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The Man in the Iron Mask - The Original Classic Edition

The Man in the Iron Mask - The Original Classic Edition

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Published by Emereo Publishing
The Man in the Iron Mask tells a story based on historic facts. In 1661, King Louis XIV of France had his minister of finances - Nicolas Fouquet - arrested for embezzlement. Also in that year, Louis successfully wooed a young handmaiden named Louise, which caused some stir. In this novel, Dumas gives us the secret history behind these facts, and it is no surprise that the story involves his famous Four Musketeers.More specifically, Aramis becomes privy to the fact that Louis has a twin brother languishing in the Bastille, and he attempts to switch the two. The novel details his fascinating and rather intricate plot to pull this off, as well as how the other Musketeers fit into the plan.The first couple of pages concern mainly the aforementioned historic events, and its a bit of reading before you get to the meat of the action.This book is highly recommended - it will become part of your life, the way some good books can.If you love literature, if you love stories of complex intrigue, and especially if you love the Four Musketeers, you HAVE to read this book at least once in your life!
The Man in the Iron Mask tells a story based on historic facts. In 1661, King Louis XIV of France had his minister of finances - Nicolas Fouquet - arrested for embezzlement. Also in that year, Louis successfully wooed a young handmaiden named Louise, which caused some stir. In this novel, Dumas gives us the secret history behind these facts, and it is no surprise that the story involves his famous Four Musketeers.More specifically, Aramis becomes privy to the fact that Louis has a twin brother languishing in the Bastille, and he attempts to switch the two. The novel details his fascinating and rather intricate plot to pull this off, as well as how the other Musketeers fit into the plan.The first couple of pages concern mainly the aforementioned historic events, and its a bit of reading before you get to the meat of the action.This book is highly recommended - it will become part of your life, the way some good books can.If you love literature, if you love stories of complex intrigue, and especially if you love the Four Musketeers, you HAVE to read this book at least once in your life!

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Published by: Emereo Publishing on Nov 05, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781486411702
List Price: $7.95


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1 The Three Musketeers 2 Twenty Years After


1648-1649 1660

3 The Vicomte de Bragelonne 2609 4 Ten Years Later 2681

1660-1661 1661

3 76-140 3 141-208

5 Louise de la Valliere 2710

6 The Man in the Iron Mask 2759 1661-1673 3 209-269 [Project Etext 1258 listed below, is of the same title as etext 2681 and its contents overlap those of two other volumes: it includes all the chapters of etext 2609 and the first 28 chapters of 2681] Ten Years Later 1258 1660-1661 3 1-104

Contents Introduction: Chapter I. The Prisoner. Chapter II. How Mouston Had Become Fatter without Giving Porthos Notice Thereof Chapter III. Who Messire Jean Percerin Was. Chapter IV. The Patterns. Chapter V. Where, Probably, Moliere Obtained His First Idea of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme. Chapter VI. The Bee-Hive, the Bees, and the Honey. Chapter VII. Another Supper at the Bastile. Chapter VIII. The General of the Order. Chapter IX. The Tempter. 1

Chapter X. Crown and Tiara. Chapter XI. The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Chapter XII. The Wine of Melun. Chapter XIII. Nectar and Ambrosia. Chapter XIV. A Gascon, and a Gascon and a Half. Chapter XV. Colbert. Chapter XVI. Jealousy. Chapter XVII. High Treason. Chapter XVIII. A Night at the Bastile. Chapter XIX. The Shadow of M. Fouquet. Chapter XX. The Morning. Chapter XXI. The King’s Friend. Chapter XXII. Showing How the Countersign Was Respected at the Bastile. Chapter XXIII. The King’s Gratitude. Chapter XXIV. The False King. Chapter XXV. In Which Porthos Thinks He Is Pursuing a Duchy. Chapter XXVI. The Last Adieux. Chapter XXVII. Monsieur de Beaufort. Chapter XXVIII. Preparations for Departure. Chapter XXIX. Planchet’s Inventory. Chapter XXX. The Inventory of M. de Beaufort. Chapter XXXI. The Silver Dish. Chapter XXXII. Captive and Jailers. Chapter XXXIII. Promises. Chapter XXXIV. Among Women. Chapter XXXV. The Last Supper. Chapter XXXVI. In M. Colbert’s Carriage. Chapter XXXVII. The Two Lighters. Chapter XXXVIII. Friendly Advice. 2

Chapter XXXIX. How the King, Louis XIV., Played His Little Part. Chapter XL: The White Horse and the Black. Chapter XLI. In Which the Squirrel Falls,—the Adder Flies. Chapter XLII. Belle-Ile-en-Mer. Chapter XLIII. Explanations by Aramis. Chapter XLIV. Result of the Ideas of the King, and the Ideas of D’Artagnan. Chapter XLV. The Ancestors of Porthos. Chapter XLVI. The Son of Biscarrat. Chapter XLVII. The Grotto of Locmaria. Chapter XLVIII. The Grotto. Chapter XLIX. An Homeric Song. Chapter L: The Death of a Titan. Chapter LI. Porthos’s Epitaph. Chapter LII. M. de Gesvres’s Round. Chapter LIII. King Louis XIV. Chapter LIV. M. Fouquet’s Friends. Chapter LV. Porthos’s Will. Chapter LVI. The Old Age of Athos. Chapter LVII. Athos’s Vision. Chapter LVIII. The Angel of Death. Chapter LIX. The Bulletin. Chapter LX. The Last Canto of the Poem. Epilogue. Footnotes

Introduction: 3

on some manuscripts he had found a year earlier in the Bibliotheque Nationale while researching a history he planned to write on Louis XIV. and sends Porthos on an heroic ride back to Paris to warn Fouquet of the danger. and has resolved to use any means necessary to bring about his fall. Colbert. and take her revenge upon the four friends. Fouquet rushes to the king. quiet the Fronde. he claimed. D’Artagnan is now a lieutenant of musketeers. our heroes return to France just in time to help save the young Louis XIV. Eventually these serialized adventures were published in novel form. It was based. Meanwhile. In the first three etexts: The Vicomte de Bragelonne (Etext 2609): It is the year 1660. La Fere. Athos turned out to be a nobleman. Ten Years Later. and has tendered his resignation. and Aramis. named simply Milady. and could possibly be planning to use it as a base for some military operation against the king. her secret husband. and ill-fated affairs between royal lovers. the son of Milady. and Porthos has married a wealthy woman. and Athos. The young D’Artagnan arrives in Paris at the tender age of 18. the king’s superintendent of finances. Ten Years Later (Etext 2681): As 1661 approaches. after negotiating the marriage of Philip. formerly Mazarin’s trusted clerk. the four are attacked by five of the Cardinal’s guards. With the new rank of intendant bestowed on him by Louis. whose real name is D’Herblay. earning himself quite a fortune in the process. and. Fouquet. the Comte de la Fere. readers would enjoy the adventures of this youth and his three famous friends. Over the next six years. or five volumes at various points in its history. Undaunted. and left Louis to assume the reigns of power. became almost immediately embroiled in court intrigues. D’Artagnan brings his friends out of retirement to save the threatened English monarch. and almost immediately offends three musketeers. Twenty Years After (serialized January—August. a parish belonging to M. the first portion of a story appeared. Cromwell menaces the institution of royalty itself while marching against Charles I. and became the three D’Artagnan Romances known today. Here is a brief summary of the first two novels: The Three Musketeers (serialized March—July. 1845): The year is now 1648. which is. with the assistance of M. in fact. international politics. the king’s brother. and D’Artagnan. who will stop at nothing to disgrace Queen Anne of Austria before her husband. He embarks on his own project. Suspecting that D’Artagnan has arrived on the king’s behalf to investigate. The Vicomte de Bragelonne (serialized October. they encounter a beautiful young spy. Porthos. and Athos. Instead of dueling. Louis XIII. Colbert has an intense hatred for M. thwarts their valiant efforts. But trouble is stirring in both France and England. and his three friends have retired to private life. Louis calls D’Artagnan out of retirement and sends him to investigate the island. Fouquet. It has been split into three. with the help of Athos. with these titles: The Vicomte de Bragelonne. as has Cardinal Richelieu. and gives him Belle-Isle as a present. At Belle-Isle. Princess Henrietta of England arrives for her marriage. and The Man in the Iron Mask. Porthos. likewise retires to his own estate. and has retired to his home with his son. He then brings to the king’s attention that Fouquet is fortifying the island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer. I have chosen to split the novel as the four-volume edition does. and. In the three-volume edition. that of restoring Charles II to the throne of England. when asked by D’Artagnan’s landlord to find his missing wife. and at home the Fronde is threatening to tear France apart. now the Baron du Vallon. and while the crown of France may sit upon the head of Anne of Austria as Regent for the young Louis XIV. Aramis. embark upon an adventure that takes them across both France and England in order to thwart the plans of the Cardinal Richelieu. four. that of Aramis. and The Man in the Iron Mask. as their exploits unraveled behind the scenes of some of the most momentous events in French and even English history. and the courage of the youth is made apparent during the battle. Mazarin has finally died. although in Porthos’s handwriting. after thirty-five years of loyal service. has enjoyed a strange history in its English translation. Raoul de Bragelonne. 1850). D’Artagnan returns to Paris to live the life of a rich citizen. For the purposes of this etext. and at the same time humiliating Colbert. in the magazine Le Siecle. The third novel. who seeks to avenge his mother’s death at the musketeers’ hands. and tweak the nose of Cardinal Mazarin. has become disgusted with serving King Louis XIV while the real power resides with the Cardinal Mazarin. who left him her fortune upon her death. thus allaying any suspicion. the novels are entitled The Vicomte de Bragelonne. coincidentally. upon entering Paris. show evidence of another script that has been erased. Colbert succeeds in having two of Fouquet’s loyal friends tried and executed. has followed his intention of shedding the musketeer’s cassock for the priest’s robes. Louise de la Valliere. D’Artagnan discovers that the engineer of the fortifications is. to Princess Henrietta of England. Louis XIII has died. but the others do. but Mordaunt. and that’s not all. twenty years since the close of the last story. penned by the celebrated playwright Alexandre Dumas. The blueprints for the island. They chronicled the adventures of a young man named D’Artagnan who. succeeds. The four become fast friends. Aramis. just minutes before the usher announces someone else seeking an audience with the king. Porthos. The five-volume edition generally does not give titles to the smaller portions. the real power resides with the Cardinal Mazarin. 1844): The year is 1625. promising him a tremendous salary and his long-promised promotion to captain of the musketeers upon his return. D’Artagnan later discovers that Aramis has become the bishop of Vannes. Athos.In the months of March-July in 1844. Aramis tricks D’Artagnan into wandering around Vannes in search of Porthos. Louise de la Valliere. and throws the court 4 . 1847—January. Along the way.

5 . He uses the existence of this secret to persuade a dying Franciscan monk. The king has D’Artagnan arrest Athos. Fouquet’s magnificent mansion. however. Louis manages to secure Louise’s return to court—but Madame still places every obstacle possible before the lovers. Both men are seriously wounded. nearly occasions a war on the streets of Le Havre. the general of the society of the Jesuits. challenges Saint-Aignan to a duel. and the whole court begins to talk of the scandal while their love affair blossoms. The king has been more than obvious about his affections for Louise. though De Guiche soon effects a reconciliation. to be dead. Meanwhile. Fouquet is sorely pressed. who is paying Baisemeaux another visit. After the marriage. though. crushed. long believed. and Athos. On Aramis’s advice. Monsieur Philip becomes horribly jealous of Buckingham. De Wardes is a malicious and spiteful man. she flees to the convent at Chaillot. Meanwhile. to name him. desperate for money. who manages to get word back to the king of what has taken place. Fouquet. is the next to succumb to Henrietta’s charms. Porthos is invited to dine with the king as a result of his presentation. The duel leaves De Guiche horribly wounded. de Wardes at Calais. The mysterious woman turns out to be the Duchesse de Chevreuse. who was made to look ridiculous by Aramis. the duke fights a duel with M. The Duchesse has letters from Mazarin that prove that Fouquet has received thirteen million francs from the royal coffers. at the same oak. his old lackey. the two are identical. Aramis’s professions of affection and innocence do only a little to allay D’Artagnan’s concerns. Meanwhile. however. much to his delight. where the two discuss a shocking secret—Louis XIV has a twin brother. Raoul’s friend. Aramis refuses. during a rainstorm. Aramis. De Guiche confessing his love for her to Raoul. and Madame. retrieved Porthos. thereby surprising the wily prelate. M. unfortunately undated. de Baisemeaux. breaks his sword before the king. Before leaving. Louis and Louise are trapped alone together. and this time Monsieur’s jealousy has no recourse. the king arranges for Raoul to be sent to England for an indefinite period. They have to resort to building a secret staircase and meeting in the apartments of M. and has him exiled. A few days later. manages to behave in such a manner as to procure the king’s marked favor. Louise de la Valliere (Etext 2710): Believing D’Artagnan occupied at Fontainebleau and Porthos safely tucked away at Paris. and she wishes to sell these letters to Aramis. resolves to make a little trouble for the bishop. and the court returns to Paris. Raoul’s inveterate enemy. meanwhile. bored to tears by the fetes. Aramis learns from the governor the location of a mysterious prisoner. the struggle for power continues between Fouquet and Colbert. Anne of Austria intervenes. He had ridden overnight at an insane pace. and with Porthos in tow. Fouquet also writes a love letter to La Valliere. and the duke is taken back to England to recover. a fact that Baisemeaux unwittingly reveals to D’Artagnan while inquiring of him as to Aramis’s whereabouts. and in despair. The jealousy of the Duke of Buckingham. however. who is in love with her. suspicions aroused. and the queen join forces to destroy her. and the king and his sister-in-law decide to pick a young lady with whom the king can pretend to be in love. and at the Bastile they encounter Aramis. But Madame recalls Raoul from London and shows him these proofs of Louise’s infidelity. The fetes. Even worse. Aramis. that will surely bankrupt the poor superintendent. D’Artagnan. Although the Belle-Isle plot backfired. she runs into D’Artagnan. but arrived a few minutes after Fouquet had already presented Belle-Isle to the king. the Comte de Guiche. Porthos. and this time the comte de Guiche is the one to challenge him. Colbert prompts the king to ask Fouquet for more and more money. where Louis has a painter create a portrait of Louise. The situation gets so bad that his new mistress. particularly La Valliere. She is dishonorably discharged from court. as the king has invited himself to a fete at Vaux. but enables Madame to use her influence to destroy De Wardes’s standing at court. who bears a remarkable resemblance to Louis XIV—in fact. though. Fouquet. By literally begging Madame in tears. He presents Porthos to the king at the same time as Fouquet presents Aramis. has grown friendly with the governor of the Bastile. Chevreuse also obtains a secret audience with the queenmother. as the servant ordered to deliver it turns out to be an agent of Colbert’s. Aramis is wrong in both suppositions. the king unwitting overhears Louise confessing her love for him while chatting with her friends beneath the royal oak. Raoul’s fiancee. De Wardes. a notorious schemer and former friend of Anne of Austria. must resort to selling all her jewels and her gold and silver plate. and the king promptly forgets his affection for Madame. Aramis holds a funeral for the dead Franciscan—but in fact. hoping to use Louise’s influence with the king to counteract Colbert’s influence. and his subsequent meeting with a mysterious hooded lady. But then the king’s eye falls on Madame Henrietta during the comte’s absence. though. and. Madame de Belliere. and upon observing Aramis at this funeral. has returned from Calais. and without his two friends to raise it for him. It never reaches its destination. This further arouses the suspicions of the musketeer. She comes bearing more bad news for Fouquet. that of Athos. Aware of Louise’s attachment. Raoul learns of Athos’s arrest. discovers that the receipt that proves his innocence in the affair has been stolen from him. and with D’Artagnan’s guidance. who is already in trouble. and he continues to regard Aramis’s actions with a curious and wary eye. thankfully prevented by Raoul’s timely and tactful intervention. That same night. Henrietta overhears. the better to mask their own affair. They unfortunately select Louise de la Valliere.of France into complete disorder. they effect a daring rescue. the queen-mother. and Raoul as well. which the king prevents. and is visiting the country-house of Planchet. While the court is in residence at Fontainebleau. barely recovered from his wounds. Raoul. D’Artagnan has left Fontainebleau. by the same token. furious. come to an end. is forced to sell the parliamentary position that renders him untouchable by any court proceedings. the sworn enemy of D’Artagnan. and no sooner does he return than he begins again to insult people. This house happens to be right next door to the graveyard. de Saint-Aignan. The two embark on their own affair. Aramis. the new general of the order. As part of her deal with Colbert. and the letters are instead sold to Colbert. while this is going on. Along the way. however. in other quarters. and Monsieur obtains his exile as well.

“Yes. He held his head down. his face half concealed by his arms. left alone with Baisemeaux. Since Aramis’s singular transformation into a confessor of the order. and then signed to them to close the door behind him. which is Etext 2751. sustained his clothes. and signed to him with his hand to lead the way. but impassible. the steps of three men resounded on the flags of the terraces. stopping him on the threshold. as much as to say. According to custom. Although quite impressive. who took the lantern and entered. On arriving at the door. Near the bed a large leathern armchair. “The rules do not allow the governor to hear the prisoner’s confession. Aramis lighted the candle from the lantern. everybody switches modes of transport. was now not only silent. Up to that period. either he was waiting in expectation. in particular to the Jesuits. and that Aramis was his master.surprising the carriage containing D’Artagnan and Athos as they leave the Bastile. but now he felt himself an inferior. “You desired a confessor?” replied Aramis. as D’Artagnan has already secured Athos’s pardon from the king. He himself lighted a lantern. that will enable curious readers to compare personages in the novel with their historical counterparts. with twisted legs. A little table—without pens. and Athos and Raoul take the carriage back to La Fere. the prisoner was without a light. and Aramis followed him. books. The young man raised his head. “I am at your orders. For an instant he remained standing. At the hour of curfew. On a bed of green serge. save that it was newer. the same who. It was a calm and lovely starlit night. Also of interest may be an essay Dumas wrote on the possible identity of the real Man in the Iron Mask. summoned a turnkey. monseigneur. said. Aramis. Baisemeaux advanced. though far from disobeying.” “Because you were ill?” “Yes. inquires the governor of the prison about his loyalties. and we perceive how much he was favored. on Aramis’s first arrival had shown himself so inquisitive and curious. for Baisemeaux. listening whether Baisemeaux and the turnkey had retired.” Aramis merely nodded his head.” 6 . he put the lantern on the table and gazed around. in being allowed to keep it burning even till then. the place which Aramis had held in the worthy governor’s estimation was that of a prelate whom he respected and a friend to whom he owed a debt of gratitude. D’Artagnan and Porthos take the horses back to Paris. and said. he was bound to extinguish his lamp. returning to Aramis.” Etext 2760. “Very good”. and under curtains half-drawn. and approached the bed with an evident mixture of interest and respect. Aramis saw that the young man was stretched upon his bed. still unemptied. where they intend to reside permanently. and the clinking of the keys hanging from the jailer’s girdle made itself heard up to the stories of the towers. the two first stories of which were mounted silently and somewhat slowly. I have written a “Cast of Historical Characters. reposed a young man. while several plates. paper. The turnkey. Raoul cannot bear to see Louise. It might have been said that the alteration effected in Baisemeaux extended even to the prisoners. Instead. to whom we have already once before introduced Aramis. as the king is now their sworn enemy. as if to remind the prisoners that the liberty of earth was a luxury beyond their reach. showed that the prisoner had scarcely touched his evening meal. the intrepid raid is in vain. The arrival of a visitor did not caused any change of position. but Aramis. Baisemeaux showed a disposition to enter the prisoner’s chamber. The bishop reveals that he is a confessor of the society. and invokes their regulations in order to obtain access to this mysterious prisoner who bears such a striking resemblance to Louis XIV. Enjoy! John Bursey Chapter I. Baisemeaux was no longer the same man.. The Prisoner.. And so Baisemeaux is conducting Aramis to the prisoner as the final section of The Vicomte de Bragelonne and this final story of the D’Artagnan Romances opens. but as soon as he was assured by the sound of their descending footsteps that they had left the tower. In this wise they reached the basement of the Bertaudiere. pushed back the armchair.” Baisemeaux bowed. similar in all respect to the other beds in the Bastile. and they have no more dealings in Paris. or was asleep. and made way for Aramis. and seemed afraid to keep his ears open. was far from exhibiting any eagerness to obey. “What is it?” said he. or ink—stood neglected in sadness near the window.

do you bid me desire other flowers when I possess the loveliest of all?” Aramis gazed at the young man in surprise. the air.” he continued. which the note you found in your bread informed you of ?” The young man started. whether in resignation or contempt. Doubtless the scrutiny the prisoner had just made of the cold.” “You do not suffer?” “No.” returned the prisoner.” said the prisoner. “I thank you. with my arm around the bars of the window to sustain myself. one which can never be acquired unless Heaven has implanted it in the blood or heart.” “You have nothing to regret?” “Nothing.” Aramis then looked at him more closely. “If flowers constitute liberty. “I am better. “I have in that Japanese vase two roses gathered yesterday evening in the bud from the governor’s garden. the happiness of going whithersoever the sinewy limbs of one-and-twenty chance to wish to carry you. Between high heaven and earth the wind whirls on its waftages of hail and lightning. for I possess them. this morning they have blown and spread their vermilion chalice beneath my gaze.” said the young man.” “But the air!” cried Aramis. for he added. and the rose is the most beautiful of flowers. “it is different. the flowers.” The countenance of Aramis darkened as the young man continued: “Light I have! what is better than light? I have the sun. exhales its torrid mist or breathes in gentle breezes.” “And so?” said Aramis. “air is so necessary to life!” “Well. 7 . “Look. with every opening petal they unfold the treasures of their perfumes. “I call liberty.” said he. sinking again on his pillow. and answered. Aramis bowed and obeyed. but before he had either assented or denied. and was struck with the easy majesty of his mien. a friend who comes to visit me every day without the permission of the governor or the jailer’s company. When mounted on the back of this armchair. monsieur. it is open. the stars. He comes in at the window. filling my chamber with a fragrance that embalms it.” After a moment’s silence. “How does the Bastile agree with you?” asked the bishop. monsieur. Look now on these two roses.” The young man smiled. it was difficult to tell. It caresses my face.” “Not even of the hair-cloth. “draw near to the window.“Very ill?” The young man gave Aramis a piercing glance. I have no longer the same need of a confessor. “Not even of the ecclesiastic from whom you were to hear an important revelation?” “If it be so. Why. I fancy I am swimming the wide expanse before me. I am listening. monsieur?” asked the prisoner. “I have seen you before. “Why. “Sit down. “Very well. “I am free. then. I think.” “Not even your liberty?” “What do you call liberty. Aramis bowed. even among roses these are beautiful. and imperious character stamped upon the features of the bishop of Vannes was little reassuring to one in his situation. with the tone of a man who is preparing for a struggle. light. crafty. then—being better.” sadly resumed the captive. Aramis continued.

as a penitent.” returned the prisoner.” Aramis wiped the drops from his brow.” returned the young man. after a pause. and laborers who toil in mines. “be it so. in perfect warmth.” “And what reason have you for thinking that I shall now reply to you?” “Because this time I am your confessor. When its last ray disappears I have enjoyed its presence for five hours. you ought. Is not that sufficient? I have been told that there are unhappy beings who dig in quarries. then.” Aramis lowered his head. if it be cold? Ah! monsieur. I am a favored mortal. “that men have not done everything for me that a man can hope for or desire?” “Men!” said Aramis. “yes.” 8 .” said Aramis. “they all resemble each other save in size and brilliancy. do you fancy. which lights up the hangings of my bed and floods the very floor. “Yes. I understand you.” The prisoner manifested the deepest attention. “So much.” “We are often criminals in the sight of the great of the earth.” murmured the prisoner. in such a light. the air. “I am your confessor.” continued the prisoner. “but why do you mention it? Of what use is it to talk to a prisoner of Heaven?” Aramis looked steadily at this singular youth. but because we know that crimes have been committed. monsieur. having hastened to my presence. Do I not walk all day in the governor’s garden if it is fine—here if it rains? in the fresh air if it is warm. I aver that I am not a criminal.and traces in my room a square the shape of the window. “but let us return to our starting-point. For as my conscience does not accuse me. then. you are right.” “Every prisoner has committed some crime for which he has been imprisoned. as if. firmly. “As to the stars which are so delightful to view. the daylight. who never behold it at all.” tranquilly continued the young man. I am a criminal in the eyes of the great of the earth. This luminous square increases from ten o’clock till midday. it is very possible that.” “Then if you wish me to tell what crime I have committed. not without bitterness.” “Well. it sorrowed at bidding me farewell. and the stars. have you committed?” “You asked me the same question the first time you saw me.” “I ask nothing better. for if you had not lighted that candle you would have been able to see the beautiful stars which I was gazing at from my couch before your arrival. with emotion. not alone for having ourselves committed crimes. “Be it so. “there remains but exercise. then.” continued the young man. he felt himself overwhelmed with the bitter flow of that sinister philosophy which is the religion of the captive. “And then. as now you evaded giving me an answer. who possessed the resignation of a martyr with the smile of an atheist. “Is not Heaven in everything?” he murmured in a reproachful tone.” answered the prisoner. but it seems to me you are forgetting Heaven.” “Indeed I have forgotten Heaven.” “My whole desire is to tell it you.” “Yes. thanks to my winter stove.” he said. for the flowers. explain to me in what a crime consists. and decreases from one till three slowly. “Say rather. whose silvery rays were stealing through my brain. to tell me the truth. at the end of everything. What crime.

“and not at the mercy of the first chance-comer. He was silent. “is one who covets that which is beyond his station.” “A man’s secrets are his own. in spite of himself. “This is no ordinary man. when I am so happy with what I have. who thought he had pierced not merely through a defect in the harness.” 9 .” said the young man. how is it that.” replied the young man. Aramis felt the chill of that smile.” replied Aramis.” “You are afraid of death?” said Aramis. you know more about matters than you say.” returned Aramis. that is all I ask. “You lied the first time I saw you. aloud. “Lied!” cried the young man. “Yes. but it is not impossible I may have some. with such a tone in his voice.” “I covet nothing beyond my station.” “And then—and then?” said Aramis. but I do not like to give myself up to longing for things which I do not possess. “Ambition. I must be cautious. “What do you mean by ambitious?” replied the youth. nevertheless. and such a lightning in his eyes. my head becomes confused and my ideas melancholy.” returned the prisoner. with an assurance of manner which for the second time made the bishop of Vannes tremble.” he cried. the knitted brow. “Oh. it was evident that he expected something more than silence. “you concealed from me what you knew of your infancy. “but sometimes I think—and I say to myself—” “What do you say to yourself ?” “That if I were to think but a little more deeply I should either go mad or I should divine a great deal.” “You leave off ?” “Yes. Tell me your mind. I feel ennui overtaking me. saying to himself. monsieur. perhaps. and shuddered. I am not aware of anything.” said he. starting up on his couch. then. “And you. smiling. we both wear masks. without preparing him for the alteration.” said Aramis. with a slight uneasiness. and the reflective attitude of the captive. “is the feeling which prompts a man to desire more—much more—than he possesses. impatiently.” Aramis felt the force and justice of the remark. “I should say. who.” said the young man. leaving it for me to speak? Since. as you fear death. either let us both retain them or put them aside together. I am ignorant of the nature of ambition. “who bade me to ask to see you. I wish—” “What?” “I don’t know. monsieur. when I did ask to see you. I deceive myself.” “An ambitious man. that Aramis recoiled. “Then I leave off.—Are you ambitious?” said he suddenly to the prisoner.” said Aramis. you. “No.” “I said that I was contented. but through the joints of it.“Ah! then you know something.” retorted the prisoner. but. it is you who are silent. came here promising a world of confidence.—a silence which Aramis now broke. bowing. But to look at the kindling eye.

“I have nothing further to say to a man who mistrusts me as you do.” This title slightly disturbed the prisoner.” answered Aramis.” said the prisoner.” “And I. “Oh. you ought to mistrust everybody. “Certainly. Before revealing the important matters I still withhold.” said he.” 10 . you are none the less what you are. “Oh. “have nothing to say to a man who will not understand that a prisoner ought to be mistrustful of everybody. but to-day do I still occupy the place of a chance-comer? I beseech you to reply. not for the reason you think.“True. with an immovable aspect. monseigneur! you drive me to despair. “Oh. for a very simple reason. since you suspect me of knowing what I do not know.” said the latter. but died ineffectually away as before. monseigneur. pardon me. bowing still lower than before. and then—” “And then your man disappears.” Aramis rose. I am here to tell you many things. Oh.” said Aramis. for. or indifferent as you feign to be. you have a desire to know them.” “Then do not be astonished that I am mistrustful. ignorant as you may be. “that I have before me the man whom I seek. “So much the better. monsieur?” “Oh. but if I dared. if not candor. mark me! which can cause you not to be so.” said Aramis. try to understand me. “that you were happy here? Why. “to what purpose?” “Why did you tell me. “Sometimes it seems to me. “Noisy-le-Sec. “And. I would take your hand and kiss it!” The young man seemed as if he were going to give Aramis his hand. do you prevent me from being frank in my turn?” The same light shone a third time in the young man’s eyes.” said Aramis. and there is nothing—nothing. in a word. in the village where your early years were spent—” “Do you know the name of the village?” asked the prisoner. “Kiss the hand of a prisoner. if not confidence. monseigneur. but you must allow me to see that. that you aspired to nothing? Why. firmly.—is it not so?” said the prisoner. be assured I am in need of some encouragement.” “Well. shaking his head. in the same tone. smiling.” he said. monseigneur. but nevertheless he did not appear astonished that it was given him. monsieur. let us break off.” said Aramis. monseigneur. “Go on.” said the young man. by thus speaking.” “Even of his old friends. monsieur. “You distrust me. striking the armchair with his fist. monsieur. you are too prudent!” “Of my old friends?—you one of my old friends.” The prisoner looked fixedly at Aramis. then.” Aramis was struck with admiration at this energetic resistance. But you keep yourself intrenched in a pretended which paralyzes me. on my part. “’tis true. and he coldly and distrustfully withdrew his hand again. on your side. “I do not know you.” said he.” said Aramis. ‘tis true.” said he. “And why say you so. monseigneur. “that you once saw. a little sympathy. if you know what you ought to know.” said Aramis. but the light which beamed in his eyes faded away.—you?” “Do you no longer remember. “Stay. “if you are positively resolved to carry on this game. I do not comprehend you.

then.” While listening to these words. here—he. monseigneur.” “Then you were in prison?” “If I am a prisoner here. In a word. I saw her once with you. These four people. But this gentleman of yours often used to tell me that my father and mother were dead.” said the young man. but you know it. I was astonished that the abbe had so warlike an air. almost the only persons I have ever seen. “I remember perfectly. the young man had raised himself on his couch. I recognized you. Did he deceive me. then I was comparatively free. who came to see you every month—is it not so. “that musketeer and abbe. you will be obliged to explain each item to me as you go along. if you relate anything. to-morrow would behold the steely glitter of the executioner’s axe in a dungeon more gloomy. as you have been there. I have nothing left to care for. a garden surrounded with walls I could not climb.” said Aramis.” he murmured. with flamecolored ribbons in her hair?” “Yes. The result of his scrutiny was that he appeared to derive some confidence from it. more obscure than yours. “You remember that lady well. monseigneur. and was now gazing more and more eagerly at Aramis. monseigneur. if you know that.” “A worthy and.” he said.” said Aramis. I have seen her twice since then with the same person. monseigneur?” “Yes.” replied the prisoner. delivered with emphasis. I never cared to leave them. do you not?” “Oh. seeing at Noisy-le-Sec a cavalier. “to hear you without impatience. and the governor of the prison.” “I know it.” “And I will do so. this abbe. begin by telling me who was my tutor. “I saw that lady once with a gentleman about forty-five years old. my jailer. and therefore. fifteen or eighteen years ago. and old Perronnette. monsieur. quite the contrary. Had you ever any reason to complain of him?” “Oh. accompanied by a lady in black silk.’s musketeers. Only it appears to me that I have a right to repeat the question I have already asked. who has risked everything to visit you. And so you will understand. “I once asked the name of this cavalier.” “Then. these constituted my residence.” “Well. ‘Who are you?’” “Do you remember. fit guide for both body and soul. The woman of whom you speak came once with you. no. and. seeing that he was one of Louis XIII. “I am aware that she was one of the ladies of the court. bowing.” “Do you know who this lady was?” The light seemed ready to flash from the prisoner’s eyes. that having never seen anything of the world. “With another.” “Well.” said the young prisoner. and they told me that he called himself the Abbe d’Herblay. afterwards bishop of Vannes. my recollection can hardly be very confused on this head. are the only persons with whom I have ever spoken. with my master. I must further add a fact of which you are ignorant—that if the king were to know this evening of the presence of this musketeer. being accustomed to live within these bounds. an honorable gentleman. although in a very narrow sense—a house I never quitted. is your confessor now. “for it is my duty. and twice afterwards with another. indeed.” He hesitated. and they replied that there was nothing singular in that. or did he speak the truth?” 11 . this confessor. this bishop. “Yes. above all.“I promise you. and with the lady dressed in black.

“He was compelled to comply with the orders given him.” “Then he lied?” “In one respect. Your father is dead.” “And my mother?” “She is dead for you.” “But then she lives for others, does she not?” “Yes.” “And I—and I, then” (the young man looked sharply at Aramis) “am compelled to live in the obscurity of a prison?” “Alas! I fear so.” “And that because my presence in the world would lead to the revelation of a great secret?” “Certainly, a very great secret.” “My enemy must indeed be powerful, to be able to shut up in the Bastile a child such as I then was.” “He is.” “More powerful than my mother, then?” “And why do you ask that?” “Because my mother would have taken my part.” Aramis hesitated. “Yes, monseigneur; more powerful than your mother.” “Seeing, then, that my nurse and preceptor were carried off, and that I, also, was separated from them—either they were, or I am, very dangerous to my enemy?” “Yes; but you are alluding to a peril from which he freed himself, by causing the nurse and preceptor to disappear,” answered Aramis, quietly. “Disappear!” cried the prisoner, “how did they disappear?” “In a very sure way,” answered Aramis—”they are dead.” The young man turned pale, and passed his hand tremblingly over his face. “Poison?” he asked. “Poison.” The prisoner reflected a moment. “My enemy must indeed have been very cruel, or hard beset by necessity, to assassinate those two innocent people, my sole support; for the worthy gentleman and the poor nurse had never harmed a living being.” “In your family, monseigneur, necessity is stern. And so it is necessity which compels me, to my great regret, to tell you that this gentleman and the unhappy lady have been assassinated.” “Oh, you tell me nothing I am not aware of,” said the prisoner, knitting his brows. “How?” 12

“I suspected it.” “Why?” “I will tell you.” At this moment the young man, supporting himself on his two elbows, drew close to Aramis’s face, with such an expression of dignity, of self-command and of defiance even, that the bishop felt the electricity of enthusiasm strike in devouring flashes from that great heart of his, into his brain of adamant. “Speak, monseigneur. I have already told you that by conversing with you I endanger my life. Little value as it has, I implore you to accept it as the ransom of your own.” “Well,” resumed the young man, “this is why I suspected they had killed my nurse and my preceptor—” “Whom you used to call your father?” “Yes; whom I called my father, but whose son I well knew I was not.” “Who caused you to suppose so?” “Just as you, monsieur, are too respectful for a friend, he was also too respectful for a father.” “I, however,” said Aramis, “have no intention to disguise myself.” The young man nodded assent and continued: “Undoubtedly, I was not destined to perpetual seclusion,” said the prisoner; “and that which makes me believe so, above all, now, is the care that was taken to render me as accomplished a cavalier as possible. The gentleman attached to my person taught me everything he knew himself—mathematics, a little geometry, astronomy, fencing and riding. Every morning I went through military exercises, and practiced on horseback. Well, one morning during the summer, it being very hot, I went to sleep in the hall. Nothing, up to that period, except the respect paid me, had enlightened me, or even roused my suspicions. I lived as children, as birds, as plants, as the air and the sun do. I had just turned my fifteenth year—” “This, then, is eight years ago?” “Yes, nearly; but I have ceased to reckon time.” “Excuse me; but what did your tutor tell you, to encourage you to work?” “He used to say that a man was bound to make for himself, in the world, that fortune which Heaven had refused him at his birth. He added that, being a poor, obscure orphan, I had no one but myself to look to; and that nobody either did, or ever would, take any interest in me. I was, then, in the hall I have spoken of, asleep from fatigue with long fencing. My preceptor was in his room on the first floor, just over me. Suddenly I heard him exclaim, and then he called: ‘Perronnette! Perronnette!’ It was my nurse whom he called.” “Yes, I know it,” said Aramis. “Continue, monseigneur.” “Very likely she was in the garden; for my preceptor came hastily downstairs. I rose, anxious at seeing him anxious. He opened the garden-door, still crying out, ‘Perronnette! Perronnette!’ The windows of the hall looked into the court; the shutters were closed; but through a chink in them I saw my tutor draw near a large well, which was almost directly under the windows of his study. He stooped over the brim, looked into the well, and again cried out, and made wild and affrighted gestures. Where I was, I could not only see, but hear—and see and hear I did.” “Go on, I pray you,” said Aramis. “Dame Perronnette came running up, hearing the governor’s cries. He went to meet her, took her by the arm, and drew her quickly towards the edge; after which, as they both bent over it together, ‘Look, look,’ cried he, ‘what a misfortune!’ “’Calm yourself, calm yourself,’ said Perronnette; ‘what is the matter?’ 13

“’The letter!’ he exclaimed; ‘do you see that letter?’ pointing to the bottom of the well. “’What letter?’ she cried. “’The letter you see down there; the last letter from the queen.’ “At this word I trembled. My tutor—he who passed for my father, he who was continually recommending me modesty and humility—in correspondence with the queen! “’The queen’s last letter!’ cried Perronnette, without showing more astonishment than at seeing this letter at the bottom of the well; ‘but how came it there?’ “’A chance, Dame Perronnette—a singular chance. I was entering my room, and on opening the door, the window, too, being open, a puff of air came suddenly and carried off this paper—this letter of her majesty’s; I darted after it, and gained the window just in time to see it flutter a moment in the breeze and disappear down the well.’ “’Well,’ said Dame Perronnette; ‘and if the letter has fallen into the well, ‘tis all the same as if it was burnt; and as the queen burns all her letters every time she comes—’ “And so you see this lady who came every month was the queen,” said the prisoner. “’Doubtless, doubtless,’ continued the old gentleman; ‘but this letter contained instructions—how can I follow them?’ “’Write immediately to her; give her a plain account of the accident, and the queen will no doubt write you another letter in place of this.’ “’Oh! the queen would never believe the story,’ said the good gentleman, shaking his head; ‘she will imagine that I want to keep this letter instead of giving it up like the rest, so as to have a hold over her. She is so distrustful, and M. de Mazarin so—Yon devil of an Italian is capable of having us poisoned at the first breath of suspicion.’” Aramis almost imperceptibly smiled. “’You know, Dame Perronnette, they are both so suspicious in all that concerns Philippe.’ “Philippe was the name they gave me,” said the prisoner. “’Well, ‘tis no use hesitating,’ said Dame Perronnette, ‘somebody must go down the well.’ “’Of course; so that the person who goes down may read the paper as he is coming up.’ “’But let us choose some villager who cannot read, and then you will be at ease.’ “’Granted; but will not any one who descends guess that a paper must be important for which we risk a man’s life? However, you have given me an idea, Dame Perronnette; somebody shall go down the well, but that somebody shall be myself.’ “But at this notion Dame Perronnette lamented and cried in such a manner, and so implored the old nobleman, with tears in her eyes, that he promised her to obtain a ladder long enough to reach down, while she went in search of some stout-hearted youth, whom she was to persuade that a jewel had fallen into the well, and that this jewel was wrapped in a paper. ‘And as paper,’ remarked my preceptor, ‘naturally unfolds in water, the young man would not be surprised at finding nothing, after all, but the letter wide open.’ “’But perhaps the writing will be already effaced by that time,’ said Dame Perronnette. “’No consequence, provided we secure the letter. On returning it to the queen, she will see at once that we have not betrayed her; and consequently, as we shall not rouse the distrust of Mazarin, we shall have nothing to fear from him.’ “Having come to this resolution, they parted. I pushed back the shutter, and, seeing that my tutor was about to re-enter, I threw 14

so leaned I. and urged on by one of those instinctive impulses which drive men to destruction. quite overcome. helping myself with my feet against the sides of the pit. and that Perronnette. but see what can be done with the living. You told me you were resigned. owing to the chill and the excitement of my discovery. wrote of all this to the queen and sent back the torn letter. that I was seized with a violent fever. slid down into the abyss. with the rope weltering in my hands. after the closest search. My governor opened the door a few moments after. guessing where I was. But this was time enough to allow me to read the cherished letter. the prime minister. The well seemed to draw me downwards with its slimy mouth and icy breath. that my governor perceived that the brink was all watery. the bell which resounded when the great gate was opened. “And will you tell me what you read therein. and I could hardly breathe. and clinging on with my hands. characters of fire traced upon the letter the queen had touched. They had hardly closed the gate before I sprang from the window and ran to the well. to see that my tutor was a man of noble rank. and. just as my governor had leaned over. listening. guided by my avowal. agile and vigorous as I was. commended me so earnestly to their care. and. since the queen. whose fragments I hastened to unite again. leaving the bucket dangling. a chill fear got the better of me. that I was not so dried by the sun as to prevent Dame Perronnette spying that my garments were moist. while I immersed the other and seized the dear letter. The writing was already fading. It was my preceptor come back again. and at once plunged into it.” “Ah!” said Aramis. and. Doubtless the unfortunate lady and gentleman. than I rushed into the sunlight. drenching it as I touched it with the water that streamed off me.” Here the young man paused. I rose. was far better than a servant. and thinking I was asleep gently closed it again. which. he came straight to it. “you were arrested and removed to the Bastile. monsieur. “And what happened?” asked Aramis. As I entered my hiding-place. all is conjecture. I had but just time.” said Aramis. but my strong will still reigned supreme over all the terror and disquietude. and. alas! came in two in my grasp. “now I understand. without being a lady of quality. As soon as ever it was shut. I regained the brink.” “Beyond this. a cold shudder came over me. monseigneur?” asked Aramis.—and then. at the same time taking infinite pains not to disturb that coveted letter. monsieur.” “Your two attendants disappeared?” “Alas!” “Let us not take up our time with the dead. Then. but I managed to decipher it all. my eyes became fixed. When I saw myself hanging over the dark pool. “It happened. I calculated that it would take ten minutes before he would gain my place of concealment. I gained the water. and the hair rose on my head. my governor found the pieces of the queen’s letter inside the bolster where I had concealed them. at the bottom of the water. which was beginning to change its white tint for the hue of chrysoprase. The brilliant disk fascinated and allured me. during which I related the whole adventure. holding on by one hand. Then I returned to the shutters. rang. and also to perceived that I must myself be high-born. deeply interested. when I saw the sky lessening above my head. even if. and saw my tutor and Dame Perronnette go out together. and Mazarin. Anne of Austria. Then.” “Without any desire for freedom?” “As I told you. lastly. in a confusion of brain caused by all I had just heard. above all. and twenty if he were obliged to look for me.” 15 . and took refuge in a kind of shrubbery at the bottom of the garden. I was alone in the house. I was no sooner out of the well with my prize. “that the workmen they had summoned found nothing in the well. heard the sound of retiring footsteps. “Quite enough. scarcely knowing what I was about. I concealed the two fragments in my body-coat.” answered he. so that.” “After which. I lowered the cord from the windlass of the well to within about three feet of the water.myself on my couch. and I thought I read. I was seized with giddiness. an attack of delirium supervening.” “I repeat it.” “As you see. pressed for time. Something white and luminous glistened in the green and quivering silence of the water. not daring to keep the occurrence secret.—proof enough that it was sinking.

“Nor is there anything of the kind here.” said Aramis. So I presumed that. “Do you know who was the son of Henry IV. from the probable date of your birth. bearing that of Louis XIII. and a shade of deep solemnity spread itself over his countenance.” “Then.” asked Aramis. and what is their meaning?” asked the young man. with the naked eye.” “To what end?” “You will know directly.” “It is true.” “This also was done by design.” said the young man. then. Louis.” “How?” “By means of a coin dated 1610. King Francis I. “Well. “One question. so that. there was neither a glass nor a mirror in the house. Aramis looked round him. but you have not said a word about history.” “They designate two pieces of furniture which reflect objects. for instance. which reflects the past.” said Aramis. just as they deprived you of mirrors. “they have again taken the same precaution. fencing.” “Is that all?” “Very nearly. in a word. which bears the effigy of Henry IV. “Listen. and another of 1612. Since your imprisonment. “I have no sort of knowledge of them. It was evident that he had reached the crisis in the part he had come to the prison to play. by means of which you would be able to reconstruct the shattered mansion of your recollections and your hopes. 16 .” he said. “and that now it is your turn.?” “I do. Louis was Henry’s successor.” answered the youth. there being only two years between the two dates. I will in a few words tell you what has passed in France during the last twenty-three or twenty-four years. and King Henry IV. so that you are unacquainted with a number of facts.” “No.” Aramis gathered himself up.. so they left you in ignorance of history.” answered the young man. or thought?” The young man made no answer. that is.. sorrow.“Without ambition. I am weary.?” “At least I know who his successor was. St. astronomy. from the time that interests you. Now.” “My tutor sometimes related to me the principal deeds of the king. “why are you silent?” “I think I have spoken enough. either.” “Say on. you may see in them your own lineaments. “What is it? speak. “you know that the last reigning monarch was Louis XIII. which reflect the present. as you see mine now.” answered the prisoner. then.” “In the house you inhabited there were neither looking-glasses nor mirrors?” “What are those two words. you have told me that you were instructed in mathematics. and riding. slightly reddening. books have been forbidden you.” And the young man resumed his serious and attentive attitude.

The birth of twins changed into bitterness the joy to which that of an only son had given rise.” “I hear you. and whispered to the king what had happened.“Well.” he said.” “I know it. always. smiling. he was a prince full of noble ideas and great projects. “Permit me to continue.” “The queen.” Here Aramis looked at his companion. This idea had reduced him to the depths of despair. then. but something akin to terror. seeing that in France (a fact you are assuredly ignorant of) it is the oldest of the king’s sons who succeeds his father. he rose and quitted the table.” “And that the doctors and jurists assert that there is ground for doubting whether the son that first makes his appearance is the elder 17 . “the queen announced an interesting event. when suddenly. But while the court was rejoicing over the event. “When suddenly. then.” said Aramis. without replying to the question. “Did you know. for it refers to a secret which they imagined buried with the dead. and was sitting gayly down to table. and for a long while thought he should be the last of his race. monsieur.’s wife was called Anne of Austria?” “Continue. “that Louis XIII.” “Dame Perronnette!” murmured the young man. “Yes. On the 5th of September. alas! deferred by the trouble of the times and the dread struggle that his minister Richelieu had to maintain against the great nobles of France. There was great joy at the intelligence. gave birth to a son. received in her arms. a care which weighs heavily on princes. “an account which few indeed could now avouch. “I do not know that I ought to risk this secret by intrusting it to one who has no desire to quit the Bastile. the queen. but he was long without one. “the queen had a second son. and all prayed for her happy delivery. Anne of Austria—” The prisoner trembled. the midwife. and thought he observed him turning pale. “I thought that Monsieur was only born in—” Aramis raised his finger. “Oh!” said Aramis. to celebrate the event.” “And you will tell me this secret?” broke in the youth. she gave birth to a son. his wife. “You are about to hear. and died young and unhappy. “They ran at once to the banqueting-room. was again taken ill and gave birth to a second son. The king himself was of a feeble character. whom Dame Perronnette. betraying a bitter acquaintance with affairs than he had owned to. The prisoner sighed impatiently. who desire to leave behind them more than one pledge that their best thoughts and works will be continued.” said the young man.” “He had been long anxious about having a heir. entombed in the abyss of the confessional.” “I know it. with unmistakable emphasis. die childless?” asked the prisoner. But this time it was no longer happiness that his face expressed.” said Aramis.” said Aramis. 1638.” “Oh!” said the prisoner.” resumed Aramis.” “Did the king. when the king had show the new-born child to the nobility and people. who was alone in her room. “No. and paused.

with a handsome.” continued Aramis. monsieur. this is why one of the queen’s two sons. mark me. and who. or whom the glass reflects?” “The king. on which Louis was depicted life-like. on the other hand. and so completely. who ten times conspired against his brother Louis XIII. hatred. might one day sow discord and engender civil war throughout the kingdom.” “Monseigneur. that not a soul in France. can cause others to be entombed there.” The prisoner uttered a smothered cry. “Well. “So high!—so high!” murmured the young man. “the king will never set me free. perhaps.” “No. this is why that second son has disappeared. monsieur. on which his friends will place him. I understand!—I understand!” murmured the young man. lofty mien.” added the bishop. was in despair about two. if you desire it. indeed. and you behold how powerless I am. Louis XIV.” “And I—I demand to know. shamefully sequestered. Heaven ought to send me. satisfy yourself that you are a king’s son. “the king.” “Yes! his mother.” said Aramis. The prisoner eagerly seized the portrait. quitting his dungeon.. who with so much pleasure saw himself repeated in one. with a respect he had not yet manifested. who has cast him off. monsieur. the one this miniature portrays.” Aramis left the prisoner time to recover his ideas. “Now you understand. that the brothers excluded from the throne should be always princes void of courage and honesty. “is he who is on the throne. ambition. be the one that. by these means destroying the very dynasty he should have strengthened.by the law of heaven and of nature. “I think that I am lost. excepting—” “Excepting yourself—is it not? You who come and relate all this. and became whiter than the coverlet under which he hid himself. and.” Aramis went on. who is not in prison. monseigneur. “that the king. and so this second son. Gaston d’Orleans.” “Oh. who at this moment reigns upon the throne of France. finally.” answered Aramis.” resumed the bishop ironically. relying on party interests and caprices. fixing his piercing eyes significantly upon the prisoner. “here is a mirror. consult them. as was your uncle. also. is aware of his existence. “Except. who rouse in my soul curiosity.” persisted Aramis. it is for us to act. “I demand to know which of these two is king. in short. “What do you think of it?” at length said Aramis.” “Here is the portrait. no.” sadly replied the young man. “this is what they relate. M. whom the note I have received applies to. what they declare.” replied the bishop.” cried the prisoner in a tone of despair. it is impossible. “A portrait of the king.” pursued Aramis. and. will. Royalty means power. is buried in profound obscurity. shamefully parted from his brother. “Be not weak. which had been recognized only two hours before. “the lady in the black dress. fearing that the second might dispute the first’s claim to seniority. must possess about you—” “What?” asked Aramis. eagerly comparing the likeness of Louis with his own countenance reflected in the glass.” “Unless. you.” 18 .” “Tempt me not. handing the prisoner a miniature in enamel. even the thirst of vengeance. “And now. “it be the destiny of your race. whom. if you are the man to whom I expect. “I have brought you all the proofs of your birth. except you.” broke in the prisoner bitterly. and gazed at it with devouring eyes. shall maintain himself upon the throne. who. monseigneur.” replied the captive. save his mother.

” “Oh.” “If we can corrupt one turnkey. what did he do?—Failed!” “He failed. with a violence which betrayed the temper of his blood. the young man suddenly cried out. And so. at this day. that you have broken my heart forever?” “And so I desire to do.” “I understand. “would it not have been better for you to have reflected. after all. to gain any?” “I fancy I had the honor to offer myself to your royal highness. let me breathe the fresh air. let me again love.” “Well. but how can I have any friends—I.” 19 .” said the prince. he sacrificed the lives of all his friends. and. which. monseigneur. and renounce forever the service of a master. and more. my uncle slew his friends. we can corrupt ten. Bid me not think of aught beyond these prison-walls. possible so to conceal him that the king’s people shall not again ensnare him. if you again utter these desperate words—if. to whom so eagerly I came to devote my assistance and my life!” “Monsieur. free me from the Bastile. he is a very blot on history.” “To talk to me about power. and to prate of thrones! Is a prison the fit place? You wish to make me believe in splendor. I admit that it may be possible to release a poor captive from the Bastile. conspired to dethrone him?” “Exactly. astonished.” “And he had friends—devoted friends?” “As much so as I am to you. bolts to every door. then we shall begin to understand each other. possible.” “And cannot a man fail. either by weakness or treachery. monsieur.” “And. monseigneur. give me my spurs and trusty sword. I will comply with your desire. for the sake of purchasing—not his life—for the life of the king’s brother is sacred and inviolable—but his liberty. is always treachery. I admit. How will you overcome the sentries—spike the guns? How will you break through the bolts and bars?” “Monseigneur. eye. in some unknown retreat. one after another. grandeur. cannon and soldiery at every barrier. then. you boast of glory. ‘tis either treachery or cruelty. I tell you the truth. monseigneur. and we are smothering our words in the curtains of this miserable bed. which so grimly confine me. before telling me all that you have done. do not style me so. not only at a distance from the court. for no other reason. monseigneur. makes you tremble more than it does me. from incapacity and ignorance? Do you really believe it possible that a poor captive such as I. only. but even from the world—do you believe it possible that such a one could assist those of his friends who should attempt to serve him?” And as Aramis was about to reply. the detestation of a hundred noble families in this kingdom.” “By weakness. you still remain poor-spirited in body and soul. “my uncle Gaston ‘conspired against his brother’. I will depart. and have neither liberty. nor influence. submit to my slavery and my obscurity. do you desire it?” “A word more. but always through his own fault.“What!” cried the prince. monsieur. you give me glimpses of power absolute whilst I hear the footsteps of the every-watchful jailer in the corridor—that step which. “I know there are guards in every gallery.” cried the prince. after all.” “It is precisely my intention to give you all this. or. To render me somewhat less incredulous.—how did you get the note which announced my arrival to you?” “You can bribe a jailer for such a thing as a note. and we are lying lost in night. at least.” “Monseigneur. whom no one knows. in princes. after having received proof of your high birth. to sustain the unhappy wretch in some suitable manner. “We are speaking of friends. money. brought up.

on that day that I see you sitting on the throne of France. and if you consent to become the most powerful monarch in Christendom. that if you would allow me to guide you. of her own flesh. indeed. more you cannot give. monseigneur. how can you restore me the rank and power which my mother and my brother have deprived me of ? And as. A barbarous prejudice has condemned you to pass your days in obscurity.“Monseigneur!” said Aramis. no.’ I would have replied to him. monseigneur. who leaves me to perish in a dungeon? No. but as you tell me I am a prince. for. yield me the delight of hearing in freedom sounds of the river. or the stormy sky. pressing his icy hands upon his clammy brow. brother of the king. reflect on all this. not to contend with one another. monseigneur?” “On my life! While now—now that I have guilty ones to punish—” “In what manner. have taken me by the hand. “I admire the firm. whoever would do this much for me.’” “And you would have kept your word. and these friends are numerous. You give me far more than Heaven bestowed. sound sense which dictates your words. and have said. then. “I admit that. would seem more than mortal in my eyes. after a moment’s reflection. I will explain. Will you take advantage of this reconciliation to put down or restrain me? Will you employ that sword to spill my blood?’ ‘Oh! never. wish you to be a king for the good of humanity. to effect this.” cried the prince.” “Ah!” said the prince. and I 20 . has humanity to reproach my brother?” “I forgot to say.” “He might have himself come to this prison. to-morrow. I must pass a life of war and hatred.” “But I. how can you cause me to prevail in those combats—render me invulnerable by my enemies? Ah! monsieur.” “Again. Do you pity him?” “Him. far from mankind. and it would be a crime to deceive me. place me. I come to you. monseigneur?” “What do you say as to the resemblance that Heaven has given me to my brother?” “I say that there was in that likeness a providential instruction which the king ought to have heeded. Promise me no more than this. deprived of every joy. I am happy to have discovered my monarch’s mind. for through you I possess liberty and the privilege of loving and being loved in this world.” “Explain yourself. again! oh. I will make you sit down beside me. “ah! with what. “do not play with me! I have no need to be a king to be the happiest of men. ‘I look on you as my preserver. with fresh distrust inspired by the word. I swear before Heaven. smiling.” “But my brother?” “You shall decree his fate. in some dark cavern at a mountain’s base. monseigneur. ‘My brother. I say that your mother committed a crime in rendering those different in happiness and fortune whom nature created so startlingly alike. Heaven created us to love. God! for mercy’s sake. plain and valley. For him I have no pity!” “So much the better. you will have promoted the interests of all the friends whom I devote to the success of your cause. and it is enough. since you call yourself my friend. “Monseigneur. I will buckle round your waist our father’s sword. I will respect you as my master.” Aramis waited in silence. of beholding in freedom the sun of the blue heavens.” “It is impossible.” he resumed.” “Numerous?” “Less numerous than powerful.

and confer luster on my race by deeds of valor. save to you?” “Save only to me. remember that I am not concerned in it. “Monsieur. then to you. sire.” said he. whom I thank with blessings. “It is the first act of homage paid to our future king. monsieur?” “Tell me. my prince. to you will I offer half my power and my glory: though you would still be but partly recompensed. on the other hand. who sank upon his knee and kissed it.conclude that the object of punishment should be only to restore the equilibrium. the posterity whose name you will make glorious. If you have sought me for my destruction.” “And when?” “The day when my prince leaves these gloomy walls. my last. since I could not divide with you the happiness received at your hands. “one word more. aided by your generous hand. It is not you who will have to thank me. if. I bless and forgive you. are you aware of one thing. in such a case. “the nobleness of your heart fills me with joy and admiration.” Aramis bowed very low. for you will have ended my troubles and given me repose from the tormenting fever that has preyed on me for eight long. and if it seems good to you. moved by the pallor and excitement of the young man. especially it would be so for one who has drunk so deeply of the cup of enjoyment. if death befall me. but rather the nation whom you will render happy.” “It is that I will hear nothing further from you till I am clear of the Bastile. I shall say. I raise myself to the very height of honor. wait the results ere you judge me. Yes. that is to say. he shall take yours in prison. weary years. The prince offered his hand.” “Your royal highness will always be free to act as you may desire.” “By which you mean—” “That if I restore you to your place on your brother’s throne.” replied Aramis. or if in my absence you are compelled to do so. If.” said Aramis.” “Yourself ?” “My prince. after punishment.” he said. you will have it in your power to pardon. do not leave this chamber save with me. from my present depths of sorrow. in which you have sounded the depths of my mind.” The prince offered his hand to Aramis. in a tone that issued from his heart.’” 21 . And now.” “Monseigneur.” “Monseigneur. if from our conference. you are come to restore me to that position in the sunshine of fortune and glory to which I was destined by Heaven. anything worse than captivity result. and your share must always remain incomplete. if you are only a tool in the hands of my enemies. I shall indeed have bestowed upon you more than life.” “I was going to say to your highness that I should only have the pleasure of seeing you once again. if by your means I am enabled to live in the memory of man.” “Good. ‘Good day. I shall have given you immortality. or by solid benefits bestowed upon my people. “I say that. still receive my blessing.” “Heavens! how will you give me notice of it?” “By myself coming to fetch you.” “Alas! there’s such infinity of suffering in prison. “When I see you again.” “And so I am not to speak a word of this to any one whatever.

The worthy baron had a pensive—nay. leaving Baisemeaux almost more than stifled with joy and surprise at this regal present so liberally bestowed by the confessor extraordinary to the Bastile. no more dreams. “Alas!” replied Baisemeaux.“Till then. only half-dressed. “And here is the money. moreover. The jailer came to open it with Baisemeaux. forcing a laugh. “The order instructed me only to give a receipt. monsieur. should be able to enter in and to remain here!” “Your royal highness makes me proud. in spite of himself. did not observe D’Artagnan’s entrance. Porthos. pressing his wan and wasted fingers over his heart. contemplating a host of garments. Porthos made his sturdy knees crack again in rising. lace.” said Aramis. my dear governor. were strewed all over the floor. D’Artagnan stopped at the threshold and looked in at the pensive Porthos and then. one morning during an interval of service thought about Porthos. neither of the speakers had forgotten to smother his voice. One was occupied with harassing duties for the king. and crossing the room in two strides.” And he rapped immediately on the door. got out of the way. devoured by fear and uneasiness. “Ah!” exclaimed Porthos. was effectually doubled by a scarlet coat which the intendant was holding up for his master’s inspection. splendor. and of the Troubles Which Consequently Befell that Worthy Gentleman. who. “What a confessor!” said the governor. taking three steps towards his iron strong-box. and being uneasy at not having heard anything of him for a fortnight. whom he folded to his breast with a force of affection that seemed to increase with every day. He was sitting on his bed. screened at this moment by M. even in the most passionate outbreaks.” said Aramis.” returned Baisemeaux. with a sigh.—”till then. “And to pay over the first third of the sum.” added the poor governor. Porthos and D’Artagnan were seldom together.” said Aramis. He was eager to leave the Bastile. embroidery. where the secret which overwhelmed him seemed to double the weight of the walls. “You have to ask me for my receipt for one hundred and fifty thousand livres. found himself face to face with his friend. could have committed crimes so numerous. that he might the better see it all over. whose countenance brightened with joy. and so long to tell of ?” Aramis made no reply. which was. monsieur le governeur!” And he departed.” said the bishop. and slashes of ill-assorted hues. directed his steps towards his hotel. it said nothing about receiving the money. Chapter II. dear friend. but 22 . “Ah!” he repeated. the other had been making many purchases of furniture which he intended to forward to his estate. “Adieu. D’Artagnan thought it time to put an end to these dismal reflections. no more strain on my life—my heart would break! Oh.” rejoined Aramis. whose personal corpulency. which with their fringes. as the sight of the innumerable garments strewing the floor caused mighty sighs to heave the bosom of that excellent gentleman. ever faithful. Since the departure of Athos for Blois. “ah! ah! Here is D’Artagnan. and happiness. with a threefold sigh. who thus found himself freed from the material obstacle which had prevented his reaching D’Artagnan. As soon as they reached Baisemeaux’s quarters. how small is my prison—how low the window—how narrow are the doors! To think that so much pride. and coughed by way of announcing himself. Mouston. by the sleeves. D’Artagnan. quite enough at any time to hide one man from another. was beginning. a man as though in the very jaws of death.” said the young man. and by aid of which he hoped to establish in his various residences something of the courtly luxury he had witnessed in all its dazzling brightness in his majesty’s society. to listen at the door. Happily. “Here is the receipt. I shall then get hold of an idea!” At these words Mouston. sad and reflective as La Fontaine’s hare. doubting what was going on behind him. “who would believe that a compulsory recluse. How Mouston Had Become Fatter without Giving Porthos Notice Thereof. “you are always welcome. more than pensive—melancholy air. “since you infer it is I who brought all this. smiling kindly at the friend of his master. “Let us proceed to business. and with legs dangling over the edge. and pounced upon him just as he was getting up.

the ground was struck with lightning a hundred paces from the chateau. and it has yielded a third more than the estimate. my friend. Porthos replied by a look expressive of dejection. tearing out a lock of hair in his despair. let me first get rid of all this litter of satin and velvet!” “Oh. my friend. my friend: they have been fished. are you ill?” cried D’Artagnan. and were to live to be a hundred years of age. “this unnatural melancholy in you frightens me. My dear Porthos.” Porthos shook his head. “Come. is what saddens me. then. on the contrary.” “What in the world is the matter. indeed. it is possible. Porthos. unless it is a secret. my dear friend.” “Perhaps you have received bad news from Bracieux?” “No: they have felled the wood. and suppose you never had any more made. And the sooner the better. though.” said Porthos. with a lugubrious expression. “it is all trash. Porthos! Cloth at twenty-five livres an ell! gorgeous satin! regal velvet!” “Then you think these clothes are—” “Splendid. and there is enough left to stock all the pools in the neighborhood. Porthos. then.” “Perhaps your estate at Vallon has been destroyed by an earthquake?” “No. “you know I have no secrets from you.” “In the first place. 23 . my friend. tell me all about it.” “Everything that is grand in France will be brought together there!” “Ah!” cried Porthos.” returned Porthos. This. And so.” said D’Artagnan. you could still wear a new dress the day of your death. you are really going to Vaux?” “Indeed I am!” “You will see a magnificent sight. “Well. pray get it out. my friend. I have received an invitation for the fete at Vaux. then?” “The fact is.just now you are more welcome than ever.” “Trash.” said Porthos. which wouldn’t astonish me in the very least.” “Wait a minute.” “Yes.” “Then there has been a falling-off in the pools of Pierrefonds?” “No. Porthos. splendid! I’ll wager that you alone in France have so many.” “But you seem to have the megrims here!” exclaimed D’Artagnan. “Well! do you complain of that? The king has caused a hundred mortal heart-burnings among the courtiers by refusing invitations. then. contemptuously. “Eh! good heavens. so I will: if. never mind.” “Alas! I doubt it. and a fountain sprung up in a place entirely destitute of water. without being obliged to see the nose of a single tailor from now till then.

” 24 .” “But what is it. graciously. then?” “Yes. the fashions are always changing.“I am as firm as the Pont-Neuf! It isn’t that. then?” “’Tis that I have no clothes!” D’Artagnan stood petrified. but not one which fits me!” “What? not one that fits you? But are you not measured. Porthos—only a man must have a fortune like yours to gratify such whims. “what a world of trouble it spared for me. “I don’t understand why your clothes should not fit you.” “And you remember. when he used to call himself Mousqueton. “You were in Paris.” continued Porthos. Without counting the time lost in being measured.” “Well. “when I see at least fifty suits on the floor. as at any time I might be invited to court to spend a week.” answered Mouston. my good Mouston. Would you believe it. and as for us. each cooked up to a different point. who had always seven wild boars kept roasting.” “No.” “Tell me what it is. I believe you do. Well. “No clothes! Porthos. truly. I resolved. stupid?” said Porthos.” said Mouston. “that is quite evident!” “Be still. monsieur. “but unfortunately I have gotten stouter!” “What! you stouter!” “So much so that I am now bigger than the baron. too. we were at Pierrefonds. when you give an order?” “To be sure he is. then. and I greatly rejoice over the period. my dear Porthos. so that he might be able to have his dinner at any time of the day he chose to ask for it. well.” exclaimed D’Artagnan. there was a time when Mouston began to grow fat. not exactly. I resolved to have always seven suits ready for the occasion.” “I am going to explain it. my dear Porthos. monsieur?” “Parbleu! it seems to me that is quite evident.” “That is exactly the point. becoming slightly impatient. I beg your pardon.” “Indeed. the period when he began to grow fatter?” “No.” “Oh! you are not in fault. no clothes!” he cried.” said Porthos. “You understand. Is that what you wished to say?” “Yes. for I don’t doubt your genius.” “Capitally reasoned. I don’t—by any means. “You remember having related to me the story of the Roman general Antony.” “You remember what Mouston once was.” resumed D’Artagnan.” “Do you see.” “Fifty. then.” said Porthos. “in regard to which I flattered myself I had hit on a very ingenious device. because Mouston has grown stouter. my friend.

the fact was known before Aristotle’s days—that is to say. To be scrutinized and scanned by a fellow who completely analyzes you. as you have said. who is fat. there.” “Ah! that is possible. as if to say.” D’Artagnan glanced at Mouston. and I did all I could. and could then be measured in my stead. to get through the little secret door that those fools of architects had made in the chamber of the late Madame du Vallon. They recognize your strong and weak points. by the way.” resumed Porthos. And. majestically. ‘tis no less true. I have a horror of letting any one take my measure. delighted at the idea of having jumped to a conclusion so closely in agreement with the greatest sages of antiquity. let us return to the subject of Mouston’s fatness. my friend. a savant of my acquaintance. by inch and line—’tis degrading! Here. astounded.” said Porthos. in the chateau of Pierrefonds. “That’s true. which would doubtless have proved a good one. and then you wish to have seven suits always with you. has made the same observation as you have.” “Consider my joy when. I have always noticed that people’s ideas run parallel. about that door.” “Well. I perceived Mouston was obliged to squeeze in. just to remind them. you possess ideas entirely original. we are like those strongholds whose angles and different thicknesses have been ascertained by a spy. one morning. why these wretches of architects. came to make doorways through which nobody but thin people can pass?” “Oh. In short. See. “Perfectly true. after a year and a half ’s judicious feeding—for I used to feed him up myself—the fellow—” “Oh! I lent a good hand myself. D’Artagnan. Consider my joy when. I was talking to you of Mouston. now.” “Madame du Vallon had no gallant!” answered Porthos. M. then. and he calls the process by some Greek name which I forget. humbly. even though it occur only once a fortnight. “I see—that spared you both time and humiliation.” said Mouston. And so. and they have generally slight and slender figures. monsieur. well. “I thought I was the discoverer.” “Well. I should like to ask you.” “In truth. to be measured is a loss of time. I had an idea. And then. who know everything.” said Porthos. my friend. “at seeing Mouston get fat. who ought to have the compasses run into them.” “Ah! you see when a man is an engineer—” “And has fortified Belle-Isle—’tis natural. they find you too hollow. but for Mouston’s carelessness. In the first place. “And now I have received an explanation of how it is that doorways are made too narrow. who replied by a slight movement of his body. by means of substantial feeding.“Look here. nearly two thousand years ago. when we leave the measurer’s hands. my dear Porthos. “You will see whether I am at all to blame in all this. my friend. to make him stout—always in the hope that he would come to equal myself in girth. observe this phenomenon.” resumed D’Artagnan.” “What! my remark is not then original?” cried Porthos.” “Ah!” cried D’Artagnan. Costar. those doors. “were meant for gallants. too prominent. Confound it! either one is a nobleman or not. “but the architects were probably making their calculations on a basis of the probability of your marrying again. and it led us on to Madame du Vallon—” “Who was thin?” “Hum! Is it not marvelous?” “My dear friend. 25 .” answered D’Artagnan. But see how the two things apply to each other. as I once did myself. my friend.” “My friend. one may be travelling.” “I congratulated myself.

” “Ah! monsieur!” said Mouston. made Mouston post hither with my wardrobe. one covered all over with gold. pay your compliments. by seeing the rascal. quite the contrary. Porthos. in a waistcoat of mine. but he forgot to inform me that he had got stouter!” “But it was not my fault.” “How. a pattern of every fashion) to have a coat made for himself every month. The invitations are for Wednesday.” “Yes. It was exactly at that time—that is to say. that monsieur has always been very generous to me.” “A capital idea. with a gratified air.” “Ah! yes. and this is only Sunday morning. a fact of which I was well able to convince myself.” “I understand your difficulty. “Well. monsieur.” “’Twas only to try it on. It seems to me.“Wonderfully—but suppose we return to Mouston. nearly two years and a half ago—that I set out for Belle-Isle. or that I was deterred by the expense? But it wants only two days to the fete. “that the fellow in two years has gained eighteen inches in girth. and give the thirty-six to Mouston.” “But the rest. but Mouston is a foot and a half shorter than you.” “’Tis true. “Mouston fattened so well. You won’t leave for three days. and from now till the day after to-morrow. my dear friend. we have left him fattening under our very eyes. from a foot to a foot and a half. he never forgot to have his coats made. in every event. you must have a thirtyseventh made. instructing Mouston (so as always to have. Were I to put them on. I received the invitation yesterday. the mere embroidery of which was worth a hundred pistoles. there isn’t a single fashionable tailor who will undertake to make me a suit. Well. and as though I had been two years away from court.” “That is to say. but Aramis has strongly advised me to be at Vaux twenty-four hours beforehand.” “No. Porthos! Such a thing could happen only to you. we shall manage it. all over. that he gratified all my hopes.” said Mouston.” “And did Mouston neglect complying with your instructions? Ah! that was anything but right.” said Mouston. Mouston.” “What a marvelous man you are.” “Oh.” “Exactly! They measured him down to the ground. which he had turned into a coat—a waistcoat. and so my last dozen coats are all too large.” “And this to such an extent. by reaching my standard.” continued Porthos. those which were made when you were of the same size?” “They are no longer the fashion.” “Do you mean to insinuate that I hadn’t that idea. you have ample grounds to go upon. quite the contrary!” “No. and to have him measured instead of myself. “From that moment I determined to put Mouston in communication with my tailors. monsieur. “The truth is.” said Porthos. You have how many new suits? nine? thirty-six? and yet not one to wear. monsieur. monsieur! your tailor never told me. and the end of the skirt came just below my knee. Aramis?” 26 . isn’t it?” “I wish it so! undoubtedly. one day. I should look like a fresh arrival from Siam. and only this morning discovered my misfortune. monsieur.

from whose reign dated. He was a man of great taste in elegant stuffs. in those days. “when I think I shall have no clothes. seeing that they were marvelously well suited to hide certain anatomical defects. some beautiful black bodices. made.” he said. and so are you. too. Percerin?” “Who is M. but what would you have me do?” “Do? As others do. in sooth.” “Pooh! my agent has seen them all this morning. yes. on whom she had long looked with detestation. it was Aramis who brought me the invitation.” Porthos smiled triumphantly. Porthos. too? does he put up with it?” “The king is a beau. Honore. out of gratitude. Under Henry III. the beautiful Margot. which the Queen of Navarre used very studiously to conceal. embroideries. The preferment of his house reached as far back as the time of Charles IX. for Queen Catherine. occupied a rather large house in the Rue St. as we know. but you leave with M.” “Doubtless he will be. But Percerin was a very prudent man. I see. “Let us go to the king’s tailor. Who Messire Jean Percerin Was. The letter bears the following as large as life: ‘M. ah. I may do worse than allow him to measure me!” Chapter III. by Jove! I was afraid he would be too busy. and velvets. by my faith. put on one of your thirty-six suits.” cried Porthos. Fouquet?” “And when I think. gay king as he was. Percerin’s. as the king does. and come with me to a tailor. fancy in bravery difficult enough to gratify. Messire Jean Percerin. “to M. he speedily turned Catholic with all his family. dear friend. Porthos.” “What! do they measure the king. stamping on the floor. Percerin being saved. whatever you may say about it. my good friend. but now heard his name mentioned for the first time. as they used to write and say. Percerin?” “Oh! only the king’s tailor!” “Oh. le Baron du Vallon is informed that the king has condescended to place him on the invitation list—’” “Very good. I will manage it all. because. You are invited on the part of M. and having thus become irreproachable.” “Even M. being hereditary tailor to the king. like Ambrose Pare. near the Rue de l’Arbre Sec. who ended by being pleased at the preservation of a Huguenot people. and having observed that her smiles were more frequent than usual. he will do for me what he wouldn’t do for another. I think. Only you must allow yourself to be measured!” “Ah!” said Porthos. and having heard it said that there was no more dangerous sign for a Protestant than to be smiled up on by Catherine. he was the only one who could make for her those wonderful riding-habits which she so loved to wear. very inexpensively indeed.. too. and had been spared by the Queen of Navarre. with a sigh..” “Ah! to be sure. “’tis vexatious. who wished to appear to know the king’s tailor.” said Porthos. but be at ease. this position was a grand as the height of one of the loftiest peaks of 27 . The Percerin of that period was a Huguenot. “and since he measures the king. Fouquet?” “By no means! by the king. The king’s tailor. I am ready to burst with rage! I should like to strangle somebody or smash something!” “Neither strangle anybody nor smash anything. attained the lofty position of master tailor to the Crown of France.“Yes.

Percerin’s workshop. that he was positively brittle. that king of fops. invented that admirable Spanish costume. that if he is wanting in respect I will infallibly chastise him. and versed in state secrets. in exchange for Percerin supplying him with a full suit of ceremonial vestments as cardinal. and that at the very moment he felt his powers of invention declining. and that the superintendent highly esteemed him.” “And then?” “The fellow refused to supply me. it was. Louis XIII. I expect. intangible ideas. Porthos?” “I think that I once sent Mouston to a fellow of that name. and so contrived to die very skillfully. a M. He worked for MM. de Beaufort. both worthy of the name they were called upon to bear. he never succeeded in fitting M. He left a son and a daughter. under a sort of patronage.” We need scarcely say that Percerin was M. touched to the quick in his patriotism and his self-esteem. he could mount a mantle for Monsieur. a cutter as unerring and exact as the square rule. made difficulties about obliging any fresh ones. de Bassompiere. contrary to the rule of dynasties. apt at embroidery. the clock of a stocking for Madame. had the generosity to bear no malice to his tailor. M. “you have nothing to fear. famous and wealthy.. one of whom made his debut at the marriage of Anne of Austria. Colbert. And thus Percerin the third had attained the summit of his glory when his father died.” “Presented by me. and the exquisite court-mourning for the afore-mentioned queen. It is easy to see at once that a tailor of such renown. entirely defeated these foreigners. A story used to circulate that even M.the Cordilleras. Fouquet’s tailor. who. and his wife Galligai. And so Percerin declined to fit bourgeois.. and thus wore a doublet of his on the very day that Vitry blew out his brains with a pistol at the Pont du Louvre. His renown and his fortune were great enough for M. or those who had but recently obtained patents of nobility. unless paid for the former order. and by special authority from Louis XIV. but the second never. the courtiers used to say. Concino Concini. took very good care not to make a bad death of it. and that so well that Concino was the first to give up his compatriots. king of the beaux of the period. my good D’Artagnan. Now Percerin had been a clever man all his life. Great geniuses of every kind live on unseen. At the time that Louis the Just afforded this great example of equity. le Prince. and to retain him in his service. and at the same time so dry. The marriage of Henry IV. de Cinq-Mars. which was a great cause of sorrow to him. be very impertinent. but Percerin. and for those least eager to pay never to dare to leave their accounts in arrear with him.. This same Percerin III. the last of the Percerins who deserved the name of Great). seeing that with himself his dynasty would end. together with a few words let fall by M. Percerin was nearly eighty years old. “That man. a pack of hounds. he could never hit off anything approaching a creditable fit for M. “is beyond my art. yet further dressed Louis XIV. and having no son. in spite of his supreme talent. Notwithstanding the favor Concino Concini had shown Percerin. and introduced some Florentine tailors. for I give you notice. but politic man as he was. a M. even though you were what you are not. The great Percerin (for. A man becomes easily notable who has made the dresses of a Duke of Buckingham.” “Oh. menservants the tallest in Paris. de Mazarin. old. and a Marion de Lorme. who subsequently shone at the French court. for Master Percerin would for the first time make clothes upon credit. and held the French tailor in such esteem that he would never employ any other. the daughter. Percerin had brought up two sons. a misunderstanding. they act without themselves knowing why. who will. one fine day slipped letters of nobility into his pocket. nevertheless still fresh. He possessed a carriage. the great Percerin was inspired when he cut a robe for the queen.. “Take care.” replied D’Artagnan. de Lyonne and Letellier. made the fortune of the second generation of Percerins. which it will be now exceedingly easy to set right. as they were going along.” and stitched on to Buckingham’s mantle those famous pearls which were destined to be scattered about the pavements of the Louvre. a Mademoiselle Ninon. but. to take his arm when talking over the fashions. M. he had brought up several hopeful pupils. not to compromise the dignity of a man such as I am with the arrogance of this Percerin. which the Parisians rejoiced in hacking into so many pieces with the living human body it contained. and Marie de Medici.” he used often to say. it is a matter for guessing or for intuition. my needle can never dot him down. or a coat for the king. This is beyond explanation. the king. in which Richelieu danced a saraband. and at designing ornaments. a country house. and by way of keeping up his reputation beyond the grave. And so it was a doublet issuing from M. Colbert.” “Ah! ‘tis because—” “What? Have you anything against Percerin. above all. said to his friend.” 28 . Mouston must have made a mistake. It was to the house of this grand llama of tailors that D’Artagnan took the despairing Porthos. instead of running after customers. no doubt. the son. my friend. made the costumes for the tragedy of “Mirame. sought to Italianize the fashion.

I do look. and you told me the house was at the corner of the Rue de l’Arbre Sec.” “Very good.“Perhaps. Percerin was engaged on five costumes for the king.” said Porthos. and cut of these five suits. while a servant. and did their best.” and was let in with his friend. indeed. D’Artagnan. want our horses to clamber up on the roof of the carriage in front of us?” “No. was explaining to the illustrious customers of the illustrious tailor that just then M. pass through the footmen and lackeys.” “Possibly. Porthos.” “’Tis true. then?” “Get down.” “He has confused the names. The cause of the confusion was that M. Percerin could not receive anybody. here we are. Some. That rascal Mouston never can remember names.” “No.” “And we are going to wait too?” “Oh. They accordingly alighted and made their way on foot towards the establishment.” “Bah! Have the comedians of the Hotel de Bourgogne shifted their quarters?” “No. and that. in confidence. who scattered the groups of people right and left. contented with this reason. but look. but D’Artagnan. went away again. you are right. if you go first. It was bruited about outside still. more tenacious. contented to repeat the tale to others. we shall show ourselves prompter and not so proud. then.) The poor fellows had enough to do. Percerin’s doors were closed.” “What are we to do. which I will answer for our doing.” “Come along. standing before them. to 29 . he was meditating in his office on the ornaments. and among these last three Blue Ribbons. owing to the urgency of the case.” “Well. on the authority of what the great lackey had told some great noble whom he favored. (We forgot to mention that at the door they wanted to put off Porthos like the rest.” “Stop the carriage. and enter the tailor’s house. succeeded in gaining the counter.” “Nor the carriage in front of us to mount on top of the one in front of it. colors. What a number of people! And what are they all about?” “’Tis very simple. pronounced merely these words.” “Here! how here? We are at the Halles. They are waiting their turn. behind which the journeyman tailors were doing their best to answer queries. that M. Percerin’s house. pushing on Porthos. I suppose. and I see—” “What?” “Pardieu! that we are at the Halles!” “You do not. their turn to obtain an entrance to M.” “I will take it all upon myself. insisted on having the doors opened. showing himself. which would inevitably fail unless the said three had their costumes shaped by the very hand of the great Percerin himself. intended to take parts in a ballet. Nor that the second should be driven over the roofs of the thirty or forty others which have arrived before us. but others. “The king’s order.

is it not so?” “Alas! no.” “Oh! willingly. leaving off drawing a stitch to knit a sentence. Only—” “Only that one can’t enter it?” “Unapproachable. It was this action. who were not close observers. to take him for a mere tailor’s apprentice. This man. If so. is it not?” “Yes. the gentleman who had pulled down his hat produced an effect entirely different from what he had desired. perched behind the board. Only on perceiving. “you will make them recognize me. He brought me here so that I might be at my ease to make my observations.” Moliere fixed upon Porthos one of those looks which penetrate the minds and hearts of men. and he saw at once that if this man was working at anything.” “Well. perhaps. and his hair evenly cut enough for customers. He was looking at D’Artagnan and the rest. that you tell me where M. and carefully stitching cloth or velvet. softly. there is no harm. in the tone of a courageous dog. and soft luminous eyes.” “Thank you.” “Well. Monsieur Moliere. in his own room. I quite understand the interest you take in the plates—I will not disturb your studies. Percerin really is. my dear Moliere.” “But on one condition. and when wounded pride. Monsieur Moliere!” “Hush. He was about forty years of age. took it all in at a glance. D’Artagnan was not deceived. with a melancholy aspect. 30 .” “I!” exclaimed Moliere. Nevertheless. from which you snatch the bone it has legitimately gained. like a calm and inquiring amateur. with his chin resting upon his hand. “I disturb myself! Ah! Monsieur d’Artagnan. “and so you have become a tailor’s boy. d’Artagnan!” replied the man. but you will go and tell him I am here.” said D’Artagnan.” “For everybody?” “Everybody. “Eh!” said he. addressing this man. The subject doubtless appeared a very promising one. in a low tone.—not he. seated upon a stool. how hard you are upon me!” “If you don’t go directly and tell M. for he immediately rose and led the way into the adjoining chamber. my dear Monsieur Moliere. our captain. this man held up his head too often to be very productively employed with his fingers. The line of discontented lords formed a truly remarkable picture. that attracted D’Artagnan’s attention. M. he pulled his hat down over his eyes.” “Go on—go on. but—” “You were going to say there is no good in doing it either.reply to the demands of the customers in the absence of their master. a man of sure and rapid observation. it certainly was not at velvet. scarcely showed his head above the counter that sheltered him. pale face.” Moliere indicated Porthos by an imperceptible gesture. Our captain of musketeers. or disappointed expectation. his eye rested on a man in front of him. and having run over the groups. In other respects his costume was plain. Percerin that I am here. “This gentleman. and then he went away. he who was attacked made a dive and disappeared under the counter. and doubtless recognizing. for I was occupied in examining some excellent figures. and what harm?” “The fact is. “I warn you of one thing: that I won’t exhibit to you the friend I have brought with me. brought down upon them too cutting a rebuke.

The old man. on the king’s costumes. “I will attend to monsieur. During all this time the noble mob was slowly heaving away. “The captain of the king’s musketeers will excuse me. “My dear M. I know.” interposed D’Artagnan. by no means radiant with joy.” “Come.” “Three or five. who. “Very likely. 31 . an ominous sign indeed in old men blanched by age. introduced him to M. Monsieur Percerin. crossly.” said Percerin. The Patterns. discontentedly. they tell me. with his sleeves turned up. Fouquet’s. bah! there are two days yet. as the waves leave foam or scattered seaweed on the sands. and I know that you will make them most exquisitely.” Percerin turned crimson. I know that. from his first entry into the room.” “Ah! ah!” exclaimed the tailor. and by no means courteous. my dear Monsieur Percerin. “M. which will bring you on your knees. “A very good friend of mine. come. my dear monsieur. when they retire with the ebbing tide.” returned Porthos.” “Oh.” “Yes. captain. Perceiving D’Artagnan. five. but. but D’Artagnan did not pay the least attention to the airs which the illustrious tailor began to assume.” Then turning to Porthos. I am pressed for time.” concluded D’Artagnan. take it altogether. I do not deny it.” said Percerin. sententiously.” “Five.” “You have already told my valet as much.” continued D’Artagnan. monsieur is not only a friend of mine. In about ten minutes Moliere reappeared. leaving at every angle of the counter either a murmur or a menace. he put the silk aside. but that they may be the most beautiful in the word. I am sure. Percerin’s room. even in his whims. Percerin attempted a bow. in a tolerably civil manner. Once made they will be the most beautiful in the world. in the coolest possible manner. my dear sir. for I am engaged.” “My friend. “I bring you a customer.” he continued. Percerin raised his head with the air of a man little accustomed to be contradicted. a friend of M. “you are not in a good temper to-day. had been regarding the tailor askance. so as the better to exhibit its luster. “I am nearly always pushed for time. I will say one more word to you. ‘tis much more than you require. “there is always time to be found when one chooses to seek it. which found no favor in the eyes of the terrible Porthos. and came to meet him. with Porthos in the rear. le Baron du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds. You are making three. and to do this. “Monsieur le baron is attached to the superintendent?” he inquired. and after threading a labyrinth of corridors. “but later.” broke in Porthos.” “Eh! yes. making another sign to D’Artagnan from under the hangings. ‘tis all the same to me. Percerin.” “Later? but when?” “When I have time. was gathering up in folds a piece of gold-flowered brocade. they must first be made. but more. “Monsieur is quite at liberty to confer his custom elsewhere.” said D’Artagnan.Chapter IV.” “Ah! ah!” exclaimed Percerin. The latter hurried after him. Well. Percerin. “that is another thing.

” It appeared that Aramis had over Master Percerin an influence superior even to D’Artagnan’s.” said Moliere.” “Oh!” said Porthos.” Moliere had no need of encouragement. in an undertone. my friend?” “I say that they shall apply neither line nor rule to the seams of your dress. It is a new method we have invented for measuring people of quality. because the dress is wanted for the fete at Vaux. and turning round upon Porthos. Why? From curiosity. “Come.” murmured D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan saw the storm coming. Master Aristophanes. a silvery voice which made D’Artagnan prick up his ears. and you shall have the benefit of our invention.” Porthos colored in a formidable manner. is as much as to refuse. “Monsieur. captain. Porthos swore. “if you will come with me. a man who considers himself disgraced. who are too sensitive to allow low-born fellows to touch them. come. then. a proceeding which appeared 32 .” returned the obstinate old man. said to him. “Aramis. and his gaze dwelt long and keenly on the Baron Porthos. D’Artagnan drew near the bishop of Vannes. dear Monsieur Percerin. “By no means. good morning. good-morning. “You see before you. Porthos and Moliere left together: D’Artagnan remained with Percerin. so as not to lose the conclusion of a scene well begun. “how do you make that out.” said Aramis.“I am attached to myself. “Monsieur d’Herblay!” cried the tailor. As Moliere and Porthos disappeared.” “But how in the world can it be done?” asked Porthos. if you measure the flesh and bones that Heaven has given him.” And he accompanied the words with a sign. I will make them take your measure without touching you. that is a capital and most consolatory coincidence. Aramis deceived himself.” said a mild voice at the door. said. at the very moment that the tapestry was raised to introduce a new speaker in the dialogue. clear-sighted as he was. ‘Tis I who ask you. “My dear Percerin.” said D’Artagnan. wounds the natural dignity of a man. M. which seemed to say.” “To you I will not say nay. Percerin.” “That. my dear monsieur. It was the voice of Aramis. “Good morning. doubtless.” “I repeat that it is impossible. above all if I ask you. Porthos. bowing.” he said. make the baron’s dress. and addressing Moliere. probably to enjoy a little longer the society of his good friend Aramis. my dear friends. you will make it for him at once. Fouquet. Moliere was all observation. Perhaps he fancied from D’Artagnan’s liveliness that he would leave with Porthos. as I think. “Go and get measured on the other side. D’Artagnan laughed. you will see. for the tailor bowed in assent. and profit by it. “if you will deign to follow me.” Aramis observed this scene with all his eyes.” “But that is not all. “Monsieur. But. and dismiss them. D’Artagnan.” shouted Porthos. We know some susceptible persons who will not put up with being measured. a process which. “Agree.” “’Tis impossible within eight days. “you will make a dress for the baron. and if perchance monsieur should be one of these—” “Corboeuf! I believe I am too!” “Well. delighted. “Ah! our bishop!” said Porthos. study this type for me. and I will answer for it you will gratify M.

“but not for you. and enroll them in a regiment for the king. even the most apparently trivial. Fouquet’s painters.” said Aramis. well dissembled as it was. and pressed him. Lebrun. dear D’Artagnan. an unknown one. “Stay. “A dress for you. of which La Fontaine. Yes. indeed. M. imparting to his voice an evident tone of curiosity. Is it not a kind of poetical society. even less deceived this time than before. Aramis—” “No. by all means.” said he. that a poor bishop of Vannes is not rich enough to have new dresses for every fete. “An Epicurean’s dress?” asked D’Artagnan. You forget. D’Artagnan.” said Aramis. certainly. my dear D’Artagnan?” “Ah! ah!” murmured the musketeer. near hand. either?” “Oh! D’Artagnan. Aramis roused him violently.—”I am even very happy that you are here.” “True.” exclaimed Aramis. have you not?” “Undoubtedly. “that we are greatly boring this good gentleman. in a tone of inquiry. however?” “I shall go.particularly to disconcert him. Fouquet’s Epicureans.” said he. But. friend. On his part. for the third time.” “Ah. the musketeer felt must be important. Percerin? Why did you not tell me so at once?” “Something particular. only half convinced. is it not.” exclaimed the Gascon. And while saying this.” 33 . “it is written that our dear D’Artagnan shall know all our secrets this evening. aside. in that impenetrable mind.” Then aloud. “My dear Percerin. not I—I wished—” “Ah! you had something particular to say to M. and he knew that.” he said. “My dear Percerin. “No. let us leave.” “Bah!” said the musketeer. Aramis saw that D’Artagnan was not without suspicion. and which holds its sittings at Saint-Mande?” “Exactly so. Loret. by snatching from his hands the stuff upon which he was engaged. every thing. “And you wish that I should make him a dress.” repeated D’Artagnan.” said he.” “Oh. and if you are as disengaged as I. in an absent manner. “and do we write no more poems now. I am boring you. “Well. As for Percerin. “I have long ago given up all such tomfoolery. one of M. at the same time. I hope you will believe that I can never have anything so particular to say that a friend like you may not hear it. with a most engaging smile. but without a new dress. no. “this is what it is. from the knowledge he had of his friend’s character. for Aramis’s annoyance. very good. smiling. similar to those of the Epicureans?” answered Percerin. was designed to some end. “that is. no! I am going. Percerin never moved. D’Artagnan. who seemed to be occupied with an engraving of Mark Antony.” said D’Artagnan. “You will go to Vaux. he was once more absorbed in contemplation of the brocades. “I have. had not a whit escaped him. then. laughing. Pelisson. Well. we are going to put our poets in uniform. you have surely heard speak of M. and Moliere are members. but an end that.” thought D’Artagnan. the worthy tailor endeavored to recapture his piece of brocade. “I see.” “Oh. I have no further business here. “Don’t you perceive. “but why Lebrun?” Aramis looked at D’Artagnan.” Then turning towards the tailor. my friend. also. my friend?” Aramis smiled.” repeated Aramis.

on reflection. come in. “But. Fouquet give the king a fete?—Is it not to please him?” “Assuredly. now. “you are making five dresses for the king.” as is said in theatrical matters. not because he found the matter so “very funny. M. opening a side-door with his right hand.” continued Aramis.” “Yes. Mademoiselle de la Valliere. are you not? One in brocade. one in huntingcloth. Lebrun here is a man who draws most excellently. one in satin.” said Aramis. dear Percerin. promenade and reception. one in velvet. then.” said Percerin. and observed that his dresses were highly elaborated. is the color of the materials and nature of the ornaments. “I have seen his pictures. “By delicate attentions? by some happy device? by a succession of surprises. Aramis took an “opportunity. “that is precisely what I have come to ask you. then aloud.” quoth Percerin. and one in Florentine stuffs. will tell you that I could not do otherwise than ask you this. monseigneur—prince of the church though you are—what nobody will know—what only the king. so monstrous to M. the finish of it all!” “Well. so ridiculous. D’Artagnan followed his example. Monsieur Lebrun has nothing to do with this part of it. do I not?” said Aramis. and finished with a shout. am quite in the dark. perceiving with his wonderful instinct that they had only been skirmishing till now. if that is the secret about M. a surprise M. so exaggerated. my friend. astounded.” “Always agreeable. M. and that the hour of battle was approaching. monseigneur?” said Percerin. these five kinds of dress are required by etiquette. my dear monsieur. “Come in. The request appeared. concert. Be at ease. a banquet. de Percerin. who is incarnate wisdom itself. the secret which concerns him is far more important than the other. “It is all very simple.” said Percerin. Percerin that first he laughed to himself. Lebrun. “what you do not know. this is the surprise we intend.” “Admirable.” “Yes. “Let us see.” said Aramis. I will not mention it. but how—do you know all that. Lebrun. in triumph. “does M. or an original one. very well.” “Ah. No. though Aramis had pronounced these words in his softest and most honeyed tones. incredulously. “Why. making a show of departure. like that of which we were talking?—the enrolment of our Epicureans. if it is so important as all that. That is why I at once agreed to make him a costume—whether to agree with those of the Epicureans. and the cut. Fouquet is getting up for the king. “At the outset.” muttered D’Artagnan.” Aramis continued.” cried the tailor. bah!” exclaimed the tailor.” but in order not to allow Aramis to cool. “But D’Artagnan. there will be a hunt. D’Artagnan nodded assent. I prefer not to know it.” “Let us see.” “You know everything.” said Percerin. “I’faith. “My dear M.” “Then.” said D’Artagnan. and myself do know.” “Well.“Oh.” 34 . I too. terrified.” said the attentive musketeer. the ensemble. I appear to be hazarding an absurd question. monseigneur!” “And a thing or two in addition. I understand. and holding back D’Artagnan with his left.

“Yes. so many strange and startling aspects wore the proposal which Aramis had just hazarded. monseigneur. “I to oppose the desire.” he said.” “Well.” replied the bishop. my dear Lebrun.” Then scanning Percerin. rather troubled. “either mine or M.’” continued Aramis. I call the captain of the musketeers to witness it! Is it not true. the fifth being still in the workmen’s hands. had been given to Percerin II. Aramis.” he asked. M.’—you understand. “what do you say to this?” “I say.” Percerin made a bound backwards. terrified at the responsibility which would weigh upon him. doubtless. I had intended to present your majesty with your portrait. The painter set to work to draw and then to paint the dresses. ‘tis not I who said it. “your colors will deceive you. yes. “Help me now. D’Artagnan. M. and on canvas we shall lack that exact resemblance which is absolutely requisite. you will agree with me. but of those you are making for the king. we accept your offer. although creditable. A noble spirit.” “What! you do not understand that M. your grace is mad!” cried the poor tailor in extremity.” said Percerin. monseigneur. that these are M. slightly exaggerated perhaps. be a very pretty compliment to pay the young prince. more and more calm and smiling. Fouquet when he is seeking to please the king! Oh. and I shall always esteem him. indeed. but owing to a feeling of delicacy. “’I shall be compelled to say to the king. but just now.” Nevertheless Lebrun went on copying the materials and ornaments with the closest fidelity—a process which Aramis watched with 35 . I know well—and I by no means count upon compelling you. that—” “That you are. “It would. “but as the surintendant told me. you dread appearing to flatter the king. which. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “Well.”’” “Opposed!” cried the tailor. “The king’s dresses! Give the king’s dresses to any mortal whatever! Oh! for once. my dear Aramis.” “Then the affair will fail. for you understand. Time is necessary for attentively observing the finer shades. my dear Monsieur Percerin. and on that head. that I have opposed nothing?” D’Artagnan made a sign indicating that he wished to remain neutral.” “Quite true. Lebrun is not in want of the dresses you will make for himself. so plausible was this reasoning. only—’” “’Only?’” repeated Percerin.“My dear monsieur. after the discomfiture of the Italian tailors ruined in their competition. Percerin. and shall presently avail ourselves of it. “I think you have not quite got it. “but time is wanting. Oppose! Oh. what a hateful word you have uttered. a noble spirit!” The tailor stammered. I even understand all the delicacy you feel in taking up with M. Monsieur Percerin. “Help me now to persuade monsieur. ought to be dressed exactly as the king will be on the day it is shown?” “Oh! yes.” said the musketeer. goaded by the idea that the king was to be told he stood in the way of a pleasant surprise. the will of M. after noticing D’Artagnan’s hesitation. I will wager it is one of your own. but in the meanwhile wished to keep clear. whether comedy or tragedy. “and that because of a want of precision in the colors. did not consider overdone. Fouquet wishes to afford the king the surprise of finding his portrait on his arrival at Vaux. he was at his wit’s end at not being able to fathom it. had offered Lebrun a chair. I declare. “Sire. monseigneur. suddenly stopped him. “’Only. by Marshal d’Onore. and these masterpieces he successively fitted upon four lay figures. quietly. M. Percerin opposed the project. But already Percerin. and proceeded to bring from a wardrobe four magnificent dresses. it is a happy idea.—’I shall be constrained to say to the king. who was closely watching all the phases of his toil. I don’t know.” said Aramis. do you not?” “Eh! eh!—not exactly. Fouquet’s words. you are right. I can do nothing. He felt that there was an intrigue at the bottom of it. tell him that it will not at all lower him in my opinion. ‘if Percerin refuse. which D’Artagnan—calmest and most appreciative of men. Fouquet’s idea.” said Aramis. Fouquet’s. But Aramis. Heaven have mercy on me.” continued Aramis. free to refuse. I will say more. my dear monsieur. imported into France in the time of Concini. which be a striking resemblance. and that the portrait. nearly convinced.

and duped. or a disappointed Porthos. and a better light—” “Oh. ‘tis time I left this place. smiling. and with time.” Lebrun packed up his paints and brushes. I will not be your accomplice.” said Aramis: “M. Lebrun. is the meaning of this imbroglio?” the musketeer kept saying to himself. they want a pattern of each of the materials. Probably. are you going to take this gentleman to Saint-Mande?” “Yes. in a low voice. “If I am your dupe. “adieu. Moliere Obtained His First Idea of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme. M. always your friend.” “Then wait for me. Mordioux! Will this Percerin give in now?” Percerin. which lost itself in the gigantic clasp of his old friend. Chapter V. “What in the world. my dear Porthos. who was looking upon him with a species of idolatry. Aramis put his hand on his pocket to assure himself the patterns were secure. Aramis. and as a man would who had not only never seen anything greater. pocketing the patterns. I am going to rejoin Porthos. “will you come with me to Saint-Mande?” “I will go anywhere you like. is it not?” said Aramis to D’Artagnan. and chattering with Moliere. consequently. an idea! If we had a pattern of the materials. “this ought to be the knotty point of the whole thing.ill-concealed impatience. Lebrun. Where.—an operation which Aramis never hazarded without a certain uneasiness. but no longer an irritated Porthos. moreover. “I like this better. “my opinion is that you are always the same. That is your opinion. monsieur.” said Aramis.—and they all left the study.” said Aramis. and to prevent it. then. now. “I would answer for the effect.” “Good!” said D’Artagnan.” answered Moliere. monsieur. close your box. Aramis. but Porthos radiant.” said D’Artagnan. “What. “Well.” he added aloud. “My dear Aramis. double Jesuit that you are.—Adieu. but not even ever anything so great. the bishop of Vannes passed over to Moliere.” continued D’Artagnan. blooming. monseigneur. yes. Aramis went straight up to Porthos and offered him his white hand. Percerin put back the dresses into the closet.” cried Lebrun.” “In what way?” asked Porthos.” “An idea. But the friendly pressure having been performed not too painfully for him. and shall be glad to say a parting word to our dear old friend. “That will never do. “the light is abominable here. “Yes.” said D’Artagnan. Moliere is not altogether what he seems.” said the bishop in a charming tone.” said he.” “But. “for I have done. 36 . “our work is pressing. cut out five patterns and handed them to the bishop of Vannes.” “And besides. then.” “And. aloud. beaten from his last retreat. “M.” cried the vexed painter. D’Artagnan found Porthos in the adjoining chamber. for example. “To Saint-Mande!” cried Porthos. fascinating. and roll up your canvas. surprised at seeing the proud bishop of Vannes fraternizing with a journeyman tailor. by the feigned good-nature of Aramis.

