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The Vicomte de Bragelonne
by Alexandre Dumas

Chapter I:
The Letter.

Towards the middle of the month of Mayin the year 1660at nine o'clock
in the morningwhen the sunalready high in the heavenswas fast
absorbing the dew from the ramparts of the castle of Bloisa little
cavalcadecomposed of three men and two pagesre-entered the city by
the bridgewithout producing any other effect upon the passengers of the
quay beyond a first movement of the hand to the headas a saluteand a
second movement of the tongue to expressin the purest French then
spoken in France: "There is Monsieur returning from hunting." And that
was all.

Whilsthoweverthe horses were climbing the steep acclivity which leads
from the river to the castleseveral shop-boys approached the last
horsefrom whose saddle-bow a number of birds were suspended by the beak.

On seeing thisthe inquisitive youths manifested with rustic freedom
their contempt for such paltry sportandafter a dissertation among
themselves upon the disadvantages of hawkingthey returned to their
occupations; one only of the curious partya stoutstubbycheerful
ladhaving demanded how it was that Monsieurwhofrom his great
revenueshad it in his power to amuse himself so much bettercould be
satisfied with such mean diversions.

Do you not know,one of the standers-by repliedthat Monsieur's
principal amusement is to weary himself?

The light-hearted boy shrugged his shoulders with a gesture which said
as clear as day: "In that case I would rather be plain Jack than a
prince." And all resumed their labors.

In the meanwhileMonsieur continued his route with an air at once so
melancholy and so majesticthat he certainly would have attracted the
attention of spectatorsif spectators there had been; but the good
citizens of Blois could not pardon Monsieur for having chosen their gay
city for an abode in which to indulge melancholy at his easeand as
often as they caught a glimpse of the illustrious _ennuye_they stole
away gapingor drew back their heads into the interior of their
dwellingsto escape the soporific influence of that long pale faceof
those watery eyesand that languid address; so that the worthy prince
was almost certain to find the streets deserted whenever he chanced to
pass through them.

Nowon the part of the citizens of Blois this was a culpable piece of
disrespectfor Monsieur wasafter the king - nayeven perhapsbefore
the king - the greatest noble of the kingdom. In factGodwho had
granted to Louis XIV.then reigningthe honor of being son of
Louis XIII.had granted to Monsieur the honor of being son of Henry IV.
It was not thenorat leastit ought not to have beena trifling
source of pride for the city of Bloisthat Gaston of Orleans had chosen
it as his residenceand held his court in the ancient Castle of the
States.

But it was the destiny of this great prince to excite the attention and
admiration of the public in a very modified degree wherever he might be.
Monsieur had fallen into this situation by habit.


It was notperhapsthis which gave him that air of listlessness.
Monsieur had already been tolerably busy in the course of his life. A
man cannot allow the heads of a dozen of his best friends to be cut off
without feeling a little excitement; and assince the accession of
Mazarin to powerno heads had been cut offMonsieur's occupation was
goneand his _morale_ suffered from it.

The life of the poor prince was then very dull. After his little morning
hawking-party on the banks of the Beuvronor in the woods of Cheverny
Monsieur crossed the Loirewent to breakfast at Chambordwith or
without an appetiteand the city of Blois heard no more of its sovereign
lord and master till the next hawking-day.

So much for the ennui _extra muros_; of the ennui of the interior we will
give the reader an idea if he will with us follow the cavalcade to the
majestic porch of the Castle of the States.

Monsieur rode a little steady-paced horseequipped with a large saddle
of red Flemish velvetwith stirrups in the shape of buskins; the horse
was of a bay color; Monsieur's pourpoint of crimson velvet corresponded
with the cloak of the same shade and the horse's equipmentand it was
only by this red appearance of the whole that the prince could be known
from his two companionsthe one dressed in violetthe other in green.
He on the leftin violetwas his equerry; he on the rightin green
was the grand veneur.

One of the pages carried two gerfalcons upon a perchthe other a
hunting-hornwhich he blew with a careless note at twenty paces from the
castle. Every one about this listless prince did what he had to
listlessly.

At this signaleight guardswho were lounging in the sun in the square
courtran to their halbertsand Monsieur made his solemn entry into the
castle.

When he had disappeared under the shades of the porchthree or four
idlerswho had followed the cavalcade to the castleafter pointing out
the suspended birds to each otherdispersed with comments upon what they
saw: andwhen they were gonethe streetthe palaceand the courtall
remained deserted alike.

Monsieur dismounted without speaking a wordwent straight to his
apartmentswhere his valet changed his dressand as Madame had not yet
sent orders respecting breakfastMonsieur stretched himself upon a
_chaise longue_and was soon as fast asleep as if it had been eleven
o'clock at night.

The eight guardswho concluded their service for the day was overlaid
themselves down very comfortably in the sun upon some stone benches; the
grooms disappeared with their horses into the stablesandwith the
exception of a few joyous birdsstartling each other with their sharp
chirping in the tufted shrubberiesit might have been thought that the
whole castle was as soundly asleep as Monsieur was.

All at oncein the midst of this delicious silencethere resounded a
clear ringing laughwhich caused several of the halberdiers in the
enjoyment of their _siesta_ to open at least one eye.

This burst of laughter proceeded from a window of the castlevisited at
this moment by the sunthat embraced it in one of those large angles
which the profiles of the chimneys mark out upon the walls before mid-day.

The little balcony of wrought iron which advanced in front of this
window was furnished with a pot of red gilliflowersanother pot of


primrosesand an early rose-treethe foliage of whichbeautifully
greenwas variegated with numerous red specks announcing future roses.

In the chamber lighted by this windowwas a square tablecovered with
an old large-flowered Haarlem tapestry; in the center of this table was a
long-necked stone bottlein which were irises and lilies of the valley;
at each end of this table was a young girl.

The position of these two young people was singular; they might have
been taken for two boarders escaped from a convent. One of themwith
both elbows on the tableand a pen in her handwas tracing characters
upon a sheet of fine Dutch paper; the otherkneeling upon a chairwhich
allowed her to advance her head and bust over the back of it to the
middle of the tablewas watching her companion as she wroteor rather
hesitated to write.

Thence the thousand criesthe thousand railleriesthe thousand laughs
one of whichmore brilliant than the resthad startled the birds in the
gardensand disturbed the slumbers of Monsieur's guards.

We are taking portraits now; we shall be allowedthereforewe hope
to sketch the two last of this chapter.

The one who was leaning in the chair - that is to saythe joyous
laughing one - was a beautiful girl of from eighteen to twentywith
brown complexion and brown hairsplendidfrom eyes which sparkled
beneath strongly-marked browsand particularly from her teethwhich
seemed to shine like pearls between her red coral lips. Her every
movement seemed the accent of a sunny nature; she did not walk - she
bounded.

The othershe who was writinglooked at her turbulent companion with an
eye as limpidas pureand as blue as the azure of the day. Her hair
of a shaded fairnessarranged with exquisite tastefell in silky curls
over her lovely mantling cheeks; she passed across the paper a delicate
handwhose thinness announced her extreme youth. At each burst of
laughter that proceeded from her friendshe raisedas if annoyedher
white shoulders in a poetical and mild mannerbut they were wanting in
that richfulness of mold that was likewise to be wished in her arms and
hands.

Montalais! Montalais!said she at lengthin a voice soft and
caressing as a melodyyou laugh too loud - you laugh like a man! You
will not only draw the attention of messieurs the guards, but you will
not hear Madame's bell when Madame rings.

This admonition neither made the young girl called Montalais cease to
laugh nor gesticulate. She only replied: "Louiseyou do not speak as you
thinkmy dear; you know that messieurs the guardsas you call them
have only just commenced their sleepand that a cannon would not waken
them; you know that Madame's bell can be heard at the bridge of Blois
and that consequently I shall hear it when my services are required by
Madame. What annoys youmy childis that I laugh while you are
writing; and what you are afraid of is that Madame de Saint-Remyyour
mothershould come up hereas she does sometimes when we laugh too
loudthat she should surprise usand that she should see that enormous
sheet of paper upon whichin a quarter of an houryou have only traced
the words _Monsieur Raoul_. Nowyou are rightmy dear Louisebecause
after these words'Monsieur Raoul'others may be put so significant and
incendiary as to cause Madame Saint-Remy to burst out into fire and
flames! _Hein!_ is not that true now? - say."

And Montalais redoubled her laughter and noisy provocations.


The fair girl at length became quite angry; she tore the sheet of paper
on whichin factthe words "Monsieur Raoul" were written in good
characters; and crushing the paper in her trembling handsshe threw it
out of the window.

There! there!said Mademoiselle de Montalais; "there is our little
lambour gentle doveangry! Don't be afraidLouise - Madame de
Saint-Remy will not come; and if she shouldyou know I have a quick
ear. Besideswhat can be more permissible than to write to an old
friend of twelve years' standingparticularly when the letter begins
with the words 'Monsieur Raoul'?"

It is all very well - I will not write to him at all,said the young
girl.

Ah, ah! in good sooth, Montalais is properly punished,cried the
jeering brunettestill laughing. "Comecome! let us try another sheet
of paperand finish our dispatch off-hand. Good! there is the bell
ringing now. By my faithso much the worse! Madame must waitor else
do without her first maid of honor this morning."

A bellin factdid ring; it announced that Madame had finished her
toiletteand waited for Monsieur to give her his handand conduct her
from the _salon_ to the refectory.

This formality being accomplished with great ceremonythe husband and
wife breakfastedand then separated till the hour of dinnerinvariably
fixed at two o'clock.

The sound of this bell caused a door to be opened in the offices on the
left hand of the courtfrom which filed two _maitres d'hotel_ followed
by eight scullions bearing a kind of hand-barrow loaded with dishes under
silver covers.

One of the _maitres d'hotel_the first in ranktouched one of the
guardswho was snoring on his benchslightly with his wand; he even
carried his kindness so far as to place the halbert which stood against
the wall in the hands of the man stupid with sleepafter which the
soldierwithout explanationescorted the _viande_ of Monsieur to the
refectorypreceded by a page and the two _maitres d'hotel_.

Wherever the _viande_ passedthe soldiers ported arms.

Mademoiselle de Montalais and her companion had watched from their
window the details of this ceremonyto whichby the byethey must have
been pretty well accustomed. But they did not look so much from
curiosity as to be assured they should not be disturbed. Soguards
scullions_maitres d'hotel_and pages having passedthey resumed their
places at the table; and the sunwhichthrough the window-framehad
for an instant fallen upon those two charming countenancesnow only shed
its light upon the gilliflowersprimrosesand rose-tree.

Bah!said Mademoiselle de Montalaistaking her place again; "Madame
will breakfast very well without me!"

Oh! Montalais, you will be punished!replied the other girlsitting
down quietly in hers.

Punished, indeed! - that is to say, deprived of a ride! That is just
the way in which I wish to be punished. To go out in the grand coach,
perched upon a doorstep; to turn to the left, twist round to the right,
over roads full of ruts, where we cannot exceed a league in two hours;
and then to come back straight towards the wing of the castle in which is
the window of Mary de Medici, so that Madame never fails to say: 'Could


one believe it possible that Mary de Medici should have escaped from that
window - forty-seven feet high? The mother of two princes and three
princesses!' If you call that relaxation, Louise, all I ask is to be
punished every day; particularly when my punishment is to remain with you
and write such interesting letters as we write!

Montalais! Montalais! there are duties to be performed.

You talk of them very much at your ease, dear child! - you, who are
left quite free amidst this tedious court. You are the only person that
reaps the advantages of them without incurring the trouble, - you, who
are really more one of Madame's maids of honor than I am, because Madame
makes her affection for your father-in-law glance off upon you; so that
you enter this dull house as the birds fly into yonder court, inhaling
the air, pecking the flowers, picking up the grain, without having the
least service to perform, or the least annoyance to undergo. And you
talk to me of duties to be performed! In sooth, my pretty idler, what
are your own proper duties, unless to write to the handsome Raoul? And
even that you don't do; so that it looks to me as if you likewise were
rather negligent of your duties!

Louise assumed a serious airleant her chin upon her handandin a
tone full of candid remonstranceAnd do you reproach me with my good
fortune?said she. "Can you have the heart to do it? You have a
future; you will belong to the court; the kingif he should marrywill
require Monsieur to be near his person; you will see splendid _fetes_
you will see the kingwho they say is so handsomeso agreeable!"

Ay, and still more, I shall see Raoul, who attends upon M. le Prince,
added Montalaismaliciously.

Poor Raoul!sighed Louise.

Now is the time to write to him, my pretty dear! Come, begin again,
with that famous 'Monsieur Raoul' which figures at the top of the poor
torn sheet.

She then held the pen toward herand with a charming smile encouraged
her handwhich quickly traced the words she named.

What next?asked the younger of the two girls.

Why, now write what you think, Louise,replied Montalais.

Are you quite sure I think of anything?

You think of somebody, and that amounts to the same thing, or rather
even more.

Do you think so, Montalais?

Louise, Louise, your blue eyes are as deep as the sea I saw at Boulogne
last year! No, no, I mistake - the sea is perfidious: your eyes are as
deep as the azure yonder - look! - over our heads!

Well, since you can read so well in my eyes, tell me what I am thinking
about, Montalais.

In the first place, you don't think, _Monsieur Raoul_; you think, _My
dear Raoul_.

Oh! -

Never blush for such a trifle as that! 'My dear Raoul,' we will say -


'You implore me to write you at Paris, where you are detained by your
attendance on M. le Prince. As you must be very dull there, to seek for
amusement in the remembrance of a _provinciale_ - '

Louise rose up suddenly. "NoMontalais said she, with a smile; I
don't think a word of that. Lookthis is what I think;" and she seized
the pen boldlyand tracedwith a firm handthe following words:

I should have been very unhappy if your entreaties to obtain a
remembrance of me had been less warm. Everything here reminds me of our
early days, which so quickly passed away, which so delightfully flew by,
that no others will ever replace the charm of them in my heart.

Montalaiswho watched the flying penand readthe wrong way upwards
as fast as her friend wrotehere interrupted by clapping her hands.
Capital!cried she; "there is frankness - there is heart - there is
style! Show these Parisiansmy dearthat Blois is the city for fine
language!"

He knows very well that Blois was a Paradise to me,replied the girl.

That is exactly what you mean to say; and you speak like an angel.

I will finish, Montalais,and she continued as follows: "You often
think of meyou sayMonsieur Raoul: I thank you; but that does not
surprise mewhen I recollect how often our hearts have beaten close to
each other."

Oh! oh!said Montalais. "Bewaremy lamb! You are scattering your
wooland there are wolves about."

Louise was about to replywhen the gallop of a horse resounded under
the porch of the castle.

What is that?said Montalaisapproaching the window. "A handsome
cavalierby my faith!"

Oh! - Raoul!exclaimed Louisewho had made the same movement as her
friendandbecoming pale as deathsunk back beside her unfinished
letter.

Now, he is a clever lover, upon my word!cried Montalais; "he arrives
just at the proper moment."

Come in, come in, I implore you!murmured Louise.

Bah! he does not know me. Let me see what he has come here for.

Chapter II:
The Messenger.

Mademoiselle de Montalais was right; the young cavalier was goodly to
look upon.

He was a young man of from twenty-four to twenty-five years of agetall
and slenderwearing gracefully the picturesque military costume of the
period. His large boots contained a foot which Mademoiselle de Montalais
might not have disowned if she had been transformed into a man. With one
of his delicate but nervous hands he checked his horse in the middle of
the courtand with the other raised his hatwhose long plumes shaded
his at once serious and ingenuous countenance.

The guardsroused by the steps of the horseawokeand were on foot in


a minute. The young man waited till one of them was close to his
saddle-bow: thenstooping towards himin a cleardistinct voicewhich
was perfectly audible at the window where the two girls were concealed
A message for his royal highness,he said.

Ah, ah!cried the soldier. "Officera messenger!"

But this brave guard knew very well that no officer would appearseeing
that the only one who could have appeared dwelt at the other side of the
castlein an apartment looking into the gardens. So he hastened to add:
The officer, monsieur, is on his rounds; but, in his absence, M. de
Saint-Remy, the _maitre d'hotel_, shall be informed.

M. de Saint-Remy?repeated the cavalierslightly blushing.

Do you know him?

Why, yes; but request him, if you please, that my visit be announced
to his royal highness as soon as possible.

It appears to be pressing,said the guardas if speaking to himself
but really in the hope of obtaining an answer.

The messenger made an affirmative sign with his head.

In that case,said the guardI will go and seek the _maitre
d'hotel_ myself.

The young manin the meantimedismounted; and whilst the others were
making their remarks upon the fine horse the cavalier rodethe soldier
returned.

Your pardon, young gentleman; but your name, if you please?

The Vicomte de Bragelonne, on the part of his highness M. le Prince de
Conde.

The soldier made a profound bowandas if the name of the conqueror of
Rocroi and Lens had given him wingshe stepped lightly up the steps
leading to the ante-chamber.

M. de Bragelonne had not had time to fasten his horse to the iron bars of
the _perron_when M. de Saint-Remy came runningout of breath
supporting his capacious body with one handwhilst with the other he cut
the air as a fisherman cleaves the waves with his oar.
Ah, Monsieur le Vicomte! You at Blois!cried he. "Wellthat is a
wonder. Good-day to you - good-dayMonsieur Raoul."

I offer you a thousand respects, M. de Saint-Remy.

How Madame de la Vall - I mean, how delighted Madame de Saint-Remy will
be to see you! But come in. His royal highness is at breakfast - must
he be interrupted? Is the matter serious?

Yes, and no, Monsieur de Saint-Remy. A moment's delay, however, would
be disagreeable to his royal highness.

If that is the case, we will force the _consigne_, Monsieur le Vicomte.
Come in. Besides, Monsieur is in an excellent humor to-day. And then
you bring news, do you not?

Great news, Monsieur de Saint-Remy.


And goodI presume?"

Excellent.

Come quickly, come quickly then!cried the worthy manputting his
dress to rights as he went along.

Raoul followed himhat in handand a little disconcerted at the noise
made by his spurs in these immense _salons_.

As soon as he had disappeared in the interior of the palacethe window
of the court was repeopledand an animated whispering betrayed the
emotion of the two girls. They soon appeared to have formed a
resolutionfor one of the two faces disappeared from the window. This
was the brunette; the other remained behind the balconyconcealed by
the flowerswatching attentively through the branches the _perron_ by
which M. de Bragelonne had entered the castle.

In the meantime the object of so much laudable curiosity continued his
routefollowing the steps of the _maitre d'hotel_. The noise of quick
stepsan odor of wine and viandsa clinking of crystal and plates
warned them that they were coming to the end of their course.

The pagesvalets and officersassembled in the office which led up to
the refectorywelcomed the newcomer with the proverbial politeness of
the country; some of them were acquainted with Raouland all knew that
he came from Paris. It might be said that his arrival for a moment
suspended the service. In facta pagewho was pouring out wine for his
royal highnesson hearing the jingling of spurs in the next chamber
turned round like a childwithout perceiving that he was continuing to
pour outnot into the glassbut upon the tablecloth.

Madamewho was not so preoccupied as her glorious spouse wasremarked
this distraction of the page.

Well?exclaimed she.

Well!repeated Monsieur; "what is going on then?"

M. de Saint-Remywho had just introduced his head through the doorway
took advantage of the moment.
Why am I to be disturbed?said Gastonhelping himself to a thick slice
of one of the largest salmon that had ever ascended the Loire to be
captured between Paimboeuf and Saint-Nazaire.

There is a messenger from Paris. Oh! but after monseigneur has
breakfasted will do; there is plenty of time.

From Paris!cried the princeletting his fork fall. "A messenger
from Parisdo you say? And on whose part does this messenger come?"

On the part of M. le Prince,said the _maitre d'hotel_ promptly.

Every one knows that the Prince de Conde was so called.

A messenger from M. le Prince!said Gastonwith an inquietude that
escaped none of the assistantsand consequently redoubled the general
curiosity.

Monsieurperhapsfancied himself brought back again to the happy times
when the opening of a door gave him an emotionin which every letter
might contain a state secret- in which every message was connected
with a dark and complicated intrigue. Perhapslikewisethat great name


of M. le Prince expanded itselfbeneath the roofs of Bloisto the
proportions of a phantom.

Monsieur pushed away his plate.

Shall I tell the envoy to wait?asked M. de Saint-Remy.

A glance from Madame emboldened Gastonwho replied: "Nono! let him
come in at onceon the contrary. _A propos_who is he?"

A gentleman of this country, M. le Vicomte de Bragelonne.

Ah, very well! Introduce him, Saint-Remy - introduce him.

And when he had let fall these wordswith his accustomed gravity
Monsieur turned his eyesin a certain mannerupon the people of his
suiteso that allpagesofficersand equerriesquitted the service
knives and gobletsand made towards the second chamber door a retreat as
rapid as it was disorderly.

This little army had dispersed in two files when Raoul de Bragelonne
preceded by M. de Saint-Remyentered the refectory.

The short interval of solitude which this retreat had left himpermitted
Monsieur the time to assume a diplomatic countenance. He did not turn
roundbut waited till the _maitre d'hotel_ should bring the messenger
face to face with him.

Raoul stopped even with the lower end of the tableso as to be exactly
between Monsieur and Madame. From this place he made a profound bow to
Monsieurand a very humble one to Madame; thendrawing himself up into
military posehe waited for Monsieur to address him.

On his part the prince waited till the doors were hermetically closed; he
would not turn round to ascertain the factas that would have been
derogatory to his dignitybut he listened with all his ears for the
noise of the lockwhich would promise him at least an appearance of
secrecy.

The doors being closedMonsieur raised his eyes towards the vicomteand
saidIt appears that you come from Paris, monsieur?

This minute, monseigneur.

How is the king?

His majesty is in perfect health, monseigneur.

And my sister-in-law?

Her majesty the queen-mother still suffers from the complaint in her
chest, but for the last month she has been rather better.

Somebody told me you came on the part of M. le Prince. They must have
been mistaken, surely?

No, monseigneur; M. le Prince has charged me to convey this letter to
your royal highness, and I am to wait for an answer to it.

Raoul had been a little annoyed by this cold and cautious receptionand
his voice insensibly sank to a low key.

The prince forgot that he was the cause of this apparent mysteryand his
fears returned.


He received the letter from the Prince de Conde with a haggard look
unsealed it as he would have unsealed a suspicious packetand in order
to read it so that no one should remark the effects of it upon his
countenancehe turned round.

Madame followedwith an anxiety almost equal to that of the prince
every maneuver of her august husband.

Raoulimpassibleand a little disengaged by the attention of his hosts
looked from his place through the open window at the gardens and the
statues which peopled them.

Well!cried Monsieurall at oncewith a cheerful smile; "here is an
agreeable surpriseand a charming letter from M. le Prince. Look
Madame!"

The table was too large to allow the arm of the prince to reach the hand
of Madame; Raoul sprang forward to be their intermediaryand did it
with so good a grace as to procure a flattering acknowledgement from the
princess.

You know the contents of this letter, no doubt?said Gaston to Raoul.

Yes, monseigneur; M. le Prince at first gave me the message verbally,
but upon reflection his highness took up his pen.

It is beautiful writing,said Madamebut I cannot read it.

Will you read it to Madame, M. de Bragelonne?said the duke.

Yes; read it, if you please, monsieur.

Raoul began to readMonsieur giving again all his attention. The letter
was conceived in these terms:

MONSEIGNEUR - The king is about to set out for the frontiers. You are
aware the marriage of his majesty is concluded upon. The king has done
me the honor to appoint me his _marechal-des-logis_ for this journey, and
as I knew with what joy his majesty would pass a day at Blois, I venture
to ask your royal highness's permission to mark the house you inhabit as
our quarters. If, however, the suddenness of this request should create
to your royal highness any embarrassment, I entreat you to say so by the
messenger I send, a gentleman of my suite, M. le Vicomte de Bragelonne.
My itinerary will depend on your royal highness's determination, and
instead of passing through Blois, we shall come through Vendome or
Romorantin. I venture to hope that your royal highness will be pleased
with my arrangement, it being the expression of my boundless desire to
make myself agreeable to you.

Nothing can be more gracious toward us,said Madamewho had more than
once consulted the looks of her husband during the reading of the
letter. "The king here!" exclaimed shein a rather louder tone than
would have been necessary to preserve secrecy.

Monsieur,said his royal highness in his turnyou will offer my
thanks to M. de Conde, and express to him my gratitude for the honor he
has done me.Raoul bowed.

On what day will his majesty arrive?continued the prince.

The king, monseigneur, will in all probability arrive this evening.

But how, then, could he have known my reply if it had been in the


negative?

I was desired, monseigneur, to return in all haste to Beaugency, to give
counter-orders to the courier, who was himself to go back immediately
with counter-orders to M. le Prince.

His majesty is at Orleans, then?

Much nearer, monseigneur; his majesty must by this time have arrived at
Meung.

Does the court accompany him?

Yes, monseigneur.

_A propos_, I forgot to ask you after M. le Cardinal.

His eminence appears to enjoy good health, monseigneur.

His nieces accompany him, no doubt?

No, monseigneur; his eminence has ordered the Mesdemoiselles de Mancini
to set out for Brouage. They will follow the left bank of the Loire,
while the court will come by the right.

What! Mademoiselle Mary de Mancini quit the court in that manner?"
asked Monsieurhis reserve beginning to diminish.

Mademoiselle Mary de Mancini in particular,replied Raoul discreetly.

A fugitive smilean imperceptible vestige of his ancient spirit of
intrigueshot across the pale face of the prince.

Thanks, M. de Bragelonne,then said Monsieur. "You wouldperhapsnot
be willing to carry M. le Prince the commission with which I would charge
youand that isthat his messenger has been very agreeable to me; but I
will tell him so myself."

Raoul bowed his thanks to Monsieur for the honor he had done him.

Monsieur made a sign to Madamewho struck a bell which was placed at her
right hand; M. de Saint-Remy enteredand the room was soon filled with
people.

Messieurs,said the princehis majesty is about to pay me the honor of
passing a day at Blois; I depend on the king, my nephew, not having to
repent of the favor he does my house.

_Vive le Roi!_cried all the officers of the household with frantic
enthusiasmand M. de Saint-Remy louder than the rest.

Gaston hung down his head with evident chagrin. He had all his life been
obliged to hearor rather to undergothis cry of "_Vive le Roi!_" which
passed over him. For a long timebeing unaccustomed to hear ithis ear
had had restand now a youngermore vivaciousand more brilliant
royalty rose up before himlike a new and more painful provocation.

Madame perfectly understood the sufferings of that timidgloomy heart;
she rose from the tableMonsieur imitated her mechanicallyand all the
domesticswith a buzzing like that of several bee-hivessurrounded
Raoul for the purpose of questioning him.

Madame saw this movementand called M. de Saint-Remy.


This is not the time for gossiping, but working,said shewith the
tone of an angry housekeeper.

M. de Saint-Remy hastened to break the circle formed by the officers
round Raoulso that the latter was able to gain the ante-chamber.
Care will be taken of that gentleman, I hope,added Madameaddressing

M. de Saint-Remy.
The worthy man immediately hastened after Raoul. "Madame desires
refreshments to be offered to you said he; and there isbesidesa
lodging for you in the castle."

Thanks, M. de Saint-Remy,replied Raoul; "but you know how anxious I
must be to pay my duty to M. le Comtemy father."

That is true, that is true, Monsieur Raoul; present him, at the same
time, my humble respects, if you please.

Raoul thus once more got rid of the old gentlemanand pursued his way.
As he was passing under the porchleading his horse by the bridlea
soft voice called him from the depths of an obscure path.

Monsieur Raoul!said the voice.

The young man turned roundsurprisedand saw a dark complexioned girl
whowith a finger on her lipheld out her other hand to him. This
young lady was an utter stranger.

Chapter III:
The Interview.

Raoul made one step towards the girl who thus called him.

But my horse, madame?said he.

Oh! you are terribly embarrassed! Go yonder way - there is a shed in
the outer court: fasten your horse, and return quickly!

I obey, madame.

Raoul was not four minutes in performing what he had been directed to do;
he returned to the little doorwherein the gloomhe found his
mysterious conductress waiting for himon the first steps of a winding
staircase.

Are you brave enough to follow me, monsieur knight errant?asked the
girllaughing at the momentary hesitation Raoul had manifested.

The latter replied by springing up the dark staircase after her. They
thus climbed up three storieshe behind hertouching with his hands
when he felt for the banistera silk dress which rubbed against each
side of the staircase. At every false step made by Raoulhis
conductress criedHush!and held out to him a soft perfumed hand.

One would mount thus to the belfry of the castle without being conscious
of fatigue,said Raoul.

All of which means, monsieur, that you are very much perplexed, very
tired, and very uneasy. But be of good cheer, monsieur; here we are, at
our destination.

The girl threw open a doorwhich immediatelywithout any transition


filled with a flood of light the landing of the staircaseat the top of
which Raoul appearedholding fast by the balustrade.

The girl continued to walk on - he followed her; she entered a chamber –
he did the same.

As soon as he was fairly in the net he heard a loud cryandturning
roundsaw at two paces from himwith her hands clasped and her eyes
closedthat beautiful fair girl with blue eyes and white shoulders
whorecognizing himcalled him Raoul.

He saw herand divined at once so much love and so much joy in the
expression of her countenancethe he sank on his knees in the middle of
the chambermurmuringon his partthe name of Louise.

Ah! Montalais! - Montalais!she sighedit is very wicked to deceive
me so.

Who, I? I have deceived you?

Yes; you told me you would go down to inquire the news, and you have
brought up monsieur!

Well, I was obliged to do so - how else could he have received the
letter you wrote him?And she pointed with her finger to the letter
which was still upon the table.

Raoul made a step to take it; Louisemore rapidalthough she had sprung
forward with a sufficiently remarkable physical hesitationreached out
her hand to stop him. Raoul came in contact with that trembling hand
took it within his ownand carried it so respectfully to his lipsthat
he might have been said to have deposited a sigh upon it rather than a
kiss.

In the meantimeMademoiselle de Montalais had taken the letterfolded
it carefullyas women doin three foldsand slipped it into her bosom.

Don't be afraid, Louise,said she; "monsieur will no more venture to
take it hence than the defunct king Louis XIII. ventured to take billets
from the corsage of Mademoiselle de Hautefort."

Raoul blushed at seeing the smile of the two girls; and he did not remark
that the hand of Louise remained in his.

There!said Montalaisyou have pardoned me, Louise, for having
brought monsieur to you; and you, monsieur, bear me no malice for having
followed me to see mademoiselle. Now, then, peace being made, let us
chat like old friends. Present me, Louise, to M. de Bragelonne.

Monsieur le Vicomte,said Louisewith her quiet grace and ingenuous
smileI have the honor to present to you Mademoiselle Aure de
Montalais, maid of honor to her royal highness MADAME, and moreover my
friend - my excellent friend.

Raoul bowed ceremoniously.

And me, Louise,said he - "will you not present me also to
mademoiselle?"

Oh, she knows you - she knows all!

This unguarded expression made Montalais laugh and Raoul sigh with
happinessfor he interpreted it thus: "_She knows all our love_."


The ceremonies being over, Monsieur le Vicomte,said Montalaistake a
chair, and tell us quickly the news you bring flying thus.

Mademoiselle, it is no longer a secret; the king, on his way to
Poitiers, will stop at Blois, to visit his royal highness.

The king here!exclaimed Montalaisclapping her hands. "What! are we
going to see the court? Only thinkLouise - the real court from Paris!
Ohgood heavens! But when will this happenmonsieur?"

Perhaps this evening, mademoiselle; at latest, to-morrow.

Montalais lifted her shoulders in a sigh of vexation.

No time to get ready! No time to prepare a single dress! We are as far
behind the fashions as the Poles. We shall look like portraits from the
time of Henry IV. Ah, monsieur! this is sad news you bring us!

But, mesdemoiselles, you will be still beautiful!

That's no news! Yes, we shall always be beautiful, because nature has
made us passable; but we shall be ridiculous, because the fashion will
have forgotten us. Alas! ridiculous! I shall be thought ridiculous - I!

And by whom?said Louiseinnocently.

By whom? You are a strange girl, my dear. Is that a question to put to
me? I mean everybody; I mean the courtiers, the nobles; I mean the king.

Pardon me, my good friend; but as here every one is accustomed to see us
as we are -

Granted; but that is about to change, and we shall be ridiculous, even
for Blois; for close to us will be seen the fashions from Paris, and they
will perceive that we are in the fashion of Blois! It is enough to make
one despair!

Console yourself, mademoiselle.

Well, so let it be! After all, so much the worse for those who do not
find me to their taste!said Montalaisphilosophically.

They would be very difficult to please,replied Raoulfaithful to his
regular system of gallantry.

Thank you, Monsieur le Vicomte. We were saying, then, that the king is
coming to Blois?

With all the court.

Mesdemoiselles de Mancini, will they be with them?

No, certainly not.

But as the king, it is said, cannot do without Mademoiselle Mary?

Mademoiselle, the king must do without her. M. le Cardinal will have it
so. He has exiled his nieces to Brouage.

He! - the hypocrite!

Hush!said Louisepressing a finger on her friend's rosy lips.

Bah! nobody can hear me. I say that old Mazarino Mazarini is a


hypocrite, who burns impatiently to make his niece Queen of France.

That cannot be, mademoiselle, since M. le Cardinal, on the contrary, had
brought about the marriage of his majesty with the Infanta Maria Theresa.

Montalais looked Raoul full in the faceand saidAnd do you Parisians
believe in these tales? Well! we are a little more knowing than you, at
Blois.

Mademoiselle, if the king goes beyond Poitiers and sets out for Spain;
if the articles of the marriage contract are agreed upon by Don Luis de
Haro and his eminence, you must plainly perceive that it is not child's
play.

All very fine! but the king is king, I suppose?

No doubt, mademoiselle; but the cardinal is the cardinal.

The king is not a man, then! And he does not love Mary Mancini?

He adores her.

Well, he will marry her then. We shall have war with Spain. M. Mazarin
will spend a few of the millions he has put away; our gentlemen will
perform prodigies of valor in their encounters with the proud Castilians,
and many of them will return crowned with laurels, to be recrowned by us
with myrtles. Now, that is my view of politics.

Montalais, you are wild!said Louiseand every exaggeration attracts
you as light does a moth.

Louise, you are so extremely reasonable, that you will never know how to
love.

Oh!said Louisein a tone of tender reproachdon't you see,
Montalais? The queen-mother desires to marry her son to the Infanta;
would you wish him to disobey his mother? Is it for a royal heart like
his to set such a bad example? When parents forbid love, love must be
banished.

And Louise sighed: Raoul cast down his eyeswith an expression of
constraint. Montalaison her partlaughed aloud.

Well, I have no parents!said she.

You are acquainted, without doubt, with the state of health of M. le
Comte de la Fere?said Louiseafter breathing that sigh which had
revealed so many griefs in its eloquent utterance.

No, mademoiselle,replied RaoulI have not let paid my respects to my
father; I was going to his house when Mademoiselle de Montalais so kindly
stopped me. I hope the comte is well. You have heard nothing to the
contrary, have you?

No, M. Raoul - nothing, thank God!

Herefor several instantsensued a silenceduring which two spirits
which followed the same ideacommunicated perfectlywithout even the
assistance of a single glance.

Oh, heavens!exclaimed Montalais in a fright; "there is somebody coming
up."

Who can it be?said Louiserising in great agitation.


Mesdemoiselles, I inconvenience you very much. I have, without doubt,
been very indiscreet,stammered Raoulvery ill at ease.

It is a heavy step,said Louise.

Ah! if it is only M. Malicorne,added Montalaisdo not disturb
yourselves.

Louise and Raoul looked at each other to inquire who M. Malicorne could
be.

There is no occasion to mind him,continued Montalais; "he is not
jealous."

But, mademoiselle - said Raoul.

Yes, I understand. Well, he is discreet as I am.

Good heavens!cried Louisewho had applied her ear to the doorwhich
had been left ajar; "it is my mother's step!"

Madame de Saint-Remy! Where shall I hide myself?exclaimed Raoul
catching at the dress of Montalaiswho looked quite bewildered.

Yes,said she; "yesI know the clicking of those pattens! It is our
excellent mother. M. le Vicomtewhat a pity it is the window looks upon
a stone pavementand that fifty paces below it."

Raoul glanced at the balcony in despair. Louise seized his arm and held
it tight.

Oh, how silly I am!said Montalais; "have I not the robe-of-ceremony
closet? It looks as if it were made on purpose."

It was quite time to act; Madame de Saint-Remy was coming up at a quicker
pace than usual. She gained the landing at the moment when Montalaisas
in all scenes of surprisesshut the closet by leaning with her back
against the door.

Ah!cried Madame de Saint-Remyyou are here, are you, Louise?

Yes, madame,replied shemore pale than if she had committed a great
crime.

Well, well!

Pray be seated, madame,said Montalaisoffering her a chairwhich she
placed so that the back was towards the closet.

Thank you, Mademoiselle Aure - thank you. Come, my child, be quick.

Where do you wish me to go, madame?

Why, home, to be sure; have you not to prepare your toilette?

What did you say?cried Montalaishastening to affect surpriseso
fearful was she that Louise would in some way commit herself.

You don't know the news, then?said Madame de Saint-Remy.

What news, madame, is it possible for two girls to learn up in this
dove-cote?


What! have you seen nobody?

Madame, you talk in enigmas, and you torment us at a slow fire!cried
Montalaiswhoterrified at seeing Louise become paler and palerdid
not know to what saint to put up her vows.

At length she caught an eloquent look of her companion'sone of those
looks which would convey intelligence to a brick wall. Louise directed
her attention to a hat - Raoul's unlucky hatwhich was set out in all
its feathery splendor upon the table.

Montalais sprang towards itandseizing it with her left handpassed
it behind her into the rightconcealing it as she was speaking.

Well,said Madame de Saint-Remya courier has arrived, announcing the
approach of the king. There, mesdemoiselles; there is something to make
you put on your best looks.

Quick, quick!cried Montalais. "Follow Madame your motherLouise; and
leave me to get ready my dress of ceremony."

Louise arose; her mother took her by the handand led her out on to the
landing.

Come along,said she; then adding in a low voiceWhen I forbid you to
come the apartment of Montalais, why do you do so?

Madame, she is my friend. Besides, I had but just come.

Did you see nobody concealed while you were there?

Madame!

I saw a man's hat, I tell you - the hat of that fellow, that good-fornothing!


Madame!repeated Louise.

Of that do-nothing Malicorne! A maid of honor to have such company –
fie! fie!and their voices were lost in the depths of the narrow
staircase.

Montalais had not missed a word of this conversationwhich echo conveyed
to her as if through a tunnel. She shrugged her shoulders on seeing
Raoulwho had listened likewiseissue from the closet.

Poor Montalais!said shethe victim of friendship! Poor Malicorne,
the victim of love!

She stopped on viewing the tragic-comic face of Raoulwho was vexed at
havingin one daysurprised so many secrets.

Oh, mademoiselle!said he; "how can we repay your kindness?"

Oh, we will balance accounts some day,said she. "For the present
begoneM. de Bragelonnefor Madame de Saint-Remy is not over indulgent;
and any indiscretion on her part might bring hither a domiciliary visit
which would be disagreeable to all parties."

But Louise - how shall I know -

Begone! begone! King Louis XI. knew very well what he was about when he
invented the post.


Alas!sighed Raoul.

And am I not here - I, who am worth all the posts in the kingdom?
Quick, I say, to horse! so that if Madame de Saint-Remy should return for
the purpose of preaching me a lesson on morality, she may not find you
here.

She would tell my father, would she not?murmured Raoul.

And you would be scolded. Ah, vicomte, it is very plain you come from
court; you are as timid as the king. _Peste!_ at Blois we contrive
better than that, to do without papa's consent. Ask Malicorne else!

And at these words the girl pushed Raoul out of the room by the
shoulders. He glided swiftly down to the porchregained his horse
mountedand set off as if he had had Monsieur's guards at his heels.

Chapter IV:
Father and Son.

Raoul followed the well-known roadso dear to his memorywhich led from
Blois to the residence of the Comte de la Fere.

The reader will dispense with a second description of that habitation:
heperhapshas been with us there beforeand knows it. Onlysince
our last journey thitherthe walls had taken on a grayer tintand the
brick-work assumed a more harmonious copper tone; the trees had grown
and many that then only stretched their slender branches along the tops
of the hedgesnowbushystrongand luxuriantcast aroundbeneath
boughs swollen with sapgreat shadows of blossoms or fruit for the
benefit of the traveler.

Raoul perceivedfrom a distancethe two little turretsthe dove-cote
in the elmsand the flights of pigeonswhich wheeled incessantly around
that brick coneseemingly without power to quit itlike the sweet
memories which hover round a spirit at peace.

As he approachedhe heard the noise of the pulleys which grated under
the weight of the heavy pails; he also fancied he heard the melancholy
moaning of the water which falls back again into the wells - a sad
funerealsolemn soundwhich strikes the ear of the child and the poet –
both dreamers - which the English call _splash_; Arabian poets
_gasgachau_; and which we Frenchmenwho would be poetscan only
translate by a paraphrase - _the noise of water falling into water_.

It was more than a year since Raoul had been to visit his father. He had
passed the whole time in the household of M. le Prince. In factafter
all the commotions of the Frondeof the early period of which we
formerly attempted to give a sketchLouis de Conde had made a public
solemn and frank reconciliation with the court. During all the time that
the rupture between the king and the prince had lastedthe princewho
had long entertained a great regard for Bragelonnehad in vain offered
him advantages of the most dazzling kind for a young man. The Comte de
la Ferestill faithful to his principles of loyaltyand royaltyone
day developed before his son in the vaults of Saint Denis- the Comte de
la Ferein the name of his sonhad always declined them. Moreover
instead of following M. de Conde in his rebellionthe vicomte had
followed M. de Turennefighting for the king. Then when M. de Turenne
in his turnhad appeared to abandon the royal causehe had quitted M.
de Turenneas he had quitted M. de Conde. It resulted from this
invariable line of conductthatas Conde and Turenne had never been
conquerors of each other but under the standard of the kingRaoul
however younghad ten victories inscribed on his list of servicesand


not one defeat from which his bravery or conscience had to suffer.

Raoulthereforehadin compliance with the wish of his fatherserved
obstinately and passively the fortunes of Louis XIV.in spite of the
tergiversations which were endemicandit might be saidinevitable
at that period.

M. de Conde; on being restored to favorhad at once availed himself of
all the privileges of the amnesty to ask for many things back again which
had been granted to him beforeand among othersRaoul. M. de la Fere
with his invariable good sensehad immediately sent him again to the
prince.
A yearthenhad passed away since the separation of the father and son;
a few letters had softenedbut not removedthe pain of absence. We
have seen that Raoul had left at Blois another love in addition to filial
love. But let us do him this justice - if it had not been for chance and
Mademoiselle de Montalaistwo great temptationsRaoulafter delivering
his messagewould have galloped off towards his father's houseturning
his head roundperhapsbut without stopping for a single instanteven
if Louise had held out her arms to him.

So the first part of the journey was given by Raoul to regretting the
past which he had been forced to quit so quicklythat is to sayhis
lady-love; and the other part to the friend he was about to joinso much
too slowly for his wishes.

Raoul found the garden-gate openand rode straight inwithout regarding
the long armsraised in angerof an old man dressed in a jacket of
violet-colored wooland a large cap of faded velvet.

The old manwho was weeding with his hands a bed of dwarf roses and
argueriteswas indignant at seeing a horse thus traversing his sanded
and nicely-raked walks. He even ventured a vigorous "Humph!" which made
the cavalier turn round. Then there was a change of scene; for no sooner
had he caught sight of Raoul's facethan the old man sprang up and set
off in the direction of the houseamidst interrupted growlingswhich
appeared to be paroxysms of wild delight.

When arrived at the stablesRaoul gave his horse to a little lackeyand
sprang up the _perron_ with an ardor that would have delighted the heart
of his father.

He crossed the ante-chamberthe dining-roomand the _salon_without
meeting any one; at lengthon reaching the door of M. de la Fere's
apartmenthe rapped impatientlyand entered almost without waiting for
the word "Enter!" which was vouchsafed him by a voice at once sweet and
serious. The comte was seated at a table covered with papers and books;
he was still the noblehandsome gentleman of former daysbut time had
given to this nobleness and beauty a more solemn and distinct character.
A brow white and void of wrinklesbeneath his long hairnow more white
than black; an eye piercing and mildunder the lids of a young man; his
mustachefine but slightly grizzledwaved over lips of a pure and
delicate modelas if they had never been curled by mortal passions; a
form straight and supple; an irreproachable but thin hand - this was what
remained of the illustrious gentleman whom so many illustrious mouths had
praised under the name of Athos. He was engaged in correcting the pages
of a manuscript bookentirely filled by his own hand.

Raoul seized his father by the shouldersby the neckas he couldand
embraced him so tenderly and so rapidlythat the comte had neither
strength nor time to disengage himselfor to overcome his paternal
emotions.


What! you here, Raoul - you! Is it possible?said he.

Oh, monsieur, monsieur, what joy to see you once again!

But you don't answer me, vicomte. Have you leave of absence, or has
some misfortune happened at Paris?

Thank Godmonsieur replied Raoul, calming himself by degrees,
nothing has happened but what is fortunate. The king is going to be
marriedas I had the honor of informing you in my last letterandon
his way to Spainhe will pass through Blois."

To pay a visit to Monsieur?

Yes, monsieur le comte. So, fearing to find him unprepared, or wishing
to be particularly polite to him, monsieur le prince sent me forward to
have the lodgings ready.

You have seen Monsieur?asked the comteeagerly.

I have had that honor.

At the castle?

Yes, monsieur,replied Raoulcasting down his eyesbecauseno doubt
he had felt there was something more than curiosity in the comte's
inquiries.

Ah, indeed, vicomte? Accept my compliments thereupon.

Raoul bowed.

But you have seen some one else at Blois?

Monsieur, I saw her royal highness, Madame.

That's very well: but it is not Madame that I mean.

Raoul colored deeplybut made no reply.

You do not appear to understand me, monsieur le vicomte,persisted M.
de la Ferewithout accenting his words more stronglybut with a rather
severer look.

I understand you quite plainly, monsieur,replied Raouland if I
hesitate a little in my reply, you are well assured I am not seeking for
a falsehood.

No, you cannot tell a lie; and that makes me so astonished you should be
so long in saying yes or no.

I cannot answer you without understanding you very well; and if I have
understood you, you will take my first words in ill part. You will
displeased, no doubt, monsieur le comte, because I have seen -

Mademoiselle de la Valliere - have you not?

It was of her you meant to speak, I know very well, monsieur,said
Raoulwith inexpressible sweetness.

And I asked you if you have seen her.

Monsieur, I was ignorant, when I entered the castle, that Mademoiselle
de la Valliere was there; it was only on my return, after I had performed


my mission, that chance brought us together. I have had the honor of
paying my respects to her.

But what do you call the chance that led you into the presence of
Mademoiselle de la Valliere?

Mademoiselle de Montalais, monsieur.

And who is Mademoiselle de Montalais?

A young lady I did not know before, whom I had never seen. She is maid
of honor to Madame.

Monsieur le vicomte, I will push my interrogatory no further, and
reproach myself with having carried it so far. I had desired you to
avoid Mademoiselle de la Valliere, and not to see her without my
permission. Oh, I am quite sure you have told me the truth, and that you
took no measures to approach her. Chance has done me this injury; I do
not accuse you of it. I will be content, then, with what I formerly said
to you concerning this young lady. I do not reproach her with anything –
God is my witness! only it is not my intention or wish that you should
frequent her place of residence. I beg you once more, my dear Raoul,
to understand that.

It was plain the limpid eyes of Raoul were troubled at this speech.

Now, my friend,said the comtewith his soft smileand in his
customary tonelet us talk of other matters. You are returning,
perhaps, to your duty?

No, monsieur, I have no duty for to-day, except the pleasure of
remaining with you. The prince kindly appointed me no other: which was
so much in accord with my wish.

Is the king well?

Perfectly.

And monsieur le prince also?

As usual, monsieur.

The comte forgot to inquire after Mazarin; that was an old habit.

Well, Raoul, since you are entirely mine, I will give up my whole day to
you. Embrace me - again, again! You are at home, vicomte! Ah, there is
our old Grimaud! Come in, Grimaud: monsieur le vicomte is desirous of
embracing you likewise.

The good old man did not require to be twice told; he rushed in with open
armsRaoul meeting him half-way.

Now, if you please, we will go into the garden, Raoul. I will show you
the new lodging I have had prepared for you during your leave of absence;
and whilst examining the last winter's plantations, and two saddle-horses
I have just acquired, you will give me all the news of our friends in
Paris.

The comte closed his manuscripttook the young man's armand went out
into the gardens with him.

Grimaud looked at Raoul with a melancholy air as the young man passed
out; observing that his head nearly touched the _traverse_ of the
doorwaystroking his white _royale_he slowly murmured:



How he has grown!


Chapter V:
In which Something will be said of Cropoli - of Cropoli and of a Great
Unknown Painter.


Whilst the Comte de la Fere with Raoul visits the new buildings he has
erectedand the new horses he has boughtwith the reader's permission
we will lead him back to the city of Bloisand make him a witness of
the unaccustomed activity which pervades that city.


It was in the hotels that the surprise of the news brought by Raoul was
most sensibly felt.


In factthe king and the court at Bloisthat is to saya hundred
horsementen carriagestwo hundred horsesas many lackeys as masters –
where was this crowd to be housed? Where were to be lodged all the
gentry of the neighborhoodwho would gather in two or three hours after
the news had enlarged the circle of its reportlike the increasing
circumferences produced by a stone thrown into a placid lake?


Bloisas peaceful in the morningas we have seenas the calmest lake
in the worldat the announcement of the royal arrivalwas suddenly
filled with the tumult and buzzing of a swarm of bees.


All the servants of the castleunder the inspection of the officers
were sent into the city in quest of provisionsand ten horsemen were
dispatched to the preserves of Chambord to seek for gameto the
fisheries of Beuvron for fishand to the gardens of Cheverny for fruits
and flowers.


