits of monopolies and the proceeds of justice, of poll-taxes on Jews and Mahommedans, and of the tributes paid by Mahommedan powers.
The vicomte was a nice-looking young man with soft features and polished manners, who evidently considered himself a celebrity but out of politeness modestly placed himself at the disposal of the circle in which he found himself.
In the absence of Decazes a new favourite was found to amuse the king's old age, Madame du Cayla (Zoe Talon, comtesse du Cayla), a protegee of the vicomte Sosthene de la Rochefoucauld and consequently a creature of the Ultras.
The vicomte who was meeting him for the first time saw clearly that this young Jacobin was not so terrible as his words suggested.
But when she saw that Pierre's sacrilegious words had not exasperated the vicomte, and had convinced herself that it was impossible to stop him, she rallied her forces and joined the vicomte in a vigorous attack on the orator.
LOUIS MARIE DE LA HAYE CORMENIN, VICOMTE DE (1788-1868), French jurist and political pamphleteer, was born at Paris on the 6th of January 1788.
Prince Andrew kept looking with an amused smile from Pierre to the vicomte and from the vicomte to their hostess.