What annoyance and humiliation they would have spared me!” “Not to mention of the costumes.” “You will have your dress the day after to-morrow. is this M. “Yes. my dear Porthos.” answered Moliere. enthusiastically. he has done that which no tailor ever yet accomplished: he has taken my measure without touching me!” “Ah.” replied Porthos. “Yes. or at the very least a great tailor. then. if you have done with M. my dear Porthos. my friend! done for me!” cried Porthos. “that is.” “Yes.” “We have finished. they went.“Why.” 37 . thirty dresses.” concluded Porthos. “above all. “Completely so. monsieur. Moliere. what has he done for you?” “My friend.” said Aramis. “And you are satisfied?” asked D’Artagnan. monsieur. monsieur le baron.” said Moliere.” “Come. Moliere took his leave of Porthos with much ceremony. I’faith.” “What did he do. then. and is expected at Saint-Mande to try on the dresses which M.” “Well. and grasped the hand which the captain of the musketeers furtively offered him. of all heights and sizes. be exact. for a number of lay figures. I ask you.” replied Porthos. then?” “Oh! it is a very simple matter. “Pray. and a half foot too narrow in the chest. but the largest—that of the drum-major of the Swiss guard—was two inches too short.” he asked. or Poquelin. du Vallon.” “’Tis precisely so. “What has this tailor done for you. my dear Porthos. this gentleman is one of M. taking Porthos’s arm. Percerin’s chief clerks.” “Yes. hoping there would be one to suit mine. come. Fouquet has ordered for the Epicureans. “that you are so pleased with him?” “What has he done for me. Moliere’s plan. mincingly. Then D’Artagnan.” “First. but he is a great man. do you? I shall make a point of recollecting his name. He was not at all put at fault by the circumstance. D’Artagnan. And he left with Aramis. I don’t know where. my dear M.” “Indeed!” “It is exactly as I tell you.” “Moliere? You call him so. tell me M. ‘tis an unheard-of thing that people should have been so stupid as not to have discovered this method from the first. Moliere. bah! tell me how he did it. if you prefer that.

Aramis and I had to use such words in our strategic studies and castramentative experiments.” “Then. it is. it is the very glass in which the king is used to look to see himself. I am very ticklish. or in a troublesome position.” said D’Artagnan. and its breadth of three similar parallelograms in juxtaposition.’ said I to him. which I thought admirable: ‘It is advisable that a dress should not incommode its wearer. “you saw yourself in the glass. Moliere’s plan?” “’Tis this: instead of pulling me to pieces.“No. a cunning way of flattering the king. with his soft voice (for he is a courteous fellow. ‘that your dress may fit you well. “’Monsieur. as though the sesquipedalian syllables had knocked the breath out of his body. as all these rascals do—of making me bend my back.’ But he. I know not how that may be.” “Oh. no doubt. but where did they find one in which you could see your whole figure?” “My good friend. ‘what you are going to do with me. ‘Monsieur. and as I have one at Pierrefonds—” “Capital!” returned D’Artagnan. I shall think of voliere [an aviary]. We shall take the measure of this reflection. Moliere set to work tracing out lines on the mirror. Do me the pleasure to draw near this glass. Where in the word did you acquire such a voluminous vocabulary?” “At Belle-Isle. we must admit. placed one above another. “that is an excellent maxim. my friend). Porthos! what excellent words you have command of.’ continued M. my dear friend. ‘Tis true that its height was made up of three Venetian plates of glass.’ he said to me. I warn you. I must own I did not exactly understand what this good M. my friend. Let us return to the looking-glass. but the king is a foot and a half shorter than you are.” “Yes—Moliere—you are right. Voliere—” 38 . following in all the make of my arms and my shoulders. when he expatiated upon it. Your figure is exactly reflected in this mirror.’ said he. seldom carried out in practice.” “Moliere!” “Ah! yes. all the while expounding this maxim. in awkward circumstances.” “Ah! he expatiated?” “Parbleu!” “Let me hear his theory. And as the fear of being measured still possessed me.” continued Porthos. “’a gentleman ought to measure himself. but the looking-glass was too large for me.” said D’Artagnan. This excellent M. “And M.” D’Artagnan recoiled. ‘one may.’” “In fact. ‘Take care. You will see now.” “Ah! well. unfortunately. that I shall recollect his name quite well. Voliere wanted with me.’ he continued. it must be made according to your figure.’” “In reality. with a piece of Spanish chalk. and not desire to take one’s doublet off—’” “True. Moliere—Moliere.” said D’Artagnan. this good M. I like Moliere best. Voliere—” “Moliere. he with his soft voice.” “That is why I found it all the more astonishing.” “Yes. “’And so. have one’s doublet on one’s shoulder. When I wish to recollect his name. and double my joints—all of them low and dishonorable practices—” D’Artagnan made a sign of approbation with his head.” “’Seeing that. “Ah! very good. which is.’ and I drew near the glass.

the ruffle drooping. my friend. What do you do?’ “’I take it off. securely covered my wrist with the elbow. “’Well. ‘Keep your position. and my wrist curved.” “You have said the very word. yes. monsieur. the forearm gracefully bent.” “What did I say.” “I beg your pardon—Poquelin.“Moliere.’ pursued he.” “Moliere. nard into lin.’ said he. he calls himself Poquelin. then?” “You said Coquelin.” 39 .’ he replied. “Go on.” said D’Artagnan. that two panes of glass burst out of the window.” “And change Coc into Poc. “’How no?’ “’I say that the dress should be so well made. and instead of Coquenard I shall have Poquelin.” “’Tis wonderful. does he not?” “Yes.” “If I were to call to mind Madame Coquenard. prefer to call him—what did you say his other name was?” “Poquelin. Moliere.” cried D’Artagnan. even in drawing your sword. “’’Tis nothing.” “I prefer to call him Poquelin.’ “I raised my left arm in the air.” “Hold! I should certainly. dear friend. after all. nothing.” “And how will you remember this name better than the other?” “You understand. ah!’ “’Throw yourself on guard. “’tis the true guard—the academic guard. astounded. ‘you want to draw your sword. Voliere—” “Moliere. while my right arm. and you have your doublet on your back.’ “’Ah. that it will in no way encumber you.’ I answered. ‘And so.” “Yes.” “Good.’ went on M. In the meanwhile.” “This Coquelin sketched my arm on the glass. and my breast with the wrist. no. I am listening to you with admiration. half extended. “I did it with such wondrous firmness.

” “’Twas delicate in him. no.” “’Does it weary you?’ he asked. I think. that I must have been looking particularly handsome.” “Yes. while the other.” Porthos smiled. This Poquelin.” “So that you were at rest?” asked D’Artagnan. and Pocquenard drew me on the glass. I think.’ I answered.” “Oh. but he took his time over it. Stay. bending a little in my hands. but I have.“Ah! true. that is true.’ I replied.’ said he. The garcon complied. “’A little. I greatly deceive myself. my man. “Perfectly.’ “’Very good. my friend.” “I much like the plan.” “’Another.” “Poquelin—you are right. ‘Support monsieur by the waist. sketched my arm on the glass. ‘but I could hold out for an hour or so longer. and we shall assuredly see the scene hit off to the life in some comedy or other. ‘there is. men supported those of the prophet.” interrupted D’Artagnan. who said afterwards to himself. “Then.’” “The distinction is full of the soundest sense. a great difference between being supported and being measured. The fact is.’ said I.” “And there it ended?” “Without a soul having touched me. it is respectful.” “Except the three garcons who supported you. one supported my left arm. decidedly I prefer calling him Voliere. But what is this last piece of luck that has befallen you?’ 40 .” continued Porthos.” “’Tis true.” “Doubtless. and then it was over. “’That will not be humiliating to you?’ “’My friend. with infinite address. then. my friend. the willing fellows will make it a duty to support your arms.” “Poquelin. already explained to you the difference there is between supporting and measuring. supported my right. “What are you laughing at?” asked D’Artagnan. he kept looking at me a good deal. I was laughing over my good fortune. or I have been the means of a good windfall to that rascal Moliere. I don’t know a happier man than you. as of old.’ cried he.” answered D’Artagnan. I will not allow it. wasn’t it?” “During that time Voliere drew me as I appeared in the mirror. “he made a sign: two lads approached. “Must I confess? Well. and keeps every one in his place.’ “’No. “I’faith. A third approached.

does not surprise me. Chapter VI. no. crossly said. congratulate me. “Yes. the Bees. during the fete at Vaux. D’Artagnan and Porthos quitted M. one cannot talk of wheel-ruts when celebrating the delights of Vaux.” “What rhyme do you want?” asked the Fabler as Madame de Sevigne used to call him. “I want a rhyme to lumiere. and at knowing where to find his original again. supply me with a rhyme. it will. comtes. All the first story of the left wing was occupied by the most celebrated Epicureans in Paris. Well. unbearable dreamer. whenever he should desire to convert his sketch into a picture.” said D’Artagnan. indeed? I believe you. “Voliere. like the bees in their cells. who kept buzzing and humming at everybody’s elbow a thousand poetic abstractions.” “It seems that I am the first who has had his measure taken in that manner. absent-minded. and those on the freest footing in the house—every one in his compartment. this.” “It will be of great use to him by and by. Certain signs of intelligence which passed between Voliere and the other garcons showed me the fact. and that in the highest degree. “At least. on the other hand.” said Loret. was engaged in drawing out the plan of the prologue to the “Facheux.” “Are you so sure of it?’ “Nearly so. as D’Artagnan called him. raising his head. with all the charming innocence of a gazetteer. in order to look after Moliere and Aramis at Saint-Mande. that the latter. and marquises—according to their measure. boring. that does not surprise me from Moliere. de Percerin’s house and rejoined their carriages. neither the application nor depth of which we shall discuss. “What! doesn’t rhyme!” cried La Fontaine. “Besides.” “Orniere. I was saying. returned to Saint-Mande in no very good humor.“Well. as for me.” answered Pelisson. no. my friend. Loret. but. but.” “I desire nothing better. before those fetes had taken place. He so often disturbed Pelisson.” “Oh. in surprise. it doesn’t rhyme. I am sure.—for you see my friend Moliere is of all known tailors the man who best clothes our barons. Moliere. La Fontaine sauntered about from one to the other. Fouquet proposed to offer his majesty Louis XIV. Percerin’s. The Bee-Hive. my dear fellow.” On this observation.” a comedy in three acts. You rhyme in a slovenly manner. much annoyed at having met D’Artagnan at M. wherein we will leave them. quite delighted at having made such a capital rough sketch. I shall continued to say Moliere. or Coquelin de Voliere.—a habit which will ever prevent your becoming a poet of the first order.” answered La Fontaine. employed in producing the honey intended for that royal cake which M.—the gazetteers of all ages have always been so artless!—Loret was composing an account of the fetes at Vaux. and the Honey. coming from Moliere. as Porthos styled him. which was to be put on the stage by Poquelin de Moliere.” 41 . my friend. my good friend. his head leaning on his hand.” “Won’t it be of use to him. Pelisson. La Fontaine. since you have the run of the gardens at Parnassus. Moliere arrived in the merriest of moods. my friend. “Ah. a peripatetic. you have an abominable habit. indeed! I am very willing to leave you to go on saying Voliere. who is a very ingenious fellow. and inspired you with this grand idea.” “Well. The bishop of Vannes.

“Ah! I often suspected I was nothing but a rascally poet! Yes. “But if Pelisson said you were so. following up his idea. Jean La Fontaine!” he added.’” “And to begin. whose aside he had heard. “what can I do?” “I have discovered the way. who had taken up Pelisson’s reproach in earnest. and I shall never forget them!” “The deuce!” cried Loret.“Oh. did you not. “Yes. with a heavy sigh and swimming eyes.” “Nay. thou wilt never be aught but an ass. I am a poor creature!” “Who said so?” “Parbleu! ‘twas Pelisson.” “How simple! Well.” cried Moliere.” “Well. took good care not to answer. you think so. my friend. What a mind that devil of a Moliere has!” said La Fontaine.” said Moliere. do you. Then. “What are you saying there. “I will go and burn a hundred verses I have just made. oh. “what a dangerous thing! One would go mad with it!” “The deuce! the deuce!” repeated La Fontaine. who had entered just at this point of the conversation.” answered La Fontaine. again absorbed in his work. “it seems that I rhyme in a slovenly manner. Pelisson?” Pelisson.” he added. ‘tis the very truth.” “Then I will never write anything again save in prose. not to leave an insult like that unpunished.” “Oh.” said La Fontaine. “What way?” “Write them first and burn them afterwards. with increasing grief. “Pelisson has seriously offended you. “Oh. what will happen if you do not burn them?” “They will remain in my mind.” “Do not say so. “I say I shall never be aught but an ass. as you are a gentleman. Remember that a rhyme is never good so long as one can find a better.” said La Fontaine.” “Where are your verses?” “In my head. if they are in your head you cannot burn them. I should never have discovered that. your remark is too sweeping. approaching the poet. I do.” “Do you think so?” “Ah! I advise you.” “True. “but if I do not burn them—” “Well.” continued La Fontaine. Pelisson?” “Yes. ‘tis wrong to say so.” 42 . and there is much that is good in your ‘Fables. my friend?” broke in Moliere. striking his forehead. indeed.

you eternally absent-minded creature. “he was compelled to resume his friendship with madame. and then made an apology. the others had turned round. ‘I beg your pardon. tell me really now whether lumiere does not rhyme with orniere. with a lieutenant in the light horse. but as.” exclaimed La Fontaine. you can do so.” continued La Fontaine.” “Ah. monsieur. and I am going to—” “Stay. and continuing to make La Fontaine speak— “And what was the result of the duel?” “The result was.” “And I am going to challenge him on your behalf.” he said. promising never again to set foot in my house. if you think it indispensable.” “Well.“What!” exclaimed La Fontaine. Moliere kept upon his lips the rallying smile which had so nearly died away. “It is certain.” “Ah. too.” “And I have made a hundred thousand such rhymes in my time.” All burst out laughing. Chaplain is meditating.” “In the plural.’ which M. do me the pleasure to continue your visits as heretofore. returning to the topic of the conversation.” said Moliere. “Four times as many as ‘La Pucelle.” “And you considered yourself satisfied?” said Moliere.” “What wrong had he done you?” “It seems he ran away with my wife.” “Upon what? this insult?” “No. perhaps to smother a sigh. Moliere alone passed his hand across his eyes. “I want your advice.” “Ah! I knew you would. Why? Perhaps to wipe away a tear.” continued La Fontaine. “Pelisson has insulted you. above all. at La Fontaine’s declaration. rhymes with posthume.” “I do think it indispensable. “that legume.” 43 . truly! I had already forgotten it. ‘I have not fought you because you were my wife’s friend. “’Tis all one. I picked up my sword. but because I was told I ought to fight. ah!” said Moliere.’ I said. Alas! we know that Moliere was a moralist.” “A hundred thousand!” cried La Fontaine. but he was not a philosopher. as I have never known any peace save since you made her acquaintance. or morbleu! let us set to again. that you have composed a hundred thousand verses?” “Listen to me.’ And so. “Not at all! on the contrary. for instance. and I continue to be the happiest of husbands. So. that on the ground my opponent disarmed me. “Did you ever fight?” “Once only. Is it also on this subject. becoming slightly pale.” “I should make them rhyme.

’ yes. “because you are preparing a divertissement for Vaux. yes.” “It is like rivage. Well. “he is off now.” “Well. my dear Moliere. can you make heureux rhyme with facheux?” “If obliged.” “It would be hazardous. I recollect.” “Ah! that is what Pelisson is doing. are you not?” “Yes. but with four. then. and do your prologue for you. my dear Pelisson.” said La Fontaine.” “Ah! you are of my opinion?” “So much so. whoever said so. the ‘Facheux.” “But give me ornieres and lumieres in the plural. and on your refusal begged you to ask Pelisson. laughing.” said La Fontaine.” “Oh. yes. above all in the plural. “Moliere says so. I will cure myself of it. It is a monstrous defect. “I tell you all this.” “Hem!” coughed Pelisson. no.” “When?” “When you call me absent-minded. who is engaged upon it at this moment. the ‘Facheux.” said Moliere. whose insult he had quite forgotten. and yet why so?” “There is too great a difference in the cadences.’” “Ah. true. leaving Moliere for Loret—”I was fancying—” 44 .” “Come. “and they will rhyme. I would take my oath of it. then? I’faith.” “You asked me to write it?” “Yes. you are indeed often right. and Moliere is a judge of such things.” “It was not Loret who said so. clapping his hand on the shoulder of his friend.” “And even with capriceux. miserable rascal that I am! Loret was indeed right in saying I was a poor creature.” continued La Fontaine. my friend. that I have asked you to write this very prologue. he declares he has himself made a hundred thousand verses. I was thinking a prologue would admirably suit your divertissement. as orniere does with lumiere.” “Doubtless it would suit capitally. you.” “I was fancying. seeing that then it rhymes not with three letters. which rhymes admirably with herbage.” “But inasmuch as Pelisson is about it!—” “Ah.” “But—” said Moliere. no.“Yes. ‘tis the same to me! And so your divertissement is called the ‘Facheux?’ Well.

who quittest now this grot profound.’” “But the verb.” 45 .” “You expected yours.” resumed La Fontaine. To admire the greatest king of all kings round. “tell me now in what way you would begin my prologue?” “I should say.” obstinately insisted Pelisson. that I fear we shall not have our Epicurean dresses.“What were you fancying?” said Loret. then.” said Moliere. you have just given me the two concluding verses of my paper. But what annoys me more than anything. for the fete?” “Yes.” “Ah.” “Then.” “And it was not Loret either. La Fontaine. as you said. for the fete. Pelisson was right a hundred times over. ‘Oh! nymph.” “I never said so. my dear Moliere.’ after ‘you who’?” “Ah! my dear fellow.” exclaimed La Fontaine. beautiful!” cried Loret. which has rather changed its color.” said Pelisson. “you are a shocking pedant!” “Without counting. as Loret said. who—’ After ‘who’ I should place a verb in the second person singular of the present indicative. I left it on the floor in my room.’ would you?” “Why not?” “’Quittest. it was Pelisson.” he continued. My housekeeper told me that my own is rather faded. for instance.” “You are writing the prologue to the ‘Facheux.” “Well. “This second person singular of the present indicative?” “Well. nymph.” cried La Fontaine. “the fact is. and should go on thus: ‘this grot profound.” “Ah.’ is very weak. your cat—” “She made her nest upon it.” continued La Fontaine. the verb. the verb?” asked Pelisson. in the middle of a sentence.” “Well. “Make haste. ‘king of all kings round. then. and my cat—” “Well.—a shuffler.” “Then you see clearly I am nothing but a poor creature. going over to him. “that the second verse. my dear La Fontaine.” “Diable! your housekeeper is right. Pelisson. quittest: “Oh. “But the verb. rather more than faded. “I was fancying.” “You would not put ‘who quittest. “To admire the greatest king of all kings round. you see. if you can rhyme so well.’ are you not?” “No! mordieu! it is Pelisson. La Fontaine. and then for after the fete. is. “that the nymph of Vaux—” “Ah. “The nymph of Vaux! thank you.

La Fontaine placed himself at a table. “The superintendent.” “’He loves. Moliere contributed fifty fresh verses. “they love me at Chateau Thierry.” he said.” said Loret. money is departing. La Fontaine.” “Have I not told you that was my business?” “Yes. de Gourville has promised me some craw-fish. “I accept it. Pelisson and Loret followed his example. Aramis perceived that the superintendent either doubted him. I offer my carriage.” The shouts of laughter reached the ears of Fouquet at the moment Aramis opened the door of the study.” Aramis here re-entered after a brief disappearance. “I am going by Paris. re-entered his apartment. “Yes.” “You shall have them the day after the king’s entree into Vaux. all settled down to work.Moliere burst out laughing. d’Herblay. They were at the bottom of the stairs. with which his visit to Percerin had inspired him. “Oh.” said Moliere.” said La Fontaine. “Will any one go with me?” he asked. when La Fontaine opened the door. laden with his booty like the king of the bees. Aramis distributed the notes of invitation.” Fouquet looked closely at Aramis. the bishop of Vannes appeared. ex-musketeer. an article on the marvelous fetes he predicted.” “He has promised me some whitings. “we leave to-morrow evening. while Aramis went to exchange a parting word with the superintendent. and passed the back of his icy hand across his moistened brow. or felt he was powerless to obtain the money. could find any? “Why doubt me?” said Aramis. The fete is approaching.” “Good. I am very sure. that great black drone. smiling. At this juncture. 46 . gentlemen. and Aramis.” said he. with a sigh. How could Fouquet suppose that a poor bishop. decked with purple and gold. as only he could laugh. and set his rapid pen an endless dance across the smooth white vellum. In return for these our writings.’ that does not mean.” “I shall dine here. “Do you not laugh. But before departing. with his sad. he had undertaken to order the horses. Fouquet. could not come and see them. how they are laughing there!” said Fouquet. and Moliere followed him.” “In that case. and thanked them in the name of M. “M. silent and busy. I am in a hurry. “Remember. “’He loves. Loret. with a roll of plans and parchments under his arm. ex-abbe.” At these words.” replied Moliere. you promised me millions. M.’ yes. they love him. Fouquet. Fouquet smiled and shook his head. “being kept to his room by business. after having passed a quarter of an hour with M. and every one resumed his self-possession and his pen. Pelisson made a fair copy of his prologue.” “As for me. and shouted out: “He has promised us some whitings.” Aramis went out laughing. to enable him to forget the fatigue of his labor in the night.” said Moliere. sweet smile. Find a rhyme for that. As to Moliere. “he loves his home. I must give notice at home. monseigneur?” “I laugh no longer now. As if the angel of death had chilled all gay and sprightly fancies—as if that wan form had scared away the Graces to whom Xenocrates sacrificed—silence immediately reigned through the study. poor Moliere!” said Loret. but begged them to send him some of the fruits of their day’s work.

’ the miserable being has been in prison for ten years!” 47 . “And where are you going?” he said.” “In your school. fall from such a height.” “And what have you been doing at Percerin’s.” “For whom?” “M.“Man of little faith!” added the bishop.” “And who?” “A poor devil—a youth.” “And will it cost much?” “Oh! a hundred pistoles you will give Lebrun. at least. “if I fall—” “Well. “I am off to Paris.” said he. for I suppose you attach no great importance to our poets’ dresses?” “No.” answered Fouquet.” “Ever generous and grateful.” “A painting?—Ah! all the better! And what is this painting to represent?” “I will tell you.” “Bah! and they will be rich and elegant?” “Splendid! There will be few great monseigneurs with so good.” Fouquet grasped his hand. for two Latin verses he made against the Jesuits. “Whence came you. “my friend?” “From Paris—from Percerin. a lad who has been Bastiled these ten years. if you ‘fall’?” “I shall. I went to prepare a surprise. “My dear M. for ‘two Latin verses.” “Surprise?” “Yes. de Lyonne. as though to escape from himself. whatever you may say or think of it.” “’Two Latin verses!’ and. I went to see the dresses for our poets. which you are going to give to the king.” “And what do you want with Lyonne?” “I wish to make him sign a lettre de cachet.” Then giving himself a shake. People will see the difference there is between the courtiers of wealth and those of friendship. dear prelate. then at the same time. d’Herblay.” “’Lettre de cachet!’ Do you desire to put somebody in the Bastile?” “On the contrary—to let somebody out. when you shall have given a certain letter. that I shall shatter myself in falling.

Peter in bonds. represented St. We understand on this head the theories of M. was regulated by the condition in life of the prisoner. and took out ten government notes which were there. the abundance and the delicacy of which. sovereign dispenser of gastronomic delicacies. The doors. constituted the governor’s bill of fare. d’Herblay. carrying off the letter for Lyonne and the notes for Seldon’s mother. Roast partridges. Stay. full-laden. It was the supper hour of the unfortunate captives. and you never told me!” “’Twas only yesterday his mother applied to me. do not tell her—” “What. M.” replied Aramis. the very use of which is a torture. and give this to the mother. that I hardly wonder there are wretches who doubt of its existence.” And Fouquet. “Stay. seated at table. cardons of Guipuzcoa and la bisque ecrevisses: these. kissing Fouquet’s hand. was rubbing his hands and looking at the bishop of Vannes. monseigneur?” “That she is ten thousand livres richer than I. The time-piece of the Bastile. And he went out quickly. opened for the passage of the baskets and trays of provisions.” “Yes. flanked with quails and flanking a larded leveret. boiled fowls.” said Fouquet.” “And the woman is poor!” “In the deepest misery.“Yes!” “And has committed no other crime?” “Beyond this. carrying some consolation to the prisoners in the shape of honestly filled bottles of good vintages. and the spit turned more heavily than usual. wrote a few rapid lines to his colleague Lyonne. taking a pen. M. Chapter VII. and taking up Moliere.” “Heaven.” said Fouquet. He opened his drawer. above all. de Baisemeaux has himself taught us.—But it is too bad. fried and sprinkled with white wine. “Wait. recalled to the prisoners’ minds the destination of every hour of their punishment.” he said. “set the son at liberty. and this evening 48 . kept talking of his hunger and testifying the liveliest impatience. together with soups and hors d’oeuvres. hams. were ascending the steep staircases. that famous clock. adorned with figures. but. de Baisemeaux de Montlezun was not accustomed to the unbending movements of his greatness my lord of Vannes. like most of the clocks of the period. “sometimes bears with such injustice on earth. head cook of the royal fortress. Baisemeaux. each for a thousand francs. de Baisemeaux. who. Another Supper at the Bastile. who was beginning to lose patience. Aramis took the letter and made ready to go.” “On your word?” “On my honor!” “And his name is—” “Seldon. monseigneur. dressed in gray and sword at side. You knew this. Seven o’clock sounded from the great clock of the Bastile. he is as innocent as you or I. as M. whose trays. This same hour was that of M. le gouverneur’s supper also. which. He had a guest to-day. grating on their enormous hinges. booted like a cavalier. She would say I am but a poor superintendent! Go! and I pray that God will bless those who are mindful of his poor!” “So also do I pray. like all the accessories of the state prison.

” “Oh. monsieur. Baisemeaux?” 49 .” “Do you know. I am booted. “to help myself. as you say. and the window is shut. The prelate had again a little touch of the musketeer about him.” “Ah. monseigneur. volunteered confidence on confidence.” continued Baisemeaux. the great Cardinal de la Rochelle. Baisemeaux.” “Indeed. Francois. Francois. one very illustrious. As for M. monsieur. to embroil myself with the church this evening. dear M. and that disturbs me. of whom you remind me this evening?” “No! faith. You understand?” “Nevertheless I am suffocated. monsieur.” said Aramis. nevertheless. wicked. who.” “Have you no wine there?” “’Tis not for wine. I own. I pray you. “and the other?” “The other was a certain musketeer. Francois.” “By no means.” “You remind me of two. very brave. “Open the windows. I beg. but because it is hot here. very handsome. “The supper is completely served. shut the window. taking up his glass. yes.” “I shut the windows at supper-time so as not to hear the sounds or the arrival of couriers. “call me monsieur. and we shall eat it very well without waiters. dear M. “I have just said.” “And let him go. “I like exceedingly.” added Aramis. bishop—and from bishop—” “Ah! stay there. yes.Aramis. becoming sprightly. very fortunate.” “Enough. who wore boots like you. he gave himself up entirely upon this point of his guest’s freedom. but I do not intend. Master Francois. I should think so. turned musketeer. as everything mundane is.” exclaimed Aramis.” said Aramis.” Francois entered. The bishop just trenched on the borders only of license in his style of conversation.” said he. I have on the boots of a cavalier. from being abbe. “From abbe. the wind may annoy his greatness.” “And you still make use of your sword?” “Yes.” Baisemeaux bowed respectfully. with the facility of vulgar people.” “But you have wicked intentions. As you said.” “You traverse the town and the streets in disguise?” “In disguise. “but I hope I remind you of a capital guest.” said Aramis. de Baisemeaux.” cried Baisemeaux. but only when I am compelled. I like exceedingly to be tete-a-tete when I am with a friend. encouraged by Aramis’s smile—”from abbe. and from musketeer turned abbe. the late cardinal. Do me the pleasure to summon Francois. that you gave me the idea of a cardinal.” said Aramis. “I was saying that your greatness puts me in mind of two persons. for all that. “Monsieur. You hear them when the window is open?” “But too well.” “Retire. “You will allow him.” continued Aramis. very adventurous.” Aramis condescended to smile. “for indeed to-night I dare not call you monseigneur.

monsieur. and. there will be daylight. trembling with joy at the idea of being. now M. wine!” Francois entered. There is a man for you.” said Aramis.” “Baisemeaux.” “Nearly always.” “Bravo!” said Baisemeaux.” “Yes.” “Take care. Baisemeaux. d’Herblay. “The devil take him. in the secret of some high archiepiscopal misdemeanor. there will be time to-morrow.” “No. “What! who?” asked Baisemeaux.” replied the governor. and if I have a trouble at the bottom of my heart. we will see to it to-morrow. de la Fere. de Baisemeaux.” said the governor. for my part. Francois.” “Well.” “Yes. “I prefer M. de la Fere has returned to his household gods at Blois? He is a very old friend. though ‘tis singular.” said Aramis. is he not?” “You know it as I do. and he poured out a great glass of wine and drank it off at a draught. Baisemeaux heard nothing. in spite of himself. yes. who drinks long and well! That kind of people allow you at least to penetrate their thoughts.” answered the governor. you delight me. “monsieur. “The letter which the courier brings to the governor of a fortress is sometimes an order. but—” “Let him leave his news at the office.” said Aramis. I say. I promise you. and may the devil take him. you shall see it as you would a diamond at the bottom of your glass. although the courier made a great noise.” said M. “Do you not think. half intoxicated.” said Baisemeaux. I venerate him. monsieur. The window was opened.” “Pooh! some courier or other.” “Bah! with my friends I reckon neither bottles of wine nor years. “Ah. Hurrah! hurrah!” “You forget me. but—” “And what to these ministers do but countersign the signature of the king?” 50 . by hook or by crook. d’Artagnan to him. lifting his dazzling Venetian goblet. “Upon my honor. While he was drinking he did not see with what attention Aramis was noting the sounds in the great court. chanting the words.” said Baisemeaux. and so quickly that we shall never hear him speak more. “Wine. seeing that you were in the musketeers with us. make me tipsy to-night. undoubtedly. “that you will find yourself very lonely. but a courier has just arrived. “I hope ‘tis neither the wine you drank nor he who is the cause of your drinking it.“You are at home here. it is a horse. fellow! and better.” “Do not orders issue from the ministers?” “Yes. A courier came in about eight o’clock as Francois brought in the fifth bottle. “Yes. “take care!” “Of what? dear M. who is making noise enough in the court for a whole squadron. redoubling his attention to the passing bottle. monsieur.” grumbled the soldier Francois. To-morrow. But I do more than love M.” “And you are right.” “Let him go to the devil. Baisemeaux! my glass is empty. let us have a merry time of it as of old. dear Baisemeaux.

I repeat that the devil—” “If you had said as much to the great cardinal—hem! my dear Baisemeaux. Then. now. having read it: “What was I just saying?” he exclaimed. monsieur. and I am accustomed to obedience everywhere. my dear governor!” “And at eight o’clock in the evening!” “It is charitable!” 51 .” added the bishop. Baisemeaux.” “Oh! perhaps you are right. ‘tis because there is something extraordinary in this matter.” “Pardon me. deepest slumber. “The king’s order is sacred. tete-a-tete with a friend—Ah! I beg your pardon. He slowly undid it. then?” “However. Francois still waited: “Let them send this order of the king’s up to me.” “Wrong? I to be wrong before Francois? that seems rather hard. But I thought it my duty to make an observation which I deem important. and if his order had any importance. “An order of release! There.” “I do it that I may not disturb a bishop. Nevertheless. dear Baisemeaux. the vigilance of my officers. yes. you see. he has demurred. ‘tis very tiresome when you are sitting before a good table.” stammered Baisemeaux. and as slowly read it. then—” “I wish that you would do your duty. and to trouble me when I am happy. by messengers arriving at full gallop to tell me. the number of rounds we go.’ or. But. or rather. Mordioux! am I not. smiling. Aramis pretended to be drinking.” “And do you do yours. “Do you know what it is? I will tell you something about as interesting as this. excusable?” “Do not forget. what can you expect. And he added in a low tone. who is clever at escaping. to Francois.” “’Tis mathematically true. Baisemeaux. my friend. you will at least agree. recovering himself. and what has Francois done?” “He has demurred!” “He was wrong. monseigneur? It is their business to write and torment me when I am at rest.” exclaimed Baisemeaux. They would know better. monseigneur.” “Let us pass over that. indeed.” he repeated. It is very possible that it was not Francois who was wrong in demurring. what news?’ ‘Tis clear enough that those who waste their time writing such orders have never slept in the Bastile. Francois re-entered. that I have worn the soldier’s coat. ‘Beware of fire near the powder magazine. merely an irregularity. ‘Look close after such and such a one. bring me a slip of paper containing these words: ‘Monsieur de Baisemeaux. at least before this soldier. so as to be able to watch his host through the glass. but you.“Perhaps you are right. and return to our soldier. Baisemeaux took from his hands the minister’s order. who are in the wrong in not listening to him.’ Ah! if you only knew. they have never considered the thickness of my walls. I forgot it is I who engage you at supper. “What is it?” asked the bishop. but as to orders that arrive when one is at supper. excellent news indeed to disturb us!” “Excellent news for him whom it concerns. bowing to Aramis.” “You wish.” added Baisemeaux.” “Well. then. and that I speak to a future cardinal. how many times I have been suddenly awakened from the very sweetest. “Then let them do their business.

Baisemeaux. all of a sudden. my lord.” 52 . and charity has higher claims upon me than hunger and thirst. “they seize a man.“Oh! charity is all very well. always a soldier. with his mouth full. at daybreak. ‘urgent’?” “Because this evening we are at supper.” “What! in the very middle of our repast?” “I implore you.” said Baisemeaux. such an action is worth ten Benedicites. this very evening. both on the direction and inside. This unfortunate man has suffered long enough. “It is no indiscretion?” “By no means. keep him under lock and key for ten years. five-franc rat!” “Let me see it. who ever said so? Your independence is well known. but not for me who am amusing myself.” asked M. “for you to execute the order.” “Gracious Heaven! my very good M. His good time has come. some fine day.’ or ‘Keep him very strictly. read it. “Will you lose by him.” “You wish it?” “I entreat you.” “To-morrow?” “At dawn. Once a soldier. flung the order on the table and began eating again.” said Aramis. as soon as you are accustomed to look upon the prisoner as a dangerous man. you have seen that. Abridge his suffering. I suppose?” “Oh. give him the benefit quickly. since you have just told me that he has been your prisoner these ten years. patience! You must not imagine that I am a slave.” “Ah! don’t speak of it!” “And your obedience to your superiors.” “Thank Heaven!” “But your goodness of heart is also known.” “Good! good! execute it! Oh. the prisoner referred to shall be set free.’ and actually add to their missive—’urgent. but it is for that fellow who says he is so weary and tired. “They are fond of these tricks!” he said. and write to you.’ And then. without rhyme or reason they write—’Set him at liberty. shrugging his shoulders with an air of supreme disdain. Baisemeaux. ‘Watch this fellow well.’ on the paper. exasperated.’ You will own. I feel myself a priest.” “There is ‘Urgent. d’Herblay. you see. then? And is the prisoner who is to be set at liberty a good payer?” “Oh. booted though I be. ‘tis enough to make a man at dinner shrug his shoulders!” “What do you expect? It is for them to write. at eight o’clock!—urgent!” And Baisemeaux.” “Why not this evening.” “And I shall directly obey. indeed! a miserable. yes. admirable! ‘Urgent!’—a man who has been there ten years! It is urgent to set him free to-day. and our affairs are urgent. seeing that the lettre de cachet bears. and to-morrow morning. God will repay you in Paradise with years of felicity. too!” “Dear Baisemeaux.

very naturally. I think?” “I said Seldon.” “Seldon!” exclaimed Aramis.” “And I also. And it appeared also that he had hit upon an excuse at last. “Marchiali? oh! yes. no.” “You see. tell monsieur le major to go and open the cell of M. ‘Tis plainly written Marchiali! Quite true!” 53 . now. indeed.” said Aramis.” said Baisemeaux. also holding up two fingers. No. “Yes.“It shall be as you desire. Chapter VIII. “There is the paper. Marchiali.” “I think you are making a mistake.” “You have an answer for everything. Francois.” “Oh! you mean to say Marchiali?” said Aramis. folded in the same manner. and by a very natural motion turned round towards the door. only our supper will get cold.” “I have read the order. Bertaudiere. Where can he go to. “To the proof. The order had remained on the table. There was now a brief silence. Aramis seized the opportunity when Baisemeaux was not looking to change the paper for another.” and Baisemeaux held up his finger. whether good or bad. at any rate till after dessert. one might as well set a blind man free!” “I have a carriage.” Francois bowed and quitted the room. leaving the two companions alone. during which Aramis never removed his eyes from Baisemeaux for a moment. No. “And I read ‘Marchiali’ in characters as large as this. The General of the Order. “You said Seldon. yes. The latter seemed only half decided to disturb himself thus in the middle of supper. which he drew swiftly from his pocket. “Look.” “’Tis impossible to set a prisoner at liberty at such an hour. Seldon.” he said. let us throw a light on the matter. 3. for delay. Monsieur Baisemeaux. “Give me a glimpse of this impossibility. “Francois.’” returned Aramis. ‘Tis the name of the man they set free. “How impossible?” said Aramis. quite overwhelmed.” said the governor.” “Oh! never heed that.” “I read ‘Marchiali. you have only to read it. and it was clear he was trying to invent some pretext.” Baisemeaux leaned back to ring for Francois. Seldon. “let the major come up here with the turnkeys of the Bertaudiere. and will take him wherever he wishes. “yes. spreading out the paper. of course. a man so unacquainted with Paris?” “He will find a place wherever he can.” “And I saw ‘Seldon’ in letters as large as that. “Eh! but it is impossible!” he cried. confident he was right. and his arms dropped suddenly.” Baisemeaux looked.

but the bishop of Vannes did not become incensed for so little.” “It is true. monsieur.” “Oh! but there was.” he said. If your heart dictates you to deliver Seldon also. the irony of which effectually dispelled Baisemeaux’s confusion of mind.” Aramis made no reply. I see it. though. fragrant and delicious sherry this is.” said Baisemeaux. But with us. As for Baisemeaux. at any rate.” replied Baisemeaux. would have made the ears of the impatient Aramis burn with anger.” “The order is signed to release Marchiali. monseigneur. I have satisfied myself. dear Monsieur d’Herblay. mechanically.” replied Baisemeaux. it is good that the man of to-day should no longer know what the man of yesterday did. and M. “this Marchiali is the very same prisoner whom the other day a priest confessor of our order came to visit in so imperious and so secret a manner. Irishman. endeavoring to regain his courage. there is no ink. but recommenced eating and drinking. “and whatever you may have seen. de Lyonne will either confirm or withdraw the order.“Ah!—” “How? the man of whom we have talked so much? The man whom they are every day telling me to take such care of ?” “There is ‘Marchiali.” “The order is sealed. when. and the courier is ignorant of the contents.” “I don’t know that. coldly. “What good?” 54 . I know it. when he had murmured to himself that to do so was dangerous. under ordinary circumstances. because I rubbed my finger—this very one—in the powder that was over the blot.” “No. be it how it may.” “In a word.” Aramis accompanied this remark with a smile. “What mellow. But I understand nothing about it. but I shall send to the ministry. “Monseigneur.” said Aramis. by interrogating him.” “What is the good of all that?” asked Aramis. Ah! I even recollect that under this name there was a blot of ink. What do you want to satisfy yourself about?” “Be it so. “’Tis no such long time ago. my dear governor. no. I declare to you I will not oppose it the least in the world. blot or no blot. “the visit of the Jesuit confessor must have given happiness to this man. and restored his courage.” “In any case. “Are you going to release Marchiali?” he said. no longer touching anything that was on the table.’” “And in a good handwriting. monsieur. above all.” replied the bishop.” “Monseigneur. he again took up the order and examined it every way.” “To tell me very plainly there is ‘Marchiali. Baisemeaux. This investigation. and above all. monseigneur. dear M. the order is signed to release Marchiali.” “You believe your eyes. “I shall release the prisoner Marchiali when I have summoned the courier who brought the order. too.” “’Tis a wonder! I still see this order and the name of Seldon. “I must own it.’” repeated the inflexible Aramis. “And you are going to release this prisoner. there is no blot.

” “And if a superior officer gives you orders.“Yes. “I adopt so frankly your doubts.” said Aramis. so also. M. 55 . that I will take a pen. also—I. that the wax lights changed into the tapers of a mortuary chapel. It is true that a subaltern owes respect to his superiors. nor being wanting in the respect which a subaltern owes to his superior officers. “that you are going to ask advice. I ask?” “The object of never deceiving oneself. and with even greater probability. the very glasses of wine into chalices of blood. you will obey?” “Never doubt it.” “Your logic has the stride of a giant. And that of M. to put your conscience at ease in the matter?” “Yes. monseigneur. de Lyonne’s. Monsieur de Baisemeaux. “And a sheet of white paper.” “You are right. “and your reasoning is irresistible. “Now. de Lyonne is not there to tell me he has signed. M. and M. de Lyonne?” “I see it plain enough on the order.” “Is it not on this order of release?” “It is true. what is your object. I—am going to write an order to which I am certain you will give credence. but it may—” “Be forged.” “You know the king’s signature well. you mean?” “That is evident.” added Aramis. de Baisemeaux. Nothing checks his majesty’s signature. that I cannot but admire you. nor infringing the duties of a service one has accepted of one’s own free will. he is guilty when he deceives himself. may M. incredulous as you are!” Baisemeaux turned pale at this icy assurance of manner. bending an eagle glance on the governor. here present—incontestably.” said Aramis.” “Very good. had become funereal and sad. and your mode of clearing them up. de Baisemeaux?” “Yes. but for the same reason that the king’s signature may have been forged. monseigneur. monseigneur. But on what special grounds do you base your idea that these signatures are false?” “On this: the absence of counter-signatures. but just now so playful and gay. It seemed to him that the voice of the bishop’s. and he should be punished if he infringed either the duties or laws of his office. I—I.” “Well.” Baisemeaux looked at the bishop with astonishment. you have just spoken so eloquently. monseigneur. “It follows. monseigneur.” Baisemeaux gave him a pen.” pursued Aramis. if you will give me one. Baisemeaux handed him some paper.

the consequence of this withdrawal of a prisoner by means of a forged order. give me your hand—obey.” 56 . Aramis. then. Baisemeaux bowed again. “Come. dear Baisemeaux. Lose this habit of reflection when I give myself the trouble to think for you. nor articulate a sound. for the king. and. your obedience. and that men die merely from having seen Him.” “Then if you don’t know it. to you. old comrade.” “Good. Aramis divined this. de Baisemeaux. there is no pressing haste. governor. M. and do the honors over this beautiful dessert. obeyed. after a long silence.” Baisemeaux was so profoundly astonished.” “Well. at a glance.Aramis took a pen and wrote. presented—still in silence—the missive to M.” said Aramis. on a chair. which signify ad majorem Dei gloriam. D. come. who perceived how strained the cord was and how dangerous it would have been to break it. “Immediately?” he murmured. and when the operation was concluded.” (Signed) D’HERBLAY “General of the Order. The latter. “do not lead me to believe. to me. my friend. who have jested with you! I who have dared to treat you on a footing of equality!” “Say nothing about it. I who have laughed. He did not move an inch. did not consider it of any value. he perceived. “How shall I set about it?” he said. in the office. of the castle of the Bastile. and he fell.” and thus he continued: “It is our pleasure that the order brought to M. “say nothing about it. read over his shoulder. reassured.” said he. shall bring the prisoner before the governor. Baisemeaux. Take courage.” Baisemeaux. so act towards Marchiali as you act towards one of obscure station. putting in the scale the guarantee offered him by the official order of the general. Having exactly fulfilled these two requirements. Let us each live in our own way. and be immediately carried into operation. and conduct him. beneath his doublet.” “But this Marchiali is not an important personage.” said Aramis carelessly. “My dear Baisemeaux. follow the regulations. be held by him good and effectual. “you are a simpleton. the regulations so provide. his lips parted. that his features remained contracted. let us live happily. “What is the process for releasing a prisoner?” “I have the regulations. my protection and my friendship. I am right. and he drew a cross under these four letters.” “Monseigneur. and rose. “It is for you to instruct me. as if he would have said. They are to the effect that the turnkey.” Baisemeaux reflected. if he is a personage of importance. and stamped it with a seal suspended at his breast. rouse yourself. drew from his pocket a small case of black wax. he sealed the letter. I shall never recover such a shock as this. as if thunder-struck. “A.” “I go with my major to the prisoner’s room. kissed Aramis’s hand. without even deigning to look at the man whom he had reduced to so miserable a condition. by the grace of God.” replied the bishop. “I don’t know. which was fluttering to its death about the candles. in terror..” wrote the bishop. during which the governor of the Bastile had slowly recovered his senses. my host. “to the greater glory of God. that the presence of the general of the order is as terrible as His. whose hands trembled in a manner to excite pity. or one of the lower officials. turned a dull and meaningless gaze upon the letter.” answered the governor. “Oh. de Baisemeaux de Montlezun.” And at another gesture he made. A last gleam of feeling played over his features. and his eyes fixed. if not satisfied. take your place again. Nothing could be heard in that large chamber but the wing-whisper of a little moth. G.

it would be a certain indication I should be lost. made no more sign of life than his companion. then. Steps drew near. “never to reveal anything that you have seen or heard in the Bastile. that in the Rue St. Whither do you intend going?” The prisoner turned his head. on shaking hands with Baisemeaux. Aramis had placed himself in the shade.” The prisoner perceived a crucifix. where relays were waiting. Behind the carriage closed the last gate. kept in check by a vigorous hand. in a voice the firmness of which made the governor tremble as much as the form of the blessing astonished him. The carriage rattled over the pavement of the courtyard. No more walls either on the right or the left. should they come to search?” “I desire to keep it. on which he ought to rely. “Adieu. and. The governor obeyed.” “See how simple. This flickering glare prevented the sight from resting steadily on any object. and gave him an order. Half an hour afterwards they heard a gate shut in the court. Remain here. Then was it that Aramis came out of the shade: “I am here. Antoine. without making a single gesture or saying a word. that.” The prisoner slightly reddened. and make them bring the prisoner to the governor’s house.” “What was the minister’s order as to this Marchiali?” “Nothing. and then?” “Then we return to the prisoner the valuables he wore at the time of his imprisonment. “to render the gentleman whatever service he may please to ask. and life everywhere. passed his arm through that of Aramis. Baisemeaux. he stretched out his hands and swore with his lips. It multiplied tenfold the changing forms and shadows of the place. heaven everywhere. Baisemeaux accompanied the bishop to the bottom of the steps. by its wavering uncertainty.” said Aramis to Baisemeaux. An officer with a torch went before the horses. “And now. Baisemeaux. Aramis blew out all the candles which lighted the room but one. then followed. without disturbing himself about it. in an agitated tone of voice. There they began to trot. they gained in swiftness. a jolt more sever than the others announced to them that they had cleared the last watercourse.” he said. and pulled up for a moment in the middle of the forest of Senart. Baisemeaux. He summoned his lieutenant. went quietly as far as the middle of the faubourg. and once past Bercy.” Baisemeaux obeyed. The horses were in waiting. Then four instead of two whirled the carriage away in the direction of Melun. buried in a corner of the carriage.“Well. George’s. you mean?” answered Aramis. and without giving the driver any further order. Indeed. or whether they were urged. followed by a prisoner. and almost without clothes. Little by little. as if looking behind him for some protection. it was the door to the dungeon.” added the governor. making each rusty spring reverberate the carriage again with their impatience. and in that case you would be a powerful and a last auxiliary for me. so great was the ardor of the coursers.” said Baisemeaux. if the minister’s orders have not otherwise dictated. monsieur. made the young man acquainted with the order which set him at liberty.” said he. he saw without being seen. At length. without hesitation. liberty everywhere. shrugging his shoulders. “Does my order trouble you? Do you fear their finding it here. During the time taken in opening all the barriers. ‘tis very wise. The horses galloped thus as far as Villeneuve St. Aramis barely breathed. all is.” he said. his clothes and papers.” “Being your accomplice. “Go and meet your men. The sergeant and turnkeys disappeared. you are free. to the next whom it concerned. “God have you in his holy keeping. Aramis caused his companion to mount before him. No doubt the order had been given the postil57 . the carriage seemed to fly. which he left burning behind the door. “Go on. “You will swear (‘tis the regulation that requires it). “If they found it here. Baisemeaux re-entered. The prisoner listened. and gave orders at every post to let them pass. you make a mountain of everything. The horses. which had just rendered up its prey to the free air.” The prisoner. monseigneur. said to him. which the latter passed on.” said he. for the unhappy man arrived here without jewels. whether they were warming to their work. and you might have heard his “sealed heart knock against his ribs. without papers. Aramis.

and I like this carriage. we are comfortably seated. This done. monseigneur.” “Give the postilion orders to conceal the carriage in one of the side avenues.” said Aramis.ion beforehand.” answered the young prince. on this moonless night. and led them over the velvet sward and the mossy grass of a winding alley. monseigneur. the deep shades formed a curtain blacker than ink. so unpretending in genius. The latter dismounted.” “I listen. not for love of me. monseigneur.” said Aramis. there is yet a precaution to be taken. and seeing us stopping. whom he touched on the arm. “that before going further. monsieur.” Aramis made a sign to the deaf and dumb driver of the carriage. at the bottom of which. to retain every syllable. 58 . who. took the leaders by the bridle. will all have a sense and value as important as any every uttered in the world.” replied the young prince.” “The postilion?” “The postilion of this relay is deaf and dumb. d’Herblay. M. I beseech you. trying to deprive his companion not only of the sight of him.” said the young prince to Aramis. of which we have no further need. “What is the matter?” asked the prisoner. The Tempter. Let us avoid offers of assistance. on either side.” “I will await an opportunity. so low in the scale of intelligent beings. in this darkness. for subjects should never weigh as anything in the balance which princes hold. monseigneur.” And he buried himself still deeper in the thick cushions of the carriage. deem us in some difficulty. “decidedly. But to-night. without either eagerly seeking or fearing anything you are about to say to me. but for love of yourself. the man lay down on a slope near his horses. it is necessary your royal highness and I should converse. “but what are you doing there?” “I am disarming myself of my pistols. but even of the very idea of his presence. it has never yet happened to me to converse with a man without penetrating his thoughts through that living mask which has been thrown over our mind. and no one can hear us. We are in the middle of a forest. monseigneur.” “Is it your pleasure to remain in the carriage?” “Yes.” “What?” “We are here on the highway. in the reserve which you maintain. turning in the carriage towards his companion. every inflexion which. “I am listening.” “’Tis exactly what I wished to do. for Aramis had no occasion even to make a sign. for it has restored me to liberty. and something tells me that I shall have great difficulty in wresting from you a sincere declaration. cavaliers or carriages traveling like ourselves might pass. under the present most grave circumstances. “My prince. kept nibbling the young oak shoots. “We could not have a better. which would embarrass us. “weak creature as I am.” “Wait.” Chapter IX.” “I am at your service. monseigneur. “The matter is. as if waking from a long dream. in order to retain its expression. I can read nothing on your features. then.

“I should not take the trouble to play this terrible game with your royal highness..” “You are the son of King Louis XIII. for he has no mortal injuries to avenge. then. the motto of God. has done for you. then. the event will be accomplished. I say not that he will pour out his people’s blood. I aspire to more than gratitude! I am convinced that. as you rise. you will sit upon his throne. The doctors only could dispute his legitimacy. figure. to accomplish a great work. whence the will of Heaven. if I had not a double interest in gaining it. only.” replied the bishop. “of that religious order whose chief you are. render a glory gilded with the rays of all the crowns in Christendom. what this Providence. nor eat the fruit they cultivate. But the doctors always prefer the king who is to the king who is not. It is to tell you that he has drawn you from the abyss for a great purpose.” 59 . you had a right to be proclaimed seeing that you have been concealed. king of a people very humble. and round this man. when I consider openly the merits and the faults of this great prince.Black was the darkness which fell wide and dense from the summits of the intertwining trees. natural and legitimate heir to the throne of France. I possess penetration. I acquit my conscience.” resumed Aramis. these straightened circumstances in concealment. they create a misty halo. as Monsieur has been kept—Monsieur. To-morrow. arises from an excellent disposition. at once penetrating. obscure as yours. instead of ending. the result of your words is. humble because they have no force save when creeping. confided in execution to the arm of man. seeing that it is disputed. this obscurity in solitude. your younger brother—the king reserved to himself the right of being legitimate sovereign. and will send it rolling so far.” “Undeceive yourself. that ages hereafter shall long speak of them. like yourself. I thank you. monseigneur. It has given you the features.. To a just Providence was necessary an instrument. The carriage. that the day you desire to hurl down the man you shall have raised. perseverance. Such is the man you have beside you. after to-morrow—from the very first. because never. humiliations.” he said. would not have received a particle of light. Now see. why you are raising your head.” “I understand. without hope of return. every glory a stain. you are elevated forever. The king has suffered. that not even the sight of it will ever again recall to you its right to simple gratitude. it rankles in his mind.” Aramis paused. since no one has dared to shed yours. “and I am so persuaded of it that I have long been thankful to have been chosen depositary of the secret which I have aided you to discover. and he will avenge himself. where every stain appears a blemish. on an elevation flooded with light.” “Oh. monsieur!” “Your movement. and convinced. under the pitiless sun of royalty.” said the prince. Heaven does well. to raise you above the powers of the earth—above himself.’” The prince moved. when arrived at the summit..” continued the bishop of Vannes. and what you aim at my being to-morrow.” “Tell me plainly. this persecution to-day consecrates you king of France. to from a single man. For me. “my brother’s blood will not be shed. this slavery in a prison. as that of your servants has been shed. you will overturn the footstool. in turn. monseigneur. and if I condemn him. for he has himself undergone wrongs in his own interest and money. not even if a ray could have struggled through the wreaths of mist that were already rising in the avenue. “Monseigneur. conviction. like Louis XI. I am this instrument. and then. in full daylight. with the sweat of their labor. regal phantom. monseigneur. monsieur—tell me without disguise—what I am to-day. covered in by this prodigious roof. monseigneur. age. and voice of your brother. ‘Patiens quia oeternus. “I divine. In the first place. living shade of Louis XIV. they heap together all the atoms of their power. and the very causes of your persecution are about to become those of your triumphant restoration. It was not to listen if the silence of the forest remained undisturbed. Providence has willed that you should be persecuted. disinherited. will have hurled him. You did not know you were dealing with a king—oh! monseigneur. In keeping you near him. “You speak to me. He will be a bad king. he was fain to bear all these miseries. much disinherited.. who has taken for its motto. but it was to gather up his thoughts from the very bottom of his soul—to leave the thoughts he had uttered sufficient time to eat deeply into the mind of his companion. but he will devour the means and substance of his people. The king issued from an infancy imprisoned like yours. monseigneur. “All that Heaven does. or Charles IX. and confined as yours. They labor for an abstract idea.. my conscience absolves me. do my people reap the harvest they sow. you will judge me still more worthy to be your friend. almost never in this world. which his genius shall. I govern a mysterious people. You had. and you possess royal blood. and are surprised at the people I have under my command. persevering. then. The day you are elevated. then. which you have so often accused of having in every way thwarted you. and distresses. and that you will keep under your hand your creation of yesterday. Be well assured. “you know the history of the government which to-day controls France.” 1 The prince lightly touched Aramis’s arm. brother of Louis XIV. a right to reign. we two will do such great deeds.

His soul is naturally proud and impatient. as a prisoner. will not long endure the calamity. if you act in such a manner that no one can recognize you?” “’Tis true.” said Philippe. What did he do to conceal it? He concealed you. “’twill be more human.” 60 . Living image of himself. yes. his soul and body have been adapted for but a brief agony. it is in the interest of your new policy. but there are grave difficulties. and in bonds. prince. enduring principle of life in withstanding all this. will not be for you the cause of embarrassment that you have been for the king enthroned. and by the license of supreme power. Put into prison as a private individual. as you will resemble him as a king. a captive.” “The imprisoned king will speak. And besides. you will defeat the conspiracy of Mazarin and Anne of Austria. disarmed and enfeebled. Therefore. moreover.” “To whom do you think he will speak—to the walls?” “You mean. in prison. by being accustomed to honors. like a geometrical calculation. All that is really noble and really useful in this world will find its account therein. and the destruction of him who is hurtful to you. “I will exile the deposed king.” “My brother is married. my prince.” “What will they do?” “Nothing. a bird of night uttered from the depths of the forest that prolonged and plaintive cry which makes every creature tremble. forgotten. left alone with your doubts. Who will guard him?” “Who guarded you?” “You know this secret—you have made use of it with regard to myself. Every scheme of this caliber is completed by its results. your royal highness—” “Besides?” “I was going to say. by walls. has also determined that the conquered one shall soon end both his own and your sufferings. But your brother.“You will be sole arbiter of his fate. it is human morality. it is. The same Providence which has willed that the concluding step in the geometrical calculation I have had the honor of describing to your royal highness should be your ascension to the throne.” “How is that?” “How can they recognize you. and Heaven will resume his soul at the appointed time—that is to say. that the designs of Providence do not stop on such a fair road. who will.” “I fall back on what I was saying to you.” “If need be. shuddering. will have the same interest in concealing him. if you choose. you have exhibited the most sublime.” At this point in Aramis’s gloomy analysis. The king.” “I will cause Spain to consent to a divorce. Who else knows it?” “The queen-mother and Madame de Chevreuse. I cannot take my brother’s wife.” “The secret of which they made an evil use against me?” “You will employ it against him. You.” “State them. the men in whom you put confidence. resemble you. deprived of everything. soon.

and so gently. I repeat it. Let us speak of the risks we are running. too. and is killed! The man who trembling crosses his sword with that of another leaves loopholes whereby his enemy has him in his power. “No one!—Yes.” “Ah!” said Aramis. listen to my words. remorse. I have your happiness spread out before me in my thoughts. overcome by excess of the emotions which but one hour’s liberty has produced in you. Let us speak of the causes which may bring about the ruin of all the hopes we have conceived. A few fishermen with their families indolently pass their lives away there. These large marshes. Monseigneur. which you are forgetting. which cries aloud. 61 . covered with reeds as with a thick mantle. “in the Bas-Poitou. a life more suited to your strength? Heaven is my witness. would have obliterated as useless and absurd. there is a very serious obstacle. only obstacles.” he resumed. for that. I do not jest. that is a certain and unmistakable sign that you do not wish to continue at liberty.” “Have you a brother?” said the young man to Aramis. teal. the pure air. “Monseigneur. “I am alone in the world. indeed. and soul. you will forget all the misery that human folly has so recently allotted you. that I wish your happiness to be the result of the trial to which I have exposed you. and the roof woven out of thick rushes. you have forgotten nothing—except. there is some one in the world whom you love?” added Philippe. monsieur. of which no one in France suspects the existence.” said Aramis. “there is a weakness of heart of which you remind me. it is but by chance. all covered with water and herbage. leaps into the middle of it. these floating-houses. You are chilled and galled. I have a heart. a secluded corner of the world—where alone. of my caprice. sick at heart.” “The first?” “Let us speak of it at once. Would you prefer a more humble life. These barks. and streams of rippling water. with their great living-rafts of poplar and alder. speak. It is useless to flash bright visions before the eyes of one who seeks and loves darkness: useless. Let it be all or nothing. it is merely because he has seen a large flight of landrails or plovers. as I have said. There is no danger either for you or for me. the verdant meadows.” The young man sank into so profound a silence. with a hard.” said the prince. and mind. or my ambition. with a vivacity which did not escape Aramis. “I know. yes. You are right. that the sleeping fisherman is not awakened by the shock. Should he wish to land. dry voice. and reeds of the most luxuriant nature. I love you. precious they indeed are.“The king’s good pleasure will decide the point. in their import and their sense.—aye. an unknown paradise. my prince. two things. or woodchucks.” “True. is it not? Twenty leagues. The horse afraid of the ditch. all things did not concur to render them of absolutely no account. “There is conscience. and. amidst flowers. in order to cast you into the crucible of my own desires.” “Speak. insurmountable. for you who look with such tender regard upon the bright heavens. Twenty leagues of country is immense. if the constancy and intrepidity of your royal highness are equal to that perfection of resemblance to your brother which nature has bestowed upon you. monseigneur. the flooring formed of reeds.” said the latter. indeed. are wafted to and fro by the changing winds.” said the bishop. indeed. infinite. which fall an easy pray to net or gun. which I find in all languages. too. “But has the problem been well put? Have I brought out of the solution according to the wishes or the foresight of your royal highness?” “Yes. too. with the same frankness we have already conversed in. I have not offered you all the salutary counsels and useful resources which I have at my disposal. surely. but have always ill-understood. a word. if. that the mere sound of his respiration seemed like a roaring tumult for Aramis. were I king. indeed. “But. is an immense obstacle. sleep silently and calmly beneath the sun’s soft and genial rays. I know a country instinct with delights of every kind.” “Yes. in the thick covert of the woods. Whenever they touch a bank.” resumed the prelate. that never dies.” “They would be immense. unfettered and unknown. true. is it to let the magnificence of the cannon’s roar make itself heard in the ears of one who loves repose and the quiet of the country. the whole studded with islands covered with woods of the densest foliage. For me. monsieur. even to its depths. a canton. there are no dangers. an insurmountable danger. widgeon. of wild ducks. and can read your own. Oh! listen to me. I will not take you unready for your task. terrific. “I have not said all I had to say to your royal highness.

The sun’s rays there are soft and tempered: in plots of solid earth. accompanied by my servant—my deaf and dumb attendant—shall conduct you— traveling throughout the night. I assure you. for the sake of your pistoles. far more. as I offer it you—sincerely.” replied the young prince. He saw him place his foot on the mossy ground with a trembling of the whole body. sleeping during the day—to the locality I have described. I myself should hesitate which lot I should accept. became visible in the midst of the obscurity. so solemn and august in tone and address had sounded these strange words. the silent progress of the emotions of Philippe. There are a thousand pistoles in this bag. which are attached to the carriage yonder. he has but to choose the finest and largest. your guns. which appeared an eternity. let me alight from this carriage. do not hesitate. your answer to this proposition? Here is the money. at least. would you live. During this space of time. I shall have made one human being happy. Nay. This suspense lasted the whole ten minutes which the young man had requested. and the enchanted Eden which the deserts of Bas-Poitou hid from the eyes of the world. overwhelmed by anxiety. spoke to the prince in so seductive a language. the ocean of happy days that glitters incessantly before all young imaginations. he could not restrain his emotion. monseigneur. the warm and balmy air which enveloped him for the first time for many years past. Then. It was the 15th of August. at the end of which. Upon my soul. we would almost say dissimulation of his character. swim in shoals into his nets. penetrated into that district. overspread the heavens. by a lighter shadow of opaque gray. Accept it. portending a tempest. Forthwith. and consult that still voice within me. the universal freshness—was not all this reality? Was not Aramis a madman to suppose that he had aught else to dream of in this world? Those exciting pictures of country life. worn out by prison cares. and golden grapes. more than enough to live there as many years as you have days to live. which Heaven bids us all to hearken to. bending before him with respect. rich in the produce of the chase. indeed.” said Aramis. and shrouded every light and prospect underneath their heavy folds. contemplated with emotion the painful struggle that was taking place in Philippe’s mind. the so-called wizards of the country will cure you. Crown and Tiara. upon which his life or death depended. your fishing-lines. the ineffable enjoyment of liberty in an open country. and walk round the carriage with an unsteady and almost tottering step. about eleven o’clock at night. grows the vine. and Heaven for that will hold me in better account than if I had made one man powerful. he drank in delicious draughts of that mysterious air which interpenetrates at night the loftiest forests. so free from fears and troubles. Philippe continued gazing with an imploring and sorrowful look towards the heavens. Such were the reflections of Aramis as he watched. “before I determine. for you would have been perfectly transformed. never has any one. The young prince was offering up an inward prayer to Heaven.Silver shad. whose soil is swart and fertile. emaciated by the stifling air of the Bastile. walk on the ground. with an anxiety impossible to describe. If you play the other game. he held the door open for the young man. And now. and they. cheerfully. who had never before been so perplexed. than sufficient to purchase the whole marsh of which I have spoken. Ten minutes is all I ask. Never yet has the food of the stranger. It was an anxious time for the bishop of Vannes. drawn by Aramis. by degrees. never finding itself inferior or vanquished on any occasion. There would years of your life roll away. greedy pike. Crossing his arms on his chest. unhappy prisoner. and breathed a sigh of ecstasy. His iron will. Aramis was the first to descend from the carriage. are real allurements wherewith to fascinate a poor. you run the chance of being assassinated on a throne. whom he perceived gradually becoming more and more absorbed in his meditations. accustomed to overcome all obstacles. as it was wafted in gentle gusts to his uplifted face. fresher and more penetrating than that which exhaled from the trees around him. I will unharness two of my horses. and even of them. But the fragrance which ascended from the grass. you would have succeeded in acquiring a destiny accorded to you by Heaven. of which we have tried to give an idea. and your beautiful reed-built house. eels. you can risk nothing. have the satisfaction of knowing that I have rendered to my prince the major service he himself preferred. At Poitou. Chapter X. and return the others to the waters. without a moment’s pause. thick clouds. he raised his aching head and inhaled the softly scented air. a boat is sent to deliver the bread which has been baked at an oven—the common property of all. more than enough to constitute you the richest. strangled in a prison-cell.” “As you please. Once a week. nourishing with generous juice its purple. Suddenly the young man 62 . white. The extremities of the avenues were imperceptibly detached from the copse. except the chance of catching the fevers prevalent there. it will be remembered.” “Monsieur. and the happiest man in the country. no longer recognizable. in plentitude of absolute secrecy. red and gray mullet. now I begin to compare them together. monseigneur. the murmuring waters. monseigneur—more. Aramis did not remove the piercing glance he had fixed on Philippe. to be divinely guided in this trying moment. the freest. and I shall. The sky he was contemplating. upon closer examination. and then you shall have your answer. There—like the seigneurs of early days—powerful in virtue of your dogs. which. when he offered the thousand pistoles he had with him in the carriage to the prince. It seemed as if the poor prisoner was unaccustomed to walk on God’s earth. as if to control this new sensation of delight. be he soldier or simple citizen. It was the picture. the former task is far more difficult. to be foiled in so vast a project from not having foreseen the influence which a view of nature in all its luxuriance would have on the human mind! Aramis. that notwithstanding the preternatural caution.

” “The conditions. abandoned captive of the Bastile? In a week’s time it will not be requisite to further question a mind like yours. Philippe. monseigneur. You will not allow so mere a trifle to stop me. carefully drawn up. monseigneur?” asked Aramis.” “Let us resume our conversation. and I will be a scholar representing his lesson to his master.” “Interrogate me. “It is. tell me the truth—” “I will do so. I will answer for that.” “I sent to your highness a man in my confidence with instructions to deliver some closely written notes. his brow contracted.” “My mother. seizing his hand in a quick.” “Irrevocably so?” Philippe did not even deign to reply. It is your turn to speak. monseigneur. and strong desire. exclaimed: “Lead me to where the crown of France is to be found. which will thoroughly acquaint your highness with the different persons who compose and will compose your court.” “And understand them? Pardon me.” “Attentively?” “I know them by heart. hardened by covetousness.” “Your second brother?” asked Aramis.” “Is this your decision. That point is decided. then. again his looks became fixed. agitated manner.” said Aramis.” “We will begin with your family. monseigneur?” “Doubtless. and you will not do me the injustice to suppose that I think you have no interest in this affair. “you will be great. The other is the conditions you intend imposing on me. bowing. M. monseigneur. his looks perceptibly hardened. Once a king—” “When will that be?” “To-morrow evening—I mean in the night. I wished to discuss two points with you. Oh! I know her—I know her. or the obstacles we may meet with. “Such looks are flashes of the hidden fire that betrays men’s character. in the first place the dangers.” “Do so.” “When I shall have asked your highness a question.” “I perused those notes. His thought returned to the earth. but I may venture to ask that question of a poor. his mouth assuming an expression of undaunted courage. Aramis’s look immediately became as soft as it had before been gloomy. He gazed earnestly at the bishop. 63 . pride. You will then be in full possession of liberty and power. d’Herblay.” “Explain yourself. her painful malady. without subterfuge or hesitation. bowing over Philippe’s hand.bowed his head. Anne of Austria! all her sorrows. but this time they wore a worldly expression. as if to ask him if it were possible for a man to waver after having once made up his mind. Therefore.

he who delivered up Monk. He is a bold and enterprising man. his interests are more than safe. is a fine. his hair covering his forehead. your right.” “Yes. Fouquet. She halts slightly in her gait.’” “He who escorted La Valliere to Le Chaillot. even although she made me weep on the day she wished to dismiss Mademoiselle de la Valliere from her service in disgrace. D’Artagnan is a man to whom. “that I know my lesson by heart.” “Do you know the latter?” “As if I saw him.” “You see. has blue eyes. more than that.” “Before we pass to M. struck with admiration at the remark. if I seem to fail in respect to questioning you further.. I should very much regret forgetting another friend of mine. and still flirt with. d’Artagnan. Henrietta. whom I. to which I have to send an answer by M. then?” 64 . loved a little. because necessarily you will not require me to exile him.” “She is fair. de Saint-Aignan. what do you wish to be done with regard to him?” “One moment more. monseigneur. that I am able to recognize the persons whose characters. I will undertake to reveal everything. dark-browed man. full head. Do you know your ministers?” “Colbert. and yours afterwards. manners. Now tell me about M. Fouquet. an ugly.” “Very good. I can well say ‘my friend. and with Heaven’s assistance. the Hercules of France. monseigneur.” “No.” “M. we need not disturb ourselves about him. “she is sincerely attached to the actual king.” “You will have to be careful with regard to the watchfulness of the latter. and I know the last verses he composed for me. but be on your guard with him. oh! as far as he is concerned.” replied the prince. heavy. your friend. as well as those I composed in answer to his. M.” “Yes. and history you have so carefully portrayed. he to whom the crown of France owes so much that it owes everything. nay. Do you intend to ask me to exile him also?” “Never. with a pale face.” “It is your duty to do so. Louis XIV. sire. at a certain given time. Monsieur. he who so faithfully served my mother.“To these notes. Fouquet. “You will become very great. a large. and forgive me.” said Aramis. for if he discovers our plot before it is revealed to him.” “You have still an awkward pair of eyes to deal with. cooped in an iron box. monseigneur. du Vallon.” “I will think it over. said. the captain of the musketeers. The eyes of a woman who loves are not easily deceived..” “No. to Charles II. but intelligent enough. you or I will certainly be killed or taken. the mortal enemy of M.” added the prince. my brother. he does not love his wife.” “The Comte de la Fere. it is not he whom I intended to refer to.” “As for the latter. I shall seldom go wrong. dark young man. you mean. I entreat you. whose affectionate gaze reveals her identity. she writes a letter every day. “you have added portraits so faithfully painted. I suppose?” Aramis.

” “That poor boy who is dying of love for La Valliere. whom my brother so disloyally bereft him of ? Be easy on that score. We will spare him the annoyance. When you shall have paid all M. but we cannot save him from ill-health. de Richelieu. I shall be able to think of my own interests and yours. require a first minister of state.” “Your majesty will require a friend. do men. I mean. for that would give rise to too much suspicion and astonishment. and restored the finances to a sound condition. Tell me only one thing. Fouquet will be able to remain the sovereign ruler in his little court of poets and painters. was simply bishop of Lucon. your amazing perspicacity overpowers me with delight.” “Not immediately. Fouquet will not keep long at the head of affairs. I have something still further to hope for. but I do not yet know whether Raoul will be able to forget. Fouquet’s debts. as you are bishop of Vannes. the son of all four of us. Marie de Medici. ignorant and embarrassed as I shall be. “that I should not be appointed first minister until your royal highness has procured my nomination as cardinal. finishes by forgetting the fault or crime of the woman he loves. monseigneur. monseigneur. then. and I have become your royal highness’s prime minister. Fouquet. I shall know how to rehabilitate his happiness.” “I have only one. de Richelieu. or at the first illness he may experience. I entreat you. that is all. the first minister of my grandmother. or is it one of the laws of the human heart?” “A man who loves deeply.” “A king.—we shall have made him rich. when they love.” “Not quite so. He is fond of pleasure.” “Speak! speak!” “M. now for M. but this protracted youth will disappear at the approach of the first serious annoyance.” “You shall be my first minister of state. thanks to the youthfulness he still retains. So it is determined. as deeply as Raoul loves Mademoiselle de la Valliere. bowing. with all his labors.” “I perceive that your royal highness has studied my notes to great advantage. and you would cause me serious regret if you were to limit yourself to that. by means of the queen’s protection. none so zealous for your glory. he will soon get old. M. as a matter of course. When that has been done. will.” “You shall be nominated before two months are past.“And his son. consistently.” “Be it so.” “Well. Monsieur d’Herblay.” “I am perfectly aware that M. because he is an agreeable and noble-hearted man.” “You will have many others by and by. But that is a matter of very trifling moment.” said Aramis. and that is yourself. Have you anything further to say about your friend?” “No.” 65 .” “M.” “In that case. you would not offend me if you were to ask more than that. What do you wish me to do for him?” “To keep him on as surintendant. Monsieur d’Herblay. in the capacity in which he has hitherto acted. soon became cardinal. forget the treachery that has been shown them? Can a man ever forgive the woman who has betrayed him? Is that a French custom. but none so devoted.” “It would be better. but he is the first minister at present.” “I will see after that.

and I will take them. at a time when there was a scarcity of money in France. firm. I shall always hold myself sufficiently aloof from you to escape incurring your jealousy. more than skillful. whilst he might have installed them more conveniently upon two separate and distinct thrones. to be seated on the self-same throne. who possessed it entirely. “M. Chapter XI. However. I have no need of any guarantees. Alone you will rule from that moment.” And they resumed their places in the carriage. Besides. quietly.” added Aramis. was very much to blame in the fixed idea he had of governing France alone. We will embrace each other on the day we shall have upon our temples. What do you say of my plan. Monsieur d’Herblay.” “I believe it. I should only interfere with you. “a cardinal. I have no predilections. unaided. such a man would be acting with twofold injustice in applying these mighty resources to France alone. you will be a king governing by your brain and by your sword. You can ask what guarantees from me you please. prime minister of France. which sped rapidly along the road leading to Vaux-le-Vicomte. sufficiently near to sustain your personal advantage and to watch over your friendship.” “Upon two thrones?” said the young man. nor Charlemagne. for and towards me. assisted by the favor and by the countenance of his Most Christian Majesty the King of France. With us. “you will not be a king such as your father was. he fancied he detected in his own heart an emotion hitherto unknown..The young man looked at his interrogator. We will remove him from his bed by means of a plank which yields to the pressure of the finger. and himself. nor will I cast you into the troubled waters of family dissension. He allowed two kings. he will awake a captive.” “It is useless.” “Still embrace me this very day also. this will never be the case. monseigneur?” “I say that you render me happy and proud. until I have first seen you placed upon the round of the ladder immediately above me. you will confer on me the throne of St. And as I shall be the first to die. slow in judgment. I shall have given you the throne of France. my prime minister. King Louis XIII.” “And so—my dear brother—will disappear?” “Simply. Never shall I act except in such a manner that you will be the gainer. you shall be cardinal. and mailed hand should joined in ties of intimate association the hand of a pope such as I shall be. The Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte. his Holy Father. All the contracts in the world are easily violated because the interests included in them incline more to one side than to another. our friendship ought never to be. I will simply say to you: The whole universe is our own. you will have my inheritance. most respectfully.” “Allow me to kneel before you. had been built by Fouquet in 1655. and you will have no interest dearer and better than that of keeping me near you. I will not throw you into persecutions of heretics. more than great. Monsieur d’Herblay. Mazarin had taken all that there was. I shall never ascend the ladder of fortune. but in any degree affected. Having retired to rest a crowned sovereign. however. “In fact. I the tiara. a cardinal to whom the king his master lends the treasures of the state. Whenever your loyal. for me the minds of men. for you their bodies. who owned two-thirds of the habitable globe.” pursued Aramis. and when cardinal. sire. you will have in the government of the state no more than you will be able to manage unaided. be kind and indulgent—be my father!” Aramis was almost overcome as he listened to his voice. “yes. for no other reason than that of having comprehended you thoroughly. I do not say impaired. but this impression was speedily removed. situated about a league from Melun. Besides. as certain men 66 . will be able to reach to half your stature. you the crown. by a secret thought. or position. more than sublime in genius. of whom we were speaking just now. de Richelieu. Peter. and then you will point out to me the necessary steps to be taken to secure your election as pope. There is my hand on it. thoughtfully. neither Charles V. and be. “His father!” he thought. fame. delicate in health. I have no alliances. The chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte. whom all things wearied. his counsel. his army. and Fouquet expended the remainder.

as the result of his generous profusion. others their troops of sculptors and artists. the cascades awakened the admiration of kings and princes. and was again going downstairs.—if anything could be preferred to the wonderful arrangement of the interior. having around it four pavilions at the angles. as there are volumes of the “Clelie. This mansion.—we will enter the park.” This magnificent palace had been got ready for the reception of the greatest reigning sovereign of the time. We should be far wiser to send our curious readers to Vaux to judge for themselves. in the beautiful gardens there—gardens which had cost France double the amount that had been expended on Vaux—the great king observed to some one: “You are far too young to have eaten any of M. built by a subject.” about this palace of Valterre. and useful vices.—this little vegetable production. and. the decorator of the apartments. while the domes which surmounted the whole added proportion and majesty. The prelate beckoned to him. in the crucibles of his sculptors. false. even at the present time. An army of servants were hurrying to and fro in squadrons in the courtyard and corridors. in the writing-desks of his literary friends. and to the profusion of the paintings and statues. M. With a perfect reliance that Aramis had made arrangements fairly to distribute the vast number of guests throughout the palace. somewhat rebellious nymphs though they were. in their present position—and whose summits even yet. The surintendant joined his friend. green leaves. the architect of the building. A peach—a blushing. in order to give his last orders. Nothing could be more noble in appearance than the central forecourt raised upon the flight of steps. the charms of which he describes most minutely. to the sumptuousness of the gilding. so-called. in scattering broadcast millions of money in the construction of this palace.” and yet there are as many leagues from Paris to Vaux. and had sent him to rot for the remainder of his life in one of the state prisons—merely remembered the peaches of that vanquished. nestling in the trellis work on the gardenwall. those magnificent peaches. Fouquet’s friends had transported thither. it was its grand. while Fouquet. pretentious character. who had robbed him of Lenotre and Lebrun. and Lebrun. and gathered the waters of a thousand fountains into torrents. whom Pelisson made converse with La Fontaine. was sufficient to recall to the memory of this great monarch the mournful shade of the last surintendant of France. M. Vaux-le-Vicomte. Fouquet’s peaches. had found a means of gathering.” Oh. after his intendants had inspected everything.—floods of impromptus were contemplated. the restoration of which would. de Scudery said of this palace. the immense Ionic columns of which rose majestically to the whole height of the building. bordered by a magnificent stone balustrade. rich-flavored fruit. The friezes ornamented with arabesques. supported by caryatides. In one direction Gourville showed him the preparations which had been made for the fireworks. and ripened. of which the king. It was. poured forth their waters brighter and clearer than crystal: they scattered over the bronze triton and nereids their waves of foam. forgotten enemy! It was to little purpose that Fouquet had squandered thirty millions of francs in the fountains of his gardens. and as for the famous grotto. M. exhausted with fatigue. fame! Oh. which were regarded as wonderful in 1653. on an occasion of a scarcity of the finer sorts of peaches being complained of. crushed. inclosed by deep ditches. Moliere led him over the theater. vainly had he fancied that thereby he might be remembered. all the nursery-grounds had furnished trees whose growth had been accelerated by careful culture and the richest plant-food. than to refer them to “Clelie. has the principal front of the main building opening upon a vast. If the Chateau de Vaux possessed a single fault with which it could be reproached. three illustrious men together: Levau. observant glance. in the portfolios of his painters. the salons. we must be spared the description of all its beauties. in another. and the pediments which crowned the pilasters. at last. Fouquet devoted his entire attention to the ensemble alone. in order to present them to his master form the fear of rendering him jealous. that. some their actors and their dresses. and the galleries. blazon of renown! Oh. hidden beneath its long. after he had visited the chapel. Fouquet had divided a river into a thousand fountains. Fouquet. the trees of which are of eight years’ growth only—that is to say. and that he had not omitted to attend to any of the internal regulations for their comfort. conferred richness and grace on every part of the building. The cascades. bore a far greater resemblance to those royal residences which Wolsey fancied he was called upon to construct. as they proudly tower aloft. The sun poured down its burning rays upon the heathen deities of marble and bronze: it raised the temperature of the water in the conch shells. be the ruin of fortunes cramped and narrowed as the epoch itself. the designer of the gardens. The jets d’eau. spoke so regretfully. when. since he had bought up three villages and their appurtenances (to use a legal word) to increase its extent. in our age. walked all through the palace with a calm. the residence of that illustrious nymph of Vaux. Lenotre had hastened the pleasure of the Maecenas of his period. are still so. on the walls. blushingly unfold their leaves to the earliest rays of the rising sun. the 15th of August. This same Monsieur de Scudery said a great many other things in his “Clelie. fifty years later. it would be the park and gardens of Vaux. We will do as Despreaux did. Every tree in the neighborhood which presented a fair appearance of beauty or stature had been taken up by its roots and transplanted to the park. which glistened like fire in the rays of the sun. who had only that morning arrived. not forgetting others with their ready-mended pens. at Marly. glory of this earth! That very man whose judgment was so sound and accurate where merit was concerned—he who had swept into his coffers the inheritance of Nicholas Fouquet. It is even at the present day proverbial to calculate the number of acres of roofing. But if magnificence and splendor were displayed in any one particular part of this palace more than another. as we have said. the theme of so many poetical effusions. for the purpose of keeping the grounds and gardens well watered. that a dormouse would nibble up without a thought. 67 . Fouquet saw Aramis on the staircase. when its magnificent gates. court of honor.have fertile. like a king upon his throne. have been passed through. Lenotre. Fouquet could well afford to purchase trees to ornament his park.

who was walking behind Fouquet. “Where are you going?” returned Fouquet. In the direction of Melun. monseigneur. What an idea to condemn yourself to a room where you cannot stir or move 68 . not being able to find any recompense sufficiently great for this Herculean effort. in the still empty.” “Dear? yes. and as such is very dear to me. in order to change my costume. and I do not care much more for him. to his work. whom they were expecting. D’Herblay.” “To M.” “You should not say that to me. estimated the prodigious labor that had been bestowed upon it. ask myself the same thing. with a gloomy look. more than satisfied. but I cannot tell you how it is. that since he is approaching my house—” “Well. since I know he is on his way here. Colbert. the suit that he had made for his majesty. a perfect objet d’art. the painter Lebrun. with his false smile. The surintendant. as the Abbe Terray did.” “Whereabouts are you lodging. playing upon the word. I could love that young man. by this action. he passed his arm round the painter’s neck and embraced him. covered with perspiration. what?” “Well. pointing at the cortege of Louis.” said the surintendant. dressed in the court suit which Percerin had condescended to show beforehand to the bishop of Vannes. if he really seemed to wish it. stained with paint.” “Well. the sentinels of Vaux had just perceived the advancing procession of the king and the queens. “but rather to M.” “I will answer you in four and twenty hours.” “The room immediately over the king’s room?” “Precisely. “In an hour—” said Aramis to Fouquet. who am not the people. “he certainly loves me but very little. “And the people who ask one another what is the good of these royal fetes!” continued the bishop of Vannes. It was the portrait of the king. was putting the last finishing touches with his rapid brush. D’Herblay. It was a happy moment for the artist. His majesty was entering Melun with his long train of carriages and cavaliers. Colbert!” exclaimed Fouquet.” “You will be subject to very great restraint there. visible in the horizon. “To my own apartment. as my guest. Applying himself. had utterly ruined a suit of clothes worth a thousand pistoles. in Lebrun’s painting. as he called it. monseigneur. sighing. with a swelling heart. which was not to be matched except in the wardrobe of the surintendant. pale from fatigue and the inspiration of genius. Percerin. believe me or not.” said Aramis. too. He gazed upon it long and fixedly. “Why so?” “Because he would allow you a pension out of the king’s privy purse.” returned Aramis. as you like. I feel that. and in its warmth of color.with him. “In an hour!” replied the latter. laughing. paused before a large picture scarcely finished. but he had satisfied. preparing to leave as soon as he had dealt this last blow. Fouquet placed himself before this portrait. His distress and his exclamations were interrupted by a signal which had been given from the summit of the mansion. “Do not laugh. “Alas! I. with Louis XV. at a later period. heart and soul. and. Lebrun. in the cool freshness of its flesh. it was an unhappy moment for M. open plain. which seemed to live. Assume a cheerful countenance. for it should be a day of true rejoicing. he is my acknowledged sovereign. D’Herblay?” “In the blue room on the second story. as soon as he becomes surintendant.” said Aramis. as one might say. he is more sacred than ever for me. and was engaged in admiring.

D’Artagnan made every preparation for the journey. The king had. he hated the financier too cordially. and after the ceremonial of reception had been gone through. do not overfatigue yourself.” he continued. the king. and is at this moment dressing. It might almost have been called a small army. at first. entered Melun with the intention of merely passing through the city. all this suspicious singularity of conduct had excessively troubled and tormented D’Artagnan during the last two weeks. in point of fact. So long as Aramis continued a soldier. keep yourself fresh for the arrival of the king. as yet very inconsiderable in numbers. for mordioux! there is something in it. and without M.” he said to himself. which would have ruined a wealthy man. he will tell me something. but since he has covered his cuirass with a stole. suspecting that his only opportunity of speaking to her would be after nightfall. “But why?” said the king. he had been very desirous to arrive at Vaux as early as possible.” “We shall see you by and by. “With men of Aramis’s stamp. who knew the position of Fouquet better than even Fouquet himself did. 2 Chapter XII. I find my reader quite sufficient. “between a couple of candles. he wished to unburden his mind to the king. “that my friend the bishop of Vannes had some motive in that. Colbert. after all.about!” “During the night. there was hope of getting the better of him. we are lost. Fouquet. The Wine of Melun. besides. monseigneur. the presence of Aramis. bowing. I know. D’Artagnan. Colbert? And what else can he be after?” And D’Artagnan rubbed his forehead—that fertile land. M. Colbert looked at the troops with great delight: he even wished they had been a third more in number. and which became impossible. He revolted at the bare idea of such a thing. the first time he met him. his perseverance in mixing himself up with all the surintendant’s affairs. “What does it matter to me. But what can Aramis’s object possibly be?” And D’Artagnan plunged again into deep thought. “In order to show greater honor to M.” and then he began to rack his brains most uselessly. Like Calypso. Then. and he will tell me—What will he tell me? Yes. only twice during the journey had he been able to catch a glimpse of La Valliere. and when he least expects it. his visits to Baisemeaux.” And Fouquet. on arriving at Melun. so intimately acquainted with all the court intrigues. He. and. saw himself at the head of both the musketeers and Swiss guards.” Somewhat calmer. suddenly. “There is not a doubt. I will place my hand upon his heart. our Gascon could not console himself for not having guessed why Aramis had asked Percerin to show him the king’s new costumes. And then. and. passed on like a commander-in-chief who pays the different outposts a visit after the enemy has been signaled in sight. I suppose. “I will get him. had conceived the strangest fancies and suspicions at the announcement of the fete. for a man so poor as he was. and took the greatest care that the military household of the king. the oath of earlier days.” replied Colbert. monseigneur. who could not be consoled at the departure of Ulysses. through the captain’s arrangements. bound him too strictly. direct. in the gardens. again. who had returned from Belle-Isle.” “And your servants?” “I have but one attendant with me.” said the musketeer. but yet the king would not be able to understand the suspicions which had not even a shadow of reality at their base. I sleep or read in my bed. The result was that. with a smile. as well as a picket of the French guards. but his friendship for Aramis. should be well officered and well disciplined in its meager and limited proportions. He resolved to address himself to Aramis. “one is never the stronger except sword in hand. But he reckoned without his captain of the musketeers. 69 . The youthful monarch was most eagerly anxious for amusements. whence the plowshare of his nails had turned up so many and such admirable ideas in his time. “if his only object is to overthrow M. thought of talking the matter over with Colbert.” he said. utter madness even. Adieu. and shall see your friend Du Vallon also?” “He is lodging next to me. and been nominated by Monsieur Fouquet inspector-general of all the arrangements.

In what way could he possibly reconcile these difficulties? D’Artagnan took up Colbert’s remark. Colbert. which pays well. Was I right?” “Quite so. D’Artagnan would not allow him to enter Vaux except he were well and strongly accompanied.” “Monsieur. When this little army appeared before Melun. the chief magistrates came out to meet the king. seeing how ugly anger made him. and determined to repeated it to the king.” Colbert. Where the deuce did you get hold of that idea. “Who was fool enough to occasion this delay?” muttered the king. “What was M. I think it was—no.” “What name?” “I hardly know. to D’Artagnan. certainly. now! I. The king. “but I believe it was M. in a low tone of voice.“In order to ruin him the sooner. did not stop half-way. D’Artagnan. “Is not the king going to sleep at Melun?” said Colbert. The king. Monsieur Colbert? You have no luck. the king drank the wine which was presented to him. the speech was now at an end.” thought D’Artagnan. Yes. it was fool or dolt. who is making himself quite giddy on his donjons yonder. and then every one resumed the progress through the city. so that he might taste the vin de Brie. owing to the different arrangements. thoroughly discomfited. The orator still went on with his speech. between his teeth. who was boiling with impatience. and all hope of a walk with La Valliere was at an end. for the latter guessed that the king’s intention was very far from that of remaining where he was. to address himself in that manner to the chief of the musketeers.” “There. quietly caressed his mustache. in order to reach it before nightfall. “Not I. d’Artagnan good enough to say?” “I was good enough to remark that it was you who stopped the king’s progress. his majesty said that the man who had thought of the vin de Melun was something of the sort. Colbert was completely thrown out of the saddle by it. after this broadside. “my zeal for the king’s service inspired me with the idea. hard enough in all conscience.” This was a home-stroke. In order that the whole of the king’s household should enter Vaux. for the evening was closing in.” “Bah!” “Monsieur. Colbert must have been badly inspired that day. “the king is going to have an attack of determination of blood to the head. who do not pretend to be a financier. Melun is a city. as the chief magistrate was in the middle of a long address. 70 . saw only one idea in your idea. M.” replied D’Artagnan. and invited him to enter the Hotel de Ville. having heard his name pronounced.” D’Artagnan.” “What was that. who expected to pass through the city and to proceed to Vaux without delay. On the other hand. monsieur. and desired that his majesty would not enter except with all the escort. four hours at least were necessary. then. M. hurried forward as much as possible. said. Fortunately. Colbert’s large head seemed to become larger and larger than ever. an excellent city.” “In that case. The king bit his lips in anger. while the king’s color was visibly increasing. But. monsieur?” “That of causing a little annoyance to M. coolly. and retired. other and fresh difficulties arose. no. it was you whom the king called some name or other. and which it would be imprudent to displease. but wait a moment—idiot. became quite red in the face from vexation. drawing himself up. therefore.” said the financier. “Mordioux!” said the musketeer. in order to partake of the wine of honor. he felt that these delays would irritate that impatient monarch beyond measure. Fouquet. and to present him with the keys of the city. in waiting for us. at the moment he was setting off again.

where Fouquet.” said Louis XIV. It will easily be conjectured that all these rival interests. where the seat of her pain lay.” he added aloud. surrounded by his household and his friends. I should enter accompanied only by my captain of the guards. the king presented himself before the gate of Vaux.” D’Artagnan listened with the greatest attention. softly. Fouquet. Chapter XIII. and therefore kept biting the handle of his whip instead. the gentlemen who are with the carriages can go slowly: but we who are mounted will ride on. I should consider that I was acting more nobly. and Colbert as sulky as he could.“Sire. “the fear of causing your majesty the least delay.” said D’Artagnan. biting his mustache to conceal his vexation.” “Sleep at Melun! What for?” exclaimed Louis XIV. If I were in the king’s place. 71 . with ill-concealed impatience. “And a quarter of an hour for the king. for.” he said. as he galloped along. gathering together in vapors. “if I had any interest or motive in demolishing your credit with the king. quickly. had been waiting for the last half-hour. who. but were at liberty to walk about as they pleased. de Saint-Aignan and the ladies of the court. “Sleep at Melun! Who. bowing to the royal ladies. and the queens were not less interested. the ladies of honor. Colbert hid his ugly head behind his horse’s neck. and without even his advanced guard. The king had no mustache to gnaw. Who was there he could get in a passion with? “We will consult the queen. “I shall be quits. when M. and it must be so. I should go to him as a friend. for. “I should. if etiquette required the princesses to remain within their own rooms. more especially. “An hour for your majesty’s carriages. leave my escort behind me. “will make his majesty lose all the advantage of his speed. And this kindness of consideration softened Maria Theresa’s heart. “We should arrive by daylight?” said Louis XIV. with his head uncovered. in Heaven’s name. Fouquet is a man of honor. however quick he may be. and would have preferred to go to rest without proceeding any farther. until the soldiers’ quarters have been marked out by the quartermaster. accompanied by all those who were mounted. They were fatigued. in going to M. when left to her own free-will. replied: “I shall be delighted to do whatever your majesty wishes. We will go to see a friend as friends.. and that the clouds were likely to be followed by a tempest.” “How long will it take us to get to Vaux?” inquired Anne of Austria. without announcing his arrival by the din of trumpets. And then. necessarily produced clouds. “That is indeed a very sensible suggestion. “the roads are tolerably good. M. Colbert has been asking me if your majesty does not intend to sleep at Melun.” said D’Artagnan. with the exception of your own royal residences. “But the billeting of the king’s military escort. I could do it in ten minutes. How could he get out of it? D’Artagnan looked as agreeable as possible.” Delight sparkled in the king’s eyes.” he hastened to add. placing her hand upon her bosom. and the garrison properly distributed. can have thought of such a thing. you cannot enter any place. according to established etiquette. as soon as they had performed the services required of them. towards seven o’clock in the evening. in slow and measured accents. without out-riders or musketeers. being of a kind and generous disposition. “M.” objected Colbert. in order to prevent the king walking about in the evening with M. Mordioux! I have said so.” The king looked at him.” “Double ass that you are!” thought D’Artagnan. and should be invested with a still more sacred character by doing so.” And this was the way how. “by getting a little talk with Aramis this evening. who had been informed of his royal guest’s approach. had no restrictions placed upon them. Fouquet is expecting us this evening?” “It was simply.” replied Colbert. Nectar and Ambrosia.” And he rode off.

who ate a good deal and drank but little. in his recital. which. comprised everything the king liked and generally preferred to anything else. and asked the names of the strange fruits as they were placed upon the table. even less numerous than the servants who waited on them. and marble statues. was no more than the prelude of the promised fete. dine with the rest of society. however. and more graciously still held out his hand to him. at the risk of rivaling the brain-born scenes of romancers. were but historic monuments of earlier days. Fouquet drank wines of which the king of France did not even know the name. saying to M. Fouquet held the stirrup of the king. in obedience to the king’s expressed desire. Fouquet did in real truth offer to his sovereign in that enchanting retreat of which no monarch could at that time boast of possessing an equal. indeed. of gold and silver vases. soon wore a very gloomy. indeed. The king felt and appreciated the delicacy of the replies. rolling along as though on a carpet. his eyes filled with tears. a light as bright as day burst forth from every quarter. from being gay. the king became morose and overgloomed again.—who were. but made a great number of observations which he turned to good profit. while with Fouquet. in being too proud and haughty. together with every delight and luxury combined for the satisfaction of all the senses. that he might remain cold and distant in his behavior. But Fouquet had foreseen all this. Fouquet did even better still. so long as he remained under Fouquet’s roof. kind-hearted by nature and curious by disposition. in the middle of the general table. charmed all who were there. Fouquet ate from a gold service. nor had he long to wait. and the mean and indifferent style of luxury that prevailed there. We do not intend to describe the grand banquet. the servants and officers. Nay. but by deep silence and rapt attention. The king had expressly declared that. monsieur le surintendant. at which the royal guests were present. As soon. it will be enough for our purpose to depict the countenance the king assumed. Louis had no excuse—he. he dared not look at the queen. nor the concerts. bordering lightly the limits of supreme disdain or simple admiration. whose pride was superior to that of any creature breathing. the hangings. however. unrestrained comfort. brought the ladies to Vaux. in fact. The large vases of the Louvre. the relics of his predecessors. ate with an exceedingly good appetite. of his household? What of the mode of service in which etiquette was replaced by order. not by voice or gesture. which Fouquet. of Francis I. who had the keenest appetite in his kingdom—for saying that he was not hungry. to devour the dishes spread before them with such enthusiasm that it looked as though a cloud of Egyptian locusts was settling down on green and growing crops. royal though it was. those two languages of the courtier which acknowledge the hand of no master powerful enough to restrain them. D’Artagnan. The young queen. The fruits came from his own stores. the king’s dinner was served up separately. the perfect harmony of the surroundings.. but as soon as the soups were served. and a stone would hardly have been found of the size of an egg the whole way from Melun to Vaux. the floods of dazzling light. and the king ate of everything. the happiness and contentment of the guest became the supreme law of all who obeyed the host? The perfect swarm of busily engaged persons moving about noiselessly. praised Fouquet. The disdain of Juno and the sulky fits of temper of Jupiter could not resist this excess of kindly feeling and polite attention. which comprised but little more than what was merely useful for the royal wants. on all sides. Fouquet replied that he was not aware of their names. without jolting or fatigue. seated himself at the table. the multitude of guests. consequently. one of those men who foresee everything. for the roads had been put into excellent order by the superintendent. and irritated expression. without being his own personal property. to dine better anywhere. he did not wish his own different repasts to be served in accordance with the usual etiquette. stiff formality by personal. and that Anne of Austria resembled Juno a little too much. having dismounted. This species of enchantment lasted until their majesties had retired into the palace. his chief anxiety. As for the king. He remembered his own residence. while Madame Fouquet stood behind the queen-mother’s armchair. and of Louis XI.—the myriad of exquisitely prepared dishes. was to be said of the apartments. All these wonders and magical effects which the chronicler has heaped up. and they testified their admiration over and over again. did not lose a single opportunity. or rather embalmed. he certainly. the value of the article was as much in the workmanship as in the article itself. these splendors whereby night seemed vanquished and nature corrected. The queen ate a biscuit dipped in a glass of San-Lucar wine. constrained. however. vases. the older furniture and plate of Henry II. and that he would. the pictures. too. nor the fairy-like and more than magic transformations and metamorphoses. The king wished to wait in the first courtyard for the arrival of the carriages. in spite of a slight resistance on the king’s part.. 72 . M. trees. Anne of Austria.” Whereupon the whole court began. and particularly on account of the deferential manner which his courtiers had shown towards Fouquet. the dinner. he was. and at the moment they made their appearance. from the dishes of which was composed. bowed most graciously. redundant with luxuriance of unequaled scent and beauty.. by eight o’clock. who. having an intimate acquaintance with the cultivation of exotic fruits and plants. wonderful in every respect.M. without allowing it to be noticed. which artists in his own employ had modeled and cast for him alone. so that the carriages. if one may so express it. overwhelmed her host by the contempt with which she treated everything handed to her. carried respectfully to his lips. he had often cultivated them himself. the masses of unknown flowers of which the hot-houses had been despoiled. he arose and personally waited on the king. of every description. nothing but specimens of art. the more so in proportion to the satisfaction he fancied he had previously manifested. They were received by Madame Fouquet. as his hunger was appeased. as well as the imagination. What. which. but by the thoughtful attention of the surintendant. and drank them out of goblets each more valuable than the entire royal cellar. Fouquet: “It is impossible. he thought the queen a little too familiar in her manners. was himself. but was only the more humiliated.

d’Artagnan. No sooner had the king entered his room than a cold shiver seemed to pass through him. Porthos. having met La Valliere in one of the winding paths of the wood. and found on the second story (in a beautiful room called the Blue Chamber. its fairy scenes. A Gascon. Aramis came forward to embrace his friend. however.” “Does your majesty wish for your attendants at once?” “No. was able to press her hand and say. had the painter elaborated on his frescoes. D’Artagnan. The queens passed to their own apartments. of which we owe some cursory description to our readers. there was immediately a movement in every direction. Fouquet. The poisoned chalice. Fouquet. “Why. It was a composition as soft and pleasing in one part as dark and gloomy and terrible in another.When the supper was finished. for M. Colbert I wish to see him. “Well. Everything that sleep gives birth to that is lovely. those half-dim shadows more alarming than the approach of fire or the somber face of midnight. and M. As it was after awhile generally remarked among those present that the musketeer was reserved. meditating. wizards and phantoms with terrific masks. and offered him the best seat. and on Fouquet asking him the cause of it. I have to talk with a few persons first. these.” said the king. And how do you like the place?” “Very much. the king found his musketeers awaiting him on the grand flight of steps. the moon. doubtless.” The king was conducted with the greatest ceremony to the chamber of Morpheus. for true it is that. the king expressed a wish not to lose the promenade. Fouquet. and so we have come to Vaux. and a Gascon and a Half. and wished for an opportunity for conversing secretly with Aramis. for the king. He was weary. he had looked for him in every direction until he had succeeded in finding him. Fouquet had brought them on from Melun and had invited them to supper. Lebrun had painted on the vaulted ceiling the happy as well as the unhappy dreams which Morpheus inflicts on kings as well as on other men. the glittering dagger suspended over the head of the sleeper. who followed.” he said. and I like M.” without any one overhearing him except M. The park was illuminated. and wished. too. The fete was complete in every respect. accompanied by them music of theorbos and lutes. having dined exceedingly well. D’Artagnan’s suspicions at once disappeared. It was the handsomest and largest in the palace. yes. thoroughly to enjoy a fete given by a man who was in every sense of the word a king.” he said. silvered the trees and lake with her own bright and quasi-phosphorescent light. its flowers and nectar. no sooner had the king entered Vaux.” “Is he not a charming host?” 73 . The king having requested to be shown to his room. the daintily shell-gravelled walks through the thickly set avenues yielded luxuriously to the feet. and the freedom of conversation therefore was not interrupted by a third person. the Epicureans took their leave. The dreamy night of magical enchantments stole smoothly on. did not stir. D’Artagnan felt that he was called upon to open the conversation. and in fact he never was in the habit of doing so. “Will you have the goodness to tell M. and such as these. Chapter XIV. that is all. he was fast asleep in his armchair. some new piece of gallant attention for his majesty’s amusement. as if she had placed herself at the orders of the lord of Vaux.” Fouquet bowed and left the room. After having inquired for Aramis. he had supped well. for once in his life. D’Artagnan desired the servants to announce him. he had made the companions of his more pleasing pictures. who preceded him. as pale as death: “I am sleepy. than Aramis had retired to his own room. on account of the color of its hangings) the bishop of Vannes in company with Porthos and several of the modern Epicureans. “is the man for me. harmonious snore. “M. and people might talk in the midst of its loud bass without fear of disturbing him. the king replied. Besides. Porthos had a deep. also. “I love you. The air was strangely soft and balmy. D’Artagnan had determined to lose no time. the wild voluptuousness or profound repose of the senses.

does Colbert. that M. then?” “You know I am a friend of all kinds of amusement where the exercise of the imagination is called into activity. true. Colbert will be minister in four months?” “Because M.” he said. related Colbert’s misadventures with regard to the vin de Melun. in a tone so full of thoughtful consideration. I have always been a poet in one way or another. “Why do you tell me that M. then. that the true king of France is not Louis XIV. looking the musketeer full in the eyes.” “Do you know what idea occurred to me this evening.” said D’Artagnan. and then. Fouquet. they were charming. “It is done with the 74 .” Aramis breathed again.” replied Aramis. “No.” “Yes.” “I am told that the king began by showing great distance of manner towards M. and that you will serve him as blindly as you did Richelieu or Mazarin—” “And as you serve M. Pelisson. “that that fellow will be your minister within four months. as he pretended to become sad and full of reflection. and smiled. in order to throw Aramis off his guard. etc. “Completely so. and so well assumed.” “Why does he give these fetes. tell me what it was. Fouquet will have ceased to be so. “He will be ruined. a moment after. but that his majesty grew much more cordial afterwards. “I would wager that it was M.” added the bishop.” “You did not notice it. “With this difference. jealous. it is Monsieur Fouquet. when those others are known by the names of Moliere. and Aramis’s former suspicions were again aroused. Colbert. Aramis?” “No.” said Aramis. but I am delighted to read the verses of others. “He comes of a mean race. you have so many.” “Ah. too. for I should never be able to guess it. that the bishop was for the moment deceived by it. “Ah! you are like all the rest.“No one could be more so. Fouquet.” said D’Artagnan. La Fontaine. indeed! you are the comptroller-general of the fetes here. “Why did you not dissuade him from it?” The latter part of the phrase was just a little too much. you mean?” said D’Artagnan.” “Well. I was engaged with the gentlemen who have just left the room about the theatrical performances and the tournaments which are to take place to-morrow.” “I have forgotten them.” D’Artagnan. involuntarily. then?” said the musketeer. “Quite true. he added. Fouquet is not M. I remember the verses you used to write. though. Colbert who turned that pretty phrase.” “What!” said Aramis. the idea occurred to me.” “When I think.” “True. since you say you have been told so?” “No.

and that he is doing his utmost to drive the king to get rid of the superintendent?” “One must be blind not to see it. do you still care for me a very little?” “What a question to ask!” 75 .” he resumed. and the presents—these are well and good. and all he had to do was to wait and watch its effect. I told M. one might say.’” “It is positive madness. my friend. and looking him full in the eyes. The shaft was discharged. true. completely new inside and out. “Aramis. “That of the king. and that portrait. by ruining himself for the king. yet curious to broach another phase of the conversation. and on account of which you took some specimens away. and that. in order that it might not be made use of by any one else. and he then added this: ‘Whoever advises me to spare expense.” “Necessity. dear Aramis. “That is merely an act of graceful attention.” “Do you not? Have you not remarked M. Colbert’s daily increasing antagonism.” “How completely Spanish!” “I told him so.” “What do you allude to?” “As for the banquet. he replied. too!” “What portrait?” said Aramis.” “What likelihood is there that the king would join a party formed against a man who will have spent everything he had to please him?” “True. as soon as the king had left. the cascades.” “By ruining himself ?” “Yes.” D’Artagnan paused. the theatricals. I grant. the illuminations.” “What surprise?” “The surprise you seem to have in view.” said D’Artagnan. said.” “I don’t see that. the tournaments. the concert. the fireworks. but why were not these expenses sufficient? Why was it necessary to have new liveries and costumes for your whole household?” “You are quite right. D’Artagnan went up to his friend. when I met you at Percerin’s.object of humoring the king. Fouquet?” “That is well known. that if he were rich enough he would offer the king a newly erected chateau. and the surprise as well. from the vanes at the houses to the very sub-cellars. Fouquet that myself. sinister calculation. necessity. the ball. “and I do not like those you are committing. that.” “And that a cabal is already armed against M. and follies. hardly convinced.” “A most eccentric. took hold of both his hands. he would burn the whole building and its contents. slowly.” replied Aramis. I shall look upon as my enemy. “There are follies.