Precious tapestriesand lusters with great gilt chainswere drawn from
the cupboards; an army of the poor were engaged in sweeping the courts
and washing the stone frontswhilst their wives went in droves to the
meadows beyond the Loireto gather green boughs and field-flowers. The
whole citynot to be behind in this luxury of cleanlinessassumed its
best toilette with the help of brushesbroomsand water. The gutters of
the upper townswollen by these continued ablutionsbecame rivers at
the bottom of the cityand the pavementgenerally very muddyit must
be allowedtook a clean faceand absolutely shone in the friendly rays
of the sun.


Next the music was to be provided; drawers were emptied; the shop-keepers
did a glorious trade in waxribbonsand sword-knots; housekeepers laid
in stores of breadmeatand spices. Already numbers of the citizens
whose houses were furnished as if for a siegehaving nothing more to do
donned their festive clothesand directed their course towards the city
gatein order to be the first to signal or see the _cortege_. They knew
very well that the king would not arrive before nightperhaps not before
the next morning. Yet what is expectation but a kind of follyand what
is that folly but an excess of hope?


In the lower cityat scarcely a hundred paces from the Castle of the
Statesbetween the mall and the castlein a sufficiently handsome street
then called the Rue Vieilleand which mustin facthave been very old
stood a venerable edificewith pointed gablesof squat but large
dimensionsornamented with three windows looking into the street on the
first floorwith two in the secondand with a little _oeil de boeuf_ in
the third.


On the sides of this triangle had recently been constructed a
parallelogram of considerable sizewhich encroached upon the street



remorselesslyaccording to the familiar uses of the building of that
period. The street was narrowed by a quarter by itbut then the house
was enlarged by a half; and was not that a sufficient compensation?

Tradition said that this house with the pointed gables was inhabitedin
the time of Henry III.by a councilor of state whom Queen Catherine
camesome say to visitand others to strangle. However that may be
the good lady must have stepped with a circumspect foot over the
threshold of this building.

After the councilor had died - whether by strangulation or naturally is
of no consequence - the house had been soldthen abandonedand lastly
isolated from the other houses of the street. Towards the middle of the
reign of Louis XIII. onlyan Italian named Cropoliescaped from the
kitchens of the Marechal d'Ancrecame and took possession of this
house. There he established a little hostelryin which was fabricated a
macaroni so delicious that people came from miles round to fetch it or
eat it.

So famous had the house become for itthat when Mary de Medici was a
prisoneras we knowin the castle of Bloisshe once sent for some.

It was precisely on the day she had escaped by the famous window. The
dish of macaroni was left upon the tableonly just tasted by the royal
mouth.

This double favorof a strangulation and a macaroniconferred upon the
triangular housegave poor Cropoli a fancy to grace his hostelry with a
pompous title. But his quality of an Italian was no recommendation in
these timesand his smallwell-concealed fortune forbade attracting too
much attention.

When he found himself about to diewhich happened in 1643just after
the death of Louis XIII.he called to him his sona young cook of great
promiseand with tears in his eyeshe recommended him to preserve
carefully the secret of the macaronito Frenchify his nameand at
lengthwhen the political horizon should be cleared from the clouds
which obscured it - this was practiced then as in our dayto order of
the nearest smith a handsome signupon which a famous painterwhom he
namedshould design two queens' portraitswith these words as a legend:
TO THE MEDICI.

The worthy Cropoliafter these recommendationshad only sufficient time
to point out to his young successor a chimneyunder the slab of which he
had hidden a thousand ten-franc piecesand then expired.

Cropoli the youngerlike a man of good heartsupported the loss with
resignationand the gain without insolence. He began by accustoming the
public to sound the final i of his name so littlethat by the aid of
general complaisancehe was soon called nothing but M. Cropolewhich is
quite a French name. He then marriedhaving had in his eye a little
French girlfrom whose parents he extorted a reasonable dowry by showing
them what there was beneath the slab of the chimney.

These two points accomplishedhe went in search of the painter who was
to paint the sign; and he was soon found. He was an old Italiana rival
of the Raphaels and the Caraccibut an unfortunate rival. He said he
was of the Venetian schooldoubtless from his fondness for color. His
worksof which he had never sold oneattracted the eye at a distance of
a hundred paces; but they so formidably displeased the citizensthat he
had finished by painting no more.

He boasted of having painted a bath-room for Madame la Marechale d'Ancre
and mourned over this chamber having been burnt at the time of the


marechal's disaster.

Cropoliin his character of a compatriotwas indulgent towards
Pittrinowhich was the name of the artist. Perhaps he had seen the
famous pictures of the bath-room. Be this as it mayhe held in such
esteemwe may say in such friendshipthe famous Pittrinothat he took
him in his own house.

Pittrinogratefuland fed with macaroniset about propagating the
reputation of this national dishand from the time of its founderhe
had renderedwith his indefatigable tonguesignal services to the house
of Cropoli.

As he grew old he attached himself to the son as he had done to the
fatherand by degrees became a kind of over-looker of a house in which
his remarkable integrityhis acknowledged sobrietyand a thousand other
virtues useless to enumerategave him an eternal place by the fireside
with a right of inspection over the domestics. Besides thisit was he
who tasted the macaronito maintain the pure flavor of the ancient
tradition; and it must be allowed that he never permitted a grain of
pepper too muchor an atom of parmesan too little. His joy was at its
height on that day when called upon to share the secret of Cropoli the
youngerand to paint the famous sign.

He was seen at once rummaging with ardor in an old boxin which he found
some brushesa little gnawed by the ratsbut still passable; some
linseed-oil in a bottleand a palette which had formerly belonged to
Bronzinothat _dieu de la pittoure_as the ultramontane artistin his
ever young enthusiasmalways called him.

Pittrino was puffed up with all the joy of a rehabilitation.

He did as Raphael had done- he changed his styleand paintedin the
fashion of Albanitwo goddesses rather than two queens. These
illustrious ladies appeared so lovely on the sign- they presented to
the astonished eyes such an assemblage of lilies and rosesthe
enchanting result of the changes of style in Pittrino - they assumed the
_poses_ of sirens so Anacreontically - that the principal _echevin_when
admitted to view this capital piece in the _salle_ of Cropoleat once
declared that these ladies were too handsomeof too animated a beauty
to figure as a sign in the eyes of passers-by.

To Pittrino he addedHis royal highness, Monsieur, who often comes into
our city, will not be much pleased to see his illustrious mother so
slightly clothed, and he will send you to the _oubliettes_ of the state;
for, remember, the heart of that glorious prince is not always tender.
You must efface either the two sirens or the legend, without which I
forbid the exhibition of the sign. I say this for your sake, Master
Cropole, as well for yours, Signor Pittrino.

What answer could be made to this? It was necessary to thank the
_echevin_ for his kindnesswhich Cropole did. But Pittrino remained
downcast and said he felt assured of what was about to happen.

The visitor was scarcely gone when Cropolecrossing his armssaid:
Well, master, what is to be done?

We must efface the legend,said Pittrinoin a melancholy tone. "I
have some excellent ivory-black; it will be done in a momentand we
will replace the Medici by the nymphs or the sirenswhichever you
prefer."

No,said Cropolethe will of my father must be carried out. My
father considered -


He considered the figures of the most importance,said Pittrino.

He thought most of the legend,said Cropole.

The proof of the importance in which he held the figures,said
Pittrinois that he desired they should be likenesses, and they are so.

Yes; but if they had not been so, who would have recognized them without
the legend? At the present day even, when the memory of the Blaisois
begins to be faint with regard to these two celebrated persons, who would
recognize Catherine and Mary without the words '_To the Medici_'?

But the figures?said Pittrinoin despair; for he felt that young
Cropole was right. "I should not like to lose the fruit of my labor."

And I should not wish you to be thrown into prison, and myself into the
_oubliettes_.

Let us efface 'Medici',said Pittrinosupplicatingly.

No,replied Cropolefirmly. "I have got an ideaa sublime idea –
your picture shall appearand my legend likewise. Does not 'Medici'
mean doctoror physicianin Italian?"

Yes, in the plural.

Well, then, you shall order another sign-frame of the smith; you shall
paint six physicians, and write underneath '_Aux Medici_' which makes a
very pretty play upon words.

Six physicians! impossible! And the composition?cried Pittrino.

That is your business - but so it shall be - I insist upon it - it must
be so - my macaroni is burning.

This reasoning was peremptory - Pittrino obeyed. He composed the sign of
six physicianswith the legend; the _echevin_ applauded and authorized
it.

The sign produced an extravagant success in the citywhich proves that
poetry has always been in the wrongbefore citizensas Pittrino said.

Cropoleto make amends to his painter-in-ordinaryhung up the nymphs of
the preceding sign in his bedroomwhich made Madame Cropole blush every
time she looked at itwhen she was undressing at night.

This is the way in which the pointed-gable house got a sign; and this is
how the hostelry of the Medicimaking a fortunewas found to be
enlarged by a quarteras we have described. And this is how there was
at Blois a hostelry of that nameand had for a painter-in-ordinary
Master Pittrino.

Chapter VI:
The Unknown.

Thus founded and recommended by its signthe hostelry of Master Cropole
held its way steadily on towards a solid prosperity.

It was not an immense fortune that Cropole had in perspective; but he
might hope to double the thousand louis d'or left by his fatherto make
another thousand louis by the sale of his house and stockand at length
to live happily like a retired citizen.


Cropole was anxious for gainand was half-crazy with joy at the news of
the arrival of Louis XIV.

Himselfhis wifePittrinoand two cooksimmediately laid hands upon
all the inhabitants of the dove-cotethe poultry-yardand the
rabbit-hutches; so that as many lamentations and cries resounded in the
yards of the hostelry of the Medici as were formerly heard in Rama.

Cropole hadat the timebut one single traveler in his house.

This was a man of scarcely thirty years of agehandsometallaustere
or rather melancholyin all his gestures and looks.

He was dressed in black velvet with jet trimmings; a white collaras
plain as that of the severest Puritanset off the whiteness of his
youthful neck; a small dark-colored mustache scarcely covered his curled
disdainful lip.

He spoke to people looking them full in the facewithout affectation
it is truebut without scruple; so that the brilliancy of his black eyes
became so insupportablethat more than one look had sunk beneath his
like the weaker sword in a single combat.

At this timein which menall created equal by Godwere divided
thanks to prejudicesinto two distinct castesthe gentlemen and the
commoneras they are really divided into two racesthe black and the
white- at this timewe sayhe whose portrait we have just sketched
could not fail of being taken for a gentlemanand of the best class.
To ascertain thisthere was no necessity to consult anything but his
handslongslenderand whiteof which every muscleevery vein
became apparent through the skin at the least movementand eloquently
spoke of good descent.

This gentlemanthenhad arrived alone at Cropole's house. He had
takenwithout hesitationwithout reflection eventhe principal
apartment which the _hotelier_ had pointed out to him with a rapacious
aimvery praiseworthysome will sayvery reprehensible will say
othersif they admit that Cropole was a physiognomistand judged people
at first sight.

This apartment was that which composed the whole front of the ancient
triangular house; a large _salon_lighted by two windows on the first
stagea small chamber by the side of itand another above it.

Nowfrom the time he had arrivedthis gentleman had scarcely touched
any repast that had been served up to him in his chamber. He had spoken
but two words to the hostto warn him that a traveler of the name of
Parry would arriveand to desire thatwhen he didhe should be shown
up to him immediately.

He afterwards preserved so profound a silencethat Cropole was almost
offendedso much did he prefer people who were good company.

This gentleman had risen early the morning of the day on which this
history beginsand had placed himself at the window of his _salon_
seated upon the ledgeand leaning upon the rail of the balconygazing
sadly but persistently on both sides of the streetwatchingno doubt
for the arrival of the traveler he had mentioned to the host.

In this way he had seen the little _cortege_ of Monsieur return from
huntingthen had again partaken of the profound tranquillity of the
streetabsorbed in his own expectations.


All at once the movement of the crowd going to the meadowscouriers
setting outwashers of pavementpurveyors of the royal household
gabblingscampering shop-boyschariots in motionhair-dressers on the
runand pages toiling alongthis tumult and bustle had surprised him
but without losing any of that impassible and supreme majesty which gives
to the eagle and the lion that serene and contemptuous glance amidst the
hurrahs and shouts of hunters or the curious.

Soon the cries of the victims slaughtered in the poultry-yardthe hasty
steps of Madame Cropole up that little wooden staircaseso narrow and so
echoing; the bounding pace of Pittrinowho only that morning was smoking
at the door with all the phlegm of a Dutchman; all this communicated
something like surprise and agitation to the traveler.

As he was rising to make inquiriesthe door of his chamber opened. The
unknown concluded they were about to introduce the impatiently expected
travelerand made three precipitate steps to meet him.

Butinstead of the person he expectedit was Master Cropole who
appearedand behind himin the half-dark staircasethe pleasant face
of Madame Cropole‚ rendered trivial by curiosity. She only gave one
furtive glance at the handsome gentlemanand disappeared.

Cropole advancedcap in handrather bent than bowing.

A gesture of the unknown interrogated himwithout a word being
pronounced.

Monsieur,said Cropole‚ "I come to ask how - what ought I to say: your
lordshipmonsieur le comteor monsieur le marquis?"

Say _monsieur_, and speak quickly,replied the unknownwith that
haughty accent which admits of neither discussion nor reply.

I came, then, to inquire how monsieur had passed the night, and if
monsieur intended to keep this apartment?

Yes.

Monsieur, something has happened upon which we could not reckon.

What?

His majesty Louis XIV. will enter our city to-day, and will remain here
one day, perhaps two.

Great astonishment was painted on the countenance of the unknown.

The King of France is coming to Blois?

He is on the road, monsieur.

Then there is the stronger reason for my remaining,said the unknown.

Very well; but will monsieur keep all the apartments?

I do not understand you. Why should I require less to-day than
yesterday?

Because, monsieur, your lordship will permit me to say, yesterday I did
not think proper, when you chose your lodging, to fix any price that
might have made your lordship believe that I prejudged your resources;
whilst to-day -


The unknown colored; the idea at once struck him that he was supposed to
be poorand was being insulted.

Whilst to-day,replied hecoldlyyou do not prejudge.

Monsieur, I am a well-meaning man, thank God! and simple _hotelier_ as I
am, there is in me the blood of a gentleman. My father was a servant and
officer of the late Marechal d'Ancre. God rest his soul!

I do not contest that point with you; I only wish to know, and that
quickly, to what your questions tend?

You are too reasonable, monsieur, not to comprehend that our city is
small, that the court is about to invade it, that the houses will be
overflowing with inhabitants, and that lodgings will consequently obtain
considerable prices.

Again the unknown colored. "Name your terms said he.

I name them with scruplemonsieurbecause I seek an honest gainand
that I wish to carry on my business without being uncivil or extravagant
in my demands. Now the room you occupy is considerableand you are
alone."

That is my business.

Oh! certainly. I do not mean to turn monsieur out.

The blood rushed to the temples of the unknown; he darted at poor
Cropole‚ the descendant of one of the officers of the Marechal d'Ancrea
glance that would have crushed him down to beneath that famous chimney-
slabif Cropole had not been nailed to the spot by the question of his
own proper interests.

Do you desire me to go?said he. "Explain yourself - but quickly."

Monsieur, monsieur, you do not understand me. It is very critical - I
know - that which I am doing. I express myself badly, or perhaps, as
monsieur is a foreigner, which I perceive by his accent -

In factthe unknown spoke with that impetuosity which is the principal
character of English accentuationeven among men who speak the French
language with the greatest purity.

As monsieur is a foreigner, I say, it is perhaps he who does not catch
my exact meaning. I wish for monsieur to give up one or two of the
apartments he occupies, which would diminish his expenses and ease my
conscience. Indeed, it is hard to increase unreasonably the price of the
chambers, when one has had the honor to let them at a reasonable price.

How much does the hire amount to since yesterday?

Monsieur, to one louis, with refreshments and the charge for the horse.

Very well; and that of to-day?

Ah! there is the difficulty. This is the day of the king's arrival; if
the court comes to sleep here, the charge of the day is reckoned. From
that it results that three chambers, at two louis each, make six louis.
Two louis, monsieur, are not much; but six louis make a great deal.

The unknownfrom redas we have seen himbecame very pale.

He drew from his pocketwith heroic braverya purse embroidered with a


coat-of-armswhich he carefully concealed in the hollow of his hand.
This purse was of a thinnessa flabbinessa hollownesswhich did not
escape the eye of Cropole.

The unknown emptied the purse into his hand. It contained three double
louiswhich amounted to the six louis demanded by the host.

But it was seven that Cropole had required.

He lookedthereforeat the unknownas much as to sayAnd then?

There remains one louis, does there not, master hotelier?

Yes, monsieur, but -

The unknown plunged his hand into the pocket of his _haut-de-chausses_
and emptied it. It contained a small pocket-booka gold keyand some
silver. With this changehe made up a louis.

Thank you, monsieur,said Cropole. "It now only remains for me to ask
whether monsieur intends to occupy his apartments to-morrowin which
case I will reserve them for him; whereasif monsieur does not mean to
do soI will promise them to some of the king's people who are coming."

That is but right,said the unknownafter a long silence; "but as I
have no more moneyas you have seenand as I yet must retain the
apartmentsyou must either sell this diamond in the cityor hold it
in pledge."

Cropole looked at the diamond so longthat the unknown saidhastily:

I prefer your selling it, monsieur; for it is worth three hundred
pistoles. A Jew - are there any Jews in Blois? - would give you two
hundred or a hundred and fifty for it - take whatever may be offered for
it, if it be no more than the price of your lodging. Begone!

Oh! monsieur,replied Cropole‚ ashamed of the sudden inferiority which
the unknown reflected upon him by this noble and disinterested
confidenceas well as by the unalterable patience opposed to so many
suspicions and evasions. "OhmonsieurI hope people are not so
dishonest at Blois as you seem to think; and that the diamondbeing
worth what you say - "

The unknown here again darted at Cropole one of his withering glances.

I really do not understand diamonds, monsieur, I assure you,cried he.

But the jewelers do: ask them,said the unknown. "Now I believe our
accounts are settledare they notmonsieur l'hote?"

Yes, monsieur, and to my profound regret; for I fear I have offended
monsieur.

Not at all!replied the unknownwith ineffable majesty.

Or have appeared to be extortionate with a noble traveler. Consider,
monsieur, the peculiarity of the case.

Say no more about it, I desire; and leave me to myself.

Cropole bowed profoundlyand left the room with a stupefied airwhich
announced that he had a good heartand felt genuine remorse.

The unknown himself shut the door after himandwhen left alonelooked


mournfully at the bottom of the pursefrom which he had taken a small
silken bag containing the diamondhis last resource.

He dwelt likewise upon the emptiness of his pocketsturned over the
papers in his pocket-bookand convinced himself of the state of absolute
destitution in which he was about to be plunged.

He raised his eyes towards heavenwith a sublime emotion of despairing
calmnessbrushed off with his hand some drops of sweat which trickled
over his noble browand then cast down upon the earth a look which just
before had been impressed with almost divine majesty.

That the storm had passed far from himperhaps he had prayed in the
bottom of his soul.

He drew near to the windowresumed his place in the balconyand
remained theremotionlessannihilateddeadtill the moment whenthe
heavens beginning to darkenthe first flambeaux traversed the enlivened
streetand gave the signal for illumination to all the windows of the
city.

Chapter VII:
Parry.

Whilst the unknown was viewing these lights with interestand lending an
ear to the various noisesMaster Cropole entered his apartmentfollowed
by two attendantswho laid the cloth for his meal.

The stranger did not pay them the least attention; but Cropole
approaching him respectfullywhisperedMonsieur, the diamond has been
valued.

Ah!said the traveler. "Well?"

Well, monsieur, the jeweler of S. A. R. gives two hundred and eighty
pistoles for it.

Have you them?

I thought it best to take them, monsieur; nevertheless, I made it a
condition of the bargain, that if monsieur wished to keep his diamond, it
should be held till monsieur was again in funds.

Oh, no, not at all: I told you to sell it.

Then I have obeyed, or nearly so, since, without having definitely sold
it, I have touched the money.

Pay yourself,added the unknown.

I will do so, monsieur, since you so positively require it.

A sad smile passed over the lips of the gentleman.

Place the money on that trunk,said heturning round and pointing to
the piece of furniture.

Cropole deposited a tolerably large bag as directedafter having taken
from it the amount of his reckoning.

Now,said heI hope monsieur will not give me the pain of not taking
any supper. Dinner has already been refused; this is affronting to the
house of _les Medici_. Look, monsieur, the supper is on the table, and I


venture to say that it is not a bad one.

The unknown asked for a glass of winebroke off a morsel of breadand
did not stir from the window whilst he ate and drank.

Shortly after was heard a loud flourish of trumpets; cries arose in the
distancea confused buzzing filled the lower part of the cityand the
first distinct sound that struck the ears of the stranger was the tramp
of advancing horses.

The king! the king!repeated a noisy and eager crowd.

The king!cried Cropoleabandoning his guest and his ideas of
delicacyto satisfy his curiosity.

With Cropole were mingledand jostledon the staircaseMadame Cropole
Pittrinoand the waiters and scullions.

The _cortege_ advanced slowlylighted by a thousand flambeauxin the
streets and from the windows.

After a company of musketeersa closely ranked troop of gentlemencame
the litter of monsieur le cardinaldrawn like a carriage by four black
horses. The pages and people of the cardinal marched behind.

Next came the carriage of the queen-motherwith her maids of honor at
the doorsher gentlemen on horseback at both sides.

The king then appearedmounted upon a splendid horse of Saxon breed
with a flowing mane. The young prince exhibitedwhen bowing to some
windows from which issued the most animated acclamationsa noble and
handsome countenanceilluminated by the flambeaux of his pages.

By the side of the kingthough a little in the rearthe Prince de
CondeM. Dangeauand twenty other courtiersfollowed by their people
and their baggageclosed this veritably triumphant march. The pomp was
of a military character.

Some of the courtiers - the elder onesfor instance - wore traveling
dresses; but all the rest were clothed in warlike panoply. Many wore the
gorget and buff coat of the times of Henry IV. and Louis XIII.

When the king passed before himthe unknownwho had leant forward over
the balcony to obtain a better viewand who had concealed his face by
leaning on his armfelt his heart swell and overflow with a bitter
jealousy.

The noise of the trumpets excited him - the popular acclamations deafened
him: for a moment he allowed his reason to be absorbed in this flood of
lightstumultand brilliant images.

He is a king!murmured hein an accent of despair.

Thenbefore he had recovered from his sombre reverieall the noiseall
the splendorhad passed away. At the angle of the street there remained
nothing beneath the stranger but a few hoarsediscordant voices
shouting at intervals "_Vive le Roi!_"

There remained likewise the six candles held by the inhabitants of the
hostelry _des Medici_; that is to saytwo for Cropoletwo for Pittrino
and one for each scullion. Cropole never ceased repeatingHow
good-looking the king is! How strongly he resembles his illustrious
father!


A handsome likeness!said Pittrino.

And what a lofty carriage he has!added Madame Cropolealready in
promiscuous commentary with her neighbors of both sexes.

Cropole was feeding their gossip with his own personal remarkswithout
observing that an old man on footbut leading a small Irish horse by the
bridlewas endeavoring to penetrate the crowd of men and women which
blocked up the entrance to the _Medici_. But at that moment the voice of
the stranger was heard from the window.

Make way, monsieur l'hotelier, to the entrance of your house!

Cropole turned aroundandon seeing the old mancleared a passage for
him.

The window was instantly closed.

Pittrino pointed out the way to the newly-arrived guestwho entered
without uttering a word.

The stranger waited for him on the landing; he opened his arms to the old
manand led him to a seat.

Oh, no, no, my lord!said he. "Sit down in your presence? - never!"

Parry,cried the gentlemanI beg you will; you come from England –
you come so far. Ah! it is not for your age to undergo the fatigues my
service requires. Rest yourself.

I have my reply to give your lordship, in the first place.

Parry, I conjure you to tell me nothing; for if your news had been good,
you would not have begun in such a manner; you go about, which proves
that the news is bad.

My lord,said the old mando not hasten to alarm yourself; all is not
lost, I hope. You must employ energy, but more particularly resignation.

Parry,said the young manI have reached this place through a
thousand snares and after a thousand difficulties; can you doubt my
energy? I have meditated this journey ten years, in spite of all
counsels and all obstacles - have you faith in my perseverance? I have
this evening sold the last of my father's diamonds; for I had nothing
wherewith to pay for my lodgings and my host was about to turn me out.

Parry made a gesture of indignationto which the young man replied by a
pressure of the hand and a smile.

I have still two hundred and seventy-four pistoles left and I feel
myself rich. I do not despair, Parry; have you faith in my resignation?

The old man raised his trembling hands towards heaven.

Let me know,said the stranger- "disguise nothing from me - what has
happened?"

My recital will be short, my lord; but in the name of Heaven do not
tremble so.

It is impatience, Parry. Come, what did the general say to you?

At first the general would not receive me.


He took you for a spy?

Yes, my lord; but I wrote him a letter.

Well?

He read it, and received me, my lord.

Did that letter thoroughly explain my position and my views?

Oh, yes!said Parrywith a sad smile; "it painted your very thoughts
faithfully."

Well - then, Parry.

Then the general sent me back the letter by an aide-de-camp, informing
me that if I were found the next day within the circumscription of his
command, he would have me arrested.

Arrested!murmured the young man. "What! arrest youmy most faithful
servant?"

Yes, my lord.

And notwithstanding you had signed the name _Parry?_

To all my letters, my lord; and the aide-de-camp had known me at St.
James's and at Whitehall, too,added the old man with a sigh.

The young man leaned forwardthoughtful and sad.

Ay, that's what he did before his people,said heendeavoring to cheat
himself with hopes. "Butprivately - between you and him - what did he
do? Answer!"

Alas! my lord, he sent to me four cavaliers, who gave me the horse with
which you just now saw me come back. These cavaliers conducted me, in
great haste, to the little port of Tenby, threw me, rather than embarked
me, into a little fishing-boat, about to sail for Brittany, and here I
am.

Oh!sighed the young manclasping his neck convulsively with his hand
and with a sob. "Parryis that all? - is that all?"

Yes, my lord; that is all.

After this brief reply ensued a long interval of silencebroken only by
the convulsive beating of the heel of the young man on the floor.

The old man endeavored to change the conversation; it was leading to
thoughts much too sinister.

My lord,said hewhat is the meaning of all the noise which preceded
me? What are these people crying '_Vive le Roi!_' for? What king do they
mean? and what are all these lights for?

Ah! Parry,replied the young man ironicallydon't you know that this
is the King of France visiting his good city of Blois? All these trumpets
are his, all those gilded housings are his, all those gentlemen wear
swords that are his. His mother precedes him in a carriage magnificently
encrusted with silver and gold. Happy mother! His minister heaps up
millions, and conducts him to a rich bride. Then all these people
rejoice; they love their king, they hail him with their acclamations, and
they cry, '_Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi!_'


Well, well, my lord,said Parrymore uneasy at the turn the
conversation had taken than at the other.


You know,resumed the unknownthat _my_ mother and _my_ sister,
whilst all this is going on in honor of the King of France, have neither
money nor bread; you know that I myself shall be poor and degraded within
a fortnight, when all Europe will become acquainted with what you have
told me. Parry, are there not examples in which a man of my condition
should himself -


My lord, in the name of Heaven -


You are right, Parry; I am a coward, and if I do nothing for myself,
what will God do? No, no; I have two arms, Parry, and I have a sword.
And he struck his arm violently with his handand took down his sword
which hung against the wall.


What are you going to do, my lord?


What am I going to do, Parry? What every one in my family does. My
mother lives on public charity, my sister begs for my mother; I have,
somewhere or other, brothers who equally beg for themselves; and I, the
eldest, will go and do as all the rest do - I will go and ask charity!


And with these wordswhich he finished sharply with a nervous and
terrible laughthe young man girded on his swordtook his hat from the
trunkfastened to his shoulder a black cloakwhich he had worn all
during his journeyand pressing the two hands of the old manwho
watched his proceedings with a look of anxiety-


My good Parry,said heorder a fire, drink, eat, sleep, and be
happy; let us both be happy, my faithful friend, my only friend. We are
rich, as rich as kings!


He struck the bag of pistoles with his clenched hand as he spokeand it
fell heavily to the ground. He resumed that dismal laugh that had so
alarmed Parry; and whilst the whole household was screamingsingingand
preparing to install the travelers who had been preceded by their
lackeyshe glided out by the principal entrance into the streetwhere
the old manwho had gone to the windowlost sight of him in a moment.


Chapter VIII:
What his Majesty King Louis XIV. was at the Age of Twenty-Two.


It has been seenby the account we have endeavored to give of itthat
the _entree_ of King Louis XIV. into the city of Blois had been noisy and
brilliant; his young majesty had therefore appeared perfectly satisfied
with it.


On arriving beneath the porch of the Castle of the Statesthe king met
surrounded by his guards and gentlemenwith S. A. R. the dukeGaston of
Orleanswhose physiognomynaturally rather majestichad borrowed on
this solemn occasion a fresh luster and a fresh dignity. On her part
Madamedressed in her robes of ceremonyawaitedin the interior
balconythe entrance of her nephew. All the windows of the old castle
so deserted and dismal on ordinary dayswere resplendent with ladies and
lights.


It was then to the sound of drumstrumpetsand _vivats_that the young
king crossed the threshold of that castle in whichseventy-two years
beforeHenry III. had called in the aid of assassination and treachery
to keep upon his head and in his house a crown which was already slipping



from his browto fall into another family.

All eyesafter having admired the young kingso handsome and so
agreeablesought for that other king of Francemuch otherwise king than
the formerand so oldso paleso bentthat people called the Cardinal
Mazarin.

Louis was at this time endowed with all the natural gifts which make the
perfect gentleman; his eye was brilliantmildand of a clear azure
blue. But the most skillful physiognomiststhose divers into the soul
on fixing their looks upon itif it had been possible for a subject to
sustain the glance of the king- the most skillful physiognomistswe
saywould never have been able to fathom the depths of that abyss of
mildness. It was with the eyes of the king as with the immense depths of
the azure heavensor with those more terrificand almost as sublime
which the Mediterranean reveals under the keels of its ships in a clear
summer daya gigantic mirror in which heaven delights to reflect sometimes
its starssometimes its storms.

The king was short of stature - he was scarcely five feet two inches: but
his youth made up for this defectset off likewise by great nobleness in
all his movementsand by considerable address in all bodily exercises.

Certeshe was already quite a kingand it was a great thing to be a
king in that period of traditional devotedness and respect; but asup to
that timehe had been but seldom and always poorly shown to the people
as they to whom he was shown saw him by the side of his mothera tall
womanand monsieur le cardinala man of commanding presencemany found
him so little of a king as to say


Why, the king is not so tall as monsieur le cardinal!

Whatever may be thought of these physical observationswhich were
principally made in the capitalthe young king was welcomed as a god by
the inhabitants of Bloisand almost like a king by his uncle and aunt
Monsieur and Madamethe inhabitants of the castle.

It musthoweverbe allowedthat when he sawin the hall of reception
chairs of equal height for himselfhis motherthe cardinaland his
uncle and aunta disposition artfully concealed by the semi-circular
form of the assemblyLouis XIV. became red with angerand looked around
him to ascertain by the countenances of those that were presentif this
humiliation had been prepared for him. But as he saw nothing upon the
impassible visage of the cardinalnothing on that of his mothernothing
on those of the assemblyhe resigned himselfand sat downtaking care
to be seated before anybody else.

The gentlemen and ladies were presented to their majesties and monsieur
le cardinal.

The king remarked that his mother and he scarcely knew the names of any
of the persons who were presented to them; whilst the cardinalon the
contrarynever failedwith an admirable memory and presence of mindto
talk to every one about his estateshis ancestorsor his childrensome
of whom he namedwhich enchanted those worthy country gentlemenand
confirmed them in the idea that he alone is truly king who knows his
subjectsfrom the same reason that the sun has no rivalbecause the sun
alone warms and lightens.

The study of the young kingwhich had begun a long time beforewithout
anybody suspecting itwas continued thenand he looked around him
attentively to endeavor to make out something in the physiognomies which
had at first appeared the most insignificant and trivial.


A collation was served. The kingwithout daring to call upon the
hospitality of his unclehad waited for it impatiently. This time
thereforehe had all the honors dueif not to his rankat least to his
appetite.

As to the cardinalhe contented himself with touching with his withered
lips a _bouillon_served in a golden cup. The all-powerful minister
who had taken her regency from the queenand his royalty from the king
had not been able to take a good stomach from nature.

Anne of Austriaalready suffering from the cancer which six or eight
years after caused her deathate very little more than the cardinal.

For Monsieuralready puffed up with the great event which had taken
place in his provincial lifehe ate nothing whatever.

Madame alonelike a true Lorrainerkept pace with his majesty; so that
Louis XIV.whowithout this partnermight have eaten nearly alonewas
at first much pleased with his auntand afterwards with M. de Saint-
Remyher _maitre d'hotel_who had really distinguished himself.

The collation overat a sign of approbation from M. de Mazarinthe king
aroseandat the invitation of his auntwalked about among the ranks
of the assembly.

The ladies then observed - there are certain things for which women are
as good observers at Blois as at Paris -the ladies then observed that
Louis XIV. had a prompt and bold lookwhich premised a distinguished
appreciator of beauty. The menon their partobserved that the prince
was proud and haughtythat he loved to look down those who fixed their
eyes upon him too long or too earnestlywhich gave presage of a master.

Louis XIV. had accomplished about a third of his review when his ears
were struck with a word which his eminence pronounced whilst conversing
with Monsieur.

This word was the name of a woman.

Scarcely had Louis XIV. heard this word than he heardor rather
listening to nothing else; and neglecting the arc of the circle which
awaited his visithis object seemed to be to come as quickly as possible
to the extremity of the curve.

Monsieurlike a good courtierwas inquiring of monsieur le cardinal
after the health of his nieces; he regrettedhe saidnot having the
pleasure of receiving them at the same time with their uncle; they must
certainly have grown in staturebeauty and graceas they had promised
to do the last time Monsieur had seen them.

What had first struck the king was a certain constraint in the voices of
the two interlocutors. The voice of Monsieur was calm and natural when
he spoke thus; while that of M. de Mazarin jumped by a note and a half to
reply above the diapason of his usual voice. It might have been said
that he wished that voice to strikeat the end of the _salon_any ear
that was too distant.

Monseigneur,replied heMesdemoiselles de Mazarin have still to
finish their education: they have duties to fulfill, and a position to
make. An abode in a young and brilliant court would dissipate them a
little.

Louisat this last sentencesmiled sadly. The court was youngit was
truebut the avarice of the cardinal had taken good care that it should
not be brilliant.


You have nevertheless no intention,replied Monsieurto cloister them
or make them _borgeoises?_

Not at all,replied the cardinalforcing his Italian pronunciation in
such a manner thatfrom soft and velvety as it wasit became sharp and
vibrating; "not at all: I have a full and fixed intention to marry them
and that as well as I shall be able."

Parties will not be wanting, monsieur le cardinal,replied Monsieur
with a _bonhomie_ worthy of one tradesman congratulating another.

I hope not, monseigneur, and with reason, as God has been pleased to
give them grace, intelligence, and beauty.

During this conversationLouis XIV.conducted by Madameaccomplished
as we have describedthe circle of presentations.

Mademoiselle Auricule,said the princesspresenting to his majesty a
fatfair girl of two-and-twentywho at a village _fete_ might have been
taken for a peasant in Sunday finery- "the daughter of my music-
mistress."

The king smiled. Madame had never been able to extract four correct
notes from either viol or harpsichord.

Mademoiselle Aure de Montalais,continued Madame; "a young lady of
rankand my good attendant."

This time it was not the king that smiled; it was the young lady
presentedbecausefor the first time in her lifeshe heardgiven to
her by Madamewho generally showed no tendency to spoil hersuch an
honorable qualification.

Our old acquaintance Montalaisthereforemade his majesty a profound
courtesythe more respectful from the necessity she was under of
concealing certain contractions of her laughing lipswhich the king
might not have attributed to their real cause.

It was just at this moment that the king caught the word which startled
him.

And the name of the third?asked Monsieur.

Mary, monseigneur,replied the cardinal.

There was doubtless some magical influence in that wordforas we have
saidthe king started in hearing itand drew Madame towards the middle
of the circleas if he wished to put some confidential question to her
butin realityfor the sake of getting nearer to the cardinal.

Madame, my aunt,said helaughingand in a suppressed voicemy
geography-master did not teach me that Blois was at such an immense
distance from Paris.

What do you mean, nephew?asked Madame.

Why, because it would appear that it requires several years, as regards
fashion, to travel the distance! - Look at those young ladies!

Well; I know them all.

Some of them are pretty.


Don't say that too loud, monsieur my nephew; you will drive them wild.

Stop a bit, stop a bit, dear aunt!said the kingsmiling; "for the
second part of my sentence will serve as a corrective to the first.
Wellmy dear auntsome of them appear old and others uglythanks to
their ten-year-old fashions."

But, sire, Blois is only five days' journey from Paris.

Yes, that is it,said the king: "two years behind for each day."

Indeed! do you really think so? Well, that is strange! It never struck
me.

Now, look, aunt,said Louis XIV.drawing still nearer to Mazarin
under the pretext of gaining a better point of viewlook at that simple
white dress by the side of those antiquated specimens of finery, and
those pretentious coiffures. She is probably one of my mother's maids
of honor, though I don't know her.

Ah! ah! my dear nephew!replied Madamelaughing; "permit me to tell
you that your divinatory science is at fault for once. The young lady
you honor with your praise is not a Parisianbut a Blaisoise."

Oh, aunt!replied the king with a look of doubt.

Come here, Louise,said Madame.

And the fair girlalready known to you under that nameapproached them
timidblushingand almost bent beneath the royal glance.

Mademoiselle Louise Francoise de la Beaume le Blanc, the daughter of the
Marquise de la Valliere,said Madameceremoniously.

The young girl bowed with so much gracemingled with the profound
timidity inspired by the presence of the kingthat the latter lost
while looking at hera few words of the conversation of Monsieur and
the cardinal.

Daughter-in-law,continued Madameof M. de Saint-Remy, my _maitre
d'hotel_, who presided over the confection of that excellent _daube
truffee_ which your majesty seemed so much to appreciate.

No graceno youthno beautycould stand out against such a
presentation. The king smiled. Whether the words of Madame were a
pleasantryor uttered in all innocencythey proved the pitiless
immolation of everything that Louis had found charming or poetic in the
young girl. Mademoiselle de la Vallierefor Madame andby reboundfor
the kingwasfor a momentno more than the daughter of a man of a
superior talent over _dindes truffees_.

But princes are thus constituted. The godstoowere just like this in
Olympus. Diana and Venusno doubtabused the beautiful Alcmena and
poor Iowhen they condescended for distraction's saketo speakamidst
nectar and ambrosiaof mortal beautiesat the table of Jupiter.

FortunatelyLouise was so bent in her reverential salutethat she did
not catch either Madame's words or the king's smile. In factif the
poor childwho had so much good taste as alone to have chosen to dress
herself in white amidst all her companions - if that dove's heartso
easily accessible to painful emotionshad been touched by the cruel
words of Madameor the egotistical cold smile of the kingit would
have annihilated her.


And Montalais herselfthe girl of ingenious ideaswould not have
attempted to recall her to life; for ridicule kills beauty even.

But fortunatelyas we have saidLouisewhose ears were buzzingand
her eyes veiled by timidity- Louise saw nothing and heard nothing; and
the kingwho had still his attention directed to the conversation of the
cardinal and his unclehastened to return to them.

He came up just at the moment Mazarin terminated by saying: "Maryas
well as her sistershas just set off for Brouage. I make them follow
the opposite bank of the Loire to that along which we have traveled; and
if I calculate their progress correctlyaccording to the orders I have
giventhey will to-morrow be opposite Blois."

These words were pronounced with that tact - that measurethat
distinctness of toneof intentionand reach - which made _del Signor
Giulio Mazarini_ the first comedian in the world.

It resulted that they went straight to the heart of Louis XIV.and the
cardinalon turning round at the simple noise of the approaching
footsteps of his majestysaw the immediate effect of them upon the
countenance of his pupilan effect betrayed to the keen eyes of his
eminence by a slight increase of color. But what was the ventilation of
such a secret to him whose craft had for twenty years deceived all the
diplomatists of Europe?

From the moment the young king heard these last wordshe appeared as if
he had received a poisoned arrow in his heart. He could not remain quiet
in a placebut cast around an uncertaindeadand aimless look over the
assembly. He with his eyes interrogated his mother more than twenty
times: but shegiven up to the pleasure of conversing with her sister-inlaw
and likewise constrained by the glance of Mazarindid not appear to
comprehend any of the supplications conveyed by the looks of her son.

From this momentmusiclightsflowersbeautiesall became odious and
insipid to Louis XIV. After he had a hundred times bitten his lips
stretched his legs and his arms like a well-brought-up childwho
without daring to gapeexhausts all the modes of evincing his weariness

-after having uselessly again implored his mother and the ministerhe
turned a despairing look towards the doorthat is to saytowards
liberty.
At this doorin the embrasure of which he was leaninghe sawstanding
out stronglya figure with a brown and lofty countenancean aquiline
nosea stern but brilliant eyegray and long haira black mustache
the true type of military beautywhose gorgetmore sparkling than a
mirrorbroke all the reflected lights which concentrated upon itand
sent them back as lightning. This officer wore his gray hat with its
long red plumes upon his heada proof that he was called there by his
dutyand not by his pleasure. If he had been brought thither by his
pleasure - if he had been a courtier instead of a soldieras pleasure
must always be paid for at the same price - he would have held his hat in
his hand.

That which proved still better that this officer was upon dutyand was
accomplishing a task to which he was accustomedwasthat he watched
with folded armsremarkable indifferenceand supreme apathythe joys
and _ennuis_ of this _fete_. Above allhe appearedlike a philosopher
and all old soldiers are philosophers- he appeared above all to
comprehend the _ennuis_ infinitely better than the joys; but in the one
he took his partknowing very well how to do without the other.

Nowhe was leaningas we have saidagainst the carved door-frame when
the melancholyweary eyes of the kingby chancemet his.


It was not the first timeas it appearedthat the eyes of the officer
had met those eyesand he was perfectly acquainted with the expression
of them; foras soon as he had cast his own look upon the countenance of
Louis XIV.and had read by it what was passing in his heart - that is to
sayall the _ennui_ that oppressed him - all the timid desire to go out
which agitated him- he perceived he must render the king a service
without his commanding it- almost in spite of himself. Boldly
thereforeas if he had given the word of command to cavalry in battle
On the king's service!cried hein a clearsonorous voice.

At these wordswhich produced the effect of a peal of thunder
prevailing over the orchestrathe singing and the buzz of the
promenadersthe cardinal and the queen-mother looked at each other
with surprise.

Louis XIV.palebut resolvedsupported as he was by that intuition of
his own thought which he had found in the mind of the officer of
musketeersand which he had just manifested by the order givenarose
from his chairand took a step towards the door.

Are you going, my son?said the queenwhilst Mazarin satisfied himself
with interrogating by a look which might have appeared mild if it had not
been so piercing.

Yes, madame,replied the king; "I am fatiguedandbesideswish to
write this evening."

A smile stole over the lips of the ministerwho appearedby a bend of
the headto give the king permission.

Monsieur and Madame hastened to give orders to the officers who presented
themselves.

The king bowedcrossed the halland gained the doorwhere a hedge of
twenty musketeers awaited him. At the extremity of this hedge stood the
officerimpassiblewith his drawn sword in his hand. The king passed
and all the crowd stood on tip-toeto have one more look at him.

Ten musketeersopening the crowd of the ante-chambers and the steps
made way for his majesty. The other ten surrounded the king and
Monsieurwho had insisted upon accompanying his majesty. The domestics
walked behind. This little _cortege_ escorted the king to the chamber
destined for him. The apartment was the same that had been occupied by
Henry III. during his sojourn in the States.

Monsieur had given his orders. The musketeersled by their officer
took possession of the little passage by which one wing of the castle
communicates with the other. This passage was commenced by a small
square ante-chamberdark even in the finest days. Monsieur stopped
Louis XIV.

You are passing now, sire,said hethe very spot where the Duc de
Guise received the first stab of the poniard.

The king was ignorant of all historical matters; he had heard of the
factbut he knew nothing of the localities or the details.

Ah!said he with a shudder.

And he stopped. The restboth behind and before himstopped likewise.

The duc, sire,continued Gastonwas nearly were I stand: he was
walking in the same direction as your majesty; M. de Loignac was exactly


where your lieutenant of musketeers is; M. de Saint-Maline and his
majesty's ordinaries were behind him and around him. It was here that he
was struck.

The king turned towards his officerand saw something like a cloud pass
over his martial and daring countenance.

Yes, from behind!murmured the lieutenantwith a gesture of supreme
disdain. And he endeavored to resume the marchas if ill at ease at
being between walls formerly defiled by treachery.

But the kingwho appeared to wish to be informedwas disposed to give
another look at this dismal spot.

Gaston perceived his nephew's desire.

Look, sire,said hetaking a flambeaux from the hands of M. de Saint-
Remythis is where he fell. There was a bed there, the curtains of
which he tore with catching at them.

Why does the floor seem hollowed out at this spot?asked Louis.

Because it was here the blood flowed,replied Gaston; "the blood
penetrated deeply into the oakand it was only by cutting it out that
they succeeded in making it disappear. And even then added Gaston,
pointing the flambeaux to the spot, even then this red stain resisted
all the attempts made to destroy it."

Louis XIV. raised his head. Perhaps he was thinking of that bloody trace
that had once been shown him at the Louvreand whichas a pendant to
that of Bloishad been made there one day by the king his father with
the blood of Concini.

Let us go on,said he.

The march was resumed promptly; for emotionno doubthad given to the
voice of the young prince a tone of command which was not customary with
him. When he arrived at the apartment destined for the kingwhich
communicated not only with the little passage we have passed throughbut
further with the great staircase leading to the court


Will your majesty,said Gastoncondescend to occupy this apartment,
all unworthy as it is to receive you?

Uncle,replied the young kingI render you my thanks for your cordial
hospitality.

Gaston bowed to his nephewembraced himand then went out.

Of the twenty musketeers who had accompanied the kingten reconducted
Monsieur to the reception-roomswhich were not yet empty
notwithstanding the king had retired.

The ten others were posted by their officerwho himself exploredin
five minutesall the localitieswith that cold and certain glance which
not even habit gives unless that glance belongs to genius.

Thenwhen all were placedhe chose as his headquarters the antechamber
in which he found a large _fauteuil_a lampsome winesome
waterand some dry bread.

He refreshed his lampdrank half a glass of winecurled his lip with a
smile full of expressioninstalled himself in his large armchairand
made preparations for sleeping.


Chapter IX:
In which the Unknown of the Hostelry of Les Medici loses his Incognito.


This officerwho was sleepingor preparing to sleepwas
notwithstanding his careless aircharged with a serious responsibility.


Lieutenant of the king's musketeershe commanded all the company which
came from Parisand that company consisted of a hundred and twenty men;
butwith the exception of the twenty of whom we have spokenthe other
hundred were engaged in guarding the queen-motherand more particularly
the cardinal.


Monsignor Giulio Mazarini economized the traveling expenses of his
guards; he consequently used the king'sand that largelysince he took
fifty of them for himself - a peculiarity which would not have failed to
strike any one unacquainted with the usages of that court.


That which would still further have appearedif not inconvenientat
least extraordinaryto a strangerwasthat the side of the castle
destined for monsieur le cardinal was brilliantlight and cheerful. The
musketeers there mounted guard before every doorand allowed no one to
enterexcept the courierswhoeven while he was travelingfollowed
the cardinal for the carrying on of his correspondence.


Twenty men were on duty with the queen-mother; thirty restedin order to
relieve their companions the next day.


On the king's sideon the contrarywere darknesssilenceand
solitude. When once the doors were closedthere was no longer an
appearance of royalty. All the servitors had by degrees retired.
Monsieur le Prince had sent to know if his majesty required his
attendance; and on the customary "_No_" of the lieutenant of musketeers
who was habituated to the question and the replyall appeared to sink
into the arms of sleepas if in the dwelling of a good citizen.


And yet it was possible to hear from the side of the house occupied by
the young king the music of the banquetand to see the windows of the
great hall richly illuminated.


Ten minutes after his installation in his apartmentLouis XIV. had been
able to learnby movement much more distinguished than marked his own
leavingthe departure of the cardinalwhoin his turnsought his
bedroomaccompanied by a large escort of ladies and gentlemen.


Besidesto perceive this movementhe had nothing to do but look out at
his windowthe shutters of which had not been closed.


His eminence crossed the courtconducted by Monsieurwho himself held a
flambeau; then followed the queen-motherto whom Madame familiarly gave
her arm; and both walked chatting awaylike two old friends.


Behind these two couples filed noblesladiespages and officers; the
flambeaux gleamed over the whole courtlike the moving reflections of a
conflagration. Then the noise of steps and voices became lost in the
upper floors of the castle.


No one was then thinking of the kingwholeaning on his elbow at his
windowhad sadly seen pass away all that lightand heard that noise die
off - nonot oneif it was not that unknown of the hostelry _des
Medici_whom we have seen go outenveloped in his cloak.


He had come straight up to the castleand hadwith his melancholy



countenancewandered round and round the palacefrom which the people
had not yet departed; and finding that on one guarded the great entrance
or the porchseeing that the soldiers of Monsieur were fraternizing with
the royal soldiers - that is to sayswallowing Beaugency at discretion
or rather indiscretion - the unknown penetrated through the crowdthen
ascended to the courtand came to the landing of the staircase leading
to the cardinal's apartment.

Whataccording to all probabilityinduced him to direct his steps that
waywas the splendor of the flambeauxand the busy air of the pages and
domestics. But he was stopped short by a presented musket and the cry of
the sentinel.

Where are you going, my friend?asked the soldier.

I am going to the king's apartment,replied the unknownhaughtilybut
tranquilly.

The soldier called one of his eminence's officerswhoin the tone in
which a youth in office directs a solicitor to a ministerlet fall these
words: "The other staircasein front."

And the officerwithout further notice of the unknownresumed his
interrupted conversation.

The strangerwithout replydirected his steps towards the staircase
pointed out to him. On this side there was no noisethere were no more
flambeaux.