I suspect you.” replied the bishop. Is it likely.” “Be a little considerate. Aramis. If I ever suspect you. mordioux. in a firm. and should happen to succeed in. D’Artagnan. friendship.” “Indeed. laughing. who would shed every drop of blood in his veins for me. An admirable trio of friends. who has been working upon them for the last two days and nights. What suspicion can you have possibly got hold of ?” “Do you believe in my instinctive feelings? Formerly you used to have faith in them. Tell me the exact truth. Well. your words—at the moment you pronounce them—are full of generous feeling. “And supposing that I were conspiring against Colbert. three out of the old ‘four. “And this man. “the only thing now is. it is on account of others. an instinct tells me that you have some concealed project on foot. don’t you think so? What an affecting relic of the former dear old times!” “I can only tell you one thing. D’Artagnan. “for ours is not of the same nature as those of which you have been speaking. assured voice. you cause me the greatest pain. my dear fellow. would you?” “My dear friend. no.” “I—a project?” “I am convinced of it. There are certain projects which are never revealed until the favorable opportunity arrives. what harm would there be in that?” 76 . D’Artagnan. I repeat.” D’Artagnan shook his head with a sorrowful expression. One favor. and I swear it on the Bible: I love you just as I used to do. Why did you take some patterns of the king’s costumes at Percerin’s?” “Come with me and ask poor Lebrun. would suffer himself to be cut in pieces for my sake. then. I should tell you about it? If I had one that I could and ought to have revealed. In everything I may do. should I not have long ago divulged it?” “No.” said Aramis. dazzling world. you would not like anything disagreeable to happen to me. is nothing but an unsubstantial shadow—a lure.” “What nonsense!” “I am not only sure of it. you astonish me. and Porthos is fast asleep.“Very good.’ You are deceiving me. like everything else in this bright.” “In that case. “what an idle word you are! Here is a man who. friendship!” he said. Aramis. and not on account of either of us. but for me—” “Upon my word.” “Such a thing is very possible.” “Look at us. will not open up before me the least corner in his heart. I have the instrument in my own hand. you are becoming quite incomprehensible.” Aramis could not conceal a smile of disdain that flitted over his haughty features. if I were but to ask it.” “Aramis. Aramis. but I would even swear it.” returned the bishop.” “You are right. nobly. you will find your fourth. tell me so at once. that may be truth for everybody else. If that be all. if I have any project in hand that I ought to keep secret from you. Friendship. Colbert. and will pull out the tooth easily enough. Will you promise me the same favor?” “If I am not mistaken. that the ‘opportunity’ has not yet arrived. “Oh. then.” “You are conspiring against M.” “It is not thus you should speak of our friendship.

and had blushed as he listened to words of praise. “Are you going away?” he said. “Your face will not convince me. and shook them cordially.“No.” “I am the wiser of the two. the king. “Aramis. that would be too trifling a matter for you to take in hand. I am at the fete at Vaux. It is the king you are conspiring against.” “You to suspect me of wishing to assassinate the king!” “Who spoke of such a thing?” smiled the musketeer. from whom this separation of the two associates removed his last suspicion. Oh! Aramis. Duty summons me. but in spite of that. “Well.” 77 .” D’Artagnan did not say a word. pretending to be annoyed. made him feel ashamed.” said the bishop. seated with his back towards the alcove. here at Vaux. in order to conceal the flush on his face. “Yes. one single word of a true friend. let us understand one another. did him honor. and he touched Porthos lightly on the shoulder. the solemnity of his oath. If I think of touching.” said D’Artagnan.” “True. you have your guards and your musketeers here. Where does Porthos sleep?” “Take him away with you. my dear fellow. “Come. deceived. I repeat.” “A true friend’s word is ever truth itself. “True. we are not enemies. “Not the least in the world. I will do more than help you—I will do more than remain neuter—I will save you. will not be the most glorious day my king ever enjoyed—may Heaven’s lightning blast me where I stand!” Aramis had pronounced these words with his face turned towards the alcove of his own bedroom. The earnestness of his words. if you like. Aramis.” “You are mad. the son of Anne of Austria. for he rumbles through his sleepy nose like a park of artillery. “What. as he embraced him. I will swear to remain neuter. no. and. the studied slowness with which he pronounced them. trustful and reliant. is that you? What a lucky chance! Oh. where D’Artagnan. grant me. I have forgotten. “Besides. the true king of this realm of France—if I have not the firm intention of prostrating myself before his throne—if in every idea I may entertain to-morrow. a voice within me speaks and seems to trickle forth a rill of light within my darkness: it is a voice that has never yet deceived me. the latter replied by a loud yawn. D’Artagnan. could not suspect that any one was lying concealed. smiling ironically. if he does not assassinate him. but D’Artagnan. upon the word of a D’Artagnan. Tell me what you wish to undertake. but in your own. but I don’t know where.” “You are not in M.” “Very good!” said the musketeer. for pity’s sake.” said Aramis. Aramis had endured reproaches without turning pale.” “I am undertaking nothing. I do not see what any one can do to a legitimate king as ours is. remember—we are brothers. even with my finger. then?” said D’Artagnan. Fouquet’s house. D’Artagnan. He took hold of both Aramis’s hands. “Aramis. in this matter. D’Artagnan. if I cannot help you.” “Will you help me?” said Aramis. I have to get the watch-word.” “The king?” exclaimed the bishop. yes—true. He has a chamber to himself. It seems I am to be lodged in the king’s ante-room.” “Ah! he does not stay with you. gave the musketeer the most complete satisfaction. and it was not on that account you asked Percerin for those patterns of the king’s costumes.

” said the musketeer. “Yes.” “M. as he pushed aside a sliding panel placed behind the bed. “Monseigneur!— monseigneur!” Philippe made his appearance from the alcove.” “True. was it not?” “Hush!” said Aramis. hurriedly. “I see the king!” “What is he doing?” “He seems to wish some man to sit down close to him. even. therefore. my friends.” And Aramis accompanied them to the door. he will keep his fidelity. that my flooring is merely the covering of his ceiling. starting as at the sight of an enemy. for in that case. it seems. wait a moment—” “Look at the notes and the portraits. What are we to do. but he bites sometimes.“Yes. no. “It is impossible. I am going to push aside a portion of the flooring. at all events.” “Yes. laughing quietly all the while.” The prince did not deceive himself. too. d’Artagnan. he bolted the door. monseigneur! what can we be going to hear—and what can result from this intimacy?” “Nothing good for M. and will never admit that he has been deceived. Good night. when it is too late. he is a Gascon. my prince. “M. Fouquet?” “No. Fouquet. 78 . “You are walking so heavily you will make the flooring give way. “this room is above the dome.” “He is very devoted to me. you will look through the opening. closed up the chinks of the windows. rely upon D’Artagnan to the end of the world.” added the bishop. and then called out. if he has seen nothing. d’Artagnan entertains a great many suspicions. then?” “Before you called him by his name. now?” “Sit in this folding-chair.” he said. and your beautiful dress. If he sees.” replied Philippe.” “The man whom the king wishes to sit down in his presence is M.” Aramis looked through the opening in the flooring. and in ten minutes I shall be asleep myself. “The ceiling of the king’s room has all the lightness and calm of wholesome sleep. Oh. laying a stress upon the personal pronoun.” “Colbert sit down in the king’s presence!” exclaimed Aramis. which answers to one of the false windows made in the dome of the king’s apartment.” “Look. “Ah!—you recognized M. I think.” “I thought so. I assure you. If D’Artagnan does not recognize you before the other has disappeared.” he said. Do not forget. “As faithful as a dog. As soon as they were outside. it was very attentive on the part of Monsieur Coquelin de Voliere. “Colbert himself.” “And I did not choose it for a fencing-room. Can you see?” “Yes.” said Philippe. Colbert.” “He is your captain of musketeers.

the concealment of your best interests.” he said. forgave Colbert the joke.” Colbert awaited the effect this coarse jest would produce upon the king. “for people do not give their sovereigns such banquets as the one of to-day.” The intendant. overcome with delight.” “The occupation of an intendant very often favors those who practice it. Tell me.” “Exactitude is the principal qualification required in an intendant of finances. for he feared he was about to be dismissed.” said he.” said the king. he remains standing.” “I know it. Yes. and there was courage in the doing of it.” “Will you be able to prove it with tolerable certainty?” “Easily. then.” “M. the living as well as the dead.—they admire and applaud the result produced. Colbert. sire.” “But all are not so. sire. but I risked. “you have annoyed me exceedingly to-day. “Colbert. also. “that M. Fouquet. Fouquet’s wealth.” 79 . “sit down.” And the future king and the future pope listened eagerly to the simple mortals they held under their feet. Fouquet owes his wealth to some cause or other.” “Every one. “Does he accept?” said Aramis. “No. know how that wealth was obtained—and they rise up in accusation. I like that answer. you knew it.” “I thank you majesty for so flattering a compliment from your own lips. and Colbert had arrived. Fouquet has given me too good a meal.” said Colbert.” “What does that mean.We have seen that Louis XIV. wiser and better informed than we are.. refused this unprecedented honor. is rich—very rich. ready to crush them when they liked. The conversation began between them by the king according to him one of the highest favors that he had ever done.” “So that M. sire. “Colbert.” “I ran the risk of displeasing your majesty. sire.—can you tell?” “Yes. unless it be to stifle them beneath the burden of good living. even if it were nothing more than an indigestion.” “I know you are very exact. therefore. had sent for Colbert.” “Let us listen. and to the utmost farthing. I do know. and I suppose every man knows he is so. it was true the king was alone with his subject. but the dead. who was the vainest and the most fastidiously delicate man in his kingdom. Monsieur Colbert?” “The living are witnesses of M. and Louis XIV. “The truth is. where does he get all the money required for this enormous expenditure.” “Very good.” “What! you were afraid of something on my account?” “I was.

and the result is.” said Colbert. perceived its inferiority compared with that of Fouquet. How was this deficit possible?” “Possible I do not say.” “Well.“You have something to say to me more confidentially.” “Yes. inasmuch as M. That is what I do not very well understand.” “You say that these thirteen millions are found to be wanting in the accounts?” “I do not say so. then. in consequence of the misunderstanding between Madame de Chevreuse and Aramis.” “Thirteen millions. but there is no doubt about fact that it is really so.—you will find your advantage in it. consequently—” “Well. Fouquet. Mazarin indicates the employment of that sum and the name of the person with whom it was deposited?” “As your majesty can judge for yourself.” The king read Mazarin’s letter. these thirteen millions are wanting to balance the total of the account.” “Ah!” murmured Aramis. and saw Louis XIV. sire. Listen attentively.” “I am never afraid of anything under the shelter of my own conscience. and under the protection of your majesty.” For a blunderer. but the registry does.” “That results from the accounts. monseigneur. and make four times as great a display. listened without losing a syllable. bowing.—read. Fouquet has not yet given back the thirteen millions. he must have appropriated them to his own purpose. in that case. Colbert received back again at Vaux what Fouquet 80 . “Your majesty has an excellent memory.” said the king. were to speak—” “They do speak sometimes. listen to a piece of infamy—of a nature truly royal. do not be afraid. if you remember. as your majesty was able to do at Fontainebleau. for the first time. and. where we only spent three millions altogether. sire. certainly. “since you are placed here. sire. Fouquet has not yet restored the thirteen millions.” The prince redoubled his attention. close beside him. as its contents are already known to the reader.” “I see that it refers to money that had been given to M. take from Colbert’s hands a letter the latter held out to him.” replied Colbert. greatly interested. You are about to be a witness of one of those scenes which the foul fiend alone conceives and executes. Well.” “And this letter of M. bowing. “I do not quite understand. “it is an immense advantage for a king who is destined for hard work to recognize handwritings at the first glance. “If the dead. I perceive. nothing further would be learned if we stated them here again. therefore. and. “Your majesty has not acquired the utilitarian habit of checking the public accounts. in order to learn your vocation of a king. who. the souvenir he had evoked was a rather skillfully contrived piece of baseness. A tolerably good sum. in the prince’s ear. we are quite alone. “The late cardinal’s handwriting. for by the remembrance of his own fete he. that M.” said the king.” “Yes. and with those thirteen millions one could incur four times and a little more as much expense.

He felt that such was the case. By to-morrow morning I shall have made up my mind. the etiquette observed in addressing the king. I should make no further reply. “what has just now taken place is only a detail.” replied the king. if your majesty—” “Were we not under M. and that would open the succession. sire.” Louis XIV. after a few moments’ reflection. and.” “And what would you do?” “I should wait until to-morrow morning to give myself time for reflection. I do not know.” “That is true. and Colbert withdrew with a respectful bow.” “I think so too. hastily. Learn. M. “M. Colbert is so very near the king at this moment. sire. with something of nobility in his demeanor. Fouquet’s roof. Colbert. with his accustomed gentleness of manner. returned it with the best possible interest.” “Of which your younger brother would reap all the advantage.” “We shall not have long to listen. and.” “Very good. “No. said. let us keep quiet. “Why not. as they entered the apartment. Monsieur Colbert?” said the king. “The king is in his own palace wherever he may be—especially in houses which the royal money has constructed. the fact of the appropriation of the thirteen millions. monseigneur. Philippe was about to quit his post of observation. had again sunk into a dull and gloomy state. but the ceremony of the king’s retiring to rest. Colbert. sire. as a good financier. Colbert.” replied Aramis. Colbert awaited the first words from the king’s lips with as much impatience as Philippe and Aramis did from their place of observation. Colbert had nothing of much importance to detain him. anticipating the use it could be put to at a future opportunity. so to have contrived that it might be made to fall upon the heads of scoundrels such as M. perhaps.” returned Colbert. “Are you aware what is the usual and natural consequence of all this. then. “that the architect who planned this dome ought. at last raised his eyes.had given him at Fontainebleau. and go on listening. for the king.” “I think it will be to-morrow. “but M.” said Aramis to him. and finding Colbert attentively waiting for his next remarks. if it can be proved—” “But it is so already.” said Philippe in a low tone to Aramis. I perceive it is getting very late.” “Well. monseigneur?” “Because. changing the conversation.” said the young prince.” “I think. and I shall now retire to bed. that indeed is of the greatest importance. you were going to say.” “I mean if it were to be declared and certified. “My attendants!” cried the king. Having once disposed the king’s mind in this artful way. and study well how you ought to go to bed of a night. and to-morrow we shall have no occasion to think anything more about it. But stay. The king made a gesture of adieu. although he restrained himself in the presence of the king. Look! look!” 81 . too. if I were king. “A moment longer. greatly incensed.

suddenly made him a sign. reserved. clenching his hands and teeth. Well. it is not sadness I experience. then. and which he has stolen. and they then struck into the depths of the park together. notwithstanding his success at play. there still remained a slight shade of dissatisfaction. a banquet. no one else ought to be the master. no. and if my eyes are indeed full of tears. who followed him step by step in his thoughts. in which all the wonders of the “Arabian Night’s Entertainments” seemed to be reproduced for his especial amusement—the king. of the various events of the following day. Coquelin de Voliere” as one of the actors. cards and dice were introduced. And therefore I am about to change this impudent minister’s fete into sorrow and mourning. gentlemen. unworthy servant. wished to free himself from some of the thoughts which disturbed his mind. terrified. I am sorrowful only at the sadness which seems to oppress your majesty. we have before observed. to his great amazement. she had remarked this—and as nothing which lay hidden or smoldering in his heart was hidden from the gaze of her affection. or who had seemed to avoid him.” “Humiliation? oh! sire. the king of France—before the monarch of these wide domains. deeply distressed at having been so long separated from her lover. a comedy to be acted. a circumstance which made the countenances of the courtiers and the officers of the king’s household the most joyous countenances in the world. “should I be guilty of an indiscretion if I were to inquire if you were indisposed? for you seem to breathe as if you were oppressed by some secret cause of uneasiness. to which he was by no means insensible. Colbert or M. sire?” “Humiliation. Colbert was waiting for or upon him at the corner of one of the avenues.” “Oh! sire. Colbert. It was not the same. The evening came. had won a thousand pistoles. made up his mind. of remote origin. in which. “Mademoiselle. The king had expressed a wish not to walk in the park until after cards in the evening. This time Colbert seemed to walk in concert with the bishop of Vannes. nervously agitated. mademoiselle. so full of unexpected and startling novelties. in the piece called “Les Facheux. was keenly alive in the depths of the king’s heart. put them in his pocket.” “What is it. and taciturn. and had put them in his pocket. however. so brilliant in its effects. disturbed at the sight of the emotion she had divined. then. which in his then disposition of mind the king interpreted unfavorably. the king. “And now. too. however. every one who observed him noticed that a deep feeling of resentment.” He found the ladies of the court were already there. as the source becomes a river. who had avoided him. and then rose. sire?” said Louise. she accordingly presented herself to the king with an embarrassed aspect. During the whole of the day the king. Aramis. as in his walk. but M. inasmuch as Colbert. of which 82 .” “My sadness? You are mistaken. there was a promenade. increased by slow degrees. or rather history has told us. and hardly recovered from the effects of the poison which Colbert had then administered to him. look round you on every side. Nothing but amusement and delight was allowed to prevail throughout the whole of the following day. she understood that this repressed wrath menaced some one. as they were alone—nearly alone. “when I think that this king—” “Well. he could not have done better. if I be indeed so. concluded that the event he was expecting would not be long before it was announced. too. had stopped and drawn back a dozen paces—the king advanced towards La Valliere and took her by the hand. saying. The king. The king won a thousand pistoles. and a comedy. she prepared to withstand the current of his vengeance. in all probability. Overcome by sadness. during the whole of the day. and your eyes are filled with tears. Nothing could smooth the frowns upon his face. seemed to seek La Valliere’s society as actively as he seemed to show his anxiety to flee that of M. with the king’s face. and.Chapter XV. Fouquet. as soon as he perceived the young girl approaching. had observed the king’s gloomy aspect and kindling glances. of the splendid fetes given by the surintendant to his sovereign. History will tell us. we say. so that among the courtiers there was still left a hundred and ninety thousand francs’ profit to divide. to the park. and judge whether I am not eclipsed—I. in all probability. who. Oh!” he continued. and had he received for every annoyance which he inflicted on the king a word of direction from Aramis.. for. that wherever I may happen to be. Then. Fouquet had somehow contrived to lose ten thousand. as Louis XIV. and intercede like an angel of mercy. “—That this king is a faithless. he was most probably waiting there in consequence of a rendezvous which had been given him by the king. who grows proud and self-sufficient upon the strength of property that belongs to me. mademoiselle. having won them. what a word for you to use!” “I mean. from the scene of the previous evening.” he said to her. and by that time he had.” Full of preoccupation. showed himself cold. In the interval between supper and the promenade. Towards the middle of the day only did he begin to resume a little serenity of manner. Porthos recognized “M. thanks to the thousand threads of water that increase its body. But La Valliere.

” she said. and he wished that the pure heart of La Valliere. Fouquet I am defending. gentle lamb. insist upon it in such a manner? A very simple reason—his heart was not at rest. Tell mademoiselle what M. turning pale with anger. Colbert.” “Me! you are defending me?” “Sire. he is as guilty in his own house as anywhere else. “for I almost believe that Mademoiselle de la Valliere has need of your assistance before she can put any faith in the king’s word. and which.” Why did Louis XIV.” “Speak.” “M. Fouquet has done. and with a glance like lightning imposed silence upon him.” “Pardieu! in order to arrest this haughty. Fouquet is charged?” “Oh! not very heinous. “Speak. mademoiselle.” Colbert seemed inclined to grumble and complain. Monsieur Colbert. “speak. without the least reserve. it is yourself. Fouquet. d’Artagnan that I have certain orders to give him.” “Dishonor myself!” murmured the king. he hesitated before carrying into execution. The king turned round at the sound of this suppressed mirth. “but why send for M. “when the king acts well. “Sire. who had advanced.” Louis XIV. tortuous intrigue behind these thirteen millions of francs.” said La Valliere. and when you have related it. “it is not M. impatiently. and go and inform M. that timid. true to his menace. Fouquet’s part?” said Louis. arrogant Titan who. mademoiselle. hidden. sire. his mind was not thoroughly convinced. who at this moment is ruining himself for his sovereign. in doing so. should approve—even were it only by a single word—the resolution he had taken. mademoiselle. Tell me. mademoiselle. d’Artagnan. nevertheless.” “In plain truth. It will not be long. sire!” exclaimed La Valliere. whether. d’Artagnan? I entreat you to tell me.” “M. Your majesty has more than once learned the value of accusations made at court.” said the young prince. what is the crime with which M. it seems as if you were defending this traitor. I would sacrifice my very life. which had revolted at the idea of theft or robbery. you show a strange persistence in what you say.” “Arrest M. will perhaps have the kindness to listen. “Speak. “Monsieur. made a sign for Colbert to approach. monsieur.” replied the noble-hearted girl: “for that I would risk. he does either myself 83 . since the king wishes me to listen to you. “In plain truth. Fouquet. sire. my only motive is that of serving your majesty. leave us. “No. you would dishonor yourself if you were to give such an order.” he returned. threatens to scale my heaven. shall not soon lose the remembrance. mademoiselle. and you.” Colbert began to chuckle silently.the nymph of Vaux. La Valliere. I will only ask whether you are well informed.” “Oh! your majesty—” “Well. speak.” said La Valliere to Colbert. are you about to take M.” “If I do. turned round upon him. he imagined there lay some dark. “a mere abuse of confidence. as the poets say. do you say?” “Ah! does that surprise you?” “In his own house!” “Why not? If he be guilty.

In spite of himself the king could not but admire her. shook his head.or those who belong to me an injury. And while the king. somewhat yellow. who had been on his knees before the young girl.” he said to himself. Besides. from the moment the king said. monseigneur. and if he acted badly. pressed La Valliere to his breast. “why do you decide against me? Do you know what this wretched fellow will do.” he said. Fouquet to flee. since the intendant smiled as he looked at it. upon the charming group which the young girl and the king formed together—a group revealed but for a moment. look there.’ But. we both love him. ‘I think so. crumpling it in his hand. He is my king and my master. Louise disappeared rapidly among the trees. mademoiselle. Were his house a den of thieves. no. “Ah! Mademoiselle de la Valliere has let something fall. were Vaux a cave of coiners or robbers. I am the least of all his servants. if I give him time to breathe again?” “Is he not a prey which will always be within your grasp?” “Should he escape. for he felt that the king had abandoned him.” “But it appears to me. and then. I should tell him so. At last the king breathed again more freely.” cried Colbert. because the king has said so. perhaps. ‘M. full of hatred. his home is sacred. “I am lost.” Colbert hung down his head. “Mademoiselle. as he knelt before her. with such an accent that the heart of the young king was powerfully affected by it. inundating the blackness of the scene with a flood of light as bight as day. monsieur. I repeat. but each in a different manner. was rising from his humble posture. and was silent. with all the ardor of ineffable affection. I should say aloud. old fox!—not yet. “I love him so deeply. the greater will the king’s honor and glory appear.” The king stooped down immediately and picked up the letter. compared with such unnecessary misery and shame. “for some one is coming. he then bent a look. as he did so.” Louis kissed La Valliere’s hand. Fouquet. I have only one word to say. since his wife is living in it. Colbert exclaimed. and. Fouquet’s person is sacred to the king because he is the guest of M. protected from observation by the thick covert of an enormous lime. “Leave me. Fouquet has been guilty of certain crimes? I believe he has. that the king himself does not doubt my affection. gently.’ I have no occasion for other lips to say. monsieur. that they dishonor the king who advise him to arrest M. but one that must have been most precious. mademoiselle. what could you have to tell me? That M. and at the same moment the torches arrived. then suddenly his face brightened up again.’” La Valliere paused. overcome by the inequality of the struggle. aha. to expedite the young girl’s departure. “Oh! no. and the more guilty he may have been. were M. by the nobleness of the cause she advocated. I have nothing to say. so purely.” replied La Valliere. that he allowed M. Louis noticed the light reflected upon La Valliere’s white dress. as he bent his head. Therefore. that the whole world is aware of it. sire. Colbert yielded. “Mademoiselle. he was overpowered by the passionate energy of her voice. ‘I affirm it.” Colbert ventured to say. to the king’s eternal honor. as the king. and that is an asylum which even executioners would not dare to violate. and take to flight?” exclaimed Colbert.” he said. it will always remain on record.” thought Colbert. and held out his hand to La Valliere. he murmured.” “Yes. “that I too love the king. Fouquet the vilest of men. “A paper—a letter—something white. as the light of the approaching torches shone upon it. 84 . some one is coming. his palace is inviolable. Louise. then.” “What is it?” inquired the king. but were the king to confer a benefit either upon me or mine.” “Do not say it.” “Mademoiselle. Colbert tranquilly fumbled among the papers in his pocket-book and drew out of it a paper folded in the form of a letter. “Well. Fouquet under his own roof. for I would not listen to it. However. But whoso touches his honor assails my life.

The moment of the last and greatest display had arrived. and have already told you so. There was no truce for him now. he had even a friendly and kindly smile for the young king. Fouquet’s voice drew the young prince from his wrathful reverie. and calling his guards to gather round him. was not all the king had to submit to. he. were in these words. The torches we have just referred to. “Is there something fresh the matter. as he replied. influenced as he was by jealousy and mad passion. which the magnificence of the spectacle was already. but completely absorbed by his passion for La Valliere. “Take care.” And the king. who had so profoundly dissimulated his feelings. sire. Fouquet to touch his hand with his lips. Fouquet saw the king’s pallor. Louis made a violent effort over himself. Aramis and Philippe were in theirs. to whom the royal order had been communicated. and was far from guessing the evil.” “Very good.. and an expression of deep-seated wrath. you shall hear from me. and drew from the neighboring villages loud cheers of admiration. all were forgotten. with an expression of graceful interest.” But the blood of Louis XIV. and he was perfectly willing to order M. indeed.” “I am afraid your majesty is suffering?” “I am suffering. He imagined there had been some misunderstanding between Louis and La Valliere in the park. now torn by the most stormy and most bitter passions. as his predecessor had caused the assassination of le Marechal d’Ancre. in his opinion. The next day was the one fixed for the departure. every gentler feeling seemed to disappear. but allowed M. so powerful in the influence she exercised over his heart. and the new ovation paid to the king by Fouquet. by the obstinate persistence of his gloomy thoughts. Colbert saw the king’s anger. when a mass of fire burst from the dome of Vaux. “that no one enters here. which every one would have shuddered at. it was but proper that the guests should thank their host. Colbert. produced a terrible spectacle. The king did not even give the captain of the musketeers time to approach his armchair. indicated coups d’etat. and. and show him a little attention in return for the expenditure of his twelve millions. D’Artagnan. but did not succeed in obtaining a reply. Be good enough to desire M. pity. Five minutes afterwards. the reader has doubtlessly guessed. and the whole court followed. but it is nothing. soaringly around the scene. d’Artagnan to come here. turned towards the chateau. the religion of hospitality. and rejoiced inwardly at the approach of the storm. by the brilliant light. He looked at Fouquet with a feeling almost of gratitude for having given La Valliere an opportunity of showing herself so generously disposed. which he supposed was a loving and tender epistle La Valliere had destined for him. which had resulted in a slight quarrel. the eager attention every one displayed. Hardly had Fouquet conducted the king towards the chateau. This. which the king could find to say to M. arrived in time to suspend the effect of a resolution which La Valliere had already considerably shaken in Louis XIV. who was surrounded and feted by the owner of Vaux. and still listening with all their ears.’s apartment. to do his utmost to recall Louis’s attention. your majesty?” 85 . but. leaving the remains of the fireworks consuming for their own amusement. sire?” inquired the superintendent. still eagerly attentive. he was obliged to undergo the usual ceremony. boiled in his veins. Jealousy. Louis shuddered throughout his whole frame.Chapter XVI. which increased momentarily in beauty.. The fireworks began. too easily diverting. But as he read it. and that the king. This idea was sufficient to console him. and so he disguised the terrible resolution he had formed beneath one of those royal smiles which. was almost on the point of uttering a cry of alarm. without waiting for the termination of the fireworks. as he believed. which on that evening was marked by close adherence to the strictest etiquette. The only remark. kindness of consideration. Fouquet. He gave the necessary order at the door. with a prodigious uproar. The still stronger magnet of love drew the young prince’s attention towards the souvenir of his idol. whose glance had for a long time past analyzed the stormy indications on the royal countenance. This letter which Colbert had thrown down at the king’s feet. however. returning to the king. could they only have read into his heart. From the very moment when the dark truth was revealed to him. at twenty paces from the king. La Valliere had dropped at his feet as she hurried away. Fouquet accompanied him. Fouquet took the king’s hand and kissed it. after the attempt which Fouquet had made upon La Valliere’s heart. approaching to amiability. In the bitter pang which wrung his heart. pouring a flood of dazzling cataracts of rays on every side. and illumining the remotest corners of the gardens. The superintendent endeavored again to question Louis XIV. the king read the letter. was the same that had disappeared with the porter Toby at Fontainebleau. who was not ordinarily sulky by disposition. just as Louis was on the point of holding it out to Fouquet. Suddenly. “Nothing. monsieur.” replied the captain. had taken a dislike to every one because his mistress had shown herself offended with him. entered Louis XIV. “M. a death-like pallor stole over his face. he perceived in his hand the paper which. seemed. Fouquet to be put an end to with the same readiness. but ran forward to meet him. “What is the matter. like lightning-flashes. illumined by the many-colored fire which gleamed so brightly. when the latter wished him good night. as he took leave of him.” he exclaimed.’s heart. still too weak to hide his sufferings. Fouquet. he said.

and what others?” “Twenty guards and thirteen Swiss. Fouquet. and then I wish to be in a position to show you your signature.” “Wrong to lose his temper!” cried the king. When your anger shall have passed. in tones of cold.” D’Artagnan fell back a step. in Heaven’s name?” “The king your father and the king your grandfather never lost their temper except when under the protection of their own palace. but. it was but a short distance. “What is your thought?” he exclaimed. Fouquet!” he burst forth.” “A truce to set phrases. and passion is alone the cause of that. then. have certain thoughts and ideas.” The king bit his lips. should fail to be a reparation. “To arrest M. my grandfathers. monsieur. I say?” repeated the king. when it springs from a feeling of anger.“How many men have you here?” inquired the king. just as a horse crouches on his haunches under the strong hand of a bold and experienced rider. passionate voice. in a loud. 86 . at least. sire.” “That is a flattering. “I have the musketeers. you will regret what you have done. The king.” “Well. which.” replied D’Artagnan: “you cause a man to be arrested when you are still under his roof. unfortunately. sire?” “How many men have you. vindictive passion. I should like written directions. in order to effect this arrest. “Did not my father. but said nothing. “Are you going to tell me that it is impossible?” exclaimed the king. hesitated.” “How many men will be required to—” “To do what. The king is at home in every man’s house when he has driven its owner out of it.” D’Artagnan replied. impertinently. and said. “Very well. “Your majesty will forgive me. do it.” D’Artagnan turned on his heel. sire?” replied the musketeer. calm eyes.” replied D’Artagnan. Colbert. in the tempest of his wrath. it will at least show us that the king was wrong to lose his temper. and drew back in the face of D’Artagnan’s frank courage. others have not. complimentary phrase which cannot proceed from any one but M. however. wounded to the quick. too. stamping upon the ground with his foot. when he reached it he suddenly paused. without making any other reply to the question addressed to him. lose their temper at times. may possibly change when the feeling changes. opening his large.” “The king is master wherever he may be.” “For what purpose—and since when has the king’s word been insufficient for you?” “Because the word of a king. “I never say that anything is impossible. you have another thought besides that?” “Oh. “To arrest M. I. and he cleared it in half a dozen paces. “What for. and made his way towards the door. If that. but it happens not to be the truth. “This. before me.

“No. and people treated me in that manner. He will be my death at last. that is so easy that a very child might do it! It is like drinking a glass of wormwood. I am sure that if he has a million of francs left. The king closed the door with his own hands. and send myself and everybody else in blown-up atoms to the sky. he would be willing enough to give it in order to have such a termination as this. Fouquet. and that is all. Fouquet! why. and began to walk up and down his apartment at a furious pace. I arrest you. firing his last shot as he was leaving the room. until I shall have made up my mind by to-morrow morning. that. and you will have finished much sooner. to drive him up into one of the corners of the chess-board. Fouquet in the midst of a thousand enthusiastic guests who surround him.” “That will be more difficult.” “Why so?” “Because nothing is easier than to go up to M. he struck the arm of the chair in which he was sitting violently. artists.” said the king. and it shall be done. But it is all the same. if my name was Fouquet. “Miserable wretch that he is! not only does he squander my finances.’ But to go up to him. like a wounded bull in an arena. to turn him first one way and then another. Have you indeed decided?” “Take care of M. “A man who has never found opposition or resistance in any one. and who retains his staff of painters in order to take the portraits of his mistresses in the costume of goddesses. in such a way that he cannot escape.” D’Artagnan quitted the room. and keep him a prisoner for you. “He pollutes and profanes everything that belongs to me! He destroys everything that is mine.” he said. when I rise in the morning. But what does that matter? it shall be done at once. friends. “here is a man who is positively ruining himself in order to please you. At last he began to take comfort in the expression of his violent feelings. ‘In the king’s name. Defend himself when such extreme harshness as you are going to practice makes the man a very martyr! Nay.” said the king. and I would set fire to them.” “Stay. I know. it is your wish. Heaven help me. he is my mortal enemy.” “If he defends himself ?” “He! it is not at all likely. I would swallow at a single gulp all sorts of fireworks and other things. “A satyr!” he thought.” “I do not prevent your doing anything. who lavishes his gold and jewels in every direction.” “You had better say it is impossible. the greatest of all. “no one here! Leave me. he had forgotten the cause and substance of the offense. 87 . Colbert. for further orders. and you wish to have him arrested! Mordioux! Sire. and say. and tries to rob me of the one to whom I am most attached.” “That shall be done. no one. “but have you men enough?” “Do you suppose I am going to take a whole host to help me? Arrest M. one makes an ugly face. but he shall forthwith fall! I hate him—I hate him—I hate him!” and as he pronounced these words. but with his ill-gotten plunder he corrupts secretaries. indeed. then?” said the musketeer.” “And return.” The king trembled with passion as he continued. but I seem to be surrounded by people who prevent me doing what I wish. who still think of love. to take him away from his guests. With his whole mind fixed on the thought of revenge. and all. generals. and now leave me to myself. without one of them.” “Go. The king started. in truth. sire. trailing from his horn the colored streamers and the iron darts. and I hardly see how it is to be done. which I very much doubt. This is the reason that perfidious girl so boldly took his part! Gratitude! and who can tell whether it was not a stronger feeling—love itself ?” He gave himself up for a moment to the bitterest reflections. That man is too much for me.” “You do not even want M. with that abhorrent hate with which young men regard those more advanced in life. alas! having heard anything about it. is a genuine difficulty. “do not make his arrest a public affair.“Can it be possible?” said D’Artagnan.

except as from the bottom of a well we can see the light of day. “It is time to awaken from it. however. moist ground. and scorch in fancy with his looks the invisible objects of his hatred. sleepless nights which enable us to realize the fable of the vulture unceasingly feeding on Prometheus. so presently the monarch closed his eyes and fell asleep. gloomy. absolute silence soon reigned in the chamber of Morpheus. addressing himself to the man who held the lamp in his hand. as the light of the royal chamber faded away into darkness and gloom. and after a minute. so light and gentle. and that all he had to do to cause it to disappear was to move his arms or to say something aloud. which the increasing gloom made darker every moment. it reached a stratum of air. as if the god Morpheus. Louis. but still more. after all. this man bore so wonderful a resemblance to the king himself. “It is nothing but a dream. A gentle. that the crowd of terrible dreams which thronged together in his brain. though vainly so. and then rose like one in an epileptic fit. black and chill as death.” he perceived that not only was he already awake. “I am under the influence of some atrocious dream. That man shall fall so low that when people look at the abject ruin my anger shall have wrought. were visible any longer. The ungovernable fury which took possession of the king at the sight and at the perusal of Fouquet’s letter to La Valliere by degrees subsided into a feeling of pain and extreme weariness. his head lay languidly on his pillow. he said: 88 . and in the very bitterness of anger. his struggles cease. find incessant augmentation of their bitter sorrow. could not resist the deception of this cruel hallucination. seemed to recede from his vision. and tears. At last. his nerveless arms fell quietly down. The king could no longer see the light in his room. that he had his eyes open also. while from his breast faint and infrequent sighs still issued. he darted from his bed. to which it remained suspended. or. said to himself. and bit the sheets in his extremity of passion. weakens himself in sighs. by the help of that light which still burns in the brain when every human light is extinguished. each wrapped in a huge cloak. come! wake up. Once overthrown. nor velvet hangings. has not said to himself. had done. supported the crown. Then it seemed to him. they will be forced to confess at last and at least that I am indeed greater than he. with the exception. Then it seemed to him as if the dome gradually retired. the tutelary deity of the apartment. whose glimmering light revealed the saddest picture a king could look upon. with a hand resting against the mouth. Louis could not hold out more than a few minutes. and moved to and fro in the dome above the sleeper. and the face covered with a mask.” Every one has experienced the sensation the above remark conveys. that something shone brightly. and is thereby far sooner overthrown by the inflexible enemy with whom he is engaged. in his acquired strength of will and purpose. Morpheus. happy day!” he murmured. Then. and inexplicable in its nature seemed to infect the air. Chapter XVII. who was fast disappearing from it. just as the dome. “Come. almost weeping. and half-suffocated. And strange enough. And yet the bed still continued to descend. half revealed a human face. trying to find repose of body at least there. so that the winged genius which. The bed still sunk. there is hardly a person who. and in an attitude of deep and absorbed meditation. exhausted with excessive emotion. as regular as that by which a vessel plunges beneath the waves. Doubtless the king was dreaming. emerging. directly struggling with his grief. The bed creaked beneath his weight. from his overburdened chest. Fouquet alone. at the end of which he had ceased to clench his hands. dressed as he was. invigorated by health and lightness of spirits. and which were interrupted for a moment. and in this dream the crown of gold. but when he said. wearied by his anger and reconciled by his tears. we say. After he had thrown himself for a few minutes to and fro convulsively on his bed. and that the figures and attributes painted by Lebrun became darker and darker as the distance became more and more remote. with both its hand. Youth. one of them held a small lamp in his hand. and groans. and from despair to prostration. a young man. seemed. nor gold. that Louis fancied he was looking at his own face reflected in a mirror. looked at him with eyes resembling human eyes.” he thought. he soon ceased to attack with his violent imprecations not M. painted on the ceiling. in their state of natural exhaustion. showered down upon him the sleep-inducing poppies with which his hands are ever filled. High Treason. knocked over with a blow of his fist a small table placed close to his bedside. from fury he subsided into despair. Louis could not help saying to himself that his dream still lasted. easy movement. with his eyes open. And then he looked all round him. On his right hand and on his left two armed men stood in stolid silence. “when the sun rises.over and over again. No paintings. which raises the body above the couch. something cold. exploding. to call upon the king. and then it stopped. but even La Valliere herself.” The king. still trembled occasionally. he threw himself on his bed. nothing but walls of a dull gray color. that the face was saddened by a feeling of the profoundest pity. in the midst of a nightmare whose influence is suffocating. and the old. one might say. and found himself upon the damp. escaping from his gaze. which fastened the curtains together. surprised by the sudden appearance of misfortune. towards whom Louis raised his eyes. agitated by muscular contractions. and the soul above the earth—it seemed to him. who was incapable of mastering his emotions any longer. In cases where the man of middle life. and with the exception of a few broken sounds. Come! let me wake. his limbs. “To-morrow! to-morrow! oh. had succeeded to the immovableness of the bed.” This was precisely what Louis XIV. no other rival shall that brilliant king of space possess but me. which seemed in its duration almost an age to the king. too. requiring soon that what it loses should be immediately restored—youth knows not those endless. as it often happens in that first sleep.

stamping his foot. ended at last in a long corridor closed by an iron door. “No. In this manner they passed along a winding gallery of some length. folding his arms with a passionate gesture. then. a subterranean passage. that is sufficient. with as many staircases leading out of it as are to be found in the mysterious and gloomy palaces of Ann Radcliffe’s creation. my good monsieur. “what do you intend to do with the king of France?” “Try to forget that word. “I will lift you up in my arms. why—so much the worse for you. “You will know by and by. He paused.” he said. while the second masked figure closed the procession.” exclaimed Louis.” cried the king.” “Look. turned to the other masked figure. where. in a tone which as little admitted of a reply as one of the famous decrees 89 . The one who carried the lantern walked first. Louis recognized the balmy odors that trees exhale in hot summer nights. Fouquet that I find it unseemly and improper. turning towards the one who had just had the audacity to touch his sovereign. As soon as the door was opened and admitted the air. Move on. “you do not answer!” “We do not answer you.” said the phantom. more impatient than intimidated. Fouquet?” inquired the king.” replied in a deep voice the masked figure that held the lantern. He held himself erect and motionless as any block of marble.” As he said this. He shook his head and said: “It seems I have fallen into the hands of a couple of assassins. “Do you belong to M. tell me what you want. during the whole of the brief journey. in a stentorian voice. during which the king heard the sound of running water over his head. and that I command it should cease.” replied the man who held the lamp. he could perceive nothing but the damp walls which glistened here and there with the slimy traces of the snail.” said the king. but the huge sentinel who followed him thrust him out of the subterranean passage. All these windings and turnings.” “Which leads—?” “Will you be good enough to follow us?” “I shall not stir from hence!” cried the king.” The king. “Another blow.” The second masked person to whom the king had addressed himself was a man of huge stature and vast circumference. the king followed him. “Oh—oh!—a dungeon. and roll you up in your own cloak. for a moment or two. “If you are obstinate. “Well!” added the king.” “At least. hesitatingly. he disengaged from beneath his cloak a hand of which Milo of Crotona would have envied him the possession. and if you should happen to be stifled. my dear young friend. and that they would consequently be ready to proceed to extremities.” said the giant. on the day when he had that unhappy idea of rending his last oak. and what is the meaning of this jest?” “It is no jest. The figure with the lamp opened the door with one of the keys he wore suspended at his girdle.” Neither of the men answered a word to this remark. the king had heard them rattle. “because there is nothing to say. “In the meantime tell me where I am. if necessary.” replied the man with the lamp. The king dreaded violence. greatly astonished at his situation.” Louis looked all round him. monsieur. for he could well believe that the two men into whose power he had fallen had not gone so far with any idea of drawing back.“What is this. “If this is a comedy. “you will tell M. “we are your masters now. but by the light of the lamp which the masked figure raised for the purpose. “It matters very little to whom we belong.” replied the taller of the two.

As for the giant. the person who had accompanied the king in the carriage ascended the flight of steps. were fastened by a halter to the lower branches of a large oak.” “Tell me what you mean.” said the governor. “Very good.” Louis.” said the same man. “Come. “and whom have you brought me there?” The man with the lantern opened the carriage-door.” the driver conducted the horses into the circular inclosure of the Bastile. called La Cour du Gouvernement. took up a short musket which he kept under his feet. but that you compelled me to believe it. however.” “What about?” inquired the governor. “You deserve to be broken on the wheel for the words that you have just made use of. monsieur—no.” said the coachman in a voice of thunder. looking out upon the courtyard.” 90 . and leading his prisoner towards a carriage which seemed to be in waiting. opening the carriage-door and letting down the step. and fixed him motionless where he stood. The king obeyed. for Marchiali. turned into the road to Paris. without another remark. Two horses. with a kind of respect in his manner. quietly.” said the king. There the horses drew up. which might have been heard at the entrance of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. de Baisemeaux. where we are going. “Go and wake the governor. With the exception of this voice. the padded door of which was shut and locked immediately upon him and his guide. which was unoccupied. everything remained as calm in the carriage as in the prison. and mounted on the box of the carriage. at the flight of steps.” Aramis replied. “Hush!” said Aramis. my dear Monsieur de Baisemeaux. “And fire at once if he speaks!” added aloud the man who alighted from the carriage. “Monsieur d’Herblay!” said the latter. “What is the matter now?” he asked. at that threat. With this recommendation. at least. at the top of which the governor was awaiting him.” “Very good! we both thought that it was for Marchiali?” “Certainly. “By the king’s order. but the giant’s hand was in a moment placed on his shoulder. “It is a very simple affair: you remember. “About the order of release. seated himself at the back of the carriage. The carriage was completely concealed amid the trees. “It appears that you were quite right the other day. almost suffocated by surprise and terror. after having called out to the sentinel. and in the forest of Senart found a relay of horses fastened to the trees in the same manner the first horses had been. with their feet fettered. “Get in. you will recollect. so that they entered the city about three o’clock in the morning. and a sergeant of the guard ran forward. They carriage proceeded along the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. and placed its muzzle on his prisoner’s chest.” “Yes. that I would not credit it. The man on the box changed the horses.” said the giant. my dear friend. M.” “Good heavens! what brings you here at this hour?” “A mistake. dear M. that an order of release was sent to you. and without a postilion. reeking with sweat. “but the king is too kind-hearted.of Minos. made so sudden a movement that it seemed as if he meditated flight. Ten minutes afterwards. monseigneur. he cut the fastenings by which the horses were bound. and. who immediately got down from his seat. de Baisemeaux appeared in his dressing-gown on the threshold of the door. and said two or three words to the one who acted as driver.” replied the former of the two men. as he extinguished the lamp his companion handed to him.” replied his companion. “Let us go into your room. and continued to follow the road towards Paris with the same rapidity. The carriage set off immediately at a quick trot. harnessed them himself. “But tell me.

—that poor Seldon fellow. “you know the resemblance between that unfortunate fellow.” “Strongly recommended.” “Don’t talk such nonsense. my dear Monsieur de Baisemeaux. you see. I have no secrets.” “I am a lost man!” “Far from it. you know. completely overcome by terror. whose liberation is authorized by this order.” “But then. what a word to make use of!—strongly recommended. my good fellow. and that you carried him off with you in your carriage. read it yourself. “For a friend such as you are.” said Baisemeaux. “Good heavens! what are you doing?” exclaimed Baisemeaux. Do you understand?” “I—I—” “You do understand. handing him the order. my dear Baisemeaux. “Very good. and you will go and shut him up immediately. and all accordingly is just the same as if he had never left. “Why. my good fellow. “But why.” “And you will hand over this Seldon to me. so that I now bring you an order from the king to set at liberty Seldon. do you bring him back again?” cried the unhappy governor. that was all.” “Ah!” said the governor. it was a mistake. in a low tone of voice. yes.” added Aramis. held them to the lamp. my good governor. You no longer possess any order justifying Marchiali’s release. after having taken Marchiali away from me.” “But that is not enough for me.” “I should think so.” Baisemeaux clapped his hands together. “Plain enough. but all I know is. “Look at your position quietly. Aramis seized hold of it. and burnt them.” “I do not know whether it is that.” “Indeed?” “It is the very one I assured you I saw the other evening. “and you will see how very simple the whole affair is. in a paroxysm of terror. at all events.” “Well. with imperturbable self-possession.” said Aramis. I require a new order to take him back again.” “Seldon! are you sure this time?” “Well.” said Aramis—”for so devoted a servant. strongly recommended to give him up to you. it was discovered at the ministry. since I have brought Marchiali back to you. as he said. and—” 91 .” and he put his mouth close to Baisemeaux’s ear. what about the other?” “What other?” “Marchiali. I see. that I bring it for you. indeed. “this order is the very same that has already passed through my hands.” said Aramis. and completely dumbfounded. in an extremity of terror. you talk like a child! Where is the order you received respecting Marchiali?” Baisemeaux ran to his iron chest and took it out. coolly tore it in four pieces.” “I have got him here with me.“Oh! Baisemeaux. Parbleu! I recognize it by the blot of ink.

” he said.” “What would be the good of that?” “It would be better. He is mad and lets every one see how mad he is. he led him. set Seldon free. and Aramis. faithful to the directions which had been given him. let no one hold any communication with him. “that he bears a striking resemblance to the king.” “To-morrow!—oh. go off to your affairs. I was going to forget that. You understand. Then.” “And now. no. sentence of death!” “You need not ask me whether I understand. yes. turned the key twice in the lock. certainly.” “Gracious heavens!” “That is the reason why I have brought him back again.” Baisemeaux ordered the drums to be beaten and the bell to be rung. at whose breast Porthos. very good.” “What is to be done. in order to avoid meeting a prisoner. I will go away to mine. and opened the door of the room in which Philippe for six long years had bemoaned his existence. and then pretend to assume that he was the king himself. I will go and give orders at once. let us go down. making the king get out of the carriage. when the passages were free. Baisemeaux. who again resumed his. in a low tone.” “Bah! to-morrow will be time enough. “Very good. for it concerns you most closely—so that there is now. This very minute. became perfectly furious. the first use that Marchiali made of his liberty was to persist—Can you guess what?” “How is it likely I should guess?” “To persist in saying that he was king of France. Baisemeaux. so that. and saw that all his kindness had been repaid by black ingratitude. not a doubt of it. The king entered the cell without pronouncing a single word: he faltered in as limp and haggard as a rainstruck lily. sentence of death pronounced against all those who may allow him to communicate with any one else but me or the king himself. and conduct this poor devil back to his dungeon again.” And immediately. but less so than you said. and then returned to Aramis. up the stairs. have him up. perhaps. who had not taken off his mask.” “In that case. about whom it was desired to observe a certain mystery. to dress himself up in clothes like those of the king. then?” “That is very simple.” said Aramis. miserable wretch?” cried the governor. still kept his musket leveled. unless you prefer he should come up here. Baisemeaux shut the door upon him. the king. “you would not have been deceived by the substitution of the one for the other?” “What a question!” “You are a most valuable fellow.“And the king?—yes!” “Very good. who had pitied his terrible affliction. I repeat. “It is quite true. But it is quite understood.” “Well.” “Oh. still accompanied by Porthos.” “So that. is it not?” 92 . dear Monsieur de Baisemeaux. he went to take the prisoner from the carriage. as soon as he perceived the king. “Ah! is that you. to enter his name in the prison-book at once!” “Of course. my dear friend. You understand that when his peculiar style of madness came to the king’s ears. “and now. to the second Bertaudiere.” said Aramis. now—and remember this very distinctly. as a warning to every one to retire.

indeed. as he closed his eyes. Louis knew that he was alive and in full possession of his natural senses. which was raised again immediately behind it. which escaped from his breast almost unconsciously. habit. for that. To be present at—an actual witness.” he said. a prisoner!” He looked round him for a bell to summon some one to him. which we remember Baisemeaux had shut with his own hands. relapsing into gloom again. lightened of a prisoner. So let us be off. passed across the drawbridge of the Bastile.” “Quite so. 93 . God. I recognized it. the Duc d’Orleans. d’Herblay’s. the king. Yet who knows!” thought the king. at the moment the door was closed upon him. anguish. or with the fumes of wax. without interfering in a single detail of agonizing suffering. that it. experience? We shall not even take the trouble to demonstrate this. sometimes. stupefied and crushed in every sense and feeling. coarsely painted in fresco on the wall. We are separated forever!” And at this idea of separation the poor lover burst into a flood of tears and sobs and groans. and. Pain. was—so the king thought within himself—a torture far more terrible. who might well be—as he in fact was—very heavy in the sight of Aramis. an intelligent and inquiring look upon the new occupant of the cell. would not be true. dear girl! Yes. that death had resulted from the occurrence. too—of this bitterness of death. That pale face. lying nerveless by his side. where the trial is the same.” said Porthos. those hands. found himself led to a cell in the Bastile. expect with an order from the king. “How can I have died?” he said to himself. He looked round him. that the bed had broken through the flooring of his room at Vaux. as they did my ancestress. those limbs stiffened by the icy grasp of death. which is. Chapter XVIII. as upon a velvet armchair.” A strange sound attracted the young man’s attention. since Heaven permits the existence of death. Porthos. imprisonment. “Now. and as if he but needed this cry. in other words. so calm and worn. the chill of the dungeons seemed to fall like a wet cloak upon Louis’s shoulders. who had not punished him. “Is this what is termed eternity—hell?” he murmured. In what way can I have been made a prisoner? It must have been owing to a conspiracy of M. Fouquet cannot be acting alone in this affair. And what are the elementary principles. it is—it must be so. I have been drawn to Vaux. for it is an axiom in morals. “The horses will be as light as if our tissues were constructed of the wind of heaven. the weak suffer more. and suffering in human life are always in proportion to the strength with which a man is endowed. the only refuge open to those who are too closely pressed—too bitterly afflicted. when he has faithfully served his king. an order which I will myself bring. to see everything. uttering a loud cry. as to a snare. to hear everything. He did not even look round him. he allowed himself to be carried away by the terrible supposition that he was already dead. When the young king. was dreaming one of those horrors. will not punish me. “The bed might have been let down by some artificial means? But no! I do not remember to have felt a bruise. since it might last forever. a rat of enormous size engaged in nibbling a piece of dry bread. just below an enormous crucifix. but fixing all the time. and in the room. His agent— That voice that I but just now heard was M. than the strong. Suffering is in proportion to the strength which has been accorded. in serving him. then. still carrying out his dream.” And the carriage. The king could not resist a sudden impulse of fear and disgust: he moved back towards the door.. nothing there betokened a sleep that was disturbed by dreams. “I—I. Colbert was right. as in physics. which is termed dethronement. Adieu. monseigneur. and insult towards a sovereign who formerly wielded unlimited power.” Aramis returned to his companion. We will not pretend to say that Heaven always apportions to a man’s capability of endurance the anguish with which he afflicts him. sick with terror. cannot. But the queen?—My mother.” “A man is light and easy enough. how numerous were the dreams which Heaven might have sent that royal corpse—him whom so many others had preceded. to recognize himself. Louis XIV. in an incomprehensible mystery. to float. “my father lying dead upon his funeral couch. impossible to realize in life. nor any shock either. “and it is in the Bastile I am imprisoned. But what is Fouquet’s object? To reign in my place and stead?—Impossible. she will have been abandoned to Madame. “There are no bells in the Bastile. “Perhaps my brother. “I have seen. Would they not rather have poisoned me at my meals. is doing that which my uncle wished to do during the whole of his life against my father. and saw on the mantel-shelf. “A prisoner!” he cried. Fouquet. once so skillful. as far as the body is concerned. that compose human strength? Is it not—more than anything else—exercise. too? And La Valliere? Oh! La Valliere. They have shut her up as they have me. Dear. leaning with his back against the wall. saved his country. back again to Vaux. he had not abdicated one title of his majesty. too. we may ask. has its dreams as well. hurried away by him into eternal death! No. Jeanne d’Albret?” Suddenly.“What ‘is quite understood’?” “That no one is to enter the prisoner’s cell. my good fellow. in order to avoid looking upon something even worse still. now no longer living. in his regal robes.” he said. and that. between resemblance and reality. who have done nothing. and as fast as possible. that king was still the king: he was enthroned still upon that funeral couch. And yet. M. he fancied death itself is but a sleep. A Night at the Bastile. indecisively.

that. After having deprived so many people of their liberty. the king never rested until his strength was utterly exhausted. “but that is no reason why you should make such a terrible disturbance. With a portion of the broken chair he recommenced the noise. This idea almost drove him mad. With his hair in disorder and matted on his forehead. without having bestowed a moment’s thought on the misery of those who had been unjustly deprived of their liberty. When the king had assured himself of his departure. He paused to listen.” replied the voice. He leaned his forehead against the door. when a similar noise was again heard behind his door. and so repeatedly. “What is the matter with you this morning?” “This morning!” thought the king.” He called—no voice replied to his. at first gently enough. This was a fresh proof for the king of the slight regard in which he was held at the Bastile. and a violent blow. the author of their captivity. He felt that Heaven. and hurled it against the massive oaken door. having remarked a barred window through which there passed a stream of light. and in the enjoyment of every happiness. politely. it was the voice of the prisoners. and made use of it as a battering ram to strike against the door. that the perspiration soon began to pour down his face. that he should have lived for five and twenty years a king. “A moment will come when the food which is given to the prisoners will be brought to me. he was ignorant even of this detail.” He had reached this stage of his reflections. certain stifled. This sound produced a strange effect upon the king. followed this time by the sound of the key in the lock. lozenge-shaped. I will summon him to me. when his first fit of anger had passed away. during which time he was in a burning fever.“There is a governor in this place. formerly his victims. in a fury of passion. in whispered tones. made him cease his own. did no more than render to the man the same torture as had been inflicted by that man upon so many others. which must be. behind the door of his cell. the governor!” This excess lasted fully an hour. The feeling of remorse at this remembrance smote him like the thrust of a dagger. He broke a pane of glass. “Are you mad?” said a rude. or rather his well. The voices ascended like vapors through the thick ceilings and the massive walls.” the king continued. but no one replied. the jailer had just left. but from a human creature. and get an answer. accustomed to command. your head is out of sorts. his linen in shreds. obtained no other or better success. are you the governor of the Bastile?” “My good fellow. now his companions. and struck the iron bars with all his might.” And the king tried to remember at what hour the first repast of the prisoners was served at the Bastile. He shouted with increasing hoarseness. He seized hold of his chair. The king bounded forward 94 . Louis heard something in the corridor. and of the bolts being withdrawn from their staples. He heard a door on the corridor close. “The governor. of his agony of mind. it redoubled his strength. he trembled at the idea of disobedience. The king blushed for very shame. mordioux!” “Are you the governor?” the king inquired again. his fury knew no longer any bounds. Be quiet. or a conclusion to the affair. the king came among them to rob them of their rest. The wood resounded against the door. brutal voice. the bright orb of approaching day. As agile as a tiger. It would be cowardly to pray to Heaven for that which I have so often refused my own fellow-creatures. The prisoner broke the chair.” he said. and let the feverish throbbings of his heart calm by degrees. I shall then see some one. which was returned upon the door itself. His nature was such. Louis began to call out. it had seemed as if one single additional pulsation would have made it burst. I shall speak to him. “I will speak to him. and awakened many a mournful echo in the profound depths of the staircase. and that he possessed no other weapon but despair. the pieces of which fell clanking into the courtyard below. “Heaven is right. in permitting this fearful humiliation. “Heaven acts wisely. Twenty other attempts which he made. and rose in accusations against the author of this noise. and it was not until then that he clearly understood the pitiless thickness of the walls. not condescending to reply a single word. which was too heavy for him to lift. invincible to every influence but that of time. Therefore. smothered cries replied in different directions. At the end of an hour. none. he leaped from the table to the window. But Louis dared not even kneel in prayer to God to entreat him to terminate his bitter trial. as doubtless their sighs and tears accused. “Monsieur. Nothing could be more efficacious for reawakening his mind to religious influences than the prostration of his heart and mind and soul beneath the feeling of such acute wretchedness. and mount to his head. he knew. his dress torn and covered with dust and plaster. then louder and louder still. that is. His blood began to boil within him. The sound became tremendous and continuous. He struck so loudly. one after another. but he said aloud. the impenetrable nature of the cement. bent upon obtaining some information.

but what was the good of it? Were not these madmen common enough in such a prison? and were not the walls still stronger? M. it seems. a gentleman. I tell you. in such a case. D’Artagnan. that is an offense punishable by imprisonment in one of the lower dungeons. but. in accents full of calm and dignity. suddenly reflecting that it was a movement unworthy of a sovereign. charitably enough. I said you had done so! Why. the turnkeys and the sentinels had reported the occurrence to him. if he. thoroughly impressed with what Aramis had told him. and made a great disturbance. the complications arising from the strong likeness in question—had at last found a very proper denouement. These reflections were not those of a drunken man. and I wish you to know it in time. tearing the door with his nails. “be careful what you say. Promise me not to begin over again. or to one of the bars of the window. Two hours afterwards he could not be recognized as a king. was at that moment partaking of his hospitality. Very good! I shall take away your knife. to induce one to hope. it would be almost a good and even commendable action. Baisemeaux even thought he had remarked that D’Herblay himself was not altogether dissatisfied with the result. and waited until he spoke. quitted the prisoner. and looked at his prisoner steadily. and the surintendant’s wines had met 95 . why. still governing his passions. and I will not say a word about it to the governor. “you have broken your chair. he might rather be called a madman. accordingly. and equally useless that he threw the plates and dishes out of the window. These complications of Seldon and Marchiali—the complications first of setting at liberty and then imprisoning again.” “I wish to see the governor. Chapter XIX. if he were really and truly at Vaux. hoped only that one thing might happen. and became more annoying than agreeable to him. It was useless. my boy. do you hear?” “Ah! ah! your eyes are becoming wild again. “He will send you off to one of the dungeons. a human being. and M.” said Baisemeaux to his next in command. and in perfect conformity with the king’s order. more wretched.” “I insist upon it. could not resist asking himself if he were really in possession of his senses. Fouquet. You have broken your chair. assumed a noble and calm expression. Fouquet the owner of the chateau in which Louis XIV. a man. quietly to have him put out of his misery. the prisoner was anything but a profitable investment for M. de Baisemeaux. namely. when the prisoner has gone mad.” The jailer placed the basket on the table. and waited with his back turned towards the window. “Ah!” said the latter. “you have always been very quiet and reasonable.” added the king. The Shadow of M. and closed the door. In fact. The king looked at the man with restless anxiety. so take care. and might bite and make a terrible disturbance in the Bastile. the jailer did not even think of disturbing him. “Desire the governor to come to me. “an ordinary prisoner is already unhappy enough in being a prisoner. although everything was in prodigal profusion at Vaux. but you are getting vicious. “What do you say?” he said. you have gone quite mad.” replied the king. to conceal his agitation from the eyes of the person who was about to enter.” “Monsieur. As for the governor. D’Artagnan. it is not simply an act of mere charity to wish him dead. he paused. were really the captain of the musketeers. still confused and oppressed by the conversation he had just had with the king.” said the turnkey. trying to tear up the flooring of his cell. not a single sound was heard in recognition.” said the king. though he tried it. leaving the king more astounded. more isolated than ever. It was only a jailer with a basket of provisions.” And the good-natured governor thereupon sat down to his late breakfast. it will be a very serious affair for you. and uttering such wild and fearful cries that the old Bastile seemed to tremble to its very foundations for having revolted against its master. to some extent. to make the same noise again on his door. really. “Come. he suffers quite enough. “And then.to be nearer to the person who was about to enter. in order.” And the jailer did what he said. that his death may not be far distant. that the madman Marchiali might be mad enough to hang himself to the canopy of his bed. indeed. Baisemeaux. With still greater reason. which for him was easy enough.

I am determined. treacherous knave. I. I have seen many a miserable fellow strung up to a tree for doing. because he wished to fall in love with Mademoiselle de la Valliere. which in that respect resemble either thunder or lightning.” said D’Artagnan to himself. still smiling. who. but their appearance never fails to arouse surprise and astonishment. indeed. in other words. so that M. but they shall talk well of it. and lastly. instead of going. drawing by a gesture peculiar to himself his shoulder-belt over his shoulder. the second. Nicolas Fouquet. D’Artagnan had never been able to succeed in making himself common at the court. in former days when wars were rife. let us admit that I do possess a little readiness of invention. Such is the happy privilege of certain natures. Fouquet. I should let M. No. Any man would know how to say to M. And now. the groups of dancers and courtiers were separating in the salons. To deliver up to death (for not a doubt existed that Louis hated Fouquet mortally) the man who had just shown himself so delightful and charming a host in every way. Fouquet had just retired to his room. that M. because the king likes M. Colbert doesn’t like him. who had already taken his right arm out of the sleeve of his doublet. Yet. Fouquet.” And D’Artagnan. just as the members of the De Luynes family have done with regard to the estates of the poor Marechal d’Ancre. Oh! he is lost! But shall I put my foot on his neck.” replied the musketeer. as it were.” “Thank you. Colbert and loves Mademoiselle de la Valliere. “It almost seems. for. that neither king nor living man shall change my mind. miserable fellow. though. He longed for rest and quiet. and added. and showered down his most sleep-inducing poppies upon the master of the house. a traitor. if I betray my master’s secret. placed his hand on the shoulder of M. was preparing to retire for the night and to sleep tranquilly after the triumphs of the day. “Well. How am I to manage. tore at his mustache in sheer vexation.’ But it is not every one who would be able to take care of M. “that if I am not a poor. The wax-lights were dying away in their sockets. I will try and conduct myself like a man who understands what good manners are. too. had extended his influence over the adjoining rooms. Fouquet’s disgrace? There seem to be three good ones: the first. the presiding deity of the dome painted by Lebrun. than he knew how to adopt morally the cold. “I seem now to be mixed up historically with the destinies of the king and of the minister. when M. he could hardly keep his eyes open. that twenty times. with the odors of the torches and the fireworks. monsieur. in all the perfumes and incense of Ahasuerus. d’Artagnan appeared at the entrance of the room. of course. My descendants. the surintendant half-closed his wearied eyes. the flowers fell unfastened from the garlands. and notwithstanding he was seen everywhere and on all occasions. it must be admitted. d’Artagnan. a crime provided for and punishable by military laws—so much so. I know. I will look on. it might almost have been said that he seemed bowed beneath the weight of the new debts which he had incurred for the purpose of giving the greatest possible honor to this fete.” “Have you come to criticise the fete? You are ingenious enough in your criticisms. every one recognizes them. when he is falling a prey to the intrigues of a pack of women and clerks? For shame! If he be dangerous. was a man of calm self-possession. a younger son of a Gascon family. Surrounded by his friends. I shall be a false-hearted. Fouquet know the opinion the king has about him. Fouquet. The god Morpheus. whichever way it may be considered. the surintendant of the finances of France. because M.” “By no means. of Enguerrand de Marigny?” And at this reflection. d’Artagnan?” said Fouquet. I think that a man of true readiness of wit ought to get out of this difficulty with more skill than that.” he said. it is not at all certain. however. and arresting him off-hand and shutting him up altogether. if. People will talk about it. keen weapon as his guide of action. if I have any. up to M. however. mean. and whenever they occur. in cold blood. Therefore. “What can be the reason of M. “What! M. The Gascon. in but a small degree. I have come to such a decisive determination. le surintendant pass from the height of favor to the direst disgrace. that after having been steeped to his lips. “At your service.” 96 . what my scruples counsel me to undertake upon a great scale now. he is transferred to the gallows of Haman. my dear M. He could listen to nothing more. he be only persecuted. will flatter themselves with the distinction which this arrest will confer. If Athos were here. the impression is always left that the last was the most conspicuous or most important. was a real insult to one’s conscience. Fouquet. But the thing is. but more than half-asleep. d’Artagnan. of all men. D’Artagnan’s brow became clouded with perplexity. then. I will lay him low enough. it will be written. ‘Your sword. he sank upon the bed of laurels which had been heaped up for him for so many days past. The musketeer had certain scruples on the matter. and no sooner did he touch his bright steel blade. that Vaux be turned into a dungeon for him. after having for forty years absorbed so large a quantity. he never failed to produce an effect wherever and whenever he made his appearance. was being assisted by his valet de chambre to undress. who complimented him and received his flattering remarks in return. went straight off to M. after he had taken leave of his guests. or infected. Fouquet without others knowing anything about it. as he quitted the royal apartment. I shall be lucky if there were to be a pistole’s-worth left. he would do as I have done.with a distinguished reception at the fete. how best to execute the king’s directions in a proper manner. almost entirely alone. “Come in. The air was still perfumed. his bed seemed to possess a fascinating and irresistible attraction for him.” D’Artagnan buried his head in his hands.

perhaps?” “Nothing could be better. pray go to bed. monseigneur. Monsieur d’Artagnan?” “What! deprive you of it.” “You have given a most charming fete to the king. then.” D’Artagnan did not seem to understand it. and let me do the same. since you have a bed to lie down on. I am not.” “Did he desire you to say as much to me?” “He would not choose so unworthy a messenger. “My dear D’Artagnan.” These words were as much as to say. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “Are you going to bed already?” he said to the superintendent.” “Do you think so?” “Oh! beautiful!” “Is the king pleased?” “Enchanted. as you see.” “Well.” “In that case. monseigneur? never!” “What am I to do. monsieur.” “You are not comfortably lodged.“Are not your men looked after properly?” “In every way. “Will you take my room. “Yes. then?” “Allow me to share yours with you. I have to thank you for being so amiably disposed. and then replied. and I must not fail to express my obligations to you for all your flattering kindness. nothing at all.” “You do not do yourself justice.” “Is that your bed. then?” “Yes. You sleep in this room. have you anything to say to me?” “Nothing. there?” “Yes.” Fouquet started. but why do you ask? Are you not satisfied with your own?” “My I speak frankly to you?” “Most assuredly.” 97 .

hastily. “or into the park. I shall be compelled to request you to be silent.” “Do not interrogate me. admit at once that you arrest me. monseigneur. and in my own house.” “No. then?” “Yes. I will proclaim it aloud. but—” 98 .” “On the contrary.” “On the contrary. Stay a moment. at such an hour as the present. What do you want with me?” “Nothing more than the pleasure of your society. then.” “I assure you. very well.” replied the musketeer. and said. “you have just left the king.” “Do not say such a thing. monseigneur. Monsieur d’Artagnan.” said the superintendent to the captain. upon my honor.” “And the king wishes you to pass the night in my room?” “Monseigneur—” “Very well.” When the man had left.” “Come into the garden. if you have no objections. I do. “You have something to say to me?” “I?” “A man of your superior intelligence cannot have come to talk with a man like myself. there is a chess-board there.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan.” “I have. You are the master here. monseigneur.Fouquet looked at the musketeer fixedly.” “If you do so. I am in disgrace. “Leave us. we will have a game. “Ah! ah!” he said.” “We do not seem to understand one another at all. that I do not wish to abuse—” Fouquet turned to his valet. he said to D’Artagnan.” “Upon your honor—ah! that is quite another thing! So I am to be arrested in my own house.” said the superintendent suddenly. too.” “Why?” “The fresh air—” “Come. then?” “Not at all. “Never!” said the latter. “no. “You intend to look after me. without grave motives.” “Very good! Violence towards me.

“I shall order my horses.” “With M. he said: “You are right.” “Alas! that is quite impossible. d’Herblay the only person with whom you ought to be prevented holding any communication?” Fouquet colored. Monsieur d’Artagnan. I see. and I shall be delighted. Who can ever answer for the morrow?” “Quick.” “I do not understand a word you are saying. A fallen man cannot assert his right to anything. monseigneur. your mode of action is enough to drive me mad. even from those whose fortunes he may have made.” “Bah!” cried D’Artagnan. “It was not for nothing you acquired your reputation as a man of intelligence and resource. you have always acted in the most admirable manner towards me—in such a manner.” “Good night.” “You are beyond my comprehension. d’Herblay. monseigneur.“I am prohibited. turning pale. I have strict orders to see that you hold no communication with any one. d’Herblay. monsieur. Do me a service. pretending to smile. as most becomes the man who is destined to arrest me.” “My dear Monsieur d’Artagnan. you have taught me a lesson I ought not to have evoked. as a hunter does a wild boar.” “I shall never forgive myself. monseigneur. and since you refuse to treat me as a man. it is very difficult. Why do you arrest me? What have I done?” “Oh! I know nothing about what you may have done. and then assuming an air of resignation. indeed. You.” said Fouquet. but I do not arrest you—this evening. and if you wish to reconcile me with myself. then?” “No. tell me so. and since you finesse with me. as he pretended to withdraw.” he said. but you have completely awakened me. I was almost sinking for want of sleep. but I shall go along with you. quick. and set off for Paris. for a still stronger reason. I am sure. “but to-morrow?” “It is not to-morrow just yet. from withdrawing from your sight.” “You will arrest me. monseigneur. “If that be the case. at least!” “This evening!” said Fouquet.” 99 . I will try and set you at bay. “I will not lie down. captain—with your friend!” “Monseigneur. Let us come to the point. is M.” returned Fouquet. sounding the captain of the musketeers. monseigneur. “Seriously. coldly. at least. go to sleep in your bed in my presence. captain! let me speak to M.” “I am under surveillance.” “I will leave the room if you say any such thing.” “Monseigneur!” “It is perfectly true. Fouquet ran after him. why. Monsieur d’Artagnan. he cannot claim anything from those to whom he may never have had the happiness of doing a service. I suppose. but with me all this is quite superfluous. and if you wish me to withdraw.” “That is quite sufficient.” said D’Artagnan. have never asked me anything.

with some of your poets. and composing verses by moonlight in the park of Vaux. then hurriedly seizing hold of letters. who sleeps very soundly. “if he is in his own room. As soon as he had finished. completely overcome. and to return?” said D’Artagnan. and which he seemed to regret not having found in them.” continued D’Artagnan. he has very good reasons for not answering. papers. “Or. he perceived an odor resembling smoke he had relied on finding in the atmosphere. “Nearly so. made a movement of his head in token of satisfaction. Fouquet. he sank down. “M.” “Ah! you have saved me. would not even think of failing to keep it. looked vainly for certain papers. “Which is M. he heaped them up into a pile. in all probability. the first to speak. but that I am going to look for M. and that when I return I shall find you here again. and contracts. at all. making a total of fifteen minutes’ absence. contracts. for he is not in his own room. the worthy musketeer had not the slightest doubt that Fouquet. to leave you alone. writings. d’Herblay’s room? The blue room is it not?” “Yes. more dangerous than ever. monseigneur. monseigneur.” replied the Gascon. raised his head. d’Herblay. and whose strength abandons him as soon as the danger is past. with an expression of the warmest and deepest gratitude. “and M. which he burnt in the extremest haste upon the marble hearth of the fireplace. monseigneur. for unless he could ascertain in what way the bishop of Vannes could assist him. and. And now. As D’Artagnan entered. d’Herblay must be desperately fond of walking out at night. d’Herblay! to leave me alone!” he exclaimed. I put that down at another five minutes. on his side. give me your word that you will not in any way attempt to make your escape. “To look for M. dear Monsieur d’Artagnan. which doubtless he had left at Saint-Mande. he perfectly well knew that he could expect assistance from no other quarter. Fouquet looked at him as he quitted the room. lifting up his head like a dog who has regained the scent. at least. my friend.” “But surely you did not call him in such a manner that he could have heard you?” 100 . having given his word. which was even now serious enough. not even taking time to draw from the interior of it the vases and pots of flowers with which it was filled. and as soon as it was shut. monseigneur. and having found it. flew to his keys. and they both saw that they had understood each other without exchanging a syllable. d’Herblay?” “Upon my word. indeed. since you keep watch and ward over me? Do you suppose I should contend against the most valiant sword in the kingdom?” “It is not that.“Monsieur.” replied D’Artagnan. monsieur.” replied Fouquet. “will you—I ask it as a favor—pledge me your word as a man of honor that you will not leave this room?” “What is the use of it.” “What! not in his own room?” cried Fouquet. touched by his eloquent and noble tone of grief. and not one of D’Artagnan’s movements escaped him. he found Fouquet in the same position.” “Your friend! thank you for that word.” Fouquet uttered a cry of delight and surprise. waited with a feverish impatience until the door was closed behind him. whose last hope thus escaped him. like a man who has just escaped an imminent danger. yes. When D’Artagnan returned. “Well!” asked Fouquet. And then the looks of the two men met. D’Artagnan disappeared.” “And then to wake Aramis. which might possibly render his position.” “I give it.” “It will take a good ten minutes to go from hence to the blue room. clasping his hands together. And so. opened two or three secret doors concealed in various articles of furniture in the room. but he had thought it most likely that Fouquet would turn his (D’Artagnan’s) absence to the best advantage in getting rid of all the papers. you confer it upon me to-day. if you have never done so before. consequently. on a couch. memorandums. when he is asleep.

whom I hoped to render my stay and support. isolated from others. When any one opens a door for me I always avail myself of it. de Retz arrested.” “Ah! I defy him to do that. de Cinq-Mars and M.” said Fouquet. no. these humbler voices accompanied in harmonious accents the murmur of my own heart. it is precisely because my friends are not looking on. monseigneur. de Chalais arrested. “I have seen both M. but the very one of all those whom you most resemble at this moment was that poor fellow Broussel.” Fouquet drew a deep sigh. Fouquet understood him so thoroughly. as a disinherited sister. I do not live. then. I am nothing when left to myself. with an expression of extreme dejection. Colbert hates you. I have seen M. for I have availed myself of it. yes. upon his magnificent bed with velvet hangings. But let us return to Aramis. you could not have called loud enough. a man like you ought not to be dejected in this manner. in order that M. for poverty is neither solitude. as Moliere? with such a mistress as—Oh! if you knew how utterly lonely and desolate I feel at this moment. and of which you may be even ignorant yourself. and wiping your mouth with your papers. notwithstanding your liege-man is His Greatness the Lord Bishop of Vannes. “you do not understand me. and although he did not open his lips. of which I am ignorant.” “Well. “I have seen a good many men arrested in my life. shaking his head. Poverty! I accept it. that I am as you see me now.” At this singular confession of the superintendent.” “M. In times of prosperity. Colbert might state with positive certainty that I gave you time to burn your papers. receive it. I have seen M. that I should have been mad enough to rouse the whole house and allow myself to be seen in the corridor of the bishop of Vannes. which they poetize and caress.” “However softly any one may call Aramis. exist even. Aramis always hears when he has an interest in hearing. sadly. though I was very young then. I have seen M. and costliest lace. as La Fontaine.” said the musketeer. Understand that throughout my whole life I have passed every moment of my time in making friends. “M. it is disagreeable to have to say. seem to resemble the image of solitude. took three or four turns in his room. Is it likely I shall ever be poor. D’Artagnan cast his glance all round the room. rose from his seat. and finished by seating himself. de Conde arrested with the princes.” replied D’Artagnan. when a man can no longer cultivate his taste for the magnificent? Do you know what good the greater part of the wealth and the posses101 . Isolation I have never yet known. “that you are woefully exaggerating. monseigneur. happy voices—rendered so through and by my means—formed in my honor a concert of praise and kindly actions. The king likes you. at least that is what I should have done in your place.” returned the surintendant. with a smile full of gentleness. who separate me from all I love. Poverty (a phantom I have sometimes beheld. awaiting me at the end of my journey through life)—poverty has been the specter with which many of my own friends have trifled for years past. I tell you. moved to the depths of his soul. Monsieur Fouquet. monseigneur. and I thank you. with such friends as Pelisson. D’Artagnan looked at Fouquet with feelings of the deepest and sincerest pity. of annihilation—death itself.” “But I have already told you. clad in rags.” “No. nor imprisonment. I say. You were very near doing as he did. that he added: “What can be done with such wealth of substance as surrounds us. In the least disfavor. monseigneur. Suppose your friends saw you?” “Monsieur d’Artagnan.” “And you have done perfectly right. which forbade me leaving you a single moment— you can hardly suppose. or Aramis would have heard you. Colbert! What does that matter to me?” “He will ruin you. Every man has his own peculiar secrets with which others have nothing to do. and how you. putting your dinner napkin in your portfolio. Stay a moment. Broussel arrested. all these cheerful.“You can hardly suppose. I repeat what I said before—Aramis was not in his own room. Mordioux! Monseigneur Fouquet. for I am ruined already. or Aramis had certain reasons for not recognizing my voice. that having already exceeded my orders.” “Yes. and which has attracted me towards them. nor exile.” “My papers?” “Of course. acknowledge it.

because I am arresting you. after a moment’s pause. Monsieur d’Artagnan. to La Fontaine. still alive. “An excellent homily. I who seem to exercise in some degree a kind of superiority over you. they belong to those who created them.” “Bah!” said the musketeer. if it pleases him to do so. you have been a prodigal with money. indeed. accorded me a less agreeable and less advantageous part to fill than yours has been. Monsieur Fouquet. I will not sell my residence at Vaux. so that the estate should be made to support its master.” “It is not far from it. while I have dragged my tether after me. but as far as duration is concerned. and would reduce my palace to ashes. in fact. “in any case.” “The king does not require me to give it to him. to Moliere.” he said. a fall happens only once in a lifetime to men like yourself. and have no right to lessen yourself in any way. Well. There is a Latin proverb—the words have escaped me. That idea. that my very house has ceased to be my own. the property. “he will take it away from me with the most absolute ease and grace. for you too.” D’Artagnan shook his head. of the man who has paid for them. look at the affair manfully. monseigneur. no one would know how. 102 . look at me. “what was I saying? Great heavens! burn Vaux! destroy my palace! But Vaux is not mine. a man must be too rich. Stay a moment. and that is the finest feature of the place. that if the king did not happen to be under my roof. Vaux belongs to Lebrun. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “At all events. “the idea is agreeable enough. Do as I do. all in a heap. I would take this candle.” “That is all well and good. as far as sense of enjoyment goes. which distributes their different parts to the comedians of this world. after having selected my place beforehand. and would purchase an estate in the country. an estate which should have woods. my dear monsieur.” said D’Artagnan. and land attached. you would not be able to burn the gardens. I shall remain unto the very end a trooper. No one in France is rich enough to give two millions for Vaux. I shall fall perfectly straight. and prevents me from bowing my old head too soon. I will give it to you. have been commanded and have obeyed. and set fire to a couple of huge chests of fusees and fireworks which are in reserve there. no one could do it.sions which we rich enjoy. and clasped him in a close embrace. you have ordered and been obeyed—have been steeped to the lips in enjoyment. makes me forget that poor fellow Broussel altogether.” said D’Artagnan. and the wonders of Vaux! What of it? What boot these wonders? If I am ruined. but I remember the sense of it very well. With forty millions you might—” “Ten millions. and that is the very reason I should prefer to see it perish. Monsieur d’Artagnan. thoughtfully.” replied Fouquet. to Lenotre. You see. you will make a better bargain. No. of another theater than the theater of this world—it is far better to wear a fine coat and to talk a fine language. and the chief thing is. negligently. that the recollection of what I have done serves me as a spur. and have drudged my life away. and to continue to maintain it as I have done. to take it gracefully when the chance presents itself. to Pelisson. confer upon us? merely to disgust us. “Give it to the king.” interrupted D’Artagnan. mordioux! belong to posterity. I mean. how shall I fill with water the urns which my Naiads bear in their arms. to Levau. If you are ruined. my dear captain. orchards. and when my turn comes.” “And yet. quickly. But you do not understand me. a million is not abject misery. I do declare to you. if you like. or force the air into the lungs of my Tritons? To be rich enough. “Not a million.” resumed Fouquet. or to get one’s backbone gently polished by a hearty dressing with a stick. monsieur. it is true. ‘The end crowns the work!’” Fouquet rose from his seat. than to walk the boards shod with a pair of old shoes. passed his arm round D’Artagnan’s neck.” and Fouquet accompanied these words with a movement of the shoulders to which it would be impossible to do justice.” “Well. by their very splendor even. these wonderful creations are. go straight to the dome. whilst with the other hand he pressed his hand. and I recognize M. fate. you will not find yourself the worse for it. for I have thought over it more than once—which says. “If Vaux were yours. “Oh! I know very well what you think.” said Fouquet. In one word. Do you know. I am one of those who think that the parts which kings and powerful nobles are called upon to act are infinitely of more worth than the parts of beggars or lackeys. Vaux belongs to posterity. with everything which does not equal it! Vaux! you will say. It is far better on the stage—on the stage. and I now fail to recognize in you the whining complaints of that old Frondeur. you would sell it. although I may seem of such trifling importance beside you. Fouquet himself in it.

“Yes.” “You would not ask me. a moment after. but. and I infinitely prefer such a shadow to any one else. captain of the musketeers. and let us talk about my affairs. forget that you are Monsieur d’Artagnan. might possibly be compromised and included in your disgrace.” “However.” said Fouquet.” D’Artagnan bowed to the compliment. for your sake. remain as close to me as my shadow if you like.” “In what respect?” 103 . and Aramis. People would learn it. I will do what may almost be regarded as an impossibility. surintendant of the finances. then.” “Thank you. who is not mixed up with the affair.” “What shall we do when daylight comes?” “I know nothing at all about it. Monsieur Fouquet.” “Ah! is that the way you talk?” “The deuce!” “What do you think of my situation?” “I do not know. will you do me a favor?” “Most willingly.” “Indeed?” “Yes. “But.” “Perhaps.” “That is rather a delicate subject. What did the king say to you?” “Nothing.” “I will wait here till daylight. that is best. d’Herblay be? I dare not ask you to send for him. you are acting in the full discharge of your duty. forget that I am Monsieur Fouquet.“A soldier’s. because I would not do it. I suppose?” “Certainly. unless you have some ill feeling against me—” “Your position is a difficult one.” “You guard me. monseigneur. Monsieur Fouquet. in telling me all that. he said: “Where can M.” Fouquet resumed his pensive attitude once more.” “You have a regard for me.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan. I remain.” “Very good. monseigneur. and then.

I have not done enough to deserve it. if you are satisfied with what I have done. before you suspected the slightest thing amiss. and should arrange your thoughts.“Because you are under your own roof. disturbed their quietude: not a sound even was heard throughout the whole vast palace.” continued the musketeer. and you will leave me only one regret. that of having made your acquaintance so late. half lying on his bed and leaning on his arm. who refuse to tell me the slightest thing?” “At all events.” “Do you suppose that. It seemed to act as an additional soporific for the sleepers. and when Fouquet happened to sigh too loudly. I should lock them up quietly enough. paced up and down. with any one else but yourself. I should keep you safely until my master’s breakfast in the morning.” “Well. both of them. and to have asked you to deliver up your sword. none of those delicate concessions which are shown by persons who are essentially courteous in their natures. I assure you. It would have been very disagreeable to have made my appearance to-morrow. without being disturbed at the slight noises and items of little moment that constitute the life and death of human nature. but do not touch either the key or the handle of the door. and the sound of their feet could be heard on the gravel walks.” “I thought you would not like it. still went on uninterruptedly.” “Ah! I have nothing to say in that respect. so much ceremony and consideration. 104 . from a natural antipathy to anything of the kind. not even from Aramis.” “Your gratitude is too eloquently expressed. or pretend to go to sleep. “I expect. “the case of a door being opened. like rabbits. burn. you will never get me to believe that. write. the room—for anything like that my ear is as quick and sensitive as the ear of a mouse. Move about as much as you like. and the unceasing music of the fountains whose waters tumbled in the basin. I should have died of shame and anger. therefore. It might be that I happened to arrive at your door just as your guests or your friends had left you—or. “you are certainly the most witty and the most courteous man I ever met with.” “Most certainly. “Alas! you have perhaps made it too soon. go to sleep. then. or in your bed. or coming into. was meditating on his misadventures. Fouquet.—nothing like that will prevent me from going to sleep or even prevent me from snoring. let us allow the few hours that remain to pass away undisturbed. while the murmuring of the wind through the trees. without any preparation. the guards of honor on duty.” “However difficult it may be. monseigneur.” “Oh! monsieur. I should have shown so much frankness?” “What! so much frankness. my rest is so sound that a cannon would not wake me. Outside. either on your bed. I should steal softly along the carpet of your corridor. and when I fall asleep.” He then settled himself in his armchair. I beg you. but there would also have been no warning for M. awaited the first dawn of the day. I understand it very well. In this way. I will sleep in this armchair. You are harassed. all disturbance. no consideration for his feelings.” “One moment. Not a single visit. while Fouquet. or the case of any one going out of. I should just the same have avoided all publicity.” Fouquet smiled. and with one hand upon you. In this way. and have somewhat recovered from the shock which I prepared you for as much as I possibly could. I suppose. and that would shake my nerves and make me ill. Creaking noises make me start. It arises. however. however. which seemed to say.” D’Artagnan drew a deep sigh. D’Artagnan only snored the louder. all opposition. destroy. and should then catch them one after the other. Are you satisfied with the plan?” “It makes me shudder. and the patrol of musketeers. if they had not gone yet. walk up and down in any part of the room. whenever the decisive moment may arrive. do you say? you. leaving the candles burning. or any other. monseigneur: let me tell you how I should have behaved towards any one but yourself.” said Fouquet. efface.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan. monsieur. I should wait until they were leaving. for I should start up in a moment. then. whether a secret door.

let me imitate M. and perceived a pocket-handkerchief lying on it. glided into the royal chamber. his bitter tears that have stained this handkerchief: and yet. his heart panted and throbbed at the very suspicion of approaching terror and misfortune. in the same way the king had descended from the apartment dedicated to Morpheus. suspended. the rhetoric of the chroniclers of old would not fail to present. The young prince alighted from Aramis’s room. Philippe listened attentively to every sound. your father. which had ascended again after having deposited its prisoner in the secret depths of the subterranean passage.” said Philippe. had lain. for it spoke the truth. on the present occasion. shall I cease to listen to the scruples of my heart? Yes! the king has lain on this bed. carefully avoid polishing the antithesis in question. as we have stated. like those phosphoric lights of the tempest which show the sailors the altitude of the waves against which they have to struggle. which are the vital throbs of a king’s heart. Alone. and always scatters. embroidered with the arms of France. alone. resume the blazonry that is yours! Philippe. Towards the morning a shadow. with the frank and unreserved language which an accomplice never fears to use in the company of his companion in guilt. I hesitate to throw myself on the bed. in the presence of all the luxury which surrounded him. who lay there sheltered beneath his stolen crown. notwithstanding an instinctive repugnance of feeling. the sovereign power and authority I have usurped. in sheer despair. as a complete antithesis. after having completed the work it had been destined to perform. stood in my way. it spoke to the guilty author of that crime. I alone. whose thoughts are of and for himself alone. the bolts and bars of his dungeon. still tumbled by his brother’s body. in the presence of his power. and Philippe stood beside the royal bed. and soul expand beneath the influence of a thousand mutable emotions. but shall proceed to draw another picture as minutely as possible. Away with such weakness.” With these words. A man may be ambitious of lying in a lion’s den. and of ambitious minds. his eyes on fire. d’Herblay. which was confirmed by the force of an overpoweringly resolute determination. that mortal enemy of restless hearts. had not. or to press in my hand the handkerchief which is embroidered with my brother’s arms. the flowers with which it embellishes and enlivens history. sole heir presumptive to Louis XIII. rather than a body. This sweat-bestained handkerchief terrified Philippe. d’Herblay observes. take your place on that bed. Philippe. But we shall.” “How?” “Exactly as we expected.Chapter XX. would in right and justice belong to me alone. the picture of Philippe lying asleep beneath the royal canopy. has not even to suffer the agony of the remorse of all that you have had to submit to. with the part he was about to be forced to act. M. He hoped that imminent danger might be revealed to him. which was still damp from the cold sweat which had poured from Louis XIV. by angels with outspread golden wings.” 105 . while he buried his burning face in the handkerchief still moistened by his brother’s tears. if Louis XIV. With his head thrown back and buried in the soft down of his pillow. at this moment. owing to my mother’s criminal abandonment. “Is it likely to be more terrifying than my captivity has been sad and gloomy? Though I am compelled to follow out. The dome gradually and slowly sank down under Aramis’s pressure. as the gore of Abel frightened Cain. so long as he injures or betrays his enemies only. son of France. but can hardly hope to sleep there quietly. it is indeed his head that has left its impression on this pillow. and his face a livid white. should have occupied this bed. The Morning. alone. Philippe. I. d’Herblay. Philippe perceived above him the crown of France. and mind.’s face. d’Herblay?” “Well. who asserts that a man’s action should be always one degree above his thoughts. if. Philippe. shrouded in the thickness of its gloom during the remainder of the night the future king of France. Philippe for the first time felt his heart. Philippe expected his approach and neither expressed nor exhibited any surprise. show yourself without pity or mercy for the usurper who. and tearing. “Well. it returned with the traces of the crime. to serve as foil and counterfoil to the one in the preceding chapter. This mute accomplice had returned. as M. threw himself on the royal bed. But nothing approached. sole king of France. in places where they have no right to grow. “I am face to face with my destiny. He could not help changing color when he looked upon the empty bed. sire. he waited until some decisive circumstance should permit him to judge for himself.. who regards himself as a man of honor. In vivid contrast to the sad and terrible destiny of the king imprisoned in the Bastile. at every moment. and this handkerchief. all is accomplished. let me imitate M. and in spite of the shudder of terror which mastered his will. Silence. We do not pretend to say that such rhetoric is always bad. I had been left my royal cradle. and forced his muscles to press the still warm place where Louis XIV. Philippe bent over the bed. but confident in his own strength.

and confidentially will congratulate you on the danger which that conspirator has made you run.” “Did the governor of the Bastile suspect anything?” “Nothing. I have myself been able to do as much as that.” “I have already provided for every chance. In a few days.” “A dukedom. that human strength and the duration of human life would not be enough for his return. and will send him out of the country. a complete victory. “Why do you laugh. “He will be presented to you to-day. and the secret would die with him. Monsieur d’Herblay. on former occasion.“Did he resist?” “Terribly! tears and entreaties. however—” “Was the cause of the success.” “Cautious. du Vallon?” asked Philippe in order to change the conversation. sooner if necessary. Think well of that. and you wish to get rid of him.” “What! in making him a duke?” “Certainly. “And M.” “The resemblance.” “But the prisoner cannot fail to explain himself.” “But at last?” “Oh! at last. we will take the captive out of his prison. I suppose. why so?” “Your majesty is doubtless afraid that poor Porthos may possible become a troublesome witness.” replied Aramis.” Once more a cold look of intelligence passed between Aramis and the young king.” “What is to be done with him?” “With M. to a place of exile so remote—” “People can return from their exile. you would assuredly kill him.” “And then?” “A perfect stupor.” 106 .” “To a place of exile so distant. and absolute silence. Monsieur d’Herblay?” “I laugh at the extreme caution of your idea. for he would die from joy. confer a dukedom on him. I was going to say. du Vallon?” “Yes. smiling in a significant manner.

let us begin the attack. “that I should expect him. he is a hundred miles from suspecting our mystery in the slightest degree.” said Aramis.” added the prince.” “He.” said the young king resolutely. arranged his sword. like a private soldier getting ready for inspection.—you know what I mean?” 107 . and in the middle of this idle conversation. sire. “I will take care of that. “Are you going out?” said Fouquet. and which he would imagine it his business to occupy himself about. that the keenest scent in the whole kingdom may be deceived by the traces of twenty different persons.” “Well?” “Well.” “I hear a step in the vestibule.” replied the young man hurriedly. he will certainly be here. hurriedly. he will be sure to detect something of what has taken place.“Good heavens!” “Yes. you probably decided to do something this morning at break of day.” “Come.” “But how can I send him away. for it was indeed D’Artagnan who adopted that mode of announcing himself. for I hear him at the door. Before we allow D’Artagnan to penetrate into this room. a knock at the door was heard at that moment. “Be cautious for Heaven’s sake. “The dawn. D’Artagnan knows nothing. we must air the room thoroughly. and with D’Artagnan. Besides. is striking a blow. or introduce so many people into it. too. for he is a most punctual man. To begin the attack.” “If you told him that. before you retired to bed last night. phlegmatically. Aramis heard something which made him prick up his ears. but the musketeer was very weary even of feigning to fall asleep. but if he comes into this room the first this morning. “What is that?” said Philippe. Aramis was not mistaken. and as soon as earliest dawn illumined with its gloomy gleams of light the sumptuous cornices of the superintendent’s room.” “It must be he. And you?” “I shall remain. We have seen how he passed the night in philosophizing with M. I am going to strike a blow which will completely stupefy our man. “and in order to begin.” “You pledge your word?” “Certainly. under the light tone of which the two conspirators concealed their joy and pride at their mutual success. monseigneur. Fouquet. since I have given him a rendezvous?” observed the prince. in fact. And. “Yes. D’Artagnan rose from his armchair. he has seen nothing.” “Very good. brushed his coat and hat with his sleeve. would be madness.” “Yes. impatient to measure swords with so redoubtable an antagonist. “I should lose a very good friend.” At this moment. my only reason for going out is to try and get that reply. I told my captain of the musketeers.” replied the bishop.