Obscuritythrough which a sentinel glided like a shadow; silencewhich
permitted him to hear the sound of his own footstepsaccompanied with
the jingling of his spurs upon the stone slabs.

This guard was one of the twenty musketeers appointed for attendance upon
the kingand who mounted guard with the stiffness and consciousness of a
statue.

Who goes there?said the guard.

A friend,replied the unknown.

What do you want?

To speak to the king.

Do you, my dear monsieur? That's not very likely.

Why not?

Because the king has gone to bed.

Gone to bed already?

Yes.

No matter: I must speak to him.

And I tell you that is impossible.

And yet -

Go back!

Do you require the word?


I have no account to render to you. Stand back!

And this time the soldier accompanied his word with a threatening
gesture; but the unknown stirred no more than if his feet had taken root.
Monsieur le mousquetaire,said heare you a gentleman?

I have that honor.

Very well! I also am one; and between gentlemen some consideration ought
to be observed.

The soldier lowered his armsovercome by the dignity with which these
words were pronounced.

Speak, monsieur,said he; "and if you ask me anything in my power - "
Thank you. You have an officer, have you not?

Our lieutenant? Yes, monsieur.
Well, I wish to speak to him.

Oh, that's a different thing. Come up, monsieur.

The unknown saluted the soldier in a lofty fashionand ascended the
staircase; whilst a cryLieutenant, a visit!transmitted from sentinel
to sentinelpreceded the unknownand disturbed the slumbers of the
officer.

Dragging on his bootrubbing his eyesand hooking his cloakthe
lieutenant made three steps towards the stranger.

What can I do to serve you, monsieur?asked he.

You are the officer on duty, lieutenant of the musketeers, are you?
I have that honor,replied the officer.

Monsieur, I must absolutely speak to the king.

The lieutenant looked attentively at the unknownand in that lookhe
saw all he wished to see - that is to saya person of high distinction
in an ordinary dress.

I do not suppose you to be mad,replied he; "and yet you seem to me to
be in a condition to knowmonsieurthat people do not enter a king's
apartments in this manner without his consent."

He will consent.

Monsieur, permit me to doubt that. The king has retired this quarter
of an hour; he must be now undressing. Besides, the word is given.

When he knows who I am, he will recall the word.

The officer was more and more surprisedmore and more subdued.

If I consent to announce you, may I at least know whom to announce,
monsieur?

You will announce His Majesty Charles II., King of England, Scotland,
and Ireland.


The officer uttered a cry of astonishmentdrew backand there might be
seen upon his pallid countenance one of the most poignant emotions that
ever an energetic man endeavored to drive back to his heart.

Oh, yes, sire; in fact,said heI ought to have recognized you.

You have seen my portrait, then?

No, sire.

Or else you have seen me formerly at court, before I was driven from
France?

No, sire, it is not even that.

How then could you have recognized me, if you have never seen my
portrait or my person?

Sire, I saw his majesty your father at a terrible moment.

The day -

Yes.

A dark cloud passed over the brow of the prince; thendashing his hand
across itDo you see any difficulty in announcing me?said he.

Sire, pardon me,replied the officerbut I could not imagine a king
under so simple an exterior; and yet I had the honor to tell your majesty
just now that I had seen Charles I. But pardon me, monsieur; I will go
and inform the king.

But returning after going a few stepsYour majesty is desirous, without
doubt, that this interview should be a secret?said he.

I do not require it; but if it were possible to preserve it -

It is possible, sire, for I can dispense with informing the first
gentleman on duty; but, for that, your majesty must please to consent to
give up your sword.

True, true; I had forgotten that no one armed is permitted to enter the
chamber of a king of France.

Your majesty will form an exception, if you wish it; but then I shall
avoid my responsibility by informing the king's attendant.

Here is my sword, monsieur. Will you now please to announce me to his
majesty?

Instantly, sire.And the officer immediately went and knocked at the
door of communicationwhich the valet opened to him.

His Majesty the King of England!said the officer.

His Majesty the King of England!replied the _valet de chambre_.

At these words a gentleman opened the folding-doors of the king's
apartmentand Louis XIV. was seenwithout hat or swordand his
_pourpoint_ openadvancing with signs of the greatest surprise.

You, my brother - you at Blois!cried Louis XIV.dismissing with a
gesture both the gentlemen and the _valet de chambre_who passed out


into the next apartment.

Sire,replied Charles II.I was going to Paris, in the hope of seeing
your majesty, when report informed me of your approaching arrival in this
city. I therefore prolonged my abode here, having something very
particular to communicate to you.

Will this closet suit you, my brother?

Perfectly well, sire; for I think no one can hear us here.

I have dismissed my gentleman and my watcher; they are in the next
chamber. There, behind that partition, is a solitary closet, looking
into the ante-chamber, and in that ante-chamber you found nobody but
a solitary officer, did you?

No, sire.

Well, then, speak, my brother; I listen to you.

Sire, I commence, and entreat your majesty to have pity on the
misfortunes of our house.

The king of France coloredand drew his chair closer to that of the
king of England.

Sire,said Charles II.I have no need to ask if your majesty is
acquainted with the details of my deplorable history.

Louis XIV. blushedthis time more strongly than before; thenstretching
forth his hand to that of the king of EnglandMy brother,said heI
am ashamed to say so, but the cardinal scarcely ever speaks of political
affairs before me. Still more, formerly I used to get Laporte, my _valet
de chambre_, to read historical subjects to me; but he put a stop to
these readings, and took away Laporte from me. So that I beg my brother
Charles to tell me all those matters as to a man who knows nothing.

Well, sire, I think that by taking things from the beginning I shall
have a better chance of touching the heart of your majesty.

Speak on, my brother - speak on.

You know, sire, that being called in 1650 to Edinburgh, during
Cromwell's expedition into Ireland, I was crowned at Scone. A year
after, wounded in one of the provinces he had usurped, Cromwell returned
upon us. To meet him was my object; to leave Scotland was my wish.

And yet,interrupted the young kingScotland is almost your native
country, is it not, my brother?

Yes, but the Scots were cruel compatriots for me, sire; they had forced
me to forsake the religion of my fathers; they had hung Lord Montrose,
the most devoted of my servants, because he was not a Covenanter; and as
the poor martyr, to whom they had offered a favor when dying, had asked
that his body might be cut into as many pieces as there are cities in
Scotland, in order that evidence of his fidelity might be met with
everywhere, I could not leave one city, or go into another, without
passing under some fragments of a body which had acted, fought, and
breathed for me.

By a boldalmost desperate marchI passed through Cromwell's armyand
entered England. The Protector set out in pursuit of this strange
flightwhich had a crown for its object. If I had been able to reach
London before himwithout doubt the prize of the race would have been


mine; but he overtook me at Worcester.

The genius of England was no longer with us, but with him. On the 3rd
of September, 1651, sire, the anniversary of the other battle of Dunbar,
so fatal to the Scots, I was conquered. Two thousand men fell around me
before I thought of retreating a step. At length I was obliged to fly.

From that moment my history became a romance. Pursued with persistent
inveteracyI cut off my hairI disguised myself as a woodman. One day
spent amidst the branches of an oak gave to that tree the name of the
royal oakwhich it bears to this day. My adventures in the county of
Staffordwhence I escaped with the daughter of my host on a pillion
behind mestill fill the tales of the country firesidesand would
furnish matter for ballads. I will some day write all thissirefor
the instruction of my brother kings.

I will first tell how, on arriving at the residence of Mr. Norton, I met
with a court chaplain, who was looking on at a party playing at skittles,
and an old servant who named me, bursting into tears, and who was as near
and as certainly killing me by his fidelity as another might have been by
treachery. Then I will tell of my terrors - yes, sire, of my terrors –
when, at the house of Colonel Windham, a farrier who came to shoe our
horses declared they had been shod in the north.

How strange!murmured Louis XIV. "I never heard anything of all that;
I was only told of your embarkation at Brighelmstone and your landing
in Normandy."

Transcriber's note: The correct name is Brightelmstone; the mistake is
Dumas's. – JB

Oh!exclaimed Charlesif Heaven permits kings to be thus ignorant of
the histories of each other, how can they render assistance to their
brothers who need it?

But tell me,continued Louis XIV.how, after being so roughly
received in England, you can still hope for anything from that unhappy
country and that rebellious people?

Oh, sire! since the battle of Worcester, everything is changed there.
Cromwell is dead, after having signed a treaty with France, in which his
name is placed above yours. He died on the 3rd of September, 1658, a
fresh anniversary of the battles of Dunbar and Worcester.

His son has succeeded him.

But certain men have a family, sire, and no heir. The inheritance of
Oliver was too heavy for Richard. Richard was neither a republican nor a
royalist; Richard allowed his guards to eat his dinner, and his generals
to govern the republic; Richard abdicated the protectorate on the 22nd of
April, 1659, more than a year ago, sire.

From that time England is nothing but a tennis-courtin which the
players throw dice for the crown of my father. The two most eager
players are Lambert and Monk. WellsireIin my turnwish to take
part in this gamewhere the stakes are thrown upon my royal mantle.
Sireit only requires a million to corrupt one of these players and make
an ally of himor two hundred of your gentlemen to drive them out of my
palace at Whitehallas Christ drove the money-changers from the temple."

You come, then,replied Louis XIV.to ask me - "

For your assistance; that is to say, not only for that which kings owe
to each other, but that which simple Christians owe to each other - your


assistance, sire, either in money or men. Your assistance, sire, and
within a month, whether I oppose Lambert to Monk, or Monk to Lambert, I
shall have reconquered my paternal inheritance, without having cost my
country a guinea, or my subjects a drop of blood, for they are now all
drunk with revolutions, protectorates, and republics, and ask nothing
better than to fall staggering to sleep in the arms of royalty. Your
assistance, sire, and I shall owe you more than I owe my father, - my
poor father, who bought at so dear a rate the ruin of our house! You may
judge, sire, whether I am unhappy, whether I am in despair, for I accuse
my own father!

And the blood mounted to the pale face of Charles II.who remained for
an instant with his head between his handsand as if blinded by that
blood which appeared to revolt against the filial blasphemy.

The young king was not less affected than his elder brother; he threw
himself about in his _fauteuil_and could not find a single word of
reply.

Charles II.to whom ten years in age gave a superior strength to master
his emotionsrecovered his speech the first.

Sire,said heyour reply? I wait for it as a criminal waits for his
sentence. Must I die?

My brother,replied the French princeyou ask of me for a million –
me, who was never possessed of a quarter of that sum! I possess
nothing. I am no more king of France than you are king of England. I
am a name, a cipher dressed in _fleur-de-lised_ velvet, - that is all. I
am upon a visible throne; that is my only advantage over your majesty. I
have nothing - I can do nothing.

Can it be so?exclaimed Charles II.

My brother,said Louissinking his voiceI have undergone miseries
with which my poorest gentlemen are unacquainted. If my poor Laporte
were here, he would tell you that I have slept in ragged sheets, through
the holes of which my legs have passed; he would tell you that
afterwards, when I asked for carriages, they brought me conveyances half-
destroyed by the rats of the coach-houses; he would tell you that when I
asked for my dinner, the servants went to the cardinal's kitchen to
inquire if there were any dinner for the king. And look! to-day, this
very day even, when I am twenty-two years of age, - to-day, when I have
attained the grade of the majority of kings, - to-day, when I ought to
have the key of the treasury, the direction of the policy, the supremacy
in peace and war, - cast your eyes around me, see how I am left! Look at
this abandonment - this disdain - this silence! - Whilst yonder - look
yonder! View the bustle, the lights, the homage! There! - there you see
the real king of France, my brother!

In the cardinal's apartments?

Yes, in the cardinal's apartments.

Then I am condemned, sire?

Louis XIV. made no reply.

Condemned is the word; for I will never solicit him who left my mother
and sister to die with cold and hunger - the daughter and grand-daughter
of Henry IV. – as surely they would have if M. de Retz and the parliament
had not sent them wood and bread.

To die?murmured Louis XIV.


Well!continued the king of Englandpoor Charles II., grandson of
Henry IV., as you are, sire having neither parliament nor Cardinal de
Retz to apply to, will die of hunger, as his mother and sister had nearly
done.

Louis knitted his browand twisted violently the lace of his ruffles.

This prostrationthis immobilityserving as a mark to an emotion so
visiblestruck Charles II.and he took the young man's hand.

Thanks!said hemy brother. You pity me, and that is all I can
require of you in your present situation.

Sire,said Louis XIV.with a sudden impulseand raising his headit
is a million you require, or two hundred gentlemen, I think you say?

Sire, a million would be quite sufficient.

That is very little.

Offered to a single man it is a great deal. Convictions have been
purchased at a much lower price; and I should have nothing to do but with
venalities.

Two hundred gentlemen! Reflect! - that is little more than a single
company.

Sire, there is in our family a tradition, and that is, that four men,
four French gentlemen, devoted to my father, were near saving my father,
though condemned by a parliament, guarded by an army and surrounded by a
nation.

Then if I can procure you a million, or two hundred gentlemen, you will
be satisfied; and you will consider me your well-affectioned brother?

I shall consider you as my saviour; and if I recover the throne of my
father, England will be, as long as I reign it, a sister to France, as
you will have been a brother to me.

Well, my brother,said Louisrisingwhat you hesitate to ask for, I
will myself demand; that which I have never done on my own account, I
will do on yours. I will go and find the king of France - the other –
the rich, the powerful one, I mean. I will myself solicit this million,
or these two hundred gentlemen; and - we will see.

Oh!cried Charles; "you are a noble friendsire - a heart created by
God! You save memy brother; and if you should ever stand in need of
the life you restored medemand it."

Silence, my brother, - silence!said Louisin a suppressed voice.
Take care that no one hears you! We have not obtained our end yet. To
ask money of Mazarin - that is worse than traversing the enchanted
forest, each tree of which inclosed a demon. It is more than setting out
to conquer a world.

But yet, sire, when you ask it -

I have already told you that I never asked,replied Louis with a
haughtiness that made the king of England turn pale.

And the latterlike a wounded manmade a retreating movement - "Pardon
memy brother replied he. I have neither a mother nor a sister who
are suffering. My throne is hard and nakedbut I am firmly seated on my


throne. Pardon me that expressionmy brother; it was that of an
egotist. I will retract itthereforeby a sacrifice- I will go to
monsieur le cardinal. Wait for meif you please - I will return."


Chapter X:
The Arithmetic of M. de Mazarin.


Whilst the king was directing his course rapidly towards the wing of the
castle occupied by the cardinaltaking nobody with him but his _valet de
chambre_the officer of musketeers came outbreathing like a man who
has for a long time been forced to hold his breathfrom the little
cabinet of which we have already spokenand which the king believed to
be quite solitary. This little cabinet had formerly been part of the
chamberfrom which it was only separated by a thin partition. It
resulted that this partitionwhich was only for the eyepermitted the
ear the least indiscreet to hear every word spoken in the chamber.


There was no doubtthenthat this lieutenant of musketeers had heard
all that passed in his majesty's apartment.


Warned by the last words of the young kinghe came out just in time to
salute him on his passageand to follow him with his eyes till he had
disappeared in the corridor.


Then as soon as he had disappearedhe shook his head after a fashion
peculiarly his ownand in a voice which forty years' absence from
Gascony had not deprived of its Gascon accentA melancholy service,
said heand a melancholy master!


These words pronouncedthe lieutenant resumed his place in his
_fauteuil_stretched his legs and closed his eyeslike a man who either
sleeps or meditates.


During this short monologue and the _mise en scene_ that had accompanied
itwhilst the kingthrough the long corridors of the old castle
proceeded to the apartment of M. de Mazarina scene of another sort was
being enacted in those apartments.


Mazarin was in bedsuffering a little from the gout. But as he was a
man of orderwho utilized even painhe forced his wakefulness to be the
humble servant of his labor. He had consequently ordered Bernouinhis
_valet de chambre_to bring him a little traveling-deskso that he
might write in bed. But the gout is not an adversary that allows itself
to be conquered so easily; thereforeat each movement he madethe pain
from dull became sharp.


Is Brienne there?asked he of Bernouin.


No, monseigneur,replied the _valet de chambre_; "M. de Briennewith
your permissionis gone to bed. But if it is the wish of your eminence
he can speedily be called."


No, it is not worth while. Let us see, however. Cursed ciphers!


And the cardinal began to thinkcounting on his fingers the while.


Oh, ciphers is it?said Bernouin. "Very well! if your eminence
attempts calculationsI will promise you a pretty headache to-morrow!
And with that please to remember M. Guenaud is not here."


You are right, Bernouin. You must take Brienne's place, my friend.
Indeed, I ought to have brought M. Colbert with me. That young man goes
on very well, Bernouin, very well; a very orderly youth.



I do not know,sad the _valet de chambre_but I don't like the


countenance of your young man who goes on so well.
Well, well, Bernouin! We don't stand in need of your advice. Place
yourself there: take the pen and write.


I am ready, monseigneur; what am I to write?
There, that's the place: after the two lines already traced.
I am there.
Write seven hundred and sixty thousand livres.
That is written.
Upon Lyons - The cardinal appeared to hesitate.
Upon Lyons,repeated Bernouin.
Three millions nine hundred thousand livres.
Well, monseigneur?
Upon Bordeaux, seven millions.
Seven?repeated Bernouin.
Yes,said the cardinalpettishlyseven.Thenrecollecting


himselfYou understand, Bernouin,added hethat all this money is


to be spent?
Eh! monseigneur; whether it be spent or put away is of very little
consequence to me, since none of these millions are mine.


These millions are the king's; it is the king's money I am reckoning.
Well, what were we saying? You always interrupt me!

Seven millions upon Bordeaux.
Ah! yes; that's right. Upon Madrid four millions. I give you to
understand plainly to whom this money belongs, Bernouin, seeing that
everybody has the stupidity to believe me rich in millions. I repel the
silly idea. A minister, besides, has nothing of his own. Come, go on.
_Rentrees generales_, seven millions; properties, nine millions. Have
you written that, Bernouin?

Yes, monseigneur.

_Bourse_, six hundred thousand livres; various property, two millions.
Ah! I forgot - the furniture of the different chateaux -
Must I put of the crown?asked Bernouin.
No, no; it is of no use doing that - that is understood. Have you


written that, Bernouin?
Yes, monseigneur.
And the ciphers?
Stand straight under one another.



Cast them up, Bernouin.

Thirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty thousand livres, monseigneur.

Ah!cried the cardinalin a tone of vexation; "there are not yet forty
millions!"

Bernouin recommenced the addition.

No, monseigneur; there want seven hundred and forty thousand livres.

Mazarin asked for the accountand revised it carefully.

Yes, but,said Bernouinthirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty
thousand livres make a good round sum.

Ah, Bernouin; I wish the king had it.

Your eminence told me that this money was his majesty's.

Doubtless, as clear, as transparent as possible. These thirty-nine
millions are bespoken, and much more.

Bernouin smiled after his own fashion - that islike a man who believes
no more than he is willing to believe - whilst preparing the cardinal's
night draughtand putting his pillow to rights.

Oh!said Mazarinwhen the valet had gone out; "not yet forty
millions! I musthoweverattain that sumwhich I had set down for
myself. But who knows whether I shall have time? I sinkI am goingI
shall never reach it! And yetwho knows that I may not find two or
three millions in the pockets of my good friends the Spaniards? They
discovered Peruthose people didand - what the devil! they must have
something left."

As he was speaking thusentirely occupied with his ciphersand thinking
no more of his goutrepelled by a preoccupation whichwith the
cardinalwas the most powerful of all preoccupationsBernouin rushed
into the chamberquite in a fright.

Well!asked the cardinalwhat is the matter now?

The king, monseigneur, - the king!

How? - the king!said Mazarinquickly concealing his paper. "The king
here! the king at this hour! I thought he was in bed long ago. What is
the matterthen?"

The king could hear these last wordsand see the terrified gesture of
the cardinal rising up in his bedfor he entered the chamber at that
moment.

It is nothing, monsieur le cardinal, or at least nothing which can alarm
you. It is an important communication which I wish to make to your
eminence to-night, - that is all.

Mazarin immediately thought of that marked attention which the king had
given to his words concerning Mademoiselle de Manciniand the
communication appeared to him probably to refer to this source. He
recovered his serenity then instantlyand assumed his most agreeable
aira change of countenance which inspired the king with the greatest
joy; and when Louis was seated


Sire,said the cardinalI ought certainly to listen to your majesty


standing, but the violence of my complaint -

No ceremony between us, my dear monsieur le cardinal,said Louis
kindly: "I am your pupiland not the kingyou know very welland this
evening in particularas I come to you as a petitioneras a solicitor
and one very humbleand desirous to be kindly receivedtoo."

Mazarinseeing the heightened color of the kingwas confirmed in his
first idea; that is to saythat love thoughts were hidden under all
these fine words. This timepolitical cunningas keen as it wasmade
a mistake; this color was not caused by the bashfulness of a juvenile
passionbut only by the painful contraction of the royal pride.

Like a good uncleMazarin felt disposed to facilitate the confidence.

Speak, sire,said heand since your majesty is willing for an instant
to forget that I am your subject, and call me your master and
instructor, I promise your majesty my most devoted and tender
consideration.

Thanks, monsieur le cardinal,answered the king; "that which I have to
ask of your eminence has but little to do with myself."

So much the worse!replied the cardinal; "so much the worse! SireI
should wish your majesty to ask of me something of importanceeven a
sacrifice; but whatever it may be that you ask meI am ready to set your
heart at rest by granting itmy dear sire."

Well, this is what brings me here,said the kingwith a beating of the
heart that had no equal except the beating of the heart of the minister;
I have just received a visit from my brother, the king of England.

Mazarin bounded in his bed as if he had been put in relation with a
Leyden jar or a voltaic pileat the same time that a surpriseor rather
a manifest disappointmentinflamed his features with such a blaze of
angerthat Louis XIV.little diplomatist as he wassaw that the
minister had hoped to hear something else.

Charles II.?exclaimed Mazarinwith a hoarse voice and a disdainful
movement of his lips. "You have received a visit from Charles II.?"

From King Charles II.,replied Louisaccording in a marked manner to
the grandson of Henry IV. the title which Mazarin had forgotten to give
him. "Yesmonsieur le cardinalthat unhappy prince has touched my
heart with the relation of his misfortunes. His distress is greatmonsieur le
cardinaland it has appeared painful to mewho have seen my own throne
disputedwho have been forced in times of commotion to quit my capital

-to mein shortwho am acquainted with misfortune- to leave a
deposed and fugitive brother without assistance."
Eh!said the cardinalsharply; "why had he notas you havea Jules
Mazarin by his side? His crown would then have remained intact."

I know all that my house owes to your eminence,replied the king
haughtilyand you may well believe that I, on my part, shall never
forget it. It is precisely because my brother, the king of England has
not about him the powerful genius who has saved me, it is for that, I
say, that I wish to conciliate the aid of that same genius, and beg you
to extend your arm over his head, well assured, monsieur le cardinal,
that your hand, by touching him only, would know how to replace upon his
brow the crown which fell at the foot of his father's scaffold.

Sire,replied MazarinI thank you for your good opinion with regard
to myself, but we have nothing to do yonder: they are a set of madmen who


deny God, and cut off the heads of their kings. They are dangerous,
observe, sire, and filthy to the touch after having wallowed in royal
blood and covenantal murder. That policy has never suited me, - I scorn
it and reject it.

Therefore you ought to assist in establishing a better.

What is that?

The restoration of Charles II., for example.

Good heavens!cried Mazarindoes the poor prince flatter himself with
that chimera?

Yes, he does,replied the young kingterrified at the difficulties
opposed to this projectwhich he fancied he could perceive in the
infallible eye of his minister; "he only asks for a million to carry out
his purpose."

Is that all - a little million, if you please!said the cardinal
ironicallywith an effort to conquer his Italian accent. "A little
millionif you pleasebrother! Bah! a family of mendicants!"

Cardinal,said Louisraising his headthat family of mendicants is a
branch of my family.

Are you rich enough to give millions to other people, sire? Have you
millions to throw away?

Oh!replied Louis XIV.with great painwhich hehoweverby a strong
effortprevented from appearing on his countenance; - "oh! yesmonsieur
le cardinalI am well aware I am poorand yet the crown of France is
worth a millionand to perform a good action I would pledge my crown if
it were necessary. I could find Jews who would be willing to lend me a
million."

So, sire, you say you want a million?said Mazarin.

Yes, monsieur, I say so.

You are mistaken, greatly mistaken, sire; you want much more than
that, - Bernouin! - you shall see, sire, how much you really want.

What, cardinal!said the kingare you going to consult a lackey about
my affairs?

Bernouin!cried the cardinal againwithout appearing to remark the
humiliation of the young prince. "Come hereBernouinand tell me the
figures I gave you just now."

Cardinal, cardinal! did you not hear me?said Louisturning pale with
anger.

Do not be angry, sire; I deal openly with the affairs of your majesty.
Every one in France knows that; my books are as open as day. What did I
tell you to do just now, Bernouin?

Your eminence commanded me to cast up an account.

You did it, did you not?

Yes, my lord.

To verify the amount of which his majesty, at this moment, stands in


need. Did I not tell you so? Be frank, my friend.

Your eminence said so.

Well, what sum did I say I wanted?

Forty-five millions, I think.

And what sum could we find, after collecting all our resources?

Thirty-nine millions two hundred and sixty thousand.

That is correct, Bernouin; that is all I wanted to know. Leave us now,
said the cardinalfixing his brilliant eye upon the young kingwho sat
mute with stupefaction.

However - stammered the king.

What, do you still doubt, sire?said the cardinal. "Wellhere is a
proof of what I said."

And Mazarin drew from under his bolster the paper covered with figures
which he presented to the kingwho turned away his eyeshis vexation
was so deep.

Therefore, as it is a million you want, sire, and that million is not
set down here, it is forty-six millions your majesty stands in need of.
Well, I don't think that any Jews in the world would lend such a sum,
even upon the crown of France.

The kingclenching his hands beneath his rufflespushed away his chair.

So it must be then!said he; "my brother the king of England will die
of hunger."

Sire,replied Mazarinin the same toneremember this proverb, which
I give you as the expression of the soundest policy: 'Rejoice at being
poor when your neighbor is poor likewise.'

Louis meditated this for a few momentswith an inquisitive glance
directed to the paperone end of which remained under the bolster.

Then,said heit is impossible to comply with my demand for money, my
lord cardinal, is it?

Absolutely, sire.

Remember, this will secure me a future enemy, if he succeed in
recovering his crown without my assistance.

If your majesty only fears that, you may be quite at ease,replied
Mazarineagerly.

Very well, I say no more about it,exclaimed Louis XIV.

Have I at least convinced you, sire?placing his hand upon that of the
young king.

Perfectly.

If there be anything else, ask it, sire; I shall most happy to grant it
to you, having refused this.

Anything else, my lord?


Why yes; am I not devoted body and soul to your majesty? _Hola!_
Bernouin! - lights and guards for his majesty! His majesty is returning
to his own chamber.

Not yet, monsieur: since you place your good-will at my disposal, I will
take advantage of it.

For yourself, sire?asked the cardinalhoping that his niece was at
length about to be named.

No, monsieur, not for myself,replied Louisbut still for my brother
Charles.

The brow of Mazarin again became cloudedand he grumbled a few words
that the king could not catch.

Chapter XI:
Mazarin's Policy.

Instead of the hesitation with which he had accosted the cardinal a
quarter of an hour beforethere might be read in the eyes of the young
king that will against which a struggle might be maintainedand which
might be crushed by its own impotencebut whichat leastwould
preservelike a wound in the depth of the heartthe remembrance of its
defeat.

This time, my lord cardinal, we have to deal with something more easily
found than a million.

Do you think so, sire?said Mazarinlooking at the king with that
penetrating eye which was accustomed to read to the bottom of hearts.

Yes, I think so; and when you know the object of my request -

And do you think I do not know it, sire?

You know what remains for me to say to you?

Listen, sire; these are King Charles's own words -

Oh, impossible!

Listen. 'And if that miserly, beggarly Italian,' said he -

My lord cardinal!

That is the sense, if not the words. Eh! Good heavens! I wish him no
ill on that account; one is biased by his passions. He said to you: 'If
that vile Italian refuses the million we ask of him, sire, - if we are
forced, for want of money, to renounce diplomacy, well, then, we will ask
him to grant us five hundred gentlemen.'

The king startedfor the cardinal was only mistaken in the number.

Is not that it, sire?cried the ministerwith a triumphant accent.
And then he added some fine words: he said, 'I have friends on the other
side of the channel, and these friends only want a leader and a banner.
When they see me, when they behold the banner of France, they will rally
around me, for they will comprehend that I have your support. The colors
of the French uniform will be worth as much to me as the million M. de
Mazarin refuses us,' - for he was pretty well assured I should refuse him
that million. - 'I shall conquer with these five hundred gentlemen, sire,


and all the honor will be yours.' Now, that is what he said, or to that
purpose, was it not? - turning those plain words into brilliant metaphors
and pompous images, for they are fine talkers in that family! The father
talked even on the scaffold.

The perspiration of shame stood on the brow of Louis. He felt that it
was inconsistent with his dignity to hear his brother thus insultedbut
he did not yet know how to act with him to whom every one yieldedeven
his mother. At last he made an effort.

But,said hemy lord cardinal, it is not five hundred men, it is only
two hundred.

Well, but you see I guessed what he wanted.

I never denied that you had a penetrating eye, and that was why I
thought you would not refuse my brother Charles a thing so simple and so
easy to grant him as what I ask of you in his name, my lord cardinal, or
rather in my own.

Sire,said MazarinI have studied policy thirty years; first, under
the auspices of M. le Cardinal Richelieu; and then alone. This policy
has not always been over-honest, it must be allowed, but it has never
been unskillful. Now that which is proposed to you majesty is dishonest
and unskillful at the same time.

Dishonest, monsieur!

Sire, you entered into a treaty with Cromwell.

Yes, and in that very treaty Cromwell signed his name above mine.

Why did you sign yours so lo down, sire? Cromwell found a good place,
and he took it; that was his custom. I return, then, to M. Cromwell.
You have a treaty with him, that is to say, with England, since when you
signed that treaty M. Cromwell was England.

M. Cromwell is dead.

Do you think so, sire?

No doubt he is, since his son Richard has succeeded him, and has
abdicated.

Yes, that is it exactly. Richard inherited after the death of his
father, and England at the abdication of Richard. The treaty formed part
of the inheritance, whether in the hands of M. Richard or in the hands of
England. The treaty is, then, still as good, as valid as ever. Why
should you evade it, sire? What is changed? Charles wants to-day what
we were not willing to grant him ten years ago; but that was foreseen and
provided against. You are the ally of England, sire, and not of Charles

II. It was doubtless wrong, from a family point of view, to sign a
treaty with a man who had cut off the head of the king your father's
brother-in-law, and to contract an alliance with a parliament which they
call yonder the Rump Parliament; it was unbecoming, I acknowledge, but it
was not unskillful from a political point of view, since, thanks to that
treaty, I saved your majesty, then a minor, the trouble and danger of a
foreign war, which the Fronde - you remember the Fronde, sire?- the
young king hung his head - "which the Fronde might have fatally
complicated. And thus I prove to your majesty that to change our plan
nowwithout warning our allieswould be at once unskillful and
dishonest. We should make war with the aggression on our side; we should
make itdeserving to have it made against us; and we should have the
appearance of fearing it whilst provoking itfor a permission granted to

five hundred mento two hundred mento fifty mento ten menis still
a permission. One Frenchmanthat is the nation; one uniformthat is
the army. Supposesirefor examplethat you should have war with
Hollandwhichsooner or laterwill certainly happen; or with Spain
which will perhaps ensue if your marriage fails" (Mazarin stole a furtive
glance at the king)and there are a thousand causes that might yet make
your marriage fail, - well, would you approve of England's sending to the
United Provinces or to Spain a regiment, a company, a squadron even, of
English gentlemen? Would you think that they kept within the limits of
their treaty of alliance?

Louis listened; it seemed so strange to him that Mazarin should invoke
good faithand he the author of so many political trickscalled
Mazarinades. "And yet said the king, without manifest of my
authorizationI cannot prevent gentlemen of my states from passing over
into Englandif such should be their good pleasure."

You should compel them to return, sire, or at least protest against
their presence as enemies in a allied country.

But come, my lord cardinal, you who are so profound a genius, try if you
cannot find a means to assist this poor king, without compromising
ourselves.

And that is exactly what I am not willing to do, my dear sire,said
Mazarin. "If England were to act exactly according to my wishesshe
could not act better than she does; if I directed the policy of England
from this placeI should not direct it otherwise. Governed as she is
governedEngland is an eternal nest of contention for all Europe.
Holland protects Charles II.let Holland do so; they will quarrelthey
will fight. Let them destroy each other's navieswe can construct ours
with the wrecks of their vessels; when we shall save our money to buy
nails."

Oh, how paltry and mean is all this that you are telling me, monsieur
le cardinal!

Yes, but nevertheless it is true, sire; you must confess that. Sill
further. Suppose I admit, for a moment, the possibility of breaking your
word, and evading the treaty - such a thing as sometimes happens, but
that is when some great interest is to be promoted by it, or when the
treaty is found to be too troublesome - well, you will authorize the
engagement asked of you: France - her banner, which is the same thing –
will cross the Straits and will fight; France will be conquered.

Why so?

_Ma foi!_ we have a pretty general to fight under - this Charles
II.! Worcester gave us proofs of that.

But he will no longer have to deal with Cromwell, monsieur.

But he will have to deal with Monk, who is quite as dangerous. The
brave brewer of whom we are speaking, was a visionary; he had moments of
exaltation, of inflation, during which he ran over like an over-filled
cask; and from the chinks there always escaped some drops of his
thoughts, and by the sample the whole of his thought was to be made out.
Cromwell has thus allowed us more than ten times to penetrate into his
very soul, when one would have conceived that soul to be enveloped in
triple brass, as Horace had it. But Monk! Oh, sire, God defend you from
ever having anything to transact politically with Monk. It is he who has
given me, in one year, all the gray hairs I have. Monk is no fanatic;
unfortunately he is a politician; he does not overflow, he keeps close
together. For ten years he has had his eyes fixed upon one object, and


nobody has yet been able to ascertain what. Every morning, as Louis XI.
advised, he burns his nightcap. Therefore, on the day when this plan,
slowly and solitarily ripened, shall break forth, it will break forth
with all the conditions of success which always accompany an unforeseen
event. That is Monk, sire, of whom, perhaps, you have never even heard –
of whom, perhaps, you did not even know the name, before your brother,
Charles II., who knows what he is, pronounced it before you. He is a
marvel of depth and tenacity, the two only things against which
intelligence and ardor are blunted. Sire, I had ardor when I was young;
I always was intelligent. I may safely boast of it, because I am
reproached with it. I have done very well with these two qualities,
since, from the son of a fisherman of Piscina, I have become prime
minister to the king of France; and in that position your majesty will
perhaps acknowledge I have rendered some service to the throne of your
majesty. Well, sire, if I had met with Monk on my way, instead of
Monsieur de Beaufort, Monsieur de Retz, or Monsieur le Prince - well, we
should have been ruined. If you engage yourself rashly, sire, you will
fall into the talons of this politic soldier. The casque of Monk, sire,
is an iron coffer, and no one has the key of it. Therefore, near him, or
rather before him, I bow, sire, for I have nothing but a velvet cap.

What do you think Monk wishes to do, then?

Eh! sire, if I knew that, I would not tell you to mistrust him, for I
should be stronger than he; but with him, I am afraid to guess - to
guess! - you understand my word? - for if I thought I had guessed, I
should stop at an idea, and, in spite of myself, should pursue that
idea. Since that man has been in power yonder, I am like one of the
damned in Dante whose neck Satan has twisted, and who walk forward
looking around behind them. I am traveling towards Madrid, but I never
lose sight of London. To guess, with that devil of a man, is to deceive
one's self and to deceive one's self is to ruin one's self. God keep me
from ever seeking to guess what he aims at; I confine myself to watching
what he does, and that is well enough. Now I believe - you observe the
meaning of the word _I believe?_ - _I believe_, with respect to Monk,
ties one to nothing - I believe that he has a strong inclination to
succeed Cromwell. Your Charles II. has already caused proposals to be
made to him by ten persons; he has satisfied himself with driving these
ten meddlers from his presence, without saying anything to them but,
'Begone, or I will have you hung.' That man is a sepulcher! At this
moment Monk is affecting devotion to the Rump Parliament; of this
devotion, I am not the dupe. Monk has no wish to be assassinated, - an
assassination would stop him in the middle of his operations; and his
work must be accomplished; - so I believe - but do not believe what I
believe, sire: for as I say I believe from habit - I believe that Monk
is keeping on friendly terms with the parliament till the day comes for
dispersing it. You are asked for swords, but they are to fight against
Monk. God preserve you from fighting against Monk, sire; for Monk would
beat us, and I should never console myself after being beaten by Monk. I
should say to myself, Monk has foreseen that victory ten years. For
God's sake, sire, out of friendship for you, if not out of consideration
for himself, let Charles II. keep quiet. Your majesty will give him a
little income here; give him one of your chateaux. Yes, yes - wait
awhile. But I forget the treaty - that famous treaty of which we were
just now speaking. Your majesty has not even the right to give him a
chateau.

How is that?

Yes, yes; your majesty is bound not to grant hospitality to King
Charles, and to compel him to leave France even. It was on this account
we forced him to quit you, and yet here he is again. Sire, I hope you
will give your brother to understand that he cannot remain with us; that
it is impossible he should be allowed to compromise us; or I myself -


Enough, my lord,said Louis XIV.rising. "In refusing me a million
perhaps you may be right; your millions are your own. In refusing me
two hundred gentlemenyou are still further in the right; for you are
prime ministerand you havein the eyes of Francethe responsibility
of peace and war. But that you should pretend to prevent mewho am king
from extending my hospitality to the grandson of Henry IV.to my cousingerman
to the companion of my childhood - there your power stopsand
there begins my will."

Sire,said Mazarindelighted at being let off so cheaplyand who had
besidesonly fought so earnestly to arrive at that- "sireI shall
always bend before the will of my king. Let my kingthenkeep near
himor in one of his chateauxthe king of England; let Mazarin know it
but let not the minister know it."

Good-night, my lord,said Louis XIV.I go away in despair.

But convinced, and that is all I desire, sire,replied Mazarin.

The king made no answerand retired quite pensiveconvincednot of
all Mazarin had told himbut of one thing which he took care not to
mention to him; and that wasthat it was necessary for him to study
seriously both his own affairs and those of Europefor he found them
very difficult and very obscure. Louis found the king of England seated
in the same place where he had left him. On perceiving himthe English
prince arose; but at the first glance he saw discouragement written in
dark letters upon his cousin's brow. Thenspeaking firstas if to
facilitate the painful avowal that Louis had to make to him


Whatever it may be,said heI shall never forget all the kindness,
all the friendship you have exhibited towards me.

Alas!replied Louisin a melancholy toneonly barren good-will, my
brother.

Charles II. became extremely pale; he passed his cold hand over his brow
and struggled for a few instants against a faintness that made him
tremble. "I understand said he at last; no more hope!"

Louis seized the hand of Charles II. "Waitmy brother said he;
precipitate nothing; everything may change; hasty resolutions ruin all
causes; add another year of trialI implore youto the years you have
already undergone. You haveto induce you to act now rather than at
another timeneither occasion nor opportunity. Come with memy
brother; I will give you one of my residenceswhichever you preferto
inhabit. Iwith youwill keep my eyes upon events; we will prepare.
Comethenmy brotherhave courage!"

Charles II. withdrew his hand from that of the kingand drawing backto
salute him with more ceremonyWith all my heart, thanks!replied he
sire; but I have prayed without success to the greatest king on earth;
now I will go and ask a miracle of God.And he went out without being
willing to hear any morehis head carried loftilyhis hand trembling
with a painful contraction of his noble countenanceand that profound
gloom whichfinding no more hope in the world of menappeared to go
beyond itand ask it in worlds unknown. The officer of musketeerson
seeing him pass by thus palebowed almost to his knees as he saluted
him. He then took a flambeaucalled two musketeersand descended the
deserted staircase with the unfortunate kingholding in his left hand
his hatthe plume of which swept the steps. Arrived at the doorthe
musketeer asked the king which way he was goingthat he might direct the
musketeers.


Monsieur,replied Charles II.in a subdued voiceyou who have known
my father, say, did you ever pray for him? If you have done so, do not
forget me in your prayers. Now, I am going alone, and beg of you not to
accompany me, or have me accompanied any further.


The officer bowed and sent away the musketeers into the interior of the
palace. But he himself remained an instant under the porch watching the
departing Charles II.till he was lost in the turn of the next street.
To him as to his father formerly,murmured heAthos, if he were here,
would say with reason, - 'Salute fallen majesty!'Thenreascending the
staircase: "Oh! the vile service that I follow!" said he at every step.
Oh! my pitiful master! Life thus carried on is no longer tolerable, and
it is at length time that I should do something! No more generosity, no
more energy! The master has succeeded, the pupil is starved forever.
_Mordioux!_ I will not resist. Come, you men,continued heentering
the ante-chamberwhy are you all looking at me so? Extinguish these
torches and return to your posts. Ah! you were guarding me? Yes, you
watch over me, do you not, worthy fellows? Brave fools! I am not the
Duc de Guise. Begone! They will not assassinate me in the little
passage. Besides,added hein a low voicethat would be a
resolution, and no resolutions have been formed since Monsieur le
Cardinal Richelieu died. Now, with all his faults, that was a man! It
is settled: to-morrow I will throw my cassock to the nettles.


Thenreflecting: "No said he, not yet! I have one great trial to
make and I will make it; but thatand I swear itshall be the last
_Mordioux!_"


He had not finished speaking when a voice issued from the king's
chamber. "Monsieur le lieutenant!" said this voice.


Here I am,replied he.


The king desires to speak to you.


Humph!said the lieutenant; "perhaps of what I was thinking about."
And he went into the king's apartment.


Chapter XII:
The King and the Lieutenant.


As soon as the king saw the officer enterhe dismissed his _valet de
chambre_ and his gentleman.


Who is on duty to-morrow, monsieur?asked he.


The lieutenant bowed his head with military politenessand repliedI
am, sire.


What! still you?


Always I, sire.


How can that be, monsieur?


Sire, when traveling, the musketeers supply all the posts of your
majesty's household; that is to say, yours, her majesty the queen's, and
monsieur le cardinal's, the latter of whom borrows of the king the best
part, or rather the numerous part, of the royal guard.


But in the interims?


There are no interims, sire, but for twenty or thirty men who rest out



of a hundred and twenty. At the Louvre it is very different, and if I
were at the Louvre I should rely upon my brigadier; but, when traveling,
sire, no one knows what may happen, and I prefer doing my duty myself.

Then you are on guard every day?

And every night. Yes, sire.

Monsieur, I cannot allow that - I will have you rest.

That is very kind, sire; but I will not.

What do you say?said the kingwho did not at first comprehend the
full meaning of this reply.

I say, sire, that I will not expose myself to the chance of a fault. If
the devil had a trick to play on me, you understand, sire, as he knows
the man with whom he has to deal, he would chose the moment when I should
not be there. My duty and the peace of my conscience before everything,
sire.

But such duty will kill you, monsieur.

Eh! sire, I have performed it for thirty years, and in all France and
Navarre there is not a man in better health than I am. Moreover, I
entreat you, sire, not to trouble yourself about me. That would appear
very strange to me, seeing that I am not accustomed to it.

The king cut short the conversation by a fresh question. "Shall you be
herethento-morrow morning?"

As at present? yes, sire.

The king walked several times up and down his chamber; it was very plain
that he burned with a desire to speakbut that he was restrained by some
fear or other. The lieutenantstanding motionlesshat in handwatched
him making these evolutionsandwhilst looking at himgrumbled to
himselfbiting his mustache:

He has not half a crown worth of resolution! _Parole d'honneur!_ I
would lay a wager he does not speak at all!

The king continued to walk aboutcasting from time to time a side glance
at the lieutenant. "He is the very image of his father continued the
latter, in is secret soliloquy, he is at once proudavariciousand
timid. The devil take his mastersay I."

The king stopped. "Lieutenant said he.

I am heresire."

Why did you cry out this evening, down below in the _salons_ - 'The
king's service! His majesty's musketeers!'

Because you gave me the order, sire.

I?

Yourself.

Indeed, I did not say a word, monsieur.

Sire, an order is given by a sign, by a gesture, by a glance, as
intelligibly, as freely, and as clearly as by word of mouth. A servant


who has nothing but ears is not half a good servant.

Your eyes are very penetrating, then, monsieur.

How is that, sire?

Because they see what is not.

My eyes are good, though, sire, although they have served their
master long and much: when they have anything to see, they seldom miss
the opportunity. Now, this evening, they saw that your majesty colored
with endeavoring to conceal the inclination to yawn, that your majesty
looked with eloquent supplications, first to his eminence, and then at
her majesty, the queen-mother, and at length to the entrance door, and
they so thoroughly remarked all I have said, that they saw your majesty's
lips articulate these words: 'Who will get me out of this?'

Monsieur!

Or something to this effect, sire - 'My musketeers!' I could then no
longer hesitate. That look was for me. I cried out instantly, 'His
majesty's musketeers!' And, besides, that was shown to be true, sire,
not only by your majesty's not saying I was wrong, but proving I was
right by going out at once.

The king turned away to smile; thenafter a few secondshe again fixed
his limpid eye upon that countenanceso intelligentso boldand so
firmthat it might have been said to be the proud and energetic profile
of the eagle facing the sun. "That is all very well said he, after a
short silence, during which he endeavored, in vain, to make his officer
lower his eyes.

But seeing the king said no more, the latter pirouetted on his heels, and
took three steps towards the door, muttering, He will not speak!
_Mordioux!_ he will not speak!"

Thank you, monsieur,said the king at last.

Humph!continued the lieutenant; "there was only wanting that. Blamed
for having been less of a fool than another might have been." And he
went to the doorallowing his spurs to jingle in true military style.
But when he was on the thresholdfeeling the king's desire drew him
backhe returned.

Has your majesty told me all?asked hein a tone we cannot describe
but whichwithout appearing to solicit the royal confidencecontained
so much persuasive franknessthat the king immediately replied:

Yes; but draw near, monsieur.

Now then,murmured the officerhe is coming to it at last.

Listen to me.

I shall not lose a word, sire.

You will mount on horseback to-morrow, at about half-past four in the
morning, and you will have a horse saddled for me.

From your majesty's stables?

No; one of your musketeers' horses.

Very well, sire. Is that all?


And you will accompany me.

Alone?

Alone.

Shall I come to seek your majesty, or shall I wait?

You will wait for me.

Where, sire?

At the little park-gate.

The lieutenant bowedunderstanding that the king had told him all he
had to say. In factthe king dismissed him with a gracious wave of the
hand. The officer left the chamber of the kingand returned to place
himself philosophically in his _fauteuil_wherefar from sleepingas
might have been expectedconsidering how late it washe began to
reflect more deeply than he had ever reflected before. The result of
these reflections was not so melancholy as the preceding ones had been.

Come, he has begun,said he. "Love urges him onand he goes forward –
he goes forward! The king is nobody in his own palace; but the man
perhaps may prove to be worth something. Wellwe shall see to-morrow
morning. Oh! oh!" cried heall at once starting upthat is a gigantic
idea, _mordioux!_ and perhaps my fortune depends, at least, upon that
idea!After this exclamationthe officer arose and marchedwith his
hands in the pockets of his _justaucorps_about the immense ante-chamber
that served him as an apartment. The wax-light flamed furiously under
the effects of a fresh breezewhich stole in through the chinks of the
door and the windowand cut the _salle_ diagonally. It threw out a
reddishunequal lightsometimes brilliantsometimes dulland the tall
shadow of the lieutenant was seen marching on the wallin profilelike
a figure by Callotwith his long sword and feathered hat.

Certainly!said heI am mistaken if Mazarin is not laying a snare for
this amorous boy. Mazarin, this evening, gave an address, and made an
appointment as complacently as M. Daangeau himself could have done - I
heard him, and I know the meaning of his words. 'To-morrow morning,'
said he, 'they will pass opposite the bridge of Blois.' _Mordioux!_ that
is clear enough, and particularly for a lover. That is the cause of this
embarrassment; that is the cause of this hesitation; that is the cause of
this order - 'Monsieur the lieutenant of my musketeers, be on horseback
to-morrow at four o'clock in the morning.' Which is as clear as if he
had said, - 'Monsieur the lieutenant of my musketeers, to-morrow, at
four, at the bridge of Blois, - do you understand?' Here is a state
secret, then, which I, humble as I am, have in my possession, while it
is in action. And how do I get it? Because I have good eyes, as his
majesty just now said. They say he loves this little Italian doll
furiously. They say he threw himself at his mother's feet, to beg her to
allow him to marry her. They say the queen went so far as to consult the
court of Rome, whether such a marriage, contracted against her will,
would be valid. Oh, if I were but twenty-five! If I had by my side
those I no longer have! If I did not despise the whole world most
profoundly, I would embroil Mazarin with the queen-mother, France with
Spain, and I would make a queen after my own fashion. But let that
pass.And the lieutenant snapped his fingers in disdain.

This miserable Italian - this poor creature - this sordid wretch - who
has just refused the king of England a million, would not perhaps give
me a thousand pistoles for the news I would carry him. _Mordioux!_
am falling into second childhood - I am becoming stupid indeed! The idea


of Mazarin giving anything! ha! ha! ha!and he laughed in a subdued
voice.

Well, let us go to sleep - let us go to sleep; and the sooner the
better. My mind is wearied with my evening's work, and will see things
to-morrow more clearly than to-day.

And upon this recommendationmade to himselfhe folded his cloak around
himlooking with contempt upon his royal neighbor. Five minutes after
this he was asleepwith his hands clenched and his lips apartgiving
escapenot to his secretbut to a sonorous soundwhich rose and spread
freely beneath the majestic roof of the ante-chamber.

Chapter XIII:
Mary de Mancini.