Every time my sword hung fast to my shoulder-belt. “One last mark of kindness. “His majesty desires you to report that he is still sleeping. I was booked. The captain thought that it was the king who had just opened it himself.“That sentence. which showed how he was struggling against his own weakness. my sword danced about in its sheath.” “Well. it always signified a punishment from M.” “Well. or a refusal of money by M. you mean—” “Stay. it has just fallen of its own accord into the last hole of the belt. a duel. d’Herblay. the previous evening.” replied the prelate. calm features of Aramis. pronounced with the most affectionate graciousness of manner. or a throbbing of their temples.” And with these words.” “What is it. and this supposition was not altogether inadmissible. whom he was on the point of saluting with the greatest respect. I am to conclude that it is not disagreeable for you to arrest me. for every time that that confounded belt of mine stuck fast to my back. was sure to follow: whenever it dangled about the calves of my legs. That is the reason why I am delighted.” “I am going to try and get him to come to you.” said Fouquet. you must know that my sword may almost be regarded as part of my own body. every time it fell completely out of the scabbard. It was written that the day would pass away and realize all the predictions that had been made in the morning. as we have seen. that tells me of an arrest that will have to be made this very day. stay a moment—look here. or under the influence of some imperial charm?” “Why. let me see Monsieur d’Herblay. and I have had showers of them all my life through. coldly. with a faint smile. more astonished than annoyed by this frankness. monseigneur?” “M. fortunate in its result. too. at the king’s door.” “Of prosperity?” “Yes. But. when I got up. “if there is nothing disagreeable predicted to you by your sword. after having been greatly fatigued during the whole night. “You here!” stammered out the musketeer. when Fouquet said to him. with two or three months under surgical bandages into the bargain. he perceived the long.” D’Artagnan did not think himself so good a prophet. This morning. but instead of his royal master. Do you know what that is a warning of ?” “No.” “I did not know your sword kept you so well informed.” said the surintendant. I remarked that my sword had got caught in one of the aiguillettes. it told me of nothing this morning.” “You! arrest you!” “Of course. With me. be sure of it. and also the reason why I said that my day will be a happy one. be assured of that. de Mazarin.” 108 . Well. I have heard that certain men seem to have warnings given them by feeling something the matter with their legs. and that my shoulder-belt had slipped quite off. Every time. de Treville. He had accordingly knocked. the captain took leave of Fouquet in order to wait upon the king. considering the state of agitation in which he had left Louis XIV. and made up my mind that I should have to remain on the field of battle. So extreme was his surprise that he could hardly refrain from uttering a loud exclamation. The door opened. it signified a slight wound. It is not you I shall have to arrest. The warning—” “Does not concern you. it always predicted some disagreeable commission or another for me to execute. “Is your sword bewitched. “Aramis!” he said. it is my sword that warns me. That is an infallible sign. since you have been arrested ever since yesterday. “Good morning. dear D’Artagnan. He was on the point of leaving the room. I have something of the old Roman in me.

who came to the door. “No. his majesty gave me a rendezvous for this morning. later. must have made considerable progress in the royal favor. he must have become more than Richelieu had ever been to Louis XIII. anticipating the usual hour of his ordinary receptions. But it is all the same. The prelate was silent and grave.” “Ah! Aramis. how you puzzled me just now!” said D’Artagnan again. his curling mustache. d’Herblay to me. which you will be good enough to attend to forthwith. “Ah!” and he uttered a second “ah!” still more full of intelligence than the former. “I will lead the way. who. a voice which made a cold shudder pass through the musketeer’s veins. In fact. He bowed.” “Later. said as much indeed in the plainest language to the chief favorite. and stupefied by the smile with which Aramis seemed to overwhelm him. “as an answer to what you were coming to ask the king. here is an order of his majesty. Chapter XXI. D’Artagnan completely bewildered by such an accumulation of events. from the bottom of the alcove. and particularly of giving unrestrained passage to the suspicions which the king’s silence had aroused—”but. as though he were about to leave. I wish to be a witness of his delight.” “And something better still. who remained calm and perfectly unmoved. I suppose?” “Of course I understand.” he said aloud. The King’s Friend.” said the king’s voice. who had been so indifferent a favorite the previous evening. amazed.” 109 . so as to be able to give a single order in his name at a couple paces from him. for here is the order for it.” said the bishop. as he did every one. Fouquet was waiting with anxiety. indeed. The mere sight of Aramis was a complete compensation to the surintendant for the unhappiness he had undergone in his arrest.” continued the bishop. “I am going with you. monseigneur. for it concerns M. my dear D’Artagnan.” and he conducted Aramis to Fouquet’s apartments. For D’Artagnan it was quite sufficient to have understood something of the matter in hand to order to understand the rest. in its tenor. “Well. “Where to?” “To M.” “But. I do not understand yet. for this order explained Aramis’s presence with the king. in order to have obtained Fouquet’s pardon. “you will be good enough. to transmit the orders of the king even to the mere threshold of that monarch’s room. and that this favor explained. and when he perceived the bishop of Vannes behind him. and that Aramis. “But you understand now. so you have brought M. had called at his door to inquire after him.” objected D’Artagnan. Fouquet. Preserving the utmost silence respecting the danger which hung suspended by a hair above his head. almost hissing the words between his teeth.” continued the bishop. it was fully equal to his previous uneasiness. His majesty does not wish to be disturbed just yet. who could not understand how the bishop of Vannes. “Moreover. half-opened lips. monsieur l’eveque. no. to allow those only to pass into the king’s room this morning who have special permission. as soon as these words had been pronounced. where Aramis was. “To be set at liberty!” he murmured. “And then. confused.” D’Artagnan took the order which was held out to him. he only asked them. When he saw D’Artagnan return. had become in half a dozen hours the most magnificent mushroom of fortune that had ever sprung up in a sovereign’s bedroom. but added in a low tone to himself. D’Artagnan’s expressive eye. He bowed and withdrew a couple of paces.” And then he added. monseigneur. to serve as an intermediary of Louis XIV. d’Herblay issued the order in the king’s name. Fouquet. almost on the point of refusing to obey this order.“Ah!” said D’Artagnan. he could hardly restrain his delight. he had already sent away many of his servants and friends. captain. the hardly conceivable assurance with which M. monsieur le capitaine des mousquetaires.

and that your beautiful fete. tell me. but his eager curiosity. and the musketeer understood them. “for it is indeed to him that you owe the change that has taken place in the king. more humiliated at the service than grateful at its success.—and disappeared.“What is that?” “Liberty.” “Oh!” said Fouquet. in his calmest tones. “Monseigneur. and then returning to the bishop.” “No. No sooner had he left.” Fouquet resumed his usual serenity. Aramis turned towards M. than Fouquet. addressing Aramis—”you.” replied the bishop.” said Aramis. so generously offered by you on his behalf. “You will not forget.—to the latter with a slight admixture of ironical respect. remained incapable of uttering a single syllable. Belle-Isle. darted towards the door to close it. D’Artagnan fancied he perceived that these two men had something to say to each other. “Where shall I begin?” “With this first of all. who was as much surprised as the musketeer. “the king desires me to inform you that he is more than ever your friend. in a quiet tone. “I cannot conceal anything. he said.” And thereupon he saluted M.” “We will explain all that to you. My fete put M. whilst the fact is I have seen him more than a hundred times.” he resumed. Why does the king set me at liberty?” “You ought rather to ask me what his reason was for having you arrested. and making Fouquet sit down also. Fouquet. he therefore bowed to Fouquet. and I shall be perfectly satisfied. Aramis thereupon turned towards him. that he might interrogate Aramis with a look. Colbert discovered some cause of complaint against me. I think it now high time you should explain all that has passed.” said Aramis. whose impatience had hardly been able to wait for that moment. for instance. How on earth did you manage to become the favorite of the king. and then to Aramis. my friend. you can thank M. and my idea is that it arises out of some slight feeling of jealousy. my friend. “My dear D’Herblay. Fouquet with so much reverence of manner. only we have kept it very secret. then. has touched him to the very heart. that the latter. and said. when he feels his presence is an inconvenience for others. incapable of understanding a man whose diplomacy was of so prodigious a character. “But you. then. You think that I have seen the king only twice. the king’s order respecting those whom he intends to receive this morning on rising.” 110 . counseled him to remain. and equally incapable of thought or movement.” And without trying to remove the color which at this revelation made D’Artagnan’s face flush scarlet. there is no question at all just now of Belle-Isle. and he was about to yield to that feeling of instinctive politeness which in such a case hurries a man towards the door. I do not understand anything.” “Since my arrest. “Oh! yes. spurred on by so many mysteries. you who have never spoken to him more than twice in your life?” “From a friend such as you are. for. “One thing only. can you not do something for me?” “Anything in the wide world you like. who have become M.” “Very well.” pursued D’Artagnan. sitting down. by the king’s order.” These words were clear enough. I have had time to think over it. and M. in plain and honest truth.” continued D’Artagnan. l’eveque de Vannes.” “I am free!” “Yes. Fouquet’s protector and patron.” “Ah! very good. Colbert out of temper. that is all.

But am I. cannot retain any doubt of your intentions with regard to that young lady.” “But. but. I do not see—” “You will see presently. then.“What is it. though.” pursued Aramis. you will admit that. but said nothing. is your powerful.” “Good heavens!” “Oh! that is not all. I suppose?” “Certainly. then?” “Do you remember those receipts for thirteen millions which M. implacable. of course!” “Well. so powerful. certainly. The king. have commissioned you to tell me what you have just stated?” “The king charged me with no message for you. then?” “We have not yet arrived at that part of our argument.” “With nothing!” said the superintendent. “that the king has quarreled with you—irreconcilably. You are quite right. at all events.” and these words were pronounced by Aramis in so strange a tone. I believe it in the accomplished fact. “But. and the offers you there made her. that he has not dared to sacrifice me. Pray conclude. and he can do no other than believe you are incriminated. “You are concealing something from me.” “I beg your pardon. Observe this well: the king knows you to be guilty of an appropriation of public funds. should Louis XIV. Oh! of course I know that you have done nothing of the kind. and eternal enemy. that order—” “Oh! yes. “Without believing in his sincerity. coldly. Do you also remember that letter you wrote to La Valliere?” “Alas! yes. then.” “Agreed. we may henceforth assume.” “And that proclaims you a traitor and a suborner.” Aramis slightly shrugged his shoulders.” “In the fewest words. beyond all doubt. I wish you to be quite convinced of the fact itself. or my misfortunes. moreover.” “Why should he have pardoned me. you are pronounced a public robber. with a searching look. the king has seen the receipts. “But why. What is it?” Aramis softly rubbed his white fingers over his chin. notwithstanding his hatred. with all the means which my weakness. since he has absolved me—” “Do you believe it likely?” asked the bishop. 111 . having read your love-letter to La Valliere. may have given him as a hold upon me?” “It is clear. I see. The king. that Fouquet could not resist starting. de Mazarin contrived to steal from you?” “Yes. There is an order. stupefied.

D’Herblay.” “He does your bidding?” “I believe so.” “You alarm me. Am I still superintendent?” “As long as you like. indeed. “and you shall tell me if I am mistaken with regard to the importance of this secret. only do not forget that I have asked you about nothing which it may be indiscreet in you to communicate. by everything you hold dearest in the world.” “A secret.” “So any one would say. between you?” “Yes. with the reserve of a man who does not wish to ask any more questions.” “It is hardly credible. since you are good enough to unbosom yourself to me.” “I am listening. then. “You have something particular.” said Aramis. do not deceive me. By what means have you succeeded in overcoming Louis XIV.” “A secret of such a nature as to change his majesty’s interests?” “You are. when they are approaching near to it.” “But what extraordinary empire have you so suddenly acquired over his majesty’s mind?” “Ah! that’s the point.” “You are killing me with impatience.” 112 . for he did not like you.” pursued Aramis.” “Guess. of a nature to change the interests of the king of France.“Does the king exile me?” “Do not act as if you were playing at the game children play at when they have to try and guess where a thing has been hidden. in fact.” “Ah!” said Fouquet.” “Bah! that is because you have not guessed. I am certain.” “The king will like me now. and have made a particularly accurate guess.” “The king has not said one word to me.” “D’Herblay. speak openly. “And you shall judge of it yourself. discovered a secret. monseigneur.” “Speak. laying stress upon the last word. by our friendship. and are informed. a man of superior intelligence. perhaps?” “A secret. then. or going away from it. I implore you. by a bell being rung.’s prejudices. then. I have. by our alliance.” “What did the king say to you? In the name of our friendship.

” “Suppressed.” “Yes.” said the bishop.” “That is where my secret begins. so he put out of the way—he suppressed—one of the twins. his superstitious feelings. was delivered of twins. So that. “Do not speak!” said Fouquet: “there is still time enough. what has he done. you have never learned or heard anything in particular?” “Nothing. or the kingdom either. after all. when the quality of races is called into question.” “So much the better. The queen. Monsieur d’Herblay? And what is this poor prince doing?” “Ask me.” “Have you ever heard anything particular respecting his birth?” “Nothing. “the birth of Louis XIV. you must know.Aramis seemed. do you say?” “Have patience. whose minister you are—the other. except that the king was not really the son of Louis XIII.” “And the king?” “Knows absolutely nothing. “The one was the most fortunate of men: the other the most unhappy and miserable of all living beings. 113 .” “That does not matter to us. rather. and the hope of France. who is my friend. These twins seemed likely to be regarded as the pride of their mother.” Fouquet looked up suddenly as he replied: “And the second is dead?” “You will see.” “Do you remember. says the French law.” “Is it possible?” cried the surintendant. casting down his eyes. for a moment.” “True. and then thrown into a fortress which goes by the name of the Bastile.” “He was brought up in the country. Both the children grew up. but the weak nature of the king. as if he were collecting himself. made him apprehend a series of conflicts between two children whose rights were equal. yes.” said Fouquet. whose father is recognized by law. the one on the throne. but it is a grave matter. in fact.” “Does his mother not know this?” “Anne of Austria knows it all. clasping his hands. in gloom and isolation. he is the son of his father. instead of being delivered of a son.” “A merely secondary question.” “Good heavens! What are you saying.?” “As if it were yesterday.

“I understand you. alarmed at the risk of its betrayal. I believe.” “M. It was Heaven’s will that the usurper should possess. he looked at Fouquet with the most anxious expression of countenance. you have not allowed me to finish. full of generous feelings. ought to have been kings. and can guess everything now. loss of life even. or vindicator.This remark seemed to make a great impression on Aramis.” “In that case. gracious heavens. in the person of his first minister. that it is an act of usurpation quietly to enjoy. or a supporter. you have relied upon me to repair the wrong which has been done to this unhappy brother of Louis XIV. “that this poor prince was the unhappiest of human beings. you implored him. loss of liberty. then. and menaced with the ruin of his fortune. usurpation is the word.” resumed Aramis.” “Well.” said Fouquet. that each of them possessed equal rights. twins are one person in two bodies. I was observing. after having had the strength to carry it locked up in his own heart for twenty years. then you threatened him with that secret. perfectly unmoved. being legitimate princes. an inheritance to which a man has only half a right?” “Yes. you have the king in your power.” “Unreservedly?” “Most unreservedly. Is not that your opinion?” “It is. I understand.” “You will see. well. “Go no farther.” said Fouquet. granted to the terror of your indiscretion what he refused to your generous intercession. he refused to listen to you. Fouquet should in his turn have a devoted friend who knew this state secret. You went to see the king when the intelligence of my arrest reached you.” 114 .” “Heaven wished to raise up for that oppressed child an avenger. of large and generous nature. if you prefer it.—Patience. to which the king gave too readily an attentive ear. “I was saying.” “I am pleased that a legist of your learning and authority should have pronounced such an opinion. It happened that the reigning king. a man of great talent. I will help you.” said Aramis. Why?” “Because both of them. undertook to come to his assistance. It is agreed. and selfishly to assume the right over. the usurper—you are quite of my opinion. by intrigue and personal hatred. out of consideration for the unhappy prince who had been sacrificed) that M.. “I beg your pardon. is it not?” “Incontestably! but. Fouquet. You have thought well.” “Oh! I shall find ‘patience’ enough. I continue. I thank you. was suddenly taken into the greatest aversion. But Heaven permits (still. whose thoughts are over all His creatures. I understand. D’Herblay. when Heaven. no. it is not that at all.” “Oh. and Louis XIV. the minister of the reigning sovereign. certainly. The reigning king—I say the reigning king—you can guess very well why?” “No. threatened to reveal it. however. “I will not say another word. what an extraordinary circumstance!” “We are not at the end of it yet. I interrupted you. I thank you.” said Fouquet. then. “I understand you.” “Oh! in what way? Tell me. I understand. and felt that he possessed strength and courage enough to divulge this secret.

“an inequality which concerns yourself.” “Is it possible?” exclaimed Fouquet. What! do you suppose that if I had made such a revelation to the king.” Aramis walked softly all round the room. Then. this unhappy victim were to pass to the throne. perhaps.” “What do you mean?” “You know upon what I laid the greatest stress at the beginning of our conversation?” “Yes. show a little consistency in your reasoning. than have betrayed my secret to the king. I admit. his majesty’s hate.” “That may be. then?” “I would sooner. to a feeling more than ever to be dreaded in that young man? To have robbed him. Yes. for the prisoner of the Bastile is.” replied the latter. and then returned and placed himself close to the armchair in which Fouquet was seated. so miraculously. forgotten by one who never seemed to forget anything. “And then. He shuddered. “should I be the man I really am. “The same noble character in their features. whom the king already hates so bitterly.” Fouquet buried his face in his hands. after having mastered his feelings. monseigneur. why. is not much. he would pluck out your heart with his own hands. as if he were overwhelmed by the weight of this immense secret. I think I shall not fail to excite in you a little interest.” “What have you done. addressing himself to Fouquet.” he said. do you say? that is the very point where your logic fails you. invincible hate for me. I should have been alive now?” “It is not ten minutes ago that you were with the king.” replied Aramis. who listened to him with the most absorbed attention—”I forgot to mention a most remarkable circumstance respecting these twins. and if.” resumed Aramis. Come. have had a master more powerful in genius and nobility of character. which was so thoroughly his old musketeer’s expression. awaiting with the deepest anxiety the revelation he had to make.” “You have not allowed him to penetrate your secret. most incontestably. continuing his work of temptation. namely. You are listening. in order to try and avoid death. that God had formed them so startlingly. too. “and again you interrupt me. but what feeling of hate could resist the threat of such a revelation?” “Such a revelation. is nothing.“You understand nothing—as yet. mordieu!” And by the mere use of this word. impenetrable bishop of Vannes had wrought himself. but to hold in your keeping both his crown and his honor. “There is a further inequality. then?” “Ah! now we are coming to the point. satisfied himself that they were alone. come. to have addressed the woman he loves. France would not. from his prison. Fouquet could not but understand to what a pitch of exaltation the calm. 115 . monseigneur. I hope. if I were to expose you. and seem to forget what you ought most to remember. yes. allow me to observe that you pay no attention to logical reasoning. the same carriage. superior in every way to his brother. Aramis approached him. should I be the true friend you believe me. like each other. monseigneur. have swallowed at one draught all the poisons that Mithridates drank in twenty years. but he would have had the time to get me gagged and thrown in a dungeon. the same stature. the same voice. and that all was silent.” “How can you ask me if I am listening? Go on. that it would be utterly impossible to distinguish the one from the other. far sooner. He might not have had the time to get me killed outright. from the earliest period of its history.” “But their thoughts? degree of intelligence? their knowledge of human life?” “There is inequality there. Their own mother would not be able to distinguish them. “I forgot to tell you.

” continued Fouquet.” “In a word.” “What do you mean?” “I mean. for the son of Louis XIII. in other words. in all they do. to sacrifice the life. “What king?” said Aramis.” “One of those attempts which. tell me if you have had the idea—” “There is no question of that. and embraces every result at a glance—”have you thought that we must assemble the nobility.” he said. the last comer does not know M. Who spoke of Louis XIV. as you said at the beginning of this conversation. hurries him away. the honor of a woman. Anne of Austria. is it possible?” “My friend. you propose that I should agree to the substitution of the son of Louis XIII. scandal.” “But the king. Oh! Monsieur d’Herblay.” 116 . “and you who know the mystery. “a man like you refuse to view the practical bearing of the case! Do you confine yourself to the childish delight of a political illusion. yes. The bolt had hit its mark—not his heart. alters the fate of empires?” “And of superintendents. but his mind and comprehension. in Heaven’s name. if we were to succeed in doing it—” “I do not understand you. succeed like Heaven itself.” continued Aramis. the clergy. Colbert.” stammered Fouquet. too.’s death? who spoke of adopting the example which Heaven sets in following out the strict execution of its decrees? No. seized with horror at the intelligence. without exciting comment or remark. and the third estate of the realm.” said Aramis. and suppose that it were all done.” returned Aramis. monseigneur. I defy you to prove it. “There is not a single syllable of sense in all you have just said. and even effort in the substitution of the prisoner for the king. the life and peace of mind and heart of another woman. both sons of Louis XIII. and seats the triumphant rival on the empty throne. “the one who hates you. becoming animated with that strength of talent which in a few seconds originates. tranquilly.between the twins. surprised. you are going beyond the object in view. and that men. that we shall have to depose the reigning sovereign. namely. “what does Heaven do in order to substitute one king for another?” “Heaven!” exclaimed Fouquet—”Heaven gives directions to its agent. “what do you say?” “Go to the king’s apartment. Maria Theresa.” continued Aramis. coldly. “Exactly. I wish you to understand that Heaven effects its purposes without confusion or disturbance.” he said to Aramis.” “What!” said the superintendent. who seizes upon the doomed victim... with the same intonation on the word friend that he had applied to it the first time—”I mean that if there has been any confusion. without difficulty or exertion.” Fouquet raised his head immediately—his features were pale and distorted. But you forget that this agent is called death. emphasizing the word with a kind of disdainful familiarity. inspired by Heaven.” “What!” cried Fouquet. monseigneur. or the one who likes you?” “The king—of—yesterday. I defy even you to perceive that the prisoner of the Bastile is lying in his brother’s bed. my friend. in all they attempt. in his gentlest tone. “Have you thought. in all their undertakings. “I understand you. and neglect the chances of its being carried into execution. and with that largeness of view which foresees all consequences. who is at this moment asleep in the Chamber of Morpheus?” Aramis smiled with the sinister expression of the sinister thought which was passing through his brain.. who is now a prisoner in the Bastile. the reality itself. and matures the conception of a plan. “you are proposing a conspiracy to me?” “Something like it. whiter than the handkerchief with which he wiped his temples. to disturb by so frightful a scandal the tomb of their dead father.

” “You are not in your senses. I carried him away last night. he murmured: “You did that?” “Cleverly enough. and clasping his head between his clenched hands. your life. take care!” Fouquet turned round towards the prelate. “Have I a man out of his senses to deal with?” he said. that the whole world shall hear me. in an irresolute tone of voice. between twelve and one o’clock. “in committing so foul an act of treason.” “Monsieur Fouquet. It would almost seem that it had been built in anticipation of such an act. at Vaux. that has been done. what do you think of it?” “You dethroned the king? imprisoned him. “This abominable crime!” pursued Fouquet. While he was descending into midnight. so heinous a crime upon my guest. in the Chamber of Morpheus. Colbert cannot rob you of it now. woe is me!” “Woe to the man.” “It was under my roof.” “And at what time did it occur?” “Last night. “I believe so! for it is still your house. my sovereign. Oh! woe. “this crime more execrable than an assassination! this crime which dishonors my name forever.” “Great God! And who took him there?” “I. and it is likely to continue so.“The king of yesterday! be quite easy on that score.” Aramis rose. that you committed this crime?” “This crime?” said Aramis. “You have dishonored me.” he said. stupefied. monsieur. the other was ascending into day. A flash of lightning without thunder awakens nobody. he has gone to take the place in the Bastile which his victim occupied for so many years. and entails upon me the horror of posterity. upon one who was peacefully reposing beneath my roof. “At Vaux. too. monsieur. as if he had been struck by some invisible blow.” 117 . since M. rather. and in the simplest way.” Fouquet made a movement as if he were on the point of springing upon Aramis.” Fouquet uttered a thick. “you are speaking too loudly. smothered cry. take care!” “I will call out so loudly. whom he looked at full in the face. then. under my roof!” he said.” “You?” “Yes. I do not think there has been any disturbance whatever. too?” “Yes. his mouth trembling convulsively. he restrained himself. who beneath your roof meditated the ruin of your fortune.” “And such an action was committed here. Do you forget that?” “He was my guest. “You have an honorable man to deal with. at Vaux?” “Yes. becoming more and more excited.” replied Aramis. his eyes literally bloodshot. in a half-strangled voice. here.

in a thick. believe me.” “You will be so.” murmured Aramis. “Belle-Isle is as much mine for you. nothing shall stop me. without touching Fouquet’s 118 . and clenched it resolutely in his hand. in a hoarse. full of nobleness and pride in his magnanimity. first of all. He had dug his nails into his flesh.” he said. And then.” continued Fouquet. Aramis raised his head gently.” “I accept the augury. He threw open his arms as if to embrace him. “I had no arms.” And Fouquet snatched up his sword. more vain. You will leave Vaux—you must leave France. This movement did not escape Fouquet. oh! far sooner. but nothing shall prevent me. go! as long as I live. monseigneur. you to save your life. not a hair of your head shall be injured. Monsieur d’Herblay. “you may have been acting on my behalf. it was stained with his blood. as wild and terrible in his wrath as the shade of Dido. which I give you as a place of refuge. “you will not be more fatally lost than he whose ruin you have consummated.” “Four hours?” said Aramis. the king is still alive. I give you four hours to place yourself out of the king’s reach. as Vaux is mine for the king. But.” said Aramis. who would kill you even. die. and approached Aramis so close as to touch his shoulder with his disarmed hand. and fleeting than the life of the man himself. I entreat you to take my life. and give me your hand. You will therefore have four hours’ advance of those whom the king may wish to dispatch after you. and if you have any pity left for me. threw his sword to a distance from him. I to save my honor. rather than allow you to complete his dishonor. with an air of inexpressible majesty. as if in punishment for having nursed so many projects. which D’Artagnan had placed at the head of his bed. before we both hasten away. I do not wish your ruin. I say. who. Aramis frowned. “It is more than you will need to get on board a vessel and flee to Belle-Isle. “I am hospitable towards all who are dwellers beneath my roof.” he said. Fouquet was horror-stricken.” replied Fouquet. smothered voice. and then his heart smote him with pity. but I will not. and thrust his hand into his breast as if in search of a weapon. “Reflect. D’Herblay. insensate.” “Yes.” said Aramis.” “Four hours!” repeated Aramis. with a cold irony of manner. “You do not reply?” said Fouquet. scornfully and incredulously. “upon everything we have to expect. As the matter now stands. and his imprisonment saves your life. accept your services. “Monsieur.” Aramis remained silent and motionless. and a glimmer of hope might be seen once more to animate his eyes.” “A man who would sooner.” “Thank you. “Upon the word of Fouquet.” “A man who will prevent you consummating your crime.” “Ah!” murmured Aramis.” Aramis withdrew from his breast the hand he had concealed there.” Aramis stifled the exclamation which almost escaped his broken heart.” “You are mad. “you will be so. “I would sooner die here on the spot than survive this terrible disgrace. no one shall follow you before the expiration of that time. then. “Go at once. Go.“You are mad. prophetic voice. do not. You will leave this house.

“We leave immediately. as his mind forgot its thoughts. And both of them darted out of the room by the secret staircase which led down to the inner courtyard. too.. too. Whilst he was thus engaged. Porthos. rose from his bed. “Yes. thou inflamest everything with thy breath. which his blood-stained hand seemed to invoke. “Shall I go alone?” said Aramis to himself. Aramis started. “You are very fortunate. “Hush!” said Porthos. as it sprinkled on Fouquet’s face a few drops of blood which flowed from his breast. I would far sooner have been fast asleep.” And Aramis. “We are going off on a mission of great importance. “Dress yourself. this very minute. who will have to suffer for what he has done.” added the bishop.hand. Fouquet ordered his best horses. “We shall go mounted. than wild mountain wind! Chance. It must be so. and placed his nervous grasp on the giant’s shoulder. to talk and relate the whole affair to every one! Porthos. ascended the staircase without being perceived. crumblest mountains at thy approach. so recently returned from Paris.” And he helped the giant to dress himself. “Oh. opened his eyes. and thrust his gold and diamonds into his pocket. Aramis entered. even before his intelligence seemed to be aroused. and leave Porthos behind me. He reflected profoundly and for some time. implacable in its nature! And without any resource save myself—it is impossible! What could he do without me? Oh! without me he will be utterly destroyed.. apprehensive of meeting any one to whom his hurried movements might appear suspicious. let him remain so then! Good or evil Spirit—gloomy and scornful Power. whom men call the genius of humanity. more baselessly useless. and then—do what? Take him with me? To carry this accusing witness about with me everywhere? War. his huge body forgot its fatigue. perhaps.” said Aramis. His last word was an imprecation. “Come. Fouquet?” said Aramis to D’Artagnan. and shall follow my destiny. was already in a profound sleep. I will not let poor Porthos suffer.” said the musketeer. “Ah!” returned Porthos. dear me!” said Porthos.. while Fouquet’s carriage left the courtyard at full gallop. Yet who knows—let destiny be fulfilled—condemned he was. “What the devil are you doing there in such an agitated manner?” said the musketeer. and on looking up. and his grief or misfortune would be mine as well. he saw D’Artagnan watching them through the half-opened door. “I feel so wearied. thou term’st thyself. his last gesture a curse. “come. “or warn the prince? Oh! fury! Warn the prince. and hurls thee in the dust dishonored and unnamed! Lost!—I am lost! What can be done? Flee to Belle-Isle? Yes. while Aramis paused at the foot of the staircase which led to Porthos’s apartment. but thou art nothing.” “Have you seen M. But the service of the king. Porthos. Porthos shall leave with me.” he cried.” “What did he say to you?” “’Adieu. light as a shadow. but whose avenging hand is on thee.” “Ah!” repeated Porthos. he turned his head aside.” “Was that all?” 119 . and faster than we have ever gone in our lives.” Porthos obeyed. my friend. a slight noise attracted his attention.’ nothing more. He seems like one of the members of my own frame. thou art a power more restlessly uncertain. and suddenly art thyself destroyed at the presence of the Cross of dead wood behind which stand another Power invisible like thyself—whom thou deniest. would follow—civil war. in a carriage. and stepped back a pace or two.

and in that case assistance will be sent for me as well 120 . Porthos. who held Porthos’s stirrup for him.” “Most certainly. and consequently they will not have been unsealed. but in these days politics seem so changed that such an exit is termed going on a mission. These orders were addressed to M. Showing How the Countersign Was Respected at the Bastile. he might possibly find an order of arrest.” said Fouquet to himself. that is more than enough for me.” “But the horses?” “Oh! there is no want of them here. You will have no occasion to be jealous of any one. I have no objection.” “Ah! bah!” “I predict that something will happen to you to-day which will increase your importance more than ever. “What must have been. I shall have performed the duty that I owe my honor. while fresh horses were being harnessed to his carriage. So adieu! adieu!” The fugitives mounted their horses beneath the very eyes of the captain of the musketeers. On his way he trembled with horror at the idea of what had just been revealed to him. who. I shall take them back again. If I am delayed.”—and he philosophically entered his apartments.” “Let us embrace D’Artagnan first. Fouquet tore along as fast as his horses could drag him. he gave certain sealed orders on his route. are still able to conceive such gigantic plans. since you have got into such high favor?” “Listen. which would send him to join the dethroned king. if I should return free. are you ready? Let us go.“What else do you think he could say? Am I worth anything now.” “Really?” “You know that I know all the news?” “Oh. Porthos has his own stud. “In this way. “I should say that those gentlemen were making their escape.” “I am quite ready.” said Aramis. and whether the fable itself was not the snare. even as age is stealing fast upon them. embracing the musketeer. and gazed after them until they were out of sight. and carry them through without a tremor?” At one moment he could not resist the idea that all Aramis had just been recounting to him was nothing more than a dream. “the youth of those extraordinary men. The orders will not reach them until after my return. Aramis. “On any other occasion.” he thought. Strongly impressed with this idea. “prisoner or not. it will be because some misfortune will have befallen me. Chapter XXII. Will you have mine?” “No. let me attend to my own affairs. so that when Fouquet arrived at the Bastile. “your good times are returning again. d’Artagnan and to certain others whose fidelity to the king was far above suspicion.” thought the Gascon. yes!” “Come.

darting out of the carriage. and before the subaltern had time to shut the gate. wrested the pike from the soldier and struck him a violent blow on the shoulder with it. Stop. “the major laughed in my face. Among them there was one. As for the governor they did not even dare disturb him. in fact.as for the king.” “I entreat you. from that moment. sentinel!” The man crossed his pike before the minister. look out. but the latter had already heard the disturbance at the gate. “I congratulate you. By dint of entreaties. he succeeded in inducing a sentinel to speak to one of the subalterns. monseigneur. for if. d’Herblay this morning?” “Yes. robust and active. stop. he desired them to inform the governor of his presence. and ran forward in spite of the soldier. Baisemeaux. It was useless giving his name. beckoning the sentinel and the subaltern.” cried the minister. at the sound of which the whole of the first body of the advanced guard poured out of the guardhouse.” said the superintendent. He ran forward. Both of them uttered loud and furious cries. The subaltern. by his passion. equally useless his being recognized. but the latter. aloud. “how can I excuse—” “Monsieur.” and then he added. awaiting the return of the officers. Fouquet desired them to open the gate. “There are twenty pistoles for the sentinel. “Ah! monseigneur. and hurried away.” “To what prisoner?” said Baisemeaux. Fouquet was at Vaux. Conduct me immediately to the prisoner. thinking that this remark was made ironically. Fouquet gained ground. towards him. and accompanied by a picket of twenty men.” Prepared in this manner. and fifty for the officer. Fouquet sprang through it. M. Aramis’s early visit. And now. chafing with rage and impatience. I wish. monseigneur—” 121 . who cried out for assistance.” he stammered. however. “But what crime. who recognized the superintendent. but they refused to do so without the countersign. accompanied by a murmur of general satisfaction. he could not succeed in obtaining an entrance. was perfectly justified in apprehending. you fellows!” And he effectually checked the soldiers. and heated by his exertions. Baisemeaux was already trembling with shame and uneasiness. having at last come up with Fouquet. perhaps. It was quite another thing.” Baisemeaux turned pale. ah! monseigneur. I will not fail to speak to his majesty about you. and that even were he at Paris.” “And are you not horrified at the crime of which you have made yourself an accomplice?” “Well. gentlemen. who at last re-appeared with a sufficiently sulky air. therefore. called out to the sentinel of the second gate. “what did the major say?” “Well. who went and told the major. But Fouquet had recovered his breath. when Fouquet in a sharp tone of voice. he had traveled at the rate of five leagues and a half the hour. “Look out. followed by his major. monsieur. too. trembling. who approached too closely. seemed to possess consequences. Pray receive my compliments.” “Mordieu! you are an absolute set of fools. and who called. however. a word with you. said. “You pretend to be ignorant? Very good—it is the best plan for you. “good so far. and dropped the sword he bravely had been brandishing. monseigneur. however. who were rubbing their shoulders. “Monseigneur. He told me that M. the superintendent arrived at the Bastile. it would be all over with you. persuaded that an attack was being made on the Bastile.” And he followed the governor to his official residence. “Well. Fouquet sat in his carriage. commands. monsieur—do not forget that! But this is not a time to show anger. and. which a functionary such as he (Baisemeaux) was. regardless of the cries of the man. do you allude to?” “That for which you can be quartered alive. Fouquet would not get up at so early an hour as the present. Your watch and ward are admirably kept. he said. who. to seem to believe in your assumption of ignorance.” replied the soldier. Baisemeaux also recognized Fouquet immediately. and portended a furious burst of anger. received a share of the blows as well. impatiently. flushed with anger. threats. and with an imperious look. M. you were to admit your participation in such a crime. who were on the point of revenging their companions.” thought Baisemeaux. at the outer gate of the fortress. “You have seen M.” said Fouquet. Every circumstance of delay which Aramis had escaped in his visit to the Bastile befell Fouquet.

he is here. “Ah! so much the better.” “That will not be sufficient.” he said. as almost to make me believe that he would bring the Bastile itself down about our ears. so much the better. “As you are so scrupulous. monseigneur.” “He is called Marchiali?” said the superintendent. as if he would read his very heart.” “To Marchiali?” “Who is Marchiali?” “The prisoner who was brought back this morning by M. d’Herblay carried away the day before yesterday?” “Yes.” “But Marchiali is not at liberty. in observing his face for a few moments. show me the order by which this one was set at liberty.” said Fouquet.” said the superintendent to him. he could not believe that Aramis would have chosen such a confidant. that is the name under which he was inscribed here. his conviction somewhat shaken by Baisemeaux’s cool manner. then?” “Ever since this morning he has annoyed me extremely.” “Conduct me to his prison. He has had such terrible fits of passion. Lead me to the prisoner. I must have an order from the king. “whom M.” said Fouquet. and perceived.” Fouquet assumed an irritated expression.” “Wait until I sign you one. for I was going to write about him. If monseigneur has come here to remove him.” 122 . you say?” “Yes.” “I will soon relieve you of his possession.“That will do. “with regard to allowing prisoners to leave.” “And his name is Marchiali. d’Herblay. “Precisely. monseigneur. “It is the prisoner.” Baisemeaux showed him the order to release Seldon. quickly: for he understood immediately the mechanism of Aramis’s plan.” “What has he done.” “Will monseigneur give me the order?” “What order?” “An order from the king.” Fouquet looked steadily at Baisemeaux. with that clear-sightedness most men possess who are accustomed to the exercise of power.” “And whom he brought back this morning?” added Fouquet. “Yes. that the man was speaking with perfect sincerity. Besides. “Very good. “but Seldon is not Marchiali. Marchiali. monseigneur. monseigneur. monseigneur.

monseigneur.“But you said that M. monseigneur. d’Herblay is overthrown. le gouverneur. monseigneur. take care. who had turned very pale.” “Take care. I am trembling all over—in fact.” “Overthrown?—M.” “You. influence me. M.” “True. I give you my word that if you allow me to see the prisoner. M. what does. Give me an order from him. “do you know why I am so anxious to speak to the prisoner?” “No. de Baisemeaux. and allow me to observe that you are terrifying me out of my senses. d’Herblay has entered.” “I have nothing to fear.” “It was a slip of my tongue. I feel as though I were about to faint.” 123 . in a sonorous voice. True!” cried Fouquet.” “Before you commit such an act of violence. monseigneur. is the king’s service. however. monseigneur.” “M. monseigneur. monseigneur. I will have you and all your officers arrested on the spot. me. monseigneur. d’Herblay! Impossible!” “You see that he has undoubtedly influenced you. once more I warn you to pay particular attention to what you are saying.” “M. if you refuse me. Baisemeaux.” “Let me see him.” “That remains to be proved.” “No.” “Stay. I am doing my duty. that I almost seem to hear it now. you will reflect. then.” said Baisemeaux. M. too. monseigneur. I will give you an order from the king at once. who am perfectly innocent.” “And that. in fact.” “Give it to me now.” “M.” “Do you dare to say so?” “I would say so in the presence of one of the apostles. monseigneur. d’Herblay carried him away and brought him back again. furiously. “perfectly true. Seldon is free. M. who govern this kingdom.” “I tell you that Marchiali has left the Bastile.” “So surely did you say it. d’Herblay brought me an order to set Seldon at liberty. de Baisemeaux. know very well that no one can see any of the prisoners without an express order from the king.” “You must prove that.” “All the documents are there. and that it will be just as easy for you to obtain one to see Marchiali as to obtain one to do me so much injury. I am acting according to the very strictest regulation. and you shall enter.” he added.” “I did not say so. “that we will only obey an order signed by the king. drawing the unhappy governor towards him.

followed by Baisemeaux as he wiped the perspiration from his face. which the latter could not fail to perceive. “I will sit down here. suspected of the crimes of high treason and rebellion—” “Stop. Fouquet wrote: “Order for the Duc de Bouillon and M. but so many misfortunes. and unaccompanied. “this is the way these madmen scream. and I will leave the Bastile and will myself carry my own dispatches.” “Ah!” said Baisemeaux. “That is your Marchiali. took the keys. The higher they advanced up the spiral staircase. Fouquet. that the king. le Prince de Conde to assume the command of the Swiss guards. as far as Fouquet was concerned. must hear what is going to take place here. monseigneur. and wait for you. “Let the man remain here. I leave this place. take the keys yourself. in ten minutes’ time. citizen. Not a single person. and to march upon the Bastile on the king’s immediate service. the more clearly did certain muffled murmurs become distinct appeals and fearful imprecations. Baisemeaux made a sign to the jailer to precede them. whereupon Fouquet seized a pen and ink. He was afraid of his companion. monseigneur.” “Good heavens. Fouquet still wrote: “Order for every soldier. “I do not understand a single jot of the whole matter. de Baisemeaux. you shall see Marchiali. roughly.” Baisemeaux shrugged his shoulders. than polite124 . “Again!” cried M.” Baisemeaux bowed his head. except by the minister. will see whether I have been wrong in withdrawing the countersign before this flood of imminent catastrophes. “what a disgrace for me!” “Walk faster. ascended the staircase. “Ah! say ‘no’ at once.“You will stand a better chance of fainting outright. “What a terrible morning!” he said. even were it madness itself that had set them at their awful work. Come with me to the keep. by whom I must be judged. but he did not reply a single syllable. Eveque de Vannes. or gentleman to seize and apprehend. and wrote: “Order for M.” said the governor.” he said. wherever he may be found. you are losing your senses. do you understand. you still persist. “A truce to this child’s play.” replied Fouquet. of the king’s guards. and his accomplices. governor of the Bastile. “What is that?” asked Fouquet.” added Fouquet. M. le Prevot des Marchands to assemble the municipal guard and to march upon the Bastile on the king’s immediate service. when I return here at the head of ten thousand men and thirty pieces of cannon.” Fouquet darted out of the room. and hanged you to the topmost tree of yonder pinnacle!” “Monseigneur! monseigneur! for pity’s sake!” “I give you ten minutes to make up your mind. monseigneur!” cried Baisemeaux. if. Monsieur Baisemeaux. in this armchair. Then—you shall see!” Baisemeaux stamped his foot on the ground like a man in a state of despair. le Chevalier d’Herblay.” And he accompanied that reply with a glance more pregnant with injurious allusion. and you may think me as mad as you like. who are: first. and show me the way. undecided. might happen here in a couple of hours. and have battered open the gates of this place.” “When I have roused the whole population of Paris against you and your accursed towers.” Baisemeaux reflected. in a calm voice.

” A fearful cry. Louis XIV. “Have you come to assassinate me. Fouquet was so touched. gnashing his teeth in a manner which betrayed his hate and desire for speedy vengeance.” murmured the latter.” “Give me the keys at once!” cried Fouquet. “Leave this place. made the whole staircase resound with the echo. Fouquet! I am the king! Help the king against M. d’Herblay did not say a word about that. Louis held up the massive piece of wood of which he had made such a furious use. choking voice of the king. as he withdrew with tottering steps. The prisoner’s cries became more and more terrible. my child. “how you must have suffered!” 125 . I am sure it will. Fouquet approached him. his shirt. Help me against M. Fouquet at last succeeded in finding the key. “Sire. When Fouquet had satisfied himself that Baisemeaux had reached the bottom of the staircase.ness. kissed his knees. remember that you shall take the place of the meanest prisoner in the Bastile. as a mutual recognition took place.” “Go!” repeated Fouquet. when he recognized Fouquet.” he said. “do you not recognize the most faithful of your friends?” “A friend—you!” repeated Louis.” muttered Baisemeaux. throwing himself on his knees. The two men were on the point of darting towards each other when they suddenly and abruptly stopped. in a voice trembling with emotion. he could hardly articulate distinctly as he shouted. “The king in this state!” murmured the minister. “Which is the key of the door I am to open?” “That one. so affected and disturbed by it. in a threatening tone. I am sure. presented the most perfect picture of despair. snatching the bunch of keys from Baisemeaux. that he ran towards him with his arms stretched out and his eyes filled with tears. help! I am the king. It was then that he heard the hoarse. distress. “M. he inserted the key in the first lock. and took him in his arms with inconceivable tenderness. the king’s voice. “Death to Fouquet! death to the traitor Fouquet!” The door flew open. furious and almost mad with rage and passion. The latter trembled. his clothes were in tatters. and Fouquet was obliged to look for it on the bunch. “My king. to himself. ghastly pale. followed by a violent blow against the door. Haggard. Fouquet!” These cries filled the minister’s heart with terrible emotions.” said Fouquet. and the one will kill the other.” “This job will kill me. and each uttered a cry of horror. however. in a frenzy of rage. “It was M. Chapter XXIII. He paused on the staircase. monsieur?” said the king. was stained with sweat and with the blood which streamed from his lacerated breast and arms. crying out. his hair in disheveled masses. “The most respectful of your servants. The king. shouted at the top of his voice. Nothing could be more terrible indeed than the appearance of the young prince at the moment Fouquet had surprised him. “I ask nothing better. The King’s Gratitude. “Ah!” he cried. tearing them from his hand. anger and fear combined that could possibly be united in one figure. who thought this new madman was going to dash out his brains with one of them. he had just recognized in one cry more terrible than any that had preceded it. The king was almost exhausted.” said Fouquet to Baisemeaux. The king let the rude weapon fall from his grasp.” The key of the second door was not the same as the first. “Help.” added Fouquet. They were followed by a shower of blows leveled against the door with a part of the broken chair with which the king had armed himself. Fouquet who brought me here. “If you place your foot on this staircase before I call you. “There will be a couple of madmen face to face. open and torn to rags.

shall be done. those who had prepared everything in order to face and deceive your ministers. You know it as well as myself. and ashamed of the disordered state of his apparel. sire. “For that purpose. “The birth of your brother—” “I have only one brother—and that is Monsieur.” he said. yes. I have accomplished that duty.” And rapidly. warmly even. for this man has been deceived as every one else has by the prince’s likeness to yourself. then?” murmured the king. drew back.” “Free?” repeated the king.Louis. “Come.” he said.” “At Vaux! and you suffer them to remain there!” “My most instant duty appeared to me to be your majesty’s release. sire. “you cannot believe me to be guilty of such an act.” “You do not believe that!” exclaimed Fouquet.” “But where are these persons. and my first minister has not yet done justice on the criminals!” “Reflect. I await your orders.” Louis reflected for a few moments. must be quite confident of the resemblance between you. that the honor. While the recital continued. “Ridiculous!” “Do not say so. and when it was finished. then. the members of your family. ashamed of his conduct.” he said. to be able to deceive every one’s eye. and ashamed of the air of pity and protection that was shown towards him.” “Be careful. beginning with the governor of the Bastile. the virtue of my mother can be suspected.” “Sire!” “It is impossible. There is a plot. Fouquet did not understand this movement. sire. he did not perceive that the king’s feeling of pride would never forgive him for having been a witness of such an exhibition of weakness. sire. I tell you. “Oh! you set me at liberty. whatever your majesty may command. after having dared to lift up your hand against me. “At Vaux. that it was very easy to perceive 126 .” The only reply the king made was to take hold of Fouquet’s hand with such an expression of feeling. sire. recalled to himself by the change of situation. and now.” “Likeness? Absurd!” “This Marchiali must be singularly like your majesty. “Monsieur. the details of which are already known to the reader.” replied Fouquet. before you are hurried away by anger. “Muster all the troops in Paris. “this double birth is a falsehood. I tell you. “you are free. your officers of state. suddenly to Fouquet. looked at himself. “You have given orders!” exclaimed the king. Louis suffered the most horrible anguish of mind. your mother. “All the necessary orders are given for that purpose. indignantly. the magnitude of the danger he had run struck him far more than the importance of the secret relative to his twin brother.” Fouquet persisted. it is impossible—you cannot have been the dupe of it. your majesty will be at the head of ten thousand men in less than an hour. he related the whole particulars of the intrigue.” replied Fouquet.

M.” “Whom have you seen. it was not that I meant.” “If I am guilty. maintained his suspicions of the minister. notwithstanding the latter’s intervention. “that we shall soon arrive at Vaux with a large body of troops. “Such friendships.how strongly he had. de la Fere is the most honorable man in France.” “You should have foreseen it. for you will deliver up those who are guilty to me.” said the king. “we must not forget the connection that existed between the conspirators and M. “An unfortunate circumstance for you. sorry to have shown the bitterness of his thought in such a manner.” “Your majesty will put these men to death!” cried Fouquet.” replied Fouquet. the latter is merely an instrument. “I understand. I had something like a vague suspicion that he was the very man. 127 .” “With those whom you deliver up to me. sire. Eveque de Vannes.” “Ah! Monsieur Fouquet. until that remark. destined through his whole life to wretchedness.” “Sire. not that unhappy young man. I place myself in your majesty’s hands.” replied Fouquet.” “The friend of D’Artagnan? the friend of the Comte de la Fere? Ah!” exclaimed the king. nobly. I plainly perceive. in a less generous tone of voice. and that not a soul shall escape. “we shall go at once and besiege in your house the rebels who by this time will have established and intrenched themselves therein. formerly one of the musketeers.” “Most certainly. you say? Very good. what is he?” “It must be his friend the Baron du Vallon.” “You have unmasked this false prince also?” “No. I have not seen him.” “Your friend?” “He was my friend.” “It is M.” returned the king. “Well! I assure you that. had nothing dishonorable in them so long as I was ignorant of the crime. the whole plan seems to me to have miscarried. then?” “The leader of the enterprise.” “I should be surprised if that were the case. sire. But with this chief of the enterprise there was a man of prodigious strength.” he said. that we will lay violent hands upon that nest of vipers. as he paused at the name of the latter. notwithstanding the mask with which the villain covered his face. the one who menaced me with a force almost herculean. l’Abbe d’Herblay. de Bragelonne.” “What does your majesty understand by that?” inquired Fouquet. sire. do not go too far. “Why?” “Because their chief—the very soul of the enterprise—having been unmasked by me. Be satisfied with those whom I deliver up to you. “And with these troops.” replied the king.

” “I will not permit myself to remind your majesty that I have just restored you to liberty. of your brother Philippe of France. Heaven be praised! I have parliaments who sit and judge in my name. d’Herblay’s complete and entire justification. The august name of Anne of Austria must never be allowed to pass the lips of the people accompanied by a smile. “your majesty will take the life. Whatever she may command will be perfectly correct.“To the very meanest of them. “Your friends. The usurper. Freed from the real king. d’Herblay. do I see M. as he raised his head proudly.” said the surintendant. monsieur. that concerns you alone. It is the crime I wish to punish rather than the violence. however. Monsieur Fouquet. “and the disfigured features of Louis XIV. stamping his foot on the ground. and you will doubtless consult the queen-mother upon the subject. he had no occasion to inform me of his plan in order to succeed. with firmness. if you please. sire. “If M. And if the usurper had been recognized by Anne of Austria. which no one could have recognized. then.” continued Fouquet. in no little degree agitated by his minister’s last words.” “Oh! sire. but royal blood must not be shed upon a scaffold. was still 128 . and I have scaffolds on which supreme authority is carried out.” said the king. I have said it. “I will take the liberty of observing to your majesty. sire?” “With death.” The king turned pale and giddy at the bare idea of the danger he had escaped. and have saved your life. and in that invention. as far as Monsieur d’Herblay’s conscience was concerned.” said the king. d’Herblay’s crime.” pursued Fouquet. yes. sire.. “had been an assassin. or the insult. he would still have been—her son.” “Oh! I understand. deeply wounded.” “Justice must be done.” “Let us understand one another. “This double birth is an invention. No.” “My assassins?” “Two rebels. d’Herblay wished to carry out his character of an assassin. you ask me to forgive your friends. and all would have been over. and I beg to submit it to you.” “Good.” The king started.” “The royal blood! you believe that!” cried the king with fury in his voice. he could very easily have assassinated your majesty this morning in the forest of Senart. would be M. that any proceedings instituted respecting these matters would bring down the greatest scandal upon the dignity of the throne. but I have a favor to ask of you.” “Sire. “A pistol-bullet through the head. it would have been impossible in all futurity to guess the false. but the safety of the state requires that an exemplary punishment should be inflicted on the guilty. haughtily. “What do you require?” “The pardon of M. “We no longer live in times when assassination was the only and the last resource kings held in reservation at extremity.” Fouquet turned pale.” “And punish it with death.” “Monsieur!” “I will not allow myself to remind your majesty that had M. monsieur. certainly. that is all. d’Herblay and of M.” “My friends!” said Fouquet.” “Speak. not even for the honor of your crown. du Vallon. particularly. I do not wish to mix myself up in it.

change nothing in the position of affairs. impunity.” said the king. he said. sire.” replied the minister. “What I do is as generous. What good is there in asking that which can be obtained without solicitation?” “I do not understand you. the very one of your servants who has rendered you the most important service of all. and M.” he replied. my dear Monsieur Fouquet.” replied Fouquet.” added the king. secrecy. and if I had wished to make a new king. whilst.” Fouquet was silent. sire. d’Herblay silly enough.” “And you are forgiven. Nothing could bend or soften him. to free you from this place. that the gates of the Bastile were still closed upon him. groundlessly. and which he thought most efficacious in procuring his friend’s pardon. for I am in your power. either. “Yes. And so. Addressing himself to Fouquet. inasmuch as you place before me certain conditions upon which my liberty. which restored the serene expression of his features. I regret it. Every word that fell from Fouquet’s lips. am I not?” “Yes.” “I was wrong. sire. monsieur. For the sake of Heaven. by degrees.” “It is not difficult. Heaven knows. d’Herblay and M. dryly. “Do me the kindness not to speak of it again. would have had security. of Aramis’s generosity. “I have my own forgiveness.” The king. “I am not child enough. as long as I live.” “Your majesty shall be obeyed. sire. nor is M. the floodgates were gradually being opened. felt himself most painfully and cruelly humiliated. judging by my conscience. “I did not say that to humiliate you. and M. I had no occasion to have come here to force open the gates and doors of the Bastile. instead of being touched by the picture.” “And no one is known here but Marchiali?” “Certainly. d’Herblay. as you say. “I really don’t know.—I had the appearance of extorting a favor. certainly. behind which the generous-hearted Fouquet had restrained his anger. Their new king will absolve them.” “And you will bear me no ill-will for it?” 129 . seemed to pour another drop of poison into the already ulcerated heart of Louis XIV. monsieur.” replied Fouquet.” “Yes. du Vallon?” “They will never obtain theirs.” “Well. sire. with some degree of persistence. which so many circumstances had altered since the preceding evening. and I answer according to my conscience. Let the poor madman rot between the slimy walls of the Bastile.” replied the inflexible king. and entreat your majesty’s forgiveness. I am looked upon as a madman. the conspirator. and to reject which is to make a sacrifice of both. Moreover. in that course. A pistolbullet would have procured him all that.a king of the blood of Louis XIII. the criminals we speak of are not worthy of consideration or forgiveness. His unconquerable pride revolted at the idea that a man had held suspended at the end of his finger the thread of his royal life. so faithfully drawn in all details. why you should solicit the pardon of these men. “as what you have done. with a smile.” “Your majesty does me a great injustice. “but M. Your majesty’s mind is disturbed by anger. I will even say it is more generous. may depend. du Vallon will stand in no need of my forgiveness. Where am I now?” “In the Bastile. otherwise you would be far from offending. and you are wrong. to have omitted to make all these reflections.” Louis perceived that he had gone too far. “Only you are addressing yourself to me in order to obtain a pardon. in a dungeon. That would show a want of even common sense. my life. grant me his forgiveness.

The False King.” “Well! and what have you done?” “Sire. “Come. that Fouquet wrote and gave him an authority for the prisoner’s release. on the other hand. acknowledged by giving himself a terrible blow on the forehead with his own fist. notwithstanding the ‘four hours’ start’ which you have given to M. tore out the major portion of his few remaining hairs. incapable of putting two ideas together. Chapter XXIV. with the four hours’ start. before your musketeers. “M.” “What do you mean to say?” cried the king. M. expose him to your majesty’s justifiable wrath.” “That may be! But you forget that you have made me a present of Belle-Isle. coldly. a lightning flash seemed to dart from his eyes. sire. but he as not one to shrink when the voice of honor spoke loudly within him. d’Herblay the best horses in my stables and four hours’ start over all those your majesty might. “Are we going to return to Vaux?” “I am at your majesty’s orders.” And they left the prison.“Oh! no. then?” “As far as that goes—yes. Fouquet felt that he was lost. where I have given him a safe asylum. I knew I was giving him his life. and all my measures were taken in consequence. sire. I gave M. probably. for I anticipated the event. “But still. “Seen and approved. 130 . Louis”. the latter swallowed his rage. “Belle-Isle is impregnable. and the affair will be at an end. to deliver himself into my hands. d’Herblay came. d’Herblay to death. I could not condemn M. with a low bow.” “My musketeers shall capture it. passing before Baisemeaux.” “Be it so!” murmured the king. He bore the king’s wrathful gaze. and that the king wrote beneath it.” “We shall pass by the Louvre.” replied Fouquet. he will reach my chateau of Belle-Isle.” “In what way?” “After having galloped as hard as possible. and after a few moments’ silence. d’Herblay left to me the happiness of saving my king and my country. a piece of madness that Baisemeaux.” “You take it back again. nor your whole army could take Belle-Isle.” “You had ‘anticipated’ that I should refuse to forgive those gentlemen?” “Certainly. who looked completely bewildered as he saw Marchiali once more leave. the world is wide enough and large enough for those whom I may send to overtake your horses. “but I think that your majesty can hardly dispense with changing your clothes previous to appearing before your court. d’Herblay.” The king became perfectly livid.” “In giving him these four hours.” said Fouquet. surprised. and he will save his life.” “Neither your musketeers. in his helplessness. dispatch after him. it would have been just the same as if I had killed him myself.” “But not for you to arrest my friends. however. said. nor could I. It was perfectly true. sire. as may be said. and.” said the king.

M.” added Monsieur. but which is imposed upon me as a duty. “it will be to be the brother of that woman than her gallant. “are you convinced with regard to M. Fouquet is ruining the state.” “A superintendent who is never sordid or niggardly. Fouquet had given to the house of France. and then Madame with M. Fouquet?” “Saint-Aignan. “Well. but he saw in the eyes of that princess an expression of coldness which would facilitate. all the habits of his brother.” “That is true. already prepared to appear before the king.” “Why do you mention Madame de Chevreuse to me?” said she. to try his valor and his fortune far from all protection and instruction. in truth. He determined to give this order notwithstanding the absence of M. and nobody for the state. Then commenced. I do not like to hear M. “How much more easy.” The only visit he dreaded at this moment was that of the queen. “do you likewise constitute yourself the buckler of M. Colbert?” “How is that?” replied the old queen. first of all Anne of Austria. “have the goodness to go and inquire after the queen.” said Henrietta. on the part of Anne of Austria. “and who pays in gold all the orders I have on him. ravaged by pain. the evening before. But the prince. my son. his sister-in-law. have always liked M. Philippe gave orders that for his petit lever the grandes entrees. therefore I only question you on the state of your sentiments with respect to him. mother?” “Monsieur. and several persons entered silently. “M. He found his mother still handsome. and played the king in such a manner as to awaken no suspicion. if she evinces towards me a coldness that my brother could not have for her. d’Herblay. “Why. de Saint-Aignan. his heart—his mind—had just been shaken by so violent a trial.” said Philippe. who was all reverences and smiles. Philippe was not willing. but trembled on recognizing his mother. should be introduced. A separate tree. had cast no shades athwart his life. and Anne of Austria looked earnestly at her son. their future relations. with little maternal flatteries and diplomatic artifices. in rather a lower key. and not to prove a scourge to her old age. He had watched. Another reason urged him to this—Anne of Austria was about to appear. in spite of their firm temperament. Philippe opened his folding doors. He smiled at seeing these countenances. pleaded in his heart the cause of the famous queen who had immolated a child to reasons of state. the guilty mother was about to stand in the presence of her sacrificed son. and questions as to his health. “I.” replied Philippe. He is a man of good taste. if he had a weakness. Philippe promised himself to be a kind brother to this prince.—a superior man. the first Philippe had pronounced aloud. That still so noble and imposing figure.” 131 . on my part. who did not return—our readers know the reason. to render the man a witness of it before whom he was bound thenceforth to display so much strength. it is a fact.In the meantime. mother!” replied Philippe. not believing that absence could be prolonged. they would not. he allowed the stem to rise without heeding its elevation or majestic life. perhaps.” “Sire. you know I do not—and you have even spoken well of him yourself. loved her. Philippe did not stir whilst his valets de chambre dressed him. a political dissertation upon the welcome M. you speak to me now in such a manner that I can almost fancy I am listening to your father. rather surprised. The latter had usurped nothing. She mixed up hostilities with compliments addressed to the king. Fouquet. His own memory and the notes of Aramis announced everybody to him.” “Well.” “Every one in this thinks too much of himself. wished. that. “you speak that just as your old friend Madame de Chevreuse would speak.” At these words. whose beauty struck him. and Philippe continued: “Madame. He knew that Louis XIV. He contemplated his brother with a tenderness easily to be understood. Happily the queen did not come.” thought he. and he promised himself to love her likewise. as all rash spirits do. Fouquet.” said she. and trembling held out his hand to Henrietta. Fouquet ill-spoken of. to whom Monsieur gave his hand. He was thus completely dressed in hunting costume when he received his visitors. the slight difference that there was between his voice and that of the king was sensible to maternal ears. as he thought. Saint-Aignan left the room.” said the old queen. “and what sort of humor are you in to-day towards me?” Philippe continued: “Is not Madame de Chevreuse always in league against somebody? Has not Madame de Chevreuse been to pay you a visit. support another shock. He bowed with a friendly air to Saint-Aignan. who required nothing but gold to minister to his pleasures. usurped royalty was playing out its part bravely at Vaux.

“I have good reason to dislike this fury. whose absence began to alarm him. then. “I will drive Madame de Chevreuse out of my kingdom—and with her all who meddle with its secrets and mysteries. he hoped to see Aramis. thanks to that marvelous perspicuity of which fortune was from that time about to allow him the exercise. whom I wish to present to you all.” said he. seeing the king’s eyes constantly turned towards the door. “My sister. there was a pardon for eight years of suffering. madame?” “You know all. Philippe allowed the silence of a moment to swallow the emotions that had just developed themselves. “Now.” continued Philippe. He took her hand and kissed it tenderly. and had good reason for not liking her. “I wish you to make your peace with M. Fouquet to sell him a certain secret. in search of surer sources of supply. appearing. “Where is monsieur the bishop of Vannes. I tell you Madame de Chevreuse has returned to France to borrow money. “For my part. Anne of Austria was nearly fainting. Fouquet rejected her offers with indignation. proudly. or perhaps he wished to judge the effect of it. turning towards the door.” murmured she.” “We will put that to rights.“My father did not like Madame de Chevreuse. I only dreaded his prodigalities. then. Then Madame de Chevreuse sold the secret to M. herself provoking the storm.” said the prince. “you are treating your mother very cruelly. that her son had pity on her. which is false. “Well!” replied the young man firmly. she did not feel that in that kiss. open but meaningless. I will not permit Madame de Chevreuse to counteract the just designs of fate.” “A certain secret!” cried Anne of Austria. like those who. “Remain where you are. who comes to my court to plan the shame of some and the ruin of others. sire. Then. who had divined her thought. The queen-mother wished to leave the room. and has concealed them in the shadow of its clemency.” “In what respect. “I am only speaking of Madame de Chevreuse. Fouquet no ill-will. and that she addressed herself to M. If Heaven has suffered certain crimes to be committed.” And.” said he.” added Philippe. Is that true. madame?” replied he. supposing he was so anxiously expecting either La Valliere or a letter from her. “Concerning pretended robberies that monsieur le surintendant had committed. Ah! come in. preferring the esteem of the king to complicity with such intriguers.” said the young man. with a cheerful smile: “We will not go to-day. Colbert.” “What does your majesty wish?” said D’Artagnan. and seeking to break the monotony of that suffering. she stretched out her arms towards her other son. a most able counselor. and as she is insatiable. Fouquet. her eyes.” “What is your majesty looking for?” said Henrietta. touch their wound to procure a sharper pang.” The latter part of this speech had so agitated the queen-mother. D’Artagnan. madame.” said the queen. mother. recommending him to your good graces. and wishing to let fly a little poisoned arrow at his heart. she has taken a still bolder flight. I like her no better than he did. “M. and will take nothing of the superintendent but his good qualities. does my mother prefer Madame de Chevreuse to the security of the state and of my person? Well. suffering from a chronic pain.” He had not calculated the effect of this terrible speech.” “I bear M. “Sire. “I have a plan. ceased to see for several seconds. who supported and embraced her without fear of irritating the king. more uneasy than irritated. given in spite of repulsion and bitterness of the heart. to sow divisions and hatreds under the pretext of begging money—why—” “Well! what?” said Anne of Austria. and if she thinks proper to come here as she formerly did. and was not satisfied with having extorted a hundred thousand crowns from a servant of the state. “my sister. your friend?” 132 . I am expecting a most distinguished man.

and everybody. sire—” “I am waiting for him. the new king quietly continued his experiments. his voice. but soon. forgot to dismiss his brother and Madame Henrietta. sire?” said Monsieur. “One of the four braves who formerly performed such prodigies.” All bowed in support of that sentiment.” replied he. but it is strange that M. On his side. family.” The old queen repented of having wished to bite. and to have strength to carry out the king’s wishes. in order to preserve the rest of her teeth. Aramis did not appear. “I will tell you all about that. “I do not want him so particularly as that. “Well! what?” said Anne of Austria. and manners were so like the king’s.” said she. Philippe was completely ignorant of that language.” said Philippe. in a fright. “Sire. d’Herblay is not here!” He called out: “Let M.“Why. instead of appearing disconcerted. bringing satisfactory news of the queen. “Whatever may be your choice. Nothing from that time could disturb the usurper. madame. With what strange facility had Providence just reversed the loftiest fortune of the world to substitute the lowliest in its stead! Philippe admired the goodness of God with regard to himself. Whilst everybody was seeking M. who only kept her bed from precaution. Fouquet and Aramis. Let him be sought for. and seconded it with all the resources of his admirable nature. and he does not come. brother. madame. “does your majesty absolutely require M. “This way.” Anne of Austria blushed. officers. But he felt. had not the least suspicion of his identity. as if the spirit of the imperturbable Aramis had covered him with his infallibility. “I have no doubt it will be excellent. by degrees. d’Herblay the bishop of Vannes?” “Yes. and began. Philippe. “What is all that noise?” said Philippe. sire. she broke off the conversation. do not retire!” M.” D’Artagnan remained for an instant stupefied. de Mazarin!” “A prime minister. servants. turning round towards the door of the second staircase. preoccupied. sire!” 133 . an old musketeer. The latter were astonished. Philippe rose. applying to all countenances the accurate descriptions and key-notes of character supplied by his accomplice Aramis. de Saint-Aignan returned. but if he can be found—” “I thought so. d’Herblay to be brought to you?” “Absolutely is not the word. The conversation had languished in the royal family. without the avarice of M. at times. he concluded that the king wished to preserve the secret. conducted himself so as not to give birth to a doubt in the minds of those who surrounded him. to lose all patience. “You will find in him. Fouquet be informed that I wish to speak to him—oh! before you. Anne of Austria stooped towards her son’s ear and addressed some words to him in Spanish. “Is this M. something like a specter gliding between him and the rays of his new glory.” continued Philippe. Fouquet?” “Yes. before you.” “A friend of M. And a voice was heard saying. this way! A few steps more. his air. and grew pale at this unexpected obstacle.” said D’Artagnan to himself. But. “the depth and penetration of M. reflecting that Aramis had left Vaux privately on a mission from the king. Philippe. de Richelieu.

“The voice of M. Fouquet,” said D’Artagnan, who was standing close to the queen-mother. “Then M. d’Herblay cannot be far off,” added Philippe. But he then saw what he little thought to have beheld so near to him. All eyes were turned towards the door at which M. Fouquet was expected to enter; but it was not M. Fouquet who entered. A terrible cry resounded from all corners of the chamber, a painful cry uttered by the king and all present. It is given to but few men, even those whose destiny contains the strangest elements, and accidents the most wonderful, to contemplate such a spectacle similar to that which presented itself in the royal chamber at that moment. The half-closed shutters only admitted the entrance of an uncertain light passing through thick violet velvet curtains lined with silk. In this soft shade, the eyes were by degrees dilated, and every one present saw others rather with imagination than with actual sight. There could not, however, escape, in these circumstances, one of the surrounding details; and the new object which presented itself appeared as luminous as though it shone out in full sunlight. So it happened with Louis XIV., when he showed himself, pale and frowning, in the doorway of the secret stairs. The face of Fouquet appeared behind him, stamped with sorrow and determination. The queen-mother, who perceived Louis XIV., and who held the hand of Philippe, uttered a cry of which we have spoken, as if she beheld a phantom. Monsieur was bewildered, and kept turning his head in astonishment from one to the other. Madame made a step forward, thinking she was looking at the form of her brother-in-law reflected in a mirror. And, in fact, the illusion was possible. The two princes, both pale as death—for we renounce the hope of being able to describe the fearful state of Philippe—trembling, clenching their hands convulsively, measured each other with looks, and darted their glances, sharp as poniards, at each other. Silent, panting, bending forward, they appeared as if about to spring upon an enemy. The unheard-of resemblance of countenance, gesture, shape, height, even to the resemblance of costume, produced by chance—for Louis XIV. had been to the Louvre and put on a violet-colored dress—the perfect analogy of the two princes, completed the consternation of Anne of Austria. And yet she did not at once guess the truth. There are misfortunes in life so truly dreadful that no one will at first accept them; people rather believe in the supernatural and the impossible. Louis had not reckoned on these obstacles. He expected that he had only to appear to be acknowledged. A living sun, he could not endure the suspicion of equality with any one. He did not admit that every torch should not become darkness at the instant he shone out with his conquering ray. At the aspect of Philippe, then, he was perhaps more terrified than any one round him, and his silence, his immobility were, this time, a concentration and a calm which precede the violent explosions of concentrated passion. But Fouquet! who shall paint his emotion and stupor in presence of this living portrait of his master! Fouquet thought Aramis was right, that this newly-arrived was a king as pure in his race as the other, and that, for having repudiated all participation in this coup d’etat, so skillfully got up by the General of the Jesuits, he must be a mad enthusiast, unworthy of ever dipping his hands in political grand strategy work. And then it was the blood of Louis XIII. which Fouquet was sacrificing to the blood of Louis XIII.; it was to a selfish ambition he was sacrificing a noble ambition; to the right of keeping he sacrificed the right of having. The whole extent of his fault was revealed to him at simple sight of the pretender. All that passed in the mind of Fouquet was lost upon the persons present. He had five minutes to focus meditation on this point of conscience; five minutes, that is to say five ages, during which the two kings and their family scarcely found energy to breathe after so terrible a shock. D’Artagnan, leaning against the wall, in front of Fouquet, with his hand to his brow, asked himself the cause of such a wonderful prodigy. He could not have said at once why he doubted, but he knew assuredly that he had reason to doubt, and that in this meeting of the two Louis XIV.s lay all the doubt and difficulty that during late days had rendered the conduct of Aramis so suspicious to the musketeer. These ideas were, however, enveloped in a haze, a veil of mystery. The actors in this assembly seemed to swim in the vapors of a confused waking. Suddenly Louis XIV., more impatient and more accustomed to command, ran to one of the shutters, which he opened, tearing the curtains in his eagerness. A flood of living light entered the chamber, and made Philippe draw back to the alcove. Louis seized upon this movement with eagerness, and addressing himself to the queen: “My mother,” said he, “do you not acknowledge your son, since every one here has forgotten his king!” Anne of Austria started, and raised her arms towards Heaven, without being able to articulate a single word. “My mother,” said Philippe, with a calm voice, “do you not acknowledge your son?” And this time, in his turn, Louis drew back. As to Anne of Austria, struck suddenly in head and heart with fell remorse, she lost her equilibrium. No one aiding her, for all were petrified, she sank back in her fauteuil, breathing a weak, trembling sigh. Louis could not endure the spectacle and the affront. He bounded towards D’Artagnan, over whose brain a vertigo was stealing and who staggered as he caught at the door for support. “A moi! mousquetaire!” said he. “Look us in the face and say which is the paler, he or I!” This cry roused D’Artagnan, and stirred in his heart the fibers of obedience. He shook his head, and, without more hesitation, he walked straight up to Philippe, on whose shoulder he laid his hand, saying, “Monsieur, you are my prisoner!” 134

Philippe did not raise his eyes towards Heaven, nor stir from the spot, where he seemed nailed to the floor, his eye intently fixed upon the king his brother. He reproached him with a sublime silence for all misfortunes past, all tortures to come. Against this language of the soul the king felt he had no power; he cast down his eyes, dragging away precipitately his brother and sister, forgetting his mother, sitting motionless within three paces of the son whom she left a second time to be condemned to death. Philippe approached Anne of Austria, and said to her, in a soft and nobly agitated voice: “If I were not your son, I should curse you, my mother, for having rendered me so unhappy.” D’Artagnan felt a shudder pass through the marrow of his bones. He bowed respectfully to the young prince, and said as he bent, “Excuse me, monseigneur, I am but a soldier, and my oaths are his who has just left the chamber.” “Thank you, M. d’Artagnan.... What has become of M. d’Herblay?” “M. d’Herblay is in safety, monseigneur,” said a voice behind them; “and no one, while I live and am free, shall cause a hair to fall from his head.” “Monsieur Fouquet!” said the prince, smiling sadly. “Pardon me, monseigneur,” said Fouquet, kneeling, “but he who is just gone out from hence was my guest.” “Here are,” murmured Philippe, with a sigh, “brave friends and good hearts. They make me regret the world. On, M. d’Artagnan, I follow you.” At the moment the captain of the musketeers was about to leave the room with his prisoner, Colbert appeared, and, after remitting an order from the king to D’Artagnan, retired. D’Artagnan read the paper, and then crushed it in his hand with rage. “What is it?” asked the prince. “Read, monseigneur,” replied the musketeer. Philippe read the following words, hastily traced by the hand of the king: “M. d’Artagnan will conduct the prisoner to the Ile Sainte-Marguerite. He will cover his face with an iron vizor, which the prisoner shall never raise except at peril of his life.” “That is just,” said Philippe, with resignation; “I am ready.” “Aramis was right,” said Fouquet, in a low voice, to the musketeer, “this one is every whit as much a king as the other.” “More so!” replied D’Artagnan. “He wanted only you and me.”

Chapter XXV. In Which Porthos Thinks He Is Pursuing a Duchy. Aramis and Porthos, having profited by the time granted them by Fouquet, did honor to the French cavalry by their speed. Porthos did not clearly understand on what kind of mission he was forced to display so much velocity; but as he saw Aramis spurring on furiously, he, Porthos, spurred on in the same way. They had soon, in this manner, placed twelve leagues between them and Vaux; they were then obliged to change horses, and organize a sort of post arrangement. It was during a relay that Porthos ventured to interrogate Aramis discreetly. “Hush!” replied the latter, “know only that our fortune depends on our speed.” As if Porthos had still been the musketeer, without a sou or a maille of 1626, he pushed forward. That magic word “fortune” always means something in the human ear. It means enough for those who have nothing; it means too much for those who have enough. 135

“I shall be made a duke!” said Porthos, aloud. He was speaking to himself. “That is possible,” replied Aramis, smiling after his own fashion, as Porthos’s horse passed him. Aramis felt, notwithstanding, as though his brain were on fire; the activity of the body had not yet succeeded in subduing that of the mind. All there is of raging passion, mental toothache or mortal threat, raged, gnawed and grumbled in the thoughts of the unhappy prelate. His countenance exhibited visible traces of this rude combat. Free on the highway to abandon himself to every impression of the moment, Aramis did not fail to swear at every start of his horse, at every inequality in the road. Pale, at times inundated with boiling sweats, then again dry and icy, he flogged his horses till the blood streamed from their sides. Porthos, whose dominant fault was not sensibility, groaned at this. Thus traveled they on for eight long hours, and then arrived at Orleans. It was four o’clock in the afternoon. Aramis, on observing this, judged that nothing showed pursuit to be a possibility. It would be without example that a troop capable of taking him and Porthos should be furnished with relays sufficient to perform forty leagues in eight hours. Thus, admitting pursuit, which was not at all manifest, the fugitives were five hours in advance of their pursuers. Aramis thought that there might be no imprudence in taking a little rest, but that to continue would make the matter more certain. Twenty leagues more, performed with the same rapidity, twenty more leagues devoured, and no one, not even D’Artagnan, could overtake the enemies of the king. Aramis felt obliged, therefore, to inflict upon Porthos the pain of mounting on horseback again. They rode on till seven o’clock in the evening, and had only one post more between them and Blois. But here a diabolical accident alarmed Aramis greatly. There were no horses at the post. The prelate asked himself by what infernal machination his enemies had succeeded in depriving him of the means of going further,—he who never recognized chance as a deity, who found a cause for every accident, preferred believing that the refusal of the postmaster, at such an hour, in such a country, was the consequence of an order emanating from above: an order given with a view of stopping short the king-maker in the midst of his flight. But at the moment he was about to fly into a passion, so as to procure either a horse or an explanation, he was struck with the recollection that the Comte de la Fere lived in the neighborhood. “I am not traveling,” said he; “I do not want horses for a whole stage. Find me two horses to go and pay a visit to a nobleman of my acquaintance who resides near this place.” “What nobleman?” asked the postmaster. “M. le Comte de la Fere.” “Oh!” replied the postmaster, uncovering with respect, “a very worthy nobleman. But, whatever may be my desire to make myself agreeable to him, I cannot furnish you with horses, for all mine are engaged by M. le Duc de Beaufort.” “Indeed!” said Aramis, much disappointed. “Only,” continued the postmaster, “if you will put up with a little carriage I have, I will harness an old blind horse who has still his legs left, and peradventure will draw you to the house of M. le Comte de la Fere.” “It is worth a louis,” said Aramis. “No, monsieur, such a ride is worth no more than a crown; that is what M. Grimaud, the comte’s intendant, always pays me when he makes use of that carriage; and I should not wish the Comte de la Fere to have to reproach me with having imposed on one of his friends.” “As you please,” said Aramis, “particularly as regards disobliging the Comte de la Fere; only I think I have a right to give you a louis for your idea.” “Oh! doubtless,” replied the postmaster with delight. And he himself harnessed the ancient horse to the creaking carriage. In the meantime Porthos was curious to behold. He imagined he had discovered a clew to the secret, and he felt pleased, because a visit to Athos, in the first place, promised him much satisfaction, and, in the next, gave him the hope of finding at the same time a good bed and good supper. The master, having got the carriage ready, ordered one of his men to drive the strangers to La Fere. Porthos took his seat by the side of Aramis, whispering in his ear, “I understand.” “Aha!” said Aramis, “and what do you understand, my friend?” “We are going, on the part of the king, to make some great proposal to Athos.” 136

my friend. to redeem his fault. all that you say will happen. I believe that no one has suffered in the affections of the heart so much as you have. but subdued. and only confessed his grief. when conversing with his son. Raoul listened. he turned towards the house with his son. Never can I persuade myself that I see that sweet and noble mask change into a hypocritical lascivious face. Never shall I accustom myself to the idea that Louise. “Gentlemen. or the solitude of his chamber. men. he would return.“Pooh!” said Aramis. He defended Louise against Raoul. And remember well what I say to you.” “Well! do. I shall guess. women. like the dog who. persuasive voice. but Louise loves Louis. pale. Raoul. angry. passing over two centuries.” They arrived at Athos’s dwelling about nine o’clock in the evening. and at the end of the alley they found 137 . which might. he would kiss his hand. have consoled the young man. who replied—”Ay! ay! I guess how it is! the mission is a secret one. we have arrived. all. inflicted upon Raoul. all that you tell me is true. Athos. ardent.” added the worthy Porthos. and too severely tried by adverse fortune not to allow for the weakness of the soldier who suffers for the first time. having been beaten. caresses a respected master. Thus passed away the days that followed that scene in which Athos had so violently shaken the indomitable pride of the king. and. permit me to plunge myself so deeply in my grief that I may forget myself in it. whence. by showing him his rival humbled. Young. coming up to Athos with a smile. But when that moment comes. was rung. we shall be dead. when. favored by a splendid moon. I am paying a tribute that will not be paid a second time. has been able to so basely deceive a man so honest and so true a lover as myself. and justified her perfidy by her love. must live for the present. and fly to the thickest recesses of the wood. had brought him to understand that this pang of a first infidelity is necessary to every human existence. And when Bragelonne. This painful wound. kings will lose their privileges. had drawn him nearer to his father again. but you are a man too great by reason of intelligence. “A woman who would have yielded to a king because he is a king. they have forgotten. Louise lost! Louise infamous! Ah! monseigneur. the chastest and most innocent of women. guess away. The wound was not cicatrized. where we are about to meet again our old acquaintances Athos and Bragelonne.” Porthos and his companion alighted before the gate of the little chateau. Raoul redeemed nothing but his weakness. We can only live for the future for God. conversing. and God knows how sweet were the consolations which flowed from the eloquent mouth and generous heart of Athos. Never. but Aramis appeared annoyed by it in an equal degree. monsieur. never did he give him the details of that vigorous lecture. Nothing replaces in the deeply afflicted heart the remembrance and thought of the beloved object. perhaps. spoke with contempt of royal words.” And when he had dealt this severe poniard-thrust. “You are right. and walking backwards and forwards in the long alley of limes in the park. in his serene. it is this: great griefs contain within themselves the germ of consolation.” This was the manner in which Athos and Raoul were. Raoul. he his rank. and that no one has loved without encountering it. Then. If there be one saying truer than another. she her vows. The driver interrupted him by saying. an hour after. that I may drown even my reason in it. Love absolves everything. without attaching any importance to it. again and again. “You need tell me nothing about it. and melancholy. when the bell which served to announce to the comte either the hour of dinner or the arrival of a visitor. of the equivocal faith which certain madmen draw from promises that emanate from thrones. endeavoring to reseat himself so as to avoid the jolting. with that rapidity of a bird that traverses a narrow strait to go from one continent to the other. Raoul ventured to predict the time in which kings would be esteemed as less than other men. by dint of conversing with his son and mixing a little more of his life with that of the young man. as usual. He could not help showing something of this to Porthos. Athos said to him. “you need tell me nothing.” These were his last words in the carriage. Athos did not wish that the offended lover should forget the respect due to his king.” said he. but never understood. In this world. both. This cheerful light rejoiced Porthos beyond expression. The two young people love each other with sincerity. “would deserve to be styled infamous. with a sigh. trembling. saw Raoul bound away beneath the rankling wound. Raoul then replied to the reasoning of his father: “Monsieur. as stars which have survived their aeons lose their splendor.” “Raoul! Raoul!” “Listen. Raoul. did he make any allusion to that scene. the latter of whom had disappeared since the discovery of the infidelity of La Valliere. that idea is much more cruel to me than Raoul abandoned—Raoul unhappy!” Athos then employed the heroic remedy. and kings. but Athos.

and. and this embrace itself being a question for Aramis. The latter took Athos by the arm. “but a great error. I am doubtless pursued. “a duke by brevet. Athos. who was smiling complacently.” “Ah!” said the comte. “Only time to tell you of my good fortune. I am entirely ruined. after having asked Porthos’s permission to say a word to his friend in private. Aramis and Athos embraced like old men. “It was a great idea. I have.themselves in the presence of Aramis and Porthos. Athos. I will not tell you my entire thought.” 138 . but Porthos—this title of duke—what does all that mean?” “That is the subject of my severest pain. I know it is.” “Therefore. Raoul uttered a cry. and affectionately embraced Porthos. at this moment. I have conspired against the king. in the ear of the young man. with all his strength. what?” “In two words.” said Raoul. Athos looked silently at Aramis. nevertheless. what do you tell me?” “The saddest truth. Listen to me. as you know he would do. we have not long to remain with you. “The king has made me a duke. with a smile.” he began.” continued Aramis. without knowing what he was about. with an air of mystery. “What is the good fortune that has happened to you? Let us hear it. believing in infallible success. “I must make you acquainted with the whole. Lese majeste.” interrupted Porthos. “My dear Athos. and uttered an exclamation which made Aramis start. “oh. during the recital.” “Tell it. The Last Adieux. that is the deepest of my wounds.” “Well. “Ah!” said Raoul.” “A capital crime.” “Good God!” And Athos turned towards Porthos. several times felt the sweat break from his forehead. He threw himself into it. “you see me overwhelmed with grief and trouble.” said he. “My friend. and he related the history as we know it. Athos heard him.” “It is a crime. His murmurs were in the diapason of ordinary roaring.” “For which I am punished. drawn Porthos into my conspiracy. whose somber air had already appeared to him very little in harmony with the good news Porthos hinted. that conspiracy has failed. my dear friend?” cried the comte. and.” But the asides of Porthos were always loud enough to be heard by everybody. he immediately said.” “You are pursued!—a conspiracy! Eh! my friend. and now he is as much compromised as myself—as completely ruined as I am. Chapter XXVI.” said the worthy Porthos.” “With grief and trouble.

the result of which must bring greatness to Porthos and to me. and a vessel to pass over into England. who is an Infante likewise. yes. “And now. But the thing is done. that in a month there will be war between France and Spain on the subject of this son of Louis XIII. Fouquet is an honest man. between its wheels. must not.” “And I a fool for having so ill-judged him. give me your two best horses to gain the second post.” “You have credit. whilst acting as he has done.” “You? in England?” “Yes. he being himself compromised. The king will never believe that that worthy man has acted innocently. Now. would have no inclination for a war on that subject. as I have been refused any under the pretext of the Duc de Beaufort being traveling in this country. Aramis. with a discreet air. and at the service of my friends. have griefs to lay to the king. I should certainly be the gainer on that ground. Then we shall see. as I have told you.” “Oh! I have no fear on that score. seemingly. One word more: do you think I am maneuvering for him as I ought?” “The evil being committed.” “Oh! I give it you if you really wished to avenge the weak and oppressed against the oppressor. It shall not. it is a pride natural to my race to pretend to a superiority over royal races. He never can believe that Porthos has thought he was serving the king. I will answer for an arrangement. when once in Spain.—No. millstone that grinds the world! and which is one day stopped by a grain of sand which has fallen.” “That is sufficient for me. Doing what you propose.” said Aramis. always a supporter in M.” said Aramis. for my part I prefer having something to reproach the king with.” “You are taking him away.. and you have. Aramis. and restore Porthos to favor. I guarantee upon my honor. His head would pay my fault. was certain. be so.—your absolution. Follow our example. I should become the obliged of the king.” replied the comte. who will not abandon you. Then. no one knows how.“Porthos! poor Porthos!” “What would you advise me to do? Success. Fouquet. Aramis!” said Athos. who are already a grandee of Spain. Will you join us?” “No. with a blush which was lost in the obscurity of the night. you also. and whom France detains inhumanly. notwithstanding his heroic action. whatever may be said.” “But. and a duchy in France to you. our excellent Porthos! you ruin him. How do you think of acting?” “I am taking away Porthos. as Louis XIV.” “Say by a diamond.” These words were accompanied by a warm pressure of the hand. “Much. “And while we are on this head.” “M. where I have still more. where I have many relations. pass over into Belle-Isle. thank you!” “Then give me two things. Raoul. for the king will confiscate all his property. “you also are a malcontent. and again I recommend poor Porthos strongly to your care. That is an impregnable place of refuge. “Thank you. Athos. to reconcile myself with Louis XIV.” said Aramis. I know how. for the king would not pardon him. I have the sea.” “You shall have the two best horses. “Oh. at first. or else in Spain..” 139 . whither?” “To Belle-Isle.” “All is provided for. but I should be a loser in my conscience. the wisdom of man! Oh.

all the flambeaux stopped and appeared to enflame the road.” said Aramis. Fouquet.” said Athos. “I was born lucky. from time to time.” “Oh! you.” repeated the count. The group was already divided. formed a strange contrast in the middle of the night with the melancholy and almost funereal disappearance of the two shadows of Aramis and Porthos. monsieur. with me. The king is both cunning and strong. with a very heavy heart. Like phantoms they seemed to enlarge on their departure from the earth. that is why I remain upon French ground. and think also that I shall never see Messieurs du Vallon and d’Herblay again. Fouquet is there. All at once a noise of horses and voices. when the entrance gate appeared in a blaze. monseigneur. Aramis came back once more to throw his arms round the neck of Athos. At the end of the perspective.” “How so?” “It was I who fortified Belle-Isle.” “It does not astonish me. dear count. These flames. “Whatever becomes of me. Flambeaux-bearers shook their torches merrily among the trees of their route. “for I have at this moment the same. as he folded his cloak round him. all will depend. A cry was heard of “M. as you have said just now. it will because they no longer exist in the world in which you have yet many years to pass.” “That is true.” said the prince. count. “Raoul. “you speak like a man rendered sad by a different cause. Athos went towards the house. Nevertheless. but in the declivity of the ground that they disappeared. elongated by the shade.” thought he. so long as I defend it. with a sort of cold persistence. Raoul had gone out to give orders for the saddling of the horses. and he came towards his old friend with open arms. which would proclaim my fear and guilt. “I am here. or Roman. Athos saw his two friends on the point of departure. And then Porthos mounted his horse. my dear friend. returned towards the house. Belle-Isle will not be attacked without the signature of M. “Ah! good evening. that you should have such a thought. in their white cloaks. and was looking around him. saying to Bragelonne. attracted their attention that way. nobody can take Belle-Isle from me. “our brother Porthos will fare as I do—or better. This last endearment was tender as in youth. le Duc de Beaufort”—and Athos sprang towards the door of his house. without either of them finding another word in their hearts. transported with happiness. The latter watched them along the high-road.” replied Aramis. Then Athos. but he had hardly reached the parterre. you are young. And then. from the extremity of the road to Blois. to avoid distancing the horsemen who followed them. M. and turned round.“You are right. But Belle-Isle will be for me whatever ground I wish it to be. and. and turned to embrace Porthos with emotion.” Athos bowed whilst pressing the hand of Aramis. Spanish. “Is it too late for a friend?” 140 . But the duke had already alighted from his horse. “It is strange. which made them vanish as if evaporated into cloud-land. this dust of a dozen richly caparisoned horses. as in times when hearts were warm—life happy. this noise. which were ready to overflow. you see everything in black.” replied the count.” Aramis smiled. and it was not in the mist. on the standard I shall think proper to unfurl. English. And that is why. in the same tone. with that frank cordiality which won him so many hearts. “whence comes the inclination I feel to embrace Porthos once more?” At that moment Porthos turned round. and if you chance never to see those old friends again. and something like a mist passed before his eyes and weighed upon his heart. instead of gaining the sea at once. be prudent. “Come. “I again recommend Porthos to you.” replied the young man. and leaned upon the shoulder of the count. was I not?” murmured the latter. I don’t know what it is that has just told me that I have seen those two for the last time. both seemed to have given a spring with their feet. But I—” Raoul shook his head sadly.

“Why. “Ma foi! he is tall and handsome!” continued the duke. The prince turned round at the moment when Raoul. let him stay. in good truth. we cannot spare him. and it is more probable that I shall there meet with something else. from a Frondeur I am becoming an adventurer!” “Oh. to have maintained my rank.—a valiant prince. This is what comes of getting into favor again. de Beaufort leaning on the arm of Athos. is it not? I. would it? Believe me. monseigneur?” “Strange. count.—I am going to pass from the Place Maubert to the minarets of Gigelli. was shutting the door.“Ah! my dear prince. You smile. that my life should have that last facet. But I have wished. and an excellent gentleman. since monseigneur permits it. followed by Raoul. they entered the house.” 141 . “It is. and still wish earnestly. among all those Turks. For. I who have reigned in the faubourgs. “Will you give him to me.” “Farewell!” “Yes. monseigneur?” said Athos. if I ask him of you?” “How am I to understand you. The king is sending me to make conquests among the Arabs. my dear count. you must admit that it is sufficiently strange to be born the grandson of a king.—a Bedouin gentleman. if you did not yourself tell me that—” “It would not be credible.” “Remain. and Moors. my dear count. do you know why I have accepted this enterprise. for my part. come in!” said the count. to feel Henry IV. and preparing to go with the other officers into an adjoining apartment. what you have always been. monseigneur. within me. Monsieur de Beaufort. who walked respectfully and modestly among the officers of the prince. nevertheless.” “I am going to become an African prince. with several of whom he was acquainted. I call upon you to bid you farewell. Saracens. monseigneur. Ah.” “What is this you tell me. monseigneur. after all the whimsical exhibitions I have seen myself make during fifty years. the Parisian par essence. Have you no idea of what I am about to become?” “Why. in short. can you guess?” “Because your highness loves glory above—everything. to have been reckoned among the powers of the age. M. Chapter XXVII. to have made war against kings.” said Athos. in order to leave him alone with Athos. le Prince speak so highly of ?” asked M. and have been called King of the Halles. I see no glory in that. monseigneur.” “Into favor?” “Yes. “Is that the young man I have heard M. Raoul. And. there is no glory in firing muskets at savages.” “Oh! no.” “He is quite the soldier. de Beaufort. I suppose. and we have but to bid each other farewell. to be great admiral of France—and then to go and get killed at Gigelli.

poisoned arrows. locusts.” “Peste! my dear friend. which I bring as a legacy. I believe. “Nothing at present. “I have a hundred pistoles here for him. How is he?” “M. with careless naivete and a complaisant forgetfulness. M. count. if no there.” “That is all true. there is bravery in facing scurvy. you made up your mind to escape from Vincennes.” “Yes. I know. Do you know those fellows still use poisoned arrows? And then. here is poor Raoul. but you aided me in that.” “Ah! ah!” said Athos. de Turenne.“Monseigneur. and I believe—” Raoul left the room precipitately to order the wine. is it? I think I know her.” “Who had a son. monseigneur. admiral of France. smiling. La Valliere reminds me of that girl.” “Ah! yes.” added M. who is your son. and. since the passion of the king for La Valliere. My will is made. de Beaufort took the hand of Athos. In the meantime M. She is not particularly handsome. king of Paris. who. I fancy. “Young man. that little La Valliere. and many others. had she not?” 3 “I believe she had.” “Ah! monseigneur! monseigneur!” “And you may understand that if Grimaud’s name were to appear in my will—” The duke began to laugh. nowadays. when there are Monsieur le Prince.” replied the duke. from the commencement of this conversation.. and hitherto you have shown nothing exaggerated save in bravery. you harp with strange persistence on that theme. that if I go into Africa for this ridiculous motive. in an agitated voice. de Beaufort. whose mother lived in the Halles. “How can you suppose that so brilliant a destiny will be extinguished in that remote and miserable scene?” “And can you believe. Vaugrimaud. Louis did. I shall be killed whether or not. my contemporaries. had sunk into a profound reverie.” “Yes. upright and simple as you are. have I anything left but to get myself killed? Cordieu! I will be talked of. somewhere else.” said he. “Now. monseigneur.” said Athos. monseigneur. you know me of old. this is mere exaggeration. as my ancestor St. without seeing my old friend.” said Athos. I. Vaugrimaud is still your highness’s most respectful servant. I perform it in grim earnest. my master.” “Ay. then. grandson of Henry IV. and you know that when I once make up my mind to a thing. M. “What do you mean to do with him?” asked he. a propos. smiling. “I know there is to be found here a certain De Vouvray wine.” “Why.” said Athos. I tell you. “Yes. monseigneur. I turn this way and that. I will not endeavor to come out of it without ridicule? Shall I not give the world cause to speak of me? And to be spoken of. dysentery. then addressing Raoul. “Do you know whom she reminds me of ?” “Does she remind your highness of any one?” “She reminds me of a very agreeable girl. “Oh! the good old times. of which no words could translate the tone and the vocal expression.” 142 . if I remember right?” “No.

give him to me.” “I wished. Come. “but as you yourself invited me to wish—” 143 . He preceded Grimaud. whose still steady hands carried the plateau with one glass and a bottle of the duke’s favorite wine. with noble humility. count. “Cordieu! you were right to bring only one glass. it is a mistake. Begin.” “My wish is to keep him at home. “wish for something while drinking out of my glass. “Will you promise me.“Yes. I have been indiscreet.” continued he.” His eyes sparkled with a gloomy fire. vicomte. I have no longer anything in the world but him. I carry good luck with me. Grimaud!” said he. monseigneur. he is my son. as if desirous to assist him to parry this unexpected blow. monseigneur. I assure you. but it is the king who makes marechals of France. and may the black plague grab me if what you wish does not come to pass!” He held the goblet to Raoul. if only with his smile. and he frets. and as long as he likes to remain—” “Well. monseigneur. unless your highness permitted me. “That is difficult. and Raoul will never accept anything of the king.” said he to Raoul. “how goes it?” The servant bowed profoundly. gently putting back the glass. to go with you to Gigelli. and with the other gave him a purse. monseigneur.” replied Athos. sinking back into his fauteuil. “But that is not all. my dear vicomte. I have seen more than one produced from less likely rough material. and was unable to conceal his agitation. and passed the goblet to his companion. monseigneur. monseigneur. nevertheless. “Pardon me. “You are a charming friend.” “And the poor lad has been cut out by the king.” said Athos. very difficult. which was followed by another still more profound and delighted bow from Grimaud. The duke looked at his friend.” “Do me the honor. who hastily moistened his lips. the duke uttered an exclamation of pleasure. and replied with the same promptitude: “I have wished for something. monseigneur. well.” Raoul interrupted this conversation by his return.” “Still better.” “You are going to let the boy rust in idleness. and the blood mounted to his cheeks. shaking honest Grimaud’s shoulder after a vigorous fashion. we will both drink out of it. like two brothers in arms. I think he has in him the stuff of which marechals of France are made. On seeing his old protege. count. in a firm voice.” added he. “Grimaud! Good evening.” replied Raoul. in a lower tone of voice. he terrified Athos. he abstains. “I am still thirsty.” “That is very possible. to grant me what I wish for?” “Pardieu! That is agreed upon. only one glass?” “I should not think of drinking with your highness. “But what is this.” Athos became pale. “And what have you wished for?” replied the duke. whilst with one hand he returned the bottle to Grimaud. “I could. monsieur le duc. have soon put matters to rights again.” replied the duke.” replied the Duc de Beaufort. “Two old friends!” said the duke. who drank. as much gratified as his noble interlocutor. and I wish to do honor to this handsome young man who stands here.