The sun had scarcely shed its first beams on the majestic trees of the
park and the lofty turrets of the castlewhen the young kingwho had
been awake more than two hourspossessed by the sleeplessness of love
opened his shutters himselfand cast an inquiring look into the courts
of the sleeping palace. He saw that it was the hour agreed upon: the
great court clock pointed to a quarter past four. He did not disturb his
_valet de chambre_who was sleeping soundly at some distance; he dressed
himselfand the valetin a great frightsprang upthinking he had
been deficient in his duty; but the king sent him back againcommanding
him to preserve the most absolute silence. He then descended the little
staircasewent out at a lateral doorand perceived at the end of the
wall a mounted horsemanholding another horse by the bridle. This
horseman could not be recognized in his cloak and slouched hat. As to
the horsesaddled like that of a rich citizenit offered nothing
remarkable to the most experienced eye. Louis took the bridle: the
officer held the stirrup without dismountingand asked his majesty's
orders in a low voice.

Follow me,replied the king.

The officer put his horse to the trotbehind that of his masterand
they descended the hill towards the bridge. When they reached the other
side of the Loire


Monsieur,said the kingyou will please to ride on till you see a
carriage coming; then return and inform me. I will wait here.

Will your majesty deign to give me some description of the carriage I am
charged to discover?

A carriage in which you will see two ladies, and probably their
attendants likewise.

Sire, I should not wish to make a mistake; is there no other sign by
which I may know this carriage?

It will bear, in all probability, the arms of monsieur le cardinal.

That is sufficient, sire,replied the officerfully instructed in the
object of his search. He put his horse to the trotand rode sharply on
in the direction pointed out by the king. But he had scarcely gone five
hundred paces when he saw four mulesand then a carriageloom up from
behind a little hill. Behind this carriage came another. It required
only one glance to assure him that these were the equipages he was in
search of; he therefore turned his bridleand rode back to the king.

Sire,said hehere are the carriages. The first, as you said,


contains two ladies with their _femmes de chambre_; the second contains
the footmen, provisions, and necessaries.

That is well,replied the king in an agitated voice. "Please to go and
tell those ladies that a cavalier of the court wishes to pay his respects
to them alone."

The officer set off at a gallop. "_Mordioux!_" said heas he rode on
here is a new and honorable employment, I hope! I complained of being
nobody. I am the king's confidant: that is enough to make a musketeer
burst with pride.

He approached the carriageand delivered his message gallantly and
intelligently. There were two ladies in the carriage: one of great
beautyalthough rather thin; the other less favored by naturebut
livelygracefuland uniting in the delicate lines of her brow all the
signs of a strong will. Her eyesanimated and piercingin particular
spoke more eloquently than all the amorous phrases in fashion in those
days of gallantry. It was to her D'Artagnan addressed himselfwithout
fear of being mistakenalthough the other wasas we have saidthe more
handsome of the two.

Madame,said heI am the lieutenant of the musketeers, and there is
on the road a horseman who awaits you, and is desirous of paying his
respects to you.

At these wordsthe effect of which he watched closelythe lady with the
black eyes uttered a cry of joyleant out of the carriage windowand
seeing the cavalier approachingheld out her armsexclaiming:

Ah, my dear sire!and the tears gushed from her eyes.

The coachman stopped his team; the women rose in confusion from the back
of the carriageand the second lady made a slight curtseyterminated by
the most ironical smile that jealousy ever imparted to the lips of woman.

Marie, dear Marie,cried the kingtaking the hand of the black-eyed
lady in both his. And opening the heavy door himselfhe drew her out of
the carriage with so much ardorthat she was in his arms before she
touched the ground. The lieutenantposted on the other side of the
carriagesaw and heard all without being observed.

The king offered his arm to Mademoiselle de Manciniand made a sign to
the coachman and lackeys to proceed. It was nearly six o'clock; the road
was fresh and pleasant; tall trees with their foliage still inclosed in
the golden down of their budslet the dew of morning filter from their
trembling brancheslike liquid diamonds; the grass was bursting at the
foot of the hedges; the swallows having returned only a few days since
described their graceful curves between the heavens and the water; a
breezeladen with the perfumes of the blossoming woodssighed along the
roadand wrinkled the surface of the waters of the river; all these
beauties of the dayall these perfumes of the plantsall these
aspirations of the earth towards heavenintoxicated the two lovers
walking side by sideleaning upon each othereyes fixed upon eyeshand
clasping handand wholingering as by a common desiredid not dare
to speakthey had so much to say.

The officer saw that the king's horsein wandering this way and that
annoyed Mademoiselle de Mancini. He took advantage of the pretext of
securing the horse to draw near themand dismountingwalked between the
two horses he led; he did not lose a single word or gesture of the
lovers. It was Mademoiselle de Mancini who at length began.

Ah, my dear sire!said sheyou do not abandon me, then?


No, Marie,replied the king; "you see I do not."

I had so often been told, though, that as soon as we should be separated
you would no longer think of me.

Dear Marie, is it then to-day only that you have discovered we are
surrounded by people interested in deceiving us?

But then, sire, this journey, this alliance with Spain? They are going
to marry you off!

Louis hung his head. At the same time the officer could see the eyes of
Marie de Mancini shine in the sun with the brilliancy of a dagger
starting from its sheath. "And you have done nothing in favor of our
love?" asked the girlafter a silence of a moment.

Ah! mademoiselle, how could you believe that? I threw myself at the
feet of my mother; I begged her, I implored her; I told her all my hopes
of happiness were in you; I even threatened -

Well?asked Marieeagerly.

Well, the queen-mother wrote to the court of Rome, and received as
answer, that a marriage between us would have no validity, and would
be dissolved by the holy father. At length, finding there was no hope
for us, I requested to have my marriage with the infanta at least
delayed.

And yet that does not prevent your being on the road to meet her?

How can I help it? To my prayers, to my supplications, to my tears, I
received no answer but reasons of state.

Well, well?

Well, what is to be done, mademoiselle, when so many wills are leagued
against me?

It was now Marie's turn to hang her head. "Then I must bid you adieu
forever said she. You know that I am being exiled; you know that I am
going to be buried alive; you know still more that they want to marry me
offtoo."

Louis became very paleand placed his hand upon his heart.

If I had thought that my life only had been at stake, I have been so
persecuted that I might have yielded; but I thought yours was concerned,
my dear sire, and I stood out for the sake of preserving your happiness.

Oh, yes! my happiness, my treasure!murmured the kingmore gallantly
than passionatelyperhaps.

The cardinal might have yielded,said Marieif you had addressed
yourself to him, if you had pressed him. For the cardinal to call the
king of France his nephew! do you not perceive, sire? He would have made
war even for that honor; the cardinal, assured of governing alone, under
the double pretext of having brought up the king and given his niece to
him in marriage - the cardinal would have fought all antagonists,
overcome all obstacles. Oh, sire! I can answer for that. I am a woman,
and I see clearly into everything where love is concerned.

These words produced a strange effect upon the king. Instead of
heightening his passionthey cooled it. He stoppedand said


hastily


What is to be said, mademoiselle? Everything has failed.

Except your will, I trust, my dear sire?

Alas!said the kingcoloringhave I a will?

Oh!said Mademoiselle de Mancini mournfullywounded by that expression.

The king has no will but that which policy dictates, but that which
reasons of state impose upon him.

Oh! it is because you have no love,cried Mary; "if you lovedsire
you would have a will."

On pronouncing these wordsMary raised her eyes to her loverwhom she
saw more pale and more cast down than an exile who is about to quit his
native land forever. "Accuse me murmured the king, but do not say I
do not love you."

A long silence followed these wordswhich the young king had pronounced
with a perfectly true and profound feeling. "I am unable to think that
to-morrowand after to-morrowI shall see you no more; I cannot think
that I am going to end my sad days at a distance from Paris; that the
lips of an old manof an unknownshould touch that hand which you hold
within yours; noin truthI cannot think of all thatmy dear sire
without having my poor heart burst with despair."

And Marie de Mancini did shed floods of tears. On his partthe king
much affectedcarried his handkerchief to his mouthand stifled a sob.

See,said shethe carriages have stopped, my sister waits for me, the
time is come; what you are about to decide upon will be decided for
life. Oh, sire! you are willing, then, that I should lose you? You are
willing, then, Louis, that she to whom you have said 'I love you,' should
belong to another than to her king, to her master, to her lover? Oh!
courage, Louis! courage! One word, a single word! Say 'I will!' and all
my life is enchained to yours, and all my heart is yours forever.

The king made no reply. Mary then looked at him as Dido looked at Aeneas
in the Elysian fieldsfierce and disdainful.

Farewell, then,said she; "farewell life! love! heaven!"

And she took a step away. The king detained herseizing her handwhich
he pressed to his lipsand despair prevailing over the resolution he
appeared to have inwardly formedhe let fall upon that beautiful hand a
burning tear of regretwhich made Mary startso really had that tear
burnt her. She saw the humid eyes of the kinghis pale browhis
convulsed lipsand criedwith an accent that cannot be described


Oh, sire! you are a king, you weep, and yet I depart!

As his sole replythe king hid his face in his handkerchief. The
officer uttered something so like a roar that it frightened the horses.
Mademoiselle de Manciniquite indignantquitted the king's armhastily
entered the carriagecrying to the coachmanGo on, go on, and quick!

The coachman obeyedflogging his mulesand the heavy carriage rocked
upon its creaking axlewhilst the king of Francealonecast down
annihilateddid not dare to look either behind or before him.


Chapter XIV:
In which the King and the Lieutenant each give Proofs of Memory.


When the kinglike all the people in the world who are in lovehad long
and attentively watched disappear in the distance the carriage which bore
away his mistress; when he had turned and turned again a hundred times to
the same side and had at length succeeded in somewhat calming the
agitation of his heart and thoughtshe recollected that he was not
alone. The officer still held the horse by the bridleand had not lost
all hope of seeing the king recover his resolution. He had still the
resource of mounting and riding after the carriage; they would have lost
nothing by waiting a little. But the imagination of the lieutenant of
the musketeers was too rich and too brilliant; it left far behind it that
of the kingwho took care not to allow himself to be carried away to
such excess. He contented himself with approaching the officerand in
a doleful voiceCome,said helet us be gone; all is ended. To
horse!


The officer imitated this carriagethis slownessthis sadnessand
leisurely mounted his horse. The king pushed on sharplythe
lieutenant followed him. At the bridge Louis turned around for the last
time. The lieutenantpatient as a god who has eternity behind and
before himstill hoped for a return of energy. But it was groundless
nothing appeared. Louis gained the street which led to the castleand
entered as seven was striking. When the king had returnedand the
musketeerwho saw everythinghad seen a corner of the tapestry over
the cardinal's window lifted uphe breathed a profound sighlike a man
unloosed from the tightest bondsand said in a low voice:


Now then, my officer, I hope that it is over.


The king summoned his gentleman. "Please to understand I shall receive
nobody before two o'clock said he.


Sire replied the gentleman, there ishoweversome one who requests
admittance."


Who is that?


Your lieutenant of musketeers.


He who accompanied me?


Yes, sire.


Ah,said the kinglet him come in.


The officer entered. The king made a signand the gentleman and the
valet retired. Louis followed them with his eyes until they had shut the
doorand when the tapestries had fallen behind them- "You remind me by
your presencemonsieurof something I had forgotten to recommend to
youthat is to saythe most absolute discretion."


Oh! sire, why does your majesty give yourself the trouble of making me
such a recommendation? It is plain you do not know me.


Yes, monsieur, that is true. I know that you are discreet; but as I
had prescribed nothing -


The officer bowed. "Has your majesty nothing else to say to me?"


No, monsieur; you may retire.


Shall I obtain permission not to do so till I have spoken to the king,



sire?

What do you have to say to me? Explain yourself, monsieur.

Sire, a thing without importance to you, but which interests me
greatly. Pardon me, then, for speaking of it. Without urgency, without
necessity, I never would have done it, and I would have disappeared, mute
and insignificant as I always have been.

How! Disappeared! I do not understand you, monsieur.

Sire, in a word,said the officerI am come to ask for my discharge
from your majesty's service.

The king made a movement of surprisebut the officer remained as
motionless as a statue.

Your discharge - yours, monsieur? and for how long a time, I pray?

Why, forever, sire.

What, you are desirous of quitting my service, monsieur?said Louis
with an expression that revealed something more than surprise.

Sire, I regret to say that I am.

Impossible!

It is so, however, sire. I am getting old; I have worn harness now
thirty-five years; my poor shoulders are tired; I feel that I must give
place to the young. I don't belong to this age; I have still one foot in
the old one; it results that everything is strange in my eyes, everything
astonishes and bewilders me. In short, I have the honor to ask your
majesty for my discharge.

Monsieur,said the kinglooking at the officerwho wore his uniform
with an ease that would have caused envy in a young manyou are
stronger and more vigorous than I am.

Oh!replied the officerwith an air of false modestyyour majesty
says so because I still have a good eye and a tolerably firm foot –
because I can still ride a horse, and my mustache is black; but, sire,
vanity of vanities all that - illusions all that - appearance, smoke,
sire! I have still a youthful air, it is true, but I feel old, and
within six months I am certain I shall be broken down, gouty, impotent.
Therefore, then, sire -

Monsieur,interrupted the kingremember your words of yesterday. You
said to me in this very place where you now are, that you were endowed
with the best health of any man in France; that fatigue was unknown to
you! that you did not mind spending whole days and nights at your post.
Did you tell me that, monsieur, or not? Try and recall, monsieur.

The officer sighed. "Sire said he, old age is boastful; and it is
pardonable for old men to praise themselves when others no longer do it.
It is very possible I said that; but the fact issireI am very much
fatiguedan request permission to retire."

Monsieur,said the kingadvancing towards the officer with a gesture
full of majestyyou are not assigning me the true reason. You wish to
quit my service, it may be true, but you disguise from me the motive of
your retreat.

Sire, believe that -


I believe what I see, monsieur; I see a vigorous, energetic man, full of
presence of mind, the best soldier in France, perhaps; and this personage
cannot persuade me the least in the world that he stands in need of rest.

Ah! sire,said the lieutenantwith bitternesswhat praise! Indeed,
your majesty confounds me! Energetic, vigorous, brave, intelligent, the
best soldier in the army! But, sire, your majesty exaggerates my small
portion of merit to such a point, that however good an opinion I may have
of myself, I do not recognize myself; in truth I do not. If I were vain
enough to believe only half of your majesty's words, I should consider
myself a valuable, indispensable man. I should say that a servant
possessed of such brilliant qualities was a treasure beyond all price.
Now, sire, I have been all my life - I feel bound to say it - except at
the present time, appreciated, in my opinion, much below my value. I
therefore repeat, your majesty exaggerates.

The king knitted his browfor he saw a bitter raillery beneath the words
of the officer. "Comemonsieur said he, let us meet the question
frankly. Are you dissatisfied with my servicesay? No evasions; speak
boldlyfrankly - I command you to do so."

The officerwho had been twisting his hat about in his handswith an
embarrassed airfor several minutesraised his head at these words.
Oh! sire,said hethat puts me a little more at my ease. To a
question put so frankly, I will reply frankly. To tell the truth is a
good thing, as much from the pleasure one feels in relieving one's heart,
as on account of the rarity of the fact. I will speak the truth, then,
to my king, at the same time imploring him to excuse the frankness of an
old soldier.

Louis looked at his officer with anxietywhich he manifested by the
agitation of his gesture. "Wellthenspeak said he, for I am
impatient to hear the truths you have to tell me."

The officer threw his hat upon a tableand his countenancealways so
intelligent and martialassumedall at oncea strange character of
grandeur and solemnity. "Sire said he, I quit the king's service
because I am dissatisfied. The valetin these timescan approach his
master as respectfully as I docan give him an account of his labor
bring back his toolsreturn the funds that have been intrusted to him
and say 'Mastermy day's work is done. Pay meif you pleaseand let
us part.'"

Monsieur! monsieur!exclaimed the kingcrimson with rage.

Ah! sire,replied the officerbending his knee for a momentnever
was servant more respectful than I am before your majesty; only you
commanded me to tell the truth. Now I have begun to tell it, it must
come out, even if you command me to hold my tongue.

There was so much resolution expressed in the deep-sunk muscles of the
officer's countenancethat Louis XIV. had no occasion to tell him to
continue; he continuedthereforewhilst the king looked at him with a
curiosity mingled with admiration.

Sire, I have, as I have said, now served the house of France thirty-five
years; few people have worn out so many swords in that service as I have,
and the swords I speak of were good swords, too, sire. I was a boy,
ignorant of everything except courage, when the king your father guessed
that there was a man in me. I was a man, sire, when the Cardinal de
Richelieu, who was a judge of manhood, discovered an enemy in me. Sire,
the history of that enmity between the ant and the lion may be read from
the first to the last line, in the secret archives of your family. If


ever you feel an inclination to know it, do so, sire; the history is
worth the trouble - it is I who tell you so. You will there read that
the lion, fatigued, harassed, out of breath, at length cried for quarter,
and the justice must be rendered him to say, that he gave as much as he
required. Oh! those were glorious times, sire, strewed over with battles
like one of Tasso's or Ariosto's epics. The wonders of those times, to
which the people of ours would refuse belief, were every-day
occurrences. For five years together, I was a hero every day; at least,
so I was told by persons of judgment; and that is a long period for
heroism, trust me, sire, a period of five years. Nevertheless, I have
faith in what these people told me, for the were good judges. They were
named M. de Richelieu, M. de Buckingham, M. de Beaufort, M. de Retz, a
mighty genius himself in street warfare, - in short, the king, Louis
XIII., and even the queen, your noble mother, who one day condescended to
say, '_Thank you_.' I don't know what service I had had the good fortune
to render her. Pardon me, sire, for speaking so boldly; but what I
relate to you, as I have already had the honor to tell your majesty, is
history.
The king bit his lipsand threw himself violently on a chair.

I appear importunate to your majesty,said the lieutenant. "Eh! sire
that is the fate of truth; she is a stern companion; she bristles all
over with steel; she wounds those whom she attacksand sometimes him who
speaks her."

No, monsieur,replied the king: "I bade you speak - speak then."

After the service of the king and the cardinal, came the service of the
regency, sire; I fought pretty well in the Fronde - much less, though,
than the first time. The men began to diminish in stature. I have,
nevertheless, led your majesty's musketeers on some perilous occasions,
which stand upon the orders of the day of the company. Mine was a
beautiful luck at that time. I was the favorite of M. de Mazarin.
Lieutenant here! lieutenant there! lieutenant to the right! lieutenant to
the left! There was not a buffet dealt in France, of which your humble
servant did not have the dealing; but soon France was not enough. The
cardinal sent me to England on Cromwell's account; another gentleman who
was not over gentle, I assure you, sire. I had the honor of knowing him,
and I was well able to appreciate him. A great deal was promised me on
account of that mission. So, as I did much more than I had been bidden
to do, I was generously paid, for I was at length appointed captain of
the musketeers; that is to say, the most envied position in court, which
takes precedence over the marshals of France, and justly; for who says
captain of the musketeers says the flower of chivalry and king of the
brave.

Captain, monsieur!interrupted the king; "you make a mistake.
Lieutenantyou mean."

Not at all, sire - I make no mistake; your majesty may rely upon me in
that respect. Monsieur le cardinal gave me the commission himself.

Well!

But M. de Mazarin, as you know better than anybody, does not often give,
and sometimes takes back what he has given; he took it back again as soon
as peace was made and he was no longer in want of me. Certainly I was
not worthy to replace M. de Treville, of illustrious memory; but they
had promised me, and they had given me; they ought to have stopped there.

Is that what dissatisfies you monsieur? Well, I shall make inquiries.
I love justice; and your claim, though made in military fashion, does not
displease me.


Oh, sire!said the officeryour majesty has ill understood me; I no
longer claim anything now.

Excess of delicacy, monsieur; but I will keep my eye upon your affairs,
and later -

Oh, sire! what a word! - later! Thirty years have I lived upon that
promising word, which has been pronounced by so many great personages,
and which your mouth has, in its turn, just pronounced. Later - that is
how I have received a score of wounds, and how I have reached fifty-four
years of age without ever having had a louis in my purse, and without
ever having met with a protector on my way, - I who have protected so
many people! So I change my formula, sire; and when any one says to me
'Later,' I reply '_Now_.' It is rest that I solicit, sire. That may be
easily granted me. That will cost nobody anything.

I did not look for this language, monsieur, particularly from a man who
has always lived among the great. You forget you are speaking to the
king, to a gentleman who is, I suppose, as of good a house as yourself;
and when I say later, I mean a certainty.

I do not at all doubt it, sire; but this is the end of the terrible
truth I had to tell you. If I were to see upon that table a _marshal's_
stick, the sword of constable, the crown of Poland, instead of later, I
swear to you, sire, that I should still say _Now!_ Oh, excuse me, sire!
I am from the country of your grandfather, Henry IV. I do not speak
often: but when I do speak, I speak all.

The future of my reign has little temptation for you, monsieur, it
appears,said Louishaughtily.

Forgetfulness, forgetfulness everywhere!cried the officerwith a
noble air; "the master has forgotten the servantso the servant is
reduced to forget his master. I live in unfortunate timessire. I see
youth full of discouragement and fearI see it timid and despoiledwhen
it ought to be rich and powerful. I yesterday eveningfor exampleopen
the door to a king of Englandwhose fatherhumble as I amI was near
savingif God had not been against me - Godwho inspired His elect
Cromwell! I openI saidthe doorthat is to saythe palace of one
brother to another brotherand I see - stopsirethat is a load on my
heart! - I see the minister of that king drive away the proscribed
princeand humiliate his master by condemning to want another kinghis
equal. Then I see my princewho is younghandsome and bravewho has
courage in his heart and lightening in his eye- I see him tremble
before a priestwho laughs at him behind the curtain of his alcove
where he digests all the gold of Francewhich he afterwards stuffs into
secret coffers. Yes - I understand your lookssire. I am bold to
madness; but what is to be said? I am an old manand I tell you here
sireto youmy kingthings which I would cram down the throat of any
one who should dare to pronounce them before me. You have commanded me
to pour out the bottom of my heart before yousireand I cast at the
feet of your majesty the pent-up indignation of thirty yearsas I would
pour out all my bloodif your majesty commanded me to do so."

The kingwithout speaking a wordwiped the drops of cold and abundant
perspiration which trickled from his temples. The moment of silence
which followed this vehement outbreak represented for him who had spoken
and for him who had listenedages of suffering.

Monsieur,said the king at lengthyou spoke the word forgetfulness.
I have heard nothing but that word; I will reply, then, to it alone.
Others have perhaps been able to forget, but I have not, and the proof
is, that I remember that one day of riot, that one day when the furious
people, raging and roaring as the sea, invaded the royal palace; that one


day when I feigned sleep in my bed, one man alone, naked sword in hand,
concealed behind my curtain, watched over my life, ready to risk his own
for me, as he had before risked it twenty times for the lives of my
family. Was not the gentleman, whose name I then demanded, called M.
d'Artagnan? say, monsieur.

Your majesty has a good memory,replied the officercoldly.

You see, then,continued the kingif I have such remembrances of my
childhood, what an amount I may gather in the age of reason.

Your majesty has been richly endowed by God,said the officerin the
same tone.

Come, Monsieur d'Artagnan,continued Louiswith feverish agitation
ought you not to be patient as I am? Ought you not to do as I do?
Come!

And what do you do, sire?

I wait.

Your majesty may do so, because you are young; but I, sire, have not
time to wait; old age is at my door, and death is behind it, looking into
the very depths of my house. Your majesty is beginning life, its future
is full of hope and fortune; but I, sire, I am on the other side of the
horizon, and we are so far from each other, that I should never have time
to wait till your majesty came up to me.

Louis made another turn in his apartmentstill wiping the moisture from
his browin a manner that would have terrified his physiciansif his
physicians had witnessed the state his majesty was in.

It is very well, monsieur,said Louis XIV.in a sharp voice; "you are
desirous of having your dischargeand you shall have it. You offer me
your resignation of the rank of lieutenant of the musketeers?"

I deposit it humbly at your majesty's feet, sire.

That is sufficient. I will order your pension.

I shall have a thousand obligations to your majesty.

Monsieur,said the kingwith a violent effortI think you are losing
a good master.

And I am sure of it, sire.

Shall you ever find such another?

Oh, sire! I know that your majesty is alone in the world; therefore
will I never again take service with any other king upon earth, and will
never again have other master than myself.

You say so?

I swear so, your majesty.

I shall remember that word, monsieur.

D'Artagnan bowed.

And you know I have a good memory,said the king.


Yes, sire; and yet I should desire that that memory should fail your
majesty in this instance, in order that you might forget all the miseries
I have been forced to spread before your eyes. Your majesty is so much
above the poor and the mean, that I hope -

My majesty, monsieur, will act like the sun, which looks upon all, great
and small, rich and poor, giving luster to some, warmth to others, and
life to all. Adieu, Monsieur d'Artagnan - adieu: you are free.

And the kingwith a hoarse sobwhich was lost in his throatpassed
quickly into the next room. D'Artagnan took up his hat from the table on
which he had thrown inand went out.

Chapter XV:
The Proscribed.

D'Artagnan had not reached the bottom of the staircasewhen the king
called his gentleman. "I have a commission to give youmonsieur said
he.

I am at your majesty's commands."

Wait, then.And the young king began to write the following letter
which cost him more than one sighalthoughat the same timesomething
like a feeling of triumph glittered in his eyes:

MY LORD CARDINAL, - Thanks to your good counsels, and, above all, thanks
to your firmness, I have succeeded in overcoming a weakness unworthy of a
king. You have too ably arranged my destiny to allow gratitude not to
stop me at the moment when I was about to destroy your work. I felt I
was wrong to wish to make my life turn from the course you had marked out
for it. Certainly it would have been a misfortune to France and my
family if a misunderstanding had taken place between me and my minister.
This, however, would certainly have happened if I had made your niece my
wife. I am perfectly aware of this, and will henceforth oppose nothing
to the accomplishment of my destiny. I am prepared, then, to wed the
infanta, Maria Theresa. You may at once open the conference. - Your
affectionate LOUIS.

The kingafter reperusing the lettersealed it himself.

This letter for my lord cardinal,said he.

The gentleman took it. At Mazarin's door he found Bernouin waiting with
anxiety.

Well?asked the minister's _valet de chambre_.

Monsieur,said the gentlemanhere is a letter for his eminence.

A letter! Ah! we expected one after the little journey of the morning.

Oh! you know, then, that his majesty -

As first minister, it belongs to the duties of our charge to know
everything. And his majesty prays and implores, I presume.

I don't know, but he sighed frequently whilst he was writing.

Yes, yes, yes; we understand all that; people sigh sometimes from
happiness as well as from grief, monsieur.

And yet the king did not look very happy when he returned, monsieur.


You did not see clearly. Besides, you only saw his majesty on his
return, for he was only accompanied by the lieutenant of the guards. But
I had his eminence's telescope; I looked through it when he was tired,
and I am sure they both wept.

Well! was it for happiness they wept?

No, but for love, and they vowed to each other a thousand tendernesses,
which the king asks no better to keep. Now this letter is a beginning of
the execution.

And what does his eminence think of this love, which is, by the bye, no
secret to anybody?

Bernouin took the gentleman by the armand whilst ascending the
staircase- "In confidence said he, in a low voice, his eminence
looks for success in the affair. I know very well we shall have war with
Spain; butbah! war will please the nobles. My lord cardinalbesides
can endow his niece royallynaymore than royally. There will be
moneyfestivitiesand fire-works - everybody will be delighted."

Well, for my part,replied the gentlemanshaking his headit appears
to me that this letter is very light to contain all that.

My friend,replied BernouinI am certain of what I tell you. M.
d'Artagnan related all that passed to me.

Ay, ay! and what did he tell you? Let us hear.

I accosted him by asking him, on the part of the cardinal, if there were
any news, without discovering my designs, observe, for M. d'Artagnan is a
cunning hand. 'My dear Monsieur Bernouin,' he replied, 'the king is
madly in love with Mademoiselle de Mancini, that is all I have to tell
you.' And then I asked him: 'Do you think, to such a degree that it will
urge him to act contrary to the designs of his eminence?' 'Ah! don't ask
me,' said he; 'I think the king capable of anything; he has a will of
iron, and what he wills he wills in earnest. If he takes it into his
head to marry Mademoiselle de Mancini, he will marry her, depend upon
it.' And thereupon he left me and went straight to the stables, took a
horse, saddled it himself, jumped upon its back, and set off as if the
devil were at his heels.

So that you believe, then -

I believe that monsieur the lieutenant of the guards knew more than he
was willing to say.

In you opinion, then, M. d'Artagnan -

Is gone, according to all probability, after the exiles, to carry out
all that can facilitate the success of the king's love.

Chatting thusthe two confidants arrived at the door of his eminence's
apartment. His eminence's gout had left him; he was walking about his
chamber in a state of great anxietylistening at doors and looking out
of windows. Bernouin enteredfollowed by the gentlemanwho had orders
from the king to place the letter in the hands of the cardinal himself.
Mazarin took the letterbut before opening ithe got up a ready smile
a smile of circumstanceable to throw a veil over emotions of whatever
sort they might be. So preparedwhatever was the impression received
from the letterno reflection of that impression was allowed to
transpire upon his countenance.


Well,said hewhen he had read and reread the lettervery well,
monsieur. Inform the king that I thank him for his obedience to the
wishes of the queen-mother, and that I will do everything for the
accomplishment of his will.

The gentleman left the room. The door had scarcely closed before the
cardinalwho had no mask for Bernouintook off that which had so
recently covered his faceand with a most dismal expression- "Call M.
de Brienne said he. Five minutes afterward the secretary entered.

Monsieur said Mazarin, I have just rendered a great service to the
monarchythe greatest I have ever rendered it. You will carry this
letterwhich proves itto her majesty the queen-motherand when she
shall have returned it to youyou will lodge it in portfolio B.which
is filed with documents and papers relative to my ministry."

Brienne went as desiredandas the letter was unsealeddid not fail to
read it on his way. There is likewise no doubt that Bernouinwho was on
good terms with everybodyapproached so near to the secretary as to be
able to read the letter over his shoulder; so that the news spread with
such activity through the castlethat Mazarin might have feared it would
reach the ears of the queen-mother before M. de Brienne could convey
Louis XIV.'s letter to her. A moment after orders were given for
departureand M. de Conde having been to pay his respects to the king on
his pretended risinginscribed the city of Poitiers upon his tabletsas
the place of sojourn and rest for their majesties.

Thus in a few instants was unraveled an intrigue which had covertly
occupied all the diplomacies of Europe. It had nothinghoweververy
clear as a resultbut to make a poor lieutenant of musketeers lose his
commission and his fortune. It is truethat in exchange he gained his
liberty. We shall soon know how M. d'Artagnan profited by this. For
the momentif the reader will permit uswe shall return to the hostelry
of _les Medici_of which one of the windows opened at the very moment
the orders were given for the departure of the king.

The window that opened was that of one of the rooms of Charles II. The
unfortunate prince had passed the night in bitter reflectionshis head
resting on his handsand his elbows on the tablewhilst Parryinfirm
and oldwearied in body and in mindhad fallen asleep in a corner. A
singular fortune was that of this faithful servantwho saw beginning for
the second generation the fearful series of misfortunes which had weighed
so heavily on the first. When Charles II. had well thought over the
fresh defeat he had experiencedwhen he perfectly comprehended the
complete isolation into which he had just fallenon seeing his fresh
hope left behind himhe was seized as with a vertigoand sank back into
the large armchair in which he was seated. Then God took pity on the
unhappy princeand sent to console him sleepthe innocent brother of
death. He did not wake till half-past sixthat is to saytill the sun
shone brightly into his chamberand Parrymotionless with fear of
waking himwas observing with profound grief the eyes of the young man
already red with wakefulnessand his cheeks pale with suffering and
privations.

At length the noise of some heavy carts descending towards the Loire
awakened Charles. He aroselooked around him like a man who has
forgotten everythingperceived Parryshook him by the handand
commanded him to settle the reckoning with Master Cropole. Master
Cropolebeing called upon to settle his account with Parryacquitted
himselfit must be allowedlike an honest man; he only made his
customary remarkthat the two travelers had eaten nothingwhich had the
double disadvantage of being humiliating for his kitchenand of forcing
him to ask payment for a repast not consumedbut not the less lost.
Parry had nothing to say to the contraryand paid.


I hope,said the kingit has not been the same with the horses.
don't see that they have eaten at your expense, and it would be a
misfortune for travelers like us, who have a long journey to make, to
have our horses fail us.

But Cropoleat this doubtassumed his majestic airand replied that
the stables of _les Medici_ were not less hospitable than its refectory.

The king mounted his horse; his old servant did the sameand both set
out towards Pariswithout meeting a single person on their roadin the
streets or the faubourgs of the city. For the prince the blow was the
more severeas it was a fresh exile. The unfortunates cling to the
smallest hopesas the happy do to the greatest good; and when they are
obliged to quit the place where that hope has soothed their heartsthey
experience the mortal regret which the banished man feels when he places
his foot upon the vessel which is to bear him into exile. It appears
that the heart already wounded so many times suffers from the least
scratch; it appears that it considers as a good the momentary absence of
evilwhich is nothing but the absence of pain; and that Godinto the
most terrible misfortuneshas thrown hope as the drop of water which the
rich sinner in hell entreated of Lazarus.

For one instant even the hope of Charles II. had been more than a
fugitive joy; - that was when he found himself so kindly welcomed by his
brother king; then it had taken a form that had become a reality; then
all at oncethe refusal of Mazarin had reduced the fictitious reality to
the state of a dream. This promise of Louis XIV.so soon retractedhad
been nothing but a mockery; a mockery like his crown - like his scepter –
like his friends - like all that had surrounded his royal childhoodand
which had abandoned his proscribed youth. Mockery! everything was a
mockery for Charles II. except the coldblack repose promised by death.

Such were the ideas of the unfortunate prince while sitting listlessly
upon his horseto which he abandoned the reins: he rode slowly along
beneath the warm May sunin which the somber misanthropy of the exile
perceived a last insult to his grief.

Chapter XVI:
Remember!

A horseman going rapidly along the road leading towards Bloiswhich he
had left nearly half an hour beforepassed the two travelersand
though apparently in hasteraised his hat as he passed them. The king
scarcely observed this young manwho was about twenty-five years of age
and whoturning round several timesmade friendly signals to a man
standing before the gate of a handsome white-and-red house; that is to
saybuilt of brick and stonewith a slated roofsituated on the left
hand of the road the prince was traveling.

This manoldtalland thinwith white hair- we speak of the one
standing by the gate; - this man replied to the farewell signals of the
young one by signs of parting as tender as could have been made by a
father. The young man disappeared at the first turn of the road
bordered by fine treesand the old man was preparing to return to the
housewhen the two travelersarriving in front of the gateattracted
his attention.

The kingas we have saidwas riding with his head cast downhis arms
inertleaving his horse to go what pace he likedwhilst Parrybehind
himthe better to imbibe the genial influence of the sunhad taken off
his hatand was looking about right and left. His eyes encountered
those of the old man leaning against the gate; the latteras if struck


by some strange spectacleuttered an exclamationand made one step
towards the two travelers. From Parry his eyes immediately turned
towards the kingupon whom they rested for an instant. This
examinationhowever rapidwas instantly reflected in a visible manner
upon the features of the tall old man. For scarcely had he recognized
the younger of the travelers - and we said recognizedfor nothing but a
perfect recognition could have explained such an act - scarcelywe say
had he recognized the younger of the two travelersthan he clapped his
hands togetherwith respectful surpriseandraising his hat from his
headbowed so profoundly that it might have been said he was kneeling.
This demonstrationhowever absentor ratherhowever absorbed was the
king in his reflectionsattracted his attention instantly; and checking
his horse and turning towards Parryhe exclaimedGood God, Parry, who
is that man who salutes me in such a marked manner? Can he know me,
think you?

Parrymuch agitated and very palehad already turned his horse towards
the gate. "Ahsire!" said hestopping suddenly at five or six paces'
distance from the still bending old man: "sireI am seized with
astonishmentfor I think I recognize that brave man. Yesit must be
he! Will your majesty permit me to speak to him?"

Certainly.

Can it be you, Monsieur Grimaud?asked Parry.

Yes, it is I,replied the tall old mandrawing himself upbut without
losing his respectful demeanor.

Sire,then said ParryI was not deceived. This good man is the
servant of the Comte de la Fere, and the Comte de la Fere, if you
remember, is the worthy gentleman of whom I have so often spoken to your
majesty that the remembrance of him must remain, not only in your mind,
but in your heart.

He who assisted my father at his last moments?asked Charlesevidently
affected at the remembrance.

The same, sire.

Alas!said Charles; and then addressing Grimaudwhose penetrating
and intelligent eyes seemed to search and divine his thoughts. - "My
friend said he, does your masterMonsieur le Comte de la Ferelive
in this neighborhood?"

There,replied Grimaudpointing with his outstretched arm to the white-
and-red house behind the gate.

And is Monsieur le Comte de la Fere at home at present?

At the back, under the chestnut trees.

Parry,said the kingI will not miss this opportunity, so precious
for me, to thank the gentleman to whom our house is indebted for such a
noble example of devotedness and generosity. Hold my horse, my friend,
if you please.Andthrowing the bridle to Grimaudthe king entered
the abode of Athosquite aloneas one equal enters the dwelling of
another. Charles had been informed by the concise explanation of
Grimaud- "At the backunder the chestnut trees;" he lefttherefore
the house on the leftand went straight down the path indicated. The
thing was easy; the tops of those noble treesalready covered with
leaves and flowersrose above all the rest.

On arriving under the lozengesby turns luminous and darkwhich


checkered the ground of this path according as the trees were more or
less in leafthe young prince perceived a gentleman walking with his
arms behind himapparently plunged in a deep meditation. Without doubt
he had often had this gentleman described to himselfforwithout
hesitatingCharles II. walked straight up to him. At the sound of his
footstepsthe Comte de la Fere raised his headand seeing an unknown
man of noble and elegant carriage coming towards himhe raised his hat
and waited. At some paces from himCharles II. likewise took off his
hat. Thenas if in reply to the comte's mute interrogation


Monsieur le Comte,said heI come to discharge a debt towards you. I
have, for a long time, had the expression of a profound gratitude to
bring you. I am Charles II., son of Charles Stuart, who reigned in
England, and died on the scaffold.

On hearing this illustrious nameAthos felt a kind of shudder creep
through his veinsbut at the sight of the young prince standing
uncovered before himand stretching out his hand towards himtwo tears
for an instantdimmed his brilliant eyes. He bent respectfullybut the
prince took him by the hand.

See how unfortunate I am, my lord count; it is only due to chance that I
have met with you. Alas! I ought to have people around me whom I love
and honor, whereas I am reduced to preserve their services in my heart,
and their names in my memory: so that if your servant had not recognized
mine, I should have passed by your door as by that of a stranger.

It is but too true,said Athosreplying with his voice to the first
part of the king's speechand with a bow to the second; "it is but too
trueindeedthat your majesty has seen many evil days."

And the worst, alas!replied Charlesare perhaps still to come.

Sire, let us hope.

Count, count,continued Charlesshaking his headI entertained hope
till last night, and that of a good Christian, I swear.

Athos looked at the king as if to interrogate him.

Oh, the history is soon related,said Charles. "Proscribeddespoiled
disdainedI resolvedin spite of all my repugnanceto tempt fortune
one last time. Is it not written abovethatfor our familyall good
fortune and all bad fortune shall eternally come from France? You know
something of thatmonsieur- youwho are one of the Frenchmen whom my
unfortunate father found at the foot of his scaffoldon the day of his
deathafter having found them at his right hand on the day of battle."

Sire,said Athos modestlyI was not alone. My companions and I did,
under the circumstances, our duty as gentlemen, and that was all. Your
majesty was about to do me the honor to relate -

That is true, I had the protection, - pardon my hesitation, count, but,
for a Stuart, you, who understand everything, you will comprehend that
the word is hard to pronounce; - I had, I say, the protection of my
cousin the stadtholder of Holland; but without the intervention, or at
least without the authorization of France, the stadtholder would not take
the initiative. I came, then, to ask this authorization of the king of
France, who has refused me.

The king has refused you, sire!

Oh, not he; all justice must be rendered to my younger brother Louis;
but Monsieur de Mazarin -


Athos bit his lips.

You perhaps think I should have expected this refusal?said the king
who had noticed the movement.

That was, in truth, my thought, sire,replied Athosrespectfully; "I
know that Italian of old."

Then I determined to come to the test, and know at once the last word of
my destiny. I told my brother Louis, that, not to compromise either
France or Holland, I would tempt fortune myself in person, as I had
already done, with two hundred gentlemen, if he would give them to me;
and a million, if he would lend it me.

Well, sire?

Well, monsieur, I am suffering at this moment something strange, and
that is, the satisfaction of despair. There is in certain souls, - and I
have just discovered that mine is of the number,- a real satisfaction in
the assurance that all is lost, and the time is come to yield.

Oh, I hope,said Athosthat your majesty is not come to that
extremity.

To say so, my lord count, to endeavor to revive hope in my heart, you
must have ill understood what I have just told you. I came to Blois to
ask of my brother Louis the alms of a million, with which I had the hopes
of re-establishing my affairs; and my brother Louis has refused me. You
see, then, plainly, that all is lost.

Will your majesty permit me to express a contrary opinion?

How is that, count? Do you think my heart of so low an order that I do
not know how to face my position?

Sire, I have always seen that it was in desperate positions that
suddenly the great turns of fortune have taken place.

Thank you, count: it is some comfort to meet with a heart like yours;
that is to say, sufficiently trustful in God and in monarchy, never to
despair of a royal fortune, however low it may be fallen. Unfortunately,
my dear count, your words are like those remedies they call 'sovereign,'
and which, though able to cure curable wounds or diseases, fail against
death. Thank you for your perseverance in consoling me, count, thanks
for your devoted remembrance, but I know in what I must trust - nothing
will save me now. And see, my friend, I was so convinced, that I was
taking the route of exile, with my old Parry; I was returning to devour
my poignant griefs in the little hermitage offered me by Holland. There,
believe me, count, all will soon be over, and death will come quickly; it
is called so often by this body, eaten up by its soul, and by this soul,
which aspires to heaven.

Your majesty has a mother, a sister, and brothers; your majesty is the
head of the family, and ought, therefore, to ask a long life of God,
instead of imploring Him for a prompt death. Your majesty is an exile,
a fugitive, but you have right on your side; you ought to aspire to
combats, dangers, business, and not to rest in heavens.

Count,said Charles II.with a smile of indescribable sadnesshave
you ever heard of a king who reconquered his kingdom with one servant the
age of Parry, and with three hundred crowns which that servant carried in
his purse?


No, sire; but I have heard - and that more than once - that a dethroned
king has recovered his kingdom with a firm will, perseverance, some
friends, and a million skillfully employed.

But you cannot have understood me. The million I asked of my brother
Louis was refused me.

Sire,said Athoswill your majesty grant me a few minutes, and listen
attentively to what remains for me to say to you?

Charles II. looked earnestly at Athos. "Willinglymonsieur said he.

Then I will show your majesty the way resumed the count, directing his
steps towards the house. He then conducted the king to his study, and
begged him to be seated. Sire said he, your majesty just now told me
thatin the present state of Englanda million would suffice for the
recovery of your kingdom."

To attempt it at least, monsieur; and to die as a king if I should not
succeed.

Well, then, sire, let your majesty, according to the promise you have
made me, have the goodness to listen to what I have to say.Charles
made an affirmative sign with his head. Athos walked straight up to the
doorthe bolts of which he drewafter looking to see if anybody was
nearand then returned. "Sire said he, your majesty has kindly
remembered that I lent assistance to the very noble and very unfortunate
Charles I.when his executioners conducted him from St. James's to
Whitehall."

Yes, certainly I do remember it, and always shall remember it.

Sire, it is a dismal history to be heard by a son who no doubt has had
it related to him many times; and yet I ought to repeat it to your
majesty without omitting one detail.

Speak on, monsieur.

When the king your father ascended the scaffold, or rather when he
passed from his chamber to the scaffold, on a level with his window,
everything was prepared for his escape. The executioner was got out of
the way; a hole contrived under the floor of his apartment; I myself was
beneath the funeral vault, which I heard all at once creak beneath his
feet.

Parry has related to me all these terrible details, monsieur.

Athos bowed and resumed. "But here is something he had not related to
yousirefor what follows passed between Godyour fatherand myself;
and never has the revelation of it been made even to my dearest friends.
'Go a little further off' said the august prisoner to the executioner;
'it is but for an instantand I know that I belong to you; but remember
not to strike till I give the signal. I wish to offer up my prayers in
freedom."

Pardon me,said Charles II.turning very pale but you, count, who
know so many details of this melancholy event, - details which, as you
said just now, have never been revealed to any one, - do you know the
name of that infernal executioner, of that base wretch who concealed his
face that he might assassinate a king with impunity?

Athos became slightly pale. "His name?" said heyes, I know it, but
cannot tell it.


And what is become of him, for nobody in England knows his destiny?

He is dead.

But he did not die in his bed; he did not die a calm and peaceful death;
he did not die the death of the good?

He died a violent death, in a terrible night, rendered so by the
passions of man and a tempest from God. His body, pierced by a dagger,
sank to the depths of the ocean. God pardon his murderer!

Proceed, then,said Charles II.seeing that the count was unwilling to
say more.

The king of England, after having, as I have said, spoken thus to the
masked executioner, added, - 'Observe, you will not strike till I shall
stretch out my arms, saying - REMEMBER!'

I was aware,said Charlesin an agitated voicethat that was the
last word pronounced by my unfortunate father. But why and for whom?

For the French gentleman placed beneath his scaffold.

For you, then, monsieur?

Yes, sire; and every one of the words which he spoke to me, through the
planks of the scaffold covered with a black cloth, still sounds in my
ears. The king knelt down on one knee: 'Comte de la Fere,' said he, 'are
you there?' 'Yes, sire,' replied I. Then the king stooped towards the
boards.

Charles II.also palpitating with interestburning with griefstooped
towards Athosto catchone by oneevery word that escaped from him.
His head touched that of the comte.

Then,continued Athosthe king stooped. 'Comte de la Fere,' said he,
'I could not be saved by you: it was not to be. Now, even though I
commit a sacrilege, I must speak to you. Yes, I have spoken to men -
yes, I have spoken to God, and I speak to you the last. To sustain a
cause which I thought sacred, I have lost the throne of my fathers and
the heritage of my children.'

Charles II. concealed his face in his handsand a bitter tear glided
between his white and slender fingers.

'I have still a million in gold,' continued the king. 'I buried it in
the vaults of the castle of Newcastle, a moment before I left that
city.'Charles raised his head with an expression of such painful joy
that it would have drawn tears from any one acquainted with his
misfortunes.

A million!murmured heOh, count!

'You alone know that this money exists: employ it when you think it can
be of the greatest service to my eldest son. And now, Comte de la Fere,
bid me adieu!'

'Adieuadieusire!' cried I."

Charles aroseand went and leant his burning brow against the window.

It was then,continued Athosthat the king pronounced the word
'REMEMBER!' addressed to me. You see, sire, that I have remembered.


The king could not resist or conceal his emotion. Athos beheld the
movement of his shoulderswhich undulated convulsively; he heard the
sobs which burst from his over-charged breast. He was silent himself
suffocated by the flood of bitter remembrances he had just poured upon
that royal head. Charles II.with a violent effortleft the window
devoured his tearsand came and sat by Athos. "Sire said the latter,
I thought till to-day that the time had not yet arrived for the
employment of that last resource; butwith my eyes fixed upon EnglandI
felt it was approaching. To-morrow I meant to go and inquire in what
part of the world your majesty wasand then I purposed going to you.
You come to mesire; that is an indication that God is with us."

My lord,said Charlesin a voice choked by emotionyou are, for me,
what an angel sent from heaven would be, - you are a preserver sent to me
from the tomb of my father himself; but, believe me, for ten years' civil
war has passed over my country, striking down men, tearing up soil, it is
no more probable that gold should remain in the entrails of the earth,
than love in the hearts of my subjects.

Sire, the spot in which his majesty buried the million is well known to
me, and no one, I am sure, has been able to discover it. Besides, is the
castle of Newcastle quite destroyed? Have they demolished it stone by
stone, and uprooted the soil to the last tree?

No, it is still standing: but at this moment General Monk occupies it
and is encamped there. The only spot from which I could look for succor,
where I possess a single resource, you see, is invaded by my enemies.

General Monk, sire, cannot have discovered the treasure which I speak
of.

Yes, but can I go and deliver myself up to Monk, in order to recover
this treasure? Ah! count, you see plainly I must yield to destiny, since
it strikes me to the earth every time I rise. What can I do with Parry
as my only servant, with Parry, whom Monk has already driven from his
presence? No, no, no, count, we must yield to this last blow.

But what your majesty cannot do, and what Parry can no more attempt, do
you not believe that I could succeed in accomplishing?

You - you, count - you would go?

If it please your majesty,said Athosbowing to the kingyes, I will
go, sire.

What! you so happy here, count?

I am never happy when I have a duty left to accomplish, and it is an
imperative duty which the king your father left me to watch over your
fortunes, and make a royal use of his money. So, if your majesty honors
me with a sign, I will go with you.

Ah, monsieur!said the kingforgetting all royal etiquette and
throwing his arms around the neck of Athosyou prove to me that there
is a God in heaven, and that this God sometimes sends messengers to the
unfortunate who groan on the earth.

Athosexceedingly moved by this burst of feeling of the young man
thanked him with profound respectand approached the window. "Grimaud!"
cried hebring out my horses.

What, now - immediately!said the king. "Ahmonsieuryou are indeed
a wonderful man!"


Sire,said AthosI know nothing more pressing than your majesty's
service. Besides,added hesmilingit is a habit contracted long
since, in the service of the queen your aunt, and of the king your
father. How is it possible for me to lose it at the moment your
majesty's service calls for it?


What a man!murmured the king.


Thenafter a moment's reflection- "But nocountI cannot expose you
to such privations. I have no means of rewarding such services."


Bah!said Athoslaughing. "Your majesty is joking; have you not a
million? Ah! why am I not possessed of half such a sum! I would already
have raised a regiment. Butthank God! I have still a few rolls of
gold and some family diamonds left. Your majesty willI hopedeign to
share with a devoted servant."


With a friend - yes, count, but on condition that, in his turn, that
friend will share with me hereafter!


Sire!said Athosopening a casketform which he drew both gold and
jewelsyou see, sire, we are too rich. Fortunately, there are four of
us, in the event of our meeting with thieves.


Joy made the blood rush to the pale cheeks of Charles II.as he saw
Athos's two horsesled by Grimaudalready booted for the journey
advance towards the porch.


Blaisois, this letter for the Vicomte de Bragelonne. For everybody else
I am gone to Paris. I confide the house to you, Blaisois.Blaisois
bowedshook hands with Grimaudand shut the gate.


Chapter XVII:
In which Aramis is soughtand only Bazin is found.


Two hours had scarcely elapsed since the departure of the master of the
housewhoin Blaisois's sighthad taken the road to Pariswhen a
horsemanmounted on a good pied horsestopped before the gateand with
a sonorous "_hola!_" called the stable-boyswhowith the gardenershad
formed a circle round Blaisoisthe historian-in-ordinary to the
household of the chateau. This "_hola_ doubtless well known to Master
Blaisois, made him turn his head and exclaim - Monsieur d'Artagnan! run
quicklyyou chapsand open the gate."


A swarm of eight brisk lads flew to the gatewhich was opened as if it
had been made of feathers; and every one loaded him with attentionsfor
they knew the welcome this friend was accustomed to receive from their
master; and for such remarks the eye of the valet may always be depended
upon.


Ah!said M. d'Artagnanwith an agreeable smilebalancing himself upon
his stirrup to jump to the groundwhere is that dear count?


Ah! how unfortunate you are, monsieur!said Blaisois: "and how
unfortunate will monsieur le comteour masterthink himself when he
hears of your coming! As ill luck will have itmonsieur le comte left
home two hours ago."


D'Artagnan did not trouble himself about such trifles. "Very good!" said
he. "You always speak the best French in the world; you shall give me a
lesson in grammar and correct languagewhilst I wait the return of your
master."



That is impossible, monsieur,said Blaisois; "you would have to wait
too long."

Will he not come back to-day, then?

No, nor to-morrow, nor the day after to-morrow. Monsieur le comte has
gone on a journey.

A journey!said D'Artagnansurprised; "that's a fableMaster
Blaisois."

Monsieur, it is no more than the truth. Monsieur has done me the honor
to give me the house in charge; and he added, with his voice so full of
authority and kindness - that is all one to me: 'You will say I have gone
to Paris.'

Well!cried D'Artagnansince he is gone towards Paris, that is all I
wanted to know! you should have told me so at first, booby! He is then
two hours in advance?

Yes, monsieur.

I shall soon overtake him. Is he alone?

No, monsieur.

Who is with him, then?

A gentleman whom I don't know, an old man, and M. Grimaud.

Such a party cannot travel as fast as I can - I will start.

Will monsieur listen to me an instant?said Blaisoislaying his hand
gently on the reins of the horse.

Yes, if you don't favor me with fine speeches, and make haste.

Well, then, monsieur, that word Paris appears to me to be only an
excuse.

Oh, oh!said D'Artagnanseriouslyan excuse, eh?

Yes, monsieur: and monsieur le comte is not going to Paris, I will
swear.

What makes you think so?

This, - M. Grimaud always knows where our master is going; and he had
promised me that the first time he went to Paris, he would take a little
money for me to my wife.

What, have you a wife, then?

I had one - she was of this country; but monsieur thought her a noisy
scold, and I sent her to Paris; it is sometimes inconvenient, but very
agreeable at others.

I understand; but go on. You do not believe the count gone to Paris?

No, monsieur; for then M. Grimaud would have broken his word; he would
have perjured himself, and that is impossible.

That is impossible,repeated D'Artagnanquite in a studybecause he
was quite convinced. "Wellmy brave Blaisoismany thanks to you."


Blaisois bowed.

Come, you know I am not curious - I have serious business with your
master. Could you not, by a little bit of a word - you who speak so
well - give me to understand - one syllable only - I will guess the
rest.

Upon my word, monsieur, I cannot. I am quite ignorant where monsieur le
comte is gone. As to listening at doors, that is contrary to my nature;
and besides, it is forbidden here.

My dear fellow,said D'Artagnanthis is a very bad beginning for me.
Never mind; you know when monsieur le comte will return, at least?

As little, monsieur, as the place of his destination.

Come, Blaisois, come, search.

Monsieur doubts my sincerity? Ah, monsieur, that grieves me much.

The devil take his gilded tongue!grumbled D'Artagnan. "A clown with a
word would be worth a dozen of him. Adieu!"

Monsieur, I have the honor to present you my respects.

_Cuistre!_said D'Artagnan to himselfthe fellow is unbearable.He
gave another look up to the houseturned his horse's headand set off
like a man who has nothing either annoying or embarrassing in his mind.
When he was at the end of the walland out of sight- "WellnowI
wonder said he, breathing quickly, whether Athos was at home. No; all
those idlersstanding with their arms crossedwould have been at work
if the eye of the master was near. Athos gone on a journey? - that is
incomprehensible. Bah! it is all devilish mysterious! And then - no -
he is not the man I want. I want one of a cunningpatient mind. My
business is at Melunin a certain presbytery I am acquainted with.
Forty-five leagues - four days and a half! Wellit is fine weatherand
I am free. Never mind the distance!"

And he put his horse into a trotdirecting his course towards Paris. On
the fourth day he alighted at Melunas he had intended.

D'Artagnan was never in the habit of asking any one on the road for any
common information. For these sorts of detailsunless in very serious
circumstanceshe confided in his perspicacitywhich was so seldom at
faultin his experience of thirty yearsand in a great habit of reading
the physiognomies of housesas well as those of men. At Melun
D'Artagnan immediately found the presbytery - a charming houseplastered
over red brickwith vines climbing along the guttersand a crossin
carved stonesurmounting the ridge of the roof. From the ground-floor
of this house came a noiseor rather a confusion of voiceslike the
chirping of young birds when the brood is just hatched under the down.
One of these voices was spelling the alphabet distinctly. A voice thick
yet pleasantat the same time scolded the talkers and corrected the
faults of the reader. D'Artagnan recognized that voiceand as the
window of the ground-floor was openhe leant down from his horse under
the branches and red fibers of the vine and criedBazin, my dear Bazin!
good-day to you.

A shortfat manwith a flat facea cranium ornamented with a crown of
gray hairscut shortin imitation of a tonsureand covered with an old
black velvet caparose as soon as he heard D'Artagnan - we ought not to
say arosebut _bounded up_. In factBazin bounded upcarrying with
him his little low chairwhich the children tried to take awaywith


battles more fierce than those of the Greeks endeavoring to recover the
body of Patroclus from the hands of the Trojans. Bazin did more than
bound; he let fall both his alphabet and his ferule. "You!" said he;
you, Monsieur D'Artagnan?

Yes, myself! Where is Aramis - no, M. le Chevalier d'Herblay - no, I am
still mistaken - Monsieur le Vicaire-General?

Ah, monsieur,said Bazinwith dignitymonseigneur is at his diocese.

What did you say?said D'Artagnan. Bazin repeated the sentence.

Ah, ah! but has Aramis a diocese?

Yes, monsieur. Why not?

Is he a bishop, then?

Why, where can you come from,said Bazinrather irreverentlythat
you don't know that?

My dear Bazin, we pagans, we men of the sword, know very well when a man
is made a colonel, or maitre-de-camp, or marshal of France; but if he be
made a bishop, arch-bishop, or pope - devil take me if the news reaches
us before the three quarters of the earth have had the advantage of it!

Hush! hush!said Bazinopening his eyes: "do not spoil these poor
childrenin whom I am endeavoring to inculcate such good principles."
In factthe children had surrounded D'Artagnanwhose horselong sword
spursand martial air they very much admired. But above allthey
admired his strong voice; so thatwhen he uttered his oaththe whole
school cried outThe devil take me!with fearful bursts of laughter
shoutsand boundswhich delighted the musketeerand bewildered the old
pedagogue.

There!said hehold your tongues, you brats! You have come, M.
d'Artagnan, and all my good principles fly away. With you, as usual,
comes disorder. Babel is revived. Ah! Good Lord! Ah! the wild little
wretches!And the worthy Bazin distributed right and left blows which
increased the cries of his scholars by changing the nature of them.

At least,said heyou will no longer decoy any one here.

Do you think so?said D'Artagnanwith a smile which made a shudder
creep over the shoulders of Bazin.

He is capable of it,murmured he.

Where is your master's diocese?

Monseigneur Rene is bishop of Vannes.

Who had him nominated?

Why, monsieur le surintendant, our neighbor.

What! Monsieur Fouquet?

To be sure he did.

Is Aramis on good terms with him, then?

Monseigneur preached every Sunday at the house of monsieur le
surintendant at Vaux; then they hunted together.


Ah!


And monseigneur composed his homilies - no, I mean his sermons - with
monsieur le surintendant.
Bah! he preached in verse, then, this worthy bishop?


Monsieur, for the love of heaven, do not jest with sacred things.
There, Bazin, there! So, then, Aramis is at Vannes?


At Vannes, in Bretagne.
You are a deceitful old hunks, Bazin; that is not true.


See, monsieur, if you please; the apartments of the presbytery are
empty.

He is right there,said D'Artagnanlooking attentively at the house
the aspect of which announced solitude.

But monseigneur must have written you an account of his promotion.

When did it take place?
A month back.

Oh! then there is no time lost. Aramis cannot yet have wanted me. But
how is it, Bazin, you do not follow your master?

Monsieur, I cannot; I have occupations.

Your alphabet?
And my penitents.

What, do you confess, then? Are you a priest?
The same as one. I have such a call.

But the orders?

Oh,said Bazinwithout hesitationnow that monseigneur is a bishop,
I shall soon have my orders, or at least my dispensations.And he
rubbed his hands.

Decidedly,said D'Artagnan to himselfthere will be no means of
uprooting these people. Get me some supper, Bazin.

With pleasure, monsieur.

A fowl, a _bouillon,_ and a bottle of wine.
This is Saturday night, monsieur - it is a day of abstinence.


I have a dispensation,said D'Artagnan.
Bazin looked at him suspiciously.


Ah, ah, master hypocrite!said the musketeerfor whom do you take
me? If you, who are the valet, hope for dispensation to commit a crime,
shall not I, the friend of your bishop, have dispensation for eating meat
at the call of my stomach? Make yourself agreeable with me, Bazin, or by


heavens! I will complain to the king, and you shall never confess. Now
you know that the nomination of bishops rests with the king, - I have the
king, I am the stronger.

Bazin smiled hypocritically. "Ahbut we have monsieur le surintendant
said he.

And you laugh at the kingthen?"

Bazin made no reply; his smile was sufficiently eloquent.

My supper,said D'Artagnanit is getting towards seven o'clock.

Bazin turned round and ordered the eldest of the pupils to inform the
cook. In the meantimeD'Artagnan surveyed the presbytery.

Phew!said hedisdainfullymonseigneur lodged his grandeur very
meanly here.

We have the Chateau de Vaux,said Bazin.

Which is perhaps equal to the Louvre?said D'Artagnanjeeringly.

Which is better,replied Bazinwith the greatest coolness imaginable.

Ah, ah!said D'Artagnan.

He would perhaps have prolonged the discussionand maintained the
superiority of the Louvrebut the lieutenant perceived that his horse
remained fastened to the bars of a gate.

The devil!said he. "Get my horse looked after; your master the bishop
has none like him in his stables."

Bazin cast a sidelong glance at the horseand repliedMonsieur le
surintendant gave him four from his own stables; and each of the four is
worth four of yours.

The blood mounted to the face of D'Artagnan. His hand itched and his eye
glanced over the head of Bazinto select the place upon which he should
discharge his anger. But it passed away; reflection cameand D'Artagnan
contented himself with saying


The devil! the devil! I have done well to quit the service of the
king. Tell me, worthy Master Bazin,added hehow many musketeers does
monsieur le surintendant retain in his service?

He could have all there are in the kingdom with his money,replied
Bazinclosing his bookand dismissing the boys with some kindly blows
of his cane.

The devil! the devil!repeated D'Artagnanonce moreas if to annoy
the pedagogue. But as supper was now announcedhe followed the cook
who introduced him into the refectorywhere it awaited him. D'Artagnan
placed himself at the tableand began a hearty attack upon his fowl.

It appears to me,said D'Artagnanbiting with all his might at the
tough fowl they had served up to himand which they had evidently
forgotten to fatten- "it appears that I have done wrong in not seeking
service with that master yonder. A powerful noble this intendant
seemingly! In good truthwe poor fellows know nothing at the courtand
the rays of the sun prevent our seeing the large starswhich are also
sunsat a little greater distance from our earth- that is all."


As D'Artagnan delightedboth from pleasure and systemin making people
talk about things which interested himhe fenced in his best style with
Master Bazinbut it was pure loss of time; beyond the tiresome and
hyperbolical praises of monsieur le surintendant of the financesBazin
whoon his sidewas on his guardafforded nothing but platitudes to
the curiosity of D'Artagnanso that our musketeerin a tolerably bad
humordesired to go to bed as soon as he had supped. D'Artagnan was
introduced by Bazin into a mean chamberin which there was a poor bed;
but D'Artagnan was not fastidious in that respect. He had been told that
Aramis had taken away the key of his own private apartmentand as he
knew Aramis was a very particular manand had generally many things to
conceal in his apartmenthe had not been surprised. Hetherefore
although it seemed comparatively even harderattacked the bed as bravely
as he had done the fowl; andas he had as good an inclination to sleep
as he had had to eathe took scarcely longer time to be snoring
harmoniously than he had employed in picking the last bones of the bird.


Since he was no longer in the service of any oneD'Artagnan had promised
himself to indulge in sleeping as soundly as he had formerly slept
lightly; but with whatever good faith D'Artagnan had made himself this
promiseand whatever desire he might have to keep it religiouslyhe was
awakened in the middle of the night by a loud noise of carriagesand
servants on horseback. A sudden illumination flashed over the walls of
his chamber; he jumped out of bed and ran to the window in his shirt.
Can the king be coming this way?he thoughtrubbing his eyes; "in
truthsuch a suite can only be attached to royalty."


_Vive le monsieur le surintendant!_criedor rather vociferatedfrom
a window on the ground-floora voice which he recognized as Bazin'swho
at the same time waved a handkerchief with one handand held a large
candle in the other. D'Artagnan then saw something like a brilliant
human form leaning out of the principal carriage; at the same time loud
bursts of laughtercausedno doubtby the strange figure of Bazinand
issuing from the same carriageleftas it werea train of joy upon the
passage of the rapid _cortege_.


I might easily see it was not the king,said D'Artagnan; "people don't
laugh so heartily when the king passes. _Hola_Bazin!" cried he to his
neighborthree-quarters of whose body still hung out of the windowto
follow the carriage with his eyes as long as he could. "What is all that
about?"


It is M. Fouquet,said Bazinin a patronizing tone.


And all those people?


That is the court of M. Fouquet.


Oh, oh!said D'Artagnan; "what would M. de Mazarin say to that if he
heard it?" And he returned to his bedasking himself how Aramis always
contrived to be protected by the most powerful personages in the
kingdom. "Is it that he has more luck than Ior that I am a greater
fool than he? Bah!" That was the concluding word by the aid of which
D'Artagnanhaving become wisenow terminated every thought and every
period of his style. Formerly he said_Mordioux!_which was a prick
of the spurbut now he had become olderand he murmured that
philosophical "_Bah!_" which served as a bridle to all the passions.


Chapter XVIII:
In which D'Artagnan seeks Porthosand only finds Mousqueton.


When D'Artagnan had perfectly convinced himself that the absence of the
Vicar-General d'Herblay was realand that his friend was not to be found



at Melun or in its vicinityhe left Bazin without regretcast an ill-
natured glance at the magnificent Chateau de Vauxwhich was beginning to
shine with that splendor which brought on its ruinandcompressing his
lips like a man full of mistrust and suspicionhe put spurs to his pied
horsesayingWell, well! I have still Pierrefonds left, and there I
shall find the best man and the best filled coffer. And that is all I
want, for I have an idea of my own.

We will spare our readers the prosaic incidents of D'Artagnan's journey
which terminated on the morning of the third day within sight of
Pierrefonds. D'Artagnan came by the way of Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and
Crepy. At a distance he perceived the Castle of Louis of Orleanswhich
having become part of the crown domainwas kept by an old _concierge_.
This was one of those marvelous manors of the middle ageswith walls
twenty feet in thicknessand a hundred in height.

D'Artagnan rode slowly past its wallsmeasured its towers with his eye
and descended into the valley. From afar he looked down upon the chateau
of Porthossituated on the shores of a small lakeand contiguous to a
magnificent forest. It was the same place we have already had the honor
of describing to our readers; we shall therefore satisfy ourselves with
naming it. The first thing D'Artagnan perceived after the fine trees
the May sun gilding the sides of the green hillsthe long rows of
feather-topped trees which stretched out towards Compiegnewas a large
rolling boxpushed forward by two servants and dragged by two others.
In this box there was an enormous green-and-gold thingwhich went along
the smiling glades of the parkthus dragged and pushed. This thingat
a distancecould not be distinguishedand signified absolutely nothing;
nearerit was a hogshead muffled in gold-bound green cloth; when close
it was a manor rather a _poussa_the inferior extremity of whom
spreading over the interior of the boxentirely filled it; when still
closerthe man was Mousqueton - Mousquetonwith gray hair and a face as
red as Punchinello's.

_Pardieu!_cried D'Artagnan; "whythat's my dear Monsieur Mousqueton!"

Ah!cried the fat man - "ah! what happiness! what joy! There's M.
d'Artagnan. Stopyou rascals!" These last words were addressed to the
lackeys who pushed and dragged him. The box stoppedand the four
lackeyswith a precision quite militarytook off their laced hats and
ranged themselves behind it.

Oh, Monsieur d'Artagnan!said Mousquetonwhy can I not embrace your
knees? But I have become impotent, as you see.

_Dame!_ my dear Mousqueton, it is age.

No, monsieur, it is not age; it is infirmities - troubles.

Troubles! you, Mousqueton?said D'Artagnanmaking the tour of the box;
are you out of your mind, my dear friend? Thank God! you are as hearty
as a three-hundred-year-old oak.

Ah! but my legs, monsieur, my legs!groaned the faithful servant.

What's the matter with your legs?

Oh, they will no longer bear me!

Ah, the ungrateful things! And yet you feed them well, Mousqueton,
apparently.

Alas, yes! They can reproach me with nothing in that respect,said
Mousquetonwith a sigh; "I have always done what I could for my poor


body; I am not selfish." And Mousqueton sighed afresh.

I wonder whether Mousqueton wants to be a baron, too, as he sighs after
that fashion?thought D'Artagnan.

_Mon Dieu_, monsieur!said Mousquetonas if rousing himself from a
painful reverie; "how happy monseigneur will be that you have thought of
him!"

Kind Porthos!cried D'ArtagnanI am anxious to embrace him.

Oh!said Mousquetonmuch affectedI shall certainly write to him.

What!cried D'Artagnanyou will write to him?

This very day; I shall not delay it an hour.

Is he not here, then?

No, monsieur.

But is he near at hand? - is he far off?

Oh, can I tell, monsieur, can I tell?

_Mordioux!_cried the musketeerstamping with his footI am
unfortunate. Porthos is such a stay-at-home!

Monsieur, there is not a more sedentary man that monseigneur, but -

But what?

When a friend presses you -

A friend?

Doubtless - the worthy M. d'Herblay.

What, has Aramis pressed Porthos?

This is how the thing happened, Monsieur d'Artagnan. M. d'Herblay wrote
to monseigneur -

Indeed!

A letter, monsieur, such a pressing letter that it threw us all into a
bustle.

Tell me all about it, my dear friend,said D'Artagnan; "but remove
these people a little further off first."

Mousqueton shoutedFall back, you fellows,with such powerful lungs
that the breathwithout the wordswould have been sufficient to
disperse the four lackeys. D'Artagnan seated himself on the shaft of the
box and opened his ears. "Monsieur said Mousqueton, monseigneur
thenreceived a letter from M. le Vicaire-General d'Herblayeight or
nine days ago; it was the day of the rustic pleasuresyesit must have
been Wednesday."

What do you mean?said D'Artagnan. "The day of rustic pleasures?"

Yes, monsieur; we have so many pleasures to take in this delightful
country, that we were encumbered by them; so much so, that we have been
forced to regulate the distribution of them.


How easily do I recognize Porthos's love of order in that! Now, that
idea would never have occurred to me; but then I am not encumbered with
pleasures.

We were, though,said Mousqueton.

And how did you regulate the matter, let me know?said D'Artagnan.

It is rather long, monsieur.

Never mind, we have plenty of time; and you speak so well, my dear
Mousqueton, that it is really a pleasure to hear you.

It is true,said Mousquetonwith a sigh of satisfactionwhich
emanated evidently from the justice which had been rendered himit is
true I have made great progress in the company of monseigneur.

I am waiting for the distribution of the pleasures, Mousqueton, and with
impatience. I want to know if I have arrived on a lucky day.

Oh, Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Mousqueton in a melancholy tonesince
monseigneur's departure all the pleasures have gone too!

Well, my dear Mousqueton, refresh your memory.

With what day shall I begin?

Eh, _pardieux!_ begin with Sunday; that is the Lord's day.

Sunday, monsieur?

Yes.

Sunday pleasures are religious: monseigneur goes to mass, makes the
bread-offering, and has discourses and instructions made to him by his
almoner-in-ordinary. That is not very amusing, but we expect a Carmelite
from Paris who will do the duty of our almonry, and who, we are assured,
speaks very well, which will keep us awake, whereas our present almoner
always sends us to sleep. These are Sunday religious pleasures. On
Monday, worldly pleasures.

Ah, ah!said D'Artagnanwhat do you mean by that? Let us have a
glimpse at your worldly pleasures.

Monsieur, on Monday we go into the world; we pay and receive visits, we
play on the lute, we dance, we make verses, and burn a little incense in
honor of the ladies.

_Peste!_ that is the height of gallantry,said the musketeerwho was
obliged to call to his aid all the strength of his facial muscles to
suppress an enormous inclination to laugh.

Tuesday, learned pleasures.

Good!cried D'Artagnan. "What are they? Detail themmy dear
Mousqueton."

Monseigneur has bought a sphere or globe, which I shall show you; it
fills all the perimeter of the great tower, except a gallery which he has
had built over the sphere: there are little strings and brass wires to
which the sun and moon are hooked. It all turns; and that is very
beautiful. Monseigneur points out to me the seas and distant countries.
We don't intend to visit them, but it is very interesting.


Interesting! yes, that's the word,repeated D'Artagnan. "And
Wednesday?"

Rustic pleasures, as I have had the honor to tell you, monsieur le
chevalier. We look over monseigneur's sheep and goats; we make the
shepherds dance to pipes and reeds, as is written in a book monseigneur
has in his library, which is called 'Bergeries.' The author died about a
month ago.

Monsieur Racan, perhaps,said D'Artagnan.

Yes, that was his name - M. Racan. But that is not all: we angle in the
little canal, after which we dine, crowned with flowers. That is
Wednesday.

_Peste!_said D'Artagnan; "you don't divide your pleasures badly. And
Thursday? - what can be left for poor Thursday?"

It is not very unfortunate, monsieur,said Mousquetonsmiling.
Thursday, Olympian pleasures. Ah, monsieur, that is superb! We get
together all monseigneur's young vassals, and we make them throw the
disc, wrestle, and run races. Monseigneur can't run now, no more can I;
but monseigneur throws the disc as nobody else can throw it. And when he
does deal a blow, oh, that proves a misfortune!

How so?

Yes, monsieur, we were obliged to renounce the cestus. He cracked
heads; he broke jaws - beat in ribs. It was charming sport; but nobody
was willing to play with him.

Then his wrist -

Oh, monsieur, firmer than ever. Monseigneur gets a trifle weaker in his
legs, - he confesses that himself; but his strength has all taken refuge
in his arms, so that -

So that he can knock down bullocks, as he used to formerly.

Monsieur, better than that - he beats in walls. Lately, after having
supped with one of our farmers - you know how popular and kind
monseigneur is - after supper, as a joke, he struck the wall a blow. The
wall crumbled away beneath his hand, the roof fell in, and three men and
an old woman were stifled.

Good God, Mousqueton! And your master?

Oh, monseigneur, a little skin was rubbed off his head. We bathed the
wounds with some water which the monks gave us. But there was nothing
the matter with his hand.

Nothing?

No, nothing, monsieur.

Deuce take the Olympic pleasures! They must cost your master too dear;
for widows and orphans -

They all had pensions, monsieur; a tenth of monseigneur's revenue was
spent in that way.

Then pass on to Friday,said D'Artagnan.


Friday, noble and warlike pleasures. We hunt, we fence, we dress
falcons and break horses. Then, Saturday is the day for intellectual
pleasures: we adorn our minds; we look at monseigneur's pictures and
statues; we write, even, and trace plans: and then we fire monseigneur's
cannon.

You draw plans, and fire cannon?

Yes, monsieur.

Why, my friend,said D'ArtagnanM. du Vallon, in truth, possesses the
most subtle and amiable mind that I know. But there is one kind of
pleasure you have forgotten, it appears to me.

What is that, monsieur?asked Mousquetonwith anxiety.

The material pleasures.

Mousqueton colored. "What do you mean by thatmonsieur?" said he
casting down his eyes.

I mean the table - good wine - evenings occupied in passing the bottle.

Ah, monsieur, we don't reckon those pleasures, - we practice them every
day.

My brave Mousqueton,resumed D'Artagnanpardon me, but I was so
absorbed in your charming recital that I have forgotten the principal
object of our conversation, which was to learn what M. le Vicaire-General
d'Herblay could have to write to your master about.

That is true, monsieur,said Mousqueton; "the pleasures have misled
us. Wellmonsieurthis is the whole affair."

I am all attention, Mousqueton.

On Wednesday -

The day of the rustic pleasures?

Yes - a letter arrived; he received it from my hands. I had recognized
the writing.

Well?

Monseigneur read it and cried out, Quickmy horses! my arms!'"

Oh, good Lord! then it was for some duel?said D'Artagnan.

No, monsieur, there were only these words: 'Dear Porthos, set out, if
you would wish to arrive before the Equinox. I expect you.'

_Mordioux!_said D'Artagnanthoughtfullythat was pressing,
apparently.

I think so; therefore,continued Mousquetonmonseigneur set out the
very same day with his secretary, in order to endeavor to arrive in time.

And did he arrive in time?

I hope so. Monseigneur, who is hasty, as you know, monsieur, repeated
incessantly, '_Tonne Dieu!_ What can this mean? The Equinox? Never
mind, a fellow must be well mounted to arrive before I do.'


And you think Porthos will have arrived first, do you?asked D'Artagnan.


I am sure of it. This Equinox, however rich he may be, has certainly no
horses so good as monseigneur's.


D'Artagnan repressed his inclination to laughbecause the brevity of
Aramis's letter gave rise to reflection. He followed Mousquetonor
rather Mousqueton's chariotto the castle. He sat down to a sumptuous
tableof which they did him the honors as to a king. But he could draw
nothing from Mousqueton- the faithful servant seemed to shed tears at
willbut that was all.


D'Artagnanafter a night passed in an excellent bedreflected much upon
the meaning of Aramis's letter; puzzled himself as to the relation of the
Equinox with the affairs of Porthos; and being unable to make anything
out unless it concerned some amour of the bishop'sfor which it was
necessary that the days and nights should be equalD'Artagnan left
Pierrefonds as he had left Melunas he had left the chateau of the Comte
de la Fere. It was nothoweverwithout a melancholywhich might in
good sooth pass for one of the most dismal of D'Artagnan's moods. His
head cast downhis eyes fixedhe suffered his legs to hang on each side
of his horseand said to himselfin that vague sort of reverie which
ascends sometimes to the sublimest eloquence:


No more friends! no more future! no more anything! My energies are
broken like the bonds of our ancient friendship. Oh, old age is coming,
cold and inexorable; it envelopes in its funeral crepe all that was
brilliant, all that was embalming in my youth; then it throws that sweet
burthen on its shoulders and carries it away with the rest into the
fathomless gulf of death.


A shudder crept through the heart of the Gasconso brave and so strong
against all the misfortunes of life; and during some moments the clouds
appeared black to himthe earth slippery and full of pits as that of
cemeteries.


Whither am I going?said he to himself. "What am I going to do!
Alonequite alone - without familywithout friends! Bah!" cried he all
at once. And he clapped spurs to his horsewhohaving found nothing
melancholy in the heavy oats of Pierrefondsprofited by this permission
to show his gayety in a gallop which absorbed two leagues. "To Paris!"
said D'Artagnan to himself. And on the morrow he alighted in Paris. He
had devoted ten days to this journey.


Chapter XIX:
What D'Artagnan went to Paris for.


The lieutenant dismounted before a shop in the Rue des Lombardsat the
sign of the Pilon d'Or. A man of good appearancewearing a white apron
and stroking his gray mustache with a large handuttered a cry of joy on
perceiving the pied horse. "Monsieur le chevalier said he, ahis
that you?"


_Bon jour_, Planchet,replied D'Artagnanstooping to enter the shop.


Quick, somebody,cried Planchetto look after Monsieur d'Artagnan's
horse, - somebody to get ready his room, - somebody to prepare his
supper.


Thanks, Planchet. Good-day, my children!said D'Artagnan to the eager
boys.



Allow me to send off this coffee, this treacle, and these raisins,
said Planchet; "they are for the store-room of monsieur le surintendant."

Send them off, send them off!

That is only the affair of a moment, then we shall sup.

Arrange it that we may sup alone; I want to speak to you.

Planchet looked at his old master in a significant manner.

Oh, don't be uneasy, it is nothing unpleasant,said D'Artagnan.

So much the better - so much the better!And Planchet breathed freely
againwhilst D'Artagnan seated himself quietly down in the shopupon a
bale of corksand made a survey of the premises. The shop was well
stocked; there was a mingled perfume of gingercinnamonand ground
pepperwhich made D'Artagnan sneeze. The shop-boyproud of being in
company with so renowned a warriorof a lieutenant of musketeerswho
approached the person of the kingbegan to work with an enthusiasm which
was something like deliriumand to serve the customers with a disdainful
haste that was noticed by several.

Planchet put away his moneyand made up his accountsamidst civilities
addressed to his former master. Planchet had with his equals the short
speech and haughty familiarity of the rich shopkeeper who serves
everybody and waits for nobody. D'Artagnan observed this habit with a
pleasure which we shall analyze presently. He saw night come on by
degreesand at length Planchet conducted him to a chamber on the first
storywhereamidst bales and chestsa table very nicely set out
awaited the two guests.

D'Artagnan took advantage of a moment's pause to examine the countenance
of Planchetwhom he had not seen for a year. The shrewd Planchet had
acquired a slight protuberance in frontbut his countenance was not
puffed. His keen eye still played with facility in its deep-sunk orbit;
and fatwhich levels all the characteristic saliences of the human face
had not yet touched either his high cheek-bonesthe sign of cunning and
cupidityor his pointed chinthe sign of acuteness and perseverance.
Planchet reigned with as much majesty in his dining-room as in his shop.
He set before his master a frugalbut perfectly Parisian repast: roast
meatcooked at the baker'swith vegetablessaladand a dessert
borrowed from the shop itself. D'Artagnan was pleased that the grocer
had drawn from behind the fagots a bottle of that Anjou wine which during
all his life had been D'Artagnan's favorite wine.

Formerly, monsieur,said Planchetwith a smile full of _bonhomie_it
was I who drank your wine; now you do me the honor to drink mine.

And, thank God, friend Planchet, I shall drink it for a long time to
come, I hope; for at present I am free.

Free? You have a leave of absence, monsieur?

Unlimited.

You are leaving the service?said Planchetstupefied.

Yes, I am resting.

And the king?cried Planchetwho could not suppose it possible that
the king could do without the services of such a man as D'Artagnan.

The king will try his fortune elsewhere. But we have supped well, you


are disposed to enjoy yourself; you invite me to confide in you. Open
your ears, then.

They are open.And Planchetwith a laugh more frank than cunning
opened a bottle of white wine.

Leave me my reason, at least.

Oh, as to you losing your head - you, monsieur!

Now my head is my own, and I mean to take better care of it than ever.
In the first place we shall talk business. How fares our money-box?

Wonderfully well, monsieur. The twenty thousand livres I had of you are
still employed in my trade, in which they bring me nine per cent. I give
you seven, so I gain two by you.

And you are still satisfied?

Delighted. Have you brought me any more?

Better than that. But do you want any?

Oh! not at all. Every one is willing to trust me now. I am extending
my business.

That was your intention.

I play the banker a little. I buy goods of my needy brethren; I lend
money to those who are not ready for their payments.

Without usury?

Oh! monsieur, in the course of the last week I have had two meetings on
the boulevards, on account of the word you have just pronounced.

What?

You shall see: it concerned a loan. The borrower gives me in pledge
some raw sugars, on condition that I should sell if repayment were not
made within a fixed period. I lend a thousand livres. He does not pay
me, and I sell the sugars for thirteen hundred livres. He learns this
and claims a hundred crowns. _Ma foi!_ I refused, pretending that I
could not sell them for more than nine hundred livres. He accused me of
usury. I begged him to repeat that word to me behind the boulevards. He
was an old guard, and he came: and I passed your sword through his left
thigh.

_Tu dieu!_ what a pretty sort of banker you make!said D'Artagnan.

For above thirteen per cent I fight,replied Planchet; "that is my
character."

Take only twelve,said D'Artagnanand call the rest premium and
brokerage.

You are right, monsieur; but to your business.

Ah! Planchet, it is very long and very hard to speak.

Do speak it, nevertheless.

D'Artagnan twisted his mustache like a man embarrassed with the
confidence he is about to make and mistrustful of his confidant.


Is it an investment?asked Planchet.
Why, yes.
At good profit?
A capital profit, - four hundred per cent, Planchet.
Planchet gave such a blow with his fist upon the tablethat the bottles


bounded as if they had been frightened.
Good heavens! is that possible?
I think it will be more,replied D'Artagnan coolly; "but I like to lay


it at the lowest!"


The devil!said Planchetdrawing nearer. "Whymonsieurthat is


magnificent! Can one put much money in it?"


Twenty thousand livres each, Planchet.


Why, that is all you have, monsieur. For how long a time?


For a month.


And that will give us -


Fifty thousand livres each, profit.


It is monstrous! It is worth while to fight for such interest as that!


In fact, I believe it will be necessary to fight not a little,said


D'Artagnanwith the same tranquillity; "but this time there are two of


usPlanchetand I shall take all the blows to myself."

Oh! monsieur, I will not allow that.
Planchet, you cannot be concerned in it; you would be obliged to leave
your business and your family.


The affair is not in Paris, then.


No.


Abroad?


In England.


A speculative country, that is true,said Planchet- "a country that I


know well. What sort of an affairmonsieurwithout too much curiosity?"
Planchet, it is a restoration.
Of monuments?
Yes, of monuments; we shall restore Whitehall.
That is important. And in a month, you think?
I shall undertake it.
That concerns you, monsieur, and when once you are engaged -



Yes, that concerns me. I know what I am about; nevertheless, I will
freely consult with you.


You do me great honor; but I know very little about architecture.


Planchet, you are wrong; you are an excellent architect, quite as good
as I am, for the case in question.


Thanks, monsieur. But your old friends of the musketeers?


I have been, I confess, tempted to speak of the thing to those
gentlemen, but they are all absent from their houses. It is vexatious,
for I know none more bold or able.


Ah! then it appears there will be an opposition, and the enterprise will
be disputed?


Oh, yes, Planchet, yes.


I burn to know the details, monsieur.


Here they are, Planchet - close all the doors tight.


Yes, monsieur.And Planchet double-locked them.


That is well; now draw near.Planchet obeyed.


And open the window, because the noise of the passers-by and the carts
will deafen all who might hear us.Planchet opened the window as
desiredand the gust of tumult which filled the chamber with cries
wheelsbarkingsand steps deafened D'Artagnan himselfas he had
wished. He then swallowed a glass of white wineand began in these
terms: "PlanchetI have an idea."


Ah! monsieur, I recognize you so well in that!replied Planchet
panting with emotion.


Chapter XX:
Of the Society which was formed in the Rue des Lombardsat the Sign of
the Pilon d'Orto carry out M. d'Artagnan's Idea.


After a moment's silencein which D'Artagnan appeared to be collecting
not one idea but all his ideas- "It cannot bemy dear Planchet said
he, that you have not heard of his majesty Charles I. of England?"


Alas! yes, monsieur, since you left France in order to assist him, and
that, in spite of that assistance, he fell, and was near dragging you
down in his fall.


Exactly so; I see you have a good memory, Planchet.


_Peste!_ the astonishing thing would be, if I could have lost that
memory, however bad it might have been. When one has heard Grimaud, who,
you know, is not given to talking, relate how the head of King Charles
fell, how you sailed the half of a night in a scuttled vessel, and saw
floating on the water that good M. Mordaunt with a certain gold-hafted
dagger buried in his breast, one is not very likely to forget such
things.


And yet there are people who forget them, Planchet.


Yes, such as have not seen them, or have not heard Grimaud relate them.



Well, it is all the better that you recollect all that; I shall only
have to remind you of one thing, and that is that Charles I. had a son.

Without contradicting you, monsieur, he had two,said Planchet; "for I
saw the second one in ParisM. le Duke of Yorkone dayas he was going
to the Palais Royaland I was told that he was not the eldest son of
Charles I. As to the eldestI have the honor of knowing him by name
but not personally."

That is exactly the point, Planchet, we must come to: it is to this
eldest son, formerly called the Prince of Wales, and who is now styled
Charles II., king of England.

A king without a kingdom, monsieur,replied Planchetsententiously.

Yes, Planchet, and you may add an unfortunate prince, more unfortunate
than the poorest man of the people lost in the worst quarter of Paris.

Planchet made a gesture full of that sort of compassion which we grant to
strangers with whom we think we can never possibly find ourselves in
contact. Besideshe did not see in this politico-sentimental operation
any sign of the commercial idea of M. d'Artagnanand it was in this idea
that D'Artagnanwho wasfrom habitpretty well acquainted with men and
thingshad principally interested Planchet.

I am come to our business. This young Prince of Wales, a king without
a kingdom, as you have so well said, Planchet, has interested me. I,
D'Artagnan, have seen him begging assistance of Mazarin, who is a miser,
and the aid of Louis, who is a child, and it appeared to me, who am
acquainted with such things, that in the intelligent eye of the fallen
king, in the nobility of his whole person, a nobility apparent above all
his miseries, I could discern the stuff of a man and the heart of a king.

Planchet tacitly approved of all this; but it did not at allin his eyes
at leastthrow any light upon D'Artagnan's idea. The latter continued:
This, then, is the reasoning which I made with myself. Listen
attentively, Planchet, for we are coming to the conclusion.

I am listening.

Kings are not so thickly sown upon the earth, that people can find them
whenever they want them. Now, this king without a kingdom is, in my
opinion, a grain of seed which will blossom in some season or other,
provided a skillful, discreet, and vigorous hand sow it duly and truly,
selecting soil, sky, and time.

Planchet still approved by a nod of his headwhich showed that he did
not perfectly comprehend all that was said.

'Poor little seed of a king,' said I to myself, and really I was
affected, Planchet, which leads me to think I am entering upon a foolish
business. And that is why I wished to consult you, my friend.

Planchet colored with pleasure and pride.

'Poor little seed of a king! I will pick you up and cast you into good
ground.'

Good God!said Planchetlooking earnestly at his old masteras if in
doubt as to the state of his reason.

Well, what is it?said D'Artagnan; "who hurts you?"

Me! nothing, monsieur.


You said, 'Good God!'
Did I?
I am sure you did. Can you already understand?
I confess, M. d'Artagnan, that I am afraid -
To understand?
Yes.
To understand that I wish to replace upon his throne this King Charles


II., who has no throne? Is that it?


Planchet made a prodigious bound in his chair. "Ahah!" said hein
evident terrorthat is what you call a restoration!
Yes, Planchet; is it not the proper term for it?
Oh, no doubt, no doubt! But have you reflected seriously?
Upon what?
Upon what is going on yonder.
Where?
In England.
And what is that? Let us see, Planchet.
In the first place, monsieur, I ask you pardon for meddling in these


things, which have nothing to do with my trade; but since it is an affair
that you propose to me - for you are proposing an affair, are you not? -
A superb one, Planchet.
But as it is business you propose to me, I have the right to discuss it.


Discuss it, Planchet; out of discussion is born light.
Well, then, since I have monsieur's permission, I will tell him that
there is yonder, in the first place, the parliament.


Well, next?
And then the army.
Good! Do you see anything else?
Why, then the nation.
Is that all?
The nation which consented to the overthrow and death of the late king,


the father of this one, and which will not be willing to belie its acts.
Planchet,said D'Artagnanyou argue like a cheese! The nation - the
nation is tired of these gentlemen who give themselves such barbarous
names, and who sing songs to it. Chanting for chanting, my dear
Planchet; I have remarked that nations prefer singing a merry chant to
the plain chant. Remember the Fronde; what did they sing in those


times? Well, those were good times.

Not too good, not too good! I was near being hung in those times.

Well, but you were not.

No.

And you laid the foundations of your fortune in the midst of all those
songs?

That is true.

Then you have nothing to say against them.

Well, I return, then, to the army and parliament.

I say that I borrow twenty thousand livres of M. Planchet, and that I
put twenty thousand livres of my own to it; and with these forty thousand
livres I raise an army.

Planchet clasped his hands; he saw that D'Artagnan was in earnestand
in good truthhe believed his master had lost his senses.

An army! - ah, monsieur,said hewith his most agreeable smilefor
fear of irritating the madmanand rendering him furious- "an army! –
how many?"

Of forty men,said D'Artagnan.

Forty against forty thousand! that is not enough. I know very well that
you, M. d'Artagnan, alone, are equal to a thousand men; but where are we
to find thirty-nine men equal to you? Or, if we could find them, who
would furnish you with money to pay them?

Not bad, Planchet. Ah, the devil! you play the courtier.

No, monsieur, I speak what I think, and that is exactly why I say that,
in the first pitched battle you fight with your forty men, I am very much
afraid -

Therefore I shall fight no pitched battles, my dear Planchet,said the
Gasconlaughing. "We have very fine examples in antiquity of skillful
retreats and marcheswhich consisted in avoiding the enemy instead of
attacking them. You should know thatPlanchetyou who commanded the
Parisians the day on which they ought to have fought against the
musketeersand who so well calculated marches and countermarchesthat
you never left the Palais Royal."

Planchet could not help laughing. "It is plain replied he, that if
your forty men conceal themselvesand are not unskillfulthey may hope
not to be beaten: but you propose obtaining some resultdo you not?"

No doubt. This, then, in my opinion, is the plan to be proceeded upon
in order quickly to replace his majesty Charles II. on his throne.

Good!said Planchetincreasing his attention; "let us see your plan.
But in the first place it seems to me we are forgetting something."

What is that?

We have set aside the nation, which prefers singing merry songs to
psalms, and the army, which we will not fight; but the parliament
remains, and that seldom sings.


Nor does it fight. How is it, Planchet, that an intelligent man like
yourself should take any heed of a set of brawlers who call themselves
Rumps and Barebones? The parliament does not trouble me at all,
Planchet.

As soon as it ceases to trouble you, monsieur, let us pass on.

Yes, and arrive at the result. You remember Cromwell, Planchet?

I have heard a great deal of talk about him.

He was a rough soldier."

And a terrible eater, moreover.

What do you mean by that?

Why, at one gulp he swallowed all England.

Well, Planchet, the evening before the day on which he swallowed
England, if any one had swallowed M. Cromwell?

Oh, monsieur, it is one of the axioms of mathematics that the container
must be greater than the contained.

Very well! That is our affair, Planchet.

But M. Cromwell is dead, and his container is now the tomb.

My dear Planchet, I see with pleasure that you have not only become a
mathematician, but a philosopher.

Monsieur, in my grocery business I use much printed paper, and that
instructs me.

Bravo! You know then, in that case - for you have not learnt
mathematics and philosophy without a little history - that after this
Cromwell so great, there came one who was very little.

Yes; he was named Richard, and he as done as you have, M. d'Artagnan –
he has tendered his resignation.

Very well said - very well! After the great man who is dead, after the
little one who tendered his resignation, there came a third. This one is
named Monk; he is an able general, considering he has never fought a
battle; he is a skillful diplomatist, considering that he never speaks in
public, and that having to say 'good-day' to a man, he meditates twelve
hours, and ends by saying 'good night;' which makes people exclaim
'_miracle!_' seeing that it falls out correctly.

That is rather strong,said Planchet; "but I know another political man
who resembles him very much."

M. Mazarin you mean?

Himself.

You are right, Planchet; only M. Mazarin does not aspire to the throne
of France; and that changes everything. Do you see? Well, this M. Monk,
who has England ready-roasted in his plate, and who is already opening
his mouth to swallow it - this M. Monk, who says to the people of Charles
II., and to Charles II. himself, '_Nescio vos_' -


I don't understand English,said Planchet.

Yes, but I understand it,said D'Artagnan. "'_Nescio vos_' means 'I do
not know you.' This M. Monkthe most important man in Englandwhen he
shall have swallowed it - "

Well?asked Planchet.

Well, my friend, I shall go over yonder, and with my forty men I shall
carry him off, pack him up, and bring him into France, where two modes of
proceeding present themselves to my dazzled eyes.

Oh! and to mine too,cried Planchettransported with enthusiasm. "We
will put him in a cage and show him for money."

Well, Planchet, that is a third plan, of which I had not thought.

Do you think it a good one?

Yes, certainly, but I think mine better.

Let us see yours, then.

In the first place, I shall set a ransom on him.

Of how much?

_Peste!_ a fellow like that must be well worth a hundred thousand
crowns.

Yes, yes!

You see, then - in the first place, a ransom of a hundred thousand
crowns.

Or else -

Or else, what is much better, I deliver him up to King Charles, who,
having no longer either a general or an army to fear, nor a diplomatist
to trick him, will restore himself, and when once restored, will pay down
to me the hundred thousand crowns in question. That is the idea I have
formed; what do you say to it, Planchet?

Magnificent, monsieur!cried Planchettrembling with emotion. "How
did you conceive that idea?"

It came to me one morning on the banks of the Loire, whilst our beloved
king, Louis XIV., was pretending to weep upon the hand of Mademoiselle de
Mancini.

Monsieur, I declare the idea is sublime. But -

Ah! is there a _but?_

Permit me! But this is a little like the skin of that fine bear - you
know - that they were about to sell, but which it was necessary to take
from the back of the living bear. Now, to take M. Monk, there will be a
bit of a scuffle, I should think.

No doubt; but as I shall raise an army to -

Yes, yes - I understand, _parbleu!_ - a _coup-de-main_. Yes, then,
monsieur, you will triumph, for no one equals you in such sorts of
encounters.


I certainly am lucky in them,said D'Artagnanwith a proud
simplicity. "You know that if for this affair I had my dear Athosmy
brave Porthosand my cunning Aramisthe business would be settled; but
they are all lostas it appearsand nobody knows where to find them.
I will do itthenalone. Nowdo you find the business goodand the
investment advantageous?"

Too much so - too much so.

How can that be?

Because fine things never reach the expected point.

This is infallible, Planchet, and the proof is that I undertake it. It
will be for you a tolerably pretty gain, and for me a very interesting
stroke. It will be said, 'Such was the old age of M. d'Artagnan,' and I
shall hold a place in tales and even in history itself, Planchet. I am
greedy of honor.

Monsieur,cried Planchetwhen I think that it is here, in my home, in
the midst of my sugar, my prunes, and my cinnamon, that this gigantic
project is ripened, my shop seems a palace to me.

Beware, beware, Planchet! If the least report of this escapes, there is
the Bastile for both of us. Beware, my friend, for this is a plot we are
hatching. M. Monk is the ally of M. Mazarin - beware!

Monsieur, when a man has had the honor to belong to you, he knows
nothing of fear; and when he has had the advantage of being bound up in
interests with you, he holds his tongue.

Very well; that is more your affair than mine, seeing that in a week I
shall be in England.

Depart, monsieur, depart - the sooner the better.

Is the money, then, ready?

It will be to-morrow; to-morrow you shall receive it from my own hands.
Will you have gold or silver?

Gold; that is most convenient. But how are we going to arrange this?
Let us see.

Oh, good Lord! in the simplest way possible. You shall give me a
receipt, that is all.

No, no,said D'Artagnanwarmly; "we must preserve order in all things."

That is likewise my opinion; but with you, M. d'Artagnan -

And if I should die yonder - if I should be killed by a musket-ball - if
I should burst from drinking beer?

Monsieur, I beg you to believe that in that case I should be so much
afflicted at your death, that I should not think about the money.

Thank you, Planchet; but no matter. We shall, like two lawyers' clerks,
draw up together an agreement, a sort of act, which may be called a deed
of company.

Willingly, monsieur.


I know it is difficult to draw such a thing up, but we can try.

Let us try, then.And Planchet went in search of pensinkand
paper. D'Artagnan took the pen and wrote: - "Between Messire d'Artagnan
ex-lieutenant of the king's musketeersat present residing in the Rue
TiquetonneHotel de la Chevrette; and the Sieur Planchetgrocer
residing in the Rue des Lombardsat the sign of the Pilon d'Orit has
been agreed as follows: - A companywith a capital of forty thousand
livresand formed for the purpose of carrying out an idea conceived by

M. d'Artagnanand the said Planchet approving of it in all pointswill
place twenty thousand livres in the hands of M. d'Artagnan. He will
require neither repayment nor interest before the return of M. d'Artagnan
from a journey he is about to take into England. On his partM.
d'Artagnan undertakes it to find twenty thousand livreswhich he will
join to the twenty thousand already laid down by the Sieur Planchet. He
will employ the said sum of forty thousand livres according to his
judgment in an undertaking which is described below. On the day when M.
d'Artagnan shall have re-establishedby whatever meanshis majesty King
Charles II. upon the throne of Englandhe will pay into the hands of M.
Planchet the sum of - "
The sum of a hundred and fifty thousand livres,said Planchet
innocentlyperceiving that D'Artagnan hesitated.

Oh, the devil, no!said D'Artagnanthe division cannot be made by
half; that would not be just.