“My intention is to make profession. monsieur le duc. he shall be my aidede-camp.” “Oh! no. still firm and tranquil.” Raoul blushed. and was so guarded. replied: “Monsieur le duc. But Raoul. “Comte.” “Monseigneur!” cried Raoul. great or small. if you serve on board my vessels. taking the hand of the duke. “I am in great haste. to conceal his emotion. in order that I may know your determination?” “I will have the honor of thanking you there. but I shall there serve a more powerful master than the king: I shall serve God!” “God! how so?” said the duke and Athos together. and become a knight of Malta. ‘I belong to M. we can only lose one thing by it— life—then so much the worse!” “That is to say. or shall he not? If he goes. with animation. we all belong to the king. he was too well acquainted with that tender. he could not hope to make it deviate from the fatal road it had just chosen. de Beaufort. the fire of resolution before which everything must give way. “Well. “Par la corbleu!” said the prince in his turn. then. my son. my friend. “and that is to say. comte.’ No. and read plainly. letting fall. and let fall the bottle.” said the duke. just as you like. “let us see! Shall he go. “Raoul shall do just as he likes. though his eyes were cast down. will you serve? The times are past when you might have said. for it is not the king I wish to serve. monsieur. for all your kindness. he recovered his calmness. mon prince. I will serve on board your vessels. and replied to him by a severe look.” “Pardon me. the objection you make I have already considered in my mind. I will reply I have gained—on the balance—a most excellent recruit. “Oh! monsieur—can you imagine—” “Well. M. He was thankful to M. “the young vicomte is right! What can he do here? He will go moldy with grief. 144 . bending his knee. come. it will be the king you will serve. As to Athos. and said. but inflexible soul. words more icy than the drops which fall from the bare trees after the tempests of winter. de Beaufort looked the young man in the face. and the excitable prince continued: “War is a distraction: we gain everything by it. but the latter had already overcome his emotion. doubtless. “Monseigneur!” cried Athos. because you do me the honor to take me with you. whom. He could only press the hand the duke held out to him. the intractable enemy of the king. “do not tell the king so. there can be nothing equivocal about it. mordieu!” cried the duke. one by one.” said Raoul. de Beaufort. Raoul comprehended it all. 4 Under this blow Athos staggered and the prince himself was moved. The marine offers a superb fortune. on observing the advanced hour. Raoul sprang towards the comte. now his only joy.” Raoul smiled again so sadly.” said M. memory. “Will you meet me at Paris. it is I.” “Eh! my friend. my dear vicomte. The duke at length rose. nowadays. I will take him away. and turned to the lights with a serene and impassible countenance.” interrupted Raoul. which was. his rival.” interrupted the young man. which was broken without anybody paying attention.” replied the comte. so much the better!” He repented of having spoken so warmly when he saw Athos rise and open the window.” added Bragelonne. that not another word escaped him. de Beaufort.“To wish to leave me?” said Athos. Grimaud uttered a heavy groan.” Athos waited with a kind of impatient joy for the reply about to be made to this embarrassing question by Raoul. I shall set off in two days for Toulon. The father hoped that the obstacle would overcome the desire. but if I am told I have lost time in talking with a friend. Therefore. that this time Athos felt his heart penetrated by it. eagerly. “it is neither the comte nor the vicomte that shall have his way. whose lightness or generous reflection had thrown an impediment in the way of the departure of a son.

which were to his father two hours of agony. thus to return to Paris amongst all the people who had known and loved him. and when arrived.. and remained silent for two seconds. and said. the day after the visit of M. You are free. who immediately applied himself to it with the good-will and intelligence we know he possessed. monsieur. to him who had loved so much. Raoul.” Raoul rose. “I had formed a determination. The father and son preserved a profound silence towards each other.” “Listen to me again. and you will then do what will be proper for you to do. and soon placed a considerable distance between their master and the chateau.” And he slowly gained his bedroom.” “Then. God alone can give me the strength not to forget that I owe you everything. The latter held him clasped to his breast. and said: “You have just replied to me on the word of honor of an honest man. silently and almost breathlessly. rested and refreshed. coldly. I have renounced that determination. he pulled the ear of Grimaud.” Athos embraced his son tenderly. He gave all his attention to preparing. he really existed no longer. Eleven o’clock was striking. and I only ask yours. and passed the night in the alley of limes. in a tremulous voice. I implore you. without suspecting that he was going to the place where La Valliere had lived. Till to-morrow. Raoul took the road to the Luxembourg. on approaching Paris. because you are the only tie which attaches me to this world. Every face recalled a pang to him who had suffered so much. by striking. or delaying Raoul. But these two men were of such a nature that all emotion following their final resolutions plunged itself so deep into their hearts that it was lost forever. he heard so much music and respired so many 145 . I shall die here of grief and love. all at once: “Monsieur. I will only ask of Him one thing.” added the duke. that of piercing my heart with my sword. and regained his escort in the parterre. “you go with the intention of getting killed in Africa? Oh. The horses. Athos rose first. “I have promised to devote myself to God. I know how long a time I have to live thus..” replied the young man. Athos and Bragelonne were again face to face. and therefore we must part.“And be sure to bring the vicomte with you. he himself. “he has my word. For the poor young man it was an emotion easily to be understood.” “You leave me desolate by going. but you would have thought that cowardly. where an intelligent observer would have expected cries and tears. felt as if he were dying. Athos lost no more time in combating this immutable resolution. alone pointed out to them how many minutes had lasted the painful journey made by their souls in the immensity of their remembrances of the past and fear of the future. during the two days the duke had granted him. They passed. then. then. the proper appointments for Raoul. This labor chiefly concerned Grimaud. “it is late. In exchange for the sacrifice I make of my youth and liberty. If I do not go. de Beaufort. Then.” said he. Athos gave this worthy servant orders to take the route to Paris when the equipments should be ready. he was informed that Guiche was with Monsieur. so that the duke should perceive his absence.” Having thrown a little balm upon the wound of the paternal heart. saying. Raoul. monsieur. “In two days. whose eyes sparkled more than usual. Send me away quickly. de Beaufort at Paris. and in his turn embraced his father. or you will see me basely die before your eyes—in your house—this is stronger than my will—stronger than my strength—you may plainly see that within one month I have lived thirty years.. Chapter XXVIII. my son—left me forever. tell me! do not lie!” Raoul grew deadly pale.” said Athos. When he reached Guiche’s residence. you will have left me. The clock. and that is. and that I approach the end of my life. whether he follows me or does not follow me. set off for Paris with his son. in two days we shall be with M. and that nothing ought to stand in my esteem before you. Once in Paris. adieu. and. to preserve me for you. Raoul!” “Monsieur. some circumstance of his unhappy love. Preparations for Departure. not to expose himself to the danger of keeping the duke waiting. set off with spirit through the lovely night. the hour that preceded midnight. Raoul. Raoul went down into the garden.

she felt that in the flight of Raoul there was an accusation of herself.” 146 .” said she. and pushing away the officer: “Make your escape. that he might never meet with anything Louise had seen. and interrogated Raoul whether he should inform M. rubbing against the doors of a side salon. The persistent servant went on to relate that De Guiche had just invented a new game of lottery. recognizing him. after I have spoken to you. he would have remained there a few minutes. with the smile of former days. mademoiselle. She looked at the clock. he was going into another world. it cannot enter into my thoughts to be uncivil. But after the first shock of his pride. monsieur. “we shall have an hour to ourselves.” “Do you wish to speak to me?” said she. when all at once a lady’s robe passed. you compromise me by a reception almost uncivil. “Pardon me. de Guiche of his being there. and stretching her joyous face over him as he lay: “Monsieur is a gallant man. followed by Raoul. and was teaching it to the ladies. doubtingly. With his head hanging down. Shutting the door. “what you are doing is very unworthy of a gentleman.” “I will go and ask him to come up here. blushing. This name did not even arouse the recollections of Raoul. Raoul had scarcely answered him. for we may be surprised. “Mademoiselle de Montalais!” said Raoul. But.” “Oh!” said he. “Raoul!” said she. though stopped by her in the middle of the gallery. lighter than a fairy. opening his large eyes. never to return. then. you are wrong. as we have said. A lady. after having had a glimpse of Montalais. and was terminated by a kiss on the fingers of the lady. but had sunk down upon a bench near the velvet doorway. He took it up in a tone so cold and embarrassed. The young lady advanced behind Raoul. which had stopped for nearly an hour.” said she. he heard so much joyous laughter. it enters not. “and no doubt—” She here interrupted herself by uttering a cry. scolding an officer of the household. who perceived him so dejected and pale beneath a doorway. but his sadness increased two shades.” said she. the lady became silent. that if it had not been for a charitable woman. and then would have gone away. like the absent man in Theophrastus. who reminded him of the turret of Blois and the joys of youth— all his reason faded away. in the ante-chamber. if they have either heard or seen us!” Malicorne hastened away. Malicorne. but she had comprehended that savage and cruel grief. entered by that way. paler than death. had come up.perfumes. solely for the sake of not mixing himself with all those happy beings he felt were moving around him in the adjacent salons. “Ah! monsieur. looking at a clock. she ran up to her chamber. his limbs relaxed.” said she with disdain. which opened on the gallery. having reflected: “In my apartment. but Raoul. and another. He rose unsteadily. on perceiving Raoul. “Yes. ever vigilant. had asked him if he wished to see Monsieur or Madame. The officer replied in calm but firm sentences. the whole court would have no doubt about the proceedings of Mademoiselle de Montalais. and saw so many dancing shadows. young. she did not think she ought to let the opportunity slip of making good her justification. made no answer. thus forgotten. Suddenly. and tried to make his way across the slippery mosaic of the floor. Farewell!” Raoul had sworn never to speak of Louise. his mouth half open for the escape of his sighs. My heart inclines me to speak to you. the companion of Louise—Montalais. better acquainted with him.” “Do so. and placing in the hands of her cameriste the mantle she had held upon her arm: “You were seeking M. that if they had been thus surprised. pretty. or even touched. never even to look at those who might have seen Louise. “I did not think there was any one here. I shall curse you. The servant had passed on. A woman. and expressed herself with much vivacity. “Well! come somewhere else. Raoul remained. in the first ante-chamber he had stopped. were you not?” said she to Raoul. did not seem disposed to surrender without a combat. mademoiselle. And as one of Monsieur’s servants. and gay. and you confound your friends with enemies. it was rather a little love pet than a quarrel of courtiers. presently.” And taking her course. de Guiche. mademoiselle. Raoul.

You can laugh. I am much altered.” said Raoul.” “I care but little for that.” said he.” And he rose from his chair full of anger.” replied Montalais. mademoiselle. with bitterness. favorites are but little beloved at the court of France.” said the young woman. the outer surface changed to match the mind within. “Louise did love you. de Bragelonne. then?” said Montalais.” “Oh! while she has her lover to protect her.” “Listen. Do people marry whom they like? You forget that the king then kept for himself as his mistress her of whom we are speaking. instead of loving Louise coldly and philosophically. with eyes flashing fire. “Oh! mademoiselle. “I feel as though you are all. “You tell me that very much at your ease. “Yes.” said Montalais. I know.” said Montalais.” “There is no longer any faith in the world. a man of your age ought never to leave a woman of hers alone. with a shade of irony which did 147 . pressing the hands of Raoul in her own. mademoiselle.—”I loved her well! I put my faith in her—now I am quits by loving her no longer.” But. “I know what you mean. I do not quite understand myself.” “Oh. “Nevertheless. and you can banter agreeably. mademoiselle. quietly. “Not with love. I.” added he. “you were wrong in every way. and you ought to have married her before you set out for London. which made Montalais shudder. then. “You think I was concerned in the plot which brought about the rupture. “No. let me tell you that. of both sexes. vicomte. sharply. is not that enough? She has chosen him of such a quality that her enemies cannot prevail against her. “that you are not cured.” “You have not even tried to speak to Louise?” “Who! I?” exclaimed the young man. then.” “You are consoled. but she liked you. you had endeavored to awaken her to love—” “Enough.” “I don’t understand you. M. vicomte!” said Montalais. mademoiselle. “And then she has you for a friend. “No. and that Louise has one enemy the more. I loved Mademoiselle de—” Raoul could not pronounce her name. mademoiselle.“Are you angry with me?” Raoul looked at her for a moment. casting down his eyes.” “One enemy the more!” “Yes. stopping all at once. I shall never be consoled. “I!—Why do you not advise me to marry her? Perhaps the king would consent now. do you not?” “Rupture!” said he. “I see.” said Raoul.” Raoul started. pointing to his reflection in a looking-glass. I pray you. of a different age from me. if.” Raoul broke into a sinister laugh.” “You are in error. am I not? Well! Do you know why? Because my face is the mirror of my heart. there can be no rupture where there has been no love.

where I shall never be seen again.” said he. on recognizing the sister-in-law of the king. was still Raoul. “Ingrate!” said he. love each other. Obtain from Madame—from Madame. so big with menace and with storm. “Dear count. however. she struggled against the double stings of these two troubles. who are the elected of my heart. “With M. I am going to seek death in yonder country. was interrupted by a moderately loud noise heard by the speakers proceeding from the alcove behind the wainscoting.” said Montalais. “M. “in two days I shall be far from Paris. what I am going to say to you is of much greater 148 . But Raoul broke it. and that the horror of the treachery that has been practiced on me renders me inexorable towards all other treachery that may be committed around me. notwithstanding the exquisite delicacy which Raoul had exhibited. tell her also that I have loved in the course of my life. no! I am no longer one of those whom Mademoiselle de la Valliere condescends to look upon. You are both free. “is kind enough to think of this lottery.” “Are you going away. then?” said she. Raoul passed his hand over his brow.” and at these words the princess drew back. The princess. but he felt that he was in the way. forgetting that that forgetfulness itself compromised the princess more eloquently than his presence. in a low voice. in his turn. who was walking towards Raoul. but—” This but. to feel herself at the mercy of one who had discovered such an indiscretion.not glide off the cuirass. count? This is it—I shall live more vividly. was near fainting. with great delight. who by degrees absorbed him. uttering a cry in her turn. “Who! I?—Oh. with volubility. this terrible but. than I have lived for this month past. He went up to the count. it was repugnant to her. We are Christians. we must admit. and—” The princess began to lose countenance. who is so clement and so generous. dear friend. nervous. I would not be answerable for the safety of my soul. “Your royal highness. Bending his knee before her: “Madame!” said he. This scene occupied several minutes of terrible suspense. in a fortnight I shall be far from France. “tell Madame I am too unhappy not to merit pardon. with a smile.” said he. and M. and was obliged to lean upon the foot of the bed for support. “My friend. smiling to Montalais. and came once more to her aid. so significant in a woman like Montalais. which she closed after her. “I have been dreaming!” Then warmly to Guiche. Raoul! a man!” “Do you know what is my thought.—obtain her pardon for you whom she has just surprised also. “and you have not even consulted me!” And he embraced him. and Raoul was already rising. “Not one word more on my account. and taking his hand. where everybody dies!” And forgetting everything. when a lady entered the room quietly by the secret door.” De Guiche was anxious to raise objections. Madame. Montalais turned to listen. “You. Raoul—oh! my friend—into Africa. “I never would divulge the secret of the visits of my friend to your apartment. “I have been mistaken in an hour!” She had. when a closet opened in front of the alcove. such griefs did it presage for her whom lately he loved so dearly. without divining all. Madame was preparing a word of transition to recover herself. Agitated. de Bragelonne. however.” said he.” said Raoul. “I conceal nothing from you. It was equally repugnant to her to accept the evasion offered by this delicate deception. all radiant. “Madame!” exclaimed Raoul. and said.” “Oh. whose inexpressible emotion made his knees tremble. The palest of the four. be happy!” The princess felt for a moment a despair that cannot be described. This is why. throwing herself. and disappeared herself. mademoiselle. but too late.” “Into Africa!” cried De Guiche. and if such sufferings were to continue. Raoul hastened his departure. this but. de Guiche issued. No one ventured to support her. being buried beneath the earth. which made the heart of Raoul beat. “Stupid wretch!” murmured Montalais. time to warn the princess. your secret will not remain in my breast more than a year. during which time Montalais had led away Madame. “but advice to you. my friend. before the princess. also from that closet. de Beaufort. Raoul comprehended her position.

promise me to say these words to her—’I have done you this kindness. Swear to me that you will not second them in anything—but that you will defend her when possible. crumb by crumb. then. that signifies that you may hear everything.” “Can you think so?” “I am certain of it. collects and heaps up diamonds and gold.” “By Montalais?” “Take her as the least dangerous of the enemies I dread for—the other!” “Explain yourself clearly. You are beloved.” replied De Guiche. “And. because you love. even the counsel of a friend who wishes to preserve your happiness.” “And now.” “You are mistaken. madame.” “I swear I will. you are beloved! You do not endure those atrocious nights. De Guiche. whose name I should wish still to be able to pronounce—they will make her suffer. she would ravish from her the only thing that renders that woman excusable in my eyes. de Bragelonne.” “What is that?” “Her love.” “What! of that kind friend?” “She was the friend of—her you know of. You are beloved!—allow me to tell you what you must do that you may be beloved forever. when she has ruined her.” “What is that?” “Without doubt you risk much more than I do. those nights without end. which. till there passed through his heart something like remorse at his own happiness. “some day. beware of Montalais. that you can sleep tranquilly. to assume the voice and countenance of an impassible man.” “I know she has—” “Oh! fear nothing—you are beloved—you are beloved. with arid eye and fainting heart. at the warm request of M. count. De Guiche. “They will make her. Madame has been long jealous of the king. She ruined her by pride. if you act like the miser who. half mad with despair. that you can thank God every minute of you life. when you shall have rendered her a great service—some day when she shall thank you.” “What do you mean by that?” “I mean that there is a plot formed against her who is the mistress of the king—a plot formed in the very house of Madame.” “Oh!” “It is a joy so sweet to me to be able to speak to you thus! Well. do you feel the value of these three words? They signify that you can raise your head.” continued Raoul. You are beloved. bit by bit. Raoul suppressed his feverish excitement. my friend.” De Guiche contemplated for some time this unfortunate young man. You will live long. whom you so 149 . and if I can understand you—” “In two words.importance. others pass through who are destined to die. as I would have done myself.

was that M. Those who chanced to see them both thus. “is M. who had no knowledge of commercial matters. “Ah! monsieur le comte!” exclaimed he. d’Artagnan?” “Yes. no. monsieur. Athos. or that of an arrival of goods.—”we are come to learn of you—But in what confusion do I find you! You are as white as a miller. Planchet left his job directly he received the comte’s message. Planchet. Athos. pointing to Raoul. Planchet was packing his trunks. directly. don’t come near me till I have well shaken myself. had gone to Planchet’s residence to inquire after D’Artagnan. were setting down a number of figures. as usual. when you wish. arrived at the grocer’s house. pressing the hand of his son. on arriving at the Rue des Lombards. my friend. “how glad I am to see you! What good star brings you here?” “My dear Planchet.deeply injured. immediately went to inform Planchet. An inventory was being taken. The comte. diable! take care. Planchet was not enthroned. Planchet’s Inventory. found the shop of the grocer in great confusion. I wish to embrace him before my departure. whose sad look he silently observed. d’Artagnan. These words surprised Athos. no doubt accustomed to hear it pronounced with respect. The reply. who loves me dearly.” “All! all!” cried the young man. one of the young men. A young man with a pen behind his ear. He is a brave man. during the visit made to the Luxembourg by Raoul. Adieu! I set out to-morrow. le comte at Planchet’s residence.” “M. whilst a third counted and weighed. If you have a few hours to spare. after his painful scene with Montalais and De Guiche.” murmured De Guiche. you will find me. Farewell!” The two young men embraced. and another with an account-book in his hand. where have you been rummaging?” “Ah. “That is all. give them to me. but it was not the encumberment of a lucky sale. for Toulon. inform him that M. He therefore asked very politely if he could see M. He saw several customers sent away. on sacks and barrels.’” “I swear I will. Farewell. “Thank you!” “And what are you going to do now?” “I am going to meet M.” “Arsenic?” 150 . “That is the happy man!” Chapter XXIX. “What! his trunks?” said he. if you please. No. and asked himself whether he. or the day after. you are expected.” “What for? Flour or dust only whiten. felt himself a little embarrassed by material obstacles and the majesty of those who were thus employed. would not be more properly deemed importunate. would not have hesitated to say. It was at this moment that Raoul. where we hope to find M. monsieur. le Comte de la Fere desires to speak to him for a moment.” said Athos.” “Then. at the lodgings of the comte. what you see on my arms is arsenic. no doubt. who came to buy nothing.” “No. quite carelessly given. Planchet going away?” “Yes.” At the mention of the comte’s name.

monsieur. it was an exclamation of surprise. for he turned round to go downstairs again. I have disposed of my business to one of my young men. I suppose in an establishment like this. attributing it to a fear the grocer might have of offering humble hospitality. hesitating. then?” “Eh! mon Dieu! yes.” Athos did not smile at this little pleasantry which Planchet had aimed at him. “Never mind. monsieur le comte. I have taken a dislike to the city. monsieur. “It is—but—” said Planchet.” said he. you may have observed. and then added: “You are going to buy an estate. when we grow old we more often think of the adventures of our youth. but for some time past I have felt myself attracted towards the country and gardening. we are not comfortable here. and as M. with something like twenty acres of land round it. then?” “I have bought one. monsieur le comte. wished to relieve him by going first.” “Bah! you are rich. perhaps?” And Athos.” “Are you leaving trade. it emanated from a woman. “I ask your pardon!” added he. it came from Planchet. 151 . I was a countryman formerly. “madame is dressing. I am taking my precautions against rats. “Yes. and entered first. He had no sooner uttered it than he shut the door sharply. Athos made a gesture of approval.“Yes.” “What do you mean?” “Why. seen that what Planchet said was true. have you not?” “Certainly. Two cries were heard simultaneously—we may say three. I don’t know whether it is because I am growing old.” “Ah! that is still better.” “A little house at Fontainebleau. You have a room.” “But. and. for example. Another proceeded from the mouth of Raoul. I suppose?” “Monsieur.” And Planchet marked this confession with a rather pretentious laugh for a man making profession of humility. The rats have robbed me of more here than they will ever rob me of again. seeing Planchet a little embarrassed. rats play a conspicuous part. still going up. d’Artagnan one day said. no doubt. in order to try his strength in mundane facetiousness. Planchet! Accept my compliments on your acquisition. never mind.” “Upstairs. Come on. “let us have a little talk by ourselves—in your own room. then.” “Very well.” Raoul nimbly preceded him. “the dwelling of a tradesman in this quarter is not expected to be a palace. One of these cries dominated the others.” Raoul had. monsieur.” “Ay.” “It is not with this establishment I concern myself. the cursed dust makes you cough. Athos was mistaken in the cause of this hesitation. The third was from fright. my inventory is being taken. Corbleu! I do not wish to poison the most worthy gentleman in the kingdom.” said Athos.

translated into a language more chaste than that of Longus. Having heard all that was necessary of the happy prospects of the retiring grocer.” “But I do not know. farewell!” “Eh. “You want nothing now. to know what Planchet’s gentlemen visitors would say of her. This appeared the more evident to him when he learned that the young man to whom Planchet was selling the business was her cousin. establish a family. or by going away without having sat down.” “We will do no such thing.” “Disappeared!” said Athos. but pardon my rudeness. but heirs to your property.” added Planchet.” “Ah! monsieur le comte. which Athos avoided.” Planchet was so disconcerted by this little extravagance. “we would have asked permission to pay our respects to her.” said Planchet. has had time—” “No. “Oh! monsieur. was burning to give explanations.” said Athos. blushing a little. rich yet coquettish.” said Athos. d’Artagnan disappears it is always for some mission or some great affair. Athos suspected that. my good Planchet. like the voice of the sergeant when Planchet was but a piqueur in the regiment of Piedmont. “What is M.” “Has he said anything to you about it?” “Never. were you not?” “On account of the speculation.“Madame—” said Athos. But. “Oh! pardon me. and himself opened the door to admit the comte and his son. So Planchet related how Truchen had charmed the years of his advancing age. phlegmatically. gentlemen.” “You were acquainted with his departure for England formerly. and. “if only to prevent your little fortune being lost. Athos perceived that the grocer would marry Truchen. Planchet.” “If we had known you had a lady upstairs.” “Whenever M.” said Planchet. She left the apartment after two courtesies.” replied Athos. and went down into the shop—but not without having listened at the door. and brought good luck to his business. Athos was forced to hear Planchet recite his idyls of felicity. I did not know that you had upstairs—” “It is Truchen. in which Rochefort had placed him. having notice. “Humph! you must have one. Monsieur d’Artagnan has disappeared. German eyes attacking French eyes. Planchet. gentlemen! you would not disoblige me by thus standing on the staircase. on his part. we know what that means. then. “The speculation!” 152 .” “No. heedlessly. d’Artagnan about?” said he. as Ruth did to Boaz.” “If I had one he would have three hundred thousand livres.” This word little fortune placed Planchet in his rank. Truchen was quite dressed: in the costume of the shopkeeper’s wife. “he is not at the Louvre. that he forced the passage. with his customary coolness. and therefore turned the conversation accordingly. in spite of fate. in surprise. “Oh! madame. “It is whoever you please. then. go up now. no. as certain tenacities are stronger than others. Planchet.

the gentlemen set out to pay a visit to M. not at all. M. where it was suspended by a twist. and never deprived themselves of the pleasure of humiliating his royal majesty when they had an opportunity.” said the young man to the comte. It was near Cannes that the marks and the punctured places ceased. did these men leave behind them—one of whom had exhausted the past age in glory. and you. then. On leaving the grocer’s shop. the plan consulted by the captain on his last visit to Planchet.” Then. He had one of those superb establishments pertaining to great fortunes. conduct me as far as Toulon. had made him understand the route of D’Artagnan. who went to fetch from the neighboring wall. his successor.” “You are right. but natural respect and bonhomie prevailed over pride. “Road to Fontainebleau!” cried Planchet to his coachman. They knew it. by following with his eye the pins and holes. Au revoir. de Beaufort. and as we cannot learn from you where we are likely to find M. quite confused. Planchet. d’Artagnan. Since the captain of the musketeers is not here.” This word “servant” struck rudely on the ears of the demi-millionnaire Planchet. and its duties.’s reign. “There is nothing indiscreet in telling you. monsieur. His accustomed perspicacity was at fault. the like of which certain old men remembered to have seen in all their glory in the times of wasteful liberality of Henry III. The Inventory of M. au revoir. The duke was lodged magnificently in Paris. saw that D’Artagnan had taken the direction of the south. the future depository of the charms of Mademoiselle Truchen and Planchet’s bags of crowns. in a melancholy tone. Be assured that we shall meet with him more easily upon our route than on this map. Raoul’s researches were not more successful than his father’s. towards Toulon. in fact. and arrange with him the particulars of departure. at least. a hole denoted its having been there. taking leave of Planchet. They had only to pay a visit to M. There he is on the coast of Cannes.” added Planchet. say no more about it. upon which the practiced eye of that gentleman discovered an itinerary. Then. several great nobles were richer than the king. Athos. “Never mind.—that terrible mower153 . This plan. It was this egotistical aristocracy Richelieu had constrained to contribute. really. forming a triangle with the bar of the window to which it was fastened. and gone as far as the Mediterranean. From Louis XI. to have seen Planchet quit Paris to bury himself in his country retreat. de Beaufort. who silently.” said Raoul. Raoul. who was scolding his shopmen.” “Monsieur le comte. and the other. Let us be gone.“I mean—” interrupted Planchet.” “And the chart is there as a proof. d’Artagnan. and what motive could have led him to examine the banks of the Var. the interest we take in him alone has induced me to apply to you. they saw a coach. “we must confess that there is a Providence always occupied in connecting our destiny with that of M. “Every one journeys towards happiness by the route he chooses. its purse. The Comte de la Fere puzzled his brains for some time. to divine what the musketeer could be going to do at Cannes. we will take our leave of you. had been for Athos and his son like a last farewell to the noise of the capital—to their life of former days. The reflections of Athos suggested nothing. Chapter XXX. to what was from his time styled the king’s service. What. de Beaufort. wherever a pin was missing. well. even the cousin of Truchen. my friend. d’Artagnan came here the other day—” “Aha?” “And remained several hours consulting a geographical chart. “Well. will. marked out with small pins. was a map of France. the present age in misfortune? Evidently neither of them had anything to ask of his contemporaries. I wish I were able to tell you—” “Oh. and with his finger. To have talked of D’Artagnan with Planchet. monsieur le comte. used it. which he brought to the comte. I am not the man to reproach a servant with discretion. with its blood. neither your affairs nor those of your master are in question.

le Prince. in a supreme degree. de Beaufort finished by giving away his horses and the hay from his lofts. reckoning upon you. which was more magnificent in selling it. and his table? Nobody knew.—a prince who had kept up a grand style of living. had been given to the servants. how could a man to whom ten thousand livres were owing. then. was what had happened. the art of making happy the creditors most to be pitied. after having carried away that present. “Do you know anything of the sea?” “Yes. monseigneur. with his piercing practiced glance. whether from respect or the persuasion that they would some day be paid. When he saw Athos and Raoul: “There is my aide-de-camp being brought to me!” he cried. “I wish I had what you have.—this fable had become a truth in the prince’s mansion. Thus. Every distressed man. The Oriental fable of the poor Arab who carried away from the pillage of palace a kettle at the bottom of which was concealed a bag of gold. should he. it might be called a general pillage. He made more than thirty happy with kitchen utensils. He found the admiral of France a little exalted. M. himself less than others. at which the guests had drunk long and deeply to the prosperity of the expedition. refuse to carry away a present worth six thousand. when he was placed amidst his cannons. saw what was going on at once. that is to say. many were seen bounding joyously along. The duke had no longer a dwelling-house—that had become useless to an admiral whose place of residence is his ship. every empty purse. monseigneur.” And to others. with the dessert. it is worth at least five hundred livres.” said the prince to Raoul.” Athos tried to find a passage through the heaps of linen and plate. and thirty more with the contents of his cellar. never to raise them again! But M.” The effect of which was—so truly is courtesy a current payment—that the prince constantly found means to renew his creditors. They repeated to each other. enhanced in estimation from having belonged to a descendant of Henry IV. from Richelieu to Louis XIV. the provision department. had bowed their heads. gloriously stamped with the arms of the prince. To some he said. he had no longer need of superfluous arms. “Ah! step over. I have traveled with M. or other fabulous stones. jewels. de Beaufort would lay his hands on all the riches pirates had robbed Christendom of since the battle of Lepanto. while pillaging his hotel. the gold and silver mines of Mount Atlas did not even obtain the honor of being named. How did he maintain his horses. The number of millions from these sources defied calculation. and of a blood which is not shed upon scaffolds. then. “I have but this silver ewer. that these treasures consisted in mines of diamonds. de Beaufort had calculated that he could not set out for Africa without a good round sum. why should they spare the property of him who spared it so little himself ? Such was the position of affairs. Athos and Raoul found the mansion of the duke in as much confusion as that of Planchet. arms. Many contractors paid themselves upon the offices of the duke. no more jewels. vicomte. He gave up everything. the remains. Why. I would give it you.. at the conclusion of which repast. de Beaufort was born a prince. de Beaufort only acted in this manner to prepare for a new fortune concealed beneath the Arabs’ tents. And throughout the house there was a joyous movement of people who believed they were plundering monseigneur. M. and whom everybody allowed to pass without jealousy. In fact. to whom nobody refused to become a creditor. he was distributing to his old creditors plate. and furniture. “Come hither. for he was rising from a table of fifty covers. found in him patience and sympathy for his position.” And De Beaufort gave Raoul the order. and. which the sea might rob him of. The prince was intoxicated with his ruin and his popularity at one and the same time.? And how. unless by the decree of peoples. under the weight of earthen jars and bottles. and the empty dishes and plates to the curious. The prince had. and brought him back double.—take it. could he refuse ten thousand livres more to this generous noble? This. attached very little value to things which tailors and saddlers set great store by. You will go before me as far as Antibes.down of the great—to Richelieu. that he was sent to Gigelli by the king to reconstruct his lost fortunes. “I had prepared it. step over!” said the duke. how many families had raised their heads! How many. likewise. set any store by the poor utensils of his past life? And reciprocally.” 154 .” “Here is the order. in order to find that sum. Still further. The duke. that the treasures of Africa would be equally divided between the admiral and the king of France. Anxious to carry home to their wives presents given them by monseigneur. Raoul scarcely moistened his lips. come hither. he was distributing to his friends everything of value he had in his house. his people.” “Yes. but he had three or four hundred thousand crowns fresh in his coffers. who was going in quest of such treasure. comte. He had drunk his old wine to the health of his wine of the future. In addition to the mines to be worked—which could not be begun till after the campaign—there would be the booty made by the army. who plundered the clothes-presses and the harness-rooms. This time he used no ceremony. “Here is your commission. was making his inventory. offering a full glass to Athos. The latter drank it. all these people went away with the conviction that M. Owing nearly two millions—an enormous amount in those days—M. Athos. Only there were then privileges for the sons of kings.

” “But I am sure you will.” “Humph! you are scolding me. Raoul is a cavalry officer. vicomte. to provision a fleet. so much real bravery. animated. But one finds that such fine young fellows as your son generally do all that is required of them. “and then you are acquainted with my ideas upon the expedition—plenty of noise. M. 155 . the mission with which you charge him is a troublesome and difficult one.” “The present order gives you the right to visit and search all the isles along the coast. war is to be waged among the Arabs with gold as well as lead. do not talk so grandly because you happen to have plenty of money. dear vicomte. monseigneur.” Athos interrupted the prince. pressing the hand of Athos. and cold.” replied the duke. “Comte.” “To be sure you will. “Keep your money. with the courteous egotism of his rank and age. “Ah.” Having spoken thus. as in Raoul. who replied with a smile.” “Bah!” “And in your naval arrangements. you will there make the enrolments and levies you may want for me. too.” He said this. but if he failed to arrange your embarkation. I shall go with Raoul. monseigneur. de Beaufort began to laugh. Now. if so it must be. and you. “Monseigneur. stiff. you have given him command of the first order. Alone it would be too much for him to execute.” “I hope not.” “Monseigneur. and. to assemble a flotilla. then.” “He may. and wine. because he will have some new crowns to offer you. and dry when I am all fire.” “And you are an active man. having Raoul at your elbow. No. he will give you a hundred of them. monseigneur. and you allow him a fortnight!” “I tell you he will do it. You do not observe. stiff. comte. stay with me!” “No. you are cold. I believe you will find nowhere so much zeal and intelligence.” “That may be true.” “Oh!” said Athos. if you wear such a face as that. I reckoned upon you. you would only meet the fate that you deserve. suppleness.” “I wish to try the contrary. monseigneur. plenty of fire. devil take me! I should always see you fasting. would take an admiral a year. you will spend much money. and that then. in presence of your strong-box. and will work freely.” “Yes.” “Monseigneur. to enroll your maritime force. you will be surprised to see him gay. My intendant has prepared the orders of a thousand livres. but I will go and help him. and still further believe that when we are once at Toulon you will not let him depart alone. “you are such people as a man should not see after dinner. The army must be prepared to embark in a fortnight at the very latest. I shall disappear in the smoke.“That is well. shaking his head. drawn upon the cities of the south. All these barges and lighters must be in attendance to form an escort and carry my provisions.” said he. but his mirth was not reciprocated by Athos and Raoul.” “That shall be done. and generous. you shall see me no more. monsieur le duc. I predict that within a month you will be dry.” “God grant it may be so!” cried the delighted duke. fasting. be gone. He perceived this at once.

thus?” “Humph!” murmured Raoul. in spite of the many difficulties that opposed the operation. and that they ought to have more charity. The fisherman informed him that six days previously.” The two gentlemen. Raoul. provisions will not be wanted. who administer justice among themselves and protect each other. sometimes more. I would have continued to do so still. He even feared to offend his friend. “if all are going to do as I am. Raoul was much affected at not meeting with D’Artagnan. The sacrifice was half accomplished. The journey passed off pretty well.” “Monsieur. And yet when Raoul commenced his labor of classing the flotilla. the heavens so clear. His affectionate heart longed to take a farewell and received consolation from that heart of steel. who. and they lost all traces of D’Artagnan at Antibes.” replied Athos. but the gentleman had arrived with an immense carriage case. as they speak to me here of God. or thwart him by too pressing inquiries. Athos knew from experience that D’Artagnan became impenetrable when engaged in any serious affair. and it was scarcely worth while to recommend you to M. But when you have been introduced to the prime commandant—when you have accepted the responsibility of a post in his army. sternly. then. according to the intensity of Raoul’s grief. He had even threatened. but about all those poor soldiers. sometimes less. one of the fishermen told the comte that his boat had been laid up to refit since a trip he had made on account of a gentleman who was in great haste to embark. believing that this man was telling a falsehood in order to be left at liberty to fish. you stand in need of nobody. It took them a fortnight to reach Toulon. and may my good luck attend you. talked over the wild freaks of the duke. that officers are ministers as useful to the world as priests. for Athos derived from his inquiries an assurance that such a cavalier as he described had exchanged his horse for a well-closed carriage on quitting Avignon.” “Monsieur. in the ensuing expedition. which you will see more clear still at Gigelli. I love you. which he insisted upon embarking. but his threats had procured him nothing but a shower of blows from the gentleman’s cane.” said the young man. as well as you.” “I love your reproaches. and got together the chalands and lighters to send them to Toulon. Raoul! do not let my words grieve you. and wish to see you perfect. the question is no longer about you. Athos and his son traversed France at the rate of fifteen leagues per day. convinced that France would be served in a very incomplete manner. de Beaufort. for the purpose of visiting the island of St. those heavens which we always find above our heads. Cheer up. let us be off. because they prove to me that some one loves me still. They were forced to believe that the captain of the musketeers was desirous of preserving an incognito on his route.” “Begone. Athos. but—” “You forget also that you are of a country that is proud of its military glory. and having summed up the ducal policy under the one word vanity. I know it and have practiced it. at sight of which the syndic. as regarded both spirit and practice. but do not die without honor and without advantage to France. have hearts and bodies. who will weep for their country and endure all the necessities of their condition. go and die if you like. after having agreed on this point. a man had come in the night to hire his boat. Raoul. they set forward. Swearing and grumbling. mildly. insisted upon having the details. and may your own good luck attend you likewise. which fell upon his shoulders sharp and long. Chapter XXXI. he had recourse to the syndic of his brotherhood at Antibes.” “Here is an expedition admirably commenced!” said Athos to his son. or your grief. enjoined obedience 156 . but the gentleman had exhibited a certain paper. and which will speak to you of me there. Remember. monsieur. whichever you please to call it. in obedience rather to their will than destiny. The Silver Dish. bowing to the very ground.” “And now. the weather is so fine. “do not be unjust and senseless in your egotism. If you set out for this war solely with the intention of getting killed therein. “No provisions—no store flotilla! What can be done. “they alone may cure me.“Patience! patience!” “Monseigneur. and so gain more money when all his companions were gone. The price was agreed upon. Honnorat. permit us to take our leave. whether on his own account or on the service of the king. The fisherman wished to retract.” “Adieu! monseigneur.

and so did I. “a man is a sailor. “You must know. what did you do. but when one of them turned out to be the devil. The gentleman took me by the collar.” “This is the way. monsieur. but below water. hadn’t I. and yet my boat was injured. there is in front of the square tower of the Benedictines. as a citizen is in his chamber. monsieur!” cried the fisherman. then. to cut the gentleman in two. “But all this does not tell us. “But after that. They then departed with the freight. and then. monsieur. and used it in such an astonishingly rapid manner. could be no match for two gentlemen. I was going. after she got afloat again. which came towards me threatening with its fist. something terrible to look upon. looking at Raoul. towards the southern point. and I had a right to do so. all at once—believe me or not. yet one I have cleared a thousand times. I was about to hurl my hatchet at his head. he knows his course.” “And that was—” said Athos.” “Well?” “Well. for the prow is left upon the point of Sainte-Marguerite’s. monseigneur.” “A rock?” asked Athos. I don’t know how. for we were within seven or eight hundred feet of the shore. my friend?” “I made my complaint to the governor of Sainte-Marguerite’s.” “Well. monsieur. We had the affront of the night before to pay him out for.” “Very strange! very strange!” repeated the comte. and there came out of it a sort of a phantom.” 157 . “how you injured your boat. I was obstinate.” said Athos. his head covered with a black helmet and a black mask. such as we are. that we neither of us could get near him. I was steering towards St.” “Oh!—but the travelers?” “Bah! you need not be uneasy about them! It was pretty plain that one was the devil. when. or he is nothing but a fresh-water lubber. “And what did you do?” asked the latter of the fisherman. we found nothing. Honnorat as the gentleman desired me. and pretended that I could not pass to the south of the abbey. a dangerous passage. for when we recovered the boat. the boat drifted into the sands of Sainte-Marguerite’s. My mate armed himself with a hatchet. not even the carriage or the case. we had no earthly chance! My companion and I did not stop to consult one another. “That was the devil. and wished to try the channel. and abused him for having been refractory. as there was a little wind from the southwest. with his Provencal accent. but he changed his mind.from the fisherman. with great glee. instead of finding these two creatures injured by the shock. on seeing him: ‘Ah! thank you. or he is not. But the gentleman drew his sword. we made but one jump into the sea. “Level with the water. monseigneur!’” “A most strange story!” murmured the comte.” “And why not?” “Because. who brought my finger under my nose by telling me if I plagued him with such silly stories he would have me flogged. for the gentleman. and protected the other. monsieur? for a sailor aboard is master. the bank of the Moines. and then?” “Why. seriously injured. that two poor men. and the carpenter asks a hundred and twenty livres to repair it. the gentleman required me to land him at Sainte-Marguerite’s. in self-defense. and told me quietly he would strangle me.” “What! did the governor himself say so?” “Yes. cried out. monsieur. monsieur—the great carriage case opened of itself.

At the same moment they heard a cry from the top of the donjon. and disappeared in the shade of his sentry-box. This man returned almost immediately without his basket. to punish him for his persistence in embarking. this inscription: “I am the brother of the king of France—a prisoner to-day—a madman to-morrow. One of the assailants—he who was about to fire—replied to these cries by an exclamation of surprise. A second dull noise was heard from the ditch. French gentlemen and Christians. and waited with a firm demeanor.“Very well. Athos and Raoul wandered for some time round the fences of the garden without finding any one to introduce them to the governor. the rabbit under the broom. had re-seized his loaded musket. at the expense of not killing the game or devastating the garden.” “We shall see to that. and. Who knows whether the hatchet or the iron bar of this miserable coaster has not succeeded in doing that which the best blades of Europe. “you will be exempted from the service. and bullets have not been able to do in forty years?” That same day they set out for Sainte-Marguerite’s. upon the terrace beneath the second and third court. Athos and Raoul. when a stroke upon a drum called the eight soldiers of the garrison to arms. harvesting wines. slept as the wave did beneath the heavens. The gentleman very much resembles D’Artagnan. offering nothing but a tiny bay for the convenience of embarkation. the governor was in a situation to be satisfied with a garrison of eight men to guard his fortress. Orange. its only guardian. called their attention from the donjon to the ground. They ended by making their own way into the garden. in the uncultivated parts. In fact. commenced an attentive examination of the dusty plate. With this compromise. pray to God for the soul and the reason of the son of your old rulers. The heavens spread their fiery veils as if to stifle all noises. “Yes. Alas! we are no longer the young invincibles of former days. on board a chasse-maree come from Toulon under orders. cowards as you are!” “Yes.” “I formed the same suspicion. for there is something to be cleared up. balls. that man does not seem to me to have told the truth. All at once they heard some one call out. Raoul. and at every step of the comte and Raoul a terrified rabbit quitted his thyme and heath to scuttle away to the burrow. In its cultivated part it served as a garden for the governor. the carriage was more likely to contain property than a man. are people assassinated here? Come down. And before they were able to ascertain what it was. Flat. red partridges ran about in conveys among the brambles and tufts of junipers. A musket-barrel glittered from the crest of the wall. to envelop all existences. and they 158 . and then disappeared. he who had cried out threw up the weapon. pomegranate. and the ball flew into the air. Athos and Raoul.” replied Raoul. monsieur. in characters traced upon the bottom of it with the point of a knife. and oranges. come down!” cried Raoul. approaching each other. A white smoke floated like a plume from the mouth of the musket. All round this garden. like a hand that was waved backwards and forwards—something shining. like a polished weapon struck by the rays of the sun. who was carrying a basket of provisions on his head. and raising their heads. The story of the masked man and the carriage having disappeared. and under the protection of the governor.” “We will go to Sainte-Marguerite’s. “Cordieu!” cried Athos. who went shares with them. The governor was a sort of happy farmer. The impression they experienced on landing was a singularly pleasing one. shall we?” said the comte to Bragelonne. and they discovered. arose like three heads upon turrets connected with each other by terraces covered with moss. this fortunate isle was uninhabited. seeing them disappear from the platform. Five minutes had not elapsed. figs. and fig trees bent beneath the weight of their golden or purple fruits. the fly under the leaf. returned to dine himself. encircled by a deep ditch. and a ball was flattened against a stone within six inches of the two gentlemen.” The plate fell from the hands of Athos whilst Raoul was endeavoring to make out the meaning of these dismal words. Raoul. The hand that had thrown this plate made a sign to the two gentlemen.” “Nor to me either. “What. in which twelve cannons accumulated coats of moldy green. oil. expected they would come down to them. smugglers made use of it as a provisional entrepot. and Raoul ran to pick up a silver plate which was rolling along the dry sand. and forced down that of his father likewise. Athos supposed he must have been carrying dinner to some one. as his companion. a luminous train. The island seemed loaded with flowers and fruits. accompanied by a hissing sound in the air. I recognize his methods of proceeding. as the man walked away. after having done so. Quick as lightning Raoul bent down his head. who wished to continue the attack. preserving his citrons and cedrates in the sun of his casemates. Go. Each living thing sought its shelter under grass or stone. Athos saw nothing living but a soldier. and. perceived in the frame of the bars of the window something of a white color. may be told to conceal some violence these fellows have committed upon their passengers in the open sea. The fortress. It was at the hottest time of the day. furiously shaking his fist at the castle.

“It is true?” “Silence! I tell you—silence! If he only believes you can read. they don’t know a word of French. followed by Athos. At the head of these men was an officer. “I was right.” And D’Artagnan. and emotion with him was not feigned. “I was sure I could not be mistaken!” “What is the meaning of this?” asked Athos. in a subdued voice. “but. then! Silence again!” The governor came up. when a well-known voice resounded behind them. I should not have missed you. “And is the gentleman who fired at us the governor of the fortress?” “In person. but—” “But—” said Athos and Raoul. “Well!” replied he. I love you. addressing the governor. Raoul was springing forward. whom Athos and Raoul recognized as the one who had fired the first musket. When he had read it.” “That plate—the prisoner has written something on it.” And. “Athos! Raoul!” “D’Artagnan!” replied the two gentlemen. “Oh! good heavens!” repeated he. my dear friends. “Well!” said he to D’Artagnan. “How!” said Athos. “Silence!—Here is the governor. to read the inscription.” “Ah!” said the governor. seized the plate. Ah! my dear friends. has he not?” “Yes.” “Good heavens! I was afraid he had. eagerly.” “We are going to be shot!” cried Raoul.” “And why did he fire at us? What have we done to him?” “Pardieu! You received what the prisoner threw to you?” “That is true. “But I could not save you from perpetual imprisonment if I saved you from death. Silence. “What! were we to be shot without warning?” “It was I who was going to shoot you. then?” said Athos. my dear friends. sharply. How fortunate it is that I am accustomed to take a long aim. last year.” 159 . a fearful pallor spread across his countenance.” said the captain. for he had run fast. if he only suspects you have understood.” “And what will he do to us? Is it our fault?” “It is true. I would willingly be killed for you. “And yet they were trying to read the inscription on the plate. and if the governor missed you. sword in hand. when their muskets are empty. having crossed the ditch upon a plank bridge. to his friends in a low voice. instead of firing at the instant I raise my weapon! I thought I recognized you. “Recover arms! Mordioux!” cried the captain to the soldiers. The man ordered the soldiers to “make ready. these gentlemen are two Spanish captains with whom I was acquainted at Ypres. with all the marks of mortal disquietude.showed themselves on the other side of the ditch with their muskets in hand. at least. let us leap the ditch! We shall kill at least two of these scoundrels. how fortunate!” And D’Artagnan wiped his brow. “what stops us?” “You are Spaniards—you do not understand a word of French. suiting the action to the word.

D’Artagnan.” said the governor. Captive and Jailers.” said Raoul. and whilst the governor was making some preparations for the reception of his guests. it does not follow that they should understand what is written. effacing the characters with the point of his sword. It does not take long to understand this. “That is because. “Come. the eight soldiers returned to their delightful leisure. and have you shot immediately afterwards. You came here. from your having orders to kill all those who do believe in it. They all turned towards the entrance of the fort. Besides. But he was obliged to make the best of it. half ironical—Athos and Raoul preserved the coolest.” said he. “and as you know that. however absurd it may be. but. D’Artagnan. who the king commands shall not be seen. A noble Spaniard. he has thrown something to you through the lattice of his window. And then—” “And then—you commanded us to be shot. “How!” cried the governor. most unconcerned silence. Athos.” said Athos. and it would be an honor to die by your hand—you. I was at dinner with the governor. ought never to know how to read. should have a son in the Isle of Sainte-Marguerite. I saw the object thrown.” “Ma foi! I admit it.” replied D’Artagnan. “that these gentlemen do not comprehend at least some words?” “Suppose they do! If they do understand a few spoken words. remember. it is under the penalty of death any one should penetrate it.” replied the captain of the musketeers—”because every calumny.” “Do not talk in such a childish manner.D’Artagnan took it out of his hands.” During this apostrophe—half serious. allow you to read it. and. but he was still tenacious.” “What the devil. promptly. I should have had the good fortune to die for the royal house of France. He addressed the two gentlemen in Spanish.” The fact is. and I saw Raoul pick it up.” “If you had killed me. Chapter XXXII. “Invite these gentlemen to come to the fortress. and I thought you in intelligence with my prisoner.” “It is simply this. if I was the first to seize a musket. “let us have a word of explanation whilst we are alone. the captain had quite another idea. a well-informed and sensible man. has the almost certain chance of becoming popular.” 160 . I will. its noblest and most loyal defender. “but because the king is not willing that the secret of his family should transpire among the people. is it possible. explain to me how it is possible Louis XIII. the incident being at an end. can place any faith in the nonsense written by an idiot?” “I do believe in it. giving them a polite invitation. When they had entered the fort. I was the last to take aim at you. I was about to propose it to you. bluntly.” “With so much the more reason. and cover with shame the executioners of the son of Louis XIII. or I shall begin to think you have lost your senses.” The governor was obliged to be satisfied with these explanations. “You don’t mean that you. Athos. according to the king’s orders.” replied the musketeer. They cannot even read Spanish. “That I will willingly do. do you mean by the royal house?” stammered D’Artagnan. “But.” replied Athos.” “No. “what are you doing? I cannot read them now!” “It is a state secret. my dear chevalier. for a moment disturbed by this unexpected adventure. and would have wished his friends a hundred leagues off. which they accepted. if you like. fortunately. I understood it. “I have conducted hither a prisoner.

” observed Raoul. Oh! I am acquainted with all that. I have seen Aramis. in a fishing-boat. “Aramis.“A son whom you have brought hither masked. “What is this man’s name? I don’t like the looks of him. The king will not dare to recall me. bewildered. “that I had brought hither in a boat and with a carriage a masked prisoner. quite at a stand. he contented himself with offering good cheer.” replied the captain. But it will happen as it may please God. ruined. coolly. and you will return to Paris?” “Ask these gentlemen. “whence do you know that a fishing-boat—?” “Brought you to Sainte-Marguerite’s with the carriage containing the prisoner—with a prisoner whom you styled monseigneur.” resumed the comte. with his customary mild severity. They rose from the table to repose awhile. suspicious and hard. then. D’Artagnan bit his mustache. “is your secret lost because I know it? Consult your memory. a fugitive.” “Oh! no.” said he.” “Ask Aramis such riddles. he would like to leave it. he regrets not having me near him. I am in the situation of a man who finds a treasure in the midst of a desert. “Oh!” said he. yes. “This is the way. not you!” “My friend.” D’Artagnan and his friends immediately resumed their parts. “I have something like a sinister idea that all who are concerned with this secret will die. and from being told 161 . but he cannot.” D’Artagnan’s head sunk on his breast in some confusion. The governor. my friend. cursed be the chance which has brought you face to face with me in this affair! for now—” “Well. “De Saint-Mars.” said Athos. “If it were true. the prince’s jailer?” “Eh! how can I tell? I may be kept at Sainte-Marguerite forever. “in which God turns to nothing that which men call wisdom! A fine secret must that be of which twelve or fifteen persons hold the tattered fragments! Athos. pursued. nothing proves that this prisoner must be a prince—a prince of the house of France. but he dares not. behaved towards D’Artagnan with a politeness almost amounting to obsequiousness. I suppose. What D’Artagnan had said was probable. “your not being certain proves that your situation here is provisional. and never taking his eye from them. “what was their purpose in coming to Saint-Marguerite?” “They came from learning there was a convent of Benedictines at Sainte-Honnorat which is considered curious. or to catch them off their guard. if the governor did not believe it to be quite true. He would like to carry it away. “He is. for no one else would serve him as faithfully as I do.” “The will of God be done!” said Athos.” “But.” cried the musketeer. and Aramis has told me enough to make me believe in the complaints this unfortunate young prince cut upon the bottom of the plate. With respect to the travelers.” said he.” replied D’Artagnan. in a tone of sadness. “but here is your governor. Athos and Raoul observed that he often tried to embarrass them by sudden attacks. “Have you seen Aramis?” “After his discomfiture at Vaux.” replied Athos. and die unhappily. but neither the one nor the other gave him the least advantage. from being aware that no one would be of so much service near his person as myself.” interrupted the governor. “Why not?” D’Artagnan was brought to a pause.” said Athos to D’Artagnan in Spanish.” said Athos. Have I not borne secrets heavier than this?” “You have never borne one so dangerous.

as well as yours. The whole island is but a league and a half in length. and left D’Artagnan alone with the pretended Spaniards.” “From habit.” “Bid me farewell! What do you mean by that? Is Raoul going anywhere?” “Yes. “here is a life and a society that suits me very little. a minute after.” replied D’Artagnan. mordioux! Come.” replied Saint-Mars. “To-morrow.” replied Athos. You always guess correctly. the walk will be beautiful. de Beaufort it is.” “With M. Raoul. Let us try to amuse ourselves. The first bleeds. “He has not recovered the blow?” said he to Athos.there was excellent shooting in the island.” “As you please.” said the musketeer. And he did not add a word to this exclamation. in a melancholy tone. “Oh!” exclaimed the musketeer.” D’Artagnan looked his friend earnestly in the face. and he bores me. M. let us have a shot or two at the rabbits. but to gain an opportunity for talking freely. who brought the gentlemen some guns. Then. “Raoul will die of it. leaning upon the arm of the cap162 . a real park. “He is struck to death. “answer me the question put to you by that black-looking Saint-Mars: what did you come to do at the Lerin Isles?” “To bid you farewell. D’Artagnan remarked his absence. there is a second envelope that forms a cuirass. not for the sake of amusing ourselves. I command this man. and listening to the voice of his soul. “You know one thing.” D’Artagnan made a sign to a soldier. Raoul is of a tempered nature. looking at the sea—looking at the heavens. his gun across his knees. D’Artagnan politely thanked him. “When will they depart?” added the governor. he allowed the sportsmen to attain a considerable distance from him.” continued the comte.” “Oh! your fears exaggerate. and not fatiguing.” “No. de Saint-Mars went to make his rounds. the second resists.” “And why do you not go with him?” “Because I could not bear to see him die. Around all hearts as noble as his.” Whilst the two friends were commencing their conversation. with his head hanging down and his heart oppressed. de Beaufort. “Why do you let him go?” “Because he insists on going. my dear friend.” “That is quite at their service. I hope.” “Then I will lay a wager it is with M. and then returned to the fort.” “Mordioux!” said D’Artagnan. seated himself on a mossy rock. D’Artagnan. “And now. with the breadth of a league.

and you come and tell him. rejoined Raoul and held out his hand to him. oh! I am old.” “I will not attempt to console him. Raoul! You have something to say to me?” “I have a kindness to ask of you. you say you have ever seen. Athos? Man upon this earth must expect everything. with your arms folded. I have a perfect conviction of that. Well! I have an incessant gnawing.” replied Bragelonne. he who sees others die. He who dies. what virtue do you attribute to a letter. D’Artagnan. speak. No. loses. of that man without an equal. but if he struck me so plainly and in that fashion. a little confused by this violent tempest of grief.” “Ought I to write to Mademoiselle de la Valliere?” “No. then. and continued his walk alone. I tell you. Now. I have preserved but two religions: that of life. if you please. cutting across the brambles. of your own D’Artagnan. Who knows?” “Try. and respect for God. A Christian gentleman ought not to curse his God.” “Never!” “Pray. D’Artagnan!” “Speak. then. For that only there is no remedy. it is enough to once have cursed a king!” “Humph!” sighed D’Artagnan. this is it—to know that I should no more meet on earth him whom I now behold with joy.tain. tell me!” “I am strong against everything. insurmountable fear that an hour will come in which I shall hold the dead body of that boy in my arms.” “Go and say them to her. to know that there would nowhere be a D’Artagnan any more. “Ask it. I should curse him. as you formerly called him. “you know that in the course of my life I have been afraid of but few things. gains. I will.” “But I have many things to say to her. my duty as a father—that of eternity. look you. After having worn myself out upon this earth of which you speak. you who have seen all that can be seen in this world! Why have you this fear. that you are afraid of witnessing the death of your son. “oh!” “He will die. but I am convinced you will not succeed.” “Listen to me. D’Artagnan. you must not. I will serve him. I know. I have no longer courage. which your speech might not possess?” 163 .” Athos shook his head. I pray God to spare me in my weakness. nowhere again be a Raoul. except against the death of those I love.” “You will some day return to France?” “I hope so. I have within me the revelation that if God should decree that my friend or my son should render up his last sigh in my presence—oh! no. friendship. Do you think this would be the first time a woman had repented of an infidelity? I will go to him.” “You will?” “Doubtless. but I would not see him die. love. “Let me speak to him. and ought to face everything. Athos. I cannot even tell you.” “Oh!” murmured D’Artagnan.” “How is this. my friend. Athos? you come and place yourself in the presence of the bravest man. “Well.

I would shed that drop. she was the bravest of women. bluntly. and because my devotedness. you whom she abandons.“Perhaps you are right. “I have only one fault to find with it. This error will cost me my life. You might continue to live near her. and my painful end will assure me. which would lead me to think slightly of your understanding. then. or lessening the esteem I had for you.” “D’Artagnan. and you will give her a letter which. It is much more delightful to me to die. as she has done. because. my dear D’Artagnan. Was she base or brave. Do you know one thing of which I am sure. that it is never base to do that which is imposed upon us by a superior force. who did not love me. what is passing in my heart. the king whom her heart commanded her imperiously to prefer to you? No. I pardon you.” “That is a very absurd word. ‘Go there. perhaps.” “To set off to see her again?” “No. or die. will you love me.’ why go. that of having left me to believe you loved me. “Will you do so?” “It would be base. in your eyes. but I cannot pardon myself. God has not made me in anything inferior to him you have chosen. loves better than she does the king.” “Ah!” exclaimed Raoul. I have allowed to escape. If your heart says to you. then. I wish to love her forever. If your happiness could be purchased by the last drop of my blood. save with anxiety. knowing that you are free and satisfied. when you will no longer fear either my presence or reproaches? You will love me. You will accept this last farewell. Many people tell me that you loved me enough to lead me to hope you would have loved me much. How much. to set off that I may never see her again. “And you. and where all love endures forever. and D’Artagnan read: “MADEMOISELLE. but after another fashion.” replied the musketeer. “that is a conclusion which I was far from expecting. and leads me only to blame myself. a certain superiority over him. I am sure that if I had persisted in endeavoring to change that friendship into love. will explain to her. mademoiselle. That idea takes from my mind all bitterness.—You are not wrong in my eyes in not loving me. Do. that by seeing her closely with the eyes of a jealous man—” “Well?” “Well! you would cease to love her. do you believe she loves the king?” “To idolatry.” He held the letter out. You have only been guilty of one fault towards me. It is said that happy lovers are deaf to the sorrows of rejected lovers. Please to understand. Her heart is inaccessible to any other feeling.” said D’Artagnan. Read it. You will see her again. Something told me I should see you to-day. with a passionate burst of repugnance at such a hideous hope. my sacrifice. you would have yielded out of a fear of bringing about my death.” “The letter reads very well.” “She loves the king. I drew it up last night. I willingly make the sacrifice of it to my misery! “RAOUL. It will not be so with you. and you will bless me for having taken refuge in the inviolable asylum where hatred is extinguished. she whom you loved. Raoul. “and she is an honest girl. my friend.” “Ha! I must confess.” Raoul started. VICOTME DE BRAGELONNE.” said the captain. Raoul?” “What is that?” “Why. Oblige yourself. in the candid credulity of my heart. the treasure I possessed. as to yourself. Adieu. and would be her best friend. if you think proper.” 164 . however charming a new love may appear to you. Raoul. in preferring the king to you. she.” “Then I am decided.” “This is what I wish.

“Tell me what that is!” said Raoul. “Why, it is that it tells everything, except the thing which exhales, like a mortal poison from your eyes and from your heart; except the senseless love which still consumes you.” Raoul grew paler, but remained silent. “Why did you not write simply these words: “’MADEMOISELLE,—Instead of cursing you, I love you and I die.’” “That is true,” exclaimed Raoul, with a sinister kind of joy. And tearing the letter he had just taken back, he wrote the following words upon a leaf of his tablets: “To procure the happiness of once more telling you I love you, I commit the baseness of writing to you; and to punish myself for that baseness, I die.” And he signed it. “You will give her these tablets, captain, will you not?” “When?” asked the latter. “On the day,” said Bragelonne, pointing to the last sentence, “on the day when you can place a date under these words.” And he sprang away quickly to join Athos, who was returning with slow steps. As they re-entered the fort, the sea rose with that rapid, gusty vehemence which characterizes the Mediterranean; the ill-humor of the element became a tempest. Something shapeless, and tossed about violently by the waves, appeared just off the coast. “What is that?” said Athos,—”a wrecked boat?” “No, it is not a boat,” said D’Artagnan. “Pardon me,” said Raoul, “there is a bark gaining the port rapidly.” “Yes, there is a bark in the creek, which is prudently seeking shelter here; but that which Athos points to in the sand is not a boat at all—it has run aground.” “Yes, yes, I see it.” “It is the carriage, which I threw into the sea after landing the prisoner.” “Well!” said Athos, “if you take my advice, D’Artagnan, you will burn that carriage, in order that no vestige of it may remain, without which the fishermen of Antibes, who have believed they had to do with the devil, will endeavor to prove that your prisoner was but a man.” “Your advice is good, Athos, and I will this night have it carried out, or rather, I will carry it out myself; but let us go in, for the rain falls heavily, and the lightning is terrific.” As they were passing over the ramparts to a gallery of which D’Artagnan had the key, they saw M. de Saint-Mars directing his steps towards the chamber inhabited by the prisoner. Upon a sign from D’Artagnan, they concealed themselves in an angle of the staircase. “What is it?” said Athos. “You will see. Look. The prisoner is returning from chapel.” And they saw, by the red flashes of lightning against the violet fog which the wind stamped upon the bank-ward sky, they saw pass gravely, at six paces behind the governor, a man clothed in black and masked by a vizor of polished steel, soldered to a helmet of the same nature, which altogether enveloped the whole of his head. The fire of the heavens cast red reflections on the polished surface, 165

and these reflections, flying off capriciously, seemed to be angry looks launched by the unfortunate, instead of imprecations. In the middle of the gallery, the prisoner stopped for a moment, to contemplate the infinite horizon, to respire the sulphurous perfumes of the tempest, to drink in thirstily the hot rain, and to breathe a sigh resembling a smothered groan. “Come on, monsieur,” said Saint-Mars, sharply, to the prisoner, for he already became uneasy at seeing him look so long beyond the walls. “Monsieur, come on!” “Say monseigneur!” cried Athos, from his corner, with a voice so solemn and terrible, that the governor trembled from head to foot. Athos insisted upon respect being paid to fallen majesty. The prisoner turned round. “Who spoke?” asked Saint-Mars. “It was I,” replied D’Artagnan, showing himself promptly. “You know that is the order.” “Call me neither monsieur nor monseigneur,” said the prisoner in his turn, in a voice that penetrated to the very soul of Raoul; “call me ACCURSED!” He passed on, and the iron door croaked after him. “There goes a truly unfortunate man!” murmured the musketeer in a hollow whisper, pointing out to Raoul the chamber inhabited by the prince.

Chapter XXXIII. Promises. Scarcely had D’Artagnan re-entered his apartment with his two friends, when one of the soldiers of the fort came to inform him that the governor was seeking him. The bark which Raoul had perceived at sea, and which appeared so eager to gain the port, came to Sainte-Marguerite with an important dispatch for the captain of the musketeers. On opening it, D’Artagnan recognized the writing of the king: “I should think,” said Louis XIV., “you will have completed the execution of my orders, Monsieur d’Artagnan; return, then, immediately to Paris, and join me at the Louvre.” “There is the end of my exile!” cried the musketeer with joy; “God be praised, I am no longer a jailer!” And he showed the letter to Athos. “So, then, you must leave us?” replied the latter, in a melancholy tone. “Yes, but to meet again, dear friend, seeing that Raoul is old enough now to go alone with M. de Beaufort, and will prefer his father going back in company with M. d’Artagnan, to forcing him to travel two hundred leagues solitarily to reach home at La Fere; will you not, Raoul?” “Certainly,” stammered the latter, with an expression of tender regret. “No, no, my friend,” interrupted Athos, “I will never quit Raoul till the day his vessel disappears on the horizon. As long as he remains in France he shall not be separated from me.” “As you please, dear friend; but we will, at least, leave Sainte-Marguerite together; take advantage of the bark that will convey me back to Antibes.” “With all my heart; we cannot too soon be at a distance from this fort, and from the spectacle that shocked us so just now.” The three friends quitted the little isle, after paying their respects to the governor, and by the last flashes of the departing tempest they took their farewell of the white walls of the fort. D’Artagnan parted from his friend that same night, after having seen fire set to the carriage upon the shore by the orders of Saint-Mars, according to the advice the captain had given him. Before getting on horseback, and after leaving the arms of Athos: “My friends,” said he, “you bear too much resemblance to two soldiers who are abandoning their post. Something warns me that Raoul will require being supported by you in his rank. Will you allow me to ask permission to go over into Africa with a hundred good muskets? The king will not refuse me, and I will take you with me.” 166

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” replied Raoul, pressing his hand with emotion, “thanks for that offer, which would give us more than we wish, either monsieur le comte or I. I, who am young, stand in need of labor of mind and fatigue of body; monsieur le comte wants the profoundest repose. You are his best friend. I recommend him to your care. In watching over him, you are holding both our souls in your hands.” “I must go; my horse is all in a fret,” said D’Artagnan, with whom the most manifest sign of a lively emotion was the change of ideas in conversation. “Come, comte, how many days longer has Raoul to stay here?” “Three days at most.” “And how long will it take you to reach home?” “Oh! a considerable time,” replied Athos. “I shall not like the idea of being separated too quickly from Raoul. Time will travel too fast of itself to require me to aid it by distance. I shall only make half-stages.” “And why so, my friend? Nothing is more dull than traveling slowly; and hostelry life does not become a man like you.” “My friend, I came hither on post-horses; but I wish to purchase two animals of a superior kind. Now, to take them home fresh, it would not be prudent to make them travel more than seven or eight leagues a day.” “Where is Grimaud?” “He arrived yesterday morning with Raoul’s appointments; and I have left him to sleep.” “That is, never to come back again,” D’Artagnan suffered to escape him. “Till we meet again, then, dear Athos—and if you are diligent, I shall embrace you the sooner.” So saying, he put his foot in the stirrup, which Raoul held. “Farewell!” said the young man, embracing him. “Farewell!” said D’Artagnan, as he got into his saddle. His horse made a movement which divided the cavalier from his friends. This scene had taken place in front of the house chosen by Athos, near the gates of Antibes, whither D’Artagnan, after his supper, had ordered his horses to be brought. The road began to branch off there, white and undulating in the vapors of the night. The horse eagerly respired the salt, sharp perfume of the marshes. D’Artagnan put him to a trot; and Athos and Raoul sadly turned towards the house. All at once they heard the rapid approach of a horse’s steps, and first believed it to be one of those singular repercussions which deceive the ear at every turn in a road. But it was really the return of the horseman. They uttered a cry of joyous surprise; and the captain, springing to the ground like a young man, seized within his arms the two beloved heads of Athos and Raoul. He held them long embraced thus, without speaking a word, or suffering the sigh which was bursting his breast to escape him. Then, as rapidly as he had come back, he set off again, with a sharp application of his spurs to the sides of his fiery horse. “Alas!” said the comte, in a low voice, “alas! alas!” “An evil omen!” on his side, said D’Artagnan to himself, making up for lost time. “I could not smile upon them. An evil omen!” The next day Grimaud was on foot again. The service commanded by M. de Beaufort was happily accomplished. The flotilla, sent to Toulon by the exertions of Raoul, had set out, dragging after it in little nutshells, almost invisible, the wives and friends of the fishermen and smugglers put in requisition for the service of the fleet. The time, so short, which remained for father and son to live together, appeared to go by with double rapidity, like some swift stream that flows towards eternity. Athos and Raoul returned to Toulon, which began to be filled with the noise of carriages, with the noise of arms, the noise of neighing horses. The trumpeters sounded their spirited marches; the drummers signalized their strength; the streets were overflowing with soldiers, servants, and tradespeople. The Duc de Beaufort was everywhere, superintending the embarkation with the zeal and interest of a good captain. He encouraged the humblest of his companions; he scolded his lieutenants, even those of the highest rank. Artillery, provisions, baggage, he insisted upon seeing all himself. He examined the equipment of every soldier; assured himself of the health and soundness of every horse. It was plain that, light, boastful, egotistical, in his hotel, the gentleman became the soldier again—the high noble, a captain—in face of the responsibility he had accepted. And yet, it must be admitted that, whatever was the care with which he presided over the preparations for departure, it was easy to perceive careless precipitation, and the absence of all the precaution that make the French soldier the first soldier in the world, because, in that world, he is the one most abandoned to his own physical and 167

Gaining their hostelry. every dip of the prow plowed up this gulf of white flames. to tell you that I had a friend.—poor atoms mixed up with this monstrous universe. such a spectacle. coldly. he is good and generous. and in what respect not?” “Because I have given you reason to think that life has but one face. wishing to do so. I fell once. Sometimes the grinding of the chains was mixed with the dull noise of shot falling into the holds. men are more engaged in their own interests and their own pleasures than they were in ours. collecting all his ideas and all his courage. quite straight. or appearing to have satisfied. In the roadsteads maneuvered silently the vessels which had just taken their rank to facilitate the embarkation. I bless you. on a level with the rocks themselves. whence the view is infinite and embraces a liquid horizon which appears. “we have before us a beautiful spectacle!” “How good D’Artagnan is!” interrupted Athos. I believed that I should always be as I was. but they. de Guiche. that is a great happiness. we suffer like those great ships. monsieur. I had ever watching over me your vigilance and strength. The feet of Raoul were over the edge of the cliff. as it always is in these happy climes. sad and severe. carried along by the fearful whirl of their blind chase.” 168 . “but I believe. dissipated. and moreover he loves me. monsieur! you are nothing in my past but happiness—in my future but hope! No. it was love. I have no reproach to make against life such as you made it for me. it is the constancy natural to my character. loaded with phosphoric light. under a pretext of service. as the breath of God blows us towards a port.” “I have not been a friend for you. no. and that once deprived me of courage for the whole of my life. The sea. We four. which are worn out in plowing the waves. they took their repast in haste. Raoul. I thought God had cast me in a path quite clear. Athos had seated himself with his son. were heard murmuring their slow and artless songs. He invited the comte had his son to dine with him. kept themselves apart. They prove to me that you will act a little for me in the time to come. so that at this moment I repent of not having made of you a more expansive. so remote is it. upon the moss. as precious and as strong as that of which you speak. furnished much more resistance when misfortune presented itself. which was ordered the next morning at daybreak. Nothing prepared me. it is not you who have made me what I am. and I love you ardently. suddenly. bathed in that void which is peopled by vertigo. unrolled a silver sheet on the cerulean carpet of the sea. alas! I have always cut off for you. opened beneath the hulls of the barks that transported the baggage and munitions. Athos. animated man. The moon.” “Monsieur. and everything seems beautiful to living things. It is quite true that I wrecked myself. rejoicing in the largesses of the admiral. vast gray mountains. caressing with light the neighboring peaks. when the watery mirror was illumined in its full extent. Raoul. oppress the heart like fear. The night was fine. “and what a rare good fortune it is to be supported during a whole life by such a friend as he is! That is what you have missed. in the times in which you live. I believed myself to be vigilant and strong. since it is yours. rising behind the rocks. All things having satisfied.” resumed the comte. in obeying the wind that urges them towards an end. which took me at the time when children only have inclinations. monsieur. When the moon had risen to its fullest height. monsieur. situated under the trees of the great Place. Raoul. You have sought a secluded life. and that that friend is M. he paid his compliments to Raoul. which with other creatures is but habit. and dilate it like hope. de Guiche is an agreeable companion. and provokes to self-annihilation. from every oar dropped liquid diamonds. because. Raoul. God knows.” said Athos.” “My dear Raoul. Around their heads passed and repassed large bats. “I have wanted a friend!” “M. monsieur.” “I have not interrupted you. Certes. bordered with fruits and flowers. we sigh like those waves. said: “God has made all these things that we see. But I have lived under the guardianship of another friendship. without. “Eh! monsieur. the joyous buds that spring incessantly from the fair tree of youth.” “I shall only act for you. We shine like those fires and those stars. No. Everything likes to live.” said Raoul. the admiral. and gave the last orders for sailing. and the little red fires had made their openings in the black masses of every ship. Such harmonies. Oh. All this life speaks of death. The sailors. your words do me good. and Athos led Raoul to the rocks which dominate the city.” “A friend!” cried Raoul. He has made us also. among the brambles of the promontory. but you have lost your strength thereby.moral resources. more weaned from those delicate abstractions that constitute your joy.” “I know why you say that.

instead of living and holding ourselves prisoners. do you not. be assured you will send me. and will be sure not to forget me. that your duty as aide-de-camp should lead you into too hazardous enterprises. Raoul. and you will give me.” “I will do all you may command. monsieur. I will give you the capital of my estates. I will be your friend.” “We love each other too dearly. monsieur. “Besides. And that will be soon.” replied the young man. monsieur! with sobriety. Raoul?” “Every night. “but you may be certain that I will never pass an hour without thinking of you. I will henceforward do.” “No. Promise me that if anything evil should happen to you. Whenever you may be sad. what I have never hitherto done with respect to you. Those who are not pitied. calm and mild. for such an expedition cannot last long. “for. with a smile which chilled the heart of his poor father. have died to little purpose. It will suffice for launching you into the world till my death. and I am one also. Still further. in which we separate. and assassinations. not your father. as you are a good Christian. unless I shall be dead. Raoul. and when you smile on thinking of me. the conqueror laughs. monsieur. and should not dwell wherever we may dwell. and I have very good fortune.” “So it is said. monsieur. we ought to reckon upon a more special protection of God and His guardian angels. I swear.“Raoul. “in twenty combats through which I have been. indeed. During my early youth I saw you in my dreams. You have gone through your ordeal. “It is not necessary.” said Raoul. a vital scintillation of your joy. and that it was which made me sleep so soundly—formerly. when you come back. on any occasion. Do you clearly understand what I am saying to you. before that time. the consolation of not seeing my race extinct. not one hour. almost choked with emotion. You. you will think of me at once. Raoul.” “There is never much glory in falling in an ambuscade.” 169 . monsieur.” “I will not promise you to be joyous. I feel that my heart will be dissolved in sadness.” the young man hastened to add. “the climate to be dreaded: that is an ugly end.” “Oh. ambuscades.” “And will call upon me?” “Instantly. and we Frenchmen ought not to allow stupid infidels to triumph over our faults. We will live in expanding ourselves.” “Soon. Raoul? God forbid I should encourage you to avoid encounters. “that from this moment. he who falls in one meets with but little pity. instead of living moderately on my income. de Beaufort a promise that his dispatches shall be sent off every fortnight to France. I have only received one scratch.” “First and at once! Oh! yes.” said Raoul.” “You dream of me sometimes. Raoul. you are known to be a true man under fire.” “There is in addition.” “I am naturally prudent. monsieur.” said Raoul. soon. It is a death which always implies a little rashness or want of foresight. as his aide-de-camp. from however remote a distance. with reasonable exercise—” “I have already obtained from M. then. rather than the fever. much agitated. with one hand stretched out over my head. a portion of both our souls should not travel with one and the other of us. I hope. will it not?” “Certainly. Raoul.” said the comte. to die of fever! King Saint-Louis prayed God to send him an arrow or the plague. will be charged with expediting them. Remember that war with Arabs is a war of snares. Often.” said Athos.

But I should not like you to want for anything at Gigelli. M. The ordonnance colors. who in his anxiety had tracked his master. Athos threw his cloak over the shoulders of Raoul. no. mixed with those of his young master. left the white-colored flag. and was there awaiting him. as you are not actually in the service of the king or M. “an aide-de-camp ought not thus to quit his general. and I am certain it will be agreeable to you to purchase horses and arms. At that moment the drums suddenly rolled.Athos could contain himself no longer. “Have the kindness to tell the prince. some friendly heart to recall to him all he loved!” “I?” said Grimaud. if you would please me. followed after.” The officer set off at a gallop. de Beaufort. have you not?” “Alone?” said Grimaud. “Monsieur le comte prefers my going. They advanced to the number of five. marched gayly towards the transports.” “Yes. faced with blue. Athos. “Alas!” said Athos. “No.” added the comte. pikemen in the center. where burdens and porters were already in motion.” said Grimaud. Raoul. “But. “You. quartered cross-wise. “you cannot leave monsieur le comte thus alone. and the clarions filled the air with their inspiring notes. touched to the inmost heart. de Beaufort’s train will be splendid. Here are two hundred pistoles.” “So much the better. and held him embraced with all the power of his heart. “Oh! my good Grimaud. Navarre. Normandy. was deaf to every noise around him. monsieur le comte. he shall not be left alone in a strange land without some friendly hand to support him. monsieur. that the vicomte will join him immediately. fourteen feet in length. with an inexpressible depth of feeling and intelligence. The regiments of Picardy.” He carefully brushed the dust from his son’s coat. with a sprinkling of golden fleurs-de-lis. “and you are not prepared. no. Musketeers at the wings. he threw his arm round the neck of his son. At the extremity of the plateau which Athos and Bragelonne were quitting.” said he. “what do you want? You are come to tell us it is time to be gone. which carried them in detail to the ships.” “No. M.” again objected Raoul. they saw a dark shadow moving uneasily backwards and forwards. my good Grimaud. “But the embarkation is begun. “it is no less a separation. with its fleur-de-lised cross. “that I request he will allow me this hour to enjoy the company of my father. boiling with the ardor of a young man.” said Raoul. violet and dead leaf. a golden band surrounded the horizon. and passed his hand over his hair as they walked along. showing the keys of his trunks. and led him back to the city. “you want money. each composed of forty companies.” said Grimaud.” 170 . Raoul shall not go alone.” said Athos. Royals marched first. Raoul. which are very dear things in Africa. to dominate the whole. de Beaufort had known well how to select his troops. absorbed in melancholy meditation. and are simply a volunteer. you must not reckon upon either pay or largesse. superintended the embarkation of Raoul’s baggage in the admiral’s vessel. Now.” replied the latter. whom you have never quitted?” Grimaud turned his diamond eyes upon Athos and Raoul. addressing Athos and pointing to Raoul in a tone of reproach. with their lances. and Royal Vaisseau. yes. It was Grimaud.” cried Raoul. as if to measure the strength of both.” said Raoul. announcing the approach of the day. “Oh! you are right!” cried the comte. “I do. distinguished by their white uniform. like a vast ant-hill. The regiments destined for the expedition began to debouch from the city. “you are very old. The moon began to be now eclipsed by twilight. “But. Please to tell the prince. which showed to what an extent the old man was troubled. He himself was seen closing the march with his staff—it would take a full hour before he could reach the sea. Grimaud. An officer came quickly towards them to inform Raoul that M. spend them. you!” cried Raoul.” said Athos. “Whether we part here or part there. The comte uttered not a word. Raoul with Athos turned his steps slowly towards the beach. de Beaufort was anxious to have him by his side. with their forked sticks and their muskets on their shoulders. with his arm passed through that of the son he was about to lose. as if in indecision or ashamed to be seen. in order to take his place when the prince embarked. by an inclination of the head.

and vanish as soon as seen. at the turning of a street. It was. nothing but remembrances. overcome by fear and sad presentiments. for a few moments. the soldiers and sailors exchanged the last kisses with their families and friends. and scarcely the tops of the masts dominated the incandescent limit of the sea. “Adieu!” cried Raoul. in one same thought. his eyes fixed. This was the smoke of a cannon. in which. Among Women. on quitting the sands of the shore. always listening. “mind. very much affected. And from that moment.” “Then. Chapter XXXIV. The duke called Raoul. and pressed him convulsively to his heart. in order to obey the more promptly: “Rabaud. forgetful of ceremony. which responded by graceful curvets to the applause of the women of the city. that the leader had placed his foot on board his vessel. the oars of which. everything bitter. He asked himself why the king had sent for him back. deaf. and.” said the duke. we must travel thirty leagues a day. very much as Porthos might have done. from white to nothing. captain. D’Artagnan had not been able to hide his feelings from his friends so much as he would have wished. and the rich life that was circulating in their veins. D’Artagnan. wishing to spare the tears of these two men. a supreme moment. responded to by immense acclamations from the shore. gave up his thoughts to nothing—that is to say.” said he. his mouth open. to human weakness. like a true centaur. This kiss given. disappeared for Athos—disappeared very long after. He himself. but he felt something burning on his hand: it was the respectful kiss of Grimaud—the last farewell of the faithful dog. But as to saying exactly what the king’s wish was. jumped into his boat. a silent servant. the impassive man-at-arms. Every instant took from him one of the features. forgetful of both the admiral and the fleet. D’Artagnan found himself completely at a loss. Athos replied only by a sign. and of his own dignity as a strong man. carried away boats and faces to that distance at which men become nothing but points. and Athos returned with slow and painful step to his deserted hostelry. with such a kindly expression that the heart of the poor father even felt a little comforted. accommodating his action to the pace of the horse. they saw M. In vain the cannon thundered. The point was buried in its turn beneath the sky. everything appeared black. abandoned. he remained confounded with Raoul—in one same look. passing from black to pale. the warmth of the sun.—loves. and held out his hand to the comte. “Accompany us on board. by degrees. with its formidable voice. of the perfumes of the air. whose hearts were bursting. When. when the sun devoured space. the smoke obscured the cherished object of his aspirations. de Beaufort. Towards midday. therefore. to all the eyes of the spectators. de Beaufort ordered to be fired as a last salute to the coast of France. he knew right well that the king’s calling him was from necessity. Athos saw his son ascend the ladder of the admiral’s ship. With his arms hanging down. he took Raoul in his arms and placed him in the boat. vicomte. in vain from the ship sounded the long and lordly tumult.Raoul pressed the hand of his father. “you will gain a good half-hour. Athos seated himself on the mole. why the Iron Mask had thrown the silver plate at the feet of Raoul.” said Athos. opened his arms to his son. And paternally. at a signal. in vain did the noise deafen the ear of the father. Athos. at the most. I do not wish to voice a second. must experience an imperious desire for a private conversation with one whom the possession of such a secret placed on a level with the highest powers of the kingdom. stunned. nay. mounted on a magnificent white genet. upon the reason which had urged the 171 . turning towards his lackey. “my farewell has been spoken. It was customary for the admiral and his suite to embark last. The musketeer had no doubts. tenderly. The stoical soldier. and place himself in such a manner as to be always an object in the eye of his father. he saw him lean upon the rail of the deck. Grimaud jumped from the step of the mole upon the stem of a two-oared yawl. He spoke to him for some time. one of the shades of the pale face of his son. Raoul appeared to him to the last moment. the reply was negative. embark—embark quickly!” added the prince. everything created doubts of Providence. notwithstanding the clearness of the heavens. which had just been taken in tow by a chaland served by twelve galley-oars. he had silenced his heart and calmed the agitation of his nerves. and the imperceptible atom. and pushed it off with a vigorous foot. The sea.” “At your pleasure. had disappeared both gallant ships and swelling sails. immediately were dipped in the waves. As to the first subject. evident to both father and son that their walk amounted to nothing less than a punishment.” “No. Athos perceived a soft aerial shadow rise. had yielded. to everything. the cannon waited to announce. of God. There was a terrible moment—that at which. which M.” replied Rabaud. from pale to white. however. either. He still further knew that Louis XIV. in one same stupor.

and had fallen into the sea. He saw them both. in the state of heart in which he had left him. as he would formerly have done. Bracieux. and that his principal complaint was one which physicians do not usually cure. hunted so lazily that. de Saint-Aignan. and his terrible reputation had conciliated as much friendship among the men as admiration among the women. gallant. “Where had he been? What had become of him so long? Why had they not seen him as usual make his fine horse curvet in such beautiful style. tracked. reflected on the prodigious genius of Aramis. dishonored even to the timber. fugitives. a genius of acumen and intrigue. But Porthos. took off his boots. D’Artagnan. who still did not cure him. which the rapidity of his pace did not dissipate. Thus. that Monsieur. The king did not expect him so soon. Generous in spirit. exiled to a country where the men seemed little more than slaves of the elements. no longer verses. and every time that one of these griefs struck him. ruined—laborious architects of fortunes they had lost. perhaps. carried to La Valliere at the risk of foundering his horses. Philippe. during the last fortnight. a match to which the Fronde and the civil war had produced but twice. Soldier. thinking as constantly. and that M. D’Artagnan found La Valliere the center of the circle. that the queen-mother was ill and much depressed. if he could but open the conversation on Raoul. Fouquet. like one of those fine trees a worm has punctured. “From Spain?” “Eh! eh!” said the musketeer. as it used formerly to do. perhaps. exactly where the captain of the musketeers had some guards to inspect. This was a very easy affair. to see Pierrefonds. razed to the very stones. was exhibiting a devotional turn. and. opened the attack by questions. to the delight and astonishment of the curious from the king’s balcony?” He replied that he had just come from the land of oranges. at the moment of reaching the goal. a homage of which Madame had been so proud. therefore. and as the king called for his man of execution in hours of vengeance and malice. the obscurity of the future which threatened to end in a melancholy death. than the queen. that M. notwithstanding. de Guiche was gone to one of his estates. the king’s brother. to see Mousqueton without gold lace. and. while the king was hunting. riding fast. Louise might give him grounds for writing a consolatory letter to the poor exile. Louise was walking with some other ladies in one of the galleries of the Palais Royal. he resolved to profit by the absence of the king to have a minute’s talk with Mademoiselle de la Valliere. Towards the end of his career. the king’s favorite received. Aramis had never taken the good things of this life except as stepping-stones to rise to giddier ends. had nothing more to see than odious specters in this world. D’Artagnan did not doubt that. if he had something to engage his mind. avaricious. more. and had just departed for the chase towards Meudon. received. in spite of the royal smile. This set all the ladies laughing. never did the man of healthy body fail to find life light. deprived even of the society of D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan was told. but. had a bath. Fouquet consulted a fresh physician every day. when the winded horse breathed hard from his red nostrils. He directed his course. was life to two men. who had loaded him with honors and delicate attentions. Those were times in which everybody traveled.unfortunate Philippe to reveal his character and birth. “From the land of oranges?” cried Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente. wrote to her frequently. D’Artagnan trembled at the very idea of receiving some commission that would make his very soul bleed. like a queen. D’Artagnan. imprisoned. harmless Porthos! To see Porthos hungry. but in which. which M. priest. and waited till his majesty should return dusty and tired. as the political Pleiad of the day said. the air of the house. therefore. and hope. as people say. nevertheless. he bounded like a horse at the sting of a gadfly beneath the vaults of foliage where he has sought shady shelter from the burning sun. and that whole pages at a time. that sun of court trees. cunning. Never was the man of spirit subjected to ennui. diplomatist. The king. D’Artagnan learned that Mademoiselle de la Valliere had become indispensable to the king. it was said. had been gloomy. instead of riding after the king. D’Artagnan passed from these considerations to the remembrance of the proscribed Porthos and Aramis. although no squire of dames. deer and pheasants were left to the free enjoyment of their nature. he had made a false step upon a plank. as is not unfrequently the case with fair ladies. he was polite. D’Artagnan then thought of the wishes of poor Raoul. left to more freedom of thought. Philippe. if he did not take her with him. ascending hills. He learned that the king. as a brave man always is. was the sun. He occupied the interval of five hours in taking. but the surintendant.—these were so many poignant griefs for D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan. In her apparent solitude. and did not allow him to be ever out of his sight. they immediately accosted him. during his sporting excursions. the destiny which had so strangely brought Athos to participate in the great state secret. and heaved his flanks. On seeing him enter. or at least consolation for Raoul. good. he poured himself forth in complaints. prose. all this threw D’Artagnan incessantly back on lamentable predictions and forebodings. the art of venery ran great risk of degenerating at the court of France. if not lofty in heart. which was much worse. 172 . that the king. He learned that M. who were very dear to our captain. when all the king’s looks were directed to her and commanded the looks of the courtiers. alighted from his horse in Pairs. and in arming himself against all ill chances. and on the crown of his hat scrawling bombastic phrases. and as D’Artagnan loved to philosophize a little occasionally. that Madame had the vapors. fresh and tender in his muscles as the athlete preparing for the gymnasium. buried forever beneath a mask of steel. During this time. the farewell of Raoul. to the spot where he knew he should find Mademoiselle de la Valliere. touched to the heart. of that desponding letter destined for a woman who passed her life in hoping. if his body was exposed to fatigue. unless they are political physicians. aide-de-camp in perpetuity. The manner in which the musketeer had been near killing his two best friends. civilities and attentions from the ladies. the first king in the world was seen descending from his horse with an ardor beyond compare. behaved in the kindest manner to M. the captain. like the patrician Fuscus. despair beginning to devour him. a journey of a hundred leagues was a problem often solved by death. in the belief that his revelations would raise up some avenger for him. he never did ill but for the sake of shining even yet more brilliantly. Colbert was radiant. Sometimes. was declining daily.

“When we know we cannot constitute the happiness of a man. coldly. it is much better to cast him off. “No. de Bragelonne—” La Valliere became pale. “Eh. I saw everything. “Mademoiselle. La Valliere was evidently confused. “As plainly as I see you.” continued Athenais. de Manchy. then. and D’Artagnan had time to observe and reflect that women—mild doves—treat each other more cruelly than tigers. mademoiselle?” stammered the unfortunate girl. at this moment. it is true they are not white—they are yellow. “Do you know what my opinion is?” continued she. “that there is a great sin on your conscience?” “What sin. desponding men. she determined to make her blush likewise. “Mademoiselle. in an affected tone. ladies.” “Well.” said she. “And the fleet?” “Yes. “Eh! do not disparage it.” “My opinion is. with persistent malice.” interrupted D’Artagnan. you cast him off. there were M. Resuming the conversation without pause.” “Have you seen the army?” asked several warlike fair ones. “He will make amends for his loss. “but that is not the sin Mademoiselle de la Valliere has to reproach 173 .” Some of the ladies laughed. that is a right which every honest woman has.” “So much the better for M.” “Cast him off! or refuse him!—that’s all very well.” said Montalais.“From Malta?” echoed Montalais. Montalais coughed loud enough to waken the dead. But making La Valliere pale did not satisfy Athenais. but I should like very much to know it. “M. but all in vain. M. looking round her for support. what!—is he gone to the wars?—he!” Montalais trod on her toe. mademoiselle. “I will not give you the trouble of seeking any further. “Ma foi! You are coming very near. “Why. “Eh!—why. “Do you know. addressing D’Artagnan. without finding it. he loved you.” said Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente.” replied D’Artagnan. de Bragelonne!” cried the perfidious Athenais. embarking for Algiers. “the poor young man was affianced to you. “you are in error when you speak of black women at Gigelli.” “Yellow!” exclaimed the bevy of fair beauties.” said D’Artagnan. Poor fellow!” A profound silence followed these words. I come from the country where M.” said Athenais. Louise. whom love has treated ill. de Bragelonne. that all the men who go to this war are desperate. “yes. but in a manner to attract attention to a question that was not without its calculated aim.” “Is it an island?” asked La Valliere. de la Guillotiere. M. and who go to try if they cannot find jet-complexioned women more kind than fair ones have been. de Beaufort is.” replied D’Artagnan. I have never seen a finer color to match with black eyes and a coral mouth.” “Have we any of us any friends there?” said Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente. the women there have not jet faces.

and D’Artagnan bowed. struck unto death. “Enough!” said he.” said D’Artagnan.” said he. roughly and unkindly.” replied he. to desire you to go and prepare my lodgings at Nantes. but as soon as he saw D’Artagnan. monsieur le capitaine. half-dead. a frown came over his brow. with his eyes. who bowed to him—”Ah! monsieur!” cried he. The moment they were out of the reach of curious ears. in a voice broken by anger and pain. then. drew back. The king led the way out of the gallery. sire. “Whom did you see there?” “A great many persons. sire. on observing he wished to speak privately with his captain of the musketeers. The first glance of the king was directed towards the empty seat of his mistress.” Louise pressed her hand over her icy brow.herself with. “Were you at Antibes. when they were far enough removed from the others—”What I had to say to you. and to wars in which death is so very likely to be met with. seek the shade of the thicket in which to die. The maids of honor and the courtiers. She disappeared at one door. holding Louise on his arm.” “What did he say on the road?” “Nothing. coolly. “the prisoner?” “Is in his prison.” She uttered a faint cry.” replied the king. “This evening—to-morrow—to-morrow evening.” “When shall I set out?” said the captain. I was setting off when monsieur le duc arrived. “when Monsieur de Beaufort came there?” “No.” “Ah!” which was followed by a fresh silence. “I have two demands to make of them: I wish to be there. caught at the arm of the captain of the musketeers. whose face betrayed unusual emotion.” Louise. The actual sin is sending poor Bragelonne to the wars. “Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente has just expressed. The king perceived he was unwilling to speak. “you will have killed him. “You wished to speak with me.” “At Nantes!” cried D’Artagnan. “I have sent for you. Louis walked about his cabinet with hasty steps. it is true but still in its entirety. “Well! Monsieur d’Artagnan. Many men would have been ready to lay down their lives for such a speech from the king. it is in Bretagne. mademoiselle.” The king became pale. whose absence he could not account for. sire. like one of those poor birds which.” This was the superlative expression of royal satisfaction. after having again. pierced to the heart by this new wound.” “Yes. for you must stand in need of rest. sire. “And if he dies. who had formed a respectful circle round the king on his entrance. at the moment the king was entering by another.” said he.” 174 . Will you majesty make so long a journey as to Nantes?” “The States are assembled there. “you have been diligent! I am much pleased with you. “What had you to say to me?” D’Artagnan made several steps along the gallery. Not perceiving La Valliere. That is the sin. Monsieur d’Artagnan. The—the prisoner defended me instead of attempting to fly. sire.” continued her pitiless tormentor.” “I have rested. “In Bretagne. sought everywhere for La Valliere. and did his best to kill me.” “What did he do?” “There was a moment at which the fisherman—who took me in his boat to Sainte-Marguerite—revolted. she went her way.” said she.

which I hear is very ill arranged. sire. disappeared. you will adopt the practice of placing musketeers at the door of each of the principal dignitaries I shall take with me. Then between this and to-morrow evening. from thence to Belle-Isle?” As he reached the great gates. “Monsieur d’Artagnan! I beg your pardon—” “What is the matter. but one more word. captain of the guards. le Duc de Gesvres. Monsieur Ariste?” 175 . sire. want the musketeers?” And the eye of the king sank beneath the penetrating glance of the captain. doubtless. as he descended from the stairs.” replied Louis.” said he. but. Be sure that your musketeers are placed before his guards arrive. sire! Is it likely that M. “Why did he not dare to say. de Gesvres should question me?” And the musketeer. de Brienne?” “Yes.” “Oh.” “And that of M. By to-morrow I shall have set out. Brienne’s clerks came running after him.” “And of monsieur le surintendant?” “Without doubt. when you please. sire.” “At the castle of Nantes.” “I am all attention. Letellier?” “Yes.” “Then you majesty will. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “Take a brigade of them.” D’Artagnan bowed as if to take his leave. turning cavalierly on his heel. Precedence always belongs to the first comer. de Gesvres should question you?” “Question me. at the door of M. At Nantes you will meet with M.” “And if M. “take the court with you?” “Certainly I shall.” “Very well. “Will you majesty.” “Of M. exclaiming. perceiving the king very much embarrassed. one of M.” “Of the principal?” “Yes. “To Nantes!” said he to himself.” “Yes.” “For instance. de Lyonne?” “Yes. stepping two paces forward. yes. “Is that all? Has your majesty no other orders to give me?” “No—ah—yes.“That is well.

D’Artagnan following him slowly. Joyous friends. and rudely closed the outer door in the captain’s face. and full of respectful attentions for madame la surintendante.” “Ah!” said Fouquet’s friend. dragging him behind him. with his order in his hand. Fouquet. the support of their twined arms. and. “On the other side of the court. and was for two hundred pistoles. with terrified politeness. for he was giving a farewell dinner to his friends. and he took the captain by the hand. where a number of friends surrounded the surintendant. but he took the order. “Tell him. in consequence. was looking anxiously towards the door by which Pelisson had gone out to bring D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan smiled. where monseigneur never comes. “that I am M. but that the customs of the house were respectable likewise. D’Artagnan crossed the court.” he was answered by a fellow carrying a vermeil dish. the hurry of the servants bearing dishes. led him into the dining-room. when he was told it was too late to pay cash. trembling. then! Mordioux! that is a bit of pure Louis XI. they remained there. so that the lock did not catch. “There is nothing unpleasant. The captain entered at first full of courtesy. D’Artagnan. and. which was in the king’s own writing. Fouquet. to receive his two hundred pistoles. and that. came hastily out of the dining-room to learn what was the matter. and the clerk was still nose to nose with his interlocutor. Pelisson in the ante-chamber: the latter. Madame de Belliere was pale. This made him change his tone. Chapter XXXV.” D’Artagnan asked if he could not see M. for the most part faithful. on his right was Madame Fouquet. From the bottom to the top of the house. Fouquet. “No. He arrived just in time to meet M.“The king has desired me to give you this order. d’Artagnan. and buried in the cushions of a fauteuil. The clerk replied that M. in spite of the threatening heavens. with one hand on her husband’s. the chest was closed. and the diligence of the registres. he had divined as well as taken in the expression of every face. “M. smiling. “If monsieur wishes to speak to M. with his infallible glance. he begged the bearer to call again next day. on that of M. laying hold of the servant by the end of his dish.” “Oh! very well! Where are they?” replied D’Artagnan. when. presented himself at the offices. Fouquet raised himself up in his chair. denoted an approaching change in offices and kitchen. The Last Supper. and afterwards of admiration. after having politely thanked M.” said the captain. that “that was a very respectable reason. 176 . Brienne’s clerk. who. On the left of the surintendant sat Madame de Belliere. and say. a little pale. the two protecting angels of this man united to offer. a little put out by the serious air of the captain. in which were three pheasants and twelve quails. and fell in with a crowd of servants. placed in the center. only a little order to receive the money for. in spite of the trembling earth.” The fellow uttered a cry of surprise.” The clerk. Colbert? He would have paid it with such joy. “What!” thought he. captain of his majesty’s musketeers. “Monseigneur sees nobody at this hour.” “Upon your cash-box?” asked the musketeer. But the latter had foreseen this stroke. The superintendent had no doubt received advice of the approaching departure. replied. le surintendant did not interfere with such details. faithful to his principle of never letting an order at sight get cold.” And D’Artagnan. Monsieur Pelisson. cheerful. He only replied: “On the king’s service. Fouquet is to pay for the journey. Fouquet. and disappeared. There were assembled all the Epicureans who so lately at Vaux had done the honors of the mansion of wit and money in aid of M. these are the offices. le surintendant. he must go to the ante-chambers.” D’Artagnan was surprised. at the moment of the crisis. and putting all vulgar reasons of propriety to silence. breathing more freely.” said the clerk. and placed his boot between the door and the door-case. went straight to the house of M. they had not fled their protector at the approach of the storm. delighted to be free. as if braving the laws of the world. as devoted in misfortune as they had been in prosperity. monsieur. Why was not this order on the chest of M.

which filled the hearts of all his friends with terror. “are you unwell. was about to take his leave. monseigneur. monsieur le capitaine. at night. as not to do us the honor to take a seat with us?” “Madame. whatever may happen.” “Caught cold in the grottos. who rose as soon as they heard the sound of his spurs and boots at 177 . that was all. rising.” said D’Artagnan. that. “Ah! then.” said Madame Fouquet. I have been obliged to permit myself to interrupt your repast to procure payment of my note. the other the right to accuse. and ordered one to be given to D’Artagnan. He alone with Fouquet knew it.“Pardon me. “Monsieur meant to say the too great ardor.” said he. “to the health of the king. you see. with perfect frankness and much amenity.” replied D’Artagnan.” said Fouquet. when Fouquet. took a glass of wine.” “And to your health. “I was not uneasy about the payment. recovered from her fright. with these words of evil omen.” said Fouquet. “you are not going so soon. “The fact is. nothing but agitation. the king had hardly done the like to the minister. no. “perhaps you also are setting out for Nantes?” “I do not know whither I am setting out.” said he. those two men had not.” Madame Fouquet permitted her countenance to show clearly that if Fouquet had conducted himself well towards the king. I should esteem that a great honor done me.” “The too much heart you displayed in your reception of the king. monseigneur.” The clouds passed from every brow but that of Fouquet. But D’Artagnan knew the terrible secret. “Your attack?” said D’Artagnan. mildly. “We cannot devote too much heart to the reception of our king. that hospitality was never practiced as at Vaux.” said La Fontaine. “Do you feel your attack coming on?” asked Madame Fouquet. monseigneur?” “I have a tertian fever. “Monseigneur. to whom the two hundred pistoles were brought. “Oh!” said the latter. monseigneur. perhaps?” “No.” And he pronounced the last words with a sort of melancholy firmness. thank you both. who went out with the order D’Artagnan handed him. the house is good. He bowed. but I am so pressed for time. quietly.” interrupted D’Artagnan. making a sign to his intendant. “Monsieur. “if I did not myself receive you when coming in the king’s name. to all the company.” said Fouquet. which still remained overcast. without suspicion that he was uttering a sacrilege. The captain. in his turn. the one the courage to complain.” “The reply to which shall be gold. to his poet.” said he. “I only come to you in the king’s name to demand payment of an order for two hundred pistoles. “Are you in pain?” asked Madame de Belliere. which seized me after the fete at Vaux. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “Neither. whatever may happen.” A painful smile passed over the pale features of Fouquet.” “But.

you are ruined— yes.” said Madame Fouquet to her husband. in your own barge as far as Nantes. does not everything serve me?” “You have Belle-Isle. but remember. it is our duty to be frank. “You are going to set out for Nantes. besides.” “Well.” said Fouquet. “Yes.” said Fouquet. do so. if you are attacked.” said Fouquet. What shall we say. “Relays. when you like. “Bread. then. “My friends. “relays. thought it was I and not my money he wanted. and powerless friends.” cried Pelisson. In fact. “And I am naturally going there. “Since you explain yourself with such frankness. and which was nothing but a farewell dinner. patience!” “Before arriving at Nantes. Yes.” said the superintendent. “it will be said that he was guilty—was afraid. I have no longer anything but powerful enemies. I know that well. my dear brothers in Epicurus.” “We will draw up memoirs to justify you. “and what for. but to refuse to go would be to evince uneasiness. to escape. “what was I formerly? What am I now? Consult among yourselves and reply. reaching the sea. but in your own carriage as far as Orleans. when going to Nantes.” replied the superintendent. if you are threatened. like the eagle that leaps into space when it has been driven from its eyrie. then. “Do so. no more credit. “Patience.” A painful cry of denial arose from all parts of the table.” Fouquet looked at him with an air of surprise.” murmured Madame Fouquet. and. what money have we left?” “Seven hundred thousand livres.” A general assent followed Pelisson’s words. he gave one day to his friends a repast which is called the Last Supper. “Fly!” “I will remain. A man like me sinks when he does not continue to rise. “I. what a distance!” said Madame Fouquet. you will only have obeyed the king. 178 .” said the intendant. in the name of Heaven!” “Oh! do not deceive yourselves. you are hastening to your ruin—stop. and the God we adore.the bottom of the stairs. it will be said that I have carried away twenty millions with me.” said Madame Belliere. and from Belle-Isle you will shoot out wherever it may please you. for a moment. you will embark for Belle-Isle. likewise. lowering his voice.” continued Fouquet. “Shut the doors. always ready to defend yourself. And.” said Madame de Belliere. “But with friends. “I do not wish to make a comparison between the most humble sinner on the earth. I have discovered the means of reconciling everything.” “Quick!” cried Pelisson. then. “But what is to be done there? The king summons me to the States. whilst flying.” “More than that. like that which we are making at this moment. and fly!” “Whither?” “To Switzerland—to Savoy—but fly!” “If monseigneur flies. “Yes.” cried the Abbe Fouquet. “You!” cried his friends. and the servants disappeared. “And. you will carry your money against all chances.” said Pelisson. endeavoring to laugh. I know well it is for the purpose of ruining me.” said La Fontaine. when he really sinks? I have no more money. in the first place.” replied Fouquet.

every one cried out.” “With seven hundred thousand livres you can lay the foundation of another fortune.“Do it! do it!” cried all his friends. His brow was streaming with perspiration.’” A murmur of terror circulated through the apartment. “’And.” said he. A breathing. The latter. and every one rushed towards Fouquet. A knock at the door interrupted this concert of joy and hope. since I have received it. “’The present letter is to serve as a receipt. written by the king’s hand: “’DEAR AND WELL-BELOVED MONSIEUR FOUQUET. There prevailed. intoxicated with fresh projects and enthusiasm. “You have paid it!” cried Madame Fouquet. he advanced with his arms stretched out. such a silence in the chambers. broken by fatigue. if necessary. he himself re-appeared among his guests. the sum of seven hundred thousand livres. “What has happened. that from the dining-room could be heard the voice of Fouquet. Every one waited to see what the master would do. as we know your health is not good. Pelisson. spiritless countenance they had beheld when he left them. “Well. upon which Pelisson cast a terrified glance. which was clenched. my God!” said some one to him. annihilated. At length. living specter. his mouth parched. I have paid it. as if the message brought by this courier was nothing but a reply to all the projects given birth to a moment before. “you have received that letter?” “Received it. leaned upon his wife. looking at Pelisson. “Well. Fouquet opened his right hand.” This voice was. however. monsieur. “’LOUIS.” replied Fouquet. An instant after. then?” “Nothing. and from spiritless. and trembled with emotion. we will go and discover a new world. “That is well.” “But—” “If I have received it. we pray God to restore you.” said the master of the ceremonies. like a shade that comes to salute the friends of former days. but glistening with perspiration. “What is there to prevent our arming corsairs at Belle-Isle?” “And. and pressed the icy hand of the Marquise de Belliere. but it was no longer the same pale. and to have you in His holy keeping. in his turn.—Give us. in a voice which had nothing human in it. On seeing him thus. yes!” “What will you do.” added La Fontaine. to receive the king’s message. “A courier from the king. from pale he had become livid. and he was really suffering from his fever at that instant. of which we stand in need to prepare for our departure. who crossed the gallery amidst the universal expectation. saying. as we have said.” said the surintendant. A profound silence immediately ensued. He passed into his cabinet. and displayed a paper. upon that which you have left of ours. “This very evening?” “In an hour?” “Instantly.” cried Pelisson. “Then we are ruined!” 179 . He read the following lines. with a simplicity that went to the heart of all present.” said the Abbe Fouquet. “I will do so. and throughout the attendance. Fouquet called Gourville.