And yet, monsieur, we each lay down half,objected Planchettimidly.

Yes; but listen to this clause, my dear Planchet, and if you do not find
if equitable in every respect when it is written, well, we can scratch it
out again: - 'Nevertheless, as M. d'Artagnan brings to the association,
besides his capital of twenty thousand livres, his time, his idea, his
industry, and his skin, - things which he appreciates strongly,
particularly the last, - M. d'Artagnan will keep, of the three hundred
thousand livres, two hundred thousand livres for himself, which will make
his share two-thirds.

Very well,said Planchet.

Is it just?asked D'Artagnan.

Perfectly just, monsieur.

And you will be contented with a hundred thousand livres?

_Peste!_ I think so. A hundred thousand for twenty thousand!

And in a month, understand.

How, in a month?

Yes, I only ask one month.

Monsieur,said PlanchetgenerouslyI give you six weeks.

Thank you,replied the musketeerpolitely; after which the two
partners reperused their deed.

That is perfect, monsieur,said Planchet; "and the late M. Coquenard
the first husband of Madame la Baronne du Valloncould not have done it
better."

Do you find it so? Let us sign it then.And both affixed their


signatures.


In this fashion,said D'ArtagnanI shall be under obligations to no
one.


But I shall be under obligations to you,said Planchet.


No; for whatever store I set by it, Planchet, I may lose my skin yonder,
and you will lose all. _A propos – peste!_ - that makes me think of the
principal, an indispensable clause. I shall write it: - 'In case of M.
d'Artagnan dying in this enterprise, liquidation will be considered made,
and the Sieur Planchet will give quittance from that moment to the shade
of Messire d'Artagnan for the twenty thousand livres paid by him into the
hands of the said company.'


This last clause made Planchet knit his brows a littlebut when he saw
the brilliant eyethe muscular handthe supple and strong back of his
associatehe regained his courageandwithout regrethe at once added
another stroke to his signature. D'Artagnan did the same. Thus was
drawn the first known company contract; perhaps such things have been
abused a little sinceboth in form and principle.


Now,said Planchetpouring out the last glass of Anjou wine for
D'Artagnan- "now go to sleepmy dear master."


No,replied D'Artagnan; "for the most difficult part now remains to be
doneand I will think over that difficult part."


Bah!said Planchet; "I have such great confidence in youM.
d'Artagnanthat I would not give my hundred thousand livres for ninety
thousand livres down."


And devil take me if I don't think you are right!Upon which
D'Artagnan took a candle and went up to his bedroom.


Chapter XXI:
In which D'Artagnan prepares to travel for the Firm of Planchet & Company.


D'Artagnan reflected to such good purpose during the night that his plan
was settled by morning. "This is it said he, sitting up in bed,
supporting his elbow on his knee, and his chin in his hand; - this is
it. I shall seek out forty steadyfirm menrecruited among people a
little compromisedbut having habits of discipline. I shall promise
them five hundred livres for a month if they return; nothing if they do
not returnor half for their kindred. As to food and lodgingthat
concerns the Englishwho have cattle in their pasturesbacon in their
bacon-racksfowls in their poultry-yardsand corn in their barns. I
will present myself to General Monk with my little body of troops. He
will receive me. I shall win his confidenceand take advantage of it
as soon as possible."


But without going furtherD'Artagnan shook his head and interrupted
himself. "No said he; I should not dare to relate this to Athos; the
way is therefore not honorable. I must use violence continued he, -
very certainly I mustbut without compromising my loyalty. With forty
men I will traverse the country as a partisan. But if I fall in with
not forty thousand Englishas Planchet saidbut purely and simply with
four hundredI shall be beaten. Supposing that among my forty warriors
there should be found at least ten stupid ones - ten who will allow
themselves to be killed one after the otherfrom mere folly? No; it is
in factimpossible to find forty men to be depended upon - they do not
exist. I must learn how to be contented with thirty. With ten men less
I should have the right of avoiding any armed encounteron account of



the small number of my people; and if the encounter should take placemy
chance is better with thirty men than forty. BesidesI should save five
thousand francs; that is to saythe eighth of my capital; that is worth
the trial. This being soI should have thirty men. I shall divide them
into three bands- we will spread ourselves about over the countrywith
an injunction to reunite at a given moment; in this fashionten by ten
we should excite no suspicion - we should pass unperceived. Yesyes
thirty - that is a magic number. There are three tens - threethat
divine number! And thentrulya company of thirty menwhen all
togetherwill look rather imposing. Ah! stupid wretch that I am!"
continued D'ArtagnanI want thirty horses. That is ruinous. Where the
devil was my head when I forgot the horses? We cannot, however, think of
striking such a blow without horses. Well, so be it, that sacrifice must
be made; we can get the horses in the country - they are not bad,
besides. But I forgot - _peste!_ Three bands - that necessitates three
leaders; there is the difficulty. Of the three commanders I have already
one - that is myself; - yes, but the two others will of themselves cost
almost as much money as all the rest of the troop. No; positively I must
have but one lieutenant. In that case, then, I should reduce my troop to
twenty men. I know very well that twenty men is but very little; but
since with thirty I was determined not to seek to come to blows, I should
do so more carefully still with twenty. Twenty - that is a round number;
that, besides, reduces the number of the horses by ten, which is a
consideration; and then, with a good lieutenant - _Mordioux!_ what things
patience and calculation are! Was I not going to embark with forty men,
and I have now reduced them to twenty for an equal success? Ten thousand
livres saved at one stroke, and more safety; that is well! Now, then,
let us see; we have nothing to do but to find this lieutenant - let him
be found, then; and after -That is not so easy; he must be brave and
good, a second myself. Yes, but a lieutenant must have my secret, and as
that secret is worth a million, and I shall only pay my man a thousand
livres, fifteen hundred at the most, my man will sell the secret to
Monk. _Mordioux!_ no lieutenant. Besides, this man, were he as mute as
a disciple of Pythagoras, - this man would be sure to have in the troop
some favorite soldier, whom he would make his sergeant; the sergeant
would penetrate the secret of the lieutenant, in case the latter should
be honest and unwilling to sell it. Then the sergeant, less honest and
less ambitious, will give up the whole for fifty thousand livres. Come,
come! that is impossible. The lieutenant is impossible. But then I must
have no fractions; I cannot divide my troop in two, and act upon two
points, at once, without another self, who -But what is the use of
acting upon two points, as we have only one man to take? What can be the
use of weakening a corps by placing the right here, and the left there?
A single corps - _Mordioux!_ a single one, and that commanded by
D'Artagnan. Very well. But twenty men marching in one band are
suspected by everybody; twenty horsemen must not be seen marching
together, or a company will be detached against them and the password
will be required; the which company, upon seeing them embarrassed to give
it, would shoot M. d'Artagnan and his men like so many rabbits. I reduce
myself then to ten men; in this fashion I shall act simply and with
unity; I shall be forced to be prudent, which is half the success in an
affair of the kind I am undertaking; a greater number might, perhaps,
have drawn me into some folly. Ten horses are not many, either, to buy
or take. A capital idea; what tranquillity it infuses into my mind! no
more suspicions - no passwords - no more dangers! Ten men, they are
valets or clerks. Ten men, leading ten horses laden with merchandise of
whatever kind, are tolerated, well received everywhere. Ten men travel
on account of the house of Planchet & Co., of France, - nothing can be
said against that. These ten men, clothed like manufacturers, have a
good cutlass or a good musket at their saddle-bow, and a good pistol in
the holster. They never allow themselves to be uneasy, because they have
no evil designs. They are, perhaps, in truth, a little disposed to be
smugglers, but what harm is in that? Smuggling is not, like polygamy, a
hanging offense. The worst that can happen to us is the confiscation of


our merchandise. Our merchandise confiscated - a fine affair that!
Come, come! it is a superb plan. Ten men only - ten men, whom I will
engage for my service; ten men who shall be as resolute as forty, who
would cost me four times as much, and to whom, for greater security, I
will never open my mouth as to my designs, and to whom I shall only say
'My friends, there is a blow to be struck.' Things being after this
fashion, Satan will be very malicious if he plays me one of his tricks.
Fifteen thousand livres saved - that's superb - out of twenty!

Thus fortified by his laborious calculationsD'Artagnan stopped at this
planand determined to change nothing in it. He had already on a list
furnished by his inexhaustible memoryten men illustrious amongst the
seekers of adventureill-treated by fortuneand not on good terms with
justice. Upon this D'Artagnan roseand instantly set off on the search
telling Planchet not to expect him to breakfastand perhaps not to
dinner. A day and a half spent in rummaging amongst certain dens of
Paris sufficed for his recruiting; andwithout allowing his adventurers
to communicate with each otherhe had picked up and got togetherin
less than thirty hoursa charming collection of ill-looking faces
speaking a French less pure than the English they were about to attempt.
These men werefor the most partguardswhose merit D'Artagnan had had
an opportunity of appreciating in various encounterswhom drunkenness
unlucky sword-thrustsunexpected winnings at playor the economical
reforms of Mazarinhad forced to seek shade and solitudethose two
great consolers of irritated and chafing spirits. They bore upon their
countenances and in their vestments the traces of the heartaches they had
undergone. Some had their visages scarred- all had their clothes in
rags. D'Artagnan comforted the most needy of these brotherly miseries by
a prudent distribution of the crowns of the company; thenhaving taken
care that these crowns should be employed in the physical improvement of
the troophe appointed a trysting place in the north of Francebetween
Bergues and Saint Omer. Six days were allowed as the utmost termand
D'Artagnan was sufficiently acquainted with the good-willthe good-
humorand the relative probity of these illustrious recruitsto be
certain that not one of them would fail in his appointment. These orders
giventhis rendezvous fixedhe went to bid farewell to Planchetwho
asked news of his army. D'Artagnan did not think it proper to inform
him of the reduction he had made in his _personnel_. He feared that the
confidence of his associate would be abated by such an avowal. Planchet
was delighted to learn that the army was leviedand that he (Planchet)
found himself a kind of half kingwho from his throne-counter kept in
pay a body of troops destined to make war against perfidious Albionthat
enemy of all true French hearts. Planchet paid down in double louis
twenty thousand livres to D'Artagnanon the part of himself (Planchet)
and twenty thousand livresstill in double louisin account with
D'Artagnan. D'Artagnan placed each of the twenty thousand francs in a
bagand weighing a bag in each hand- "This money is very embarrassing
my dear Planchet said he. Do you know this weighs thirty pounds?"

Bah! your horse will carry that like a feather.

D'Artagnan shook his head. "Don't tell me such thingsPlanchet: a horse
overloaded with thirty poundsin addition to the rider and his
portmanteaucannot cross a river so easily - cannot leap over a wall or
ditch so lightly; and the horse failingthe horseman fails. It is true
that youPlanchetwho have served in the infantrymay not be aware of
all that."

Then what is to be done, monsieur?said Planchetgreatly embarrassed.

Listen to me,said D'Artagnan. "I will pay my army on its return
home. Keep my half of twenty thousand livreswhich you can use during
that time."


And my half?said Planchet.

I shall take that with me.

Your confidence does me honor,said Planchet: "but supposing you should
not return?"

That is possible, though not very probable. Then, Planchet, in case I
should not return - give me a pen; I will make my will.D'Artagnan took
a pen and some paperand wrote upon a plain sheet- "ID'Artagnan
possess twenty thousand livreslaid up cent per cent during thirty years
that I have been in the service of his majesty the king of France. I
leave five thousand to Athosfive thousand to Porthosand five thousand
to Aramisthat they may give the said sums in my name and their own to
my young friend RaoulVicomte de Bragelonne. I give the remaining five
thousand to Planchetthat he may distribute the fifteen thousand with
less regret among my friends. With which purpose I sign these presents.

-D'ARTAGNAN."
Planchet appeared very curious to know what D'Artagnan had written.

Here,said the musketeerread it.

On reading the last lines the tears came into Planchet's eyes. "You
thinkthenthat I would not have given the money without that? Then I
will have none of your five thousand francs."

D'Artagnan smiled. "Accept itaccept itPlanchet; and in that way you
will only lose fifteen thousand francs instead of twenty thousandand
you will not be tempted to disregard the signature of your master and
friendby losing nothing at all."

How well that dear Monsieur d'Artagnan knew the hearts of men and
grocers! They who have pronounced Don Quixote mad because he rode out to
the conquest of an empire with nobody but Sancho his squireand they who
have pronounced Sancho mad because he accompanied his master in his
attempt to conquer the said empire- they certainly will have no
hesitation in extending the same judgment to D'Artagnan and Planchet.
And yet the first passed for one of the most subtle spirits among the
astute spirits of the court of France. As to the secondhe had acquired
by good right the reputation of having one of the longest heads among the
grocers of the Rue des Lombards; consequently of Parisand consequently
of France. Nowto consider these two men from the point of view from
which you would consider other menand the means by the aid of which
they contemplated to restore a monarch to his thronecompared with other
meansthe shallowest brains of the country where brains are most shallow
must have revolted against the presumptuous madness of the lieutenant and
the stupidity of his associate. FortunatelyD'Artagnan was not a man to
listen to the idle talk of those around himor to the comments that were
made on himself. He had adopted the mottoAct well, and let people
talk.Plancheton his part had adopted thisAct and say nothing.
It resulted from thisthataccording to the custom of all superior
geniusesthese two men flattered themselves_intra pectus_with being
in the right against all who found fault with them.

As a beginningD'Artagnan set out in the finest of possible weather
without a cloud in the heavens - without a cloud on his mindjoyous and
strongcalm and decidedgreat in his resolutionand consequently
carrying with him a tenfold dose of that potent fluid which the shocks of
mind cause to spring from the nervesand which procure for the human
machine a force and an influence of which future ages will render
according to all probabilitya more arithmetical account than we can
possibly do at present. He was againas in times paston that same
road of adventures which had led him to Boulogneand which he was now


traveling for the fourth time. It appeared to him that he could almost
recognize the trace of his own steps upon the roadand that of his fist
upon the doors of the hostelries; - his memoryalways active and
presentbrought back that youth which neither thirty years later his
great heart nor his wrist of steel would have belied. What a rich nature
was that of this man! He had all the passionsall the defectsall the
weaknessesand the spirit of contradiction familiar to his understanding
changed all these imperfections into corresponding qualities.
D'Artagnanthanks to his ever active imaginationwas afraid of a
shadowand ashamed of being afraidhe marched straight up to that
shadowand then became extravagant in his braveryif the danger proved
to be real. Thus everything in him was emotionand therefore
enjoyment. He loved the society of othersbut never became tired of his
own; and more than onceif he could have been heard when he was alone
he might have been seen laughing at the jokes he related to himself or
the tricks his imagination created just five minutes before _ennui_ might
have been looked for. D'Artagnan was not perhaps so gay this time as he
would have been with the prospect of finding some good friends at Calais
instead of joining the ten scamps there; melancholyhoweverdid not
visit him more than once a dayand it was about five visits that he
received from that somber deity before he got sight of the sea at
Boulogneand then these visits were indeed but short. But when once
D'Artagnan found himself near the field of actionall other feelings but
that of confidence disappeared never to return. From Boulogne he
followed the coast to Calais. Calais was the place of general
rendezvousand at Calais he had named to each of his recruits the
hostelry of "Le Grande Monarque where living was not extravagant, where
sailors messed, and where men of the sword, with sheath of leather, be it
understood, found lodging, table, food, and all the comforts of life, for
thirty sous per diem. D'Artagnan proposed to himself to take them by
surprise _in flagrante delicto_ of wandering life, and to judge by the
first appearance if he could count on them as trusty companions.


He arrived at Calais at half past four in the afternoon.


Chapter XXII:
D'Artagnan travels for the House of Planchet and Company.


The hostelry of Le Grand Monarque" was situated in a little street
parallel to the port without looking out upon the port itself. Some
lanes cut - as steps cut the two parallels of the ladder - the two great
straight lines of the port and the street. By these lanes passengers
came suddenly from the port into the streetor from the street on to the
port. D'Artagnanarrived at the porttook one of these lanesand came
out in front of the hostelry of "Le Grand Monarque." The moment was well
chosen and might remind D'Artagnan of his start in life at the hostelry
of the "Franc-Meunier" at Meung. Some sailors who had been playing at
dice had started a quarreland were threatening each other furiously.
The hosthostessand two lads were watching with anxiety the circle of
these angry gamblersfrom the midst of which war seemed ready to break
forthbristling with knives and hatchets. The playneverthelesswas
continued. A stone bench was occupied by two menwho appeared thence to
watch the door; four tablesplaced at the back of the common chamber
were occupied by eight other individuals. Neither the men at the door
nor those at the tables took any part in the play or the quarrel.
D'Artagnan recognized his ten men in these coldindifferent spectators.
The quarrel went on increasing. Every passion haslike the seaits
tide which ascends and descends. Reaching the climax of passionone
sailor overturned the table and the money which was upon it. The table
felland the money rolled about. In an instant all belonging to the
hostelry threw themselves upon the stakesand many a piece of silver was
picked up by people who stole away whilst the sailors were scuffling with
each other.



The two men on the bench and the eight at the tablesalthough they
seemed perfect strangers to each otherthese ten men alonewe say
appeared to have agreed to remain impassible amidst the cries of fury and
the chinking of money. Two only contented themselves with pushing with
their feet combatants who came under their table. Two othersrather
than take part in this disturbanceburied their hands in their pockets;
and another two jumped upon the table they occupiedas people do to
avoid being submerged by overflowing water.

Come, come,said D'Artagnan to himselfnot having lost one of the
details we have relatedthis is a very fair gathering - circumspect,
calm, accustomed to disturbance, acquainted with blows! _Peste!_ I have
been lucky.

All at once his attention was called to a particular part of the room.
The two men who had pushed the strugglers with their feetwere assailed
with abuse by the sailorswho had become reconciled. One of themhalf
drunk with passionand quite drunk with beercamein a menacing
mannerto demand of the shorter of these two sages by what right he had
touched with his foot creatures of the good Godwho were not dogs. And
whilst putting this questionin order to make it more directhe applied
his great fist to the nose of D'Artagnan's recruit.

This man became palewithout its being to be discerned whether his
pallor arose from anger or fear; seeing whichthe sailor concluded it
was from fearand raised his fist with the manifest intention of letting
it fall upon the head of the stranger. But though the threatened man did
not appear to movehe dealt the sailor such a severe blow in the stomach
that he sent him rolling and howling to the other side of the room. At
the same instantrallied by the _espirit de corps_all the comrades of
the conquered man fell upon the conqueror

The latterwith the same coolness of which he had given proofwithout
committing the imprudence of touching his weaponstook up a beer-pot
with a pewter-lidand knocked down two or three of his assailants; then
as he was about to yield to numbersthe seven other silent men at the
tableswho had not yet stirredperceived that their cause was at stake
and came to the rescue. At the same timethe two indifferent spectators
at the door turned round with frowning bowsindicating their evident
intention of taking the enemy in the rearif the enemy did not cease
their aggressions.

The hosthis helpersand two watchmen who were passingand who from
the curiosity had penetrated too far into the roomwere mixed up in the
tumult and showered with blows. The Parisians hit like Cyclopswith an
_ensemble_ and a tactic delightful to behold. At lengthobliged to beat
a retreat before superior numbersthey formed an intrenchment behind the
large tablewhich they raised by main force; whilst the two others
arming themselves each with a trestleand using it like a great sledgehammer
knocked down at a blow eight sailors upon whose heads they had
brought their monstrous catapult in play. The floor was already strewn
with woundedand the room filled with cries and dustwhen D'Artagnan
satisfied with the testadvancedsword in handand striking with the
pommel every head that came in his wayhe uttered a vigorous _hola!_
which put an instantaneous end to the conflict. A great back-flood
directly took place from the center to the sides of the roomso that
D'Artagnan found himself isolated and dominator.

What is this all about?then demanded he of the assemblywith the
majestic tone of Neptune pronouncing the _Quos ego_.

At the very instantat the first sound of his voiceto carry on the
Virgilian metaphorD'Artagnan's recruitsrecognizing each his sovereign


lorddiscontinued their plank-fighting and trestle blows. On their
sidethe sailorsseeing that long naked swordthat martial airand
the agile arm which came to the rescue of their enemiesin the person of
a man who seemed accustomed to commandthe sailors picked up their
wounded and their pitchers. The Parisians wiped their browsand viewed
their leader with respect. D'Artagnan was loaded with thanks by the host
of "Le Grand Monarque." He received them like a man who knows that
nothing is being offered that does not belong to himand then said he
would go and walk upon the port till supper was ready. Immediately each
of the recruitswho understood the summonstook his hatbrushed the
dust off his clothesand followed D'Artagnan. But D'Artagnanwhilst
walking and observingtook care not to stop; he directed his course
towards the downsand the ten men - surprised at finding themselves
going in the track of each otheruneasy at seeing on their righton
their leftand behind themcompanions upon whom they had not reckoned -
followed himcasting furtive glances at each other. It was not till he
had arrived at the hollow part of the deepest down that D'Artagnan
smiling to see them outdoneturned towards themmaking a friendly sign
with his hand.

Eh! come, come, gentlemen,said helet us not devour each other; you
are made to live together, to understand each other in all respects, and
not to devour one another.

Instantly all hesitation ceased; the men breathed as if they had been
taken out of a coffinand examined each other complacently. After this
examination they turned their eyes towards their leaderwho had long
been acquainted with the art of speaking to men of that classand who
improvised the following little speechpronounced with an energy truly
Gascon:

Gentlemen, you all know who I am. I have engaged you from knowing you
to be brave, and willing to associate you with me in a glorious
enterprise. Imagine that in laboring for me you labor for the king. I
only warn you that if you allow anything of this supposition to appear, I
shall be forced to crack your skulls immediately, in the manner most
convenient to me. You are not ignorant, gentlemen, that state secrets
are like a mortal poison: as long as that poison is in its box and the
box is closed, it is not injurious; out of the box, it kills. Now draw
near, and you shall know as much of this secret as I am able to tell
you.All drew close to him with an expression of curiosity.
Approach,continued D'Artagnanand let not the bird which passes over
our heads, the rabbit which sports on the downs, the fish which bounds
from the waters, hear us. Our business is to learn and to report to
monsieur le surintendant of the finances to what extent English smuggling
is injurious to the French merchants. I shall enter every place, and see
everything. We are poor Picard fishermen, thrown upon the coast by a
storm. It is certain that we must sell fish, neither more nor less, like
true fishermen. Only people might guess who we are, and might molest us;
it is therefore necessary that we should be in a condition to defend
ourselves. And this is why I have selected men of spirit and courage.
We shall lead a steady life, and not incur much danger, seeing that we
have behind us a powerful protector, thanks to whom no embarrassment is
possible. One thing alone puzzles me; but I hope that after a short
explanation, you will relieve me from that difficulty. The thing which
puzzles me is taking with me a crew of stupid fishermen, which crew will
annoy me immensely, whilst if, by chance, there were among you any who
have seen the sea -

Oh! don't let that trouble you,said one of the recruits; "I was a
prisoner among the pirates of Tunis three yearsand can maneuver a boat
like an admiral."

See,said D'Artagnanwhat an admirable thing chance is!D'Artagnan


pronounced these words with an indefinable tone of feigned _bonhomie_
for he knew very well that the victim of the pirates was an old corsair
and had engaged him in consequence of that knowledge. But D'Artagnan
never said more than there was need to sayin order to leave people in
doubt. He paid himself with the explanationand welcomed the effect
without appearing to be preoccupied with the cause.

And I,said a secondI, by chance, had an uncle who directed the
works of the port of La Rochelle. When quite a child, I played about the
boats, and I know how to handle an oar or a sail as well as the best
Ponantais sailor.The latter did not lie much more than the firstfor
he had rowed on board his majesty's galleys six yearsat Ciotat. Two
others were more frank: they confessed honestly that they had served on
board a vessel as soldiers as punishmentand did not blush for it.
D'Artagnan found himselfthenthe leader of ten men of war and four
sailorshaving at once an land army and a sea forcewhich would have
carried the pride of Planchet to its heightif Planchet had known the
details.

Nothing was now left but arranging the general ordersand D'Artagnan
gave them with precision. He enjoined his men to be ready to set out for
the Haguesome following the coast which leads to Breskensothers the
road to Antwerp. The rendezvous was givenby calculating each day's
marcha fortnight from that timeupon the chief place at the Hague.
D'Artagnan recommended his men to go in couplesas they liked bestfrom
sympathy. He himself selected from among those with the least
disreputable looktwo guards whom he had formerly knownand whose only
faults were being drunkards and gamblers. These men had not entirely
lost all ideas of civilizationand under proper garments their hearts
would beat again. D'Artagnannot to create any jealousy with the
othersmade the rest go forward. He kept his two selected onesclothed
them from his own wardrobeand set out with them.

It was to these twowhom he seemed to honor with an absolute confidence
that D'Artagnan imparted a false secretdestined to secure the success
of the expedition. He confessed to them that the object was not to learn
to what extent French merchants were injured by English smugglingbut to
learn how far French smuggling could annoy English trade. These men
appeared convinced; they were effectively so. D'Artagnan was quite sure
that at the first debauchwhen thoroughly drunkone of the two would
divulge the secret to the whole band. His game appeared infallible.

A fortnight after all we have said had taken place at Calaisthe whole
troop assembled at the Hague.

Then D'Artagnan perceived that all his menwith remarkable intelligence
had already travestied themselves into sailorsmore or less ill-treated
by the sea. D'Artagnan left them to sleep in a den in Newkerke street
whilst he lodged comfortably upon the Grand Canal. He learned that the
king of England had come back to his old allyWilliam II. of Nassau
stadtholder of Holland. He learned also that the refusal of Louis XIV.
had a little cooled the protection afforded him up to that timeand in
consequence he had gone to reside in a little village house at
Scheveningensituated in the downson the sea-shoreabout a league
from the Hague.

Thereit was saidthe unfortunate banished king consoled himself in his
exileby lookingwith the melancholy peculiar to the princes of his
raceat that immense North Seawhich separated him from his Englandas
it had formerly separated Mary Stuart from France. Therebehind the
trees of the beautiful wood of Scheveningenon the fine sand upon which
grows the golden broom of the downCharles II. vegetated as it didmore
unfortunatefor he had life and thoughtand he hoped and despaired by
turns.


D'Artagnan went once as far as Scheveningenin order to be certain that
all was true that was said of the king. He beheld Charles II.pensive
and alonecoming out of a little door opening into the woodand walking
on the beach in the setting sunwithout even attracting the attention of
the fishermenwhoon their return in the eveningdrewlike the
ancient mariners of the Archipelagotheir barks up upon the sand of the
shore.


D'Artagnan recognized the king; he saw him fix his melancholy look upon
the immense extent of the watersand absorb upon his pale countenance
the red rays of the sun already cut by the black line of the horizon.
Then Charles returned to his isolated abodealways aloneslow and sad
amusing himself with making the friable and moving sand creak beneath his
feet.


That very evening D'Artagnan hired for a thousand livres a fishing-boat
worth four thousand. He paid a thousand livres downand deposited the
three thousand with a Burgomasterafter which he brought on board
without their being seenthe six men who formed his land army; and with
the rising tideat three o'clock in the morninghe got into the open
seamaneuvering ostensibly with the four othersand depending upon the
science of his galley slave as upon that of the first pilot of the port.


Chapter XXIII:
In which the Authorvery unwillinglyis forced to write a Little
History.


While kings and men were thus occupied with Englandwhich governed
itself quite aloneand whichit must be said in its praisehad never
been so badly governeda man upon whom God had fixed his eyeand placed
his fingera man predestined to write his name in brilliant letters upon
the page of historywas pursuing in the face of the world a work full of
mystery and audacity. He went onand no one knew whither he meant to
goalthough not only Englandbut Franceand Europewatched him
marching with a firm step and head held high. All that was known of this
man we are about to tell.


Monk had just declared himself in favor of the liberty of the Rump
Parliamenta parliament which General Lambertimitating Cromwellwhose
lieutenant he had beenhad just blocked up so closelyin order to bring
it to his willthat no memberduring all the blockadewas able to go
outand only onePeter Wentworthhad been able to get in.


Lambert and Monk - everything was summed up in these two men; the first
representing military despotismthe second pure republicanism. These
men were the two sole political representatives of that revolution in
which Charles I. had first lost his crownand afterwards his head. As
regarded Lamberthe did not dissemble his views; he sought to establish
a military governmentand to be himself the head of that government.


Monka rigid republicansome saidwished to maintain the Rump
Parliamentthat visible though degenerated representative of the
republic. Monkartful and ambitioussaid otherswished simply to make
of this parliamentwhich he affected to protecta solid step by which
to mount the throne which Cromwell had left emptybut upon which he had
never dared to take his seat.


Thus Lambert by persecuting the parliamentand Monk by declaring for it
had mutually proclaimed themselves enemies of each other. Monk and
Lambertthereforehad at first thought of creating an army each for
himself: Monk in Scotlandwhere were the Presbyterians and the
royaliststhat is to saythe malcontents; Lambert in Londonwhere was



foundas is always the casethe strongest opposition to the existing
power which it had beneath its eyes.

Monk had pacified Scotlandhe had there formed for himself an armyand
found an asylum. The one watched the other. Monk knew that the day was
not yet comethe day marked by the Lord for a great change; his sword
thereforeappeared glued to the sheath. Inexpugnable in his wild and
mountainous Scotlandan absolute generalking of an army of eleven
thousand old soldierswhom he had more than once led on to victory; as
well informednayeven betterof the affairs of Londonthan Lambert
who held garrison in the city- such was the position of Monkwhenat
a hundred leagues from Londonhe declared himself for the parliament.
Lamberton the contraryas we have saidlived in the capital. That
was the center of all his operationsand he there collected all around
him all his friendsand all the people of the lower classeternally
inclined to cherish the enemies of constituted power.

It was then in London that Lambert learnt the support thatfrom the
frontiers of ScotlandMonk lent to the parliament. He judged there was
no time to be lostand that the Tweed was not so far distant from the
Thames that an army could not march from one river to the other
particularly when it was well commanded. He knewbesidesthat as fast
as the soldiers of Monk penetrated into Englandthey would form on their
route that ball of snowthe emblem of the globe of fortunewhich is for
the ambitious nothing but a step growing unceasingly higher to conduct
him to his object. He got togetherthereforehis armyformidable at
the same time for its composition and its numbersand hastened to meet
Monkwhoon his partlike a prudent navigator sailing amidst rocks
advanced by very short marcheslistening to the reports which came from
London.

The two armies came in sight of each other near Newcastle; Lambert
arriving firstencamped in the city itself. Monkalways circumspect
stopped where he wasand placed his general quarters at Coldstreamon
the Tweed. The sight of Lambert spread joy through Monk's armywhilst
on the contrarythe sight of Monk threw disorder into Lambert's army.
It might have been thought that these intrepid warriorswho had made
such a noise in the streets of Londonhad set out with the hopes of
meeting no oneand that now seeing that they had met an armyand that
that army hoisted before them not only a standardbut still furthera
cause and a principle- it might have been believedwe saythat these
intrepid warriors had begun to reflect that they were less good
republicans than the soldiers of Monksince the latter supported the
parliament; whilst Lambert supported nothingnot even himself.

As to Monkif he had had to reflector if he did reflectit must have
been after a sad fashionfor history relates - and that modest dameit
is well knownnever lies - history relatesthat the day of his arrival
at Coldstream search was made in vain throughout the place for a single
sheep.

If Monk had commanded an English armythat was enough to have brought
about a general desertion. But it is not with the Scots as it is with
the Englishto whom that fluid flesh which is called blood is a
paramount necessity; the Scotsa poor and sober racelive upon a
little barley crushed between two stonesdiluted with the water of the
fountainand cooked upon another stoneheated.

The Scotstheir distribution of barley being madecared very little
whether there was or was not any meat in Coldstream. Monklittle
accustomed to barley-cakeswas hungryand his staffat least as hungry
as himselflooked with anxiety right and leftto know what was being
prepared for supper.


Monk ordered search to be made; his scouts had on arriving in the place
found it deserted and the cupboards empty; upon butchers and bakers it
was of no use depending in Coldstream. The smallest morsel of bread
thencould not be found for the general's table.

As accounts succeeded each otherall equally unsatisfactoryMonk
seeing terror and discouragement upon every facedeclared that he was
not hungry; besidesthey should eat on the morrowsince Lambert was
there probably with the intention of giving battleand consequently
would give up his provisionsif he were forced from Newcastleor
forever to relieve Monk's soldiers from hunger if he conquered.

This consolation was only efficacious upon a very small number; but of
what importance was it to Monk? for Monk was very absoluteunder the
appearance of the most perfect mildness. Every onethereforewas
obliged to be satisfiedor at least to appear so. Monkquite as hungry
as his peoplebut affecting perfect indifference for the absent mutton
cut a fragment of tobaccohalf an inch longfrom the _carotte_ of a
sergeant who formed part of his suiteand began to masticate the said
fragmentassuring his lieutenant that hunger was a chimeraand that
besidespeople were never hungry when they had anything to chew.

This joke satisfied some of those who had resisted Monk's first deduction
drawn from the neighborhood of Lambert's army; the number of the
dissentients diminished greatly; the guard took their poststhe patrols
beganand the general continued his frugal repast beneath his open tent.

Between his camp and that of the enemy stood an old abbeyof whichat
the present daythere only remain some ruinsbut which then was in
existenceand was called Newcastle Abbey. It was built upon a vast
siteindependent at once of the plain and of the riverbecause it was
almost a marsh fed by springs and kept up by rains. Neverthelessin the
midst of these pools of watercovered with long grassrushesand
reedswere seen solid spots of groundformerly used as the kitchen-
gardenthe parkthe pleasure-gardensand other dependencies of the
abbeylooking like one of those great sea-spiderswhose body is round
whilst the claws go diverging round from this circumference.

The kitchen-gardenone of the longest claws of the abbeyextended to
Monk's camp. Unfortunately it wasas we have saidearly in Juneand
the kitchen-gardenbeing abandonedoffered no resources.

Monk had ordered this spot to be guardedas most subject to surprises.
The fires of the enemy's general were plainly to be perceived on the
other side of the abbey. But between these fires and the abbey extended
the Tweedunfolding its luminous scales beneath the thick shade of tall
green oaks. Monk was perfectly well acquainted with this position
Newcastle and its environs having already more than once been his
headquarters. He knew that by this day his enemy might without doubt
throw a few scouts into these ruins and promote a skirmishbut that by
night he would take care to abstain from such a risk. He felt himself
thereforein security.

Thus his soldiers saw himafter what he boastingly called his supper –
that is to sayafter the exercise of mastication reported by us at the
commencement of this chapter - like Napoleon on the eve of Austerlitz
seated asleep in his rush chairhalf beneath the light of his lamphalf
beneath the reflection of the mooncommencing its ascent in the heavens
which denoted that it was nearly half past nine in the evening. All at
once Monk was roused from his half sleepfictitious perhapsby a troop
of soldierswho came with joyous criesand kicked the poles of his tent
with a humming noise as if on purpose to wake him. There was no need of
so much noise; the general opened his eyes quickly.


Well, my children, what is going on now?asked the general.

General!replied several voices at onceGeneral! you shall have
some supper.

I have had my supper, gentlemen,replied he quietlyand was
comfortably digesting it, as you see. But come in, and tell me what
brings you hither.

Good news, general.

Bah! Has Lambert sent us word that he will fight to-morrow?

No; but we have just captured a fishing-boat conveying fish to
Newcastle.

And you have done very wrong, my friends. These gentlemen from London
are delicate, must have their first course; you will put them sadly out
of humor this evening, and to-morrow they will be pitiless. It would
really be in good taste to send back to Lambert both his fish and his
fishermen, unless - and the general reflected an instant.

Tell me,continued hewhat are these fishermen, if you please?

Some Picard seamen who were fishing on the coasts of France or Holland,
and who have been thrown upon ours by a gale of wind.

Do any among them speak our language?

The leader spoke some few words of English.

The mistrust of the general was awakened in proportion as fresh
information reached him. "That is well said he. I wish to see these
men; bring them to me."

An officer immediately went to fetch them.

How many are there of them?continued Monk; "and what is their vessel?"

There are ten or twelve of them, general, and they were aboard of a kind
of _chasse-maree_, as it is called - Dutch-built, apparently.

And you say they were carrying fish to Lambert's camp?

Yes, general, and they seem to have had good luck in their fishing.

Humph! We shall see that,said Monk.

At this moment the officer returnedbringing the leader of the fishermen
with him. He was a man from fifty to fifty-five years oldbut good-
looking for his age. He was of middle heightand wore a _justaucorps_
of coarse woola cap pulled down over his eyesa cutlass hung from his
beltand he walked with the hesitation peculiar to sailorswhonever
knowingthanks to the movement of the vesselwhether their foot will be
placed upon the plank or upon nothinggive to every one of their steps a
fall as firm as if they were driving a pile. Monkwith an acute and
penetrating lookexamined the fisherman for some timewhile the latter
smiledwith that smilehalf cunninghalf sillypeculiar to French
peasants.

Do you speak English?asked Monkin excellent French.

Ah! but badly, my lord,replied the fisherman.


This reply was made much more with the lively and sharp accentuation of
the people beyond the Loirethan with the slightly-drawling accent of
the countries of the west and north of France.

But you do speak it?persisted Monkin order to examine his accent
once more.

Eh! we men of the sea,replied the fishermanspeak a little of all
languages.

Then you are a sea fisherman?

I am at present, my lord - a fisherman, and a famous fisherman, too. I
have taken a barbel that weighs at least thirty pounds, and more than
fifty mullets; I have also some little whitings that will fry
beautifully.

You appear to me to have fished more frequently in the Gulf of Gascony
than in the Channel,said Monksmiling.

Well, I am from the south; but does that prevent me from being a good
fisherman, my lord?

Oh! not at all; I shall buy your fish. And now speak frankly; for whom
did you destine them?

My lord, I will conceal nothing from you. I was going to Newcastle,
following the coast, when a party of horsemen who were passing along in
an opposite direction made a sign to my bark to turn back to your honor's
camp, under penalty of a discharge of musketry. As I was not armed for
fighting,added the fishermansmilingI was forced to submit.

And why did you go to Lambert's camp in preference to mine?

My lord, I will be frank; will your lordship permit me?

Yes, and even if need be shall command you to be so.

Well, my lord, I was going to M. Lambert's camp because those gentlemen
from the city pay well - whilst your Scotchmen, Puritans, Presbyterians,
Covenanters, or whatever you chose to call them, eat but little, and pay
for nothing.

Monk shrugged his shoulderswithouthoweverbeing able to refrain from
smiling at the same time. "How is it thatbeing from the southyou
come to fish on our coasts?"

Because I have been fool enough to marry in Picardy.

Yes; but even Picardy is not England.

My lord, man shoves his boat into the sea, but God and the wind do the
rest, and drive the boat where they please.

You had, then, no intention of landing on our coasts?

Never.

And what route were you steering?

We were returning from Ostend, where some mackerel had already been
seen, when a sharp wind from the south drove us from our course; then,
seeing that it was useless to struggle against it, we let it drive us.
It then became necessary, not to lose our fish, which were good, to go


and sell them at the nearest English port, and that was Newcastle. We
were told the opportunity was good, as there was an increase of
population in the camp, an increase of population in the city; both, we
were told, were full of gentlemen, very rich and very hungry. So we
steered our course towards Newcastle.

And your companions, where are they?

Oh, my companions have remained on board; they are sailors without the
least instruction.

Whilst you - said Monk.

Who, I?said the _patron_laughing; "I have sailed about with my
father; and I know what is called a soua crowna pistolea louisand
a double louisin all the languages of Europe; my crewtherefore
listen to me as they would to an oracleand obey me as if I were an
admiral."

Then it was you who preferred M. Lambert as the best customer?

Yes, certainly. And, to be frank, my lord, was I wrong?

You will see that by and by.

At all events, my lord, if there is a fault, the fault is mine; and my
comrades should not be dealt hardly with on that account.

This is decidedly an intelligent, sharp fellow,thought Monk. Then
after a few minutes' silence employed in scrutinizing the fisherman-
You come from Ostend, did you not say?asked the general.

Yes, my lord, in a straight line.

You have then heard of the affairs of the day; for I have no doubt that
both in France and Holland they excite interest. What is he doing who
calls himself king of England?

Oh, my lord!cried the fishermanwith loud and expansive frankness
that is a lucky question, and you could not put it to anybody better
than to me, for in truth I can make you a famous reply. Imagine, my
lord, that when putting into Ostend to sell the few mackerel we had
caught, I saw the ex-king walking on the downs waiting for his horses,
which were to take him to the Hague. He is a rather tall, pale man, with
black hair, and somewhat hard-featured. He looks ill, and I don't think
the air of Holland agrees with him.

Monk followed with the greatest attention the rapidheightenedand
diffuse conversation of the fishermanin a language which was not his
ownbut whichas we have saidhe spoke with great facility. The
fishermanon his partemployed sometimes a French wordsometimes an
English wordand sometimes a word which appeared not to belong to any
languagebut wasin truthpure Gascon. Fortunately his eyes spoke for
himand that so eloquentlythat it was possible to lose a word from his
mouthbut not a single intention from his eyes. The general appeared
more and more satisfied with his examination. "You must have heard that
this ex-kingas you call himwas going to the Hague for some purpose?"

Oh, yes,said the fishermanI heard that.

And what was his purpose?

Always the same,said the fisherman. "Must he not always entertain the
fixed idea of returning to England?"


That is true,said Monkpensively.


Without reckoning,added the fishermanthat the stadtholder - you
know, my lord, William II.? -
Well?


He will assist him with all his power.
Ah! did you hear that said?


No, but I think so.
You are quite a politician, apparently,said Monk.


Why, we sailors, my lord, who are accustomed to study the water and the
air - that is to say, the two most changeable things in the world - are
seldom deceived as to the rest.

Now, then,said Monkchanging the conversationI am told you are
going to provision us.

I shall do my best, my lord.

How much do you ask for your fish in the first place?
Not such a fool as to name a price, my lord.


Why not?
Because my fish is yours.


By what right?
By that of the strongest.


But my intention is to pay you for it.
That is very generous of you, my lord.


And the worth of it -
My lord, I fix no price.


What do you ask, then?
I only ask to be permitted to go away.


Where? - to General Lambert's camp?


I!cried the fisherman; "what should I go to Newcastle fornow I have
no longer any fish?"
At all events, listen to me.


I do, my lord.
I shall give you some advice.


How, my lord! - pay me and give me good advice likewise! You overwhelm
me, my lord.

Monk looked more earnestly than ever at the fishermanabout whom he


still appeared to entertain some suspicion. "YesI shall pay youand
give you a piece of advice; for the two things are connected. If you
returnthento General Lambert - "

The fisherman made a movement of his head and shoulderswhich signified
If he persists in it, I won't contradict him.

Do not cross the marsh,continued Monk: "you will have money in your
pocketand there are in the marsh some Scottish ambuscaders I have
placed there. Those people are very intractable; they understand but
very little of the language which you speakalthough it appears to me to
be composed of three languages. They might take from you what I have
given youandon your return to your countryyou would not fail to say
that General Monk has two handsthe one Scottishand the other English;
and that he takes back with the Scottish hand what he has given with the
English hand."

Oh! general, I shall go where you like, be sure of that,said the
fishermanwith a fear too expressive not to be exaggerated. "I only
wish to remain hereif you will allow me to remain."

I readily believe you,said Monkwith an imperceptible smilebut I
cannot, nevertheless, keep you in my tent.

I have no such wish, my lord, and desire only that your lordship should
point out where you will have me posted. Do not trouble yourself about
us - with us a night soon passes away.

You shall be conducted to your bark.

As your lordship pleases. Only, if your lordship would allow me to be
taken back by a carpenter, I should be extremely grateful.

Why so?

Because the gentlemen of your army, in dragging my boat up the river
with a cable pulled by their horses, have battered it a little upon the
rocks of the shore, so that I have at least two feet of water in my hold,
my lord.

The greater reason why you should watch your boat, I think.

My lord, I am quite at your orders,said the fisherman; "I shall empty
my baskets where you wish; then you will pay meif you please to do so;
and you will send me awayif it appears right to you. You see I am very
easily managed and pleasedmy lord."

Come, come, you are a very good sort of fellow,said Monkwhose
scrutinizing glance had not been able to find a single shade in the clear
eye of the fisherman. "HolloaDigby!" An aid-de-camp appeared. "You
will conduct this good fellow and his companions to the little tents of
the canteensin front of the marshesso that they will be near their
barkand yet will not sleep on board to-night. What is the matter
Spithead?"

Spithead was the sergeant from whom Monk had borrowed a piece of tobacco
for his supper. Spithead having entered the general's tent without being
sent forhad drawn this question from Monk.

My lord,said hea French gentleman has just presented himself at the
outposts and wishes to speak to your honor.

All this was saidbe it understoodin English; butnotwithstanding
it produced a slight emotion in the fishermanwhich Monkoccupied with


his sergeantdid not remark.

Who is the gentleman?asked Monk.

My lord,replied Spitheadhe told it me; but those devils of French
names are so difficult to pronounce for a Scottish throat, that I could
not retain it. I believe, however, from what the guards say, that it is
the same gentleman who presented himself yesterday at the halt, and whom
your honor would not receive.

That is true; I was holding a council of officers.

Will your honor give any orders respecting this gentleman?

Yes, let him be brought here.

Must we take any precautions?

Such as what?

Blinding his eyes, for instance?

To what purpose? He can only see what I desire should be seen; that is
to say, that I have around me eleven thousand brave men, who ask no
better than to have their throats cut in honor of the parliament of
Scotland and England.

And this man, my lord?said Spitheadpointing to the fishermanwho
during this conversationhad remained standing and motionlesslike a
man who sees but does not understand.

Ah, that is true,said Monk. Then turning towards the fisherman- "I
shall see you againmy brave fellow said he; I have selected a
lodging for you. Digbytake him to it. Fear nothing; your money shall
be sent to you presently."

Thank you, my lord,said the fishermanand after having bowedhe left
the tentaccompanied by Digby. Before he had gone a hundred paces he
found his companionswho were whispering with a volubility which did not
appear exempt from uneasinessbut he made them a sign which seemed to
reassure them. "_Hola_you fellows!" said the _patron_come this
way. His lordship, General Monk, has the generosity to pay us for our
fish, and the goodness to give us hospitality for to-night.

The fishermen gathered round their leaderandconducted by Digbythe
little troop proceeded towards the canteensthe postas may be
rememberedwhich had been assigned them. As they went along in the
darkthe fishermen passed close to the guards who were conducting the
French gentleman to General Monk. This gentleman was on horseback and
enveloped in a large cloakwhich prevented the _patron_ from seeing him
however great his curiosity might be. As to the gentlemanignorant that
he was elbowing compatriotshe did not pay any attention to the little
troop.

The aid-de-camp settled his guests in a tolerably comfortable tentfrom
which was dislodged an Irish canteen womanwho wentwith her six
childrento sleep where she could. A large fire was burning in front of
this tentand threw its purple light over the grassy pools of the marsh
rippled by a fresh breeze. The arrangements madethe aid-de-camp wished
the fishermen good-nightcalling to their notice that they might see
from the door of the tent the masts of their barkwhich was tossing
gently on the Tweeda proof that it had not yet sunk. The sight of this
appeared to delight the leader of the fishermen infinitely.


Chapter XXIV:
The Treasure.

The French gentleman whom Spithead had announced to Monkand who
closely wrapped in his cloakhad passed by the fishermen who left the
general's tent five minutes before he entered it- the French gentleman
went through the various posts without even casting his eyes around him
for fear of appearing indiscreet. As the order had been givenhe was
conducted to the tent of the general. The gentleman was left alone in
the sort of ante-chamber in front of the principal body of the tent
where he awaited Monkwho only delayed till he had heard the report of
his peopleand observed through the opening of the canvas the
countenance of the person who solicited an audience.

Without doubtthe report of those who had accompanied the French
gentleman established the discretion with which he had behavedfor the
first impression the stranger received of the welcome made him by the
general was more favorable than he could have expected at such a moment
and on the part of so suspicious a man. Neverthelessaccording to his
customwhen Monk found himself in the presence of a strangerhe fixed
upon him his penetrating eyeswhich scrutinythe strangeron his part
sustained without embarrassment or notice. At the end of a few seconds
the general made a gesture with his hand and head in sign of attention.

My lord,said the gentlemanin excellent EnglishI have requested
an interview with your honor, for an affair of importance.

Monsieur,replied Monkin Frenchyou speak our language well for a
son of the continent. I ask your pardon - for doubtless the question is
indiscreet - do you speak French with the same purity?

There is nothing surprising, my lord, in my speaking English tolerably;
I resided for some time in England in my youth, and since then I have
made two voyages to this country.These words were spoken in French
and with a purity of accent that bespoke not only a Frenchmanbut a
Frenchman from the vicinity of Tours.

And what part of England have you resided in, monsieur?

In my youth, London, my lord; then, about 1635, I made a pleasure trip
to Scotland; and lastly, in 1648, I lived for some time at Newcastle,
particularly in the convent, the gardens of which are now occupied by
your army.

Excuse me, monsieur; but you must comprehend that these questions are
necessary on my part - do you not?

It would astonish me, my lord, if they were not asked.

Now, then, monsieur, what can I do to serve you? What do you wish?

This, my lord; - but, in the first place, are we alone?

Perfectly so, monsieur, except, of course, the post which guards us.
So sayingMonk pulled open the canvas with his handand pointed to the
soldier placed at ten paces from the tentand whoat the first call
could have rendered assistance in a second.

In that case, my lord,said the gentlemanin as calm a tone as if he
had been for a length of time in habits of intimacy with his
interlocutorI have made up my mind to address myself to you, because I
believe you to be an honest man. Indeed, the communication I am about to
make to you will prove to you the esteem in which I hold you.


Monkastonished at this languagewhich established between him and the
French gentleman equality at leastraised his piercing eye to the
stranger's faceand with a sensible irony conveyed by the inflection of
his voice alonefor not a muscle of his face moved- "I thank you
monsieur said he; butin the first placeto whom have I the honor of
speaking?"

I sent you my name by your sergeant, my lord.

Excuse him, monsieur, he is a Scotsman, - he could not retain it.

I am called the Comte de la Fere, monsieur,said Athosbowing.