” said Gourville. Madame de Belliere had more strength. I saw—” “Take breath. He saw M. for they kept themselves closely covered up. and saying: “Madame. leave us!” at once cried both the women. to see something which afforded him plenty of food for thought and conjecture. in saving yourself. Gourville gathered in his hat all that the weeping friends were able to throw into it of gold and silver—the last offering. The hoods were thrown back: one of the women was Madame Vanel.“Come.” “What did you see?” cried the impatient friends. The latter. he wished to know the names of the ladies hid beneath these hoods. “I saw the musketeers mounting on horseback. rushing up the stairs. in which he recognized the vigor and aplomb that half a century bestows. and mounted the box. “there. “He is right. in the meantime. that he drove him against the step with such force as to shake everything containing and contained. “Eh! monseigneur. calling for her horses. catching her in her arms. Pelisson easily explained this precipitate departure by saying that an order from the king had summoned the minister to Nantes.” Pelisson ran to have the horses put to the carriages. which was stationed before the door. The surintendant. “Monseigneur! Monseigneur!” cried Gourville. life. take breath. wild with grief. D’Artagnan’s eyes were quicker than those of the ladies. no useless words. by which D’Artagnan recognized a young woman. pressing each other’s hands. And. the pious alms made to misery by poverty. do not manifest alarm. Colbert coming out from his house to get into his carriage. As Gourville had seen. was shut up in his carriage. However rapidly they might travel. the king’s musketeers were mounting and following their captain. you are suffocating. he urged his horse so near the carriage. To horse!” “But he cannot hold himself on. whilst they did not recognize him. Gourville took the reins. and as they laughed at their fright. recommending his men to use all diligence. To get a glimpse at them. Monseigneur. Colbert’s Carriage. “There. Pelisson supported Madame Fouquet. dragged along by some. Chapter XXXVI. he had seen and known them. then!” cried every voice at once.” “Well! when I arrived at the Palais Royal. the one a faint cry. she received Fouquet’s last kiss. In M. and being rather curious. “Next to money. the king’s courier with the money. The terrified women uttered. four steps at once. to horse! to horse!” “What. carried by others. you save us all. as you desired. in the name of his safety. and was well paid for it. who did not like to be confined in his proceedings. Look at him.— 180 . “Monseigneur!” “Well! what?” “I escorted. and set off on post horses. in passing along the Rue des PetitsChamps. In this carriage D’Artagnan perceived the hoods of two women.” interrupted Pelisson. the other an imprecation. do not betray anything.” “Yes. He had time. then! is there an instant to be lost?” Madame Fouquet rushed downstairs. my poor friend.” “Oh! if he takes time to reflect—” said the intrepid Pelisson. they could not arrive before him. Madame de Belliere flew after her. who had fainted.” murmured Fouquet. the other the Duchesse de Chevreuse. left his brigade under the orders of a lieutenant.

her conversation amused her interlocutor. which plainly said: “If M.” “I had the honor to tell you. The journey the king is about to take to Nantes will give a good account of him. chatted upon affairs whilst continuing her ride.” Colbert. She had an inexhaustible fund of conversation. why you purchased from me the letters of M. for me. She promised to rally around him. or are you not endeavoring to ruin M. She paying her court to the mistress of M. when he should become surintendant. “You will understand. Mazarin concerning M. we will speak of your own. if you please. “Madame. She taught Colbert. then. I know. Fouquet?” “I do not understand. Colbert! Poor M. She showed him the secret of so many secrets that. M. The States will say that the imposts are too heavy. and how Fouquet would soon become a cipher.“Humph!” said D’Artagnan. the affairs of his majesty. Neither can I conceive why you have laid those letters before the king. The king will lay all the blame on M. Fouquet. you will not be the cause of it. madame—” “Oh! yes. then. though ever with a view to her own good. She praised him. all about the interest of the king—but. To what does your ambition aspire?” “I have none. all the old nobility of the kingdom. Fouquet always appeared to me to practice a system opposed to the true interests of the king. looked at the duchesse with an air of constraint. are you. for a moment. Colbert. Monsieur Colbert. Madame de Chevreuse set down Madame Vanel at her husband’s house. It was idle.” said he. and then—” “And then?” said Colbert. who is only anxious for a pretext. Fouquet be only disgraced. M.—”I will say no more to you about M. as she had held the Fouquet of yesterday. who. is a man gone by—and for you also. M. how great a minister he was. Colbert got into his carriage and the distinguished trio commenced a sufficiently slow pilgrimage toward the wood of Vincennes. “Oh! he will be disgraced.” continued the duchesse. that dear duchesse. “the king.” “It was useless. after the fall of M. and that the surintendant has ruined them. and did not fail to leave a favorable impression. Colbert thought he was doing business with the devil.” “Your place.” “I am endeavoring to comprehend. and as she always talked for the ill of others.” She interrupted him. 181 . to overthrow the superintendent. in politics.” the duchesse hastened to say. Is not that your opinion?” Colbert darted a glance at the duchesse. “the old duchesse is no more inaccessible to friendship than formerly. half stupefied. and questioned him as to the preponderance it would be proper to allow La Valliere. Fouquet. Fouquet? Answer without evasion.” Colbert made no reply.” replied he.” “In short.” “Mine! that is to say. Fouquet. “must be a high place. Fouquet. and. Do you perceive any one between the king and yourself. will find that the States have not behaved well—that they have made too few sacrifices. she blamed him. I ruin nobody. Fouquet! that presages you nothing good!” He rode on. and as he asked her very simply the reason of her hatred for the surintendant: “Why do you yourself hate him?” said she. she bewildered him. left alone with M. Colbert. “the differences of system oft bring about dissentions between men. poor man! was ignorant of the fact. “On his return from Nantes.” “Madame. She proved to him that she held in her hand the Colbert of to-day. M.

Fouquet I believe is one of these.” “Will!” said Colbert. madame.” “Formerly?” “Very recently. to-day.” “And why not?” said Colbert. what do you say to that?” “Is it considerable?” “The queen-mother.” “There is still another influence. she would not wish. Fouquet has paid his court to her. who received the money. Fouquet very prejudicial to her son. at Vaux. in the discovery of this secret. M. no knowledge of business. has a weakness for M.” said the old duchesse.” “I am not able. my scruples would be all removed. smiling.” “To defend him would be to accuse herself. let me help you. “I can less easily conceive how you. “I have often experienced it.” said Colbert. Fouquet arrested.“Madame. madame. unless we are not able to obtain what we wish.” “Well! have you never heard talk of a certain secret?” “A secret?” “Call it what you like.” said the old duchesse.” “That fight in favor of M. to destroy certain influences near the king. astonished. I think it is of great consequence. perhaps. “we may be sure of the assent of the queen-mother?” 182 . “because we must will that which we wish for.” said he. quite confounded by such coarse logic.” “Then. my dear monsieur. with incredulity.” “Do. can reproach me on that head—” “That is. would it not?” “I think it would. Fouquet? What are they? Stop. “You are not able.” “Never believe that. if I were certain of not displeasing her majesty. I allow.” “On the contrary. and small means. perhaps?” “Her majesty.” “La Valliere?” “Oh! very little influence. in one fashion or another. That which the queen may have wished recently. and M. the queen-mother. for. “Oh! the reason is of very little consequence.” “People do not forever entertain the same opinions. It was she who prevented the king from having M. hein! Speak. “Oh!” said Colbert. the queen-mother has conceived a bitter hatred for all those who have participated. In short. the queen-mother.

” said he.” “This Monsieur d’Herblay shall be sought for.” “So be it. a bishop. “to have this M. and he meant to keep it. accompanied by a firmness not altogether wanting in grandeur.” It was now the duchesse’s turn to smile. “Say where.” said she. madame. then?” “Oh! Monsieur Colbert. she would not be satisfied with anything less than his head.” “He shall be taken.” “Well! this M. madame. and she assures me so. do you happen to know a man who was the intimate friend of M. made the duchesse thoughtful for a moment.” And this us.” “At the residence of M. he will perish on the scaffold. then. d’Herblay arrested?” “I?—I ask you nothing of the kind!” 183 . or will not give. I believe?” “Bishop of Vannes.” “And is that the desire of the queen-mother?” “An order is given for it. we take others. the queen-mother is pursuing with the utmost rancor. madame. to satisfy her he would never speak again. That will give. by the way. and yet you see plainly. Fouquet?” “At the residence of M. “You ask me. of little importance to us. “do not promise it so lightly. that so far from being taken.” “Oh! it is well known where he is. d’Herblay conspires.” Colbert fixed upon the old duchesse one of those fierce looks of which no words can convey the expression. a strange word in the mouth of Colbert.” “But there is something further.“I have just left her majesty. d’Herblay. madame?” “Because M. that if he were dead.” “Why not. d’Herblay is not one of those people who can be taken when and where you please. pleasure to his enemies.” “He is at Belle-Ile-en-Mer. If M.” Colbert looked at the duchesse. “The times are gone. “Do not fancy the capture so easy. d’Herblay. M.” “Indeed!” “So hotly pursued. madame.—a matter. we have passed all our lives in making rebels. Fouquet.” “He is a rebel. “in which subjects gained duchies by making war against the king of France. who also knew the secret. Fouquet.” he said. She caught herself reckoning inwardly with this man—Colbert had regained his superiority in the conversation.

and you will be magnificently rewarded. and who. the place shall be besieged. who place myself at yours. she has her reasons. but what shall I tell her of your projects respecting this man?” “That when once taken.” said Colbert. It is evident you know nothing of the man you have to do with.” “You may be very certain. Monsieur d’Herblay?” “I repeat to you.” “Very well. no. This Chevalier d’Herblay is a kind of Spanish spy.” “He will always find an asylum. Is that displeasing to you?” “I say nothing. that the zeal you display in the interest of the queen-mother will please her majesty mightily.” “Escaped! he! and whither should he escape? Europe is ours. Colbert.” continued Colbert. you and I. we have formed a solid alliance.” 184 . for instance. madame. what can he do.” The duchesse bit her nails. we will leave him alone. Monsieur Colbert. dating from this instant. monsieur.” “It is I. and he will be taken. and we may say. He was one of those four musketeers who. Belle-Isle is not impregnable. “Besides. d’Herblay arrested. “what a poor capture would this bishop be! A bishop game for a king! Oh! no. “Is not the queen a woman? If she wishes M. madame. monsieur. madame. well. as you are so earnest that this rebel should not escape. is not M.” “And whilst waiting for that enlightenment.” “If Belle-Isle were also defended by him. is he not?” “Much more.” “I will speak to the king about it. M. gave so much trouble to Monseigneur Mazarin. if he is not the enemy of the king. But as I have been mistaken. he! what. and fortified by him. “Game for a woman!” said she. madame. during the regency. “This man shall be spared. monsieur. I would do so.” The hatred of the duchesse now discovered itself. and that I am absolutely at your service. madame. under the late king. Monsieur l’Eveque de Vannes will have escaped. that if he wants a kingdom. I promise you he shall not escape. Besides.” “Well.” “Yes—you wish to see him in prison. the king has said nothing about him. he either has it or will have it. that. you do not know Aramis. You do not know D’Herblay.” “I believe a secret better concealed behind the walls of the Bastile than behind those of Belle-Isle. unless he has a kingdom to back him?” “He has one. that is. in the Bastile. in will.” “But. he will clear up the point. made Cardinal de Richelieu tremble.” “A kingdom. I will not even take the slightest notice of him.” “Belle-Isle is fortified. and if Monsieur l’Eveque de Vannes is shut up in Belle-Isle. he shall be shut up in a fortress from which her secret shall never escape. monsieur.“I thought you did. if not in fact. d’Herblay the friend of him who is doomed to fall?” “Oh! never mind that.

” “To Paris!” cried the duchesse to the coachman. the confessor of Phillip III. madame. “Ah! then.” said she.” said he. but I did not dare to give it you.” “Mordieu!” cried Colbert. monsieur. If he has allowed an opportunity to escape of making a king for himself. M. He is.“A secret ambassador?” “Higher still.” “Such was my opinion. Fouquet likewise was gone. this flight. “I feel assured that a prison will settle this affair for us. from my having my preparations to make for setting out with the king. had we not better return?” “The more willingly. “He must then be the general of the Jesuits.” Colbert knitted his brow with a menacing expression. the last defender of Belle-Isle. of this old friend of the queenmother. the former friend of Marie Michon. “Oh! if you knew. he will be sure to make another. and we must make haste. The first moments of this journey. of whom. “how many times Aramis has got out of prison!” “Oh!” replied Colbert. “We will renounce the idea of the prison. too. and with a rapidity which doubled the tender interest of his friends. our ally!” replied the duchesse. madame. he will make another. Chapter XXXVII. this man will ruin us all if we do not ruin him. if he has missed one blow. “we will take care that he shall not get out this time.” Colbert bit his lips. who forgot himself so far as to swear in the presence of this great lady. or better say. sooner or later. of Spain is a bigot. D’Artagnan had set off. after the conclusion of the treaty that gave to death the last friend of Fouquet. M.” “But. he will begin again. and not us.” The duchesse smiled again.” “But you were not attending to what I said to you just now. mark this well.” “You must go higher even than that. perhaps. “But it is getting late. d’Herblay is never discouraged. in a lower tone: “we will find a little retreat from which the invincible cannot possibly escape. The Two Lighters. you will not be prime minister.” “And it was lucky for us he has attacked the throne. And the carriage returned towards the Faubourg Saint Antoine.” replied the duchesse. the new foe of the old duchesse.” “Stop—King Phillip III. Colbert. madame. were troubled by a ceaseless dread of every horse and carriage to be seen behind 185 .” “I believe you have guessed it at last. in a manner satisfactory for both. to a certainty. Do you remember that Aramis was one of the four invincibles whom Richelieu so dreaded? And at that period the four musketeers were not in possession of that which they have now—money and experience.” “That was well spoken.

displayed the river in all its limpid serenity. “that oars of wood could behave better than ours. and this passage. but reassured. the young lion was already accustomed to the chase. “In the first place. which was already apparent. and would delay the catastrophe. and we but eight. the masts of a huge lighter coming down. Fouquet shuddered. the finances. or we will make out.” repeated the skipper. The rowers of Fouquet’s boat uttered a cry of surprise on seeing this galley. if Louis XIV. You see. appeared then more easy and convenient than the high-road. where he found. with its post-hacks and its ill-hung carriages. that no one of them could reasonably be expected to overtake him. his friends had made it excellent for him.” “And then. by the Loire.” said Fouquet. and he arrived before Beaugency without the slightest accident having signalized the voyage. formed by a tent.the fugitive. somewhat wide and heavy. “because it is impossible it should be the king. as the king was still in Paris yesterday. the intentions of your enemies. no one is following. a sunrise that empurpled all the landscape. the surintendant. that behind it might be plainly seen the white wake illumined with the fires of the day.” he added.” He had scarcely finished when they discovered at a distance. in order to obtain a better view. more for the sake of haste than of respect. which set out immediately. “how they go! They must be well paid! I did not think. but yonder oarsmen prove the contrary.” said Gourville to him. and that magic word. promised them a liberal gratification. but said to Gourville. Magnificent weather. endeavoring to distinguish beneath the tent. we will have horses always ready to convey you to Poitou. then acted as passage-boats from Orleans to Nantes. if he did not succeed in avoiding it entirely. Gourville. behind an elbow formed by the river. It was not natural. and when once upon the open sea.” Gourville started. and mounted to the deck. Fouquet hoped to be the first to arrive at Nantes. “How they go. “at Nantes. Fouquet did not go up with him. in fact. “they are twelve.” The lighter had just passed the elbow. you will make out. “What is the matter?” asked Fouquet. of which they wished to prove themselves worthy. was determined to seize this prey.” “Twelve rowers!” replied Gourville. and a chamber in the poop. thanks to the care of a courier who had preceded him. containing a small chamber. “twelve! impossible. a thing very easy for a man of his merit. covered by the deck. “They must be in a hurry. travelers which the most piercing eye could not yet have succeeded in discovering. in the shape of gondolas. he would make himself a necessity. As to his position.” Gourville replied to the surintendant by a look which said: “You were there yourself yesterday. besides. placed such a distance between himself and his persecutors. monseigneur. But insensibly all fears were dispersed. even for the king.” The number of eight rowers for a lighter had never been exceeded. pulled with all their strength.” replied the patron of the bark. which the royal lighter always carries. there he would see the notables and gain support among the principal members of the States.” 186 . by hard traveling. that no one is watching you. at Orleans. Belle-Isle is your inviolable port. a long one in our days. The current and the rowers carried Fouquet along as wings carry a bird. The rowers. and he had bloodhounds sufficiently clever to be trusted. These lighters. dear friend. with restrained mistrust: “See what it is. “Besides. because there is no white flag with fleurs-de-lis. Fouquet went on board this lighter. Was he not traveling to join the king at Nantes.” said the patron.” said one of the rowers. a bark in which to gain the sea. This honor had been paid to monsieur le surintendant. It came on so fast.” “Well they may. fatigued. “What does it mean?” said Gourville. knowing they had the honor of conveying the surintendant of the finances. that he should allow it to escape. and what did the rapidity prove but his zeal to obey? He arrived. The lighter seemed to leap the mimic waves of the Loire. “that it is a truly remarkable thing—that lighter comes along like a hurricane. a handsome lighter of eight oars. “By what sign do you know that it is not the king?” said Gourville. for it is not the king. “The matter is.

created a retrograde motion. perceived distinctly the travelers in the neighboring lighter. in a voice broken by emotion. jumping from the deck into the chamber where Fouquet awaited him: “Colbert!” said he.” “I thought I saw two. “Too strange! but no.” said Fouquet. who was still looking. and. let him come. let us win the wager. at first. so plainly recognized me.” “Monseigneur! what folly!” interrupted Gourville. with one hand over his eyes.” cried Gourville. “Colbert!” repeated Fouquet. before we are too far off. “these people must have set out a long while after us. the skipper alone. at the same time. that he is just gone into the chamber on the poop.” “Bah!” said Gourville. “Nor I. except at Orleans. and not allow him to come up with us. with that habit and clearness which are acquired by a constant struggle with the elements. and all at once. monsieur. for the sake of gaining time. stooping towards his ear. It comes from Orleans. Perhaps the king has sent him on our track. but Fouquet said with much hauteur.” said the man. and he. row!” “No. under the tent. and resisting the water.” But what the patron announced was not realized. Gourville immediately said: “Some friend.” replied the boatman. “there are two. “Come.” resumed Fouquet. “on the contrary. became able to see what he sought. The eight oars stopped. the lighter imitated the movement commanded by Fouquet. “You will not be long before you distinguish them. put out your strength. who has laid a wager he would catch us. “Pull up!” repeated Fouquet. and makes great haste.” Fouquet and Gourville exchanged a glance. to mislead him. monsieur. it is impossible!” “I tell you I recognized him. for they continued to urge on their boat so vigorously that it arrived quickly within musket-shot. monseigneur. “I can only see one now. and instead of coming to join its pretended friends. bull-necked. “You who can see so plainly the people in that lighter.” 187 . “who told you that they do not come from Beaugency or from Moit even?” “We have seen no lighter of that shape.” “What sort of man is he?” “He is a dark man.” “We can try. stop short. perceive this maneuver. “try to describe them to us. The captain remarked their uneasiness. it stopped short in the middle of the river. in twenty strokes of their oars they will be within ten paces of us. broad-shouldered. “By this.” The patron opened his mouth to say that it was quite impossible.“And by what sign do you make out they are in such haste?” added he.” said Gourville. timidly.” A little cloud at that moment passed across the azure.” said the captain. “I can see them!” cried he. The twelve rowers in the other did not. Gourville. “I cannot comprehend this. darkening the sun. and they have already nearly overtaken us.” “I can see nothing. now full in his eyes.” said the patron.—”If it is any one who wishes to overtake us. you fellows. Gourville was annoyed by the sun. Fouquet was short-sighted. row. It stopped.

for his lighter is as much exposed as yours to being upset. and the course of the two vessels was resumed with fresh perseverance. Gourville? Why does he not come on?” “Monseigneur.” “Oh! monseigneur. with that arrogant semi-closure of the eyes peculiar to him—”What! is that you.” said he.” The captain gave the signal. he felt that in his last moments of greatness he had obligations towards himself. and put his boat in motion again. then?” “Do not stop. M.” “He wishes to arrest me. Come!” cried Fouquet. What is he doing there?” “He is watching us. “there is still uncertainty. and have the relays prepared. Without doubt the people of the twelve-oared lighter fancied that Fouquet was directing his course to these horses ready for flight. ‘First come. be patient!” “What is to be done. the lighter is full of armed men. Fouquet felt himself threatened closely. replied. When the surintendant landed. the two lighters held their course as far as Nantes. at the spot where Fouquet pretended to wish to land. Gourville. remember the proverb. and Colbert. and Fouquet’s rowers resumed their task with all the success that could be looked for from men who had rested. that one of the two will be wrecked at Nantes?” “At least. as if we were disputing. from the chateau of Langeais. was following the flowery banks leading three horses in halters.” “I do not like uncertainty. Colbert’s people returned likewise to theirs. a stableman. and steered towards the shore in a slanting direction. Colbert. first served!’ Well! M. or not. which follow each other with so much emulation. Colbert and I. Colbert’s lighter imitated this maneuver. the second lighter joined the first. resumed its rapid course. saluted him on the quay with marks of the profoundest respect—marks so significant. Colbert takes care not to pass me. monseigneur. your eloquence and genius for business are the buckler and sword that will serve to defend you.” said he. Colbert was there—so much the worse for Colbert. This position lasted all day. his faster than yours. “everything considered. approaching Fouquet. then. and do you not believe.“In that case he would join us. that their result was the bringing of the whole population upon La Fosse. By the merest chance. “since they remain stock-still yonder. He is a prudent man is M. Colbert?” 188 . He who lives will see!” “That is better. therefore. Gourville. and in a prophetic voice—”Well. Upon seeing this. coming up to him. instead of lying by. without a doubt. But. you are about to show what sort of man you are. He ordered his rowers to pull towards the shore. do not do that. considered his intention evident. The Bretons do not know you. Scarcely had the lighter made a hundred fathoms. Both go quickly. and when they become acquainted with you your cause is won! Oh! let M. a prize for swiftness on the Loire. for four or five men. armed with muskets. it is true. than the other. watching each other. as if to effect a landing. if not to conquer with. “what did I say at our last repast. as if to gain ground on the horseman. do they not aptly represent our fortunes. you are about to appear at the States.” said Fouquet.” objected Gourville. we shall see which will be wrecked first.” “But to allow them to watch me like a malefactor!” “Nothing yet proves that they are watching you. Redouble the speed.” He was right. so public. that with the twelve rowers. Colbert look to it well. it is not consistent with your dignity to go to meet even your ruin. at my house? Am I going. at the landing. The surintendant. Fouquet was completely self-possessed. you were only going so fast to appear to obey the king’s order with zeal. and marched along the banks. Towards evening Fouquet wished to try the intentions of his persecutor. without any increase or diminution of distance between the two vessels. whisperingly. Gourville hoped he should be able to seek refuge at once. He wished to fall from such a height that his fall should crush some of his enemies. Fouquet.” Fouquet. jumped from the lighter on to the shore. to my ruin?” “Oh! monseigneur!” “These two boats. M. “let us go straight up to him. let us go on. taking Gourville’s hand—”My friend. satisfied of having forced the enemy to a demonstration.

about ten o’clock. presented himself.” said the latter. Friendly Advice. Colbert. while waiting for the king.” “Who hinders you?” 189 . that never was Fouquet. “as you had a superior crew to mine. Monsieur Colbert?” cried Fouquet. arrived!—You see. monseigneur. Chapter XXXVIII. d’Artagnan.—chance. and generosity. irritated by the base audacity. monseigneur. who for several days had been agog with expectation of a convocation of the States. He performed these various operations with so much mystery. bowing to the ground.” “Monseigneur!”—and Colbert blushed. thank you. “because I followed your example whenever you stopped. like a man who clings to life. as will be seen by the conversation they had together. that slender tissue of existence. we know not why or how. I drink.” said the intendant.” “And why did you do that. their captain. were greatly rejoiced to see the musketeers. “I have not been quick. although he was in such pain as to be bathed in sweat. so annoyingly attacked. of which they occupied all the posts. in quality of guard of honor.” “You should sleep first. and would arrive in ten or twelve hours at the latest. Fouquet got into a carriage which the city had sent to him. “But you have. a moment after. happily. that the king was coming in great haste on post horses. more nearly saved. D’Artagnan appeared at the door of this chamber. “that I. I should be very glad to sleep. “what luxury.” “Eh! corbleu! my dear Monsieur d’Artagnan.” “And the fever?” “But poorly. however. I am scarcely arrived.” “Of twelve rowers?” said Fouquet. A report was spread during the night. “Were you in that lighter?”—pointing to the one with twelve rowers. why did you not either join me or pass me?” “Out of respect. For a moment I thought it was the queen-mother. and a boat at Paimboef. d’Artagnan. newly arrived. of which the shocks and frictions of this world so quickly wear out the tenuity. as you perceive. then laboring under an attack of fever. and was saluted by the superintendent with a very affable “Good day. did not give way. and wishes to economize.” replied the musketeer. leaving him uncertain whether the maneuvers of the second lighter had escaped the notice of the first. escorted by a vast crowd of people. Scarcely was he installed when Gourville went out to order horses on the route to Poitiers and Vannes. monseigneur. At least he did not give him the satisfaction of showing that he had been frightened. Colbert.” And he turned his back towards him. M. and although the minister suffered from fever.“To offer you my respects. “Yes. The people.” added he. and he repaired to la Maison de Nantes. arrived before you. who was delighted with that honor. he would receive M. Fouquet had gone to bed. “how did you get through the journey?” “Tolerably well. who was very polite. activity. who had but eight rowers.” he replied. with Monsieur d’Artagnan.” “Bon jour! monseigneur. at the lodgings of the surintendant to pay his respectful compliments. and quartered in the castle. M. and I have already levied a contribution of tisane upon Nantes. except for the counteraction of that immense disturber of human projects. Monsieur l’Intendant!” said Fouquet. monseigneur. “This is a voyage that will cost those who have to pay for it dear. as much as possible.

just at the moment you—” “Just at the moment I am about to fall. You are an agreeable man. Colbert looms up in your imagination! He is worse than fever!” “Oh! I have good cause. in the name of the king. M.” “I have heard speak of nothing of the kind. ‘Monseigneur. and thanked him by a gentle smile. “That is true. “Is not this a clear sign of my ruin?” 190 . Is it at Nantes as at Paris? Do you not come in the king’s name?” “For Heaven’s sake. at the bottom of his heart. “How this M. then. for the purpose you mean. mordioux! the squirrel can guard himself against the adder with very little trouble. no. “does M. my dear Monsieur d’Artagnan.” replied D’Artagnan. take my word as truth. “Indeed. “Eh! eh!” said Fouquet. “Upon my honor! But we have not come to that. “leave the king alone! The day on which I shall come on the part of the king.” “I? Oh.” “What makes you think that. upon my life! I have never met with a man of your intelligence.” said the surintendant. “drink. as I strike my brow. and the hypocritical persecution of Colbert. believe me. You were clearing an annual pension of four millions.” replied D’Artagnan. monseigneur. He does not love you. and that is the same thing. Colbert?” said he. “Judge for yourself.“Why.” said Fouquet. Fouquet took it. and you find out there is such a person in the world. and you did not employ him.” replied the captain. “Such things only happen to me.” replied D’Artagnan. “But M. monseigneur.” Fouquet’s expression implied doubt. you did not enrich him!’” “You overwhelm me. “I esteem you greatly. cannot help loving you. “He is an exceptional man.” “But you thought so. in ceremonial voice. in spite of your fever.” interrupted Fouquet. Colbert thinks. but. I will not leave you long in doubt. d’Artagnan? For my part.” “There exists another man. “I have passed ten years under your very beard. you never observed me.” said the captain. while you were rolling about tons of gold.” “I did not say so.” “Do you know that you are speaking to me quite as a friend?” replied Fouquet. so much is very possible. you in the first place. Well! if I fall. with the most friendly cordiality. according to the ordonnance. drink!” And he offered him a cup of tisane.” And he related the details of the course of the lighters. “Your voice is getting hoarse. and heart?” “You are pleased to say so. I shall not pass a single day without saying to myself.” said D’Artagnan. and you will hear my say at once.” said the musketeer. I arrest you!’” “You promise me that frankness?” said the superintendent. The king should not. “Why did you wait till to-day to pay me such a compliment?” “Blind that we are!” murmured Fouquet. take my word for it. You will see me place my hand on my sword. “and that. I think quite the contrary. who does not think as M. Colbert. Colbert love me as much as you say?” “I am not speaking of M. monseigneur!” “No doubt you do. ‘Fool! fool!—stupid mortal! You had a Monsieur d’Artagnan under your eye and hand.

” “What is it. it is true. without a pass. “I can assure you the king has said nothing to me against you. such as guarding the castle. “A special guard about the castle. “All that is not to be put into execution before the arrival of the king at Nantes. whose eye s did not cease to speak a language different from the language of his lips. commanded me to take a brigade of musketeers. “It is evident.” “Without doubt!—without doubt!” said Fouquet. “Oh! nothing but insignificant orders. it has an unsavory odor. his glance beaming with earnestness. monseigneur.” “And as to myself.” “To M. So that you see plainly. perhaps my life are at stake.D’Artagnan became very serious. which is apparently superfluous. “As for me. and Montmorency. “That is true. de Chalais. the order in nowise concerns you. monseigneur. The same number as were employed in arresting MM. in which your lodging is to be. “Ninety-six horsemen. “what orders had you?” “As to you. my honor. raising himself upon his elbow. as M. signed by the king. captain?—what is it?” “To forbid all horses or boats to leave Nantes. “Let us recapitulate.” said the captain. where I have so many creatures.” cried Fouquet. pronounced without apparent value. still absent. and to possess himself of Belle-Isle?” “Where M. monseigneur.” “A brigade!” said Fouquet. and that I am trying to prove to you that none of them are directed against you. my safety. de Cinq-Mars.” “Great God! but—” D’Artagnan began to laugh. captain? Is not the king bringing me to Nantes to get me away from Paris. “The king. You would not deceive me?” “I?—to what end? Are you threatened? Only there really is an order with respect to carriages and boats—” “An order?” “Yes.” “Indeed!” “The king commanded me to set out for Nantes. moreover. yes.” continued D’Artagnan.” he said. de Treville used to say. by my thus confiding to you the orders which have been given to me.” And he fixed on M. monseigneur?—not the smallest word.” “My friend. and D’Artagnan feigned not to observe his preoccupation. but it cannot concern you—a simple measure of police.” added D’Artagnan. monseigneur. allowing none of M. Fouquet his intelligent and significant look. guarding every lodging. de Gesvres.” continued the musketeer. de Gesvres’s guards to occupy a single post. “Am I not clearly designated in that. yes. that I am friendly towards you. Fouquet raised his head. as the country is quite quiet. d’Herblay is.” Fouquet pricked up his ears at these words. “Yes.” Fouquet became thoughtful.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan. “And what else?” said he. is it not?” 191 . and to say nothing about it to M. de Gesvres.

the roads free. drawn up like a hedge. the musketeer. and from a vessel which replied from the lower parts of the river. de Gesvres. while slipping his watch into his pocket. The surintendant dressed himself with everything that came to hand. “My horses!—my lighter!” But nobody answered. “Brave D’Artagnan. before accomplishing his object.” Saying these words. if required. when Fouquet. “It is too late!” said the surintendant’s poor friend. which had followed the prince. “The arrival of the king has interrupted me in the projects I had formed. thou has spoken to me too late!” The king. a regular prison! The absence of M. monseigneur?” And that word still completed the proof to Fouquet of how much information and how many useful counsels were contained in the first visit the musketeer had paid him. and Fouquet saw him dismount under the portcullis. no orders. All this ought to reassure you. uneasy conscience—I should compromise myself forever. In truth. the water free. D’Artagnan. and with a profound bow. in fact. that it might be said he was counting the seconds. directed his steps towards the house Fouquet was in. and who is eight hours in advance of all our calculations.” replied he. left the apartment. on perceiving him. when the king had passed under the arch. who has the honor of being one of your friends. Monsieur d’Artagnan obliged to lend his horses. whilst Fouquet repeated. who has ridden double stages. ask me whatever you like.” “The king!” “The king. Fouquet’s brow darkened. Please to observe. hung to the bell-rope. who has killed horses. behind the curtains.” “We are lost!” murmured Fouquet. and stopping so frequently to speak to his musketeers. which soon resounded with the cannon from the ramparts. instead of speaking to man like you. do me a service. and. “Good heavens! yes. who are one of the first in the kingdom. only when the king shall have arrived. and of the river without a pass. who held his stirrup. quite beside himself. in case you embark for Belle-Isle. breathless and pale. “Gourville!—Gourville!” cried he. monsieur. monseigneur. or the steps. “are you still there.“Do you know the castle?” “Ah! monseigneur. And the bell sounded again. but. whose looks had lost none of their intelligent kindness. if you will consent to do it. that if. but so slowly. all is over. I have seen him. in your robe de chambre—just as you are. The closing of the gates of the city. and this time you come from him—” 192 . He had not reached the steps of the vestibule. From his window. I am at your service. then you know that the king has arrived?” “Yes. for the king would not have left me thus independent. Fouquet opened the window to speak to him in the court. The surintendant sighed deeply. he could see the eagerness of the people. was entering the city. What a fine opportunity for any one who wished to be free! No police. monsieur. and say something in the ear of D’Artagnan. “What does that mean. Monsieur Fouquet. Gourville?” “It means the king is come. immediately. he called his valets de chambre and dressed in ceremonial costume.” “Oh. if he had any sinister designs. Monsieur Fouquet. “Ah!” cried D’Artagnan. in return. as soon as he saw him. “Too late!—why?” “Listen!” And they heard the sounds of trumpets and drums in front of the castle. I were speaking to a troubled. Monsieur Fouquet. as you have a right to do without changing your dress. that of giving my compliments to Aramis and Porthos. no guards. “Gourville!—Gourville!” Gourville at length appeared. “Let us be gone! Let us be gone!” cried Fouquet. and the movement of a large troop. and shouted. The king was conducted to the castle with great pomp.

“The order is executed. whom. Not being willing that. “the king awaits you. threw on to the table covered with papers a large green cloth. Here D’Artagnan passed on before the surintendant. the password governs all now. Perhaps they will not dare to carry it out at the castle.” said he. was painted on the countenance of the first minister. and passed on towards the king’s apartments.” “Directly. but had scarcely reached the corridor at the extremity of which Fouquet was waiting for him. if your health is not too bad. A white horse is in waiting for you behind the esplanade!” Fouquet recognized the writing and zeal of Gourville. Fouquet put the paper into the portfolio which he had under his arm. if any evil happened to himself. a man of mean appearance went up to him with marks of the greatest respect. “now the king is come. the man who had delivered the note.” said D’Artagnan. till that time. at the end of which the cabinet of the king was located. and. who. The latter retired. directly!” “Ah.” Fouquet heaved a last sigh. “No. spread about by the wind from the balustrade of the terrace. Played His Little Part. The house is already surrounded by musketeers. he had respectfully accompanied. and entered the royal cabinet. through the small windows made at every landing of the donjon stairs. “Did he not appear astonished?” asked the king.. the surintendant was busy tearing it into a thousand morsels. sire. “Monsieur. and went to the castle. “Well?” asked Louis XIV. Fouquet had not quitted the terrace where he had been left by his guide. me as much as you. this paper should compromise a faithful friend. Monsieur d’Artagnan. Louis XIV. there is no more walking for anybody—no more free will. and pushed him away.“To inquire after you. so great was his weakness. mordioux!” said the captain. who disappeared in the adjacent streets. Do not enter. when he was recalled by the king’s bell. sire. looking round him on the place and making signs to several persons. sire?” “Fouquet.” 193 . to enter the castle of Nantes. it will be on your return home.” “And Fouquet?” “Monsieur le surintendant follows me. climbed with difficulty into his carriage. “In ten minutes let him be introduced. monseigneur. dismissing D’Artagnan again with a gesture.—a terrace which abutted on the little corridor. Fouquet opened the letter and read it. As Fouquet was alighting from his carriage. but the message had been given to the surintendant. on perceiving him.” replied the king. “Who. Fouquet was made to wait for a moment on the terrace of which we have spoken. which D’Artagnan did not fail to penetrate. How the King.. after having themselves repeated the signals. to beg you to have the kindness to repair to the castle. escorted by D’Artagnan. Chapter XXXIX. He reperused his note. “That’s well!” And a second time Louis dismissed D’Artagnan. without saying monsieur. you as much as me. a peculiarity which confirmed the captain of the musketeers in his suspicions. whose politeness was not less terrifying this time than it had just before been consoling and cheerful. and gave him a letter. D’Artagnan endeavored to prevent this man from speaking to Fouquet. D’Artagnan. and instantly a vague terror.” said the king. D’Artagnan found him watching the snowflake fluttering of the last scraps in space. saw. conceived thus: “Something is being contrived against you. as he went up behind Fouquet.” replied he.

nodded to him.” “Not when one is accused?” “We have already spoken too much about this affair.” “Your majesty will not allow me to justify myself ?” “I repeat that I do not accuse you. de Brienne and Rose were at work. and with interest: “Well! how are you. have said nothing to you.” Fouquet. whilst others have spoken many. “that he has made up his mind. It appeared strange to Fouquet that MM. Monsieur Fouquet! an explanation? An explanation. his sword between his legs. have you a speech ready?” Fouquet looked at the king with astonishment.” “Monsieur Fouquet. I was not willing to fatigue you. Brienne. sire. with a half-bow. I do not like people to be accused.” “You say all this to me very uselessly.” “Why did not your majesty do his first minister the honor of giving him notice of this in Paris?” “You were ill.” “Nobody has injured you. made a step backward. Monsieur Fouquet. warmly. that I am right. I know what I know. “I have not. and I.” “Never did a labor—never did an explanation fatigue me. and since the moment is come for me to demand an explanation of my king—” “Oh. should scarcely take the least notice. will your majesty permit me?” “Certainly. with feverish impatience. “and I feel called upon to adjure the justice of the king to make inquiries. many times—” “What do you wish to say?” said the king. seated on a chair. whilst the Duc de Saint-Aignan. and I accuse a certain man of having injured me in your majesty’s opinion. not to shun it would be stupid. Monsieur Fouquet. on my part. Rose. had already announced him to his majesty. he whom the king no longer called anything but Fouquet? He raised his head. the surintendant. The king.” The king blushed.Fouquet walked with a deliberate step along the little corridor. likewise in the corridor. of what?” “Of your majesty’s intentions with respect to myself. “It is certain. sire. He alone who cannot go back can show such obstinacy.” “That reply proves to me.” “Your majesty can only know the things that have been told to you.” “That is well. “I am in a high fever. the States assemble to-morrow. impatient to put an end to this embarrassing conversation. determined to look every one and everything bravely in the face. and de Saint-Aignan.” replied he. “I have been calumniated. Not to see the danger now would be to be blind indeed. and entered the king’s apartment. in general so attentive and obsequious. appeared to be waiting for orders. “I will go straight to the facts. Ask it.” replied the surintendant. I have only one question to ask. which we already know. pray. But how could he expect to find it otherwise among courtiers.” continued Fouquet. without rising. where MM. sire. as he. Monsieur Fouquet?” said he. sire. “but I am at the king’s service. “but I will improvise one. passed.” He resumed 194 . I am too well acquainted with affairs to feel any embarrassment.” thought he. where a little bell.

and will entreat the king to grant me his physician. Monsieur Fouquet.” “But you are ill. that we may endeavor to find a remedy against this fearful fever. I am lost. “If his first word is severe. and I cannot express to your majesty how happy and proud I have been to see all the king’s regiments from Paris to help take possession. I beg you. sire. which fear would but precipitate.” said he. The king. endeavoring to smile. on his part.” “I mean to do so. sire. Fouquet?” said he. was only uneasy at the alarm of Fouquet. ‘My residence of Belle-Isle’?” “Yes. to judge of the effect of such a proposal. The king blushed again.” “Well! do you not remember.” “Rest yourself. Then. “Do you know. you shall have a holiday to-morrow. Monsieur Fouquet.” “Sire.” “I respectfully await it. opening his game: “Shall I not have the happiness of conducting your majesty to my residence of Belle-Isle?” And he looked Louis full in the face. it shall be as you desire.” His majesty made no reply. “Yes. may I not be allowed to be absent from the council of to-morrow? I could pass the day in bed.” thought he.” “Not to me. “Are you angry at having to rest yourself. I do not wish business to be talked of in France for a fortnight. you shall have the physician. as you have not taken it. “that you gave me Belle-Isle?” “That is true again. This uneasiness struck the king.” “Your majesty spoke just now of a speech to be pronounced to-morrow. how shall I extricate myself ? Let us smooth the declivity a little. Gourville was right. Monsieur Fouquet. and shall be restored to health.” 195 .” “Has the king nothing to say to me on the subject of this assembly of the States?” “No. sire.” continued the king in the same cheerful tone. I am not accustomed to take rest. the session of the States will be short. the surintendant of the finances?” “Rest yourself. He thought he could read danger in the eyes of the young prince. M.” “That was. you must take care of yourself. sire.” Fouquet bit his lips and hung his head. Monsieur Fouquet. Fouquet felt the weight of this hesitation. “Has he a suspicion of anything?” murmured he. “if he becomes angry. or feigns to be angry for the sake of a pretext. He was evidently busy with some uneasy thought.aloud. “Did your majesty send for me on business?” “No. “since the goodness of the king watches over my health to the point of dispensing with my labor. and when my secretaries shall have closed it.” again thought Fouquet.” “So be it. you will doubtless come with me and take possession of it.” “Thanks!” said Fouquet. besides. but for some advice I wish to give you. suddenly. Only. “that you have just said. bowing. “If I appear frightened. this unexpected stroke embarrassed him. your majesty’s intention as well as mine.” replied he. that is all I have to say to you. do not throw away your strength.

—wait till to-morrow. “Oh. or fortunate enough. The king started. “As you please. still laughing. to fall at all. to bring to the ground all the fortifications of Belle-Isle. it would be everywhere said you had had me arrested.” “Have you any means of transport? It shall be to-morrow. I am convinced of that. would require at least twenty-four hours.” “I will call some one to reconduct you. and stretched his hand out towards his little bell. if you like. “I have an ague—I am trembling with cold. 196 . and are so seducing with their scarlet petticoats! I have heard great boast of your pretty tenants. Monsieur Fouquet. laughing in such a manner as made the prince feel cold. sire. Have I any occasion to send a courier? Must I do so?” “Wait a little. and replied. warmly. “I do not wish those fine fortifications. Monsieur Fouquet. sire! A simple footman.” “You have a boat of your own. put an end to the fever. who became paler than Fouquet himself. ringing his little bell. begone! I will send to inquire after you.” “And why. well. If I remain a moment longer.” The surintendant felt this stroke.” This sally disconcerted the monarch.” said Fouquet. let me have a sight of them. I request your majesty’s permission to go and fling myself beneath the bedclothes. “Sire.” said the king. “would you give me the captain of your musketeers to take me to my lodgings? An equivocal honor that. I was ignorant of your majesty’s wish.” “Indeed.” interrupted Fouquet. and I am prepared with nothing.” “Your majesty overwhelms me with kindness. Fouquet? M. it is the pretty peasants and women of the lands on the sea-shore. monsieur le surintendant. You would not guess what I want to see at Belle-Isle. M. and to join them. In an hour I shall be better. you are in a shiver. but they are all in port. above all. it is painful to behold! Come. nevertheless?” “I have five. but when he conducts you. or bring them hither. d’Artagnan conducts me often. let them stand against the Dutch and English.” “Peste!” cried the king. to make Louis XIV. it is to obey you. “No. I beg.The king stammered out that he did not bring the musketeers for that alone. I was ignorant of your haste to see Belle-Isle. which was not adroit. “Oh. which cost so much to build. sire. now perfectly convinced and very pale. No. sire. or at Paimboeuf.” “That is true. but Fouquet prevented his ringing. Fouquet was skillful enough. sire. Who knows but that by to-morrow we may not have a hundred other ideas?” replied Fouquet.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan!” cried the king.—”arrested! oh!” “And why should they not say so?” continued Fouquet. I shall most likely faint. I would gladly take the arm of any one. whilst me—” “Go on!” “If I am obliged to return home supported by the leader of the musketeers. “your majesty knows very well that you have nothing to do but to come alone with a cane in your hand.” said he. and extremely well!” “Yes.” “Whenever your majesty pleases.” “Arrested!” replied the king. who dance so well. “and I would lay a wager there would be people found wicked enough to laugh at it.

“Oh! yes.” “Pardon me. Fouquet bowed again and left the apartment. I cannot stifle M. Well. I prefer Gourville.” “That will be rather difficult. “Captain. a carriage with a trellis will obviate both the difficulties you point out. sire?” “In such a fashion that he may not. and if he asks for liberty to breathe. without at all comprehending what was going on. Fouquet.” “Yes.” 197 .” “It is ready—and the horses harnessed.” “Ah! that is quite a different thing. who is waiting for me below. He will throw out at the doors all the cries and notes possible. M. sire.” “Yes. “but a carriage with an iron trellis is not made in half an hour. Monsieur d’Artagnan. “Quite unnecessary.recoil before the appearance of the deed he meditated. d’Artagnan. when he appeared.” “Ah!” “And the coachman. either converse with any one or throw notes to people he may meet.” “Not at all. received an order to desire a musketeer to accompany the surintendant. sire. and your majesty commands me to go immediately to M. is waiting in the lower court of the castle. sire.” “Very well.” said the latter.” said the king.” “In a carriage. d’Artagnan. then. Fouquet. leaving D’Artagnan with the king. sire.” “To the castle of Angers.” D’Artagnan bowed. I am glad he will see Belle-Isle. “There only remains for me to ask your majesty whither I shall conduct M.” He disappeared. disloyal king.” “Yes. we have only to set it in motion. but it shall be when I am no longer there. “sword for sword.” “Afterwards we will see.” “The carriage in question is already made. But that will not prevent me enjoying the society of M. he is so good a judge of fortifications. “you will follow M.” D’Artagnan bowed. “I am saved!” said he.” “He is going to his lodgings again. and will shut him up in a carriage. Fouquet’s lodgings. When once out of the castle.” “A carriage with an iron trellis!” cried D’Artagnan. You will go with him. at first.” said the captain. “if the carriage is ready made.” “You will arrest him in my name. on the road. I cannot prevent him by closing both the windows and the blinds. very well. Fouquet at the distance of a hundred paces. sire. sire. affecting all the slowness of a man who walks with difficulty. with the outriders. you shall see Belle-Isle.” “The case is provided for.

de Gesvres will be furious. that if. when it is almost equally certain that it was Gourville who warned M. and the shadows of men and things. But chance decreed. at the moment of 198 . it should happen that by any chance whatever M.” “Here is the order. he let the hour of liberty slip by. de Gesvres. take his trellised carriage. From the height of the terrace he perceived Gourville. then.” “Oh! you have not got him yet. for an instant. you do not reassure me with regard to your services. who went by with a joyous air towards the lodgings of M. “That is rather surprising. dominated by the castle. monsieur. who had taken in all the panorama at a glance by crossing the terrace. Fouquet you may consider as a man arrested.“Monsieur d’Artagnan. every one to his trade. but for others.” said D’Artagnan.” “Your majesty does not employ your guards. Fouquet is not a bad man. Fouquet. Whither does the Rue aux Herbes lead?” And D’Artagnan followed. Fouquet. Immediately outside the gates of Nantes two white roads were seen diverging like separate fingers of a gigantic hand. So much the worse! Now I have orders.” The king started. I should have done well. and that I took an interest in M. his destiny prevailed. “Gourville running about the streets so gayly. sire. monsieur. bordering the Loire. I have not employed my guards. sire. have. a little humiliated. that is all. the great verdant plains stretched out. having guessed your majesty’s plan. from this moment. only. this very M. bowed to the king. Gourville? Gourville is coming from the Rue aux Herbes. not for me. one last word: you have remarked that. that is because he has done something clever. “because you mistrust M. reflect! Do you seriously give me orders to arrest M. Chapter XL: The White Horse and the Black. Fouquet. captain. D’Artagnan. monsieur. Beyond the inclosure of the city. He is at the castle of Angers.” D’Artagnan read it.” “I know that very well. the movements. instead of the dead. only. Fouquet just now by the note which was torn into a thousand pieces upon the terrace. sire. “I had then a right to do so.” said the captain. as he would have done upon a topographical plan. Gourville is rubbing his hands. and given to the winds by monsieur le surintendant. along the tops of the houses of Nantes. I will obey those orders.” “That is to say. and M. for M. flat paper. sire. was led by the line of the Rue aux Herbes to the mouth of one of those roads which took its rise under the gates of Nantes. sire?” “Yes. and left the room. and he was about to descend the stairs. monsieur—” “Oh! very often. on which account M. One step more. Fouquet should escape—such chances have been.” “That concerns me. and appeared to run towards the pink horizon. Fouquet. Fouquet. a thousand times. Whence comes M. I should have been perfectly innocent. the line traced by the streets. But he was not willing. that I have more confidence in you.” continued the captain. yes!” “In writing. was I not at liberty to show my interest in this man?” “In truth. for making this capture of M. and go towards the lodgings of M. Now. Fouquet.” “And why not with you?” “Because I. sire! and it is of no use to make so much of it.” “If I had saved him then. once more. when he is almost certain that M. which was cut by the azure of the waters and the dark green of the marshes. without you having spoken to me of it. wished to save M.” “It is only for the sake of arriving at this. the living chart rose in relief with the cries. I will say more. “Because. Fouquet. Fouquet is in danger.

“Gourville’s pretty little hand!” cried he. but. you play with misfortune! the game is not a fair one. “only a man who wants to fly would go at that pace across plowed lands. and the white horse placed twenty feet more between his adversary and himself. a single echo struck the air. was surprised to find himself become ferocious—almost sanguinary. at the extremity of some open pasture-ground. the adder is stronger and more cunning than the squirrel. his active accomplice on this man-hunt. dilates into ten thousand times its volume. moderated the speed of the vigorous animal. D’Artagnan had already forgotten when he descended the first steps of the staircase.—then the struggle would be in earnest. devoured by the fear of ridicule. “Oh!” cried the musketeer. he called to his mind Daedalus and the vast wings that had saved him from the prisons of Crete. when the galled and spurred horse reared with pain. He was losing his senses. He wiped the streaming sweat from his brow. He felt the necessity of gaining a firmer footing. But on issuing from the slope.” thought D’Artagnan. raising himself in his stirrups. and turned towards the road by the shortest secant line. which rolled along like thunder. when the wind cut his eyes so as to make the tears spring from them. the quadruple echoes of this new race-course were confounded. as swift as the wind. Decidedly. There could be no doubt—the shining baldrick. “and he is mounted.” And he read the word “horse. gathering up his reins. come up with the fugitive. Both followed the same route. he.—they will say I have received a million to allow Fouquet to escape!” And he again dug his spurs into the sides of his horse: he had ridden astonishingly fast. and.—he suspected that Fouquet had buried himself in some subterranean road. which D’Artagnan. His rage assumed fury. “I was not mistaken. not the road Fouquet had taken. At such moments. animating himself as in war.” repeated he.” “white horse.—the discovery of following century. within a hundred paces. and entered into the fields. He observed that the superintendent had relaxed into a trot. who could have no suspicion of being pursued in that direction. Suddenly.” This being said. Fouquet. simultaneous with visual perception. to ride thus in open day upon a white horse. The white horse sprang off like an arrow the moment his feet touched firm ground. rapid as lightning. and his position with regard to Fouquet. Fouquet. behind the hedges. Then the real race would begin. D’Artagnan dropped his head. melting into the vapors of the water. a financier. Fouquet slackened his hand likewise. who had just observed the color thrown luminously against the dark ground. “a white horse!” And. but the bank itself of the Loire. had nothing to do but to ride straight on. Fouquet turned round. rapidly reascended the stairs towards the terrace. D’Artagnan. too.” These reflections. whilst examining one of the fragments of the note. “that is not a common horse M. nothing beneath the trees. concealed by the sloping shore. D’Artagnan. certain that he should gain ten minutes upon the total distance. and he examined another. He selected his best horse. that he was attracted by a moving point then gaining ground upon that road. becoming very anxious. which was to say. For a long time he galloped without catching sight of the white horse. Poor man! he has given his secret to the wind. He had then time to study the direction of the road. on his part. galloped along the Rue aux Herbes. “I! I! duped by a Gourville! I! They will say that I am growing old. looked up into the air like a madman. “here are some of the fragments of the note torn by M. In the paroxysms of eagerness he dreamt of aerial ways. he doubted himself. no doubt. Some morsels of paper were spread over the stairs. and seeing nothing on the waters.—by which the horse breathed more freely. What a rate he is going at!” The moving point became detached from the road. at the extremity of which. it must be some boy whose horse is thirsty and has run away with him. and with the impatience of the avenger. and shone out white against the dirty stones.—a runaway horse. The superintendent had completely winded his horse by crossing the soft ground. D’Artagnan gave his horse good breathing-time. Fouquet had not yet perceived D’Artagnan. a little sail appeared.” continued the captain. had so frequently admired and envied for their vigor and their fleetness. was favoring his horse. at the intersection of the two lines. so kind towards Fouquet. at Saint-Mande.plunging into the staircase. and at last remained distinctly visible against the rising ground. or that he had changed the white horse for one of those famous black ones. and who will have gained his boat within an hour. the musketeer gave orders that the carriage with the iron trellis should be taken immediately to a thicket situated just outside the city. like a child that is spelling. so that he would cut his quarry off the road when he came up with him. D’Artagnan. there is but one Fouquet. while there are such thick forests on land. there is no one but the lord of Belle-Isle who would make his escape towards the sea. mordioux!” cried the suspicious spirit. and threw behind him a shower of dust and stones. “What is that?” said the musketeer to himself.—fortune is against you.” D’Artagnan picked up one of these morsels of paper as he descended. But both of them were too much pressed for time to allow them to continue long at that pace. relaxed the tension of his knees. burning. he saw a white form which showed itself. jumped upon his back.—and. The white horse was still galloping in the direction of the Loire. “Eh! eh!” said the captain to himself. and saw behind him. Fouquet. In the rapidity of the pursuit. Fouquet is upon—let us see!” And he 199 . like that grain of powder which. who has half an hour’s start. “Oh.” “Stop!” said he. as he repeated. taking. his enemy bent over the neck of his horse. obscures yours. enlightened by ideas and suspicions. so mild. A hoarse sigh broke from his lips. D’Artagnan. The star of Louis XIV. and there is but one D’Artagnan in the world to catch M. the wind will have no more to do with it. and brings it back to the king. “Ah. “a horse galloping. it was that of the steps of D’Artagnan’s horse. D’Artagnan’s heart leaped with joy. the red cassock—it was a musketeer. wave-balanced like a water-butterfly. “A white horse. disappeared. Upon a third he read the word “white. and his black horse broke into a gallop. upon which there was not a letter traced. when the saddle had become burning hot.

but the distance between the two remained the same. the master must pull up at last. M. and if the horse does not fall. and looking D’Artagnan full in the face. “I shall suffer less. “Pardieu!” replied Fouquet. “I must overtake him. D’Artagnan uttered a wild cry. and added speed to the white horse. which made Fouquet turn round. whose horse had just stumbled. and by a prodigy of skill which this incomparable horseman alone was capable. and that had sunk to what might be scarcely called a trot at all. laconically. and yet he seemed to cut the air. “Courage!” said the musketeer to himself. with his right hand.” But horse and rider remained upright together. the blood rushed boiling to his temples and his eyes. carrying his horse along between his knees. and plunged forward. The maddened horse gained twenty toises. and Fouquet’s again took the lead. “courage! the white horse will perhaps grow weaker. quite in despair. “Do you hear me?” shouted D’Artagnan. gaining ground by difficult degrees. or I will bring you down with a pistol-shot!” “Do!” replied Fouquet. The animal was hit in the quarters—he made a furious bound. M. upon this road. this race between two horses which now only kept alive by the will of their riders. “A famous horse! a mad rider!” growled the captain. Fouquet. There were not more than twenty paces between the two. surrender! what is a prison?” “I would rather die!” replied Fouquet. if I kill my horse.” said he. “Hola! mordioux! Monsieur Fouquet! stop! in the king’s name!” Fouquet made no reply. “I will take you alive!” said he.attentively examined with his infallible eye the shape and capabilities of the courser.” thought the musketeer. D’Artagnan. and cocked it. But the chase appeared equally warm in the two fatigued athletoe. “stop. already his hand was stretched out to seize his prey. whilst he buried the rowels of his merciless spurs into his sides. It was an unheard-of spectacle. the part of his dress which concealed his body. “that which you will not do at this moment. At that moment D’Artagnan’s horse fell dead. I should die bravely. do me that service. without relaxing his speed. “In the king’s name!” cried he again. “Mordioux!” said D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan seized a pistol and cocked it.” D’Artagnan. “For mercy’s sake! for mercy’s sake!” cried D’Artagnan. and rode on faster. on the contrary. began to puff like any blacksmith’s bellows. “At your horse! not at you!” cried he to Fouquet. Fouquet!” 200 . opened. D’Artagnan was nearly mad. he threw his horse forward to within ten paces of the white horse. that I may blow out my brains!” But Fouquet rode away. “turn and defend yourself. And he fired. It might be said that D’Artagnan rode. D’Artagnan listened attentively. At this moment his horse made a false step for the second time. “I am dishonored!” thought the musketeer. if you will not fire upon me. drunk with despair. and he began to saw the mouth of the poor animal. “I am a miserable wretch! for pity’s sake. “I will not assassinate you. “Kill me! kill me!” cried Fouquet. Round full quarters—a thin long tail—large hocks—thin legs. as dry as bars of steel—hoofs hard as marble. “’twould be more humane!” “No! alive—alive!” murmured the captain. and came up within pistol-shot of Fouquet. “You have pistols likewise. hurled his pistol to the ground. not a breath of the horse reached him. but here. The black horse. I myself will do within an hour. but he did not even touch his holsters. seized his second pistol.” Fouquet did turn round at the noise. He spurred his own. To the furious gallop had succeeded the fast trot. throw me one of your pistols. I should die esteemed. hoping that the double click of the spring would stop his enemy.

” “Ingenious!” “But you can speak. proscribed. is not Louis of the Louvre.” said he. then staggered again. breathless voice. Fouquet made no reply. “To prevent your throwing letters out. The white horse began to rattle in its throat. perhaps. The sword in his hand itself became too heavy. if you like. in the name of Heaven. felt the earth sliding from under his feet. I know him.M. But they had scarcely charged the animal with this double load. “I arrest you in the king’s name! blow my brains out.” “What. in heart. “There is an idea that did not emanate from a brave man. or Philippe of Sainte-Marguerite. with a fixed eye. and he threw it after the sheath. dipped some water in his hat. “You are not off. and a swelling heart—”What a disgraceful day!” They walked slowly the four leagues which separated them from the little wood behind which the carriage and escort were in waiting. passing his arm through that of D’Artagnan. monsieur! the true king of royalty. into the river. Fouquet hastened to the brink of the river..” “That is true. D’Artagnan raised himself with difficulty. M.” “Will you speak it to whom I wish?” 201 . “He will go. he said to D’Artagnan. “Oh. D’Artagnan began to run after his enemy. “The white horse will recover. and then with a great effort walked a few minutes. let us both get up.” said the captain. Successively he threw away his hat. the two pistols D’Artagnan might have seized. and ride slowly. certainly. too?” said the musketeer. d’Artagnan. What are these gratings for?” said he. in soul. his coat. ashamed of Louis XIV. if you wish to do so.” Fouquet reflected for a moment. smiling upon him with ineffable sweetness. then?” cried he.” “Poor beast! and wounded.” said D’Artagnan. I will walk till you have rested a little. saying in a broken.” said D’Artagnan. and seized him by the leg. which embarrassed him. then looking the captain full in the face. gloomily. we have both done our duty. “will you remember it?” “I will not forget it.” said Fouquet. who cast down his eyes. I tell you. and sank down dead by the side of the black horse. and introduced a few drop between his lips. but continued to trot on. “One single word.” said he. monsieur. when he began to stagger. When Fouquet perceived that sinister machine. in fact. with which he bathed the temples of the musketeer. for I see you are ready to faint?” “Thanks!” murmured D’Artagnan. is that?” “I should have had you for a friend! But how shall we return to Nantes? We are a great way from it. sprang towards Fouquet. “We will go on foot—destiny wills it so—the walk will be pleasant. who. then he rolled upon the sand. He beheld Fouquet on his knees. “Can I speak to you?” “Why. and the light of day turning to blackness around him. From a trot the exhausted animal sunk to a staggering walk—the foam from his mouth was mixed with blood. which got between his legs as he was running. and looked about him with a wandering eye. it is not yours. D’Artagnan made a desperate effort. without breath or strength. condemned!” “I. and then the sheath of his sword. with his wet hat in his hand. he is a good horse! Mount. a contracted brow. which he had just managed to come up to. Monsieur d’Artagnan. D’Artagnan gained upon him. if you cannot write. it is you.” Fouquet hurled far from him. and dismounting from his horse—”I am your prisoner. Captain d’Artagnan. who this day am ruined by a single error. but we can do better still. “will you take my arm.” “We can try. “Mordioux!” cried the latter.

and returned to his room. full of impatience.” replied the king. and addressed them.” The carriage rolled through Nantes. d’Artagnan. Colbert. Five minutes after. “Your majesty did not inform me. acrimoniously.” “Saint-Mande. It was two o’clock in the afternoon. the summons of the bell recalled Rose. are apt to guess them. “Have you finished your copies?” asked the king.“I will. The king.” “Not yet. rising. “D’Artagnan!” cried the king. sire. very sharply. but I do not presume to be positive. above all. “Monsieur Colbert. there are things that must be guessed. was chatting in a low voice with M. seated in the same place M.” “I might have been able to imagine. in a low voice.” murmured the king. to see what his secretaries were doing. M. “Very well.” Colbert had not finished these words when a rougher voice than that of the king interrupted the interesting conversation thus begun between the monarch and his clerk.” Colbert in his calm voice replied. whose hour it was. The king opened the door suddenly.—the Adder Flies. In Which the Squirrel Falls. “Where does your majesty desire him to be sought for?” “Eh! monsieur! do you not know on what I have sent him?” replied Louis. “you must ascertain what has become of M. with evident joy. d’Artagnan has returned.” said M. and kept opening the door of the corridor. “Not yet. went to his cabinet on the terrace. de Brienne. “Call M. de Brienne. and took the route to Angers. sire. de Saint-Aignan had so long occupied in the morning.” articulated Fouquet. Colbert.” said the king. sire. “Well! and for whom?” “For Madame de Belliere or Pelisson. and you.” “Monsieur.” Colbert entered.” “It shall be done. “What is it you are saying?” “We were speaking of the first sitting of the States. 202 .” “It is very strange.” “See if M. Chapter XLI. he had been expecting this all the morning.

then. I forbid you to do it. “Ha!” said D’Artagnan. his eyes flashing fire. Colbert. understand. bowed to the king as if to ask his permis203 . in making his authority respected. Every agent of a power without control represents that power. and imprisoned!” “Accomplices. “About M. biting his mustache. he is obeyed. who has caused the iron cage to be constructed for his patron of yesterday—has sent M. Fouquet had accomplices. sternly. or even that he was guilty? The king alone knows that.” “I have acted for the good of the king. perhaps.” “The respect you owe the king. his eyes flashing. monsieur.” continued the musketeer. “consists. we do. to beat M. in a faltering voice. Fouquet’s servants.” interrupted D’Artagnan. his justice is not blind! When he says. but we do not serve M. to give over a peaceful house to pillage! Mordioux! these are savage orders!” “Monsieur!” said Colbert. to force the drawers. it is the royal hand that God reproaches. and his person beloved. turning pale. as to you. who could not guess your majesty’s orders. for the king will not allow those to be threatened who do him service by others who do him disservice. hardened by forty years of wounds and blood. “About this. “my soldiers are disgraced. and ferocity on yours? You have caused the innocent to be arrested. cried to the king. pale and in evidently bad humor.” and he pointed to Colbert.” Thus saying. and that without redress. “I was not mistaken. “It is humiliating. “the king alone. My musketeers have been posted round the house all the morning. monsieur? Must mercy be on my side. under the pretense of securing the surintendant’s papers. Colbert!” 5 “Monsieur d’Artagnan.D’Artagnan. his lips trembling. which God forbid! a master so ungrateful. Fouquet. do you hear? Must a soldier. nor clerks of the intendant. Do not talk to me. I do not command reitres. it was monsieur here. “take care. and I tell you so before his majesty. have they been made accomplices in it? Mordioux! we serve the king.” said the king. and be careful of your words. humiliated and devoured with rage. Fouquet. and consequently could not know I was gone to arrest M. should take place. such were my orders. de Roncherolles to the lodgings of M. and if in case I should have. and made in such a tone. mordioux!” “Well! but what is all this about?” said the king with authority. “Who told you M. they have taken away the furniture. by forcing them to assist in this pillage.” cried D’Artagnan. Fouquet. sire. “Sire. gentlemen who carry swords do not sling pens behind their ears. is it your majesty who has given orders to my musketeers?” “What orders?” said the king. but. thank you. it is not in my presence that such explanations. “Orders to turn the house topsy-turvy. “What orders? Let me know.” “D’Artagnan! D’Artagnan!” murmured the king. ‘Arrest and imprison’ such and such a man.” said Colbert. D’Artagnan took his station haughtily in the king’s cabinet. any more of the respect you owe the king. on account of the respect I owe the king. bound. monsieur—monsieur. then. in the first place. give you this lesson. “It is hard to be so treated by one of your majesty’s officers. and. “Monsieur. as he entered.” said Colbert.” said the king. that they may not chance to convey the slightest menace. and when people curse the hand which strikes them. of M.—the king alone has a right to command my musketeers. affecting much more anger than he really felt. Why did any one presume to order them to enter? Why. his hand on his sword. Fouquet’s house?” “None!” replied Louis. I would make myself respected.

with that poetry. perceiving that the ill-humor of D’Artagnan would put off for half an hour at least the details he was burning to be acquainted with. the pursuit. will the people. retraced his steps. sharply. Fouquet had arrested me. is that the king desired me to be sought for but this minute. then. “is in the iron cage that M.” “What is that?” “Whilst I was with him. thwarted alike in pride and in curiosity. and drumming with his finger-nails upon the table. and I repeat it to your majesty. with his quick glance. poor M. the king became agitated. that would have been more just.” replied D’Artagnan. Fouquet. sire. and perhaps inconvenient to you. in my eyes. “It results from all this. who might have killed the adversary in the pursuit. And then I had another reason. Colbert had prepared for him.” “Where is M. Fouquet at this moment?” asked Louis. In proportion as the tale advanced. he stepped out. forgot Colbert. bowed before the king. but who had preferred imprisonment. let us leave a discussion that may appear idle. “you are a young king.” “You took plenty of time about it. But I am a soldier. but the king. “In the first place. and composing his countenance: “Sire. softened immediately.” “You did. 204 . who had nothing new to tell him. How. the escape of Fouquet. He related. that his majesty would have no other means of extrication but choosing between the two antagonists. stopped at the voice of the king.—reasons of state. who was just passing through the doorway. “I perceive that I have expressed myself badly. we say. I re-establish the truth.” said he. devouring the narrator’s words. Fouquet would never attempt to escape. you may rest yourself hereafter. I have arrested M. to the humiliation of one who wished to rob him of his liberty. I know what the king will say to me. D’Artagnan looked at the king. To remain longer would have been a mistake: it was necessary to score a triumph over Colbert. and Colbert was forced to leave the closet. on being left alone with the king. His majesty was astonished in his turn. sire. and the only method was to touch the king so near the quick. my orders are executed—very unwillingly on my part. it is true. the furious race. D’Artagnan. and I bow to it. that the man who conducts himself thus is a gallant man. perhaps worse. argue of your reign.” “Why did you leave him on the road?” “Because your majesty did not tell me to go to Angers. sire. The king. whom the hand of God has placed under your law. and went away with death in his heart. which perhaps he alone possessed at that period. lastly. half drew himself up in passing D’Artagnan.sion to leave the room. I say no more. “M. D’Artagnan saw him hesitate. but they are executed. I have been arrested by M. astonished. in preference to everything else. and what then?” “Well! I ought to have told your majesty that M. his black and threatening eyes shone with a dark fire beneath their thick brows. The proof. I announced to your majesty that I had arrested Monsieur Fouquet. if between them and you. and is galloping as fast as four strong horses can drag him. towards Angers.” said he. Let us speak of myself. and cannot be an enemy to the king. that picturesqueness. knew not which part to take. Fouquet. “let me see the result of your commission. and. appreciated what was passing in the heart of his master. monsieur. So be it! To my ears that sounds highly respectable. D’Artagnan bowed as Colbert had done. at least. sire. His countenance assumed almost a purple hue.—the king. you allow angry and violent ministers to interpose their mischief ? But let us speak of myself.” “Well!” cried the king. It is by the dawn that people judge whether the day will be fine or dull. was anxious to have all the exact details of the arrest of the surintendant of the finances from him who had made him tremble for a moment. the best proof of what I advance. to be surprised. Fouquet. and recalled his captain of the musketeers. and I have received my orders.” said the king.—Louis. D’Artagnan. who might have fled ten times over. after a short silence.” It was now the turn of Louis XIV. the inimitable generosity of the surintendant.” D’Artagnan. He did not allow him time to put any questions. who. That is my opinion.

the most stupid I could find among my musketeers. Colbert pressed his hand. I have many ideas.” murmured D’Artagnan in the king’s ear. and does understand. offered to his eyes a physiognomy so different from that which he had been accustomed to see him wear. “That which the king has just told you. “I will look at them. approaching him. Louis advanced towards the door and called Colbert. make his acquaintance. confused with pleasure and fear. de Roncherolles. and I should have been that man—you know that right well. Before that speech of his captain of the musketeers. turning towards the soldier. the king had nothing to offer. had resumed his haughty attitude. the soldier who had quitted his service at Blois.” “Are you mad. if you desire that he should remain under your lock and bolt. proves how well his majesty is acquainted with men. “you do not know this man. with a deeply impressive manner. the D’Artagnan whom he saluted with his hand at the door of his carriage. sire!” “Yes. after what he has just done for you and me.” The king was brought to a pause. but he will be a great man if I raise him to the foremost rank. gratitude. against abuses and not against men. who. d’Artagnan. Louis remembered the D’Artagnan of former times.” replied Colbert.” “He will henceforward be a winged-serpent. was moved. You will see them expand in the sun of public peace.” “If M.” And he pointed to Colbert.” “Precisely. He reappeared. in the end. at the Palais Royal. who was sent with your majesty’s musketeers. so frankly spoken and so true. and almost changed in his convictions. courageous.” “I am surprised. “Do people utter such enormities. But Colbert. monsieur. with a remnant of hatred against his recent adversary.“Your majesty ought to understand.” “What has it produced?” “M. led by Cardinal de Retz. came to assure themselves of the presence of the king. “he was jealous. M. has remitted me some papers. Fouquet had not gone to seek you in the Bastile. No. that my warmest wish is to know that M. you will only find a master. In my service. You had in him all you want—affection. take wing. never give him in charge to me. up to this day. with a smile.” said the king. certainly. “He has been made but a moderately valuable servant in subaltern positions. In fact. did you make a perquisition on the house of M. sire. “one single man would have gone there. that I may place it in that of M. and his jealousy confined his wings.” replied D’Artagnan. no.” “Sire!” stammered Colbert. the bird would. Give me your hand.” “My hand. proves that I had it in view to prepare for my king a glorious reign. M. sire. you cannot expect that I should be an enemy to M. however closely wired might be the cage. Fouquet. he appeared so good. crossing his arms on his breast. the man he had always found loyal. in order that the prisoner might have a chance of escaping. at sight of the clerk. so easy. Colbert had not left the corridor where the secretaries were at work. for my country a great blessing. d’Artagnan. devoted. him who.” grumbled the musketeer. in his sternest tone. “you did not follow the fortunes of the man M. that D’Artagnan. sire. Fouquet wished to place upon my throne.” added he. Fouquet is at liberty. when the people of Paris. “Colbert. so mild. even when they have the misfortune to think them?” “Ah! sire. when repairing to Notre Dame on his return to Paris. On hearing D’Artagnan. his eyes took the expression of an intelligence so noble. d’Artagnan. and if I have 205 . I have given him one of my brigadiers. monsieur. Monsieur d’Artagnan?” cried the king. The inveterate opposition I have displayed. a connoisseur in physiognomies. held himself concealed behind the curtains of his bed. “I always understood why. Fouquet?” “Yes. the lieutenant he had recalled to be beside his person when the death of Mazarin restored his power.

because I will make France the first country in the world. The man in power radiates. did you say? then ask his liberty of the king. in my turn. when I shall be great and strong.” said the captain to the minister. will I cry. “And from Angers. “you know that is not so. because I am ambitious. For their admiration. because I will create libraries and academies. D’Artagnan was about to retire likewise. with that gold.” “Give twenty of your musketeers to M.” “You were right. because I know that all the gold of this country will ebb and flow beneath my eyes. Fouquet. Fouquet. “oh. sire. gave the musketeer matter for profound reflection. monsieur. the new minister. you know. you will only speak to him in the presence of the musketeers. Alone?” 206 . monsieur. “you will have any one shot who shall attempt to speak privately with M. sire.” “The king never forgets. and the wealthiest. because. The king.” This change. “You. was calling his secretaries. to form a guard for M.” “But myself. and. Fouquet. in thirty years not a denir of it will remain in my hands. Hark! the king calls. M. because I have the most entire confidence in my own merit. it is not for me to teach you that. monsieur. M. “they will conduct the prisoner to the Bastile. and harbors. monsieur! I would never persecute him.” replied the musketeer. during the journey. who prevented my acting. when France is great and strong. I will build granaries. dismissed them. he will forget. that I shall obtain their esteem. if I live thirty years. and since you are there. that with such an eye as yours. at the first glance. He bowed civilly to Colbert.” said he. at the first impression. cities. castles. because I will create a marine.” continued the king. As soon as they were out of the cabinet. I am at least certain. They left the room together. but the king stopped him. ‘Mercy’!” “Mercy. and that the king has his own personal animosity against M.” D’Artagnan and Colbert exchanged looks.” “Yes. Fouquet.” continued the king.” said the duke.” “But the king will grow tired. when he saw they were reconciled. then. “Saint-Aignan. I have not influenced him. d’Artagnan.” said he. why should you continue to persecute him who had just fallen into disgrace. “a ray of the sun in our eyes prevents us from seeing the most vivid flame. said: “Is it possible. “Monsieur.” The duke bowed and departed to execute his commission. and I love to look at the king’s gold. you did not.” The king. These are the motives for my animosity against M. “Monsieur d’Artagnan. this mute approbation of the king. this sudden elevation. and fallen from such a height?” “I. “you will go immediately. He is going to issue an order. because. who did not take his eyes off him. sire. The king is only crushing him on your account. I will equip navies that shall waft the name of France to the most distant people. “I am here. have I? Listen. d’Artagnan. de Saint-Aignan. And then.” said he. monsieur!” said Colbert. “Monsieur. I wished to administer the finances and to administer them alone. I would give my life. above all.not the good fortune to conquer the friendship of honest men.” Colbert again raised his head. stopping the captain. and take possession of the isle and fief of Belle-Ile-en-Mer. discover what sort of man I am?” “Monsieur Colbert. in fact. in Paris.

my dear Aramis. the weather has been constantly calm. turning towards the east.” “Ah! in what respect?” “You have friends in Belle-Isle. A quarter of an hour after.” said he. “Colbert was right. without the possibility of any other human being hearing their words. and an injunction not to allow one to escape. Porthos and Aramis. I will show them that hand so plainly. they resumed their walk. like a gigantic crucible. I tell you.” “Why do you employ the words. Poor Porthos! Poor Aramis! No. as they were. “and I do not wish to see it again. that they will have quite time enough to see it. in case of resistance. with the white foam swept from the crests of the waves.” murmured Aramis.” thought D’Artagnan. “If is of no use your saying anything to the contrary. “That shall be done.” said D’Artagnan. with power of life and death over all the inhabitants or refugees. I repeat.” “True. against which the furious sea beats at the evening tide. inquiring look over the sea.” 207 . if you carry it out well. and do not return without the keys. there is something strange in it. Belle-Ile-en-Mer. inhaling vigorously the salt breeze with which he charged his massive chest. not even the lightest gale.” Colbert went up to D’Artagnan.” added Porthos. holding each other by the arm. were conversing in an animated and expansive tone.” resumed the king. since the ruin of their hopes. embarked it at Paimboeuf. not a single plank has washed ashore?” “I have remarked it as well as yourself. There has been no storm at sea. At the extremity of the mole. seemed to seek for information in his looks.” A murmur of courtly incredulity rose from the group of courtiers. “I saw the place in my infancy. The sun had just gone down in the vast sheet of the crimsoned ocean. monsieur. Aramis. all our boats would not have foundered. You have heard me? Go. Then. it is strange. Every one has already perceived that these two men were our proscribed heroes. D’Artagnan assembled the royal army. “It is of no use. who had taken refuge in Belle-Isle. borne away. since the discomfiture of the colossal schemes of M. “will be worth a marechal’s baton to you. both silent.” Having thus determined.“You will take a sufficient number of troops to prevent delay. two men. Only they seem to forget that my friends are not more stupid than the birds. whilst Colbert returned to the king. interrogating the features of his companion. The other. the captain received the written order from the king. “You are right. by the gusts of wind.” D’Artagnan hung his head in deepest thought. ‘if you carry it out well’?” “Because it is difficult. my fortune should shall not cost your wings a feather. The disappearance of all the fishing-boats that went out two days ago is not an ordinary circumstance. and that they will not wait for the hand of the fowler to extend over their wings. one by one. Chapter XLII.” repeated Porthos. and even if we had had a tempest. This complete disappearance astonishes me. Monsieur d’Artagnan. d’Herblay. do you not observe that if the boats have perished. in case the place should be contumacious. further. one of these men. it is true. without the loss of an unnecessary minute. to blow up the fortress of Belle-Isle. “and. cast an anxious. friend Porthos. whose ideas the assent of the bishop of Vannes seemed to enlarge. “for me the baton of a marechal of France will cost the lives of my two friends. From time to time. and it is not an easy thing for men like you to march over the bodies of their friends to obtain success. busied with dismal thoughts. “A commission which. and set sail.” “And further.

beautiful France! Here. plainly. my friend! I. “Nothing! nothing! Your pardon. that we could not depart. pardieu! No. What do you suppose. when we were all strong and valiant— we. my friend. hovered for a long time over the sea. “With all that.” “Very good! and why should that vex you? A precious pleasure. and your affection will excuse my frankness. and say nothing. that in the glorious days of youth—do you remember. we would have departed. in particular. seeking to pierce the very horizon.” Aramis was silent. No. the orders you have been constantly. but I declare to you I am not happy at Belle-Isle. I meant to say—” “What?” “That if we were inclined—if we took a fancy to make an excursion by sea. and that the sending away of the boats in search of the others cannot prove prejudicial to us in the very least. I don’t regret it at all. Aramis. would you have remained on land. in full sincerity of soul. You know very well!” “That is true!” murmured Aramis again. we are not in France.” cried the bishop. who adhered to his idea. and which I sent in search of the others—” Aramis here interrupted his companion by a cry. nowadays. Oh! I tell you.” continued Porthos.” “’Departed!’ And the orders. as if I could restore the absent husbands and fathers. my dear friend. “You see. my good Porthos.” replied he: “that is why it is so sad a thing you have sent the two boats we had left in search of the boats which disappeared two days ago. Aramis?” “What orders?” “Parbleu! Why. and how ought I to answer them?” “Think all you like. that Porthos stopped as if he were stupefied. and by so sudden a movement. “Lost!—what did you say?” exclaimed the terrified Porthos. what sort of a plank should we want. I am not happy!” Aramis breathed a long. Porthos?” “No. my friend. we could not.“And do you not think it strange that the two only boats we had left in the whole island. is Pierrefonds. Aramis? How are we lost?” Aramis bit his lips. and his vague glances. “but six leagues. Bracieux. kneading the two hands of the giant between his own with affectionate cordiality. calmly. in and out of season. then. but stifled sigh.” said he. “do you remember. you give me no explanation about what can have happened to these unfortunate boats. “Unhappy man! What have you done? Then we are indeed lost. “Dear friend. If you had not sent them away. luminous as that of an albatross.” And the Seigneur de 208 .” This reply did not satisfy Porthos at all. my friend. Porthos. “Do you remember. Aramis. interrogating space. ma foi! For my part. Porthos? What!—You have sent the two boats—” “In search of the others! Yes.” replied Porthos. do you think this sheet of salt water would have stopped us?” “Oh!” said Porthos. Aramis. in good truth. Aramis stopped the valiant musketeer. But. He turned away grumbling something in ill-humor. and the other two—if we had then had an inclination to return to France. repeating to me—that we were to hold Belle-Isle against the usurper.” “If you had seen me get astride of a plank. The children cry to see the desolation of the women. and that the more closely from the bishop having apparently endorsed it. What I regret is certainly not the more or less amusement we can find at Belle-Isle: what I regret. “What do you say. I am assailed by cries and complaints whichever way I go. le Vallon. “How lost. to be sure I have. we are—I know not where.—”with all that. in a melancholy tone.

one firmly taken. my dear D’Herblay.” continued Porthos. too.” “No. or rather. “And do you mean seriously to say you are not tired of Belle-Isle a little. certainly! you are right. He might be said to be a lion importuned by a gnat. and never shall comprehend. but that decidedly—if we had a fixed idea. of lifeless fish. “A bark!” said Porthos. and the command of ten companies levied and paid by M. meanly kept. answer me. We will wait. “But what I cannot understand. I understand that. provisions. barks and shallops were as plentiful as shrimps. of broken eggs. too. “I know that the false king formed the project of selling Belle-Isle to the English. whether by signals. “Let us remain!—let us remain! And yet. it is a bark! Ah! we shall have some news at last. then. All that is plain. with a sigh.” And Aramis continued walking about with increased agitation. my friend. for.” said Aramis. that instead of sending us troops. they leave Belle-Isle without arrivals. rising suddenly.” added he.Bracieux cast a profound glance over his colossal rotundity with a loud laugh.” replied Aramis. shall I board one?” “A canoe!—a canoe! Can you think of such a thing. what. and there were not boats—” “Have you remarked another thing. and that you would not prefer the comforts of your dwelling—of your episcopal palace. and with great agitation. much embarrassed. no. we will wait. “And then. that I understand. suddenly. munitions. very unlucky. “and yet. Tell me. “Well! Aramis. Fouquet. “Let us sit down upon this rock. Well—” “Yes?” said Aramis.” “I must inquire.” said he. and the observation was the more naturally made. close to me. during the last two days’ absence of fishermen. before answering me. Fouquet all the night. and pointing out to his friend a black spot upon the empurpled line of the water. have remarked it. confess. in spite of all the efforts of my mind. without daring to look at Porthos. at Vannes? Come. I. No. “yes.” said his friend. to return to France. if we had a raft constructed—” “But there are some canoes. it is that instead of establishing with us a correspondence. they leave us without boats. not a single small boat has landed on the shores of the isle?” “Yes.” said the bishop of Vannes. “I have dreamed. will you allow me to tell you what I have thought? Will you hear what my idea is. escaped his echoing breast. Villainous dreams. in spite of the efforts he made to restrain it. is. if we seriously wished. since the disappearance of our barks. I cannot comprehend. my friend—that is. which. all relations with the shore are intercepted.” Aramis rose in a state of great impatience. what is that yonder?” interrupted Aramis. who in his faith and calmness understood nothing of the sort of exasperation which was betrayed by his companion’s continual convulsive starts—Porthos stopped him. Porthos? A canoe to be upset in. or written or verbal communications.” said Aramis. That is a fact. and all my reflections. “it is not our trade to ride upon the waves. without help. “I know that the false king wished to dethrone the true king. and I conjure you.” 209 . Aramis. I have imagined that an event has taken place in France. Porthos held him by the arm. such dreams!” “Porthos. I dreamt of M. instead of sending us reinforcements of men. who grew tired of following all the feverish movements of his friend—Porthos. Porthos. for the last time. “Let us stay where we are. to explain to me in a manner I can comprehend—explain to me what we are doing here. Aramis. “Place yourself there. before the last two fatal days.” “Porthos.” “Yes?” “I know that we engineers and captains came and threw ourselves into Belle-Isle to take direction of the works. the plan I have conceived?” The bishop raised his head. or rather the ten companies of his son-in-law. of chambers badly furnished.

trumpets brayed. “have the alarm sounded. The old man looked steadily into the eye of the horizon. “they are lighter boars. that they come from the Loire?” “They come from the Loire—yes—” “And look! everybody here sees them as well as ourselves.” “Unless it is the English coming. yonder?” asked Aramis. for they must have come through Paris!” “You are right.” “Boats in the royal service?” replied Aramis. the great bronze bell swung in horror from its lofty belfry. “Vivat!” cried Porthos.” replied he. He looked attentively at his friend. “two! three! four!” “Five!” said Porthos. they are reinforcements. my friend. in Aramis’s ear. and made no reply. do not carry any.” whispered Porthos. When every man was at his post. placed behind the large cannon bedded in their stone carriages. in his blandest tone. Porthos.” Aramis leaned his head upon his hands. “I will do it. all at once.” replied the old man.” Porthos opened his eyes to their widest extent. the artillerymen be at their pieces. or provisions. boats in the king’s service. starting. “How do you know that?” said he. “I will go and have these orders executed myself. if you do not go. The dikes and moles were quickly filled with the curious and soldiers.” said he. in spite of the assurance he affected.” continued Aramis. to see if the bishop of Vannes were not deceived. in his turn. Aramis?” “Probably. and let the cannoniers mount their batteries. to convince himself he was in his proper senses.” said Aramis. “the boat is scarcely visible. “They are very large for fishing-boats. my friend. and if. “Six! seven! Ah! mon Dieu! mon Dieu! it is a fleet!” “Our boats returning.” “Ah!” groaned Aramis. can you distinguish the flag?” “I see there is one. on discovering another mast. Then. my dear Porthos. and be particularly watchful of the coast batteries.” An old fisherman passed. my friend. how the devil. on recovering more rational ideas. monseigneur. “Are those our barks. look.” “The alarm! do you imagine such a thing?” “Yes. The alarm was sounded. “and do you not remark. who went to execute the orders.” said Porthos.” observed Porthos.—”Porthos. “they are sending us reinforcements. he would not recall him. 210 .” “Well! I will—instantly!” said Porthos. to try to comprehend.” “But. when all the preparations for defense were made: “Permit me. trade lighters. matches sparkled in the hands of the artillerymen. “By the flag.“There are two!” cried the bishop. very uneasily. decidedly.” “By the Loire? That would have an evil look. “our boats. drums rolled. probably. casting all the while looks behind him. don’t you think they are. That sort of craft is generally used for transport of troops. “No. women and children are beginning to crowd the jetty. timidly. Aramis.

is it not?” “But as there are two kings in France. Porthos. “Of which king?” cried Porthos. to prevent us from telling you. Jonathan. could distinguish the masts. which he waved in the air.” “What was the cause of the mania for capturing you all?” said Porthos. perched on the summits of the rocks. and exhort every one to do his duty.” “Ah!” said Aramis.” “Who captured you?” “You know. The commander jumped ashore. of which the three rowers. bending to their oars. stunned by the insinuation. He asked to be conducted to M. This man was soon recognized by several soldiers as one of the pilots of the island. “Humph!” said he. The envoy presented himself before the bishop of Vannes. or rather thickened the bandage which covered his sight. within a short league we were captured by a chasse maree belonging to the king. and in a few instants struck land at the foot of the fort. dropped anchor within cannon shot of the place. whose eyes this reply of his friend’s had at last opened. “We were captured. went with his best speed to the batteries to overlook his people. notwithstanding the darkness.” murmured M. Jonathan started.” “Trouble upon trouble. “The fleet which is coming yonder. but which Porthos. marched him between them. Two soldiers. bearing at the masthead the royal flag of France. d’Herblay. from whom do you come?” “Monseigneur.” replied Jonathan.“My dear friend. notwithstanding the flambeaux borne at a small distance by the soldiers who were following Aramis in his rounds.” thought honest Porthos. The darkness was almost absolute. to which of these two kings does this fleet belong?” “Oh! you open my eyes. monsieur. In the meantime. Aramis was upon the quay. and escorted him. from the side of which a skiff was lowered. monseigneur. The people and the soldiers. d’Herblay. and afterwards?” “Well! monseigneur. in reply to this question of his lieutenant. monseigneur. “then I suppose it is a royal fleet blockading the coasts?” 211 . “That I might tell you they have captured us. “And they have released you to-day?” asked he. and joined to those who had been taken yesterday morning. “Speak!” continued the bishop. Aramis. that some sort of agitation reigned on board the vessel. He had a letter in his hand. which had created such a sensation among the inhabitants of Belle-Isle. It was soon seen. with his eye fixed on the horizon. and at last the hulls of the lighters. from those who captured me. took the direction of the port. we set out in search of our comrades?” “Yes. with sails unfurled. And Porthos. at a signal from a sergeant. is a royal fleet. and seemed to wish to communicate with somebody. During this time Aramis was reflecting. in his anxiety with regard to the fate of the fishermen who had disappeared. you will comprehend but too soon.” replied the giant. straight towards the port of Belle-Isle. Porthos was again at a loss to comprehend. He was the captain of one of the two barks retained by Aramis. “Well. It was night when one of these vessels. then the lower sails. had sent in search of the missing boats. “Monsieur. saw the ships continually drawing nearer.

” said Porthos. nothing. for the purpose of his being sent to the Bastile.” “Bring the torches nearer. Aramis eagerly read the following lines: “Order of the king to take Belle-Isle.” “On board his vessel!” and Porthos repeated. or to put the garrison to the sword.” continued Jonathan.” “It is his writing.” “Let us go at once. Jonathan?” “Monseigneur?” “Did you speak to M. monseigneur. “Are you mad?” cried he. he would speak with monseigneur. arrested M. “On board his vessel!” “M. 212 . Fouquet.“Yes.” “D’Artagnan?” “D’Artagnan!” exclaimed Porthos. “told me to take you both on board my canoe. “I believe that is the name.” “And did he give you this letter?” “Yes.” “Who commands it?” “The captain of the king’s musketeers. monseigneur. signed.” “What did he say to you?” “That for ampler information.” “Where?” “On board his own vessel. monseigneur. d’Artagnan?” “Yes. “What is it?” asked Porthos.” Aramis turned pale. my friend. and crushed the paper in his hands. “Who knows that it is not a snare?” “Of the other king’s?” said Porthos. D’ARTAGNAN. “Dear D’Artagnan!” But Aramis stopped him.” “Tell me. order to make prisoners of all the men of the garrison. the day before yesterday. who. le mousquetaire. if they resist. mysteriously. and bring you to him.” exclaimed Porthos. “Nothing.

Aramis took Porthos by the hand. but it may prove instructive. open your ears. monseigneur?” cried Jonathan.” replied Jonathan. sit down upon this gun-carriage. “You will return on board this captain’s vessel. “What I have to say to you. I beg. monseigneur. then? If D’Artagnan sends for us—” “Who assures you that D’Artagnan sends for us?” “Well.” “Oh! pardieu! I will listen. “but if the captain should refuse to come to Belle-Isle?” “If he refuses. but—but his writing—” “Writing is easily counterfeited. “we do not want to know anything. don’t fear. friend Porthos. Explanations by Aramis. the time for it has come. and commenced his explanations.” “Very possibly. Porthos.” said Porthos. “Yes. will probably surprise you.” “May I depart. and listen well to me. monseigneur. go!” “Ma foi! I no longer comprehend anything.” “Ah! I comprehend!” said Porthos.” “And will tell him that we beg he will himself come into the island.” “What shall I do?” asked Jonathan. therefore. Jonathan. “Yes. in fact! That’s what it is. “It is true. but. This looks counterfeited—unsteady—” “You are always right.“A snare.” “Yes. speak out. and bring back an answer. my dear friend. you men there!” And the canoe pushed off to regain the fleet. begone. in a kindly tone. Go. no fear of that. “do not spare me. Chapter XLIII.” “I like to be surprised. as we have cannon. Allow the canoe to pass. we know nothing.” said the good Porthos.” murmured Porthos.” 213 . in the meantime. what is to be done. “I will make you comprehend it all. my friend.” Aramis was silent. he will come. we will make use of them. I am hardened against emotions.” “What! against D’Artagnan?” “If it is D’Artagnan.