The Comte de la Fere?said Monkendeavoring to recollect the name.
Pardon me, monsieur, but this appears to be the first time I have ever
heard that name. Do you fill any post at the court of France?

None; I am a simple gentleman.

What dignity?

King Charles I. made me a knight of the Garter, and Queen Anne of
Austria has given me the cordon of the Holy Ghost. These are my only
dignities.

The Garter! the Holy Ghost! Are you a knight of those two orders,
monsieur?

Yes.

And on what occasions have such favors been bestowed upon you?

For services rendered to their majesties.

Monk looked with astonishment at this manwho appeared to him so simple
and so great at the same time. Thenas if he had renounced endeavoring
to penetrate this mystery of a simplicity and grandeur upon which the
stranger did not seem disposed to give him any other information than
that which he had already received- "Did you present yourself yesterday
at our advanced posts?"

And was sent back? Yes, my lord.

Many officers, monsieur, would permit no one to enter their camp,
particularly on the eve of a probable battle. But I differ from my
colleagues, and like to leave nothing behind me. Every advice is good
to me; all danger is sent to me by God, and I weigh it in my hand with
the energy He has given me. So, yesterday, you were only sent back on
account of the council I was holding. To-day I am at liberty, - speak.

My lord, you have done much better in receiving me, for what I have to
say has nothing to do with the battle you are about to fight with General
Lambert, or with your camp; and the proof is, that I turned away my head
that I might not see your men, and closed my eyes that I might not count
your tents. No, I came to speak to you, my lord, on my own account.

Speak then, monsieur,said Monk.

Just now,continued AthosI had the honor of telling your lordship
that for a long time I lived in Newcastle; it was in the time of Charles
I., and when the king was given up to Cromwell by the Scots.

I know,said Monkcoldly.


I had at that time a large sum in gold, and on the eve of the battle,
from a presentiment perhaps of the turn which things would take on the
morrow, I concealed it in the principal vault of the covenant of
Newcastle, in the tower whose summit you now see silvered by the
moonbeams. My treasure has then remained interred there, and I have come
to entreat your honor to permit me to withdraw it before, perhaps, the
battle turning that way, a mine or some other war engine has destroyed
the building and scattered my gold, or rendered it so apparent that the
soldiers will take possession of it.

Monk was well acquainted with mankind; he saw in the physiognomy of this
gentleman all the energyall the reasonall the circumspection
possible; he could therefore only attribute to a magnanimous confidence
the revelation the Frenchman had made himand he showed himself
profoundly touched by it.

Monsieur,said heyou have augured well of me. But is the sum worth
the trouble to which you expose yourself? Do you even believe that it
can be in the same place where you left it?

It is there monsieur, I do not doubt.

That is a reply to one question; but to the other. I asked you if the
sum was so large as to warrant your exposing yourself thus.

It is really large; yes, my lord, for it is a million I inclosed in two
barrels.

A million!cried Monkat whom this timein turnAthos looked
earnestly and long. Monk perceived thisand his mistrust returned.

Here is a man,said he to himselfwho is laying a snare for me. So
you wish to withdraw this money, monsieur,replied heas I understand?

If you please, my lord.

To-day?

This very evening, and that on account of the circumstances I have
named.

But, monsieur,objected MonkGeneral Lambert is as near the abbey
where you have to act as I am. Why, then, have you not addressed
yourself to him?

Because, my lord, when one acts in important matters, it is best to
consult one's instinct before everything. Well, General Lambert does
not inspire with me so much confidence as you do.

Be it so, monsieur. I shall assist you in recovering your money, if,
however, it can still be there; for that is far from likely. Since 1648
twelve years have rolled away, and many events have taken place.Monk
dwelt upon this point to see if the French gentleman would seize the
evasions that were open to himbut Athos did not hesitate.

I assure you, my lord,he said firmlythat my conviction is, that the
two barrels have neither changed place nor master.This reply had
removed one suspicion from the mind of Monkbut it had suggested
another. Without doubt this Frenchman was some emissary sent to entice
into error the protector of the parliament; the gold was nothing but a
lure; and by the help of this lure they thought to excite the cupidity of
the general. This gold might not exist. It was Monk's businessthen
to seize the Frenchman in the act of falsehood and trickand to draw


from the false step itself in which his enemies wished to entrap hima
triumph for his renown. When Monk was determined how to act


Monsieur,said he to Athoswithout doubt you will do me the honor to
share my supper this evening?

Yes, my lord,replied Athosbowing; "for you do me an honor of which I
feel myself worthyby the inclination which drew me towards you."

It is so much the more gracious on your part to accept my invitation
with such frankness, as my cooks are but few and inexperienced, and my
providers have returned this evening empty-handed; so that if it had not
been for a fisherman of your nation who strayed into our camp, General
Monk would have gone to bed without his supper to-day; I have, then, some
fresh fish to offer you, as the vendor assures me.

My lord, it is principally for the sake of having the honor to pass an
hour with you.

After this exchange of civilitiesduring which Monk had lost nothing of
his circumspectionthe supperor what was to serve for onehad been
laid upon a deal table. Monk invited the Comte de la Fere to be seated
at this tableand took his place opposite to him. A single dish of
boiled fishset before the two illustrious guestswas more tempting to
hungry stomachs than to delicate palates.

Whilst suppingthat iswhile eating the fishwashed down with bad ale
Monk got Athos to relate to him the last events of the Frondethe
reconciliation of M. de Conde with the kingand the probable marriage of
the infanta of Spain; but he avoidedas Athos himself avoided itall
allusion to the political interests which unitedor rather which
disunited at this timeEnglandFrance and Holland.

Monkin this conversationconvinced himself of one thingwhich he must
have remarked after the first words exchanged: that wasthat he had to
deal with a man of high distinction. He could not be an assassinand it
was repugnant to Monk to believe him to be a spy; but there was
sufficient _finesse_ and at the same time firmness in Athos to lead Monk
to fancy he was a conspirator. When they had quitted the tableYou
still believe in your treasure, then, monsieur?asked Monk.

Yes, my lord.

Quite seriously?

Seriously.

And you think you can find the place again where it was buried?

At the first inspection.

Well, monsieur, from curiosity I shall accompany you. And it is so much
the more necessary that I should accompany you, that you would find great
difficulties in passing through the camp without me or one of my
lieutenants.

General, I would not suffer you to inconvenience yourself if I did not,
in fact, stand in need of your company; but as I recognize that this
company is not only honorable, but necessary, I accept it.

Do you desire we should take any people with us?asked Monk.

General, I believe that would be useless, if you yourself do not see the
necessity for it. Two men and a horse will suffice to transport the two


casks on board the felucca which brought me hither.

But it will be necessary to pick, dig, and remove the earth, and split
stones; you don't intend doing this work yourself, monsieur, do you?

General, there is no picking or digging required. The treasure is
buried in the sepulchral vault of the convent, under a stone in which is
fixed a large iron ring, and under which there are four steps leading
down. The two casks are there, placed end to end, covered with a coat of
plaster in the form of a bier. There is, besides, an inscription, which
will enable me to recognize the stone; and as I am not willing, in an
affair of delicacy and confidence, to keep the secret from your honor,
here is the inscription: - '_Hic jacet venerabilis, Petrus Gulielmus
Scott, Canon Honorab. Conventus Novi Castelli. Obiit quarta et decima
Feb. ann. Dom. MCCVIII. Requiescat in pace._'

Monk did not lose a single word. He was astonished either at the
marvelous duplicity of this man and the superior style in which he played
his partor at the good loyal faith with which he presented his request
in a situation in which concerning a million of moneyrisked against the
blow from a daggeramidst an army that would have looked upon the theft
as a restitution.

Very well,said he; "I shall accompany you; and the adventure appears
to me so wonderfulthat I shall carry the torch myself." And saying
these wordshe girded on a short swordplaced a pistol in his belt
disclosing in this movementwhich opened his doublet a littlethe fine
rings of a coat of maildestined to protect him from the first dagger-
thrust of an assassin. After which he took a Scottish dirk in his left
handand then turning to AthosAre you ready, monsieur?said he.

I am.

Athosas if in opposition to what Monk had doneunfastened his poniard
which he placed upon the table; unhooked his sword-beltwhich he laid
close to his poniard; andwithout affectationopening his doublet as if
to look for his handkerchiefshowed beneath his fine cambric shirt his
naked breastwithout weapons either offensive or defensive.

This is truly a singular man,said Monk; "he is without any arms; he
has an ambuscade placed somewhere yonder."

General,said heas if he had divined Monk's thoughtyou wish we
should be alone; that is very right, but a great captain ought never to
expose himself with temerity. It is night, the passage of the marsh may
present dangers; be accompanied.

You are right,replied hecalling Digby. The aid-de-camp appeared.
Fifty men with swords and muskets,said helooking at Athos.

That is too few if there is danger, too many if there is not.

I will go alone,said Monk; "I want nobody. Comemonsieur."

Chapter XXV:
The Marsh.

Athos and Monk passed overin going from the camp towards the Tweed
that part of the ground which Digby had traversed with the fishermen
coming from the Tweed to the camp. The aspect of this placethe aspect
of the changes man had wrought in itwas of a nature to produce a great
effect upon a lively and delicate imagination like that of Athos. Athos
looked at nothing but these desolate spots; Monk looked at nothing but


Athos - at Athoswhowith his eyes sometimes directed towards heaven
and sometimes towards the earthsoughtthoughtand sighed.

Digbywhom the last orders of the generaland particularly the accent
with which he had given themhad at first a little excitedDigby
followed the pair at about twenty pacesbut the general having turned
round as if astonished to find his orders had not been obeyedthe aid-decamp
perceived his indiscretionand returned to his tent.

He supposed that the general wished to makeincognitoone of those
reviews of vigilance which every experienced captain never fails to make
on the eve of a decisive engagement: he explained to himself the presence
of Athos in this case as an inferior explains all that is mysterious on
the part of his leader. Athos might beandindeedin the eyes of
Digbymust bea spywhose information was to enlighten the general.

At the end of a walk of about ten minutes among the tents and posts
which were closer together near the headquartersMonk entered upon a
little causeway which diverged into three branches. That on the left led
to the riverthat in the middle to Newcastle Abbey on the marshthat on
the right crossed the first lines of Monk's camp; that is to saythe
lines nearest to Lambert's army. Beyond the river was an advanced post
belonging to Monk's armywhich watched the enemy; it was composed of one
hundred and fifty Scots. They had swum across the Tweedandin case of
attackwere to recross it in the same mannergiving the alarm; but as
there was no post at that spotand as Lambert's soldiers were not so
prompt at taking to the water as Monk's werethe latter appeared not to
have as much uneasiness on that side. On this side of the riverat
about five hundred paces from the old abbeythe fishermen had taken up
their abode amidst a crowd of small tents raised by soldiers of the
neighboring clanswho had with them their wives and children. All this
confusionseen by the moon's lightpresented a striking _coup d'oeil_;
the half shadow enlarged every detailand the lightthat flatterer
which only attaches itself to the polished side of thingscourted upon
each rusty musket the point still left intactand upon every rag of
canvas the whitest and least sullied part.

Monk arrived then with Athoscrossing this spotillumined with a double
lightthe silver splendor of the moonand the red blaze of the fires at
the meeting of these three causeways; there he stoppedand addressing
his companion- "Monsieur said he, do you know your road?"

General, if I am not mistaken, the middle causeway leads straight to the
abbey.

That is right; but we shall want lights to guide us in the vaults.
Monk turned round.

Ah! I thought Digby was following us!said he. "So much the better;
he will procure us what we want."

Yes, general, there is a man yonder who has been walking behind us for
some time.

Digby!cried Monk. "Digby! come hereif you please."

But instead of obeyingthe shadow made a motion of surpriseand
retreating instead of advancingit bent down and disappeared along the
jetty on the leftdirecting its course towards the lodging of the
fishermen.

It appears not to be Digby,said Monk.

Both had followed the shadow which had vanished. But it was not so rare


a thing for a man to be wandering about at eleven o'clock at nightin a
camp in which are reposing ten or eleven thousand menas to give Monk
and Athos any alarm at his disappearance.

As it is so,said Monkand we must have a light, a lantern, a torch,
or something by which we may see where to see our feet; let us seek this
light.

General, the first soldier we meet will light us.

No,said Monkin order to discover if there were not any connivance
between the Comte de la Fere and the fisherman. "NoI should prefer one
of these French sailors who came this evening to sell me their fish.
They leave to-morrowand the secret will be better kept by them;
whereasif a report should be spread in the Scottish armythat
treasures are to be found in the abbey of Newcastlemy Highlanders will
believe there is a million concealed beneath every slaband they will
not leave stone upon stone in the building."

Do as you think best, general,replied Athosin a natural tone of
voicemaking evident that soldier or fisherman was the same to himand
that he had no preference.

Monk approached the causeway behind which had disappeared the person he
had taken for Digbyand met a patrol whomaking the tour of the tents
was going towards headquarters; he was stopped with his companiongave
the passwordand went on. A soldierroused by the noiseunrolled his
plaidand looked up to see what was going forward. "Ask him said Monk
to Athos, where the fishermen are; if I were to speak to himhe would
know me."

Athos went up to the soldierwho pointed out the tent to him;
immediately Monk and Athos turned towards it. It appeared to the general
that at the moment they came upa shadow like that they had already
seenglided into this tent; but on drawing nearer he perceived he must
have been mistakenfor all of them were asleep _pele mele_and nothing
was seen but arms and legs joinedcrossedand mixed. Athosfearing
lest he should be suspected of connivance with some of his compatriots
remained outside the tent.

_Hola!_said Monkin Frenchwake up here.Two or three of the
sleepers got up.

I want a man to light me,continued Monk.

Your honor may depend on us,said a voice which made Athos start.
Where do you wish us to go?

You shall see. A light! come, quickly!

Yes, your honor. Does it please your honor that I should accompany you?

You or another; it is of very little consequence, provided I have a
light.

It is strange!thought Athos; "what a singular voice that man has!"

Some fire, you fellows!cried the fisherman; "comemake haste!"

Then addressing his companion nearest to him in a low voice: - "Get ready
a lightMenneville said he, and hold yourself ready for anything."

One of the fishermen struck light from a stoneset fire to some tinder
and by the aid of a match lit a lantern. The light immediately spread


all over the tent.

Are you ready, monsieur?said Monk to Athoswho had turned awaynot
to expose his face to the light.

Yes, general,replied he.

Ah! the French gentleman!said the leader of the fishermen to himself.
_Peste!_ I have a great mind to charge you with the commission,
Menneville; he may know me. Light! light!This dialogue was pronounced
at the back of the tentand in so low a voice that Monk could not hear a
syllable of it; he wasbesidestalking with Athos. Menneville got
himself ready in the meantimeor rather received the orders of his
leader.

Well?said Monk.

I am ready, general,said the fisherman.

MonkAthosand the fisherman left the tent.

It is impossible!thought Athos. "What dream could put that into my
head?"

Go forward; follow the middle causeway, and stretch out your legs,said
Monk to the fisherman.

They were not twenty paces on their way when the same shadow that had
appeared to enter the tent came out of it againcrawled along as far as
the pilesandprotected by that sort of parapet placed along the
causewaycarefully observed the march of the general. All three
disappeared in the night haze. They were walking towards Newcastlethe
white stones of which appeared to them like sepulchers. After standing
for a few seconds under the porchthey penetrated into the interior.
The door had been broken open by hatchets. A post of four men slept in
safety in a cornerso certain were they that the attack would not take
place on that side.

Will not these men be in your way?said Monk to Athos.

On the contrary, monsieur, they will assist in rolling out the barrels,
if your honor will permit them.

You are right.

The postthough fast asleeproused up at the first steps of the three
visitors amongst the briars and grass that invaded the porch. Monk gave
the passwordand penetrated into the interior of the conventpreceded
by the light. He walked lastwatching the least movement of Athoshis
naked dirk in his sleeveand ready to plunge it into the back of the
gentleman at the first suspicious gesture he should see him make. But
Athoswith a firm and sure stepcrossed the chambers and courts.

Not a doornot a window was left in the building. The doors had been
burntsome on the spotand the charcoal of them was still jagged with
the action of the firewhich had gone out of itselfpowerlessno
doubtto get to the heart of those massive joints of oak fastened
together with iron nails. As to the windowsall the panes having been
brokennight birdsalarmed by the torchflew away through their
holes. At the same timegigantic bats began to trace their vastsilent
circles around the intruderswhilst the light of the torch made their
shadows tremble on the high stone walls. Monk concluded that there could
be no man in the conventsince wild beasts and birds were there still


and fled away at his approach.

After having passed the rubbishand torn away more than one branch of
ivy that had made itself a guardian of the solitudeAthos arrived at the
vaults situated beneath the great hallbut the entrance of which was
from the chapel. There he stopped. "Here we aregeneral said he.

Thisthenis the slab?"

Yes.

Ay, and here is the ring - but the ring is sealed into the stone.

We must have a lever.

That's a very easy thing to find.

Whilst looking around themAthos and Monk perceived a little ash of
about three inches in diameterwhich had shot up in an angle of the
wallreaching a windowconcealed by its branches.

Have you a knife?said Monk to the fisherman.

Yes, monsieur.

Cut down this tree, then.

The fisherman obeyedbut not without notching his cutlass. When the ash
was cut and fashioned into the shape of a leverthe three men penetrated
into the vault.

Stop where you are,said Monk to the fisherman. "We are going to dig
up some powder; your light may be dangerous."

The man drew back in a sort of terrorand faithfully kept to the post
assigned himwhilst Monk and Athos turned behind a column at the foot of
whichpenetrating through a crackwas a moonbeamreflected exactly on
the stone which the Comte de la Fere had come so far in search.

This is it,said Athospointing out to the general the Latin
inscription.

Yes,said Monk.

Thenas if still willing to leave the Frenchman one means of evasion


Do you not observe that this vault has already been broken into,
continued heand that several statues have already been knocked down?

My lord, you have, without doubt, heard that the religious respect of
your Scots loves to confide to the statues of the dead the valuable
objects they have possessed during their lives. Therefore, the soldiers
had reason to think that under the pedestals of the statues which
ornament most of these tombs, a treasure was hidden. They have
consequently broken down pedestal and statue: but the tomb of the
venerable cannon, with which we have to do, is not distinguished by any
monument. It is simple, therefore it has been protected by the
superstitious fear which your Puritans have always had of sacrilege. Not
a morsel of the masonry of this tomb has been chipped off.

That is true,said Monk.

Athos seized the lever.


Shall I help you?said Monk.

Thank you, my lord; but I am not willing that your honor should lend
your hand to a work of which, perhaps, you would not take the
responsibility if you knew the probable consequences of it.

Monk raised his head.

What do you mean by that, monsieur?

I mean - but that man -

Stop,said Monk; "I perceive what you are afraid of. I shall make a
trial." Monk turned towards the fishermanthe whole of whose profile
was thrown upon the wall.

Come here, friend!said he in Englishand in a tone of command.

The fisherman did not stir.

That is well,continued he: "he does not know English. Speak to me
thenin Englishif you pleasemonsieur."

My lord,replied AthosI have frequently seen men in certain
circumstances have sufficient command over themselves not to reply to a
question put to them in a language they understood. The fisherman is
perhaps more learned than we believe him to be. Send him away, my lord,
I beg you.

Decidedly,said Monkhe wishes to have me alone in this vault. Never
mind, we shall go through with it; one man is as good as another man; and
we are alone. My friend,said Monk to the fishermango back up the
stairs we have just descended, and watch that nobody comes to disturb
us.The fisherman made a sign of obedience. "Leave your torch said
Monk; it would betray your presenceand might procure you a musket-
ball."

The fisherman appeared to appreciate the counsel; he laid down the light
and disappeared under the vault of the stairs. Monk took up the torch
and brought it to the foot of the column.

Ah, ah!said he; "moneythenis concealed under this tomb?"

Yes, my lord; and in five minutes you will no longer doubt it.

At the same time Athos struck a violent blow upon the plasterwhich
splitpresenting a chink for the point of the lever. Athos introduced
the bar into this crackand soon large pieces of plaster yieldedrising
up like rounded slabs. Then the Comte de la Fere seized the stones and
threw them away with a force that hands so delicate as his might not have
been supposed capable of having.

My lord,said Athosthis is plainly the masonry of which I told your
honor.

Yes; but I do not yet see the casks,said Monk.

If I had a dagger,said Athoslooking round himyou should soon see
them, monsieur. Unfortunately, I left mine in your tent.

I would willingly offer you mine,said Monkbut the blade is too thin
for such work.

Athos appeared to look around him for a thing of some kind that might


serve as a substitute for the weapon he desired. Monk did not lose one
of the movements of his handsor one of the expressions of his eyes.
Why do you not ask the fisherman for his cutlass?said Monk; "he has a
cutlass."

Ah! that is true,said Athos; "for he cut the tree down with it." And
he advanced towards the stairs.

Friend,said he to the fishermanthrow me down your cutlass, if you
please; I want it.

The noise of the falling weapon sounded on the steps.

Take it,said Monk; "it is a solid instrumentas I have seenand a
strong hand might make good use of it."

Athos appeared only to give to the words of Monk the natural and simple
sense under which they were to be heard and understood. Nor did he
remarkor at least appear to remarkthat when he returned with the
weaponMonk drew backplacing his left hand on the stock of his pistol;
in the right he already held his dirk. He went to work thenturning his
back to Monkplacing his life in his handswithout possible defense.
He then struckduring several secondsso skillfully and sharply upon
the intermediary plasterthat it separated into two partsand Monk was
able to discern two barrels placed end to endand which their weight
maintained motionless in their chalky envelope.

My lord,said Athosyou see that my presentiments have not been
disappointed.

Yes, monsieur,said Monkand I have good reason to believe you are
satisfied; are you not?

Doubtless I am; the loss of this money would have been inexpressibly
great to me: but I was certain that God, who protects the good cause,
would not have permitted this gold, which should procure its triumph, to
be diverted to baser purposes.

You areupon my honoras mysterious in your words as in your actions
monsieur said Monk. Just now as I did not perfectly understand you
when you said that you were not willing to throw upon me the
responsibility of the work we were accomplishing."

I had reason to say so, my lord.

And now you speak to me of the good cause. What do you mean by the
words 'the good cause?' We are defending at this moment, in England,
five or six causes, which does not prevent every one from considering his
own not only as the good cause, but as the best. What is yours,
monsieur? Speak boldly, that we may see if, upon this point, to which
you appear to attach a great importance, we are of the same opinion.

Athos fixed upon Monk one of those penetrating looks which seemed to
convey to him to whom they are directed a challenge to conceal a single
one of his thoughts; thentaking off his hathe began in a solemn
voicewhile his interlocutorwith one hand upon his visageallowed
that long and nervous hand to compress his mustache and beardwhile his
vague and melancholy eye wandered about the recesses of the vaults.

Chapter XXVI:
Heart and Mind.

My lord,said the Comte de la Fereyou are an noble Englishman, you


are a loyal man; you are speaking to a noble Frenchman, to a man of
heart. The gold contained in these two casks before us, I have told you
was mine. I was wrong - it is the first lie I have pronounced in my
life, a temporary lie, it is true. This gold is the property of King
Charles II., exiled from his country, driven from his palaces, the orphan
at once of his father and his throne, and deprived of everything, even of
the melancholy happiness of kissing on his knees the stone upon which the
hands of his murderers have written that simple epitaph which will
eternally cry out for vengeance upon them: -'HERE LIES CHARLES I.'

Monk grew slightly paleand an imperceptible shudder crept over his skin
and raised his gray mustache.

I,continued AthosI, Comte de la Fere, the last, only faithful
friend the poor abandoned prince has left, I have offered him to come
hither to find the man upon whom now depends the fate of royalty and of
England; and I have come, and placed myself under the eye of this man,
and have placed myself naked and unarmed in his hands, saying: - 'My
lord, here are the last resources of a prince whom God made your master,
whom his birth made your king; upon you, and you alone, depend his life
and future. Will you employ this money in consoling England for the
evils it must have suffered from anarchy; that is to say, will you aid,
and if not aid, will you allow King Charles II. to act? You are master,
you are king, all-powerful master and king, for chance sometimes defeats
the work of time and God. I am here alone with you, my lord: if divided
success alarms you, if my complicity annoys you, you are armed, my lord,
and here is a grave ready dug; if, on the contrary, the enthusiasm of
your cause carries you away, if you are what you appear to be, if your
hand in what it undertakes obeys your mind, and your mind your heart,
here are the means of ruining forever the cause of your enemy, Charles
Stuart. Kill, then, the man you have before you, for that man will never
return to him who has sent him without bearing with him the deposit which
Charles I., his father, confided to him, and keep the gold which may
assist in carrying on the civil war. Alas! my lord, it is the fate of
this unfortunate prince. He must either corrupt or kill, for everything
resists him, everything repulses him, everything is hostile to him; and
yet he is marked with divine seal, and he must, not to belie his blood,
reascend the throne, or die upon the sacred soil of his country.'

My lordyou have heard me. To any other but the illustrious man who
listens to meI would have said: 'My lordyou are poor; my lordthe
king offers you this million as an earnest of an immense bargain; take
itand serve Charles II. as I served Charles I.and I feel assured that
Godwho listens to uswho sees uswho alone reads in your heartshut
up from all human eyes- I am assured God will give you a happy eternal
life after death.' But to General Monkto the illustrious man of whose
standard I believe I have taken measureI say: 'My lordthere is for
you in the history of peoples and kings a brilliant placean immortal
imperishable gloryif alonewithout any other interest but the good of
your country and the interests of justiceyou become the supporter of
your king. Many others have been conquerors and glorious usurpers; you
my lordyou will be content with being the most virtuousthe most
honestand the most incorruptible of men: you will have held a crown in
your handand instead of placing it upon your own browyou will have
deposited it upon the head of him for whom it was made. Ohmy lordact
thusand you will leave to posterity the most enviable of namesin
which no human creature can rival you.'"

Athos stopped. During the whole time that the noble gentleman was
speakingMonk had not given one sign of either approbation or
disapprobation; scarcely evenduring this vehement appealhad his eyes
been animated with that fire which bespeaks intelligence. The Comte de
la Fere looked at him sorrowfullyand on seeing that melancholy
countenancefelt discouragement penetrate to his very heart. At length


Monk appeared to recoverand broke the silence.

Monsieur,said hein a mildcalm tonein reply to you, I will make
use of your own words. To any other but yourself I would reply by
expulsion, imprisonment, or still worse, for, in fact, you tempt me and
you force me at the same time. But you are one of those men, monsieur,
to whom it is impossible to refuse the attention and respect they merit;
you are a brave gentleman, monsieur - I say so, and I am a judge. You
just now spoke of a deposit which the late king transmitted through you
to his son - are you, then, one of those Frenchmen who, as I have heard,
endeavored to carry off Charles I. from Whitehall?

Yes, my lord; it was I who was beneath the scaffold during the
execution; I, who had not been able to redeem it, received upon my brow
the blood of the martyred king. I received, at the same time, the last
word of Charles I.; it was to me he said, 'REMEMBER!' and in saying,
'Remember!' he alluded to the money at your feet, my lord.

I have heard much of you, monsieur,said Monkbut I am happy to have,
in the first place, appreciated you by my own observations, and not by my
remembrances. I will give you, then, explanations that I have given to
no other, and you will appreciate what a distinction I make between you
and the persons who have hitherto been sent to me.

Athos bowed and prepared to absorb greedily the words which fellone by
onefrom the mouth of Monk- those words rare and precious as the dew
in the desert.

You spoke to me,said Monkof Charles II.; but pray, monsieur, of
what consequence to me is that phantom of a king? I have grown old in a
war and in a policy which are nowadays so closely linked together, that
every man of the sword must fight in virtue of his rights or his ambition
with a personal interest, and not blindly behind an officer, as in
ordinary wars. For myself, I perhaps desire nothing, but I fear much.
In the war of to-day rests the liberty of England, and, perhaps, that of
every Englishman. How can you expect that I, free in the position I have
made for myself, should go willingly and hold out my hands to the
shackles of a stranger? That is all Charles is to me. He has fought
battles here which he has lost, he is therefore a bad captain; he has
succeeded in no negotiation, he is therefore a bad diplomatist; he has
paraded his wants and his miseries in all the courts of Europe, he has
therefore a weak and pusillanimous heart. Nothing noble, nothing great,
nothing strong has hitherto emanated from that genius which aspires to
govern one of the greatest kingdoms of the earth. I know this Charles,
then, under none but bad aspects, and you would wish me, a man of good
sense, to go and make myself gratuitously the slave of a creature who is
inferior to me in military capacity, in politics, and in dignity! No,
monsieur. When some great and noble action shall have taught me to value
Charles, I shall perhaps recognize his rights to a throne from which we
cast the father because he wanted the virtues which his son has hitherto
lacked, but, in fact of rights, I only recognize my own; the revolution
made me a general, my sword will make me protector, if I wish it. Let
Charles show himself, let him present himself, let him enter the
competition open to genius, and, above all, let him remember that he is
of a race from whom more will be expected than from any other.
Therefore, monsieur, say no more about him. I neither refuse nor accept:
I reserve myself - I wait.

Athos knew Monk to be too well informed of all concerning Charles to
venture to urge the discussion further; it was neither the time nor the
place. "My lord then said he, I have nothing to do but thank you."

And why, monsieur? Because you have formed a correct opinion of me, or
because I have acted according to your judgment? Is that, in truth,


worthy of thanks? This gold which you are about to carry to Charles will
serve me as a test for him, by seeing the use he will make of it. I
shall have an opinion which now I have not.

And yet does not your honor fear to compromise yourself by allowing such
a sum to be carried away for the service of your enemy?

My enemy, say you? Eh, monsieur, I have no enemies. I am in the
service of the parliament, which orders me to fight General Lambert and
Charles Stuart - its enemies, and not mine. I fight them. If the
parliament, on the contrary, ordered me to unfurl my standards on the
port of London, and to assemble my soldiers on the banks to receive
Charles II. -

You would obey?cried Athosjoyfully.

Pardon me,said MonksmilingI was going on - I, a gray-headed man –
in truth, how could I forget myself? was going to speak like a foolish
young man.

Then you would not obey?said Athos.

I do not say that either, monsieur. The welfare of my country before
everything. God, who has given me the power, has, no doubt, willed that
I should have that power for the good of all, and He has given me, at the
same time, discernment. If the parliament were to order such a thing, I
should reflect.

The brow of Athos became clouded. "Then I may positively say that your
honor is not inclined to favor King Charles II.?"

You continue to question me, monsieur le comte; allow me to do so in
turn, if you please.

Do, monsieur; and may God inspire you with the idea of replying to me as
frankly as I shall reply to you.

When you shall have taken this money back to your prince, what advice
will you give him?

Athos fixed upon Monk a proud and resolute look.

My lord,said hewith this million, which others would perhaps employ
in negotiating, I would advise the king to rise two regiments, to enter
Scotland, which you have just pacified: to give to the people the
franchises which the revolution promised them, and in which it has not,
in all cases, kept its word. I should advise him to command in person
this little army, which would, believe me, increase, and to die, standard
in hand, and sword in sheath, saying, 'Englishmen! I am the third king
of my race you have killed; beware of the justice of God!'

Monk hung down his headand mused for an instant. "If he succeeded
said he, which is very improbablebut not impossible - for everything
is possible in this world - what would you advise him to do?"

To think that by the will of God he lost his crown, by the good will of
men he recovered it.

An ironical smile passed over the lips of Monk.

Unfortunately, monsieur,said hekings do not know how to follow good
advice.

Ah, my lord, Charles II. is not a king,replied Athossmiling in his


turnbut with a very different expression from Monk.

Let us terminate this, monsieur le comte, - that is your desire, is it
not?

Athos bowed.

I shall give orders to have these two casks transported whither you
please. Where are you lodging, monsieur?

In a little hamlet at the mouth of the river, your honor.

Oh, I know the hamlet; it consists of five or six houses, does it not?

Exactly. Well, I inhabit the first, - two net-makers occupy it with me;
it is their bark which brought me ashore.

But your own vessel, monsieur?

My vessel is at anchor, a quarter of a mile at sea, and waits for me.

You do not think, however, of setting out immediately?

My lord, I shall try once more to convince your honor.

You will not succeed,replied Monk; "but it is of consequence that you
should depart from Newcastle without leaving of your passage the least
suspicion that might prove injurious to me or you. To-morrow my officers
think Lambert will attack me. Ion the contraryam convinced he will
not stir; it is in my opinion impossible. Lambert leads an army devoid
of homogeneous principlesand there is no possible army with such
elements. I have taught my soldiers to consider my authority subordinate
to anotherthereforeafter meround meand beneath methey still
look for something. It would result that if I were deadwhatever might
happenmy army would not be demoralized all at once; it resultsthat if
I choose to absent myselffor instanceas it does please me to do
sometimesthere would not be in the camp the shadow of uneasiness or
disorder. I am the magnet - the sympathetic and natural strength of the
English. All those scattered irons that will be sent against me I shall
attract to myself. Lambertat this momentcommands eighteen thousand
deserters; but I have never mentioned that to my officersyou may easily
suppose. Nothing is more useful to an army than the expectation of a
coming battle; everybody is awake - everybody is on guard. I tell you
this that you may live in perfect security. Do not be in a hurrythen
to cross the seas; within a week there will be something fresheither a
battle or an accommodation. Thenas you have judged me to be an
honorable manand confided your secret to meI have to thank you for
this confidenceand I shall come and pay you a visit or send for you.
Do not go before I send word. I repeat the request."

I promise you, general,cried Athoswith a joy so greatthat in spite
of all his circumspectionhe could not prevent its sparkling in his eyes.

Monk surprised this flashand immediately extinguished it by one of
those silent smiles which always caused his interlocutors to know they
had made no inroad on his mind.

Then, my lord, it is a week that you desire me to wait?

A week? yes, monsieur.

And during those days what shall I do?

If there should be a battle, keep at a distance from it, I beseech you.


I know the French delight in such amusements; - you might take a fancy to
see how we fight, and you might receive some chance shot. Our Scotsmen
are very bad marksmen, and I do not wish that a worthy gentleman like you
should return to France wounded. Nor should I like to be obliged,
myself, to send to your prince his million left here by you; for then it
would be said, and with some reason, that I paid the Pretender to enable
him to make war against the parliament. Go, then, monsieur, and let it
be done as has been agreed upon.

Ah, my lord,said Athoswhat joy it would give me to be the first
that penetrated to the noble heart which beats beneath that cloak!

You think, then, that I have secrets,said Monkwithout changing the
half cheerful expression of his countenance. "Whymonsieurwhat secret
can you expect to find in the hollow head of a soldier? But it is
getting lateand our torch is almost out; let us call our man."

_Hola!_cried Monk in Frenchapproaching the stairs; "_hola!_
fisherman!"

The fishermanbenumbed by the cold night airreplied in a hoarse voice
asking what they wanted of him.

Go to the post,said Monkand order a sergeant, in the name of
General Monk, to come here immediately.

This was a commission easily performed; for the sergeantuneasy at the
general's being in that desolate abbeyhad drawn nearer by degreesand
was not much further off than the fisherman. The general's order was
therefore heard by himand he hastened to obey it.

Get a horse and two men,said Monk.

A horse and two men?repeated the sergeant.

Yes,replied Monk. "Have you got any means of getting a horse with a
pack-saddle or two panniers?"

No doubt, at a hundred paces off, in the Scottish camp.

Very well.

What shall I do with the horse, general.

Look here.

The sergeant descended the three steps which separated him from Monkand
came into the vault.

You see,said Monkthat gentleman yonder?

Yes, general.

And you see these two casks?

Perfectly.

They are two casks, one containing powder, and the other balls; I wish
these casks to be transported to the little hamlet at the mouth of the
river, and which I intend to occupy to-morrow with two hundred muskets.
You understand that the commission is a secret one, for it is a movement
that may decide the fate of the battle.

Oh, general!murmured the sergeant.


Mind, then! Let these casks be fastened on to the horse, and let them
be escorted by two men and you to the residence of this gentleman, who is
my friend. But take care that nobody knows it.

I would go by the marsh if I knew the road,said the sergeant.

I know one myself,said Athos; "it is not widebut it is solidhaving
been made upon piles; and with care we shall get over safely enough."

Do everything this gentleman shall order you to do.

Oh! oh! the casks are heavy,said the sergeanttrying to lift one.

They weigh four hundred pounds each, if they contain what they ought to
contain, do they not, monsieur.

Thereabouts,said Athos.

The sergeant went in search of the two men and the horse. Monkleft
alone with Athosaffected to speak to him on nothing but indifferent
subjects while examining the vault in a cursory manner. Thenhearing
the horse's steps


I leave you with your men, monsieur,said heand return to the camp.
You are perfectly safe.

I shall see you again, then, my lord?asked Athos.

That is agreed upon, monsieur, and with much pleasure.

Monk held out his hand to Athos.

Ah! my lord, if you would!murmured Athos.

Hush! monsieur, it is agreed that we shall speak no more of that.And
bowing to Athoshe went up the stairsmeeting about half-way his men
who were coming down. He had not gone twenty paceswhen a faint but
prolonged whistle was heard at a distance. Monk listenedbut seeing
nothing and hearing nothinghe continued his route. Then he remembered
the fishermanand looked about for him; but the fisherman had
disappeared. If he hadhoweverlooked with more attentionhe might
have seen that manbent doublegliding like a serpent along the stones
and losing himself in the mist that floated over the surface of the
marsh. He might equally have seenhad he attempted to pierce that mist
a spectacle that might have attracted his attention; and that was the
rigging of the vesselwhich had changed placeand was now nearer the
shore. But Monk saw nothing; and thinking he had nothing to fearhe
entered the deserted causeway which led to his camp. It was then that
the disappearance of the fisherman appeared strangeand that a real
suspicion began to take possession of his mind. He had just placed at
the orders of Athos the only post that could protect him. He had a mile
of causeway to traverse before he could regain his camp. The fog
increased with such intensity that he could scarcely distinguish objects
at ten paces' distance. Monk then thought he heard the sound of an oar
over the marsh on the right. "Who goes there?" said he.

But nobody answered; then he cocked his pistoltook his sword in his
handand quickened his pacewithouthoweverbeing willing to call
anybody. Such a summonsfor which there was no absolute necessity
appeared unworthy of him.

Chapter XXVII:


The Next Day.

It was seven o'clock in the morningthe first rays of day lightened the
pools of the marshin which the sun was reflected like a red ballwhen
Athosawakening and opening the window of his bed-chamberwhich looked
out upon the banks of the riverperceivedat fifteen paces' distance
from himthe sergeant and the men who had accompanied him the evening
beforeand whoafter having deposited the casks at his househad
returned to the camp by the causeway on the right.

Why had these men come back after having returned to the camp? That was
the question which first presented itself to Athos. The sergeantwith
his head raisedappeared to be watching the moment when the gentleman
should appear to address him. Athossurprised to see these menwhom he
had seen depart the night beforecould not refrain from expressing his
astonishment to them.

There is nothing surprising in that, monsieur,said the sergeant; "for
yesterday the general commanded me to watch over your safetyand I
thought it right to obey that order."

Is the general at the camp?asked Athos.

No doubt he is, monsieur; as when he left you he was going back.

Well, wait for me a moment; I am going thither to render an account of
the fidelity with which you fulfilled your duty, and to get my sword,
which I left upon the table in the tent.

This happens very well,said the sergeantfor we were about to
request you to do so.

Athos fancied he could detect an air of equivocal _bonhomie_ upon the
countenance of the sergeant; but the adventure of the vault might have
excited the curiosity of the manand it was not surprising that he
allowed some of the feelings which agitated his mind to appear in his
face. Athos closed the doors carefullyconfiding the keys to Grimaud
who had chosen his domicile beneath the shed itselfwhich led to the
cellar where the casks had been deposited. The sergeant escorted the
Comte de la Fere to the camp. There a fresh guard awaited himand
relieved the four men who had conducted Athos.

This fresh guard was commanded by the aid-de-camp Digbywhoon their
wayfixed upon Athos looks so little encouragingthat the Frenchman
asked himself whence arosewith regard to himthis vigilance and this
severitywhen the evening before he had been left perfectly free. He
nevertheless continued his way to the headquarterskeeping to himself
the observations which men and things forced him to make. He found in
the general's tentto which he had been introduced the evening before
three superior officers: these were Monk's lieutenant and two colonels.
Athos perceived his sword; it was still on the table where he left it.
Neither of the officers had seen Athosconsequently neither of them knew
him. Monk's lieutenant askedat the appearance of Athosif that were
the same gentleman with whom the general had left the tent.

Yes, your honor,said the sergeant; "it is the same."

But,said AthoshaughtilyI do not deny it, I think; and now,
gentlemen, in turn, permit me to ask you to what purpose these questions
are asked, and particularly some explanations upon the tone in which you
ask them?

Monsieur,said the lieutenantif we address these questions to you,
it is because we have a right to do so, and if we make them in a


particular tone, it is because that tone, believe me, agrees with the
circumstances.

Gentlemen,said Athosyou do not know who I am; but I must tell you
that I acknowledge no one here but General Monk as my equal. Where is
he? Let me be conducted to him, and if he has any questions to put to
me, I will answer him and to his satisfaction, I hope. I repeat,
gentlemen, where is the general?

Eh! good God! you know better than we do where he is,said the
lieutenant.

I?

Yes, you.

Monsieur,said Athos; "I do not understand you."

You will understand me - and, in the first place, do not speak so
loudly.

Athos smiled disdainfully.

We don't ask you to smile,said one of the colonels warmly; "we require
you to answer."

And I, gentlemen, declare to you that I will not reply until I am in
the presence of the general.

But,replied the same colonel who had already spokenyou know very
well that is impossible.

This is the second time I have received this strange reply to the wish I
express,said Athos. "Is the general absent?"

This question was made with such apparent good faithand the gentleman
wore an air of such natural surprisethat the three officers exchanged a
meaning look. The lieutenantby a tacit convention with the other two
was spokesman.

Monsieur, the general left you last night on the borders of the
monastery.

Yes, monsieur.

And you went -

It is not for me to answer you, but for those who have accompanied me.
They were your soldiers, ask them.

But if we please to question you?

Then it will please me to reply, monsieur, that I do not recognize any
one here, that I know no one here but the general, and that it is to him
alone I will reply.

So be it, monsieur; but as we are the masters, we constitute ourselves a
council of war, and when you are before judges you must reply.

The countenance of Athos expressed nothing but astonishment and disdain
instead of the terror the officers expected to read in it at this threat.

Scottish or English judges upon me, a subject of the king of France;
upon me, placed under the safeguard of British honor! You are mad,


gentlemen!said Athosshrugging his shoulders.

The officers looked at each other. "Thenmonsieur said one of them,
do you pretend not to know where the general is?"

To that, monsieur, I have already replied.

Yes, but you have already replied an incredible thing.

It is true, nevertheless, gentlemen. Men of my rank are not generally
liars. I am a gentleman, I have told you, and when I have at my side the
sword which, by an excess of delicacy, I left last night upon the table
whereon it still lies, believe me, no man says that to me which I am
unwilling to hear. I am at this moment disarmed; if you pretend to be my
judges, try me; if you are but my executioners, kill me.

But, monsieur - asked the lieutenantin a more courteous voice
struck with the lofty coolness of Athos.

Sir, I came to speak confidentially with your general about affairs of
importance. It was not an ordinary welcome that he gave me. The
accounts your soldiers can give you may convince you of that. If, then,
the general received me in that manner, he knew my titles to his esteem.
Now, you do not suspect, I should think, that I should reveal my secrets
to you, and still less his.

But these casks, what do they contain?

Have you not put that question to your soldiers? What was their
reply?

That they contained powder and ball.

From whom had they that information? They must have told you that.

From the general; but we are not dupes.

Beware, gentlemen; it is not to me you are now giving the lie, it is to
your leader.

The officers again looked at each other. Athos continued: "Before your
soldiers the general told me to wait a weekand at the expiration of
that week he would give me the answer he had to make me. Have I fled
away? No; I wait."

He told you to wait a week!cried the lieutenant.

He told me that so clearly, sir, that I have a sloop at the mouth of the
river, which I could with ease have joined yesterday, and embarked. Now,
if I have remained, it was only in compliance with the desire of your
general; his honor having requested me not to depart without a last
audience, which he fixed at a week hence. I repeat to you, then, I am
waiting.

The lieutenant turned towards the other officersand saidin a low
voice: "If this gentleman speaks truththere may still be some hope.
The general may be carrying out some negotiations so secretthat he
thought it imprudent to inform even us. Then the time limited for his
absence would be a week." Thenturning towards Athos: "Monsieur said
he, your declaration is of the most serious importance; are you willing
to repeat it under the seal of an oath?"

Sir,replied AthosI have always lived in a world where my simple
word was regarded as the most sacred of oaths.


This time, however, monsieur, the circumstance is more grave than any
you may have been placed in. The safety of the whole army is at stake.
Reflect; the general has disappeared, and our search for him has been in
vain. Is this disappearance natural? Has a crime been committed? Are
we not bound to carry our investigations to extremity? Have we any right
to wait with patience? At this moment, everything, monsieur, depends
upon the words you are about to pronounce.

Thus questioned, gentlemen, I no longer hesitate,said Athos. "YesI
came hither to converse confidentially with General Monkand ask him for
an answer regarding certain interests; yesthe general beingdoubtless
unable to pronounce before the expected battlebegged me to remain a
week in the house I inhabitpromising me that in a week I should see him
again. Yesall this is trueand I swear it by God who is the absolute
master of my life and yours." Athos pronounced these words with so much
grandeur and solemnitythat the three officers were almost convinced.
Neverthelessone of the colonels made a last attempt.

Monsieur,said healthough we may now be persuaded of the truth of
what you say, there is yet a strange mystery in all this. The general is
too prudent a man to have thus abandoned his army on the eve of a battle
without having at least given notice of it to one of us. As for myself,
I cannot believe but some strange event has been the cause of this
disappearance. Yesterday some foreign fishermen came to sell their fish
here; they were lodged yonder among the Scots; that is to say, on the
road the general took with this gentleman, to go to the abbey, and to
return from it. It was one of these fishermen that accompanied the
general with a light. And this morning, bark and fishermen have all
disappeared, carried away by the night's tide.

For my part,said the lieutenantI see nothing in that that is not
quite natural, for these people were not prisoners.

No; but I repeat it was one of them who lighted the general and this
gentleman to the abbey, and Digby assures us that the general had strong
suspicions concerning those people. Now, who can say whether these
people were not connected with this gentleman; and that, the blow being
struck, the gentleman, who is evidently brave, did not remain to reassure
us by his presence, and to prevent our researches being made in a right
direction?

This speech made an impression upon the other two officers.

Sir,said Athospermit me to tell you, that your reasoning, though
specious in appearance, nevertheless wants consistency, as regards me. I
have remained, you say, to divert suspicion. Well! on the contrary,
suspicions arise in me as well as in you; and I say, it is impossible,
gentlemen, that the general, on the eve of a battle, should leave his
army without saying anything to at least one of his officers. Yes, there
is some strange event connected with this; instead of being idle and
waiting, you must display all the activity and all the vigilance
possible. I am your prisoner, gentlemen, upon parole or otherwise. My
honor is concerned in ascertaining what has become of General Monk, and
to such a point, that if you were to say to me, 'Depart!' I should
reply: 'No, I will remain!' And if you were to ask my opinion, I should
add: 'Yes, the general is the victim of some conspiracy, for, if he had
intended to leave the camp he would have told me so.' Seek, then, search
the land, search the sea; the general has not gone of his own good will.

The lieutenant made a sign to the two other officers.

No, monsieur,said heno; in your turn you go too far. The general
has nothing to suffer from these events, and, no doubt, has directed


them. What Monk is now doing he has often done before. We are wrong in
alarming ourselves; his absence will, doubtless, be of short duration;
therefore, let us beware, lest by a pusillanimity which the general would
consider a crime, of making his absence public, and by that means
demoralize the army. The general gives a striking proof of his
confidence in us; let us show ourselves worthy of it. Gentlemen, let the
most profound silence cover all this with an impenetrable veil; we will
detain this gentleman, not from mistrust of him with regard to the crime,
but to assure more effectively the secret of the general's absence by
keeping among ourselves; therefore, until fresh orders, the gentleman
will remain at headquarters.

Gentlemen,said Athosyou forget that last night the general confided
to me a deposit over which I am bound to watch. Give me whatever guard
you like, chain me if you like, but leave me the house I inhabit for my
prison. The general, on his return, would reproach you, I swear on the
honor of a gentleman, for having displeased him in this.

So be it, monsieur,said the lieutenant; "return to your abode."

Then they placed over Athos a guard of fifty menwho surrounded his
housewithout losing sight of him for a minute.

The secret remained securebut hoursdays passed away without the
general's returningor without anything being heard of him.

Chapter XXVIII:
Smuggling.

Two days after the events we have just relatedand while General Monk
was expected every minute in the camp to which he did not returna
little Dutch _felucca_manned by eleven mencast anchor upon the coast
of Scheveningennearly within cannon-shot of the port. It was night
the darkness was greatthe tide rose in the darkness; it was a capital
time to land passengers and merchandise.

The road of Scheveningen forms a vast crescent; it is not very deep and
not very safe; thereforenothing is seen stationed there but large
Flemish hoysor some of those Dutch barks which fishermen draw up on the
sand on rollersas the ancients didaccording to Virgil. When the tide
is risingand advancing on landit is not prudent to bring the vessels
too close in shoreforif the wind is freshthe prows are buried in
the sand; and the sand of that coast is spongy; it receives easilybut
does not yield so well. It was on this accountno doubtthat a boat
was detached from the barkas soon as the latter had cast anchorand
came with eight sailorsamidst whom was to be seen an object of an
oblong forma sort of large pannier or bale.

The shore was deserted; the few fishermen inhabiting the down were gone
to bed. The only sentinel that guarded the coast (a coast very badly
guardedseeing that a landing from large ships was impossible)without
having been able to follow the example of the fishermenwho were gone to
bedimitated them so farthat he slept at the back of his watch-box as
soundly as they slept in their beds. The only noise to be heardthen
was the whistling of the night breeze among the bushes and the brambles
of the downs. But the people who were approaching were doubtless
mistrustful peoplefor this real silence and apparent solitude did not
satisfy them. Their boatthereforescarcely as visible as a dark speck
upon the oceangilded along noiselesslyavoiding the use of their oars
for fear of being heardand gained the nearest land.