” “You have deceived me!” “Good Heavens! yes. I will. the confession must be bravely made. to make your task more easy.” “It follows that—” “It follows that we are rebels. I do not quite clearly comprehend!” “He is one of the two kings who are contending fro the crown of France. to assist you in telling me such things. my friend. my poor friend. I might have deceived myself. So far. if it had only depended upon me.“It is difficult. in truth. majestically. for if you had not deceived me. trust me. is directing his efforts. I have very strange things. dear Porthos. “that which alone touches me is that ugly word rebels.” “Oh! you speak so well. “Oh! but. In what. with a man like you.” “What are we going to fight for. you will not help me at all.” “And that is not the same thing. generous. my worthy friend. 214 .” “The devil! the devil!” cried Porthos.?” “You have hit the matter in one word. Aramis?” “I thought so.” “Then. my friend. be calm. I have deceived you. question you. that is the very Gordian knot. that I could listen to you for days together.” replied Porthos. my friend.” “I shall be pleased at your doing so. much disappointed. then. then. and I thank you for it.” “The usurper!” said Porthos. you should have become a prince. “My friend. I warn you a second time.” said Porthos. very extraordinary things. according to this. Aramis?” “If you ask me many such questions as that—if you would render my task the easier by interrupting my revelations thus. I beg—and—stop. and devoted. Speak. to tell you. for. Porthos.” said the honest seigneur of Bracieux. have you deceived me. good. the duchy that was promised me—” “It was the usurper that was to give it to you. on the contrary. But.” “Very well! Then you were serving him who is not Louis XIV.” Porthos began to bite his nails in a melancholy way. we shall still find means of getting out of the affair. at this moment. Porthos—difficult. I thought so sincerely. “you have rendered me a service. tell me?” “In that I was serving the usurper against whom Louis XIV.. Porthos. “That is—well.” “It is not that which makes me uneasy.” “Was it for my good. I have an idea: I will.” “Ah! but—” “And so. scratching his head. Aramis.

and I have need of all my presence of mind. it is time to make me comprehend the political intrigue of which we are the victims—for I plainly see there is a political intrigue at the bottom of all this. It is natural. “so then. I called upon you. I will settle all that. D’Artagnan is coming.” “D’Artagnan.” “Poor Porthos! pardon me. you fly back to your prince. I alone am the author of this plot. but. henceforth.” “Do you think so?” said Porthos. The king Louis XIV.“That is where you have been wrong. it is impossible for me to blame you. Porthos pressed his friend’s hand cordially. it seems. if we are in such an easy position. for that promised duchy I reckoned upon. without replying to the bishop’s prayer. I have made you a prisoner.” “What is it?” “The hypothesis that D’Artagnan may come with orders which will oblige us to defend ourselves. shaking his head.” said Porthos. has no longer now but one enemy: that enemy is myself. I will take it on myself alone!” “Aramis!” “No. With me it is different. we have been mistaken. Aramis. I have quite fallen out with Louis XIV. which is more imposing than brilliancy of mind. my friend. now that I am perfectly aware of our situation with respect to Louis XIV. myself alone. You can perceive. No false generosity! No inopportune devotedness! You knew nothing of my projects. my good Porthos. and we will say good-bye. you have followed me. knowing you to be a man of your word. my good friend.” said the admirable good sense of Porthos.” continued he. my friend?” “I see a difficulty in it.” said Porthos. I conjure you. “then why.” “Now. nothing more plain. why. let us pass through. no. “that we have come to an explanation. open the door to us. let me act.” continued Porthos.” And upon this sublime reflection. then. Porthos.?” “Oh! I will settle all that.. I stood in need of my inseparable companion. ‘All for one. “I am quite sure of it. “Why do you say ‘that’? Do you not approve of my plan. to extricate you from the false position in which I have so imprudently involved you. “and seeing that you have acted entirely for yourself. that error is to be repaired. one for all. “Now.” “What! defend ourselves against D’Artagnan? Folly! Against the good D’Artagnan!” Aramis once more replied by shaking his head. my friend. there is not one difficulty in all this.’ My crime is that I was an egotist. I am deeply grieved. and engines of all sorts? It seems to me it would be much more simple to say to Captain d’Artagnan: ‘My dear friend. and you came to me in remembrance of our ancient device. but nothing can be more clear. and will detail it to you in all its circumstances. than your position. all my powers of reflection. Porthos.’” “Ah! that!” said Aramis. You have done nothing of yourself. muskets. It was the second time he had been compelled to bend before real superiority of heart. I implore you!” “So.” “Then why. excuse me. I think. do we prepare cannon. to-day I liberate you. that is a word I like. In presence of this ingenuous greatness of soul. Oh! I reckoned upon it seriously. Aramis felt his own littleness. I am bowed down with mental anguish. He replied by a mute and energetic pressure to the endearment of his friend. 215 . “in deceiving me.

you have had the misfortune. no doubt. monsieur.“Porthos. in virtue of your order.” said he.” said he. turning towards him who followed him: “Monsieur. no. affecting calm. biting his mustache with that vivacity which denoted in him exasperation. and almost faintly. D’Artagnan. the question now is of a man who is a clog upon M. approaching the parapet. I follow you. but rigorously. “if I have had the matches lighted and the guns pointed. obeyed instructions. As soon as he came towards them. I simply. But you are under my hand.” said the officer. and who is alone with M.” stammered the officer.” This order. but—” “Monsieur. I will cleave your head in two with my sword. where. given by Porthos. It is done. but with uneasiness and fear. in a voice of thunder. Colbert. When the skipper of the boat sent by me returned. those good ramparts of Belle-Isle which you have so well fortified. “do not let us reason like children. I swear to you by my name. when I sent a canoe hither. I did not hesitate.” “But there is one thing much more simple than defending ourselves:—a boat.” said Aramis. and all five preceding times I killed my man. if I have had the signal of alarm sounded. all that was well executed.” D’Artagnan trembled with rage. do not wait—” “What can I do?” “If I knew. The captain stopped upon the stairs of the mole. you wished to know what I wrote to the defenders of Belle-Isle. accordingly. to overhear your conversations. and. Porthos and Aramis observed an officer who followed D’Artagnan. very punctually. running lightly up the steps of the mole.” “Monsieur. closely to be followed by an explosion. All that was plainly in your orders. I brought you with me. Wait to judge. that. His companions imitated him. serious attention!” “It is D’Artagnan. “it is my duty which—” “Monsieur. approached the officer.” replied the officer. if I have called every man to his post upon the ramparts. it is I. in my turn. monsieur. and I swear that if you make one step behind me when I raise my feet to go up to those gentlemen. or rather. treading apparently in his very steps. so much the more impressive. I am directed not to allow you to communicate with any one without taking cognizance of what you do. Porthos.” “But. a bad position for that man. when I manifested the intention of quitting my vessel to cross to Belle-Isle. who has given you that order. my friend. Oh! it will happen! it will happen! I have only been six times angry in my life. and gaining rapidly the little esplanade on which his two friends waited for him. “let them retire out of hearing. without doubt. I would have told you. monsieur. are you not?” “Yes. or are at too great a distance.—they are unknown to me. if I am a restraint upon you.” at length said he.” replied the captain of the musketeers. “you heard every word of what the messenger said. was executed immediately.” continued D’Artagnan. “I did not speak arrogantly to you. “Yes. you spoke so arrogantly to me. to insult me. it was not for nothing. either you or those that sent you. you demanded to accompany me. growing warm—”monsieur.—But. Then D’Artagnan. it threatened tempest—”monsieur. “we are no longer on board the king’s fleet. monsieur. let us be men in council and in execution. when half-way up. “Make your men draw back. who heard this dialogue. was it not?” “Yes. but—” “But—the question no longer is of M. when I received the reply of these two gentlemen” (and he pointed to Aramis and Porthos). and pitch you into the water. “Monsieur. in a low voice. or of whomsoever in the world you are following the instructions. timidly.” said Porthos. I instantly showed you the note I had written. a bad position. and Porthos and Aramis. I am in duty bound. You produced an order to that effect. hark! I hear a hail for landing at the port. monsieur! I warn you. just now.” 216 . I cannot seek redress from those who employ you. d’Artagnan upon steps whose feet are bathed by thirty feet of salt water. trembled likewise. smiling with a strong shade of sadness. and away for France—where—” “My dear friend. I was commanded to follow you. Attention. d’Artagnan. “yes. You are now at Belle-Isle.” cried D’Artagnan to Porthos and Aramis.

D’Artagnan remarked the silence of his friend.” D’Artagnan. You will all the better comprehend what I am going to say to you now. “Well!” said D’Artagnan to his friends. on the watch for you. to converse with them without a witness.” All three embraced as in the glorious days of their youth. judge for yourselves. to see if the officer followed him. “you are a brave man. an unworthy act. threw his arm round the neck of the young man. “I have another trial to make of this officer. mute and trembling at the top of the parapet. Porthos and Aramis.” said he to the officer. and then went up to his friends. “Good D’Artagnan. you would have fallen into the hands of the cruisers that plow the sea in all directions.” said Aramis. which penetrated that hardened heart. permit me. then. for my part. raised his foot with ominous calmness to mount the stair.” “Monsieur d’Artagnan. and whose courageous resistance makes me 217 . I assure you. I break my word. and restore you your liberty. to keep you near me. if I do that which you beg me.” said D’Artagnan. and you alone. speak. but replied with simplicity. “such is my position.” “I know they are. Porthos angry. weed-covered steps. “interception of all boats coming to or going from Belle-Isle. and give it to another. and rushed down to prevent the blow they thought they already heard. and turned round. in an agitated voice. The officer made a sign of the cross and stepped up.” D’Artagnan tore at his gray mustache. But D’Artagnan passed his sword into his left hand.— “Monsieur. who can say. I will not surrender easily. take care!” D’Artagnan made them a sign to keep silence. “and I assure you. for. “Dear Porthos!” cried the bishop of Vannes. D’Artagnan darted a reproachful look at the prelate. I disoblige you. “Not any. But now.” replied the officer. If you had endeavored to fly.” “I understand your reserve.” “You can understand whether or not I ought to act towards them as your instructions prescribe. of this brave fellow who accompanies me. “You see what is being done against you. you are wrong in acting against my orders.” Porthos and Aramis. and against whom you have orders. whom I esteem and honor. Aramis grew somber. who will dispose of me and you without hope of help?” “We must remain at Belle-Isle. Your means of transport seized. if I yield to your request. no more has Aramis. monsieur. sat down on the damp. “These gentlemen we have just seen. and do not despise me. he became pale under this terrible threat.” said D’Artagnan.” Porthos said nothing. uttered a cry.” continued D’Artagnan: “to make you both come on board. I prefer the one dilemma to the other. are my friends. in fact. “Monsieur. resolutely. “You ought to have a suspicion of what they signify. do not despise me for committing for you.” the worthy baron hastened to say. Converse with your friends. I may not find a superior. I have done nothing. The king wants you to be taken. my dear captain. when I return to my ship.” “Very well. who knew their D’Artagnan. that I may not find secret orders which will take from me my command. enveloped in his cloak. sword in hand. The officer. and he will take you. “My idea was this. much agitated. cried to the musketeer. monsieur. for doing this for your sake.The officer did not stir.” “Speak. “What is the meaning of all these preparations?” said Porthos. but if I do not do it. Monsieur d’Artagnan.

” “Let us see.” replied Aramis.” said Aramis. nothing had changed in appearance in the fate of one or the other.” “I want time for reflection. a little wounded in his susceptibilities at the morose tone of his companion. “Only. Monsieur d’Artagnan.” “Infallible!” cried Aramis. “That’s all over. “As you please. offensive and defensive. “Will you come? Will you follow me.” resumed D’Artagnan.” said the musketeer. but having direct explicit orders to put them under guard. leaned over towards the steps of the mole.” added Aramis. for it denotes an honest man. after having exchanged the cordial courtesies natural between gentlemen who know and appreciate each other. Thus. Colbert had saddled him. which consisted of the officers serving under his orders. placing his ear near Aramis’s mouth. precisely. “He can prove to the king. left Belle-Isle with the inseparable companion with whom M.” D’Artagnan did not return on board without profoundly analyzing the idea he had discovered.” said the bishop of Vannes.” “Hum!” said D’Artagnan. for I have one already.” said Aramis.” “Yes. “but in truth. Therefore. an idea I fancy I have divined. Porthos? The king is merciful. on putting his foot on board his vessel. is a thousand times better than a complaisant coward. he had full time for meditation. “Until we have an idea. who.” said Aramis. “Only I am reassured by the promise of an idea from D’Artagnan. He immediately assembled his council. and you too.” “Ah!” said D’Artagnan. monsieur.” said Porthos. then?” “Until fresh orders. that he had nothing to do with this affair. Let us try to learn from him what his instructions are. and what his orders permit or forbid.” said Aramis.” “Let us try. laconically. These were eight in number. Porthos did not stir. what would you do?” “I should not oppose it. D’Artagnan went to the parapet. who immediately came up. “During the first emotion this resolution will cause. “there is D’Artagnan’s idea. “and I now believe that will not be long. Porthos alone said nothing. the captain of the musketeers had already got together all his means. “thanks. and I will help him do so. now grown mute again. then.” said the latter. gloomily.” “Let us say adieu. “monsieur. we know that whatever D’Artagnan did examine. and called the officer. As to the officer. my good Porthos. “Monsieur. D’Artagnan. with vivacity. but merely bowed.” said D’Artagnan to the officer. “That is it. having tenderly embraced his two old friends. I should detain them.very happy. you ought to go. if I wished to take away these gentlemen from here. daylight was certain to illuminate.” said Aramis. take care of yourself. moored within cannon-shot of the island. “But still take Porthos. The latter spoke several words rapidly. a chief 218 .” said D’Artagnan. Aramis. though an enemy. monsieur. to which D’Artagnan replied.” “No. a thousand thanks! You have made yourself three friends for life. according to custom. with the exception of the explanation with which the worthy Porthos had been willing to be satisfied. “You will remain here. Now.” “Now.” “Oh! don’t be afraid.

monsieur.” The officer who had followed D’Artagnan to Belle-Isle was preparing to speak.of the maritime forces. “Monsieur. since I arrested M. so unexpected. and that former monarchs gave the right to the seigneurs of Belle-Isle to arm their people. but D’Artagnan interrupted him. they will consequently know to what they have to trust. and with a gracious smile: “That is well.” said he. and I have found in it a good and solid garrison. Now the inhabitants and defenders of Belle-Isle know nothing of this arrest.” said the officer.” The major made a movement. that M. I suppose. that they would not believe you. D’Artagnan.” continued D’Artagnan. But it is not M. I have been to reconnoiter Belle-Ile-en-Mer. gentlemen.” said he. It is not. “Yes. We will tell them that at the first cannon fired. in case of rebellion.” D’Artagnan repressed the quiver of impatience that ran through his whole body. “I have heard you say that the place is preparing to make a troublesome defense. Fouquet the day before yesterday. they will resist no longer.” The major bowed in token of assent. should they agree. and that is exactly why I do not offer to communicate except in presence of my staff. there will be no further hope of mercy from the king. d’Artagnan to assemble any council whatever. and that all resistance can only be prejudicial to them. “I propose to cause two of the principal officers of the garrison to come on board my vessel. have not seen the body of M. upon our honor. A Breton serves his master. and addressed them thus: “Gentlemen. I know that there is an order of the king’s to prevent all secret communications with the defenders of Belle-Isle. “Read. “You are going to tell me that that right to arm themselves against the English was not a right to arm themselves against their king. surprising they hold out against that which is neither M. full of mistrust. Signed—LOUIS. They will yield up without fighting. then. gentlemen?” The major of artillery rose. “the king’s orders shall be complied with. with the intention of evidently acting. he serves his master till he has seen him dead. and resumed: “Monsieur. as you know. Having assembled them. You would announce it to them in vain. or to deliberate in any way before Belle-Isle be surrendered and the prisoners shot. and four lieutenants. Fouquet’s. an engineer. Fouquet. “That is why. Having separated them from their troops and cannon. preparations are made for a defense that may prove troublesome. with respect. It is a thing so unheard-of and extraordinary. that we may converse with them. “What. who knew him well enough to attach a certain value to the condescension. but firmness. And already the latter saw with joy that the result of their consent would be sending a bark to Porthos and Aramis. and not his masters. This paper bore upon its superscription the number 1. which he placed in the hands of D’Artagnan. determined on rebellion?” D’Artagnan was visibly put out by this reply. more!” murmured the surprised captain. But you are ignorant that Belle-Isle is a fief of M. Is not this your opinion. I therefore intend to send for two of the principal officers of the place.” said he. according to the desire of D’Artagnan. the officer we are acquainted with. or so at least I trust.” And D’Artagnan made an inclination of the head to his officers. I know what you are going to tell me.” 219 . took of his hat. they will see the forces we have at our disposal. monsieur. and the fate that attends them. as far as I know. moreover. The place is then. Fouquet is a prisoner. particularly by reasoning with them. unfolded the paper. a major directing the artillery. They will see you. when the king’s officer drew from a pocket a folded paper. The officers looked at each other as if to read each other’s opinions in their eyes. D’Artagnan arose. “your reply is just. “Oh! do not interrupt me. but he was not the man to allow himself to be subdued by a trifle. who holds Belle-Isle at this moment. we shall be better able to deal with them. We will affirm to them. monsieur. Fouquet. and we shall have a place given up to us in a friendly way which it might cost prodigious efforts to subdue. with a courtesy that was not free from sadness. Now the Bretons. Fouquet nor his signature. Then.” continued D’Artagnan. and read these words: “Prohibition to M.

which the passive agent of the thoughts of that infernal Colbert had distributed to them. “do me the favor to depart at once.Chapter XLIV.” “Then. This contingency of his disobedience had been foreseen—as all the rest had been. We will disobey!” But at the moment he was about to adopt this plan. At sight of this he became almost distraught with rage. Whilst they were making their escape. and turning round towards D’Artagnan. he elicited therefrom novel means of safety for his friends. furious at having been anticipated by an idea of the king’s. and every officer placed under his orders shall be held to no longer obey him.” replied the officer. “will you carry on the directions of the different corps?” “When you are gone. he shall no longer be reckoned leader of the expedition. this time?” And D’Artagnan almost triumphed while speaking these words. monsieur. monsieur. and who will consider him a prisoner for whom he is answerable. within an hour. he would be sent back with full powers. we shall have the ebb of the tide. addressing the new leader. placing the folded paper in his hands. except the surveillant officer. and the Ideas of D’Artagnan.” said the officer. “I await your good pleasure to depart. mortal. the cage. “who would know it.” added he. it must be because I no longer possess his confidence. and I should really be unworthy of it if I had the courage to hold a command subject to so many injurious suspicions. d’Artagnan shall have manifested the desire of giving in his resignation. did not despair. feebly. on seeing that all prepared to obey him. “Come. He leaned his head on his hand. “it is for you that this last order remitted to me is intended. Result of the Ideas of the King. gentlemen! I suppose. “it is to me the command of the whole is committed. 220 . even yet.” said the officer. For this purpose. and reflecting upon the idea he had brought back from Belle-Isle. The officer immediately ordered a canoe to receive M. This plan would prove the safety of his friends. “you have no orders to object. after the birds had flown. exhibiting the royal signature. The blockade once raised. subdued. To your posts. thoughtful. Let us exercise some small audacity! My head is not one of those the executioner strikes off for disobedience. the said Monsieur d’Artagnan. what would prevent my doing it? Before the king had had time to be informed. they might embark immediately. “How. The blow was direct. d’Artagnan and himself. crushed by implacable impossibility. suddenly. It was thus conceived: “From the moment M. But to this plan the officer opposed a further order of the king’s. scarcely breathing. in an agitated voice (such despair did he behold in that man of iron). for the first time in thirty years. having lost that quality of leader of the army sent against Belle-Isle. coming up to him. D’Artagnan would return to the king.” rejoined Colbert’s man. “If I were to put this order in my pocket. “Here are your instructions. “Monsieur. I tender it before you all.” replied D’Artagnan. monsieur. grinding his teeth. would justify his return by the indignation which the mistrust of Colbert had raised in him. however. in such a way as not to compromise the safety of the forces his majesty has confided to me.” Brave and careless as he was. “since the king has charged some other than myself with his secret orders. “Gentlemen. recalled to him the solid foresight and inflexible logic of the great cardinal. Let us see your powers. Everything had been calculated with a depth of precognition which. Moreover. that is to say. I should have saved those poor fellows yonder.” replied the commander of the fleet. accompanied by the officer who will have remitted the message to him. D’Artagnan.” “I am ready.” thought he.” “Here they are.” said he. return all to your posts. and set sail for England or Spain. and he would take Belle-Isle. shall set out immediately for France. D’Artagnan turned pale. without fear of being molested. It was severe. monsieur. he saw the officers around him reading similar orders.” said he.” stammered he.” “Immediately!” articulated D’Artagnan. Therefore I will go immediately and carry my resignation to the king. enjoining you all to fall back with me upon the coast of France.

The king’s guards embarked with him.” replied the officer. was a restraint on Aramis.” “Did you remark. “Let us hear it. if there is possibility of flight for only one. another.” “What idea. to the officer to whom. in a low voice. The Ancestors of Porthos. which started. the good Porthos looked sadly in the face of Aramis.” “Ah! indeed!” said Porthos. in the scene our friend had with the officer. the latter returned to the principal fort. or we will stay together. then! do you think yourself lost?” “I feel fatigued.” said Porthos.” “Well! D’Artagnan is going to give in his resignation to the king.” “What is it. are they not? and—” He did not finish. favored by wind and tide. When D’Artagnan left Aramis and Porthos. for an hour. still thoughtful. “They have commenced the siege of Belle-Isle. The musketeer still preserved the hope of reaching Nantes quickly. D’Artagnan shuddered. my friend?” 221 . for the coast of France. “What.” “Thine is a right. Aramis. “Dear Porthos. that certain orders constrained him with regard to us?” “Yes. or rather you will get away. whose mind had never felt itself more free. “Your will!” cried the bishop. in order to converse with greater liberty. my friend. suddenly. D’Artagnan distinctly saw the land of France profiled in black against the white clouds of night. The canoe had just touched the soil of France. we will get away. Aramis?” “An idea to which we shall owe our liberty within twelve hours. do you put on such a dismal countenance?” “I will tell you.” “I am not angry with you. Chapter XLV. Porthos.” said he. The bark flew like a swallow.” said he. I did notice that. “what would I give to know the instructions for the new commander! They are all pacific. a generous heart. much astonished. “Then you are angry with me. and two or three still louder. “Ah! monsieur.” “I am not uneasy. Porthos.” And while saying these words. and there is a custom in our family. “only your melancholy uneasiness affects me. It is the first time. the thunder of a distant cannon rolled athwart the waves.” said Aramis. and of pleading the cause of his friends eloquently enough to incline the king to mercy. “I will explain D’Artagnan’s idea to you. I am making my will. and during the confusion that will result from his absence.” “Then why.And he painfully subsided into the little boat.” Here Porthos shook his head and replied: “We will escape together. he had ceased speaking.

has occurred four times. I have money. we have no reply from D’Artagnan. for having set out. as you say. seeing no bark upon the shore. having this weakness. or rather its issue.” said Porthos. that is a good sign. and he was stretched out dead upon the spot. I sink. which you know.” “I understand. de Coligny. where we have so often lain in wait for the foxes. but Gaspard. and during the night we will go to sea!” “That is a grand idea. Aramis pressed his hand: “We will still live many years. as he rose from table. which made head against him. My father was as strong again as I am. and which terminates at the little creek by a trench where we discovered the day that splendid fox escaped that way. Life is an agreeable thing. “Well. ‘Would not one believe I was going to meet with a wild boar.” said he. the same as M.“My grandfather was a man twice as strong as I am.” “Indeed!” said Aramis. Always on horseback. my brave Porthos. instead of going to bed. I will not say this frightens me. and Henry IV. I have fine estates. indeed. Athos. I have also friends that I love: D’Artagnan. I have horses that I love. but it annoys me.” said Aramis.” said he. Raoul. so haughtily. and will cease to watch.” “He had supped heartily.. his name was not Antoine. It is not becoming in a man of your strength to be superstitious. the scouts. du Vallon. he was astonished at this lassitude. de Bassompierre. when were your legs known to fail? Never have you stood so firm.” The admirable Porthos did not even take the trouble to dissimulate in the very presence of Aramis the rank he gave him in his friendship. He was a rough soldier. a bark is to be concealed for us in that cavern. perhaps. complaining still of weakness of the legs. my father fell against a stone in which an iron hinge was fixed. On my part I have just issued directions that a bark should be rolled on rollers to the mouth of the great cavern of Locmaria. “let us not infer that there may succeed a third. What shall we gain by it?” “We shall gain this—nobody knows that grotto. but at times I vacillate. the man who had never known what weakness was before. One evening. dear Porthos. except ourselves and two or three hunters of the island.” “Precisely. as you will see. He must have given orders to get the vessels together and clear the seas. his foot slipped on the first stair.” “There is no reason in that why you should alarm yourself. my friend?” “Nothing good. “and that was why he staggered. and you. Trust yourself to me. setting out one day for the chase. Besides.” “Well! that weakness in the legs?” 222 . as the late M. will never imagine we can escape. In case of misfortunes. when. my father insisted upon going down into the garden. “to preserve to the world such specimens of its rarest men. and lately this phenomenon. you could carry a house on your shoulders.” “No. “then your grandfather must have been Samson himself. no. under Henry III. Well! he was about my age. we shall gain this—that if the island is occupied. my father did?’” “Well?” said Aramis. his legs failed him. he met a wild boar. it must be there by this time.” “At this moment.” “Bah! A friend of M. he felt his legs weak. nonsense! No. and was ripped up by the beast and died immediately. he missed him with his arquebuse. We will wait for a favorable moment.” “Oh! you will see. The hinge gashed his temple. who laughed at him. and said to my mother. his name was Antoine. “I feel myself pretty active. why.” Aramis raised his eyes to his friend: “These are two extraordinary circumstances.” “What was the meaning of that fatigue.” “Yes. he had never known what lassitude was. the staircase was steep. my friend.

and so thoroughly animated their men. “that your brevet of duke is not such a chance as it is said to be. The arm of the giant lifted up his prey. “Within half cannon-shot. repeated by a hundred throats. we have still half a century of magnificent adventure before us. “To arms!” repeated Porthos. No royal fleet or descent to be dreaded. “did you not calumniate your legs?” “It was not with my legs I captured him. But the boats were too near the mole to allow the cannon to aim correctly.” continued the soldier. laughing. laden with soldiers. when everybody was gone home.” said Porthos coolly to Aramis. which served him as a buckler. Five minutes later. “Nothing! nothing!—only my legs. “What’s the matter. Aramis opened the window.” “You see.” cried Aramis. “we must have a prisoner. and he recovered himself without a shot being fired at him. “To arms!” cried Aramis. without gaining anything but the wounds they carried away. The Bretons of the Isle were very proud of this victory.” “We live by hope. that the royalists re-embarked precipitately. “Here is a prisoner for you. that everything conspires to give us quietude and hope.” said he to Porthos. D’Artagnan will sweep the sea and leave us free. All at once a cry resounded in their ears: “To arms! to arms!” This cry. it is really incomprehensible!—they will be better when we charge. just now. “What will happen. Boats. who recognized Aramis. carried surprise to one. enlivened by the warmth of his companion. and seized by the nape of the neck one of the officers of the royal army who was waiting to embark till all his people should be in the boat. “Well!” cried the latter. Aramis did not encourage them in the feeling. then.” added the bishop with terrible energy. quick! quick!” Porthos bent over the stair of the mole.” said Porthos. “will be that the anger of the king will be roused by the ac223 . These were the shots that D’Artagnan had heard as he landed in France.“Oh! better. were seen approaching. and uneasiness to the other. “The fleet?” repeated the latter. the cannonade commenced. Porthos?” said Aramis to his friend. I swear to you.” said Porthos. piercing the chamber where the two friends were conversing. They landed. and in three directions. plainly. “What must be done?” said an officer of the guard. fire!” said Aramis. and if they persist. And both rushed forth towards the mole to place themselves within the shelter of the batteries. the armed population were hastening to their posts. much. he saw a crowd of people running with flambeaux. “The fleet! the fleet!” cried a soldier. Porthos and Aramis did charge with such vigor. “it was with my arms!” Chapter XLVI. “Eh! but Porthos. The Son of Biscarrat. for the purpose of landing at three points at once. formidably. and the combat commenced hand to hand. Vive Dieu! Porthos. and if I once touch Spanish ground.” In fact. Women were seeking places of safety. “Stop them.

” “Address it!” cried Porthos. and the color mounted to their faces.” “From which it results.” “Of your father?” cried Aramis.” “Yes. “to kill during combat.” said he. then. without having any fear of compromising himself. “Pardon me. as he drinks he will talk.” replied he.” “And I am too heavy. drinking himself. “It seems to me—” 224 . Aramis. “The orders are. We are going to supper.” This was done. Aramis?” “Biscarrat!” reflected the bishop. “That is true. or hang afterwards. all the details imaginable of the resignation and departure of D’Artagnan. He explained how. let us interrogate the prisoner. No more dependence to be placed now on D’Artagnan’s fertile imagination—no further resource in the event of defeat.” Porthos and Aramis looked at each other again. the new leader of the expedition had ordered a surprise upon Belle-Isle. and suffered himself to be led on by the charm of Aramis’s wit and Porthos’s cordial bonhomie.” said he. if you please.” “For the moment it may be. and that these brave people will be decimated or shot when they are taken. The officer was at first rather uneasy. gallantly. He was an intelligent gentleman.count of the resistance. “for we have a prisoner from whom we shall learn what our enemies are preparing to do. “if I address a question to you. continuing his interrogations. There his explanations stopped. but became reassured on seeing what sort of men he had to deal with. He gave. “and the means of making him speak are very simple. messieurs. Porthos bowed. “that we could have guaranteed you the exact kind of death you preferred. gentlemen.” said Porthos. From one subject to another the chat with the officer was prolonged. monsieur. I should say even the best of all soldiers. “address it!” “Speak. “Were you not.” said Porthos. “that what we have done is of not the slightest use. after that departure.” said Porthos.” “I am sure. Aramis and Porthos exchanged a glance that evinced their despair. monsieur. but men who are in their sixth bottle have a clear right to forget themselves a little. and—” “I am called Georges de Biscarrat. and amongst the best of them. which cannot fail to take place. “One more cup of wine to your health. “I am too light for the gallows. we will invite him to join us. “Biscarrat! Do you remember that name. “Do you know what my name is?” “Ma foi! no.” replied the bishop. seriously.” “A thousand thanks!” said Aramis.” said the prisoner.” said Aramis.” “Oh!” cried Porthos.” said Porthos. if I did not fear to offend the memory of my father. “people like me are not hung. in his turn. but you can tell us. asked the prisoner what the leaders of the expedition contemplated doing with the leaders of Belle-Isle.” replied Aramis. both in the musketeers of the late king?” “Yes. “people like me break the cord.

they must come and seek us here.” said he. sword in hand. to say something to us. with noble intrepidity. gentlemen. to make us some overture. constantly consulting with his looks the countenance of Biscarrat. “Here is a man who will help us. Aramis looked at Porthos as much as to say. “Cannon and musketry. “Eh! Pardieu!” cried Aramis. then. a capital blade?” said the prisoner. we are delighted to make the acquaintance of such a brave man’s son. at M. but now that I know you. likewise. hereditary friends. I say—you will evade this dismal fate.” said the officer. these sinister reports of a combat which they thought had ceased: “What can that be?” asked Porthos.” said Porthos. monsieur.” “Oh! you are not reserved for such a frightful fate as that. “Provided. monsieur.” “In that you are perfectly right.” replied the officer—”what should they ask of you? If they find you they will kill you. my worthy friend.” and without delay. hark! I hear a voice that frees mine by dominating it. Monsieur de Biscarrat. of falling in with men destined to be shot or hung. warmly. “that is just what I expected. “Biscarrat—called Cardinal—one of the four who interrupted us on the day on which we formed our friendship with D’Artagnan. “You wish. messieurs and friends!” said the young man.” cried Aramis. “but it appears evident to me that if they want to find us. “we could not scratch.” “Nothing at all will be required of you. Biscarrat and the bishop—”provided nothing disgraceful be required of us. “That’s true! most true!” exclaimed both friends together.—”Confess. “Ma foi! Monsieur Biscarrat. “Pardieu! that won’t take me long.” continued Porthos.” “My father always said so.” “Cannon!” said Porthos.” “The only one. monsieur. “Bah! you said so yourself. that is a predetermined thing. and to learn that these men are old acquaintances.” “Consequently. gentlemen. with dignity. and you dare not—is that true?” “Ah! gentlemen and friends! it is because by speaking I betray the watchword. in his turn. “that it is good to have once been a good man.” “Confess. to prevent their finding you.” “I don’t think I am mistaken. if you wish!” “How—if we wish?” echoed Aramis. On hearing at a distance. that it is a sad circumstance in which you find yourself.” replied Aramis.“Try to recollect. eagerly. in fact.” said Porthos. looking. gentlemen. among the rocks. whose eyes beamed with intelligence as he looked alternately at the prisoner and Porthos. try. when I did not know you.” “I said so just now. But.” Biscarrat pressed the hands held out by the two musketeers.” “Precisely.” “What is that?” 225 . who had grown silent and constrained. too!” cried the bishop.

You would sacrifice yourselves in vain—you. Fouquet. you father. bowing to him. in the name of M. or was about to commit.” said Aramis. “M.” replied Aramis. The king is master in his kingdom. Love God and the king. “Ah! what have you just been saying.” “Monsieur de Biscarrat.” said Biscarrat to the bishop. and enveloped him in a magnetic field. “I will go. you will perhaps obtain some grace for us on informing him of the manner in which that submission has been effected. monsieur. at the news of the surprise which might deliver up the island to the royal troops. a little surprised likewise at the word “grace” pronounced by the haughty musketeer. Porthos understood him. between two flambeaux. my friend?” said Porthos. who have struck M. Fouquet. quietly. for when announcing to the king’s lieutenant the submission of the islanders. it is I who beg you to do so. your wives and children. begone. do not think of avenging him. It is I who ask you to do so. command you to do so. my friends. Monsieur Biscarrat.” “I am very willing to do so. no resistance. the terrified crowd rushed precipitately to the fort to demand assistance and advice from their leaders. monsieur? And whilst your companions allowed themselves to be repulsed. my friends—lay down your arms! since the king commands you so to do—and retire peaceably to your dwellings. The king and God have struck M.” replied Biscarrat. in a great measure. “The soldiers of Louis XIV. “but we are not taken or hung. and thrown into the Bastile. then.” said D’Herblay. messieurs. this time I command you. “Lost! that is possible. but a few minutes before. At the report of the cannon.” “We are lost.” continued Aramis. and was silent immediately. monsieur. “From this time it would no longer be a fight betwixt them and you—it would be a massacre. Fouquet. “Monsieur de Biscarrat. has been arrested by an order of the king. my friends.” said the bishop of Vannes. in the hour of need. which he examined with the care of an old soldier who is preparing for battle. “what is the meaning of that word?” Aramis touched the elbow of his friend roughly.” “Grace!” replied Porthos with flashing eyes.“That the attack made by you was nothing but a feint. “Avenge Monsieur Fouquet!” cried the most excited of his hearers. then. is not that true. depends upon the excellence and right conditions of his arms.” The crowd collected under the window uttered a prolonged roar of anger and terror. full of soldiers waiting for orders and bewildered inhabitants imploring succor. your liberty. “death to the royalists!” “No. “My friends. be kind enough to resume your liberty. The king is the mandatory of God. Humble yourselves before the hand of God. “no. submissive.” “Oh! several. “and at parting receive the expression of our entire gratitude. but thus you will neither save yourself nor your friend. a blunder. as he had been accustomed to do in the days of their youth. you were certain of effecting a landing on the other side of the island. when he wanted to warn Porthos that he had committed. and forget. Lay down your arms. he rose from the table. your protector. pale and downcast. in a grave and sonorous voice. in the name of the Lord of Hosts!” The mutineers retired slowly. have reached the island. and who feels that life.” 226 . went to the wall. with a singular accent of nobility and courtesy. your property. solemnly. Begone.” replied the Seigneur de Pierrefonds.” A sustained yell of vengeful fury came floating up to the window at which the bishop stood. but—” “That would render us a service. “Go. it is I who now.” said the bishop of Vannes. Aramis. Fouquet.” And so saying. and coolly took down his sword and pistols. “you may save all these inhabitants. of and to whom. showed himself at the window which looked into the principal court. then. “Monsieur. your friend. But do not avenge your seigneur. he had related with so much enthusiasm the heroic exploits with which his father had delighted him. silent.

” replied Biscarrat.” 227 . they reached the deep grottoes. you whom I think it an honor to call my friends. whilst listening to their complaints. From time to time. since you have been willing to accept that title. go. mon Dieu!—the order is precise and formal. my friend. Monsieur de Biscarrat. monseigneur.” “Yes. across the heath. trembling. frequently interrupted by prudent stoppages. “to pass in first? I know the signal I have given to these men. Besides.” Aramis stopped Porthos. “Ma foi! no. in which the prophetic bishop of Vannes had taken care to have secreted a bark capable of keeping the sea at this fine season. then. monsieur—yes. very much agitated at taking leave of the two ancient adversaries of his father. would be very likely to fire upon you or slash away with their knives in the dark. in order better to avoid an ambush. departed in the direction of the sound of cannon.” cried Aramis. it seems. Aramis and Porthos. the king’s lieutenant. but the grotto of Locmaria—is it necessary all the world should know it?” “Ah! that is true. passed fugitives coming from the interior.” “I am bishop of Vannes.” Chapter XLVII. who. We are going to escape by the cavern. “Forward. had interrupted the conversation of the two friends with their prisoner. by surging the crowd into the fort. go on—go first. after a rapid race. who was preparing to enter the cavern. and. The Grotto of Locmaria. and tried.” said he to the giant. messieurs. which stretched between the mole and the cavern. gayly. messieurs.” “If you please. then. night was advancing. Then.“But you. “We will wait here. no doubt. They walked. Adieu! then. and they no more shoot a bishop than they hang a gentleman. at the news of the landing of the royal troops. But I thought you spoke of three men. he is a brave fellow. “we have arrived. midnight had struck at the fort. I will repair to the commander of the expedition.” “Did not Biscarrat inconvenience you here?” “No. that is true. “My good friend. friend Porthos. concealed behind some projecting mass of rock. collected the words that escaped from the poor people. carrying with them their most valuable effects. Ah! there is that fatigue again. “They are certainly waiting for us in the cavern. who fled.” “Ah! yes. of which I spoke to you. what will become of you in the meantime?” replied the officer. I comprehend. jumping upon a horse given him by Aramis. which. I will depart. to meet again.” said Porthos. panting vigorously. The cavern of Locmaria was sufficiently distant from the mole to render it necessary for our friends to husband their strength in order to reach it. listening to every noise.” “Go on. or rather. Porthos?” replied Aramis. not hearing it. three servants. Porthos and Aramis were loaded with money and arms. you are right. and when left alone with Porthos: “Well. who were to accompany us. King Louis has not caught us—yet. do you comprehend?” said he. I don’t see them—where are they?” “Why should you see them. It has just seized me afresh. you impersonate wisdom and foresight. At length. “it is true. on the road which they had carefully left on their left. are resting. I hope. Aramis watched the departure. our boat awaits us.” The worthy officer.” “But. to gather something from them for their own interest. there is still that chance for you. having accomplished their rough and difficult task. Aramis. “Will you allow me.

“and satisfy ourselves at once what it will hold. my good Yves. “and I am certain it will pass.” said the patron Yves. There were additional oars. Porthos. a good provision of water in leathern bottles. “but your highness knows very well that to make it reach the extremity of the trench.” “That is well.” said the bishop.” “It must be as you please. the barrel of powder.” “Go to the entrance of the grottoes. who is resting after the fatigue of our journey. refreshed. the whole forming rations sufficient for people who did not mean to quit the coast.” “I think the skipper may be right. three or four fathoms of good water upon a sound bottom. and as many horse-pistols.” “It can be raised. Aramis found bread. When Aramis had seen to all these things. “Let us consult Porthos.” The three men obeyed. monseigneur.” replied Yves. replied from the depths of the cave.” “So be it. placed beneath the benches of the prow and the poop. and. Aramis pursued his way cautiously. and Porthos assured his friend that he felt as strong again as ever.” continued Yves. were in good condition. the Bretons lighted a lantern with which they were furnished. on the contrary. and all loaded. a scarcely distinct echo. had already commenced the descent. following the descent and the shade of the cavern. biscuit. which assists the speed of the canoe at the same time the boatmen row.” continued the fisherman. monseigneur. one of those that have always been so aptly built at Belle-Isle. the road will be so convenient as the open air. there is an enormous stone to be lifted—that under which the fox always passes. “let us try the open-air passage. monseigneur. The canoe was long. leveling the road of the little beach.” “I have made my calculation. solid upon the water. within ten paces of him.Aramis left Porthos sitting at the entrance of the grotto. imitating the cry of the owl. formed a sort of deck over which the waves might glide. thin of keel. which is but twenty feet high. Are all things ready?” “Yes.” said Porthos. In two wellclosed coffers. if necessity commanded. Goenne is here likewise. and the musket-charges that you sent me from the fort. with the precautions of a man who is neither timid nor ignorant in the face of danger. “Yes. formed and supported by columns of porphyry and granite. and that little sail called trinquet. and is so useful when the breeze is slack.” said Aramis. “but I don’t believe that by the slope of the cavern. A little plaintive cooing. respectfully. Yves?” said the bishop. The arms. and in the dark in which we shall be obliged to maneuver our boat.” said Aramis.” said Aramis. in short. and bring him hither to me. he examined minutely all parts of the canoe. it will require so much 228 . in the coffer you know of. and gives. “that we should not be able to embark before day. His son accompanies us. “to know if we must endeavor to get the boat out by the unknown extremity of the grotto. and soon was stopped by the same kind of cry as he had first uttered.” replied the skipper Yves. and can certify that it is as smooth as a grass-plot in a garden. “for as you desired me. And if he should happen not to be able to walk. the interior of the grotto. “but that is giving him a great deal of trouble. in the open air. and you will there find the Seigneur de Pierrefonds. As soon as the Seigneur de Bracieux had rejoined the bishop. I know the beach well. and bowing his head. so as to protect the rowers. and his heavy step resounded amongst the cavities. monseigneur. monseigneur.” “Very well. and appeared satisfied with the result of his inspection. taking the lantern himself. dried fruits. drawing little water. monseigneur. monseigneur. that at its extremity we shall come to the trench which leads into the sea. he penetrated into the interior of the cavern. or whether it be better. is rough. “that is nothing. in uncertain weather. light. very manageable. lift him up. and which closes the trench like a door. furnished with planks which. a quarter of bacon.” “The more so.” “Oh! I know that monseigneur has the strength of ten men. But the recommendation given to his servants was superfluous. at high tide. I wish it may.” “Do not go too near with the light. and perhaps the canoe will not pass down it. and would be able to revictual. “Let us inspect the boat. in case of accident. a little high in its sides. “Are you there. to make it slide upon its rollers through the bushes. I have placed under the bench of the poop. eight muskets. without reckoning.” said he.

But. “now.” And the three robust Bretons went to the boat. with mingling yelps of triumph. I cannot understand it.” “Yes. but had scarcely proceeded a hundred steps in the darkness. the voices evidently draw nearer. “And this way. followed by Porthos. which was perceptible for several seconds under the low vaults of the cave. “Eh! monseigneur. proceeding from the interior of the island. In a quarter of an hour it would be clear daylight.” “The noise comes nearer. letting fall the cylinder which he was about to place under the boat when the bishop’s call interrupted him.labor. and long flights of crows were skimming with their black wings the shimmering fields of buckwheat. particularly. “he will leave the dogs to hunt the grotto. Six foxhounds burst at once upon the little heath. and were beginning to place their rollers underneath it to put it in motion. “What is the meaning of this hunt. leaving behind its sour scent. and will not enter in himself. Yves!” cried Aramis. Pardieu! But don’t you know. Porthos. that after the foxes come hounds.” “No. through the dim light. plain enough!” said Aramis.” replied the sailor. The barkings which had been heard. No.” They re-entered. “It is not at such a moment that the Seigneur de Locmaria would hunt. and yet the dogs—” “Unless they have escaped from the kennel. what do you mean by that? why do you specify the fox? It is not the fox alone. “come here! come here!” Yves ran towards him. rapid. Dawn just tinted with purple and white the waves and plain. your reasons are good. and had brought Aramis and Porthos out of the cavern. it is there he will wait for him. to watch the maneuvers of the lighters or cruisers that are on the look-out for us. when a noise like the hoarse sigh of a creature in distress resounded through the cavern. Aramis darted out of the grotto.” “In common prudence.” replied the Breton. you are right. they heard the yelping pack approach with frightful swiftness upon the trail. Yes. As though to confirm the words of Aramis. indispensable even. “are you afraid of a fox?” “Eh! my friend. Porthos. which had stopped the three fishermen engaged in moving the boat.” said Porthos. now seemed to come from a deep gorge within about a league of the grotto. melancholy fir-trees waved their tender branches over the pebbles. “It is a pack of hounds.” “How so?” said Porthos. with the glad surprise of born hunters. “our retreat is discovered. “There are the dogs. “the dogs are on a scent. “where they might expect the army of the royalists. when the distant barking of dogs was heard.” 229 . for he knows them. and that as soon as daylight appears.” “Who can be hunting at such a moment as this?” said Aramis. yes. being quite sure that the fox will come out the other side. “Accursed mischance!” cried the bishop. the dogs are on a scent. posted on the look-out behind a chink in the rocks. Yves. “they are not the Seigneur de Locmaria’s hounds. we will go by the beach. and after hounds men?” Porthos hung his head. “let us go back into the grotto. we shall soon know what we have to trust to.” said Goenne. “The fox!” cried the Bretons. the wakened birds announced it to all nature. skipper?” said Porthos. and breathless. who are the huntsmen?” “If it is the Seigneur de Locmaria’s. terrified.” said Aramis. a good vedette placed outside the grotto would be necessary. a fox passed like a flash of lightning before the fugitives. leaped over the boat and disappeared.” continued Porthos.

at the lowest computation.” “The king’s guards! do you say.” 230 . “With Biscarrat at their head. for on entering they must see both ourselves and our boat.” added Aramis. with a smile of consolation. eight. “There are sixteen. “I am perfectly satisfied we are lost.” continued Aramis.” said Aramis. and placed a hunting-knife between his teeth. my friend. “now for the masters!” “What is to be done with them?” said Porthos. then all. “Ah! the devil!” said Aramis. “will pass the muskets to us. there are five of us. at present. “Yves. “Look!” Porthos applied his eye to the slit.” said Aramis. If the guards who follow their hounds happen to discover there is an issue to the grotto. and saw at the summit of a hillock a dozen horsemen urging on their horses in the track of the dogs. Their masters must not enter. resuming all his coolness at the sight of this certain.“It is not the Seigneur de Locmaria who is hunting.” “Kill them!” replied Porthos. “To work!” And with a resolute air he took up a musket. You. “It will last about ten minutes.” replied Aramis. the king’s guards. inevitable danger. turning pale in spite of his efforts to maintain a placid countenance. In a few minutes there was a lamentable concert of angry barks and mortal howls—and then. knife in hand. shouting. “He knows us. The dogs must not go out of the cavern. “Taiaut! taiaut!” “The guards!” said he.” The Bretons sprang forward. conceal ourselves.” replied he. “at least. “You understand. “Yes. The hounds at the same moment rushed into the grotto like an avalanche. “Wait their arrival. but we have.” “And poor Biscarrat?” said Porthos.” “That is clear. coolly. Aramis reflected a moment—”Biscarrat first. “Who is it. silence.” said Porthos. knife in hand. one chance left. with the rapid precision of command. and the depths of the cavern were filled with their deafening cries. Goenne. and his son.” added Porthos. monseigneur?” cried the Bretons.” continued Aramis. We shall have brought down. at least. Porthos. and kill them. before the others are aware of anything—that is certain. growing pale in turn. there is no help for us. coolly. mounted upon my gray horse. “there are six dogs that will be forced to stop at the great stone under which the fox has glided—but at the too narrow opening of which they must be themselves stopped and killed. then?” said Porthos. “That’s well!” said Aramis. will dispatch the other eight. will fire when they are close.” “And well armed.

out of breath. the event. his voice growled in the darkness. jumping from his horse. “But why are you here—what are you doing. did not fall out exactly as the bishop of Vannes had foreseen. you can come in. “we mean you no harm.” said a fourth.” said the young man.” said one of the young men.” said Biscarrat. If in ten minutes you do not hear of me. In spite of the sort of divination which was the remarkable side of the character of Aramis. be in this grotto.” said the officer.” replied Biscarrat.” replied Biscarrat. Biscarrat.” said a guard. “to have lost scent all at once. we should hear them from one side or another.Chapter XLVIII. The Grotto. At the same instant. messieurs. as Biscarrat says. as it looks as dark as a wolf ’s mouth. I think?” “I did all I was able. we might break our necks in it. “we will wait for you. they formed a circle round the grotto. like low muttering thunder. which Aramis immediately suppressed by placing a handkerchief over his mouth. They must. “Well!” asked the young men. but. Yves lifted a knife against the young man. arrived first at the opening of the grotto.” And without dismounting from their horses. he stopped at the outside of the grotto. “let us see. “why don’t they give tongue?” “It is strange!” muttered another. Besides.” “But then. whistled to him in his favorite mode. “there must be something extraordinary in the place—don’t let us risk ourselves all at once. “Well. gentlemen. And every master called his dog by his name. who.” said one of the guards. “Monsieur de Biscarrat. However brave the young man might be. “It is perhaps an enchanted grotto. The resistance which his chest met with astonished him. which was about to fall upon him with all force of a Breton’s arm.” And. Does it happen to be forbidden we should enter it?” “No.” “What the devil can have become of them?” asked the young men in chorus. “No. the first groan. “who seem to have broken theirs. I recognize you. he made a step into the grotto. they and the fox must all be lost in this infernal cavern. and unable to understand the meaning of this inaction.” said he. “Only.” “Witness the dogs. but—” 231 . and waited till his companions should have assembled round him. without a single one replying to either call or whistle. he could not prevent a cry escaping him. struck by that superstitious terror which every dark and subterraneous way naturally impresses upon the mind of man. on seeing Biscarrat disappear in the shades of the cavern’s mouth. but not all at once. the first whisper. we shall be forced to kill you as we have killed your dogs. did not imagine that Biscarrat ran much risk in the enterprise. “Well! I cannot hear the dogs. here? Unfortunate men! I thought you were in the fort. subject to the risks of things over which uncertainty presides. but. Biscarrat entered then alone.” “And you. monsieur. “Stop! stop! I will accompany you. the one almost as terrible as the other. Only. coming up.” “Be it so. in a low voice.” “Yes. in a low voice. at the first word. and comprehended that fox and hounds were one and all engulfed in it. you were to obtain conditions for us. he naturally raised his hand and laid hold of the icy barrel. Then. “I will not have him killed!” Biscarrat found himself between a protection and a threat. besides. and you must know that if you have recognized us. when the iron wrist of Porthos stopped it half-way. and advanced through the darkness till he came in contact with the muzzle of Porthos’s musket. better mounted than his companions.” “They were too close up. “let us go into this grotto.” said one of the guards.

the dogs. “Reply.” said one of them. “What do you suppose I have seen?” asked he. I am very curious to see what it is. Biscarrat has seen something in the grotto. have you seen them again—did you see anything of them—do you know anything about them?” “I suppose they have got out some other way. “you ought to say corpse-color. “To the grotto! to the grotto!” Biscarrat threw himself before his companions.” said one of the young men. “Messieurs! messieurs!” cried he. it is serious. begone.” And he left his hold of the young man. Aramis and Porthos listened with the intense attention of men whose life depends upon a breath of air. who hastily returned towards the light. “he is going to faint. This hail of jests fell round Biscarrat’s ears like musket-balls in a melee. for my part. laughing. “Oh! oh!” exclaimed one of the guards.” “But the dogs. “I was too hot when I entered the grotto.” “Biscarrat! Biscarrat!” cried several voices from the outside. “Biscarrat! Biscarrat!” cried the voices. we depend on your loyalty. “there is in that which is going on. “Now. “in the name of Heaven! do not go in!” 232 . in the paleness and silence of our friend. as he came to the light. Biscarrat rushed to meet his friends in order to stop them. And the shadows of several human forms projected into the interior of the grotto. He recovered himself amidst a deluge of interrogations.” said Biscarrat. Aramis understood the silence of the prisoner. coming like a whirlwind into the cave.” “Messieurs. a mystery which Biscarrat will not. “You have not a drop of blood in your veins.” “To kill us?” Biscarrat made no reply. and I have been struck with a chill. Only. “Here I am!” cried Biscarrat. And the echo of the cavern carried like a menace to Porthos and Aramis. and this is certain. but you may yet escape from the place by swearing that you will not tell your companions what you have seen. endeavoring to collect his faculties. and met them just as they were adventuring into the cave. That is all. does any one of you happen to have any salts?” And they all laughed.” said another. Well. “how pale you are!” “Pale!” cried another. to the grotto!” “To the grotto!” repeated all the voices.” said Aramis. “Messieurs. still nearer. “you would be already dead if we had not regard for your youth and our ancient association with your father. even if it is the devil! To the grotto! messieurs.“But what?” “But there are positive orders. It would have cost him too much to speak of the cord to gentlemen.” “I will not only swear that I will not speak of it.” said he. “In the name of Heaven! what has happened?” exclaimed all the voices. “Monsieur Biscarrat. my poor friend. or cannot reveal. “but I still further swear that I will do everything in the world to prevent my companions from setting foot in the grotto.” “I!” said the young man.

and you did not warn us! Biscarrat. “Well. repulsed by his friends. has had sufficient power to silence our dogs. some bleeding—all enveloped in a cloud of smoke. He is in the cavern. with a calmness which contrasted with the animation of the young men. “Ask Biscarrat. “you knew there was an ambuscade in that cavern. it is the devil he has seen. “Come.” Then one of the officers.” “Where is Biscarrat?” The young men looked round them. A second discharge laid five upon the icy sand. or what this something is. and the little troop of gentlemen reappeared—some pale. he need not be selfish.” repeated he who had before advanced that hypothesis. and spattering it into Biscarrat’s livid face. opening his breast for the blow. raising himself upon one knee. the others fell back with a terror that can be better imagined than described. advanced. Biscarrat rushed towards him. uttering a groan which was his last. whatever it may be. cries. In vain he threw himself before the rashest. who have allowed my comrades to be assassinated.” said one of the survivors. advanced towards the interior of the cavern. “I saw him through the smoke. he knows. with hair on end. he rushed head foremost into the cavern. At the same instant. you went in yourself. and bewildered head. but who had sprung in first.” 233 . but which. “Tell us.” “Messieurs! messieurs! I beseech you.” urged Biscarrat. Two or three balls were flattened against the rock on which Biscarrat was leaning. you are the cause that four of us are murdered men! Woe be to you. tell us who is there?” cried several furious voices. “Seriously. and as it was impossible to see whence this murderous thunder issued. Biscarrat. but it was useless. sitting quietly on a rock.” said one of the young men. Biscarrat. and waited. unable to accompany them. “is it the devil?” “Ma foi! it is much worse.” said he. far from flying. exploded in the entrails of the vault. in vain he clung to the rocks to bar the passage. sword in hand. he may as well let us have a look at him in turn. seated on a fragment of rock. haggard eyes. “My blood be on your head!” And he rolled in agony at the feet of the young man. and saw that Biscarrat did not answer.“Why. with painfully attentive ear and unconsciously supplicating hands leaned against the rough side of a rock which he thought must be exposed to the fire of the musketeers. Biscarrat!” “You are the cause of my being wounded unto death. There were only six gentlemen left. Biscarrat remained safe and sound.” Biscarrat made a last effort to stop his friends. saying. as the others had done. for he wished to die without defending himself. or something. who—of a riper age than the others—had till this time remained behind. which the outer air seemed to suck from the depths of the cavern. Biscarrat. “Nonsense! Let us pass!” “Messieurs. with exclamations that grew fainter as they advanced. at least. what is there so terrific in the cavern?” asked several at once. but the wounded man fell back not to rise again. “there is in there some person. in the steps of the officer who had spoken last. “if he has seen him. “But. imprecations burst forth. without passing in the eyes of Porthos and Aramis for a traitor and a perjurer. but they did not go further than the first. to face the unknown danger.” said another. “Oh! no!” replied another. the crowd of young men rushed into the cave. As to the guards.” “Decidedly. they penetrated further and further.” said another. Death to me. “You are right. The others followed him. or die!” cried the wounded man. and lifting towards his companion an arm bearing a useless sword. and had said nothing. Biscarrat remained silent. growling like thunder. The eleven who remained out of sixteen imitated his example. But. shrieks. that is not the devil. “Messieurs. I am a worthless wretch!” And throwing away his sword. “Biscarrat! Biscarrat!” cried the fugitives. I implore you not to enter!” “Why. All at once. a discharge of musketry. We must discover who this some one is. he is waiting for us. “He is dead!” said two or three voices. letting a gush of scarlet life-blood vomit in his palm. speak.

“He must know who are there. and learn from him whom we have to deal with. “Good!” said the officer who had shown so much coolness in the affair.” “To tell me who they are?” “To tell you they are determined to defend themselves to the death. The captain interrupted them. and I came in the name of these men.” “Biscarrat is a prisoner?” “Probably.” “What sort of people are they—giants?” “Worse than that.” said the captain. and. and who make such a desperate defense.” “How many are there of them. they related the adventure. “Monsieur. left in the rear by their officers.” “Captain. Biscarrat appeared at the opening of the grotto. in language the eloquence of which may be easily imagined. whom the ardor of the chase had carried away—from seventy-five to eighty men—arrived in good order. The five officers hastened to meet their soldiers.” In fact.” 234 . “There are two—and want to impose conditions upon us?” “There are two.” “No. for here he is—look. led by their captain and the first lieutenant.” said Biscarrat. and they have already killed ten of our men. “I am assured that you know who the men are in that grotto. then?” “There are two. and asked for aid. captain?” “Yes. Well! let us call him.” said the officer.” “And how should he know them?” “He was taken prisoner by the rebels. where four musketeers held out against an army. “you have no need to command me. here are reinforcements coming. “Biscarrat! Biscarrat!” But Biscarrat did not answer. “Dead!” “But there were sixteen of you!” “Ten are dead. “Come on!” “Come on!” cried all the troop.” And all voices shouted. addressing Biscarrat. “We have no longer any need of him. In the king’s name I command you to declare what you know. a company of guards.” “Well. unless you grant them satisfactory terms. “Where are your companions?” demanded he. Biscarrat is in the cavern. “He is making a sign to come on.” In fact. My word has been restored to me this very instant.” “That is true. Do you remember the history of the Bastion Saint-Gervais. And they advanced to meet Biscarrat.” said Biscarrat. these are two of those same musketeers. and we are five.

They have already killed ten of our men.” “The musketeers! the musketeers!” repeated they. he divided his company into three bodies. “Monsieur. but. Now they are styled M.” And placing himself at the head of the first platoon. Then. two men could not kill eighty. and. Biscarrat alone risked a last attempt. those four names—D’Artagnan.“And their names?” “At that period they were called Porthos and Aramis. in this attack they would lose five more.” “That we shall see. and to describe at once the combatants and the field of battle. keeping up a sustained fire in all directions.” “So be it. run through them. “I do not tell you that they have not with them two or three men. with all the firmness of his race.” said Biscarrat. let us pass on our way. I have seen these men. “for I do not go to kill. I make you a present of it. Castor.” “And what interest have they in all this?” “It is they who were holding Bell-Isle for M. I go to be killed. and Pollux were venerated. since there was no issue. “Captain. and Aramis—were venerated among all who wore a sword.” said the captain. those two lions you are going to attack. when he believed he had a sufficient acquaintance with the place. captain. “I beg to be allowed to march at the head of the first platoon. too. of not having allowed eighty of the king’s guards to retire before two rebels. I should be a dishonored man. And among all these brave men. two-thirds terror.” replied the latter. “Two men—and they have killed ten in two discharges! It is impossible. du Vallon. as the musketeers of the Bastion Saint-Gervais had two or three lackeys. which were to enter successively. as well as the three Bretons. Forward. their assistants. believe me. It is time to pass to the other camp. Those two men.” said he. made a shiver.” said he.” said Biscarrat. 235 . then. If I listened to your advice. certainly. attention!” At this reply. “Take your sword. What shall we gain by fighting them?” “We shall gain the consciousness. monsieur. perhaps ten.” replied the captain. they must end by taking the rebels. and all prepared to obey. “you have all the honor. “and that in a moment. and end by killing themselves rather than surrender.” “I shall go as I am. Theseus. Chapter XLIX. There he halted. with head uncovered and arms crossed. and by dishonoring myself I should dishonor the army. no one stirred.” “Thanks!” replied the young man. my men!” And he marched first as far as the opening of the grotto.—”March. No doubt. the names of Hercules. In fact. Monsieur Biscarrat!” “Eh! captain. they will kill double the number. Gentlemen. will defend themselves to the death. I have been taken prisoner by them—I know they themselves alone are all-sufficient to destroy an army. gentlemen. in antiquity. d’Herblay and M. Porthos.” A murmur ran through the ranks of the soldiers on hearing the two words “Porthos and Aramis. The object of this halt was to give Biscarrat and his companions time to describe to him the interior of the grotto. “be persuaded by me. in a low voice. at any rate. the idea that they were going to have a struggle against two of the oldest glories of the French army. Athos. Aramis and Porthos had gone to the grotto of Locmaria with the expectation of finding there their canoe ready armed. but. Fouquet. An Homeric Song. monsieur. as. half enthusiasm. captain.

followed by sea and watched from the shore. which drove the block out of the calcareous masses which served for hinges and cramps. Aramis felt it like a spur to his heart. allowing everything. Porthos.” 236 . When the two discharges had killed ten men. and raised it up.and they at first hoped to make the bark pass through the little issue of the cavern. Formerly a temple of the Celtic divinities. to that little slope dominating a creek. the other would get himself killed also. the closure of the liberating issue. the interior. admitting the possibility of putting the bark to sea. Porthos collected all his strength. made an arch with his foot.” said Aramis. concealing in that fashion both their labors and their flight.” “Ah. was drawn up by the captain. To escape by sea. placing his back against the neighboring rock.” “Seventy-five and five. from succumbing before the end of the day? Aramis. was impossible. the daylight which had just been admitted to the last compartments had exposed to the soldiers the bark being rolled towards the sea. for the smoke prevented seeing outside. very uneven and dangerous from the inequalities of the vault. Ah!” sighed Porthos. whilst the Bretons made it run rapidly along the rollers. and counted them. “our adversaries have just received a reinforcement. In fact.” “We could kill about fifteen of them. They began to lift the bark over the barricade. who was doing more work than all the rollers—whether of flesh or wood—”My friend. grew grander with necessity. they would have to fly in open day. to favor the labors of his friends.” said Porthos. wood softens and stone grows flexible beneath the human will. and he immediately commanded that the canoe should be rolled as far as the great stone. applied his robust shoulder. and the blue sea appeared to the delighted Bretons. Besides. the passage so narrow. then?” “To recommence the combat. when. They had descended into the third compartment. Calling to Porthos. “what is to be done. radiant. since all the assailants were not dead. and convinced himself at a single glance of the insurmountable peril to which fresh combat would expose them. He saw the reinforcements. so interested on recognizing their small number. “is hazardous. The arrival of the fox and dogs obliged them to remain concealed. and it would glide into the ocean. with him. and gave a heave which made the wall crack. “If they fire all at once they will riddle us with balls. and oscillated for a minute. It was during this time that the company arrived.” “Yes. one should not be killed. how could the alarm be suppressed—how could notice to the royal lighters be prevented? What could hinder the poor canoe. with the ashes of ten thousand generations of sea birds. familiar with the windings of the cavern. At the third compartment the vault was so low. Aramis watched over everything. and one of their discharges would riddle the boat if it did not kill the navigators. this grotto had beheld more than one human sacrifice accomplished in its mystic depths. nevertheless.” “Tell me what?” “These people are coming down into the grotto. Porthos seized this gigantic stone at its base.” Porthos spoke these words with that heroic nature which. flooding the cavern through the opening. and certainly. above which distorted rocks formed a weird arcade. after having fought the fight. before the conquered. went to reconnoiter them one by one. and disposed for either an escalade or an assault. in moments of despair. if one of us was killed. was subdivided into several compartments. friend Porthos. A cloud of dust fell from the vault. in pursuing their conquerors. counted the men. and that. that the bark would scarcely have passed without touching the side. Aramis. “for it is difficult to suppose that out of two. but no more.” said he. “They have received a reinforcement of seventy-five men.—if the bark escaped with the men on board of it. The grotto extended the space of about a hundred toises.” “Yes. At the third shock the stone gave way. he decided upon flight—a flight most dangerous. The stone fell. invoked the assistance of God and the assistance of the demons. when Belle-Isle was still called Kalonese. in uncouth natural pillars. brilliant. which communicated with each other by means of rough and jagged steps. eighty. took the canoe in his arms. quietly. the two rebels within musket-shot. ah!” said Porthos. fixed right and left. Twenty more toises. Such was the thought of Aramis.” “How many are there in all?” asked Porthos. and daylight was visible. The first entrance to the cavern was by a moderate descent. at the moment the cavern was about to be invaded. digging his hands into his gray hair with rage. whose nests stuck like cement to the rock. “We shall neither of us be killed if you do what I tell you. they had arrived at the stone which walled the outlet.

but when they are all together—” “Then leave it to me. “I will place myself in ambuscade behind the pillar with this iron bar.” added Aramis. It was the last order of the captain commandant. but how can we attract them. Porthos. who.“Certainly they will. Aramis glided into the third. the balls. and invisible. began to fire.” “Without reckoning.” “I have found one.” “I think I hear shouts.” “We two will keep the powder. Hein! what do you think of the project? You smile!” “Excellent. “that the detonation might occasion a collapse of the cavern.” “You see. pray?” “By not stirring.” “Well! we won’t stir. A single survivor encompasses our ruin. Our Bretons are going to continue to roll the canoe towards the sea.” “It is they! To your post. was busy with some mysterious maneuver. I can let my bar fall upon their skulls. which had been used in rolling the bark. “a piece of falling rock just now grazed my shoulder. absolutely black. the Bretons had pushed the bark to the beach. then?” “Oh! it is nothing. and then opaque smoke filled the vault.” said Porthos. my dear Aramis—we shall never fire three shots together. A command was given in a loud voice. accordingly. precipitated themselves to the left—the 237 . Keep within reach of my voice and hand. in his first assault.” “To your ambuscade. and half of them will remain outside to take us by famine. What we want. “the defense by musketry is a bad one. if they come in floods. Aramis. eagerly. which was in darkness.” “We must determine upon something quickly. and the muskets here. stooping and concealed.” said Porthos.” “Ay. then. innocently. and who. the giant held in his hand an iron bar of about fifty pounds weight. animated by the smell of powder. and your idea proves a good one—and your idea is most likely to be good—I am satisfied. Porthos handled this lever.” said the giant. only you will frighten them. had seen the passage to the second chamber. The echoes shrieked and barked.” “You are right. what will you do?” “Don’t trouble yourself about me. with marvelous facility.” “Find a better.” Porthos took refuge in the second compartment. “To the left! to the left!” cried Biscarrat. wished to guide his soldiers in that direction. the hissing balls seemed actually to rarefy the air. I have a task to perform. Twenty-five men jumped from the upper rocks into the first compartment of the grotto. my good Porthos. and having taken their ground. is the entire destruction of the troop. my friend. and count how many enter. perfect! I approve it greatly. dear friend. During this time. thirty times in a minute.” “But only two.” “If it is so. my good friend. I have an idea.” “Very well. The troop.” “But you. then. In the further and lighter compartment. unattackable.

I will wait for you on the shore. still falling. and hasten to us. in a hollow of the rocky wall. if possible. bringing down enormous fragments from the vaults. On arriving at the compartment where Porthos. All this was effected as mysteriously as though by magic. annihilated the first platoon. marched in advance of the muskets. growing on the shore. Then the formidable lever rose ten times in ten seconds. thundered. “till they are all massed together. launch it strongly. was looking round him to see if through this artificial midnight Aramis were not making him some signal. which was quietly advancing. illumining with trembling pine-torch this frightful carnage. Porthos breathed a heavy sigh—but he obeyed. instinctive. and throw it amidst our enemies. with his hands stretched forward.” said he to Porthos.” said Aramis. the torch fell and was extinguished in blood. had destroyed all he touched. mechanical feeling. they came forward jostling each other. The captain. and then.” said Porthos. and yet their way was stopped by a heap of dead bodies—they literally walked in blood. like the exterminating angel. yet more softly. commanded by the captain. “Light it!” “Stop. now entering the cavern. the imprecations of the guards still left alive. but as they had no conception of the cause of all this. Porthos!” cried the sepulchral voice of Aramis. hurl your thunderbolt among them. To this succeeded a profound silence. and he lifted the barrel with one hand. “On my part. they stumbled over dead bodies. and a voice low as a breath murmured in his ear. drew back towards the pillar behind which Porthos was concealed. and made ten corpses. No firing had replied to that of the guards. “Come on! come on!” exclaimed he. “I will join our Bretons. the soldiers who accompanied him had turned round. Porthos was still behind his pillar. the lieutenant cried: “Fire!” Immediately a volley of musketry flamed. The implacable bar. broken only by the steps of the third brigade. with its resinous branches twisted together. A second after. “you will take this barrel. without a single sound to warn the second. more accustomed to the darkness than these men. and then the torch fell and they were left in darkness. The cavern was lighted for an instant by this discharge. can you do so?” “Parbleu!” replied Porthos. and then immediately returned to pitchy darkness rendered thicker by the smoke. of which he in vain sought the cause. and showed him. At hearing the rattling in the throat of the captain. the corpse of the captain dropped close to the extinguished torch.” “Light it.” “Light it. who was dead before he had ended his cry. The iron bar fell full and direct upon the head of Biscarrat. the match of which I am going to set fire to. and help them to get the canoe to the sea. and fastened on the throat of the captain. he felt his arm gently touched. and added another body to the heap of dead which blocked up the passage. Aramis led Porthos into the last but one compartment. only. a barrel of powder weighing from seventy to eighty pounds. The soldiers could see nothing.” continued Aramis. At the moment when Porthos. Biscarrat. to which he had just attached a fuse. “I see daylight!” “Strike. a third time. his stretched-out arms beating the air. who uttered a stifle rattle. “Come. the captain had made a flambeau. coming from open daylight. which continued to advance. the men had stripped a fir. “My friend. and. Chapter L: The Death of a Titan.” “Oh!” said Porthos. Then a gigantic hand issued from the shade. roared in the cavern. Aramis and Porthos glided unseen along the granite walls of the cavern. his eyes starting from their sockets. 238 . they heard sighs and groans. the muffled groans of the dying. “Hush!” said Aramis. devoted to death. my Jupiter. And amidst the noise of the third brigade. caught a glimpse of his extended arms.passage gradually growing narrower. From an unreflective. the first rank drew back in terror.” repeated Porthos.

thus vivifying the match. and fell back to the outlet of the cavern where the three rowers awaited him. isolated bodies seemed to be making ghastly exhibitions of their gaping wounds. a heap of bleeding bodies. and fell amidst a group of shrieking soldiers. in the midst of which some still heaved in the last agony. after having hurled the barrel of powder amidst his enemies. like a falling star. mineral. that is to say. but the guards had before them their terrified companions. There were his friends. Seek the officers. in this burning tomb. enlarging as it mounted. Suddenly he felt his knees give way. light. these men. his hands being engaged. first principle of conflagration—shone in the darkness like a glow-worm. a torch which. hurled a distance of thirty feet. as the chances of death or surprise had stretched them. lifting the mass as a last respiration inflating the sides of some old monster dying in the night. whilst throwing a light on the dead past. Six more of his formidable strides. mingled with streaks of purple. The large walls of silex tottered and fell upon the sand. smoke. this subterranean volcano. thick pillars of the cavern. “when a thing is explained to me I understand it. and debris sprang from the middle of the grotto. be distinguished. there life and victory. who threw themselves on their faces. and had gained the last compartment. sent towards this heap of bodies a phosphorescent aura. The lieutenant of the third brigade commanded his men to fire. then the arm of the giant swung round. every vegetable. and give me the light. Useless! The air had made the flame attached to the conductor more active. he had fled. into which air. A burst of laughter replied to this volley. ordered them to fire upon Porthos. rose. imprecations. that of this giant. there liberty. As for Porthos. at ten paces off. this is what the second which followed disclosed in that cavern of horrors. crushed. mutilated. The spark—a feeble spark. heavy and sparkling. others mechanically took aim and attempted to fire their discharged muskets. cleared the barricade of dead bodies. the short. who served as a living rampart for Porthos. The officer had followed the brilliant train in the air. filled with terror at thought of what was about to be accomplished. begone. seek for the arms upon which they depended for their defense. There remained nothing of the three compartments—nothing by which God could have recognized His handiwork. Porthos. The three first compartments became one sepulchral sink into which fell grimly back. but they encountered the third brigade. And all this was seen by the tremulous light of a match attached to a barrel of powder. riddled the faces with its myriad cutting atoms. the giant. “Oh! oh!” murmured he. seek the king’s guards with their blue coats laced with silver.” Aramis gave the burning match to Porthos. During this short space of time an officer of the third brigade got together eight men armed with muskets. Two or three officers cried out to Porthos to promise him his liberty if he would spare their lives. with laughter that he did not even attempt to restrain. Above ground. who held out his arm to him. left alone. pale. more shapeless. Then the lighter sand and ash came down in turn. the train of fire. Then. through an opening. which at rest might have burnt five minutes. then. “there is my weakness seizing me again! I can walk no further! What is this?” 239 . he endeavored to precipitate himself upon the barrel and tear out the match before it reached the powder it contained. the terrible thunder of the explosion. this spectacle did not last above two seconds. showed death to come. Some endeavored to fly. more terrible than the chaos which existed before the creation of the world. his countenance lighted by the fire of the match burning in surrounding darkness! The soldiers saw him. The smoke was a little dispersed. an instrument of pain when launched from its hard bed. plow the ground. Every breath of Porthos. then was seen whirling through the air. Scarcely had he turned the angle which separated the third compartment from the fourth when he perceived at a hundred paces from him the bark dancing on the waves. bloody. bedded in pools of blood. It was a brief but splendid spectacle. We have said that the light produced by the spark and the match did not last more than two seconds. which barred their passage. and he would be out of the vault. Aramis pressed the arm of Porthos with both his hands. In addition to this principal group scattered about the grotto. One single man has made of all of those things a chaos more confused. his legs to yield beneath him. the match. stretching like a winding sheet and smoking over the dismal scene. The barrel. Porthos enlivening the flame with his breath. enlarged in the darkness. they saw the barrel he held in his hand—they at once understood what was going to happen. Furious vortices of sulphur and nitre. was consumed in thirty seconds. for two seconds. others fell instinctively upon their knees. and by the light of the sparkling match objects might. A jet of fire. and the five remaining balls hissed on to splinter the vault. human life. The rocks split like planks of deal beneath the axe.“But do you understand me?” “Parbleu!” said Porthos again. already choked with horror at the sight of what had been accomplished. and sunshine penetrated through the opening. as Aramis had directed him to do. then was deadened against the match which it set fire to. and. As I have said. gave out a simultaneous shriek of agony. of which the strongly marked shades threw out the luminous particles. in the order of their weight. But they who received the order to fire trembled so that three guards fell by the discharge. or human fragment. applied the spark bravely to the match. and the infernal work exploded. And now. or indent the pillars of the cavern. Shrieks. and the sand itself. brilliant in gold. but during these two seconds this is what it illumined: in the first place. out of the vault! a dozen of his vigorous leaps and he would reach the canoe. dead bodies—all were engulfed in one terrific crash. devouring shoals of fire which caught every object. his knees seemed powerless.

raised by a miracle of strength the corner-stone of this great granite grave. bending forward towards the shore. wounded and torn. the reflux took the bark out twenty toises. which. the green and blue and topaz conflagration and black lava of liquefactions clashed and combated an instant beneath a majestic dome of smoke. but sustain it. who looked as if precipitated from heaven amidst rocks which he had just been launching. he arose. and the rocks continued to gradually collapse. they bowed to each other like grave and stiff old men. The three men dropped the levers. and. Aramis had sprung to land. Two of the Bretons followed him. The lateral rocks. and a third granite mass sank between his shoulders. “Quick! quick!” repeated Aramis. The two men came rushing up. the solid rocks cracked to their base. as it were. He bent his head. his heart ready to break. and unable to conceive what could induce him to stop thus—”Come on. “Too heavy!” After which his eyes darkened and closed. They gave way with cries of grief. brought the giant down upon his knees. then oscillated. with each a lever in his hand—one being sufficient to take care of the bark. and the boulder. drew together again. strung for an instant. not merely to raise it. and fell successively the mighty monoliths of rock which the violence of the explosion had not been able to uproot from the bed of ages. and added their weight to the ponderous mass which would have been sufficient to crush ten men. united their triple strength. make haste! the barrel will blow up!” “Make haste. but with his mighty hands he clung to the rocks. “Here I am. but in pushing back the lateral rocks. seeing them exhaust themselves in a useless struggle. the smoke which hurled through the clefts obscured the sky. the explosion thundered.” he cried. in this frame of granite. when the impulse of the fall augmented the weight. his face grew ashy pale. Aramis. collecting all his strength to make one step more. he lost his point of support. “Porthos! where are you? Speak!” “Here. For an instant the power of Porthos seemed about to fail him. for. On hearing the dying voice of his friend. A gigantic block was held back by each of his extended arms.Aramis perceived him through the opening. The hero fell without a groan—he fell while answering Aramis with words of encouragement and hope. “In the name of Heaven! Porthos. gave way. as if to draw Porthos towards him with his arms. murmured in an almost cheerful tone those supreme words which came to his lips with the last respiration. tearing his hair. which rolled upon the tumulary stone. “come quickly!” “Oh!” replied the giant. Porthos! come on. the hands whitened. for an instant he believed that. for the monolith which weighed upon his shoulders. for an instant pushed back. pressed by those others which sank in from the sides. With him sank the rock. But by degrees Aramis beheld the block sink. Then. and with his hands. like Enceladus. like the angel of chaos. through the darkness of that charnelhouse. delicate as those of a woman. a portion of the vault was carried up towards heaven. lay down forever in their dusty tomb. the arms stiffened for a last effort. making an effort that contorted every muscle of his body—”oh! but I cannot. pale. a giant among granite giants. pressing upon him with all its weight. then prostrating themselves. the enormous rock sank down. who was floundering as in a dream. All was useless. his breast oppressed. thanks to the powerful arch of his hands. these latter. declined. but this new Hercules united all his force. earth gaped. breathless. of the still brilliant eye of his friend. he fell upon his knees. Then he caught a glimpse. But at the moment he was flying between the double hedge of granite phantoms. and the rough voice of Porthos. But there was no time. This frightful shock seemed to restore Porthos the strength that he had lost. “patience! patience!” Scarcely had he pronounced these words. even in his dying agony he had still held up. the sea flowed back as though driven by the blast of flame which darted from the grotto as if from the jaws of some gigantic fiery chimera. as if it had been built of cardboard. the extended shoulders sank. began to roll and totter round our Titan. here. breathing his last sigh. He stretched both hands to repulse the falling rocks. grasped their iron levers. and raised himself up again. Porthos felt the very earth beneath his feet becoming jelly-tremulous. animated. and the two walls of the prison in which he was buried fell back slowly and gave him place. his brow covered with sweat. to whom the momentary lifting of the mass restored a momentary respiration. monseigneur!” shouted the Bretons to Porthos. and separated like blocks beneath the operation of the wedge. sprang towards the triple mass.” While saying these words. with a voice growing evidently weaker. 240 . “Porthos! Porthos!” cried Aramis. Aramis listened. which were no longer supported by the corresponding links. he would succeed in shaking off the triple load.” murmured Porthos. the hands. The dying rattle of the valiant gladiator guided them amidst the ruins. For an instant he appeared.” stammered Porthos. and the colossus sank quite down. swallowed up Porthos in a sepulcher of badly jointed stones. active and young as at twenty.

But that which might have appeared motionless to ordinary eyes was moving at a quick rate to the experienced eye of the sailor. bent by the bitter wind of ocean. Noble Porthos! of what good now are thy chateaux overflowing with sumptuous furniture. so many mosses. strength of body guided by subtlety of mind. with the last ray of daylight. Worthy Porthos! born to help other men. It might be said that something of dead Porthos had just died within him. he was not capable of walking. noble Porthos. and carrying them rapidly from the coast. The superstitious Bretons looked upon him. of their own accord. always ready to sacrifice himself for the safety of the weak. Then. raising a smiling. the canoe hoisted its little sail. had then still half an hour of twilight. however. lowered the sail. the rowers became inactive. Aramis yielded to their kind exertions. silent and sad as ice. when dying he only thought he was carrying out the conditions of his compact with Aramis. and. and satisfied themselves with exchanging their conjectures in whispers. that which appeared stationary upon the ocean was cutting a rapid way through it. during which daylight gradually disappeared. looked. one of the three sailors. lost. so many lichens solder thy sepulcher to earth. And so many twining branches. and the three sailors. arose shivering from the stone. The giant slept the eternal sleep. that no passers-by will imagine such a block of granite could ever have been supported by the shoulders of one man. and a whole night almost as light as day. forgotten. Aramis never removed his from it. made bravest way towards Spain. For some time. like that of his dear old honest valiant friend. making an eye-shade with their hands. and saw better by night than by day—Aramis seemed to sleep in this despair of soul. it was the time of the finest and longest days of the year. 241 . to heap so much gold. But scarcely half an hour after the sail had been hoisted. like that of the lynx. so rife with storms. An hour passed thus. carried him to the canoe. Not a word escaped him. cellars overflowing with wealth! Of what service to thee now thy lackeys in brilliant liveries. and lay thyself. and which Porthos had only known to suffer by its terrible solidarity. sleeps. reclining on their benches. noble Porthos! careful heaper-up of treasure. ventured to say aloud: “Monseigneur. having laid him down upon the bench near the rudder. The balancelle. yet the first dead. In the meantime. lakes overflowing with fish. Aramis. though capable of standing. surrounded by the cries of seagulls. which was pursuing the little bark before the wind. whose eye. even till. was it worth while to labor to sweeten and gild life. in all her brilliancy. in fact. so active—Aramis. On all that leveled surface of the ancient grotto of Locmaria. they did not dare to rouse him. in proportion as the shore receded. and in the decisive moment. the strongest of the four. his heart upon his lips. trembling like a timid child. Such silence was not that of a man. a compact. But. yet invincible head towards heaven. which. one single hillock attracted their eyes. a vile material weight. with broken bones. that Goenne. On the part of the ship in sight.Nothing more. and. drove out the mind. as if God had only given him strength for that purpose. preferring this to hoisting sail. Chapter LI. we are being chased!” Aramis made no reply. His Bretons surrounded him. which might betray them. Aramis. trembling. so vigilant. seeing the profound torpor in which their master was plunged. proud of the power delegated by thee! Oh. A Christian does not walk on tombs. to come upon a desert shore. swelling with the kisses of the breeze. still icy-cold. succeeded inauspicious daylight. and not have even the distich of a poor poet engraven upon thy monument? Valiant Porthos! he still. when vigor alone could save mind and body. two more small sails were run up at the extremities of the masts. but during which also the sail in view gained so swiftly on the bark. a stone. still pale. Strange destiny of these men of brass! The most simple of heart allied to the most crafty. and in the midst of them Mousqueton. Unfortunately. as formerly Porthos used to draw himself up. on the contrary. across the dreaded Gulf of Gascony. beneath a torpid stone? Was it worth while. with the first gray lines that lighted up the heavens. by the direction of the patron Yves. in short. the shore faded on the horizon. in the sepulcher which God had built about him to his measure. pointed out to each other a white spot which appeared on the horizon as motionless as a gull rocked by the viewless respiration of the waves. not a sigh rose from his deep breast. a rock. Porthos’s Epitaph. Aramis. and falling upon the body. triumphed over manly strength. watched without ceasing. at a distance out in the sea. and the moon. Then. in order that that single point upon the surface of the waters should cease to be a guide to the eye of the enemy pursuing them. which Aramis alone had drawn up. that menacing proud mass of rock seemed to draw itself up. they took to their oars. without doubt. forests overflowing with game. the ship still gained upon them. lifting him up. it was the silence of a statue. two of the sailors. beneath the rock the shepherds of the heath take for the gigantic abode of a dolmen.

it seems as if I were going to touch them.” said Aramis. “Give us your orders. and fell into the sea. and from the bosom of that cloud sparkled an arrow of flame. monseigneur. 242 . by night as well as by day.” said he. “You forget that they can see you. we could escape them. that if we endeavor to fly. but the maneuver sighted thus was not less real. a boy makes ducks and drakes. where it continued to burn. as you just now said. “perhaps under cover of night. “Here. then.” “They see us. more blue than they. “Look! they see us plainly. And he passed him the glass. He believed that the vessel. “What is to be done?” asked the patron. “Oh! monseigneur. “it is a miracle—there they are. Greek fire with which to lighten their own course and ours likewise. and passing it to the sailor. which appeared to be distant about cannon-shot. monseigneur!” And the sailors fell on their knees before him. and if there is any sin. they saw the ball take the crown off two or three waves. captain. had at a single bound cleared the whole distance. perhaps. and disappear at the end of it. Aramis shrugged his shoulders. and the pursuing ship. “give us absolution. “there is no sin in it. they will sink us?” “But.“Monseigneur! monseigneur! we are lost!” said the captain. and gives an order. which described a parabola like a rainbow.” the patron ventured to say. do you not see.” said he. relegated to the horizon. “since they say that. He holds a glass like this. “They will sink us!” said Goenne. Twenty-five men at least! Ah! I see the captain forward. as if the vessel was responsive to the appeal of Aramis. “Monseigneur assures me that the devil has nothing to do with this?” asked Yves.” said the sailor. as inoffensive as the stone with which. a second cloud of smoke mounted slowly to the heavens. appeared again in its true aspect. It was at once a menace and a warning.” murmured one of the sailors. it was still at the same distance. focussed it silently. “How—let us wait?” “Yes. he saw that. But.” Aramis took a telescope from the bottom of the boat. and uttered a cry.” “Let us wait. “What!—they see us!” said Yves. Ah! he turns round. at about a mile from the little canoe. on withdrawing the instrument from his eye.” “Oh!” said Aramis.” said Aramis. “Impossible!” “Well. A light cloud of smoke appeared beneath the sails. “Don’t be alarmed. “they have. “So. illuminating a space of a quarter of a league in diameter. ashamed of their weakness. the Paris-folk have fabricated instruments with which they see as well at a distance as near. “That is true!” said the sailors. “they can see us as we see them.” “That is not to be wondered at. no doubt. The skipper lifted the glass to his eye. except the way which the balancelle had been able to make during that brief instant. I will take it on myself. The vessel was still at the distance of nearly a league. though we have lowered sail. dig a white furrow in the sea. by the aid of the devil.” murmured the sailor. they are rolling a piece of cannon forward—they are loading it—pointing it. the skipper put aside the telescope. and sank again into impassibility. we are prepared to die for you. and spreading like a flower opening. and is looking at us.” The sailor lifted the glass to his eye.” At the same moment. Misericorde! they are firing at us!” And by a mechanical movement. look yourself. “look!” The sailor hesitated. in play.” said he.” said the bishop.

who had come on board after their bishop. in his turn. Aramis—already bent over the side of the bark towards the sea—drew himself up. “Throw out the ladder. that is to say.” said the captain. the formidable Greek fire darted from its sides. It launched a fresh Greek fire. “Alive. Without a word Aramis then raised his hand to the eyes of the commander and showed him the collet of a ring he wore on the ring-finger of his left hand. “Surrender!” cried the commander of the balancelle.” said Aramis. All the men were on deck. and with a flashing eye.” “Well. walked straight up to the commander. a mysterious and unknown sign at sight of which the officer turned pale. Yves waved a white cloth at the end of a gaff. which fell within twenty paces of the little canoe. Then stretching his hand out. Then turning towards the Bretons.” repeated the sailors. looked at him earnestly. alive. made a sign to him with his hand. which ran along the sides of the waves.” The oars dropped from the hands of the sailors. and dipped the ends of his long white fingers in the green limpid waters of the sea. Aramis made a sign with his head. “You see plainly. rocked motionless upon the summits of the waves. From time to time. “Yes. And while making this sign Aramis. my friends!” cried he. and threw a light upon them as white as sunshine. “all but the Chevalier d’Herblay. The sailors looked at Aramis.” Aramis stared imperceptibly. Night came on. The commandant. and the bark. captain!” cried one excited soldier. “Your lives are safe. to which he turned with smiles as to a friend. “By my rank and by my name I swear that all except M.” said he. yes—living. illumined by the last flashes of the Greek fire. bowed a second time with marks of the most profound respect. towards his own cabin.” With a rapid gesture. monseigneur?” said the sailors. It might be thought they were about to board a frigate and to fight a crew superior in number to their own. who for a moment had raised his head. “Accept!” repeated he. When Aramis. draped in cold and haughty majesty. but still the ship drew nearer. This was like striking their flag. not to attempt the capture of a canoe manned by four people.” cried the commander of the balancelle. trembled.’ and my name is Louis Constant de Pressigny. played on the crests like plumes. 243 . with the aid of his speaking-trumpet. “they must be taken alive. The pursuer came on like a race-horse. ceasing to make way. arms in hand. le Chevalier d’Herblay shall have their lives spared. the cannoniers were at their guns.” said the officer. had the air of an emperor giving his hand to be kissed.” “What are your orders?” “Accept!” “But you. “but what security have we?” “The word of a gentleman. “fire!” The soldiers brought their muskets to the present. with a firm step. seizing the rope ladder. monseigneur?” Aramis leaned still more forward. messieurs.The Bretons looked at each other in terror. towards the poop. the sailors were profoundly astonished. The three Bretons. It might be imagined it redoubled its speed with darkness. I am lieutenant of the king’s frigate the ‘Pomona. “We accept. “it will be better to wait for them. looked at each other. “At the first sign of resistance. “Did we not say we surrendered?” said Yves. he drew back to allow Aramis to go first. “Do you hear. as if the command had belonged to him. the matches burning. At last it came within musket-shot. and cast its flame upon the ocean like an incandescent snowfall. For an instant his eye was fixed upon the depths of the ocean. and rendered still darker and more terrible the gulfs they covered. He was obeyed. and a smile upon his lips. and bowed his head. as a vulture rears its head out of its nest.

the moon had not yet risen. And yet. Porthos is not yet an invalid. of the words that I may speak to him. dear Monsieur d’Artagnan. will find work for his majesty’s soldiers. and. the commander called the second lieutenant. since his arrival at Nantes. D’Artagnan found M. captain?” “We take what course monseigneur pleases. the first tears that had ever fallen from the eyes of Aramis! What epitaph would have been worth that. de Gesvres. his majesty has been up all night. no. who returned immediately. for the wood on which the bishop’s head had rested was soaked with dew. on approaching him next morning. “Not at Nantes. The king. which few people.” Brienne took the captain’s hand kindly. The one with his arm. asked about what o’clock the king would have finished his breakfast. Who knows if these brave men may not get up for the edification of his most Christian majesty a little bastion of Saint-Gervais! I don’t despair of it. He returned. ordering the head to be put towards Corunna. with this vigorous man. Yves. “you do not know. “What course are we to follow.” M. It might be about seven o’clock in the morning. he is afraid.” “Oh! dear Monsieur d’Artagnan. the order of the day is not to allow any person to remain in this corridor. that is evident. to Nantes. and said.” said D’Artagnan. that I have the privilege of entree anywhere—and at any hour.” D’Artagnan felt his anger mounting to his brain a second time. Irritation. M. Poor Porthos! As to Master Aramis. and took a seat near the bastingage. he went straight to the castle.stupefied. Yes. but in the meantime Belle-Isle is besieged. yet Aramis looked incessantly towards Belle-Isle. hitherto. He came back at half-past nine.” D’Artagnan took his hat again. that is enough. “But. I think. who had returned to take his post in the stern. and. I will wait where I am.” Who knows?—that dew was. As soon as he was out he began to reflect. Trembling with rage. had been able to resist.” D’Artagnan. we will extend it to an hour and a half. it may be. if we admit that the air of the Loire gives an additional appetite. de Gesvres. “That will just suit me. I will let him sleep. They have cannon and a garrison. and was told that the king was at breakfast. good Porthos? Chapter LII. de Gesvres’s Round. and said. monsieur. Yves then approached the captain. looking askant at Brienne. the king had been an early riser. He went out quickly. Five minutes after. “will not receive me. “Well. D’Artagnan was little used to resistance like that he had just experienced.” said D’Artagnan. nor is Aramis in his dotage. a little softened.” “Eh?—don’t know! What does that mean? You don’t know how much time the king devotes to eating? It is generally an hour.” replied the officer. The young man is angry. who stopped him politely. in a low and humble voice. and my two friends by now probably taken or killed. “I will talk to the king while he is eating. But about what o’clock do you suppose he will rise?” “Oh! in about two hours. and I am easy on his account. de Brienne reminded D’Artagnan that the king would not see any one at meal-time. and asked an audience with the king. were they king. has changed everything. he is always full of resources. Night had fallen. The crew were awed to silence.” said he. Aramis reappeared upon the deck. remarked that “the night must have been a very damp one. “The king. were they giants. profoundly irritated.” continued 244 . “We don’t know. in this journey. usually vented itself in impetuous attack. perhaps. telling him not to speak too loud and disturb the king. “Is the king asleep?” said D’Artagnan. bowed to M. for fear of complicating the affair by a display of premature ill-humor. But. Whilst this order was being executed. and returned to his own apartments. Aramis passed the night leaning upon the bastingage. no. I am on guard for that particular purpose. But on arriving at the corridor with which we are acquainted. the other with his imagination. beforehand.

I will go to M. walking about the corridor in no enviable mood. instead of throwing off his sword and cloak.” “D’Artagnan.” And D’Artagnan set forward bravely to find M. “I think that is rather too strong.” “It is fortunate I have met with you. “I don’t know whether it would not be better to stop the combat. he was putting his foot in the stirrup. Monsieur de Gesvres! good evening!” “One would say you were getting on horseback. de Lyonne was coming out. “Not even the captain who takes the order?” cried D’Artagnan. At eight o’clock in the evening. “Well. Shall I go to M. Do me the favor.—as you see. de Lyonne.” And without waiting longer. he took his pistols. there is a man I must acquire the habit of terrifying.” “Were you looking for me. “the times have come again in which I measured my steps from De Treville to the cardinal. “That it was well!” said the captain. in growing old. aloud. Everything went on according to his wishes. wounded to the heart. when M. according to the custom of all great officers who have lodgings at the castle. I will go. from the cardinal to the queen. go!” and he pushed him gently towards the cabinet. “Since that is the case. sent for his horses from the castle-stables. M. ante-chamber! a bourgeois.” “On the part of the king. D’Artagnan waited. Truly is it said that men. de Lyonne. is no longer allowed to enter it. I am free! I am only a plain citizen. about to breathe at liberty. Colbert? Now. or his captain is in disgrace. I will wager?” “Yes. castle. corridor. become children again!—To the castle. “Ah. I have the pleasure of bidding you good-bye! Farewell.” “Not even he. “Monsieur d’Artagnan!” said he. M. three days ago. at the head of twelve guards. in front of the hostelry.” said Lyonne. to return and tell the king. he could not fail seeing thirteen men and thirteen horses. “Well. and was about to put his horse in motion. Colbert. he had taken what was called his city-chamber. either the king is dead. Colbert. that he accepts it? Good! Now. the captain sprang from the terrace down the staircase.” said M. but told him that the king had been busy all the preceding evening and all night. He gave D’Artagnan both hands. then?” “Mon Dieu! yes. But when he arrived there. “He simply answered. takes his farewell of you. “since the captain of the musketeers. he was at the hostelry. then.—I am mounted. Five minutes after. I send him my resignation. and that orders had been given that no one should be admitted. Fouquet?” 245 . or his salle-a-manger. de Lyonne. but for my friends I must put up with everything.’” replied Lyonne. Gesvres rode up to him. with an explosion. But he feigned not to observe anything. “That is to say. where he had picked up the fragments of Gourville’s letter. “Good!” cried he.” “More than that. but was informed that he was working with the king. plainly. de Gesvres appeared. where.” “As I.D’Artagnan. Lyonne returned. ‘’Tis well. went in search of M. beware of what you are doing!” “For friendship’s sake. M. who has always entered the king’s chamber. what did the king say?” exclaimed D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan saw all from the corner of his eye. who are in favor. then!” He returned thither. at the castle of Nantes. and gave orders that would ensure their reaching Vannes during the night. For myself alone I will not put up with either surly looks or insults from the king.” replied D’Artagnan. put his money into a large leather purse. from the queen to Louis XIII. his cabinet. then.

the king is furious!” “Very well! the king.” “And why not. “do not compromise yourself! these men hear you. then?” “I am making my round. if you please. and you are right in being so. Fouquet. for many reasons—in the first place.” 246 . duke.” said D’Artagnan. for this: if I were to succeed you in the musketeers after having arrested you—” “Ah! then you admit you have arrested me?” “No. I should have been courteous to you.” D’Artagnan laughed aloud. I meet with you. I don’t.” said the duke. “the king is disengaged. with a bantering air.” “Here we are at our place of destination.” “Well. duke!” said D’Artagnan.” “That isn’t bad! And so you pick me up in your round. I assure you. “Captain. Tell me at once you are come to arrest me. in a low voice to the musketeer. This strikes me as a splendid opportunity.” “To arrest you?—Good heavens! no. de Gesvres.” said M. “I have been told that you are ambitious of uniting your guards with my musketeers. Mordioux! That is a gallant man.” “Why do you come to accost me with twelve horsemen at your heels. but—” “But—I shall be sent to keep company with unfortunate M. “you will march behind.” “No.” “But as I am not arresting you. eh?” “I don’t pick you up. for if ever I had had to make my rounds near your chambre-de-ville. captain. throwing one of his defiant glances over Gesvres. I will be sworn. a worthy man! We shall live very sociably together.” “Where?” “To the king. who has thought it worth while to be angry. and I beg you to come with me. one favor more.“Oh!” “Nonsense! It is of no use being over-delicate with me. may take the trouble to grow calm again. I will swear. pray?” “Oh. and replied: “March! People who are arrested are placed between the six first guards and the six last.” “I will take exceeding good care not to avail myself of it.” said M.” “For Heaven’s sake. on the word of a gentleman! Now. I shan’t die of that. that is all. for Heaven’s sake be calm with the king!” “Ah! ah! you are playing the brave man with me. “that is very polite. de Gesvres. with me.” “Good!” said D’Artagnan. what does the king want with me?” “Oh. that is all labor lost. captain.

“the musketeers of the present day are not those of his majesty Louis XIII. the king speaking aloud with M. monsieur. He did not take any notice of the entrance of D’Artagnan. after being interrogated by the musketeers who had just got among their ranks. speaking aloud to Colbert in the same cabinet where Colbert might have heard. by mistake.” thought he. was obliged to cry. and staircases were filled. “Is not M. and we know that his previsions were in general correct. you are wanted in the ante-chamber of the king. there was an end of menace and sedition. “I have nothing to say to your majesty. D’Artagnan likewise preserved an obstinate silence. Here D’Artagnan was fortunate. messieurs! you disturb the king.” said the king. died away. He foresaw the very moment the explosion would take place. sire!” replied the latter. “what have you to say to me?” “I. who watched the first blow of his adversary to make a good retort. d’Artagnan there?” “I am here.” at length resumed the king. The king could be heard distinctly. began to shun them with a manifestation of innocence. and as in the good old times of Louis XIII. de Gesvres became uneasy. He looked at his guards.” The king was going to reply that he had not had D’Artagnan arrested. “It would be very whimsical. vague murmurs. he seated himself on the ledge of a window whence with his eagle glance he saw all that was going on without the least emotion. sire. for the fellows do love me a little. so that at the end of a minute the king. advancing. you were saying if you were to succeed me after having arrested me?” “Your musketeers. All is over!” “Monsieur d’Artagnan. D’Artagnan was certainly less disturbed by all this than M.“Say met me. and M.” The king while uttering these words looked intently at his captain. came rolling to the upper stories. D’Artagnan understood this by-play. One word had calmed the waves. in which. “Monsieur. “what did I charge you to go and do at Belle-Isle? Tell me. and the report was quickly spread throughout the city that monsieur le capitaine of the musketeers had been arrested by order of the king. all was stopped. and he was silent. “Well. musketeers.” replied he. vanished. “Hush. So. as to that I won’t say. he could see at a glance those who came in. Guards. the captain of the guards. The guards remained as a mounted picket before the principal gate. but spread above his letters and plans the large silk cloth he used to conceal his secrets from the importunate. uneasiness. but any such sentence appeared too much like an excuse. Then these men were seen to be in motion. like the distant moaning of the waves. No step of the progressive fermentation which had shown itself at the report of his arrest escaped him. while turning over his papers. “All is over!” said he. issuing from the court below. M. and took him straight to the cabinet where Louis was waiting for his captain of the musketeers. “that your majesty does me the honor to ask what I went to Belle-Isle to accomplish?” 247 . In front of him was a mirror. with his back turned towards the door of entrance. this evening.” “Oh. and kept in the background.” replied the musketeer. then. fixing his pellucid eyes on D’Artagnan. de Treville. d’Artagnan. a few days before. at the first exercise with ball cartridges. Chapter LIII. who. de Gesvres. soldiers. King Louis XIV. would fire my way. officers. the king seemed to place the game in his hands. at the height.” proclaimed an usher. my praetorians should make me king of France. if you please. and placed himself behind his colleague in the ante-chamber.” D’Artagnan sighed. “if. “I believe. and saw nothing save from the corner of his eye. who heard nothing. dispersed. murmurs. The king had desired Brienne to say. unless it be that you have caused me to be arrested.” Gesvres made D’Artagnan pass in first. As soon as he entered. and here I am. How I should laugh!” But. groups were formed. The king was seated in his cabinet.

I have been astonished. these men were 248 . The trial has succeeded ill. “It was a cruelty on your majesty’s part to send me to capture my friends and lead them to your gibbets.” The king was hurt: he showed it by his reply. sire.” “It was a trial I had to make. sire.” “You have no power to judge of my will. sire.” said D’Artagnan. “You see. under the orders and at the discretion of their inferiors.” replied D’Artagnan. “there are ten who.” pursued the king. Still further.” “I so well understand this. “you did not promise me that.” “He who serves his friends does not serve his master. monsieur. nothing precise was said or stated in any form whatever.“Yes.” retorted the musketeer. to whom have been given innumerable orders of all kinds. who eat my bread and should defend my person. “Monsieur. Listen to me.” “But I have to judge of my own friendships.” “Who are your enemies. that I have respectfully offered your majesty my resignation. the final insult offered to a brave man. by siding with my enemies against me. it is not of me that question should be asked.” “For one bad servant your majesty loses. “orders have only been given to such as were judged faithful.” replied the king. but of that infinite number of officers of all kinds. “Besides. has led me to quit your majesty’s service.” said the musketeer. but not at all fit to conduct a warlike expedition. when I found the door closed against me.” “Well! sire. good to make spies of. wounded by this lesson. seriously. “My idea was to take and punish rebels.” said the king. monsieur. Fouquet. offends him. red with anger. as you complain of having been. You seem to forget that a king owes an account of his actions to none but God. bantering air.” The king would not condescend to perceive the pleasantry.” “And. monsieur. sire?” “The men I sent you to fight. sire.” said the musketeer. It was ill to send me in pursuit of two men whose lives M. when he asks of his king how he has ill-served him. I do not see in what an honest man. for your majesty has had me arrested. implored you to save.” “You have ill-served me. monsieur. It was upon this subject I came to demand an explanation of your majesty. sire.” “My disobedience!” cried D’Artagnan. monsieur. Monsieur d’Artagnan. to what grave steps your disobedience forces me.” “Your majesty has kept more than your word. sire. I am not accustomed to that service.” “I forget nothing. head of the expedition. your majesty’s preserver. therefore. “It is the mildest term that I can find. whilst to me. should have found himself under the orders of five or six lieutenants or majors.” said he. I know nothing about it. Mine is a rebel sword when I am required to do ill.” “And I have accepted it. of pretended servants. “you still believe that you are living in an age when kings were. possibly. was I bound to inquire whether these rebels were your friends or not?” “But I was. which. with his cold. “Before being separated from you I was willing to prove to you that I know how to keep my word. go through a like ordeal. who ranks with a marechal of France. on that same day. and continued.” “Two men the enemies of the whole of your majesty’s army! That is incredible. “that a captain like myself. with bitterness.” “Monsieur.

“The rebels have fled. enough of these dominating interests which arise to keep the sun itself from my interests. brought back to his dismal idea. But I pardon you these words. other reasons make me act mildly towards you. They did not attack your majesty. quietly. who cannot comprehend what such men as M. 249 . We will then reckon if the game has been worth the stakes. “Taken or killed!” cried he. how much has it cost you in men and money. when your majesty and I are alone. not having imitated them in favor.” “So that. and myself are. because you are a man of sense. my soldiers have taken or killed the rebels of Belle-Isle. “Only. “Well. If I recognized my king on that day. “what I learn here you would know later. and I am certain not a bark can escape. And. and I will not imitate my predecessors in anger.” As he spoke thus. I think it would be useless to ask the question of me now. secondly. Besides. who is king of France? Do you know any other?” “Sire. sire?” “Well. services are sacred titles to gratitude. But why suspect me before the action? Why surround me with spies? Why disgrace me before the army? Why me. they succumbed to your blind anger. to evoke the remembrance of that terrible adventure. Your friends are now destroyed or ruined by me.” said the musketeer.” “Enough. in the first place. because you will cease to have any motives for insubordination. if you thought what you tell. as the punishment of your want of discipline. according to your tastes or private friendships. “I pardon them to a young prince who does not know. whilst I. I should forget all that is just. on my part. at the risk of sending you some day to keep company with M. “and that it was no merit of theirs I was not lost. while reading it. the king went up to him in great anger. and said. with a calm air. I know full well that another king would not conduct himself as I do. It appeared to him that the shade of the unfortunate Philippe passed between D’Artagnan and himself.” added the king. I am founding a state in which there shall be but one master. but I have an excellent memory. “Monsieur d’Artagnan. why were they not allowed to escape? What crime had they committed? I admit you may contest with me the right of judging their conduct. You wish to be. “Monsieur. smiling with pride. d’Herblay. Almost at the same moment an officer entered and placed a dispatch in the hands of the king.” said he. one would imagine you forget that I was there. Monsieur d’Artagnan. M.” “Sire. Fouquet and the rest.” said the king. and would allow himself to be dominated by you. “I very well remember that one morning at Vaux you addressed that question to many people who did not answer to it.” said he. coldly. “And the rebels?” said he. if the news is true. “if these two gentlemen are taken—” “They will be hanged. These supports on which your capricious mind instinctively relied I have caused to disappear.my friends. D’Artagnan could not restrain a cry of triumph.” D’Artagnan became pale. in a hollow voice. At this moment.” “Is it possible?” said D’Artagnan.” replied the captain of the musketeers. who. “Oh! sire.” At these words Louis cast down his eyes.” said the king.” A beam of joy and pride shone in the eyes of D’Artagnan. changed color. your replies are those of a rebel! Tell me. it is better I should tell you. and that you should learn it from the mouth of your king. “I have a fleet which closely blockades Belle-Isle. du Vallon. now that I am accused—why reduce me to see three thousand of the king’s soldiers march in battle against two men?” “One would say you have forgotten what these men have done to me!” said the king. free to destroy my plans and save my enemies? I will thwart you or will drop you—seek a more compliant master. Monsieur d’Artagnan. Taken or killed! Ah! Ah! sire! tell me. when the thing was not easy. A battle has taken place at Belle-Isle. to call you a barbarous king. monsieur—and I have lost a hundred and ten men. and have given you a thousand proofs of my devotion—for it must be said. a man of excellent sense. and for me. and an unnatural man. as I promised you. in his turn. in whom till now you showed the most entire confidence—who for thirty years have been attached to your person. and that you will be a capital servant to him who shall have mastered you. then. a man of heart. all that is magnanimous in your words. though his heart was beating fast enough to choke him. did answer to it. if you were sure you were telling me the truth. if you please. You shall only have this lesson. to impunity. the moment is at hand for me to keep my promise.

Louis XIV. I will not spare you either sentiment.” pursued Louis XIV. by bowing me you have convicted me of weakness. “that I would one day be an affectionate. it was calculation. Great they will be. and could do without a D’Artagnan. let us conclude between us two the bargain I promised to make with you one day when you found me in a very strange predicament at Blois. or choose such exile as will suit you. I will answer for that. but strength. in a melancholy tone. Of what consequence. Monsieur d’Artagnan. and constant master. no longer violence.“And do they know it?” replied D’Artagnan. they will be dead. then.” D’Artagnan started. Perhaps. of what consequence is it that God has given no sense to arms and legs? It is to the head he has given genius. “Now. if that is to be my employment from this time.” “Oh!” replied D’Artagnan. Captain d’Artagnan. Monsieur d’Artagnan. who could bite 250 . I am master at home. If you knew how well it suits me to carry my head high. you know. Look around you. I feel—but. you must have courtiers who know how to amuse you—madmen who will get themselves killed to carry out what you call your great works. when reflecting upon it. will carry devotion and obedience to the verge of heroism. who should have a hundred kings. and I shall have servants who. undecided for the first time in his life. and what a pitiful mien I shall have while scenting the dust of your carpets! Oh! sire. having grown a new skin ten times. riddled with sword-thrusts like a sieve. This young man who had brought down a Fouquet. I have served Richelieu and Mazarin. continued as if he had seen nothing. Do me justice. “They know it. when you admit I do not make any one pay for the tears of shame that I then shed. which threatened to ruin monarchy. Truly. At last he had found an adversary worthy of him. who reckons sufficiently upon your loyalty to allow you to leave him dissatisfied. in the kingdom? Could I. Do not imagine that I bear malice. I regret sincerely. generous. lean. and that will come to the same thing. has emancipated it. “that is not my most serious care. and you will regret as I do. perhaps. I have been scorched with your father. I have a command which was formerly something. when you possess a great state secret. kindly. because you must have told them yourself.” “Then. at the fire of Rochelle. to take it from me. sire. shall I refuse to accept it? I admit that it may be hard for such an old captain to recover lost good-humor. his equals. D’Artagnan. always swearing—cross-grained mastiffs. “You have given in your resignation. and be as severe as you please. your genius. monsieur. mute. I know you to be so. lofty heads have bowed. repressing his trembling. and all the country knows it. if by chance I should not think them so? I have seen war. I am the head. negligently. Could you serve a king. no longer passion. “Very well. I hesitate to take back my resignation because I am old in comparison with you. and have habits difficult to abandon.” D’Artagnan wiped the sweat which flowed from his brow. no longer boasting. since I should only take them to have them hanged. This was no longer trick. You are now the only man of former times worthy of my anger or my friendship. Henceforward.” “Ah!” said the king. “I have told you. as serpents do. I ask you. “Come. let us see what stops you?” said the king. you have tamed me. no. and taking up his letter again. but council. the old leaven of feudal abuse! The Fronde. the rest obey. do with such weak instruments the great things I meditate? Did you ever see an artist effect great works with an unworthy tool? Far from us.” D’Artagnan remained bewildered.. lacking. You are a brave man. monsieur. but it must be confessed that in taming me you have lowered me. seize the opportunity of our being on good terms. Why have you judged me prematurely? Judge me from this day forward. I have seen peace. and the head. because it gave the bearer the right of speaking as he liked to his king. After affronts and injustices. Bow yours. although this emotion had not by any means escaped him. but will. sire. as you say. tell me. you will find your king has a generous heart. the old days when the king of France saw in every vestibule those insolent gentlemen. sire. But your captain of the musketeers will henceforward be an officer guarding the outer doors. they will never be taken alive. according to your conduct. deranged the somewhat headstrong calculations of the musketeer.

returned to Paris. in twenty-four hours. having made with greatest care all possible inquiries at Belle-Isle. go and take it to them. Such was the news. overtaken. kissing the royal hand. but in some degree reassuring to him personally.” said he. It is true that a brisk wind had prevailed for three days. if it be still in time. oh! the bite that followed! A little gold on the lace of their cloaks. and you will behold the handsome dukes and peers. then. Return by that time. sire?” And D’Artagnan bowed his silver head. Why should I do it? Because I love money?—I have enough. and with him D’Artagnan. 251 . a little sparkling of gray in their dry hair.” “That is all kind and well!” said D’Artagnan. upon which the smiling king placed his white hand with pride. “Thanks. when the king. the haughty marechaux of France.” “Go. it remains with me to send you to a foreign field to gather your marshal’s baton. That smile I will beg for! Are you content. it is true. reckoning from this day. my old servant. the human remains which had stained with clouted blood the scattered stones among the flowering broom. I will remain here because I have been accustomed for thirty years to go and take the orderly word of the king. D’Artagnan. He had seen. which D’Artagnan brought to Louis XIV. Chapter LIV. Because I love the court? No. and to have said to me ‘Good evening. he rushed out of the castle on his way to Belle-Isle. he wills that I should make verses. or come back to the mouth of the Loire. which had fallen on the heroic Porthos. The field of supposition was thrown open.mortally in the hour of danger or of battle. sire. but the corvette was known to be a good sailer and solid in its timbers. to have either returned to Brest.’ with a smile I did not beg for. “As. But do you answer for them?” “With my life. a slender stomach in their hauts-de-chausses. like a bird of prey. But there D’Artagnan’s certainties ended. but for the hand that struck them.” said D’Artagnan. but I have got over greater difficulties. The captain of the musketeers only knew what those two valiant men—these two friends. But why should I tell you all this? The king is master. “But those poor men at Belle-Isle? One of them. much agitated. I will do it. my faithful friend. The king had returned to Paris. sire. These men were the best of courtiers to the hand which fed them—they would lick it. and devoured the poor little bird that was flying with such palpitating wings. In the meanwhile. To-morrow I set out for Paris. Because I am ambitious?—my career is almost at an end. ambiguous. and that. I have no longer any enemies in France. for I do not wish you to leave me in the future. eat of my very best bread. He learned also that a bark had been seen far out at sea. Depend upon me for finding you an opportunity. and it ought. he wills that I should polish the mosaics of his ante-chambers with satin shoes. sire!” “Well! then. whose defense he had so nobly taken up. it had no need to fear a gale of wind. succeeded in learning nothing of the secret so well kept by the heavy rock of Locmaria. a royal vessel had pursued. M. whose lives he had so earnestly endeavored to save—aided by three faithful Bretons. Fouquet’s Friends. spread on the neighboring heath. had accomplished against a whole army. And with a heart swelling with joy. Now. in particular—so good! so brave! so true!” “Do you ask their pardon of me?” “Upon my knees. and sleep in absolute tranquillity. according to the calculation of D’Artagnan. Mordioux! that is difficult. what could he conjecture? The vessel had not returned. who. followed by all the court.” “Be assured of that..

with a kindness very uncommon to him. to have triumphed over you. my friend. sire. in order that you might be convinced my friends are with me respected and sacred. He is free—let him continue free. “You knew it. “As for you.” said the king. whilst the king is so often found to sacrifice men to majesty and power.” And. extremely surprised. that always in me the man will sacrifice himself to subjects. D’Artagnan. perceived the change in a countenance generally so unconcerned. sire! I can wait. D’Artagnan fixed his falcon eye upon Louis XIV.” replied the king. Louis XIV. Yes.” murmured the musketeer. I have lost one of my friends. my dear captain. “I could have M. will you?” “D’Artagnan. “I knew it. D’Artagnan.” continued the king. Everything breathed the future. which I knew would pain you so greatly. “To what good? Your grief. in the affair of Belle-Isle. you are mistaken when you accuse my council of urging me to pursue rigorous measures. a great misfortune has happened to me. you will have about you counselors who will cure you of that weakness. D’Artagnan was pale and looked unhappy. d’Herblay comes from Colbert himself.Louis. “here is a letter copied exactly from that of M. was so well worthy of respect. had just risen and taken his first repast when his captain of the musketeers presented himself before him. how could you know?” “How do you yourself know.” said the king. Only that past was like a painful bleeding wound to the hearts of certain tender and devoted spirits. D’Artagnan?” said he. you will not abuse it. d’Herblay. You have used your power. sire.” “Yes. and brought here. so noble. d’Herblay carried off from the territories of the king of Spain. which Colbert placed in my hands a week before you received yours. sire. so generous as you have shown yourself with respect to me and M. But.. d’Herblay.” “Good heavens! what is that?” “Sire. which M. D’Artagnan. whilst I go and practice patience. writes me from Bayonne. I knew that M. to inflict justice upon him. d’Herblay had taken one of my vessels with its crew.” “But. with a smile beaming with kindness. To have informed you of this misfortune. It was my duty to treat it gently.” “Oh. Scarcely was the king reinstalled in Paris. and had compelled it to convey him to Bayonne. and would make. M. drawing from a casket placed upon the table closet to the seat upon which D’Artagnan was leaning. the past was nothing to anybody. Here is the very letter. du Vallon had buried himself beneath the rocks of Locmaria. “I have several pieces of good news to announce to you. sire! you will not always remain so clement.” “A thousand times thanks. that your majesty will deign to notice 252 .” “Look here. The king. alive. But I implore you. satisfied with his success—Louis. Everybody was anxious to amuse the two queens. free and out of danger. would have been. so as to make them forget this abandonment by son and husband. I knew that M. the moment I have made my accounts all straight.” “Oh. “you were the only man whose star was equal to the task of dominating the fortune and strength of my two friends. du Vallon. sire. The advice to spare M. your fortune. quietly. while speaking these words. “What is the matter. more mild and affable as he felt himself more powerful—had not ceased for an instant to ride beside the carriage door of Mademoiselle de la Valliere. to catch the first feeling that would show itself. in your eyes. I have said that I wish to make. D’Artagnan?” “By this letter. you may perceive. when he received a touching proof of this. sire!” said D’Artagnan. but you shall know them. and did not tell me!” cried the musketeer. “Sire. But I was willing you should learn these matters in a direct manner.” “No. at the first glance. that promise will soon become reality. d’Herblay. I am well served. be assured I will not yield to this first and natural impulse.

” “What do they do?” “They weep. and the others ought to dread offending me in my own palace.” added D’Artagnan. A king does not allow himself to soften save at the tears of the innocent. Pelisson. Monsieur—” and he did not name La Fontaine. Your majesty’s justice is redoubtable. because the one is tainted to the very heart. Jean de la Fontaine. every one 253 . Fouquet. I beg you. He even maintained the frown which appeared when D’Artagnan announced his enemies.” replied Pelisson. and a poet. M. “Enter. “What do they want?” “I do not know. raised by his sobs. The courtiers. having placed himself in the embrasure of a window. Gourville bit his lips to check his tears.” said he. in a sharp. without sensible displeasure. D’Artagnan turned rapidly on his heel. but impatience. and come humbly to lay a petition at your feet. This dismal silence. M. to say nothing that will not plainly proclaim the respect you have for my will.” “What do they say?” “Nothing. His countenance was impassible. D’Artagnan. came forward to take by the hand the unhappy men who stood trembling at the door of the cabinet. Pelisson bowed to the ground. and you.” The king took a moment to reflect. “Monsieur Gourville. He made a gesture which signified.those poor people who have for so long a time besieged your ante-chamber. I have no faith either in the remorse of M. with a serious brow. as if fearful of being affected by contagion with disgrace and misfortune. not compassion. dry tone.” The three men D’Artagnan had named immediately appeared at the door of the cabinet in which were the king and his captain. raised the tapestry which closed the entrance to the royal chamber. Gourville.” and he remained standing.” “Let them come in. drew back. disturbed only by sighs and groans. with a quick step. The king preserved his dignity. but his tears were only restrained that the king might better hear his voice and prayer.” “Who are they?” “Enemies of your majesty. and La Fontaine knelt as people do in churches. For these reasons. He did not weep. “we are come to say nothing to your majesty that is not the most profound expression of the most sincere respect and love that are due to a king from all his subjects. out of respect for the king. see you come to plead for one of the greatest criminals it is the duty of justice to punish. “Friends of M.” “How do they appear?” “In great affliction. awaited the moment of presentation. “I cannot. “Their names?” “M. cried.” “Sire. with his eyes fixed searchingly on these desponding men. at the approach of the friends of the unfortunate superintendent of finances. Fouquet or the tears of his friends. the remorse of the guilty.” said the king. who. he led them in front of the king’s fauteuil. “Speak. A profound silence prevailed in their passage. La Fontaine buried his face in his handkerchief. and you. began to excite in the king. trembling at these words. and the only signs of life he gave were the convulsive motions of his shoulders. and directing his voice to the adjoining room. The first of the friends of Fouquet’s to advance was Pelisson. and was preparing himself to give the supplicants a rigorously diplomatic reception. Monsieur Pelisson. Monsieur—. “Monsieur Pelisson.” The king raised his head. Monsieur Gourville.

At least. passes it with courage. however culpable he may be. We respectfully bow before it. I do not strike without first having weighed the crime. “that I should confound the innocent with the guilty. abandoned by all those who besieged its doors in the hour of prosperity.’” The king smiled. calmed by that supplicating voice. and D’Artagnan. who interrogated him with his look. when the hour for defending an accused friend strikes. “my parliament will decide. but he is an enemy to the state. du Vallon. turned round towards the angle of the cabinet to bite his mustache and conceal a groan. with his most imposing air. The tears had been scorched away by contact with their burning cheeks and eyelids. a generous physician alone ventures to approach the ill-reputed threshold.” Here the mortal silence which had chained the breath of Pelisson’s two friends was broken by an outburst of sobs. I strike none but the arrogant. pity rose from his heart to his lips. stormy with the strong. to lend to Madame Fouquet two thousand pistoles collected among the old friends of her husband. she has neither credit nor hope left. “Sire. the king turned very pale. my master! If you had not the device which belongs to your sun. messieurs—go!” The three now rose in silence with dry eyes. the late M. in order that the widow may not stand in need of the necessaries of life. but the blood had mounted to his cheeks. The hand of your majesty strikes like the hand of God. When the Lord sends the curse of leprosy or pestilence into a family. Do. my justice does not wield the sword without employing first a pair of scales.” “Therefore we have every confidence in that impartiality of the king. and passed into the next apartment.” interrupted the king. Madame Fouquet—the lady who had the honor to receive your majesty at her table—Madame Fouquet.” said he. every one flies and shuns the abode of the leprous or plaguestricken. since her husband’s captivity. and risks his life to combat death. the unhappy wretch upon whom your anger falls receives from you.must yield to the sentences it pronounces. after having said to D’Artagnan. Sometimes. Conrart might translate into eclectic Latin. in order. messieurs. Go.” 254 . The little property he had was scarcely sufficient to pay his debts. messieurs. ‘Calm with the lowly.” continued Pelisson. to the severity of the king. As much afflicted. They know me but ill who doubt my mercy towards the weak. “What do you wish?” said he. upon whom emotion was fast gaining. the chosen instrument of heavenly mercy. but very rarely. We abandon him.—his pride disappeared. “I give you the leave of absence you must want to put the affairs of your friend. “Well. his daily bread though moistened by his tears. “the accused has a wife and family. Madame Fouquet has no longer bread.” At the word widow. I would recommend you one which M. do all that your hearts counsel you to assuage the grief of Madame Fouquet. “God forbid. He is the last resource of the dying. Sire. Far from us the idea of coming to defend him who has had the misfortune to offend your majesty. no longer any means of support.” “In that case. approaching the young prince. more destitute than her husband.” replied Pelisson. as a divinity is supplicated! Madame Fouquet has no longer any friends. and those persuasive words.” said he. “to permit us. and the firmness of his look was visibly diminished. The king had preserved his eye dry and his countenance severe. we supplicate you. and Madame Fouquet. is abandoned by everybody. D’Artagnan remained alone with the king. whose chest heaved at hearing this humble prayer. he cast a softened look upon the men who knelt sobbing at his feet. “Well. They had not the strength to address their thanks to the king. He who has incurred your displeasure may be a friend of ours. with clasped hands and bended knees. “We come humbly to ask your majesty. but with tears. the wife of the ancient superintendent of your majesty’s finances. who himself cut short their solemn reverences by entrenching himself suddenly behind the fauteuil. what do you ask of me?” said the king. without incurring the displeasure of your majesty. with the consent of your majesty. pronounced by Pelisson whilst Fouquet was still alive.” “Besides. and hope to make our feeble voices heard. in an agitated voice. she weeps in her deserted home.

At this paragraph. The seal broken—the spectacles put on—the preliminary cough having sounded—every one pricked up his ears. announced for that day. still holding by the hand poor Mousqueton. asked pardon of his enemies for all the injuries he might have done them. At Pierrefonds everything was in mourning. he embraced his knees. having nobly saluted the assembly. The visitors took their places as they arrived. Three mills upon the Cher. All these people entered the chateau silently. He recalled to his mind the old soldier. after a profession of faith of the most Christian character. were thrown open as if by magic. The splendor of daylight invading the room. Mousqueton found fresh tears. Then came the following schedule of his extensive lands: “I possess at this present time. surrounded by good walls. watering the floor with his tears. D’Artagnan raised the poor intendant. who. like that of the Madonna of Vandyke. and said to himself that Porthos had acted wisely. the better to weep and the better to hear. a ray of inexpressible pride beamed from the eyes of D’Artagnan. “6. not to enumerate his enemies or the injuries done to them. forests. but of which the list is drawn up by my intendant. the murmur of all present. handed their horses to a melancholy-looking groom. woods. producing two hundred livres a year. he reckoned up the numbers of them. Porthos’s Will. more than all. and the great room had just been closed when the clock struck twelve. and at which all the covetous friends of the dead man were anxious to be present. composed of red and white. had tied his horse to the knocker and announced himself. as he had left no relations behind him. he went and took his seat at the extremity of the great carved oak hall. In goods which I cannot detail here for want of room. was considerably agitated. and. and sank upon the steps. The domain of Bracieux. and it was pitiful to see him press his throat with his fat hand to keep from bursting into sobs and lamentations. so called because it can be moved. At each fresh arrival. to the great dining-room. These were rural neighbors. the instinct of the faithful dog. This was D’Artagnan. and a warlike figure appeared upon the threshold. meadows. as full formerly as they had become flabby since his grief began. the hour fixed for the reading of the important document. who had come alone to the gate. Then the procureur.” (Brave Porthos!) “4. “5. and directed their steps. Porthos. and which furnish all my chateaux or houses. and. plowed lands. recognized the old friend of his master. The little estate Du Vallon. In the basins. embraced him as if he had been a brother. where Mousqueton received them at the door. like the rest. All these visits were for the purpose of hearing the reading of Porthos’s will. which had been shut. forming three farms. chateaux. so named because it is in the valley. Along the roads around the chateau came a few grave personages mounted on mules or country nags.Chapter LV. conducted by a huntsman in black. lands. or the task would have been too much for the reader.” 255 . commenced. was furrowed by two silver rivulets which had dug their beds in his cheeks. the fountains. who was suffocating with excess of woe. he raised his head. drew Mousqueton from his reverie. and finding nobody to hold his stirrup. by the grace of God— “1. who all bowed as they whispered to each other his name. and forests. Porthos’s procureur—and that was naturally the successor of Master Coquenard—commenced by slowly unfolding the vast parchment upon which the powerful hand of Porthos had traced his sovereign will. “3. His face. had stopped of themselves. “As to my personal or movable property. “2. all those enemies of Porthos brought to earth by his valiant hand. Three fish-pools in Berry. Fifty farms in Touraine. All at once the folding-doors of the great room. Mousqueton had squatted himself in a corner. bringing in six hundred livres each. amounting to five hundred acres. cures and bailiffs of adjacent estates. as is so well explained by my learned friend the bishop of Vannes—” (D’Artagnan shuddered at the dismal remembrance attached to that name)—the procureur continued imperturbably—”they consist—” “1. Mousqueton had become so thin in two days that his clothes moved upon him like an ill-fitting scabbard in which the sword-blade dances at each motion. waters. The courts were deserted—the stables closed—the parterres neglected. and. resplendent in the full light of the sun. The domain of Pierrefonds. formerly so jubilantly fresh and noisy. screaming with grief.

and it is probable I never shall have any. who liked them formerly. which. It was D’Artagnan’s sword. In arms for war and the chase contained in my gallery of arms. of city. the fourth. as if. in addition to the table and house linen. to M. Moreover. I bequeath to M. Urganda. and the spectators saw him stagger and hesitate. the second. le Vicomte Raoul Auguste Jules de Bragelonne.Every one turned his eyes towards Mousqueton. Finette. movable. Milo. Ogier. my wines of Burgundy. and redoubled his attention.” continued the procureur. for the stag. in the assurance that he will wear them till they are worn out. his shoulders shook convulsively. half-way down to his aquiline nose. quickly restored the interrupted silence: “On condition that M. in common with my other friends. forming six packs. Rebecca. Raoul Auguste Jules de Bragelonne. are divided in the residences I liked the best. and which are called—Bayard. when dying. he did not know the way. had fallen on the sonorous flooring. le Vicomte de Bragelonne do give to M. for setters and protection. Bordeaux. “This is why. Samson. My library. My wines of Anjou. comprised in the above enumerations. In sixty dogs. the true son of M. quite new.” 256 . and Musette. for the wild boar. le Vicomte de Bragelonne do pay a good pension to M. war. and saw that a large tear had rolled from the thick lid of D’Artagnan. le Chevalier d’Herblay. selected for Athos.” On hearing these words. On condition that M. in my various houses. “4. Nimrod. pale and trembling. and which are sufficiently numerous to fatigue the sight. if he should need it in exile. All these objects. stocking eight cellars and twelve vaults. Dunois. that is. Flastrade. whither I shall go on leaving Pierrefonds. coughed. le Vicomte de Bragelonne my old servant and faithful friend Mousqueton. My pictures and statues. Mousqueton bowed. Pepin. “go and make your preparations. and enable him to add more luster to his already glorious name. the third. and the two others. “Mousqueton. already named. seconded by the flashing eye of D’Artagnan. “8. captain of the king’s musketeers. I will take you with me to Athos’s house. Yolande. compressed by a frightful grief. and Spain. which are said to be of great value.” said D’Artagnan. The procureur resumed: “I have lived without having any children. Grisette. “This young nobleman appears to me extremely worthy to succeed the valiant gentleman of whom I am the friend and very humble servant. whatever the said Chevalier d’Artagnan may demand of my property. my friend. to console him for the grief he seems to suffer. Roland.” Here a sharp sound interrupted the reader. the luminous edge of which shone like a little crescent moon. slipping from his baldric.” A vague murmur ran through the auditory. Armida. “7. Charlemagne. le Comte de la Fere. he has never ceased to be happy. which. I leave to my intendant Mousqueton all of my clothes. for the hare. and have never been opened. consisting of six thousand volumes. Every one turned his eyes that way. “5. “2. though wishing to leave the hall. The procureur continued. providing that the said vicomte shall so act that Mousqueton shall declare. son of M. “9.” Here the reader stopped to take breath. or immovable. for the love of and in remembrance of his master. or chase. who was still lost in grief. In twenty horses for saddle and draught. le Chevalier d’Artagnan. for I have a son. Every one sighed. My silver plate. to the number of forty-seven suits. which to me is a cutting grief. Dalilah. “3. glancing over the assembly. M. divided as follows: the first. my good friend. for I had great trouble in lifting the coffer that contained it and could not carry it more than six times round my chamber. Lisette. his countenance. appeared from between his icy hands. La Hire. “6. but which ought to weigh from a thousand to twelve hundred pounds. which I have particularly at my chateau of Pierrefonds. for the wolf. which is perhaps a little worn. And yet I am mistaken. Champagne. “I have left all my property. le Comte de la Fere.

in those brilliant eyes of the young man. he had no longer. after which the greater part of those who had come to hear the last will of Porthos dispersed by degrees. having lost his master. He opened the door. Athos remained in bed with a book under his pillow—but he did not sleep. gave itself up to grief with all the warmth of common natures when they yield to joy. “Porthos had indeed a heart. As he made this reflection. if he should be inclined to ask too much. absorbed in silent reverie. Athos daily felt the decline of vigor of a nature which for so long a time had seemed impregnable. with all his face. He scarcely breathed. The Old Age of Athos. “My God!” said he. upon which Mousqueton had laid himself down after heaping them all on the floor together. he allowed his soul and spirit to wander from their envelope and return to his son. The procureur finished his reading. many disappointed. crawls back to die upon his cloak.” said D’Artagnan to himself with a sigh. his mild serenity of soul and body in spite of Milady. or to God. when Raoul was no longer with him. as a good example. and in case he did demand anything. and perceived. thus left alone. He discontinued all the mighty exercises he had enjoyed through life. his freshness of mind in spite of misfortune. with a delicacy that neither nobleman nor courtier could have displayed more kindly. most exquisite criticism upon that conduct of Aramis which had brought about the death of Porthos? But there was no mention of Athos in the testament of the dead. our worthy Porthos. began to pay his tribute to that foretaste of death which is called the absence of those we love. with more propriety than taste. the warrior who had preserved his strength in spite of fatigue. none but himself could say what. that D’Artagnan would ask or take nothing. And then the dismal monotonous walk recommenced. an ever-ardent focus at which to kindle anew the fire of his looks. which had been kept back by the presence of the beloved object. When Porthos enjoined Raoul de Bragelonne to give D’Artagnan all that he would ask. and he thought immediately of poor Mousqueton. neither did he read. Still handsome. mute and insensible. without apparent intention. was it not the mildest. for hours together. Then he was awakened. in spite of Mazarin. his 257 . after having received the formal compliments of the procureur. He ascended the staircase leading to the first story. and slowly disappeared. must it be said. but all penetrated with respect. which he was kissing with his lips. no longer finding anything to understand its feelings. Could the latter for a moment suppose that the son would not offer the best part to the father? The rough mind of Porthos had fathomed all these causes. which grows by geometrical accretion. who. “he does not stir—he has fainted!” But D’Artagnan was mistaken. since his solitude. 6 His people were sometimes terrified to see him. who had so judiciously bestowed his wealth upon the most necessitous and the most worthy. he fancied he hard a groan in the room above him. Porthos left a pension to Aramis. were astonished to hear seven o’clock strike before their master quitted his bed. accustomed to see him stirring with the dawn at all seasons. It was the legacy of the faithful friend. he was lost in admiration of the wisdom of the testator. Athos had become an old man in a week.Mousqueton made no reply. from the moment at which he lost the comfort of his later youth. arrived with that cortege of pains and inconveniences. thrown out by the testator. The servants. Those clothes were truly his own. that nature. Mousqueton was dead! Dead. seized all these shades more clearly than law. and that word exile. and covered with his body. For this purpose he left the hall hastily to seek the worthy intendant. left alone after the departure of Raoul. Age. in Porthos’s own chamber. the hand of Mousqueton was stretched over these relics. who had remained a young man to his sixty-second year. And then. Back in his house at Blois. he sought. Chapter LVI. While these affairs were separating forever the four musketeers. in spite of La Valliere. until. the deeper glades where sunshine scarcely penetrated. Athos had no longer his son to induce him to walk firmly. Athos. though bent. that the hours for the two first meals were gone by. It often occurred that he forgot the day had half passed away. he regained the chamber and his bed. noble. but sad. D’Artagnan approached to console the poor fellow. he no longer heard the timid step of the servant who came to the door of his chamber to watch the sleeping or waking of his master. As for D’Artagnan. no longer having even Grimaud to receive a poor smile as he passed through the parterre. as though to partake of its warmth for a minute in memory of his absent child. The Comte de la Fere. was checked by the example of D’Artagnan. He rose. descended to his shady walk. as he had not returned. with head erect. like the dog who. whom he felt it was a pleasing duty to divert from his grief. they had been given to him. exhausted. better than custom. exquisite in tenderness and reserve. as if everything in that hall would from that time be foreign. a heap of clothes of all colors and materials. he knew well. Remaining in bed that he might no longer have to carry his body. formerly bound together in a manner that seemed indissoluble. then came out a little into the sun.

“Fever. and there waited the return of his strength. doctor?” asked the comte.” “Come. For several days the comte did not speak a single word.” 258 . “What is the matter. never did the sky appear more blue to me. “is it possible? I do not get up. to whom Athos had so often given life and consolation by his kind words and his charities. and his terrified people. already appertains no longer to the earth. although he wore a smile upon his lips. His valet de chambre observed that he shortened his walk every day by several turns. at once cause and effect of a perilous situation. At length Athos refused to rise at all. “Is it your wish to kill yourself ?” “Never. who beheld him without evincing more surprise than if he had understood nothing of the apparition. slow fever. I never knew myself better. His thought feared noise. “Monsieur le comte. monsieur.” said the doctor. He refused to receive the visits that were paid him. The doctor formed his resolution like a brave man. Get well! monsieur le comte. you are ill. therefore. although he continued to speak with his sweet voice—his people went to Blois in search of the ancient physician of the late Monsieur. Thus to remain is suicide. Man thus absorbed. and during the night he was seen to relight his lamp and pass long hours in writing. we say. you are in a fair way of doing so. or rather the return of night. they remained without answers. Athos wrote one of these letters to Vannes. and brought him to the Comte de la Fere in such a fashion that he could see the comte without being himself seen. People respected Athos. from the depths of his hiding-place. The comte spoke to nobody.” “Well! monsieur. who had great trouble in rousing himself from his preoccupation. “but I have a reproach to make you—you shall hear me. He examined. for often pain becomes the hope of the physician. for fear of displeasing their master. For my part. smiling. Very shortly a hundred steps exhausted him. and have had no advice. and went straight up to Athos. born in a fold of the heart. The doctor obeyed.” And he seated himself by the pillow of Athos. consumption. who had not asked for a physician. Athos was a great seigneur compared with such nobles as the king improvised by touching with his artificial scepter the parched-up trunks of the heraldic trees of the province. the nature of that mysterious malady which bent and aged more mortally every day a man but lately so full of life and a desire to live. after a silence. decay. The physician could not bear to see his people weep. He remarked upon the cheeks of Athos the hectic hue of fever. growing from the suffering it engenders. monsieur le comte!” “Weakness!” replied Athos.” “I! ill!” said Athos. or examining parchments. the Blaisois boasted of possessing this sacred relic of French glory. no subterfuges. I crave your pardon. sheltering itself behind that rampart. it approached to that degree of over-excitement which borders upon ecstasy. pitiless. you are a good Christian?” “I hope so. Athos was a sort of model for the gentlemen of the country. to see flock round him the poor of the canton. doctor.domicile by choice. coming up to the patient with open arms. which feeds upon itself. from Paris to Pierrefonds. come! monsieur le comte. was terrified at the monotonous beating of that heart from which never a sigh arose to vary the melancholy state. he did not even talk to himself. Half a day passed away thus. although he did not complain. and they loved him. weakness. We know why: Aramis had quitted France.” said Athos. and implored him not to show himself. “The matter is. The great alley of limes soon became too long for feet that used to traverse it formerly a hundred times a day. they placed him in a closet adjoining the chamber of the patient. get well!” “Of what? Find the disease first. he was terrified at seeing those eyes always fixed. ever directed on some invisible object. The doctor remained for several hours studying this painful struggle of the will against superior power. seated himself upon a mossy bank that sloped towards a sidewalk. he declined all nourishment. though he does not yet belong to God. never did I take more care of my flowers. For this purpose. and D’Artagnan was traveling from Nantes to Paris. The comte walked feebly as far as the middle trees. he issued suddenly from his place of retreat. another to Fontainebleau.

It gave him sufficient details of the death of Porthos to move the tender and devoted heart of Athos to its innermost fibers. oh! be satisfied of that. He did not even desire that all letters that came should be brought to him directly. he meant to send to D’Artagnan. One night. I wait!” The doctor knew the temper of that mind. seized with a mortal sweat.” And the vision disappeared with the slumber of Athos. after the first lines. and gave him a letter which came from Spain. for as long as he lives. do not ask me to live amidst noise and merriment. “I suffer here the grief you soon will feel at home. I prepare myself. minds on the stretch. now I have no longer Raoul with me. determined to ride to Blois. he clasped his cuirass slowly. my ear on the stretch for the report that may reach me. tenderly. Athos wished to go and pay his friend Porthos a last visit. where they were waiting to embark. fainted in his bed. he reflected for the moment. de Beaufort in person. dissipated. my soul is prepared. he appreciated the strength of that body. doctor. In fact. more obscure than other people would have called a dream. I vegetate. that is my malady. they were neither at the place where the sea was going to carry them. to prevail upon him to recommence the painful voyage to Belle-Isle. I wish to be ready to set out at the first summons. lying down. to open more certain correspondences with either Africa. the comte. D’Artagnan. the absence of my son. and slowly he girded on his sword. When this fainting of Athos had ceased. The young man was sad. this letter from Aramis informed the Comte de la Fere of the bad success of the expedition of Belle-Isle. thou warnest me!” And Athos. which his servants would have paid with their blood to procure him. I shall live. nor at the place the earth was going to lose them. to go upon an expedition commanded by M. half on the other. indifferent life would be beyond my strength. I repeat it. Sleep had become rare. At this moment. I wait. or Aramis. A forgetful. without any other cause than weakness. to accomplish in his company that sad pilgrimage to the tomb of 259 . he has all the future before him—the future of men of merit. doctor. “What afflicts me is the death of Porthos. and I do not conceal it.” thought the comte. indifferent. doctor. in a reverie most profound. Who will make me that summons? life or death? God or Raoul? My baggage is packed. Lying down like the soldiers. I leave life suspended within me. doctor. and he read.” “Monsieur le comte. of his race. with a melancholy smile. “for as long as Raoul lives. baggage prepared. and left the chateau.” “What do you say?” “A very simple thing. almost ashamed of having given way before this superior natural event. he is strong. a hope. He knew very well that every distraction which should arise would be a joy. live for him—” “But I do live. Athos evinced neither anger nor vexation at having been disturbed. for a few hours at most. At daybreak one of his servants entered his master’s apartment. By intense thinking. he dreamt that Raoul was dressing himself in a tent. doctor. remember those soldiers we have so often seen together at the ports. it will be plainly known. To render this honor to his companion in arms. “The writing of Aramis. The doctor being gone. Chapter LVII. “What is the matter?” asked his father. “Oh! Raoul. I await the signal—I wait.” replied Raoul. Raoul! thanks! thou keepest thy promise. ever so dear a friend.” “Concealed!—not at all. the word is the one which paints my present life. still further fatigued the soul. half on one element. dressed himself and ordered his horse. exhorting Athos’s servants not to quit him for a moment. Athos’s Vision.“You have a hidden grief. You do not ask the lamp to burn when the match has not illumed the flame. “Porthos is dead!” cried he. remedies absurd. Athos forgot himself. your son lives.” added he. Look. arms stacked—they waited. for Athos lived a double life during these wanderings of his understanding. The momentary repose which this forgetfulness thus gave the body. told himself that words were useless.

and there was nothing to the address of the comte. rendered green in certain parts by the waters of the sea. “Let us stop. after having ordered some prescriptions. but only with the aid of his servants was he able painfully to climb into the saddle. A waste of gray rocks. can add of melancholy suppositions to probabilities already gloomy. The comte reckoned the minutes with despair. The day passed away. and terrified movements. He ordered himself to be carried into the sun. stopped.” His people flocked around him. “Something.” replied Athos. but left the patient very weak. of which Athos was unconscious. to give him strength. refreshed. and without power of action in anything but his brain. not to perceive the disorder in the usually regular proceeding of the comte. The servant who watched him saw several times the expression of internal suffering shadowed on his features. “quick! come closer! I feel my muscles relax—I shall fall from my horse. He did not go a hundred paces. “Well! decidedly. de Beaufort must have landed with his army. Perhaps Athos was dreaming. The fever rose: it invaded the chest. in form of an amphitheater among mastictrees and cactus. who had remained at the door to watch their master’s departure. Support me. “You will be sure to remember. when the father of Raoul felt his head become confused. then.” added he. the courier had brought no news. Blaisois’s son returned. Soon it gained the head. Then commenced for Athos a strange. where the fire soon caught. But scarcely had his joyous servants dressed their master. It besieged with its last palpitations the tense extremities. his mind turned towards Raoul. Then. according to the expression of the physician. and brought on a fearful pang of the heart. All that a sick man. and bathed his dried lips in a glassful of the wine he loved the best—that old Anjou wine mentioned by Porthos in his admirable will. Beyond. And yet this redoubtable fever had ceased. Athos had gone but a few steps on his return. scarcely had the comte’s gentlest horse been saddled and brought to the door. Everybody in the house had given up all hopes of the courier—his hour had long passed. Here. He commenced the night in this painful persuasion.” “Monsieur will no doubt hear with pleasure that Blaisois’s son is gone on horseback. instead of obeying the thought of his master.” said he. and they put him to bed. “This is very strange!” said he to his valet de chambre. who had been brought back from Blois by Blaisois at his last journey. a sort of small town. was a delay of eight mortal days to be endured. Free to think. and declared that the comte was saved. Four times the express sent to Blois had repeated his journey. returned to Blois.” The valet had seen the movement made by his master at the moment he received the order. strewed over with these rocks like gravestones. when it lashed the shore in storms and tempest. with his placid smile. he sunk again into a state of torpor and anguish. he had his horse brought again. Athos knew that the courier only arrived once a week. from the bosom of 260 . full of smoke. the animal. and he clearly perceived the impossibility of going one step further.” said Athos. which dislodged it for the time. received the comte in his arms. The physician made two successive bleedings. confused noises. His strength seemed to revive and with it the desire to go to Blois. that beloved son. stretching out his arms. He went up to him quickly. a shivering seized him again at the turning of the road. he shuddered when those minutes made an hour. whom they saw with pleasure preparing for a journey which might dissipate his melancholy. but his disturbed slumber resembled torture rather than repose. irritated by suffering. Athos heaped up during the early hours of this dismal night.” replied his valet de chambre. now I have once started. and all hastened to his assistance. monsieur—I conjure you!” replied the faithful servant.the giant he had so much loved. And he gave his horse his head again. “how pale you are getting!” “That will not prevent my pursuing my route. seeing the incontestable improvement. the shore. His imagination penetrated the fields of Africa in the environs of Gigelli. to gain an hour over the courier of Blois. “wills that I should go no further. they lifted him from his horse. they laid him upon his bed of moss where he passed a full hour before he could recover his spirits. disposing himself to sleep. The idea that he was forgotten seized him once. “Thank you. had checked the bit. then to return to his dwelling to obey that secret influence which was conducting him to eternity by a mysterious road.” replied the comte. and as they were not yet sufficiently distant from the house for the servants. But suddenly. and carried him as quickly as possible into the house. Athos took a bouillon. “it is willed that I should stay at home. at the animal’s first steps. Everything was prepared in his chamber. ascended. “that I expect letters from Africa this very day. He made his horse turn round: but. free in mind. it ended by yielding as midnight struck. The physician. where M. The comte fell asleep. who accompanied him. the valet called his comrades by gestures and voice. his legs give way. when he felt himself better again.” said he. Nothing could be more natural than this weakness after then inert repose of the latter days. A movement. All of a sudden. indefinable state.

in which he heard cries. The large blazing stars which spangled the African sky glittered and gleamed without illuminating anything. no obstacle seeming to impede the lightness of his march. in the first ranks of the dead. to see if Raoul slept among them? Who can express the intoxication of joy with which Athos bowed before God. After the ruin of the village. screams. When he saw all the gaping wounds. with his head beaten to pieces. Athos uttered a cry of tenderness and terror. trees burnt and disappearing. This figure was clothed in the costume of an officer. which he was astonished not to find burning. and increased by degrees. 261 . He was convinced by this touch that he was present. the flames were extinguished. which he had seen leave the coast of France and disappear upon the dim horizon. night dark upon the earth. brilliant in the firmament. paled and disappeared entirely. uniting in its red and angry vortices tears. the smoke began to subside. The comte. with a gesture. for a moment. creeping along the houses. neither spoke nor moved. shed its diamonds and opals upon the briers and bushes of the hills. followed his son. To such a point did the illusion extend. of swords broken. and groans. still calling with gesture:— he departed towards heaven. upon the horizon whitened by the moon. to obtain more exact information respecting his son. seemed to turn with complacency towards the Comte de la Fere. the sea moaned. Athos passed a cold hand over his brow. The gray rocks. icy. stiff. But not a soldier to apply the match to the batteries of cannon. soon stopped. thrown out in black. directed him to be silent. he did not see one human figure. in covering the entire surface of the town. during his sad review. Fatigued. like a vigilant eye. while his eye was wandering over the plain. which gave. There was. Then. made a last effort. and as he felt that that which he saw was not terminated. The comte. while viewing all these bodies. and thanked Him for not having seen him he sought with so much fear among the dead? In fact. he saw a white form appear behind the scented myrtles. A long silence ensued.this smoke arose a flame. The cannon thundered at a distance. still recognizable with ease.—when he saw the slaughtered horses. The tender father. placing his finger on his lips and drawing back by degrees. still retreating. so many silent and attentive phantoms. But yet. we say. to whom love restored strength. This spectacle was soon continued for him. these effigies of clay-cold soldiers. de Beaufort. he sought repose under one of the tents sheltered behind a rock. he was astonished. An inexpressible shudder of fear and horror seized his soul as he recognized the white and blue uniforms of the soldiers of Picardy. it advanced slowly towards Athos. for a moment. looking up to the bright heavens as if to demand back of them the souls to which they had opened a passage. and supplicating arms outstretched to Heaven. but wished to open his arms. not a sailor to assist in maneuvering the fleet. Athos reached forth his hand to get closer to his beloved son upon the plateau. He looked for a soldier to conduct him to the tent of M. stones and ditches. At length he gained the crest of the hill. He looked below again. and all those white bodies of the royal army. he left the earth. to be the better seen by him. but suddenly. like so many motionless atoms. and examined them. sleeping in the shiny blood congealed around them. as if the young man had been drawn away in his own despite. flocks made their escape. and saw. de Beaufort. one after the other. appeared to raise their heads to examine likewise the field of battle by the light of the moon. The comte attempted to utter a cry. which succeeded. Raoul. and muskets marked with the fleur-de-lis on the butts. without Athos being able to see his legs move. exhausted. then. bounding over the verdant slope. he applied more attentively the eyes of his understanding on the strange spectacle which his imagination had presented. on the top of which floated the white fleur-de-lised pennon. smiling. without delirium’s dreadful aid. it held in its hand a broken sword. Night then came over the scene. stiff. not a shepherd in charge of the flocks. staining their furniture and their manes. A mild pale moon rose behind the declivities of the coast. was now strewn with fallen bodies. as a spectator. It was a strange thing that in this chaos. fallen in their ranks. the destruction of the forts which dominated it. He saw a camp destroyed. and the latter also stretched out his. their tongues hanging out at one side of their mouths. Raoul not appearing to touch the earth. and Athos saw the clear blue sky shine between the feet of his child and the ground of the hill. then diminished in intensity. but it was stifled in his throat. who attracted him by gesture and by smile. not to perceive the survivors. because in this silent officer he had already recognized Raoul. sobs. that this vision was for him a real voyage made by the father into Africa. in which Athos distinguished raised arms. stopping short and fixing his eyes upon it. a frightful pele-mele of timbers falling to pieces. raising his head. and of which he had saluted with thought and gesture the last cannon-shot fired by the duke as a signal of farewell to his country. Who can paint the mortal agony with which his soul followed. a ruin and destruction magically wrought without the co-operation of a single human being. And. and climbed the mountain after the young man. with their long pikes and blue handles. still paler than Raoul. Raoul still continued to beckon him to follow him. the aerial form of Raoul. with having traversed seas and continents. the day after the battle fought upon the shores of Gigelli by the army of the expedition. of stones calcined. empty during the combat. turning on all sides. painfully traversing briers and bushes. and Athos perceived that the field. repose to the troubled imagination of Athos. musketry madly barked. who. he saw the figure of his son still beckoning him to climb the mystic void. therefore. which appeared to have calmed after the roaring it had sent forth during the vision of Athos—the moon.—when he saw the white horse of M. Raoul rose insensibly into the void. streaking at first the undulating ripples of the sea. whom the inequalities of the path fatigued. the dead.

with their eyes fixed upon the bed of their sick master. A horse was heard galloping over the hard gravel of the great alley. ‘Twas now a stern and pale old man. resuming his marvelous dream. And the sweat began to pour down his face. Without uttering a cry. without shedding a tear. Grimaud appeared in the doorway. at once so terrible and sweet. these three words addressed to God or to Raoul: “HERE I AM!” And his hands fell slowly. and was near falling on seeing. his face turned towards the window. he scarcely turned his head towards the door to ascertain the sooner what these noises could be. Death had been kind and mild to this noble creature. cried. so low as scarcely to be audible. Athos softly raised his hands as white as wax. turning a little towards the part of the room the noise came from. which by degrees approached the chamber. the smile did not quit his lips. The Angel of Death. He appeared to have no longer in use more than a single version of his thoughts. is it not?” “No. It had spared him the tortures of the agony. into the contemplation of that paradise which the living never see. accustomed to economize expressions. Athos was at this part of his marvelous vision. This was for Athos like the transition which led to his dream. and filled with regrets and prayers the chamber where the agonized father sought with his eyes the portrait of his son. when he jumped the first into the boat destined to convey Raoul de Bragelonne to the vessels of the royal fleet. “Raoul is dead. and a heart-breaking silence followed. bathed by the fresh air of night. resigned as a martyr. and he murmured low. in the dread of the other life of which they get but merest glimpses by the dismal murky torch of death. mild. one as noble as the other in heart. A heavy step ascended the stairs. A door was opened. heaving the monosyllable from his chest with a hoarse. convulsions of the last departure. never again to come out of it. With his hands joined upon his breast. to open to this elect the treasures of eternal beatitude. which had recently galloped. monsieur le comte. God had no doubt ordered it thus that the pious re262 . It was no longer the Grimaud we have seen. he raised his eyes towards Heaven.” said he. the beloved shade that was leaving him at the moment of Grimaud’s arrival. by the light of the lamps. when the charm was suddenly broken by a great noise rising from the outer gates. and Athos. which groaned without measure. which aspired to be like the paternal soul. which brought upon its wings the aroma of the flowers and the woods. in order there to see again. remained tongue-tied whilst looking at each other.Chapter LVIII. He trembled whilst leaning against the door-frame. for after having gently closed his eyes. still young with courage and devotion. and hair whitened by old age.” replied a voice which made the father of Raoul start upright in his bed. Athos was spirit-guided by the pure serene soul of his son. while looking towards the heavens. By the exchange of a single glance they had just read to the bottom of each other’s hearts. Everything for this just man was melody and perfume in the rough road souls take to return to the celestial country. the horse. rising above the mountain of Gigelli.” replied the old man. as though he himself had laid them on the bed. who had smiled upon him. Great hesitation appeared in the steps. he reopened them and began to smile: he had just seen Raoul. and cling to this life they know. his clothes covered with dust. the countenance of his master. Is it not so?” Behind Grimaud the other servants listened breathlessly. and the sound of noisy and animated conversations ascended to the chamber in which the comte was dreaming. the outward token of a grim familiarity with woe. Without doubt. Athos read at a glance all these shades upon the visage of his faithful servant. had opened with an indulgent finger the gates of eternity to that noble soul. if they were unequal in fortune and birth. no doubt. Athos entered. patient. knew how to say so many things silently—these two old friends. broken sigh. These two men who had lived so long together in a community of intelligence. in a weak voice: “It is a courier from Africa. and whose eyes. departed slowly towards the stables. and in the same tone he would have employed to speak to Raoul in his dream: “Grimaud. The old servitor bore upon his countenance the impression of a grief already old. Then arose voices of lamentation. God willed. Athos did not stir from the place he occupied. he was now accustomed not to smile at all. They heard the terrible question. “Yes. “Grimaud!” murmured he. had led him before. As formerly he was accustomed not to speak much. at this hour when other men tremble with the idea of being severely received by the Lord. he repassed by the same road by which the vision. After an hour of this ecstasy.

” faltered out Grimaud. who seemed to have burnished his last thought. trembling. he made him a sign to come to him. he uttered sobs so heart-rending that the servants.” Grimaud drew from his breast a large letter. Chapter LIX. upon the sheets of which the livid tints of death already showed. the man he had loved next to Raoul. broke the seal. He placed his ear to the breast of Athos. 263 . D’Artagnan went down again. The noises all were quiet in the house—every one respected the slumber of their lord. He was feeding his soul with the remembrances the noble visage of the comte brought to his mind in crowds—some blooming and charming as that smile—some dark. and icy as that visage with its eyes now closed to all eternity. D’Artagnan went and kissed Athos fervently on the brow. his face to the comte’s mouth. biting his fingers to stifle his sighs—D’Artagnan went up once more. He recognized the writing of M. The comte’s people wished to remove Grimaud. by anxiously listening. swelled the throat of D’Artagnan. and swelled his breast almost to bursting. He raised himself with his hands leaning on the ground. “Athos! Athos! my friend!” cried this voice. Had not Athos always bidden him be dumb? At daybreak D’Artagnan. in the dark alley of old limes. All at once the bitter flood which mounted from minute to minute invaded his heart. A choked respiration. from a distance. that placid and sincere smile—an ornament which was to accompany him to the tomb. fatigued as he was. Grimaud. the opposite to a sharp cry. Grimaud seized his arm in his bony fingers. Incapable of mastering his emotion. agitated even to tears. nor breath! D’Artagnan drew back. But Grimaud. And for reply to that exalted flattery of hospitality. to give his best friend. he rose completely up. refused to leave the room. “Grimaud. jealous to receive either his first waking look or his last dying sigh. Grimaud was the only one who did not lift up his voice. a gracious welcome even beyond life. who seemed only to wait for an explosion of grief. The quietude and calm of his fine features made his servants for a long time doubt whether he had really quitted life. who had wandered about the lower hall. Athos preserved. upon the envelope of which was traced the address of Athos. dismal. de Beaufort. and tearing himself violently from the chamber where he had just found dead him to whom he came to report the news of the death of Porthos. followed by Grimaud. he arose. He advanced on tip-toe. “Where is he? Where is he?” continued the musketeer. which the faithful servant obeyed without making more noise than a shadow. in a life so filled with emotion. and when he had gained the vestibule. Even in the paroxysm of his grief he would not have dared to profane the dead. devoured the face now quickly growing marble-pale. and watching the moments when Grimaud turned his head towards him. looked to see if there did not appear some motion in the body of his master. and began to read. and did not approach. at the very moment. The captain resumed standing in contemplation before that smiling dead man.membrance of this death should remain in the hearts of those present. perceived that the comte no longer breathed. bent doubled without uttering a word. and glued his lips to the sheet which was raised by the stiffened feet of his master. who had been so kind and affectionate to him for five and thirty years. watching his master with the vigilance of a sentinel. and pointed to the bed. while walking about in the first steel-chill rays of dawn. Neither noise. He sat himself down upon the threshold. even in the eternal sleep. from pious fear of bringing to him the breath of death. Then large drops began to flow from his red eyes. and in the memory of other men—a death which caused to be loved the passage from this life to the other by those whose existence upon this earth leads them not to dread the last judgment. and. who. presented the most touching spectacle that D’Artagnan. had ever met with. came timidly. The Bulletin. now let me know about the son. seated himself at the foot of the bed. marked by the still visible footsteps of the comte who had just died.” said he. who wept. frightened at the noise his feet made on the floor. heard some one coming up the stairs. A voice more sonorous than brass or steel resounded within three paces of him. and with his trembling fingers closed his eyes. “I have seen how the father died. A noise of spurs knocking against a sword—a warlike sound familiar to his ears—stopped him as he was going towards the bed of Athos. his heart rent by a nameless agony. “Monsieur le Chevalier d’Artagnan. Nothing! Fear seized him. who had followed him with his eyes. This old man in invincible despair. and for whom each of his movements had been a revelation. Then he seated himself by the pillow without dread of that dead man. But Grimaud. or for the first time disturb the slumber of his master. taking the old man’s hands. answered to it by their lugubrious clamors. and the dogs of the late comte by their lamentable howlings.

bent over their saddles. de Bragelonne was a well-disciplined officer. please the Lord. The regiments formed in column. “monseigneur commanded the attack. pardon me. who said to him. The prince followed attentively the march and movements of the troops. comprehending the bad effect of this position on the siege artillery. crossing their pikes. In fact. Repulsed by the firm attitude of the battalion. vicomte.The Duc de Beaufort wrote to Athos. and the balls. The letter destined for the living only reached the dead. I have promised your father to bring you back alive. uttered the most fearful cries. I mean to keep my word. began to regulate their fire. He was quite right. upon the declivity of which were raised the bastions of Gigelli. and. ‘It is true. this disobedience to the orders of monseigneur very much surprised everybody. Report that. Your good friend. to M. Receive my sad compliments. which was not on its guard at that moment. killed several men near the prince. for scarcely had the sergeant charged with the message solicited by M. ‘You see. and beholding the destruction and the ruin of their walls. understood that he must act without orders. ‘Monseigneur. learning it from you. the Arabs threw themselves with fury towards the etat-major. better directed. There was a sort of hesitation in our troops. But monseigneur refused to acquiesce in the vicomte’s request. le Vicomte de Bragelonne had received orders not to leave his highness.” The letter contained a relation written by one of the prince’s secretaries. advancing against the ramparts. turning to the officers who surrounded him. “The cannon opened the action. It was the most touching recital. which at first thundered with little success against the masses. finding themselves seriously injured by the balls from the fleet. but. who found themselves ill-seconded by the artillery. He has died gloriously. He must have heard the voice of monseigneur. As M. de Bragelonne made this reply in such a tone that monseigneur answered him warmly. dyeing the sand with his blood. my dear comte. In the meantime the enemy’s cannon. affected. It was impetuous. when two shots from long carbines issued from the enemy’s ranks and laid him low. and. the pikemen with pikes elevated. With monseigneur were the oldest captains and his aides-de-camp. The upward direction of the aim lessened the justness of the shots as well as their range. the batteries which had been established the evening before had but a weak and uncertain aim. and replied. on account of their position. the musket-bearers with their weapons ready. I beseech you. Then the Arabs. de Bragelonne smiled at monseigneur. the regiments marched full of resolution. some day. observing which. in his large. ‘Vrai Dieu! Young man. of that dismal episode which unraveled two existences. I have always had a desire to meet good opportunities. God had changed the address. by the soul of Henry IV. even forced. monseigneur. and opened fire. You lose M. he may thank me. and should be at rest. accustomed to battle emotions.—”a great misfortune has struck us amidst a great triumph. in order that. that but for your kindness I should have been killed. M. ‘Stop. so gloriously that I have not the strength to weep as I could wish. He did not. de Beaufort redoubled his earnestness. He excited himself to such a degree that monseigneur called to him to stop. could not help starting on reading the name of Raoul. This is an immense one.’ The young nobleman smiled sadly.. one would say that your mouth waters for death. and killed three Arabs with his small sword. I lose a friend. de Bragelonne was able to satisfy the inclination he had so clearly shown from the commencement of the action. particularly when that general is M.’ M. and it is so delightful to distinguish ourselves before our general.’ “Monseigneur was a little softened by this. de Bragelonne. “The danger was great. Their horsemen descended the mountain at a gallop. M. crying. but not above your courage. Heaven distributes trials according to the greatness of our hearts. The king loses one of the bravest of soldiers. monseigneur drew his sword. de Bragelonne offered himself at once to carry this order. and the most true. D’Artagnan. gave different orders. but continued his course to the intrenchments. and replied to the duke. and rushed full tilt upon the columns of infantry. de Bragelonne gained the seashore. I have saved your life. In the meanwhile. the officers of the suite engaged in combat with the furious Arabs. “LE DUC DE BEAUFORT. “Monseigneur. M. The grenadiers of the two regiments got near enough to the ditches and intrenchments to launch their grenades. which. le Comte de la Fere. his secretaries and people imitated him. Monseigneur was right.” wrote the prince. however.’ “Monseigneur de Bragelonne colored. because we who were close to him heard it. intoxicate himself with strife and carnage. commanded the frigates moored in the little road to commence a regular fire against the place. having seen the attempt of the sergeant to approach the vessels. he sought to glut. where the poor sergeant has fallen. and. “MY DEAR COMTE. who commanded the fleet. were rather roughly handled. so as to be able to sustain them with a strong reserve. He fought near the prince with the valor of a Roman. school-boy’s hand. “In the morning. Normandy and Picardy had taken positions in the rocks dominated by the heights of the mountain. and the event took upon itself to justify his foresight and refusal.” said the prince’s secretary. the name of that beloved boy who had become a shade now—like his father. The sergeant fell. le Duc de Beaufort. in a lower voice. which had but small effect. for he loved and wished to spare the young nobleman. and M. stopped this mad assault. Bragelonne! Where are 264 . But it was evident that his bravery did not arise from that sentiment of pride so natural to all who fight. stop. It was then M. and with a heart armed against tenderness. M. d’Estrees.

He marched a few paces further. we will save you yet. but this time the smoke dispersed in vain. That secretary I have mentioned. with his head lower than his legs. Nevertheless the entire army was pleased that he would not retreat. according to the prognosis of Frere Sylvain. some delirium. and the assistant pointed to the body of M. replied that he saw plainly three mortal wounds out of eight. de Bragelonne continued to ride towards the palisades. when a discharge was poured upon him that enshrouded him in fire and smoke. “’Stop. and the Vicomte de Bragelonne again disappeared in the smoke. “The vicomte was summoned to surrender by the Arabs. le duc. and whether he was in despair. but rushed out again immediately. le duc ordered the white flag to be planted on the summit of the little mountain. He was down. in a cheerful. Still. the regiments took the reserve with them. ‘We will save you. It was a lieutenant from Normandy who took the body of the vicomte on his shoulders and carried it back to the lines. but so strong was the constitution of the wounded. the enemy had abandoned his positions. turning towards his assistants. and said nothing. by the side of at least fifty of our troops. and hit him in the quarters. “The combat commenced over the body of M. At three o’clock the fire of the Arabs ceased. ‘I command you!’ “We all. for we saw the blood redden the hair of the horse. and that he had fallen. he expressed by his countenance a contradiction. M. but M. and so merciful was the goodness of God. his horse was killed. and had watched him precede the first grenadiers. the most learned of them all. Every Picard who saw this unfortunate young man rushing on to meet certain death. He probed the wounds in his turn. Already had the vicomte arrived within pistol-shot of the ramparts. and the two regiments clapped their hands. since illchance had led him so near. kind voice. de Bragelonne would live. we then concluded that his horse must have run away with him. uttering loud cries. in a very loud voice. on leaving the tent. and seemed to interrogate his every movement.’ and we all left the tent in very low spirits. the smoke dispersed. who took aim at the animal. or whether he suffered much from his wounds. among the bushes. ‘Throw yourself off. and M. We all ran up in disorder. and the sad spectacle drew from him many painful sighs. even a finger.’ repeated monseigneur. uttering cries as terrible as those of the Arabs were wild. his countenance expressed a lively grief. de Bragelonne turned round.’ “In the evening. but he made them a negative sign with his head. imitating the gesture of M. and promised them a thousand louis each if they could save him. or you will kill him. he himself rode towards the enemy. we no longer saw him standing. The latter. There were two among them who declared M. He then cried aloud. ‘Above everything. rushing in his steps. The advantage was. bathed in the remainder of his blood. de Bragelonne upon the ground. one of the assistants entered his tent. which gave rise to reflection. de Bragelonne fixed his eyes steadily upon the skillful surgeon. It was at this moment the second discharge shook the walls. ran in their turn. that perhaps M. and carried him on more furiously than ever. We expected that the cavalier would turn bridle. at the foot of his bed. M. ‘stop! in the name of your father!’ “At these words M. It appeared that he had suffered some convulsion. the hand-to-hand fight lasted two hours. that the fall had accelerated his end. 265 . The third surgeon was the brother of Sylvain de Saint-Cosme. But Monseigneur le Duc de Beaufort had followed all this with his eyes. Bragelonne!’ repeated the prince. de Bragelonne. upon being questioned by monseigneur. le duc with us. le duc saw cause to conclude that the vicomte was no longer master of his horse. and continued to march towards the palisades. named Luzerne. kill his horse! A hundred pistoles for the man who kills his horse!’ But who could expect to hit the beast without at least wounding his rider? No one dared the attempt. de Bragelonne when the duke said to him. This was a mortal imprudence. when it was believed the wounded youth had taken some repose. who insisted on being present at the first dressing of the wounds and the consultation of the surgeons. Monseigneur threw his arms around their necks. thought he perceived a faint and sad smile glide over the lips of M. pursued. his highness cried. the cursed jennet was irritated. however. de Bragelonne might recover. so rich was he in youth. and with such inveteracy was it fought that a hundred and sixty Arabs were left upon the field. ‘Musketeers. fired. “The vicomte heard these transports of joy. de Bragelonne was an officer much beloved in the army. upright. do not allow him to move. monsieur le vicomte!—off!—off! throw yourself off!’ M. de Bragelonne. Frere Sylvain added. At five o’clock we were victorious at all points. seeing the Arabs running like white phantoms among the mastic-trees. particularly in one of the secretaries when he had heard what follows. who had eight large wounds in his body. he was a sharp-shooter of the regiment of Picardy. it was a massacre. he had breathed. he was on foot. however.you going? Stop. through which almost all his blood had welled away. When M. shouted in the loudest manner. and the enemy’s palisades were utterly destroyed. The regiments. We lost sight of him. and the Arabs began to think of leaving their intrenchments to come and cut off his head or take his body—as is the custom with the infidels. but he did not stop. which afforded inexpressible joy to monseigneur. vicomte. At length one presented himself. Instead of falling. ‘Grenadiers! lancers! will you let them take that noble body?’ “Saying these words and waving his sword. we all raised our hands. particularly if he did not move in the slightest manner. It was then we had time to think of M.

” said he. melancholy bodies. “Raoul here!” murmured he. Grimaud descended to the comte’s bed-chamber. and making preparations for the funeral. which had sheltered his early youth. the body was laid out. judging it was useless to question Grimaud. and wherever messengers had carried the news. “Yes. Taking up the recital of the affair which had cost Raoul his life. and raised his eyes eloquently towards Heaven. those two departed souls. thus rebuilt. and saw in one of them Athos. so that the same confidential servant who brought up the young man might take back his remains to M. with a smile on his violet lips. my dear boy—I. and all the vassals of his domain. There was such an affluence of military and other people that up to the place of the sepulture. Except Grimaud. with their families. then. “yes. Thou hast willed it to be so. cut in 1550. for a long time oppressed that spirit which had hitherto been so indefatigable and invulnerable. but taking D’Artagnan by the hand.” Then followed the details of the expedition. however close they might be. he approached. represented on earth by two silent. under the thin winding-sheet. who am of no value on earth—and I shall scatter dust upon that brow I kissed but two months since. had had the courage to read. he found these words. of the environs. which was a little chapel on the plain. and. D’Artagnan had shut himself up. which ended the concluding paragraph of the letter: “Monseigneur le duc has ordered that the body of monsieur le vicomte should be embalmed. “Oh!” murmured he. and that hand was tightly pressed upon his heart. was pleasing to the eye beneath its leafy curtains of poplars and sycamores. The captain turned away his eyes.” At length arrived the moment when the chill remains of these two gentlemen were to be given back to mother earth. D’Artagnan was struck at seeing two open coffins in the hall. On the morrow. in which Athos slept in eternal sleep. still handsome in death. le Comte de la Fere. his cheeks pearly as those of the Palls of Virgil. The latter obeyed in silence. according to the custom of the province. as we have said. he led him to the coffin. from the noises in the house. and. D’Artagnan. “now I believe them to be happy. why did you not tell me this?” Grimaud shook his head. showed the captain with his finger the place of the empty bed.” replied D’Artagnan. it seemed to thee a preferable gift to life. All the village—all the neighborhood—were filled with grieving neighbors relating to each other the double catastrophe. good Grimaud—now with the son he loved so much!” Grimaud left the chamber. had seated himself upon a joint-stool near the door. like a man who meditates profoundly. He had had the stones. He supposed. might have been seen arriving in detachments. he was cold and dead. they must be reunited. “Oh! Grimaud. de Beaufort’s secretary had written more than he. He shuddered at seeing the father and son. and of the victory obtained over the Arabs. brought from an old Gothic manor-house in Berry.We raised the vicomte.” “And so. after the manner practiced by the Arabs when they wish their dead to be carried to their native land. in the other. had entered D’Artagnan’s apartment. already old—I. I have no longer the right even to weep. thyself. D’Artagnan stopped at the account of the death of poor Raoul. rising. where. by the cure of the neighboring bourg. “I shall follow thy funeral. “unhappy boy! a suicide!” And turning his eyes towards the chamber of the chateau. who would not answer. without having any occasion to go to the city. God has willed it to be so. who entered his chamber once. He wrote to the king to ask for an extension of his leave of absence. previously to being put away forever. to whom Athos paid an allowance of two hundred francs for this service. the musketeer saw neither servants nor guests. “They kept their words with each other. and showed him. Raoul with his eyes closed. Chapter LX. incapable of touching each other. and the continual coming and going. Thou hast chosen death.” And he returned through the parterre with slow and melancholy steps. came thither to hear mass. he made a sign to D’Artagnan to follow him. It was ministered in every Sunday. the road from the city was filled with horsemen and pedestrians in mourning. transported. In reply to the mute invitation of Grimaud. and led the way to the hall. so closely after the death of Porthos. he recollected that M. 266 . and made no reply. Grimaud. that preparations were being made for the funeral of the comte. Two such heavy deaths falling upon the captain. in a low voice. all the noblesse of the provinces. Athos had chosen for his resting-place the little inclosure of a chapel erected by himself near the boundary of his estates. the black wounds by which life had escaped. without being willing to speak to anybody. and monsieur le duc has appointed relays. He held a lock of fair hair in his right hand. The Last Canto of the Poem.” thought D’Artagnan. The chapel.

He arose from the oaken bench on which he was seated in the chapel. in a stern voice. But as soon as his step sounded on the gravel. D’Artagnan stopped at the door of the chapel. mademoiselle.” said D’Artagnan. because the mosses there grew thick. left alone. when he already meditated death: ‘If pride and coquetry have misled her. you know whether I suffered when you met me lost. Now. coldly. desired.—”it was you who sped these two men to the grave. a prisoner in its marble cistern. because this death drags all my joy into the tomb. and frequently pressed her handkerchief to her face. The unknown had hidden her face in her hands. D’Artagnan in vain sought to make out what caused her delay. sobbing. He beheld her strike her breast with the compunction of a Christian woman. de Bragelonne said of you. the last adieux paid to the noble departed. perceived that night was coming on. though gay in its sterility. which were white as alabaster. Well! never have I suffered so much as now. to avoid disturbing her. elder and white thorn. as she threw herself down.” “Oh! spare me!” “God forbid.” said she. abandoned. and wished. It was Mademoiselle de la Valliere! “Monsieur d’Artagnan!” murmured she. while from beneath an ancient chestnut issued a crystal spring. madame.—now I have no longer anything to wish for.” added he. but I must say that the place of the murderer is not upon the grave of her victims. as the priest had done. She continued praying. surrounded by two high hedges of hazel. The minister bowed for the last time to the altar and the still fresh graves. but I swear that no one could have loved her as I have done. From the noble simplicity of her costume. almost fainting. except a single one.” interrupted Louise. at Antibes. Little by little. and also to endeavor to find out who was the pious friend who performed this sacred duty with so much zeal and perseverance. because then I hoped. D’Artagnan. I have two punishments to expect from Heaven. “You!” replied the captain. talking. he slowly took the road back to the presbytery. and I feel that he whom I love—oh! it is but just!—will repay me with the tortures I have made others undergo.” added this pitiless friend of the dead. I pardon her. I have two crimes to reproach myself with. then. thinking only of the dead. to go and bid a last adieu to the double grave which contained his two lost friends.” “I will repeat to you.” 267 . You would have wept less—and they too—and I!” “Monsieur!” said she. touched by this love for his so much regretted friends. attended by a silent and respectful crowd. like the lamps illuminating the humble nave. “I have caused the death of the Vicomte de Bragelonne. “what M. in order to interrupt the melancholy colloquy of the penitent with the dead. D’Artagnan. by which D’Artagnan perceived she was weeping. followed by his assistant. of the virtues and mild death of the father. revealing to D’Artagnan a face aflood with tears. dying. “What I now tell you. He had forgotten the hour. that I should offend a woman. the little inclosure— uncultivated. whom I supposed to be still living. all noises were extinguished. “I have already told the king. Outside the inclosure were several horses mounted by servants.” “Ah! you know it?” “The news arrived at court yesterday. on the tomb of Raoul. made a few steps towards the grave. “that of my love I was about to sacrifice myself. a travelling carriage was in waiting for this lady. “you here!—oh! madame. “I know. of the hopes the son had given. exhausted by complaints and prayers. I have traveled during the night forty leagues to come and ask pardon of the comte. and a deep ditch. I know that the death of the son has killed the father. It was to this place the somber coffins were carried. or that I should make her weep in vain. monsieur.” She clasped her hands. and on the thyme all around alighted thousands of bees from the neighboring plants. and of his melancholy end upon the arid coast of Africa. wild heliotrope and ravenelles there mingled perfumes. a well-known face. the unknown raised her head. If love has produced her error. He heard her several times exclaim as from a wounded heart: “Pardon! pardon!” And as she appeared to abandon herself entirely to her grief. I pardon her while despising her. because I can no longer dare to love without remorse. the assembly dispersed. “For it was you. I should better have liked to see you decked with flowers in the mansion of the Comte de la Fere. that he would send me all the misfortunes I have merited. kneeling on the moist earth. A woman was praying. The office of the dead being celebrated. and to pray God.Behind the chapel extended.’” “You know.” She wished to reply. whilst chaffinches and redthroats sang cheerfully among the flower-spangled hedges. she must be a woman of distinction. along the roads.

I no longer hold to anything in this world—a current drags me on. God will tell me. It is thou who departest first. with the ends of his fingers. drawing himself up. and dismissed him with a gesture.” The young woman raised her head with a solemn air. with a dull eye. the sound of voices and of horses drew the attention of the captain. personages greatly respected in the time of Louis XIII. moistened with the evening dew. disdained. Do not reproach me with my fleeting happiness. These were the keeper of the king’s harriers and the master of the falcons.” Saint-Aignan did not perceive D’Artagnan. and carriage. love. under which sleeps Porthos. Epilogue. I shall suffer so much that you yourself will be the first to pity my sufferings. “When will it be my turn to depart?” said he. forgive me. The horsemen. two horsemen. “dear Monsieur d’Artagnan. Besides. The captain watched the departure of the horses. His hair was gray. leave it to me for a few days. whom the sergeants were placing at distances at the openings of the inclosures. the heavily stricken lady bowed to D’Artagnan. that if with my life I could have redeemed thine. wretch that I am. M. having reconnoitered the ground. “When it is time.” added she. “The king. do not overwhelm me to-day. when they perceived certain little groups of soldiers.. kindest friend. half concealed by the trunk of a chestnut-tree which shaded the double grave. Behind them came. as you will see me punished.” Saying these words. signed himself as if he had been at the benitier in church. “You see. even at the moment I am speaking to you. “is a prey to jealousy and uneasiness. only. who possessed much more!” He hesitated for a moment. who possessed all I have named. were returning.” He touched the earth. fear nothing. “I have broken our chain. she again knelt down. dearest. “M. horsemen. and disappeared. and wealth have disappeared? That rock. The Lord is my witness. spare me in my ephemeral happiness. strength. his beard turning so. well mounted. but rather neglected by his successor. “Pardon me the last time. I shall follow thee.D’Artagnan made no reply.” he said. and retook alone—ever alone—the road to Paris. “A day will come. and that I have come to bid thee this last adieu. for the purpose of arranging a hawking party the king had arranged to make in that uneven plain the Loire divides in two. Once more. my affianced Raoul!” said she. “Well. for a few minutes. which borders on the one side Meung. although sitting and handling his horse gracefully. it is I who will pray God to forgive you for having been unjust towards me. that I have not been base. perhaps it no longer exists.” said the captain bitterly to the young woman. My God! this double murder is perhaps already expiated!” While she was speaking thus. Four years after the scene we have just described. I again implore you! I am like the branch torn from the trunk. These were the king’s musketeers. even to the point of coming to tell it. See. “when you will repent of having so misjudged me. on the other Amboise. Only. upon a splendid horse. Raoul. he has the seat of a young man on horseback. as he foretold the others. then crossing his arms upon his swelling chest. their observations made.” said the keeper of the harriers to his colleague the falconer. “Forward! still forward!” said he. “with ten years more to carry than either of us.” She strewed a few sweet flowers on the freshly sodded earth. softly and affectionately.” said she. he was too well convinced that she was not mistaken. I would have given that life without hesitation. de Saint-Aignan came to seek La Valliere. On that day. known by his richly embroidered uniform. Such love is a religion. “What is there left for man after youth. we are both destined to die of grief. Now. I love madly. Louise thanked Saint-Aignan.” 268 . over the ashes of the dead. He seemed a little bent. d’Artagnan does not get any older.—”you see your happiness still lasts. it costs me dear. as I am destined to be punished. traversed Blois early in the morning. then. as hereafter you will see me alone. I could not give my love. wiping the tears from her eyes. and I have not paid all my debt. and I do not blush for it—I have no remorse on this account. then. this moss. then. I know not whither. He rejoined the party outside the inclosure. Monsieur d’Artagnan. here and there. glory. forgotten. in an agitated voice. the captain. friendship. madame. He was looking about him watchfully. under which repose Athos and Raoul.

Monsieur d’Artagnan. “the poor man frets terribly. monsieur le comte. Good day.” After having undergone this sharp rebuke.” D’Artagnan launched at the master of the dogs one of his crossest looks. “And. and that the execution was ordered. “It must be full two hundred leagues from hence to Pignerol. “I don’t see any change in him for the last twenty years. when the late king flew the pie in the vineyards beyond Beaugence? Ah! dame! you were not the captain of the musketeers at that time. “He is content. “is he well?” “Who?” asked D’Artagnan. “M. I assure you that you are not more so than poor M. messieurs. poor M. were getting white.” “Two hundred and sixty to go. The keeper of the harriers had prudently withdrawn. in a low voice. his brow was bald.” replied the captain. “It is rather I who should say that. “Why. D’Artagnan had been a comte four years. Fouquet was. pensively. and that to save his life from the claws of parliament was to be under too much obligation to Heaven. he cannot comprehend how imprisonment can be a favor. as if the blood had half forgotten them.” replied the falconer. the king makes more frequent use of his musketeers than of his falcons. D’Artagnan in the last four years had lived a dozen. the keeper of the harriers hung his head. monsieur. Fouquet is now at Pignerol. if any one told me you had eaten your dogs’ meat. He had the good fortune to be conducted there by you. D’Artagnan made no reply. if he were a falconer he would not talk in that way. or should be.” said D’Artagnan. Colbert had given orders to the governor of the Bastile. I should pity you and would not allow people to speak ill of you.” said the keeper of the harriers. “it is said that M. and allowed the falconer to get two steps in advance of him nearer to D’Artagnan. monsieur le capitaine?” continued the falconer. “for nowadays.” D’Artagnan smiled in a melancholy manner at seeing this great political question resolved by the discontent of such humble interest.“That is true. “No.” said the falconer. drawing towards them. “Are you not very much fatigued with the long journey you have taken.” “Enough!” said D’Artagnan. “Monsieur.” “Ah! yes.” continued the falconer. “Never mind that. formerly brown and nervous. and as many to return. honest man as you may be. he robbed the king sufficiently. He cannot imagine that they had sworn his death.” “Ah! it is not as it was in the good old times. not only would I refuse to believe it.” replied D’Artagnan. if you were condemned to the lash or to jail for it. Monsieur d’Artagnan. liberty. he says that parliament absolved him by banishing him.” But this officer was mistaken. “Yes. to the musketeer. laughing. quietly. and banishment is. Monsieur d’Artagnan!” cried the falconer. but still more. he has richly deserved it. The title of comte had hardly struck him.” “You do me honor.” replied the falconer. and with a view of cutting short the conversation. “Do you remember. Fouquet. in a low voice. it was a good time. 269 .” sighed the falconer. seeing that it is always a good time when we are young. monsieur the keeper of the harriers. and received in turn for his courtesy two most respectful bows.” said the falconer. And yet. and said to him.” said the latter. “Ah! what a lucky chance to see you here. Age had printed its pitiless claws at each angle of his eyes. his hands. “we all know that harriers are in fashion nowadays.” replied D’Artagnan.” 7 “And you were nothing but under-corporal of the tiercelets. D’Artagnan accosted the officers with the shade of affability which distinguishes superiors. the poor man had a close chance of the scaffold.

dimmed by age. Monsieur d’Artagnan. who answered her. of which nothing now can give an idea. unless it be the fictitious splendor of a theatric spectacle. and the white horses skirting the bosky thickets looking like illuminated apparitions. no! not Mademoiselle de la Valliere. for I am very tired. The king appeared at a distance. and the melancholy death that awaited him. I have but just returned. a little neglected since the death of her mother-in-law. “Oh. “but you need not be alarmed. monsieur!” repeated the falconer. then. give us a good swift bird. I left the court mourning the death of the queen-mother. “I know nothing of current news. surrounded by ladies and horsemen. the king is not much of a sportsman. distinguished behind 270 . but everything comes to an end in this world.” “Has she been ill. D’Artagnan allowed the ill-humor of the one and the regret of the other to pass. All the troop advanced in beautiful order. monsieur. passionately. with an eye a little. the feathers of the outriders passing like shooting stars across the clearings. no doubt with a view of making it up with the musketeer.” replied the falconer. I shall fly the birds. madame? What more do you expect?’” “Ah!” said D’Artagnan. at a foot’s pace. I only arrived yesterday.— ”there is something beginning.” said the falconer. “Who then—” The blast of a hunting-horn interrupted this conversation. since the last chagrin she suffered.” said the keeper with a coarse laugh. the horns of various sorts animating the dogs and horses. with an accent of bitter regret and a sigh that was the funeral oration of Fouquet. “Oh! you may safely laugh.” resumed D’Artagnan. The king was not willing to take any amusement after receiving the last sigh of Anne of Austria. The falconer and his companions set off immediately. but dignity would not allow him to interrogate people below him.—he burned to know. the crumbling of his fortunes. he only wishes to amuse the ladies. a mirage of light. after a month’s absence. Fouquet love falconry?” said he. he does not take the field on his own account. monsieur.” 8 “And everything begins as well as ends. her majesty has been unwell. it seems?” The keeper gave him a significant wink. but D’Artagnan was unwilling to learn anything from this man. The keeper of the harriers smiled.—’Do I not sleep at home every night. Is it a heron or a swan?” “Both. and continued to advance.” “It appears that the queen. leaving D’Artagnan alone in the midst of the suspended sentence. “Did M.” “Oh. They could already catch glimpses of the huntsmen at the issue of the wood.” said D’Artagnan. “Shall we see the king early?” asked he of the falconer. “will the sport last long? Pray. Well! then he is no longer sad? So much the better. just a little.—”poor woman! She must heartily hate Mademoiselle de la Valliere. “Ah!” said he.” “What chagrin? You need not fancy your news is old. looking keenly at the falconer. complained to the king. and to conclude.” “Who comes with the king? How is Madame? How is the queen?” “Better. a second time. “Ah!” said D’Artagnan. “At seven o’clock.” The words “to amuse the ladies” were so strongly accented they set D’Artagnan thinking. D’Artagnan. It summoned the dogs and the hawks. then?” “Monsieur. There was an animation in the scene. “But.He for a moment ran over in his mind the glorious existence of the surintendant.

already despoiled of their leaves by the first cutting winds of au271 . concealed by huge trees.” “Still the same. beat him down. “I must know that woman. and fell upon him.” “An old friend of mine?” asked D’Artagnan. “you are amongst us once more then! Why have I not seen you?” “Sire. saw her in the second carriage. “Ah. The first was intended for the queen. Madame de Montespan followed his example. “Good-day. smiling. “She is jealous.” continued the minister.” said the musketeer. follow the king. inert as it was. which he caused to be thrown open to make room for the musketeer. in a loud voice. The king smiled upon her. and D’Artagnan found himself in the midst of a fresh group. They were in front of an isolated chapel. Is she then deserted?” “Not quite yet. white as snow. Look. who is arrived this morning from Spain. taking Aramis’s arm. the exile.” 9 They chatted together. the falconer. plunging painfully into the dark waves of the past. denoting satisfaction. among whom shone Colbert.the group three carriages. “Here!” cried an old man. “have you had a pleasant journey?” “Yes. Colbert.” replied the captain. but it will not be long before she is. restrained by a bold and skillful hand. which had swallowed up for him so many friendships and so many hatreds. The falconer was about to reply. Every one was eager to salute him. now Madame de Montespan. Monsieur d’Artagnan. comte. shone a lady of most dazzling beauty. how uneasy she is! How her eyes. the rebel. “Aramis!” cried D’Artagnan. with marked affability. who did not see Mademoiselle de la Valliere by the king’s side. when the king. while following the sport. who is riding on horseback yonder!” “With whom?” “With Mademoiselle de Tonnay-Charente. and left the two old friends together. “Yes. to whom he addressed the question he had put to himself. dim with tears.” “The Duc d’Almeda?” said D’Artagnan. And he felt. comte!” said he. She was alone with two of her women. “I heard the king invite you to his table for this evening. upon a high-spirited horse. “And so. are again in France?” “Ah! and I shall dine with you at the king’s table. perceiving D’Artagnan. urged his horse forward. The king passed a few steps in advance. reflecting in vain. “because your majesty was asleep when I arrived. sitting bent in his carriage. The king alighted. Loud laughter followed every word she uttered.” A murmur of admiration surrounded D’Artagnan like a caress.” said Aramis. the thin arm of the old nobleman hanging round his neck. who seemed as dull as their mistress. monsieur. had been.” said Louis. I command you to do so. “Take some rest. will you not ask yourself what is the use of fidelity in this world? Stop! let us allow poor La Valliere’s carriage to pass.” said the minister. “M. on looking about for her. “who can she be?” And he stooped towards his friend. On the left hand of the king. and Aramis’s coachman drove them so cleverly that they arrived at the instant when the falcon. D’Artagnan. le Duc d’Almeda. Dining with the king was an honor his majesty was not so prodigal of as Henry IV. You will dine with me to-day. “you will meet an old friend there. and not awake when I resumed my duties this morning. attacking the bird. and she smiled upon the king. bowing to the neck of his horse.” replied Aramis.” said D’Artagnan. struck with profound amazement.” thought the musketeer. after having observed them in silence for a few moments. “you. it was empty.

and the king was desirous of going in to take the first feather. l’ambassadeur. “What will you give me in exchange?” said he. from the door. “whither chance has conducted us?” “No. and in a tone so tender that it must have reminded the princess of the time when she was loved for herself: “Sister. and with a trembling step. “Humph!” said Aramis to D’Artagnan.” replied the duke. like the rest. the heron has fallen just there. whose eye was on his master’s face. D’Artagnan held back Aramis by the arm.” said D’Artagnan aloud. as he helped the attendants to carry back to her carriage the lonely lady whose lot henceforth in life was suffering. Aramis. who looked intoxicated with hope. She. D’Artagnan could not overcome his surprise at finding this man. broken voice. without divining anything.” said D’Artagnan. entertained the queen with a preoccupied air. Of mistresses there was no question at this dinner. as there was nothing to be afraid of. Colbert and M. the pale face of La Valliere. “why do I see tears in those lovely eyes?” 272 . without being seen. kissed the hand tenderly which made her this present. without ceasing to watch his wife and brother from the corner of his eye. and concealed himself in the shade. neglected in her carriage. le Duc d’Almeda. she took the hand the king held out to her. to alight from his carriage. penetrated into the chapel by a little door which D’Artagnan opened for him. whence. although all three interlocutors felt its imminence. Madame’s eyes were almost red: was she going to complain? Was she going to expose a little scandal in open court? The king took her on one side. and in a hoarse. plucking out the first feather from the heron. They spoke of preceding ministers. which the falconer had strangled. which increased the surprise already felt by D’Artagnan at seeing his friend the rebel so marvelously well received at court. Aramis. The king addressed Aramis two or three times.tumn. That evening D’Artagnan was seated at the king’s table. don’t go to it. near M. Colbert related the successful tricks of Mazarin. D’Artagnan. carried away by jealousy. The king began to chat with his sister. “Poor woman!” muttered D’Artagnan. closed by a latticed gate. Aramis was astonished at that lightness of character which permitted this serious man to retard with advantage the moment for more important conversation. you see. who sleeps under that cross with his father. very uneasy. Behind this chapel was an inclosure. She broke off a little branch of cypress and offered it to the king. Madame de Montespan complied. as he was about. whilst Monsieur. “Here repose men that we knew well. placed it in his beautiful companion’s hat. on rising from table. from the embarrassed appearance of Monsieur. for that cypress shades a tomb. “of Raoul. The conversation between Aramis. “Where are they buried?” said he. at first looked on. with a melancholy heart. and very sad. The tree of grief is planted over their tomb. They then saw. display so much sound knowledge and cheerful spirits. “Do you know. leaning against a pillar. It might have been supposed that time of calm when the king was wont to watch his mother’s eyes for the approval or disapproval of what he had just done. The cortege formed a circle round the building and the hedges. he looked at Madame de Montespan with all the fire of new love. Colbert took D’Artagnan and Aramis on one side. greatly agitated. advanced into the chapel. and desired those of Richelieu to be related to him. He paid a thousand little attentions to the queen. to which nobody made any allusion.” A groan resounded—they saw a woman fall fainting to the ground. seated at his left hand. There is a cross. The king grew scarlet with vanity and pleasure.” said he. The king. The falcon had beaten down his prey in the inclosure belonging to this little chapel.” “Yes. and made a sign to Colbert. gave his hand to the queen. and the tomb is that of Raoul de Bragelonne. and then. “There. too small to receive so many. and he. in the inclosure. a thousand kindnesses to Madame. “the present is but a sad one.” Aramis stopped. heard all. and Colbert turned upon indifferent subjects. It was very plain. The king was very gay. how much the conversation of the king and Madame annoyed him. beneath yon little cypress. who. with his heavy eyebrows and low forehead.” said he. she contemplated the king smiling and making signs to Madame de Montespan to approach. the king is going that way. calling him M. Mademoiselle de la Valliere had seen all. smiling in her turn. according to custom.

“that dismal fellow?” “Is my mortal enemy. “Monsieur is jealous. then?” “I would have asked him to have had it represented to you that Monsieur and his favorite M. since that unjust exile. so devoted. sister?” “So unjust. that if I had not had the respect mixed with friendship that I have always entertained for your majesty—” “Well!” “Well! I would have asked my brother Charles. sister?” She looked towards Monsieur. an infallible sign that they were talking about him. “Listen to me. I will put an end to them. as well as myself. where Monsieur retains him and delegates his power to him.” She raised her glorious eyes and. “What.” said the king.” said Henrietta. come.” said the king. “tell me your griefs. “act!” “Let us form an alliance. dear little sister. say you. slowly. so good. it is not Monsieur’s fault. they have been brought into disgrace with your majesty. upon whom I can always—” The king started. on the word of a brother. so loyal!” “You say this on account of De Guiche. they.” “Unjust. Whilst that man lives in my household.” “You are the grandchild of Henry IV. Cousin and brother-in-law. “they are either absent or concealed. “yes. at Monsieur’s desire?” “And who. sire. so full was her heart. “if your friends compromise you.” said she. I shall be the most miserable woman in the kingdom.” “The Chevalier de Lorraine. having borne so many solitary griefs so long. in a melancholy tone: “It is not my friends who compromise me. has endeavored to get himself killed once every day.” said the king. is he not. on the word of a king.” He spoke these words with so much kindness that Madame.” said the king.” “So. was nearly bursting into tears.” “And you would prefer going to ask assistance there—” “To my own country!” said she with pride. sire. does not that amount pretty well to the title of brother-germain?” “Then. le Chevalier de Lorraine ought not with impunity to constitute themselves the executioners of my honor and my happiness. “Yes.” said she. encouraged. I pity them.” 273 . “Come. “you call your brother of England a better friend than I am?” “Actions speak for themselves. whom I have exiled.“Why—sire—” said she. lady.

” “And then your negotiations will fail?” “Oh! those ladies cause all negotiations to fall through which they don’t make themselves. well! then the king’s counselors.” “Oh! not quite so easy as you may suppose. it is soldiers—it is soldiers all alive and well equipped—that we must serve up to our friends.” “I have thought so. and that only costs a kiss or a return. “the coffers of the king of England have been sonorous for some time.” 274 . I beforehand accuse the Chevalier de Lorraine. do you say?” “Precisely.—I sign. that it is better to give balls and suppers at Hampton Court than to equip ships of the line at Portsmouth and Greenwich. but since you have done your part. “and I have said to myself that such a voyage would do your health and spirits good. “it is possible I should fail.” “That is very easy. Miss Davies. who are in number seven—Mademoiselle Stewart.” “Oh! yes. who have so much influence over your brother. blushing.” “But you. Mademoiselle Zunga. if ever I come to a dreadful end. “De Guiche shall return. If. who gives Monsieur ill advice respecting you?” “Remember well what I tell you. his alliance in a war—” “A war?” “Yes. It hence results that we have not always coffers in a fit condition for such friendships. Mademoiselle Gwyn. but in political friendship—” “Ah! it’s a political friendship. well. eagerly. Miss Orchay.” replied the king.” “I have.“Begin. you say.” interrupted Madame.” “Counselors. and then. my sister.” “To effect that I must go to London.” “Ah! you are quite right.” “Only. the Chevalier de Lorraine some day—Observe. The king of England has dangerous counselors.” 11 “Then that will be a true preliminary of alliance. sire. sire. you must make him a more intimate friend than ever. tell me what shall be mine. instead of embraces and feasts. for in ordinary friendship people embrace or exercise hospitality. he has a spirit that is capable of any crime!” “The Chevalier de Lorraine shall no longer annoy you—I promise you that. by chance. my dear brother. my sister. and the proud Countess of Castlemaine—will represent to the king that war costs a great deal of money.” 10 “So far. profitable expenses. unjustly exiled De Guiche.” “Instead of embroiling me with your brother Charles. your majesty had any intention—I am only supposing so—of asking Charles II. you can secure more than an ambassador could ever get the promise of. vessels we must offer. all armed with cannons and stored with provisions. Mademoiselle Wells.” said she. is it?” “Yes.” “And now you say that I do wrong in having in your household the Chevalier de Lorraine.” said Madame.

that is. my dear little sister.” “You will find what you want.” “Certainly. is it not?” “Most assuredly. for instance!” “Oh! why. you might perhaps find a female counselor to take with you to your brother. “like Mademoiselle de Keroualle. as Joshua did. searching well around you. insult me daily in their gazettes.” “I fancy you already on your road. I suppose.” “I see with pain that these kings of the sea—they call themselves so—keep trade from France in the Indies..” cried Madame. on two conditions. are willing to second me—” The princess 275 . nevertheless. inform me what it is. There is not much fraternity in that.” “An animated. my sister.” “Nobility.” “I will take her. And if my true friends.” “Oh! no. and by their republican attitude. sister?” “No.” “And who knows a little English. enough to enable her to approach the king without awkwardness—not too lofty. sister.” “It is that. audacious character.” “That is it. sister. and that their vessels will soon occupy all the ports of Europe. lively.” “That may easily be imagined.” “That is why they were wrong in having the medal you have heard of struck. you know. sire. consoled for all your griefs. that I shall know what I am negotiating about. an agreeable face is better than an ugly one. and I will search. yes!” said Louis XIV.” “Very true.” “I will go. sire. I do not like republics.—it is you who have found. whose eloquence might paralyze the ill-will of the seven others.” “They are your allies. so as not to trouble herself about the dignity of her race. is there?” “I thought you had forgotten that miserable episode?” “I never forget anything.” “That is really an idea. Such a power is too near me.“Do you know the idea that has struck me. with this legend: The sun had stopped before me. and will add a dowry to the title. such as your brother Charles. she will have no cause to complain. The Dutch. “you have hit the mark.” “I hope so. some one. The first is. I will name her seductrice plenipotentiaire at once.” “Mon Dieu! why.” “A pretty ambassadress is necessary.” “That is well. a medal which represents Holland stopping the sun.

and was soon to meet no more in Europe. and that France is in no state to undertake this with advantage. my husband. who adored his favorite. besides. shall have crossed over into England. which England submits to.” “You shall have it. You are.” said the king to his brother. brother. but the king of France is an ally of the United Provinces.remained pensively silent.” “Then consider me already gone. and said to Aramis: “Monsieur l’ambassadeur. “We were saying. had gone to him. “We may talk openly with D’Artagnan. turning round at this moment. You are not ignorant. turned round towards the corner of the room in which D’Artagnan. could I not represent the second party as well as the Dutch?” “We have Mademoiselle de Keroualle to treat that question.” replied the ambassador. besides. here. d’Almeda and I. During this time Colbert was talking with the Duc d’Almeda. 276 .” “That’s evident enough.” said the king. the bitter draught he had given him. Colbert. during this “aside” of the king and Monsieur. that it would infer a maritime war. M. Colbert then broke in on the conversation suddenly. I have made your peace with the king. “Listen to me. Louis XIV. and made an affirmative sign to his minister. from politeness. The face of the king was animated. if we undertake anything against the United Provinces?” “Monsieur. an opportunity presents itself for giving me a proof of it. He directed his steps towards the fireplace. but as you have often expressed friendship for me.” And the king turned on his heel. and I owed that clearly to a man of so much merit. To embroil Europe with the Provinces would doubtless be our policy. “For this partition. suavely. “In a week. brother. who do him the honor to protect him. as it were. sister?” “The consent of Monsieur. smiling in his brother’s face.” replied Madame. more a Frenchman than a Spaniard. must advise him to travel for a few months. “this is the moment for us to come to an understanding. and concentrated all his affections in him. “the interest of Spain is clear. within hearing of what the king was about to say to Monsieur. “I am not pleased with M. Upon his brow was stamped a strength of will. shall we talk about business?” D’Artagnan immediately withdrew.” continued the king.” replied Aramis.” said Colbert to Aramis.” said Louis XIV. the expression of which already met no further contradiction in France. at the same time saying in a low voice to Aramis. in amazement. darting a furious look at Madame. there is the empire of the seas to be shared. “Your second condition for going. evidently uneasy. “whilst we will go whither I will shortly tell you. and Aramis stood. “And also when Madame. “Monsieur. saw D’Artagnan who was seeking some interlocutor.” said Colbert. to sweeten.” These words fell with the crush of an avalanche upon Monsieur. “Monsieur.” “Madame! in England!” murmured Monsieur. “I will tell you that when he is gone.” Colbert. if you please. who. You.” On hearing these words. He called him.” replied the musketeer. “that a conflict with the United Provinces would mean a maritime war. I suppose?” “Oh! certainly. le Chevalier de Lorraine. “In what has the chevalier been inconsiderate enough to displease your majesty?” cried he. Shall we secure—answer me frankly—the neutrality of Spain.

you may not believe what I am going to tell you. M. but possible. but I have a still further idea.” Colbert drew from his pocket a little oblong book divided into two columns. “Who told you. he will soon be invaded. you must have very large land forces.” “Five!” cried Aramis. I hate the sea. “and I have had an account drawn up of the vessels we have altogether—thirty-five ships.” “Thirty-five ships! impossible!” cried D’Artagnan. monsieur!” said Aramis. thinking he had ill understood him. he is a man of genius—he knows how to set men to work. We may venture on a contest with them. our allies. It is he who has cast cannon and cut the woods of Bourgogne.” rejoined D’Artagnan.” “What did you say?” said Colbert. Aramis smiled. that the king had no navy?” “Oh! I take no heed of these details. may we not?” “To build vessels. “I have had the same idea as you.” replied the captain. forgot himself. France being a seaport with two hundred exits.” “And Spain neutral?” asked Aramis. But the captain only smiled at it. or by the Spaniards by land. D’Artagnan?” Colbert.” said Colbert. in his warmth. with ships. who. I said to myself. Like all nervous people. they are friendly with the king. on the other the figures recapitulating the number of cannon and men requisite to equip these ships. civilly. and that when beaten by sea.” “Oh. “Something like two thousand pieces of cannon. either by the Dutch in his ports.” 277 . but I must have five. Colbert admired that sagacity which never touched a question without enlightening it thoroughly. he called the captain simply D’Artagnan.” said he to D’Artagnan. “No.” replied he. as he had long known that in diplomacy D’Artagnan acknowledged no superior. did you not know it? Do you know M. as the king did. dwelt upon his fantasy with a certainty of success. in a bantering tone. he has a specialty. As to arming them. monsieur l’ambassadeur. “Neutral as long as the king shall prove stronger. we might have sailors. resumed the subject. the king will have fifty ship of the line. And then. ‘They are merchants. Of five and thirty vessels we can make three squadrons. On the first were the names of vessels. “They will be afloat before the end of the year. Colbert. they will be happy to sell to the king what they fabricate for themselves. “no.“And what do you think of it.” “Bah!” replied Colbert. Monsieur d’Artagnan?” “I think that to carry on such a war successfully. then the more we buy’—Ah! I must add this: I have Forant—do you know Forant. “I have planned all that this year and a half past. and yet I have an idea that. “That is what the king possesses at this moment. “Because the king will be beaten by sea if he has not the English with him. “I do not know him. gentlemen. “I am but an indifferent sailor. “I always believe you. d’Artagnan.” said D’Artagnan. how is that to be done? In France there are neither foundries nor military docks. d’Imfreville?” “D’Imfreville?” replie