Scarcely had it touched the ground when a single man jumped out of the
boatafter having given a brief orderin a manner which denoted the


habit of commanding. In consequence of this orderseveral muskets
immediately glittered in the feeble light reflected from that mirror of
the heavensthe sea; and the oblong bale of which we spokecontaining
no doubt some contraband objectwas transported to landwith infinite
precautions. Immediately after thatthe man who had landed firstset
off at a rapid pace diagonally towards the village of Scheveningen
directing his course to the nearest point of the wood. When therehe
sought for that house already described as the temporary residence - and
a very humble residence - of him who was styled by courtesy king of
England.

All were asleep thereas everywhere elseonly a large dogof the race
of those which the fishermen of Scheveningen harness to little carts to
carry fish to the Haguebegan to bark formidably as soon as the
stranger's steps were audible beneath the windows. But the watchfulness
instead of alarming the newly-landed manappearedon the contraryto
give him great joyfor his voice might perhaps have proved insufficient
to rouse the people of the housewhilstwith an auxiliary of that sort
his voice became almost useless. The stranger waitedthentill these
reiterated and sonorous barkings shouldaccording to all probability
have produced their effectand then he ventured a summons. On hearing
his voicethe dog began to roar with such violence that another voice
was soon heard from the interiorquieting the dog. With that the dog
was quieted.

What do you want?asked that voiceat the same time weakbrokenand
civil.

I want his majesty King Charles II., king of England,said the stranger.

What do you want with him?

I want to speak with him.

Who are you?

Ah! _Mordioux!_ you ask too much; I don't like talking through doors.

Only tell me your name.

I don't like to declare my name in the open air, either; besides, you
may be sure I shall not eat your dog, and I hope to God he will be as
reserved with respect to me.

You bring news, perhaps, monsieur, do you not?replied the voice
patient and querulous as that of an old man.

I will answer for it, I bring you news you little expect. Open the
door, then, if you please, _hein!_

Monsieur,persisted the old mando you believe, upon your soul and
conscience, that your news is worth waking the king?

For God's sake, my dear monsieur, draw your bolts; you will not be
sorry, I swear, for the trouble it will give you. I am worth my weight
in gold, _parole d'honneur!_

Monsieur, I cannot open the door till you have told me your name.

Must I, then?

It is by the order of my master, monsieur.

Well, my name is - but, I warn you, my name will tell you absolutely


nothing.

Never mind, tell it, notwithstanding.

Well, I am the Chevalier d'Artagnan.

The voice uttered an exclamation.

Oh! good heavens!said a voice on the other side of the door.
Monsieur d'Artagnan. What happiness! I could not help thinking I knew
that voice.

Humph!said D'Artagnan. "My voice is known here! That's flattering."

Oh! yes, we know it,said the old mandrawing the bolts; "and here is
the proof." And at these words he let in D'Artagnanwhoby the light
of the lantern he carried in his handrecognized his obstinate
interlocutor.

Ah! _Mordioux!_cried he: "whyit is Parry! I ought to have known
that."

Parry, yes, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, it is I. What joy to see you
once again!

You are right there, what joy!said D'Artagnanpressing the old man's
hand. "Therenow you'll go and inform the kingwill you not?"

But the king is asleep, my dear monsieur.

_Mordioux!_ then wake him. He won't scold you for having disturbed him,
I will promise you.

You come on the part of the count, do you not?

The Comte de la Fere?

From Athos?

_Ma foi!_ no; I come on my own part. Come, Parry, quick! The king - I
want the king.

Parry did not think it his duty to resist any longer; he knew D'Artagnan
of old; he knew thatalthough a Gasconhis words never promised more
than they could stand to. He crossed a court and a little garden
appeased the dogthat seemed most anxious to taste of the musketeer's
fleshand went to knock at the window of a chamber forming the ground-
floor of a little pavilion. Immediately a little dog inhabiting that
chamber replied to the great dog inhabiting the court.

Poor king!said D'Artagnan to himselfthese are his body-guards. It
is true he is not the worse guarded on that account.

What is wanted with me?asked the kingfrom the back of the chamber.

Sire, it is M. le Chevalier d'Artagnan, who brings you some news.

A noise was immediately heard in the chambera door was openedand a
flood of light inundated the corridor and the garden. The king was
working by the light of a lamp. Papers were lying about upon his desk
and he had commenced the first copy of a letter which showedby the
numerous erasuresthe trouble he had had in writing it.

Come in, monsieur le chevalier,said heturning around. Then


perceiving the fishermanWhat do you mean, Parry? Where is M. le
Chevalier d'Artagnan?asked Charles.

He is before you, sire,said M. d'Artagnan.

What, in that costume?

Yes; look at me, sire; do you not remember having seen me at Blois, in
the ante-chamber of King Louis XIV.?

Yes, monsieur, and I remember I was much pleased with you.

D'Artagnan bowed. "It was my duty to behave as I didthe moment I knew
that I had the honor of being near your majesty."

You bring me news, do you say?

Yes, sire.

From the king of France?

_Ma foi!_ no, sire,replied D'Artagnan. "Your majesty must have seen
yonder that the king of France is only occupied with his own majesty."

Charles raised his eyes towards heaven.

No, sire, no,continued D'Artagnan. "I bring news entirely composed of
personal facts. NeverthelessI hope that your majesty will listen to
the facts and news with some favor."

Speak, monsieur.

If I am not mistaken, sire, your majesty spoke a great deal at Blois, of
the embarrassed state in which the affairs of England are.

Charles colored. "Monsieur said he, it was to the king of France I
related - "

Oh! your majesty is mistaken,said the musketeercoolly; "I know how
to speak to kings in misfortune. It is only when they are in misfortune
that they speak to me; once fortunatethey look upon me no more. I
havethenfor your majestynot only the greatest respectbutstill
morethe most absolute devotion; and thatbelieve mewith mesire
means something. Nowhearing your majesty complain of fateI found
that you were noble and generousand bore misfortune well."

In truth!said Charlesmuch astonishedI do not know which I ought
to prefer, your freedoms or your respects.

You will choose presently, sire,said D'Artagnan. "Then your majesty
complained to your brotherLouis XIV.of the difficulty you experienced
in returning to England and regaining your throne for want of men and
money."

Charles allowed a movement of impatience to escape him.

And the principal object your majesty found in your way,continued
D'Artagnanwas a certain general commanding the armies of the
parliament, and who was playing yonder the part of another Cromwell. Did
not your majesty say so?

Yes; but I repeat to you, monsieur, those words were for the king's ears
alone.


And you will see, sire, that it is very fortunate that they fell into
those of his lieutenant of musketeers. That man so troublesome to your
majesty was one General Monk, I believe; did I not hear his name
correctly, sire?

Yes, monsieur, but once more, to what purpose are all these questions.

Oh! I know very well, sire, that etiquette will not allow kings to be
questioned. I hope, however, presently you will pardon my want of
etiquette. Your majesty added that, notwithstanding, if you could see
him, confer with him, and meet him face to face, you would triumph,
either by force or persuasion, over that obstacle - the only serious one,
the only insurmountable one, the only real one you met with on your road.

All that is true, monsieur: my destiny, my future, my obscurity, or my
glory depend upon that man; but what do you draw from that?

One thing alone, that if this General Monk is troublesome to the point
your majesty describes, it would be expedient to get rid of him or make
an ally of him.

Monsieur, a king who has neither army nor money, as you have heard my
conversation with my brother Louis, has no means of acting against a man
like Monk.

Yes, sire, that was your opinion, I know very well: but, fortunately for
you, it was not mine.

What do you mean by that?

That, without an army and without a million, I have done - I, myself –
what your majesty thought could alone be done with an army and a million.

How! What do you say? What have you done?

What have I done? Eh! well, sire, I went yonder to take this man who is
so troublesome to your majesty.

In England?

Exactly, sire.

You went to take Monk in England?

Should I by chance have done wrong, sire?

In truth, you are mad, monsieur!

Not the least in the world, sire.

You have taken Monk?

Yes, sire.

Where?

In the midst of his camp.

The king trembled with impatience.

And having taken him on the causeway of Newcastle, I bring him to your
majesty,said D'Artagnansimply.

You bring him to me!cried the kingalmost indignant at what he


considered a mystification.


Yes, sire,replied D'Artagnanin the same toneI bring him to you;
he is down below yonder, in a large chest pierced with holes, so as to
allow him to breathe.


Good God!


Oh! don't be uneasy, sire, we have taken the greatest possible care of
him. He comes in good state, and in perfect condition. Would your
majesty please to see him, to talk with him, or to have him thrown into
the sea?


Oh, heavens!repeated Charlesoh, heavens! do you speak the truth,
monsieur? Are you not insulting me with some unworthy joke? You have
accomplished this unheard-of act of audacity and genius - impossible!


Will your majesty permit me to open the window?said D'Artagnan
opening it.


The king had not time to reply yes or no. D'Artagnan gave a shrill and
prolonged whistlewhich he repeated three times through the silence of
the night.


There!said hehe will be brought to your majesty.


Chapter XXIX:
In which D'Artagnan begins to fear he has placed his Money and that of
Planchet in the Sinking Fund.


The king could not overcome his surpriseand looked sometimes at the
smiling face of the musketeerand sometimes at the dark window which
opened into the night. But before he had fixed his ideaseight of
D'Artagnan's menfor two had remained to take care of the barkbrought
to the housewhere Parry received himthat object of an oblong form
whichfor the momentinclosed the destinies of England. Before he left
CalaisD'Artagnan had had made in that city a sort of coffinlarge and
deep enough for a man to turn in it at his ease. The bottom and sides
properly upholsteredformed a bed sufficiently soft to prevent the
rolling of the ship turning this kind of cage into a rat-trap. The
little gratingof which D'Artagnan had spoken to the kinglike the
visor of the helmetwas placed opposite to the man's face. It was so
constructed thatat the least crya sudden pressure would stifle that
cryandif necessaryhim who had uttered that cry.


D'Artagnan was so well acquainted with his crew and his prisonerthat
during the whole voyage he had been in dread of two things: either that
the general would prefer death to this sort of imprisonmentand would
smother himself by endeavoring to speakor that his guards would allow
themselves to be tempted by the offers of the prisonerand put him
D'Artagnaninto the box instead of Monk.


D'Artagnanthereforehad passed the two days and the two nights of the
voyage close to the coffinalone with the generaloffering him wine and
foodwhich the latter had refusedand constantly endeavoring to
reassure him upon the destiny which awaited him at the end of this
singular captivity. Two pistols on the table and his naked sword made
D'Artagnan easy with regard to indiscretions from without.


When once at Scheveningen he had felt completely reassured. His men
greatly dreaded any conflict with the lords of the soil. He had
besidesinterested in his cause him who had morally served him as
lieutenantand whom we have seen reply to the name of Menneville. The



latternot being a vulgar spirithad more to risk than the others
because he had more conscience. He believed in a future in the service
of D'Artagnanand consequently would have allowed himself to be cut to
piecesrather than violate the order given by his leader. Thus it was
thatonce landedit was to him that D'Artagnan had confided the care of
the chest and the general's breathing. It was hetoohe had ordered to
have the chest brought by the seven men as soon as he should hear the
triple whistle. We have seen that the lieutenant obeyed. The coffer
once in the houseD'Artagnan dismissed his men with a gracious smile
sayingMessieurs, you have rendered a great service to King Charles
II., who in less than six weeks will be king of England. Your
gratification will then be doubled. Return to the boat and wait for
me.Upon which they departed with such shouts of joy as terrified even
the dog himself.

D'Artagnan had caused the coffer to be brought as far as the king's antechamber.
He thenwith great careclosed the door of this ante-chamber
after which he opened the cofferand said to the general:

General, I have a thousand excuses to make to you; my manner of acting
has not been worthy of such a man as you, I know very well; but I wished
you to take me for the captain of a bark. And then England is a very
inconvenient country for transports. I hope, therefore, you will take
all that into consideration. But now, general, you are at liberty to get
up and walk.This saidhe cut the bonds which fastened the arms and
hands of the general. The latter got upand then sat down with the
countenance of a man who expects death. D'Artagnan opened the door of
Charles's studyand saidSire, here is your enemy, M. Monk; I promised
myself to perform this service for your majesty. It is done; now order
as you please. M. Monk,added heturning towards the prisoneryou
are in the presence of his majesty Charles II., sovereign lord of Great
Britain.

Monk raised towards the prince his coldly stoical lookand replied: "I
know no king of Great Britain; I recognize even here no one worthy of
bearing the name of gentleman: for it is in the name of King Charles II.
that an emissarywhom I took for an honest mancame and laid an
infamous snare for me. I have fallen into that snare; so much the worse
for me. Nowyou the tempter said he to the king; you the executor
said he to D'Artagnan; remember what I am about to say to you: you have
my bodyyou may kill itand I advise you to do sofor you shall never
have my mind or my will. And nowask me not a single wordas from this
moment I will not open my mouth even to cry out. I have said."

And he pronounced these words with the savageinvincible resolution of
the most mortified Puritan. D'Artagnan looked at his prisoner like a man
who knows the value of every wordand who fixes that value according to
the accent with which it has been pronounced.

The fact is,said hein a whisper to the kingthe general is an
obstinate man; he would not take a mouthful of bread, nor swallow a drop
of wine, during the two days of our voyage. But as from this moment it
is your majesty who must decide his fate, I wash my hands of him.

Monkerectpaleand resignedwaited with his eyes fixed and his arms
folded. D'Artagnan turned towards him. "You will please to understand
perfectly said he, that your speechotherwise very finedoes not
suit anybodynot even yourself. His majesty wished to speak to youyou
refused an interview; whynow that you are face to facethat you are
here by a force independent of your willwhy do you confine yourself to
the rigors which I consider useless and absurd? Speak! what the devil!
speakif only to say 'No.'"

Monk did not unclose his lips; Monk did not turn his eyes; Monk stroked


his mustache with a thoughtful airwhich announced that matters were
going on badly.

During all this time Charles II. had fallen into a profound reverie. For
the first time he found himself face to face with Monk; with the man he
had so much desired to see; andwith that peculiar glance which God has
given to eagles and kingshe had fathomed the abyss of his heart. He
beheld Monkthenresolved positively to die rather than speakwhich
was not to be wondered at in so considerable a manthe wound in whose
mind must at the moment have been cruel. Charles II. formedon the
instantone of those resolutions upon which an ordinary man risks his
lifea general his fortuneand a king his kingdom. "Monsieur said he
to Monk, you are perfectly right upon certain points; I do not
thereforeask you to answer mebut to listen to me."

There was a moment's silenceduring which the king looked at Monkwho
remained impassible.

You have made me just now a painful reproach, monsieur,continued the
king; "you said that one of my emissaries had been to Newcastle to lay a
snare for youand thatparentheticallycannot be understood by M.
d'Artagnan hereand to whombefore everythingI owe sincere thanks for
his generoushis heroic devotion."

D'Artagnan bowed with respect; Monk took no notice.

For M. d'Artagnan - and observe, M. Monk, I do not say this to excuse
myself - for M. d'Artagnan,continued the kingwent to England of his
free will, without interest, without orders, without hope, like a true
gentleman as he is, to render a service to an unfortunate king, and to
add to the illustrious actions of an existence, already so well filled,
one glorious deed more.

D'Artagnan colored a littleand coughed to keep his countenance. Monk
did not stir.

You do not believe what I tell you, M. Monk,continued the king. "I
can understand that- such proofs of devotion are so rarethat their
reality may well be put in doubt."

Monsieur would do wrong not to believe you, sire,cried D'Artagnan:
for that which your majesty has said is the exact truth, and the truth
so exact that it seems, in going to fetch the general, I have done
something which sets everything wrong. In truth, if it be so, I am in
despair.

Monsieur d'Artagnan,said the kingpressing the hand of the musketeer
you have obliged me as much as if you had promoted the success of my
cause, for you have revealed to me an unknown friend, to whom I shall
ever be grateful, and whom I shall always love.And the king pressed
his hand cordially. "And continued he, bowing to Monk, an enemy whom
I shall henceforth esteem at his proper value."

The eyes of the Puritan flashedbut only onceand his countenancefor
an instantilluminated by that flashresumed its somber impassibility.

Then, Monsieur d'Artagnan,continued Charlesthis is what was about
to happen: M. le Comte de la Fere, who you know, I believe, has set out
for Newcastle.

What, Athos!exclaimed D'Artagnan.

Yes, that was his _nom de guerre_, I believe. The Comte de la Fere had
then set out for Newcastle, and was going, perhaps, to bring the general


to hold a conference with me or with those of my party, when you
violently, as it appears, interfered with the negotiation.

_Mordioux!_replied D'Artagnanhe entered the camp the very evening
in which I succeeded in getting into it with my fishermen -

An almost imperceptible frown on the brow of Monk told D'Artagnan that he
had surmised rightly.

Yes, yes,muttered he; "I thought I knew his person; I even fancied
I knew his voice. Unlucky wretch that I am! Oh! sirepardon me! I
thought I had so successfully steered my bark."

There is nothing ill in it, sir,said the kingexcept that the
general accuses me of having laid a snare for him, which is not the
case. No, general, those are not the arms which I contemplated employing
with you, as you will soon see. In the meanwhile, when I give you my
word upon the honor of a gentleman, believe me, sir, believe me! Now,
Monsieur d'Artagnan, a word with you, if you please.

I listen on my knees, sire.

You are truly at my service, are you not?

Your majesty has seen that I am, too much so.

That is well; from a man like you one word suffices. In addition to
that word you bring actions. General, have the goodness to follow me.
Come with us, M. d'Artagnan

D'Artagnanconsiderably surprisedprepared to obey. Charles II. went
outMonk followed himD'Artagnan followed Monk. Charles took the path
by which D'Artagnan had come to his abode; the fresh sea breezes soon
caressed the faces of the three nocturnal travelersandat fifty paces
from the little gate which Charles openedthey found themselves upon the
down in the face of the oceanwhichhaving ceased to risereposed upon
the shore like a wearied monster. Charles II. walked pensively along
his head hanging down and his hand beneath his cloak. Monk followed him
with crossed arms and an uneasy look. D'Artagnan came lastwith his
hand on the hilt of his sword.

Where is the boat in which you came, gentlemen?said Charles to the
musketeer.

Yonder, sire; I have seven men and an officer waiting me in that little
bark which is lighted by a fire.

Yes, I see; the boat is drawn upon the sand; but you certainly did not
come from Newcastle in that frail bark?

Nosire; I freighted a feluccaat my own expensewhich is at anchor
within cannon-shot of the downs. It was in that felucca we made the
voyage."

Sir,said the king to Monkyou are free.

However firm his willMonk could not suppress an exclamation. The king
added an affirmative motion of his headand continued: "We shall waken a
fisherman of the villagewho will put his boat to sea immediatelyand
will take you back to any place you may command him. M. d'Artagnan here
will escort your honor. I place M. d'Artagnan under the safeguard of
your loyaltyM. Monk."

Monk allowed a murmur of surprise to escape himand D'Artagnan a


profound sigh. The kingwithout appearing to notice eitherknocked
against the deal trellis which inclosed the cabin of the principal
fisherman inhabiting the down.

Hey! Keyser!cried heawake!

Who calls me?asked the fisherman.

I, Charles the king.

Ah, my lord!cried Keyserrising ready dressed from the sail in which
he sleptas people sleep in a hammock. "What can I do to serve you?"

Captain Keyser,said Charlesyou must set sail immediately. Here is
a traveler who wishes to freight your bark, and will pay you well; serve
him well.And the king drew back a few steps to allow Monk to speak to
the fisherman.

I wish to cross over into England,said Monkwho spoke Dutch enough to
make himself understood.

This minute,said the _patron_this very minute, if you wish it.

But will that be long?said Monk.

Not half an hour, your honor. My eldest son is at this moment preparing
the boat, as we were going out fishing at three o'clock in the morning.

Well, is all arranged?asked the kingdrawing near.

All but the price,said the fisherman; "yessire."

That is my affair,said Charlesthe gentleman is my friend.

Monk started and looked at Charles on hearing this word.

Very well, my lord,replied Keyser. And at that moment they heard
Keyser's sonsignaling form the shore with the blast of a bull's horn.

Now, gentlemen,said the kingdepart.

Sire,said D'Artagnanwill it please your majesty to grant me a few
minutes? I have engaged men, and I am going without them; I must give
them notice.

Whistle to them,said Charlessmiling.

D'Artagnanaccordinglywhistledwhilst the _patron_ Keyser replied to
his son; and four menled by Mennevilleattended the first summons.

Here is some money in account,said D'Artagnanputting into their
hands a purse containing two thousand five hundred livres in gold. "Go
and wait for me at Calaisyou know where." And D'Artagnan heaved a
profound sighas he let the purse fall into the hands of Menneville.

What, are you leaving us?cried the men.

For a short time,said D'Artagnanor for a long time, who knows? But
with 2,500 livres, and the 2,500 you have already received, you are paid
according to our agreement. We are quits, then, my friend.

But the boat?

Do not trouble yourself about that.


Our things are on board the felucca.

Go and seek them, and then set off immediately.

Yes, captain.

D'Artagnan returned to Monksaying- "MonsieurI await your orders
for I understand we are to go togetherunless my company be disagreeable
to you."


On the contrary, monsieur,said Monk.


Come, gentlemen, on board,cried Keyser's son.


Charles bowed to the general with grace and dignitysaying- "You will
pardon me this unfortunate accidentand the violence to which you have
been subjectedwhen you are convinced that I was not the cause of them."


Monk bowed profoundly without replying. On his sideCharles affected
not to say a word to D'Artagnan in privatebut aloud- "Once more
thanksmonsieur le chevalier said he, thanks for your services. They
will be repaid you by the Lord GodwhoI hopereserves trials and
troubles for me alone."


Monk followed Keyser and his son embarked with them. D'Artagnan came
aftermuttering to himself- "Poor Planchet! poor Planchet! I am very
much afraid we have made a bad speculation."


Chapter XXX:
The Shares of Planchet and Company rise again to Par.


During the passageMonk only spoke to D'Artagnan in cases of urgent
necessity. Thuswhen the Frenchman hesitated to come and take his
mealspoor mealscomposed of salt fishbiscuitand Hollands ginMonk
called himsaying- "To tablemonsieurto table!"


This was all. D'Artagnanfrom being himself on all great occasions
extremely concisedid not draw from the general's conciseness a
favorable augury of the result of his mission. Nowas D'Artagnan had
plenty of time for reflectionhe battered his brains during this time in
endeavoring to find out how Athos had seen King Charleshow he had
conspired his departure with himand lastlyhow he had entered Monk's
camp; and the poor lieutenant of musketeers plucked a hair from his
mustache every time that he reflected that the horseman who accompanied
Monk on the night of the famous abduction must have been Athos.


At lengthafter a passage of two nights and two daysthe _patron_
Keyser touched at the point where Monkwho had given all the orders
during the voyagehad commanded they should land. It was exactly at the
mouth of the little rivernear where Athos had chosen his abode.


Daylight was waninga splendid sunlike a red steel bucklerwas
plunging the lower extremity of its disc beneath the blue line of the
sea. The felucca was making fair way up the rivertolerably wide in
that partbut Monkin his impatiencedesired to be landedand
Keyser's boat set him and D'Artagnan upon the muddy bankamidst the
reeds. D'Artagnanresigned to obediencefollowed Monk exactly as a
chained bear follows his master; but the position humiliated him not a
littleand he grumbled to himself that the service of kings was a bitter
oneand that the best of them was good for nothing. Monk walked with
long and hasty strides; it might be thought that he did not yet feel



certain of having reached English land. They had already begun to
perceive distinctly a few of the cottages of the sailors and fishermen
spread over the little quay of this humble portwhenall at once
D'Artagnan cried out- "God pardon methere is a house on fire!"

Monk raised his eyesand perceived there wasin facta house which the
flames were beginning to devour. It had begun at a little shed belonging
to the housethe roof of which had caught. The fresh evening breeze
agitated the fire. The two travelers quickened their stepshearing loud
criesand seeingas they drew nearersoldiers with their glittering
arms pointed towards the house on fire. It was doubtless this menacing
occupation which had made them neglect to signal the felucca. Monk
stopped short for an instantandfor the first timeformulated his
thoughts into words. "Eh! but said he, perhaps they are not my
soldiers but Lambert's."

These words contained at once a sorrowand apprehensionand a reproach
perfectly intelligible to D'Artagnan. In factduring the general's
absenceLambert might have given battleconqueredand dispersed the
parliament's armyand taken with his own the place of Monk's army
deprived of its strongest support. At this doubtwhich passed from the
mind of Monk to his ownD'Artagnan reasoned in this manner: - "One of
two things is going to happen; either Monk has spoken correctlyand
there are no longer any but Lambertists in the country - that is to say
enemieswho would receive me wonderfully wellsince it is to me they
owe their victory; or nothing is changedand Monktransported with joy
at finding his camp still in the same placewill not prove too severe in
his settlement with me." Whilst thinking thusthe two travelers
advancedand began to mingle with a little knot of sailorswho looked
on with sorrow at the burning housebut did not dare to say anything on
account of the threats of the soldiers. Monk addressed one of these
sailors: - "What is going on here?" asked he.

Sir,replied the mannot recognizing Monk as an officerunder the
thick cloak which enveloped himthat house was inhabited by a foreign
gentleman, and this foreigner became suspected by the soldiers. They
wanted to get into his house under pretense of taking him to the camp;
but he, without being frightened by their number, threatened death to the
first who should cross the threshold of his door; and as there was one
who did venture, the Frenchman stretched him on the earth with a pistol-
shot.

Ah! he is a Frenchman, is he?said D'Artagnanrubbing his hands.
Good!

How good?replied the fisherman.

No, I don't mean that. - What then - my tongue slipped.

What then, sir? - why, the other men became as enraged as so many lions:
they fired more than a hundred shots at the house; but the Frenchman was
sheltered by the wall, and every time they tried to enter by the door
they met with a shot from his lackey, whose aim is deadly, d'ye see?
Every time they threatened the window, they met with a pistol-shot from
the master. Look and count - there are seven men down.

Ah! my brave countryman,cried D'Artagnanwait a little, wait a
little. I will be with you; and we will settle with this rabble.

One instant, sir,said Monkwait.

Long?

No; only the time to ask a question.Thenturning towards the sailor


My friend,asked hewith an emotion whichin spite of all his self-
commandhe could not concealwhose soldiers are these, pray tell me?

Whose should they be but that madman, Monk's?

There has been no battle, then?

A battle, ah, yes! for what purpose? Lambert's army is melting away
like snow in April. All come to Monk, officers and soldiers. In a week
Lambert won't have fifty men left.

The fisherman was interrupted by a fresh discharge directed against the
houseand by another pistol-shot which replied to the discharge and
struck down the most daring of the aggressors. The rage of soldiers was
at its height. The fire still continued to increaseand a crest of
flame and smoke whirled and spread over the roof of the house.
D'Artagnan could no longer contain himself. "_Mordioux!_" said he to
Monkglancing at him sideways: "you are a generaland allow your men to
burn houses and assassinate peoplewhile you look on and warm your hands
at the blaze of the conflagration? _Mordioux!_ you are not a man."

Patience, sir, patience!said Monksmiling.

Patience! yes, until that brave gentleman is roasted - is that what you
mean?And D'Artagnan rushed forward.

Remain where you are, sir,said Monkin a tone of command. And he
advanced towards the housejust as an officer had approached itsaying
to the besieged: "The house is burningyou will be roasted within an
hour! There is still time - cometell us what you know of General Monk
and we will spare your life. Replyor by Saint Patrick - "

The besieged made no answer; he was no doubt reloading his pistol.

A reinforcement is expected,continued the officer; "in a quarter of an
hour there will be a hundred men around your house."

I reply to you,said the Frenchman. "Let your men be sent away; I will
come out freely and repair to the camp aloneor else I will be killed
here!"

_Mille tonnerres!_shouted D'Artagnan; "whythat's the voice of
Athos! _Ah canailles!_" and the sword of D'Artagnan flashed from its
sheath. Monk stopped him and advanced himselfexclaimingin a sonorous
voice: "_Hola!_ what is going on here? Digbywhence this fire? why
these cries?"

The general!cried Digbyletting the point of his sword fall.

The general!repeated the soldiers.

Well, what is there so astonishing in that?said Monkin a calm tone.
Thensilence being re-established- "Now said he, who lit this fire?"

The soldiers hung their heads.

What! do I ask a question, and nobody answers me?said Monk. "What! do
I find a faultand nobody repairs it? The fire is still burningI
believe."

Immediately the twenty men rushed forwardseizing pailsbucketsjars
barrelsand extinguishing the fire with as much ardor as they hadan
instant beforeemployed in promoting it. But alreadyand before all
the restD'Artagnan had applied a ladder to the housecryingAthos!


it is I, D'Artagnan! Do not kill me, my dearest friend!And in a
moment the count was clasped in his arms.
In the meantimeGrimaudpreserving his calmnessdismantled the
fortification of the ground-floorand after having opened the door
stoodwith his arms foldedquietly on the sill. Onlyon hearing the
voice of D'Artagnanhe uttered an exclamation of surprise. The fire
being extinguishedthe soldiers presented themselvesDigby at their
head.

General,said heexcuse us; what we have done was for love of your
honor, whom we thought lost.

You are mad, gentlemen. Lost! Is a man like me to be lost? Am I not
permitted to be absent, according to my pleasure, without giving formal
notice? Do you, by chance, take me for a citizen from the city? Is a
gentleman, my friend, my guest, to be besieged, entrapped, and threatened
with death, because he is suspected? What signifies the word,
suspected? Curse me if I don't have every one of you shot like dogs,
that the brave gentleman has left alive!

General said Digby, piteously, there were twenty-eight of usand
seethere are eight on the ground."

I authorize M. le Comte de la Fere to send the twenty to join the
eight,said Monkstretching out his hand to Athos. "Let them return to
camp. Mr. Digbyyou will consider yourself under arrest for a month."

General -

That is to teach you, sir, not to act, another time, without orders.

I had those of the lieutenant, general.

The lieutenant had no such orders to give you, and he shall be placed
under arrest, instead of you, if he has really commanded you to burn this
gentleman.

He did not command that, general; he commanded us to bring him to the
camp; but the count was not willing to follow us.

I was not willing that they should enter and plunder my house,said
Athos to Monkwith a significant look.

And you were quite right. To the camp, I say.The soldiers departed
with dejected looks. "Now we are alone said Monk to Athos, have the
goodness to tell memonsieurwhy you persisted in remaining here
whilst you had your felucca - "

I waited for you, general,said Athos. "Had not your honor appointed
to meet me in a week?"

An eloquent look from D'Artagnan made it clear to Monk that these two
menso brave and so loyalhad not acted in concert for his abduction.
He knew already it could not be so.

Monsieur,said he to D'Artagnanyou were perfectly right. Have the
kindness to allow me a moment's conversation with M. le Comte de la Fere?

D'Artagnan took advantage of this to go and ask Grimaud how he was. Monk
requested Athos to conduct him to the chamber he lived in.

This chamber was still full of smoke and rubbish. More than fifty balls
had passed through the windows and mutilated the walls. They found a
tableinkstandand materials for writing. Monk took up a penwrote a


single linesigned itfolded the papersealed the letter with the seal
of his ringand handed over the missive to AthossayingMonsieur,
carry, if you please, this letter to King Charles II., and set out
immediately, if nothing detains you here any longer.


And the casks?said Athos.


The fisherman who brought me hither will assist you in transporting them
on board. Depart, if possible, within an hour.


Yes, general,said Athos.


Monsieur D'Artagnan!cried Monkfrom the window. D'Artagnan ran up
precipitately.


Embrace your friend and bid him adieu, sir; he is returning to Holland.


To Holland!cried D'Artagnan; "and I?"


You are at liberty to follow him, monsieur; but I request you to
remain,said Monk. "Will you refuse me?"


Oh, no, general; I am at your orders.


D'Artagnan embraced Athosand only had time to bid him adieu. Monk
watched them both. Then he took upon himself the preparations for the
departurethe transportation of the casks on boardand the embarking of
Athos; thentaking D'Artagnan by the armwho was quite amazed and
agitatedhe led him towards Newcastle. Whilst going alongthe general
leaning on his armD'Artagnan could not help murmuring to himself-
Come, come, it seems to me that the shares of the firm of Planchet and
Company are rising.


Chapter XXXI:
Monk reveals Himself.


D'Artagnanalthough he flattered himself with better successhad
neverthelessnot too well comprehended his situation. It was a strange
and grave subject for him to reflect upon - this voyage of Athos into
England; this league of the king with Athosand that extraordinary
combination of his design with that of the Comte de la Fere. The best
way was to let things follow their own train. An imprudence had been
committedandwhilst having succeededas he had promisedD'Artagnan
found that he had gained no advantage by his success. Since everything
was losthe could risk no more.


D'Artagnan followed Monk through his camp. The return of the general had
produced a marvelous effectfor his people had thought him lost. But
Monkwith his austere look and icy demeanorappeared to ask of his
eager lieutenants and delighted soldiers the cause of all this joy.
Thereforeto the lieutenants who had come to meet himand who expressed
the uneasiness with which they had learnt his departure


Why is all this?said he; "am I obliged to give you an account of
myself?"


But your honor, the sheep may well tremble without the shepherd.


Tremble!replied Monkin his calm and powerful voice; "ahmonsieur
what a word! Curse meif my sheep have not both teeth and claws; I
renounce being their shepherd. Ahyou tremblegentlemendo you?"


Yes, general, for you.



Oh! pray meddle with your own concerns. If I have not the wit God gave
to Oliver Cromwell, I have that which He has sent to me: I am satisfied
with it, however little it may be.

The officer made no reply; and Monkhaving imposed silence on his
peopleall remained persuaded that he had accomplished some important
work or made some important trial. This was forming a very poor
conception of his patience and scrupulous genius. Monkif he had the
good faith of the Puritanshis alliesmust have returned fervent thanks
to the patron saint who had taken him from the box of M. d'Artagnan.
Whilst these things were going onour musketeer could not help
constantly repeating


God grant that M. Monk may not have as much pride as I have; for I
declare that if any one had put me into a coffer with that grating over
my mouth, and carried me packed up, like a calf, across the seas, I
should cherish such a memory of my piteous looks in that coffer, and such
an ugly animosity against him who had inclosed me in it, I should dread
so greatly to see a sarcastic smile blooming upon the face of the
malicious wretch, or in his attitude any grotesque imitation of my
position in the box, that, _Mordioux!_ I should plunge a good dagger
into his throat in compensation for the grating, and would nail him down
in a veritable bier, in remembrance of the false coffin in which I had
been left in to grow moldy for two days.

And D'Artagnan spoke honestly when he spoke thus; for the skin of our
Gascon was a very thin one. Monkfortunatelyentertained other ideas.
He never opened his mouth to his timid conqueror concerning the past; but
he admitted him very near to his person in his laborstook him with him
to several reconnoiteringsin such a way as to obtain that which he
evidently warmly desired- a rehabilitation in the mind of D'Artagnan.
The latter conducted himself like a past-master in the art of flattery:
he admired all Monk's tacticsand the ordering of his camp; he joked
very pleasantly upon the circumvallations of Lambert's campwho hadhe
saidvery uselessly given himself the trouble to inclose a camp for
twenty thousand menwhilst an acre of ground would have been quite
sufficient for the corporal and fifty guards who would perhaps remain
faithful to him.

Monkimmediately after his arrivalhad accepted the proposition made by
Lambert the evening beforefor an interviewand which Monk's
lieutenants had refused under the pretext that the general was
indisposed. This interview was neither long nor interesting: Lambert
demanded a profession of faith from his rival. The latter declared he
had no other opinion than that of the majority. Lambert asked if it
would not be more expedient to terminate the quarrel by an alliance than
by a battle. Monk hereupon demanded a week for consideration. Now
Lambert could not refuse this: and Lambertneverthelesshad come saying
that he should devour Monk's army. Thereforeat the end of the
interviewwhich Lambert's party watched with impatiencenothing was
decided - neither treaty nor battle - the rebel armyas M. d'Artagnan
had foreseenbegan to prefer the good cause to the bad oneand the
parliamentrumpish as it wasto the pompous nothings of Lambert's
designs.

They rememberedlikewisethe good feasts of London - the profusion of
ale and sherry with which the citizens of London paid their friends the
soldiers; - they looked with terror at the black war breadat the
troubled waters of the Tweed- too salt for the glassnot enough so for
the pot; and they said to themselvesAre not the roast meats kept warm
for Monk in London?From that time nothing was heard of but desertion
in Lambert's army. The soldiers allowed themselves to be drawn away by
the force of principleswhich arelike disciplinethe obligatory tie


in everybody constituted for any purpose. Monk defended the parliament -
Lambert attacked it. Monk had no more inclination to support parliament
than Lambertbut he had it inscribed on his standardsso that all those
of the contrary party were reduced to write upon theirsRebellion,
which sounded ill to puritan ears. They flockedthenfrom Lambert to
Monkas sinners flock from Baal to God.

Monk made his calculations; at a thousand desertions a day Lambert had
men enough to last twenty days; but there is in sinking things such a
growth of weight and swiftnesswhich combine with each otherthat a
hundred left the first dayfive hundred the seconda thousand the
third. Monk thought he had obtained his rate. But from one thousand the
deserters increased to two thousandthen to four thousandanda week
afterLambertperceiving that he had no longer the possibility of
accepting battleif it were offered to himtook the wise resolution of
decamping during the nightreturning to Londonand being beforehand
with Monk in constructing a power with the wreck of the military party.

But Monkfree and without uneasinessmarched towards London as a
conqueroraugmenting his army with all the floating parties on the way.
He encamped at Barnetthat is to saywithin four leagues of the
capitalcherished by the parliamentwhich thought it beheld in him a
protectorand awaited by the peoplewho were anxious to see him reveal
himselfthat they might judge him. D'Artagnan himself had not been able
to fathom his tactics; he observed - he admired. Monk could not enter
London with a settled determination without bringing about civil war. He
temporized for a short time.

Suddenlywhen least expectedMonk drove the military party out of
Londonand installed himself in the city amidst the citizensby order
of the parliament; thenat the moment when the citizens were crying out
against Monk - at the moment when the soldiers themselves were accusing
their leader - Monkfinding himself certain of a majoritydeclared to
the Rump Parliament that it must abdicate - be dissolved - and yield its
place to a government which would not be a joke. Monk pronounced this
declarationsupported by fifty thousand swordsto whichthat same
eveningwere unitedwith shouts of delirious joythe five thousand
inhabitants of the good city of London. At lengthat the moment when
the peopleafter their triumphs and festive repasts in the open streets
were looking about for a masterit was affirmed that a vessel had left
the Haguebearing King Charles II. and his fortunes.

Gentlemen,said Monk to his officersI am going to meet the
legitimate king. He who loves me will follow me.A burst of
acclamations welcomed these wordswhich D'Artagnan did not hear without
the greatest delight.

_Mordioux!_said he to Monkthat is bold, monsieur.

You will accompany me, will you not?said Monk.

_Pardieu!_ general. But tell me, I beg, what you wrote by Athos, that
is to say, the Comte de la Fere - you know - the day of our arrival?

I have no secrets from you now,replied Monk. "I wrote these words:
'SireI expect your majesty in six weeks at Dover.'"

Ah!said D'ArtagnanI no longer say it is bold; I say it is well
played; it is a fine stroke!

You are something of a judge in such matters,replied Monk.

And this was the only time the general had ever made an allusion to his
voyage to Holland.


Chapter XXXII:
Athos and D'Artagnan meet once more at the Hostelry of the Corne du Cerf.


The king of England made his _entree_ into Dover with great pompas he
afterwards did in London. He had sent for his brothers; he had brought
over his mother and sister. England had been for so long a time given up
to herself - that is to sayto tyrannymediocrity and nonsense - that
this return of Charles II.whom the English only knew as the son of the
man whose head they had cut offwas a festival for three kingdoms.
Consequentlyall the good wishesall the acclamations which accompanied
his returnstruck the young king so forcibly that he stooped and
whispered in the ear of James of Yorkhis younger brotherIn truth,
James, it seems to have been our own fault that we were so long absent
from a country where we are so much beloved!The pageant was
magnificent. Beautiful weather favored the solemnity. Charles had
regained all his youthall his good humor; he appeared to be
transfigured; hearts seemed to smile on him like the sun. Amongst this
noisy crowd of courtiers and worshiperswho did not appear to remember
they had conducted to the scaffold at Whitehall the father of the new
kinga manin the garb of a lieutenant of musketeerslookedwith a
smile upon his thinintellectual lipssometimes at the people
vociferating their blessingsand sometimes at the princewho pretended
emotionand who bowed most particularly to the womenwhose _bouquets_
fell beneath his horse's feet.


What a fine trade is that of king!said this manso completely
absorbed in contemplation that he stopped in the middle of the road
leaving the _cortege_ to file past. "Nowthere isin good trutha
prince all bespangled over with gold and diamondsenamelled with flowers
like a spring meadow; he is about to plunge his empty hands into the
immense coffer in which his now faithful - but so lately unfaithful –
subjects have amassed one or two cartloads of ingots of gold. They cast
_bouquets_ enough upon him to smother him; and yetif he had presented
himself to them two months agothey would have sent as many bullets and
balls at him as they now throw flowers. Decidedly it is worth something
to be born in a certain spherewith due respect to the lowlywho
pretend that it is of very little advantage to them to be born lowly."
The _cortege_ continued to file onandwith the kingthe acclamations
began to die away in the direction of the palacewhichhoweverdid not
prevent our officer from being pushed about.


_Mordioux!_continued the reasonerthese people tread upon my toes
and look upon _me_ as of very little consequence, or rather of none at
all, seeing that they are Englishmen and I am a Frenchman. If all these
people were asked, - 'Who is M. d'Artagnan?' they would reply, '_Nescio
vos_.' But let any one say to them, 'There is the king going by,' 'There
is M. Monk going by,' they would run away, shouting, - '_Vive le roi!_'
'_Vive M. Monk!_' till their lungs were exhausted. And yet,continued
hesurveyingwith that look sometimes so keen and sometimes so proud
the diminishing crowd- "and yetreflect a littlemy good peopleon
what your king has doneon what M. Monk has doneand then think what
has been done by this poor unknownwho is called M. d'Artagnan! It is
true you do not know himsince he is here unknownand that prevents
your thinking about the matter! Butbah! what matters it! All that
does not prevent Charles II. from being a great kingalthough he has
been exiled twelve yearsor M. Monk from being a great captainalthough
he did make a voyage to Holland in a box. Wellthensince it is
admitted that one is a great king and the other a great captain-
'_Hurrah for King Charles II.!_ - _Hurrah for General Monk!_'" And his
voice mingled with the voices of the hundreds of spectatorsover which
it sounded for a moment. Thenthe better to play the devoted manhe
took off his hat and waved it in the air. Some one seized his arm in the



very height of his expansive loyalism. (In 1660 that was so termed which
we now call royalism.)

Athos!cried D'Artagnanyou here!And the two friends seized each
other's hands.

You here! - and being here,continued the musketeeryou are not in the
midst of all these courtiers, my dear comte! What! you, the hero of the
_fete_, you are not prancing on the left hand of the king, as M. Monk is
prancing on the right? In truth, I cannot comprehend your character, nor
that of the prince who owes you so much!

Always scornful, my dear D'Artagnan!said Athos. "Will you never
correct yourself of that vile habit?"

But you do not form part of the pageant?

I do not, because I was not willing to do so.

And why were you not willing?

Because I am neither envoy nor ambassador, nor representative of the
king of France; and it does not become me to exhibit myself thus near the
person of another king than the one God has given me for a master.

_Mordioux!_ you came very near to the person of the king, his father.

That was another thing, my friend; he was about to die.

And yet that which you did for him -

I did it because it was my duty to do it. But you know I hate all
ostentation. Let King Charles II., then, who no longer stands in need of
me, leave me to my rest, and the shadow; that is all I claim of him.

D'Artagnan sighed.

What is the matter with you?said Athos. "One would say that this
happy return of the king to London saddens youmy friend; you who have
done at least as much for his majesty as I have."

Have I not,replied D'Artagnanwith his Gascon laughhave I not done
much for his majesty, without any one suspecting it?

Yes, yes, but the king is well aware of it, my friend,cried Athos.

He is aware of it!said the musketeer bitterly. "By my faith! I did
not suspect soand I was even a moment ago trying to forget it myself."

But he, my friend, will not forget it, I will answer for him.

You tell me that to console me a little, Athos.

For what?

_Mordioux!_ for all the expense I incurred. I have ruined myself, my
friend, ruined myself for the restoration of this young prince who has
just passed, cantering on his _isabelle_ colored horse.

The king does not know you have ruined yourself, my friend; but he knows
he owes you much.

And say, Athos, does that advance me in any respect? for, to do you
justice, you have labored nobly. But I - I who in appearance marred your


combinations, it was I who really made them succeed. Follow my
calculations closely; you might not have, by persuasions or mildness,
convinced General Monk, whilst I so roughly treated this dear general,
that I furnished your prince with an opportunity of showing himself
generous: this generosity was inspired in him by the fact of my fortunate
mistake, and Charles is paid by the restoration which Monk has brought
about.

All that, my dear friend, is strikingly true,replied Athos.

Well, strikingly true as it may be, it is not less true, my friend, that
I shall return - greatly beloved by M. Monk, who calls me _dear captain_
all day long, although I am neither dear to him nor a captain; - and much
appreciated by the king, who has already forgotten my name; - it is not
less true, I say, that I shall return to my beautiful country, cursed by
the soldiers I had raised with the hopes of large pay, cursed by the
brave Planchet, of who I have borrowed a part of his fortune.

How is that? What the devil had Planchet to do in all this?

Ah, yes, my friend; but this king, so spruce, so smiling, so adored, M.
Monk fancies he has recalled him, you fancy you have supported him, I
fancy I have brought him back, the people fancy they have reconquered
him, he himself fancies he has negotiated his restoration; and yet
nothing of all this is true, for Charles II., king of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, has been replaced upon the throne by a French grocer, who
lives in the Rue des Lombards, and is named Planchet. And such is
grandeur! 'Vanity!' says the Scripture: vanity, all is vanity.'

Athos could not help laughing at this whimsical outbreak of his friend.

My dear D'Artagnan,said hepressing his hand affectionatelyshould
you not exercise a little more philosophy? Is it not some further
satisfaction to you to have saved my life as you did by arriving so
fortunately with Monk, when those damned parliamentarians wanted to burn
me alive?

Well, but you, in some degree, deserved a little burning, my friend.

How so? What, for having saved King Charles's million?

What million?

Ah, that is true! you never knew that, my friend; but you must not be
angry, for it was my secret. That word 'REMEMBER' which the king
pronounced upon the scaffold.

And which means '_souviens-toi!_'

Exactly. That was signified. 'Remember there is a million buried in
the vaults of Newcastle Abbey, and that that million belongs to my son.'

Ah! very well, I understand. But what I understand likewise, and what
is very frightful, is, that every time his majesty Charles II. will think
of me, he will say to himself: 'There is the man who came very near to
making me lose my crown. Fortunately I was generous, great, full of
presence of mind.' That will be said by the young gentleman in a shabby
black doublet, who came to the chateau of Blois, hat in hand, to ask me
if I would give him access to the king of France.

D'Artagnan! D'Artagnan!said Athoslaying his hand on the shoulder of
the musketeeryou are unjust.

I have a right to be so.


No - for you are ignorant of the future.

D'Artagnan looked his friend full in the faceand began to laugh. "In
truthmy dear Athos said he, you have some sayings so superbthat
they only belong to you and M. le Cardinal Mazarin."

Athos frowned slightly.

I beg your pardon,continued D'ArtagnanlaughingI beg your pardon
if I have offended you. The future! _Nein!_ what pretty words are words
that promise, and how well they fill the mouth in default of other
things! _Mordioux!_ After having met with so many who promised, when
shall I find one who will give? But, let that pass!continued
D'Artagnan. "What are you doing heremy dear Athos? Are you the king's
treasurer?"

How - why the king's treasurer?

Well, since the king possess a million, he must want a treasurer. The
king of France, although he is not worth a sou, has still a
superintendent of finance, M. Fouquet. It is true, that, in exchange, M.
Fouquet, they say, has a good number of millions of his own.

Oh! our million was spent long ago,said Athoslaughing in his turn.

I understand; it was frittered away in satin, precious stones, velvet,
and feathers of all sorts and colors. All these princes and princesses
stood in great need of tailors and dressmakers. Eh! Athos, do you
remember what we fellows spent in equipping ourselves for the campaign of
La Rochelle, and to make our appearance on horseback? Two or three
thousand livres, by my faith! But a king's robe is the more ample; it
would require a million to purchase the stuff. At least, Athos, if you
are not treasurer, you are on good footing at court.

By the faith of a gentleman, I know nothing about it,said Athos
simply.

What! you know nothing about it?

No! I have not seen the king since we left Dover.

Then he has forgotten you, too! _Mordioux!_ That is shameful!

His majesty has had so much business to transact.

Oh!cried D'Artagnanwith one of those intelligent grimaces which he
alone knew how to makethat is enough to make me recover my love for
Monseigneur Giulio Mazarini. What, Athos! the king has not seen you
since then?

No.

And you are not furious?

I! why should I be? Do you imagine, my dear D'Artagnan, that it was on
the king's account I acted as I have done? I did not know the young
man. I defended the father, who represented a principle - sacred in my
eyes, and I allowed myself to be drawn towards the son from sympathy for
this same principle. Besides, he was a worthy knight, a noble creature,
that father; do you remember him?

Yes; that is true; he was a brave, an excellent man, who led a sad life,
but made a fine end.


Well, my dear D'Artagnan, understand this; to that king, to that man of
heart, to that friend of my thoughts, if I durst venture to say so, I
swore at the last hour to preserve faithfully the secret of a deposit
which was to be transmitted to his son, to assist him in his hour of
need. This young man came to me; he described his destitution; he was
ignorant that he was anything to me save a living memory of his father.
I have accomplished towards Charles II. what I promised Charles I.; that
is all! Of what consequence is it to me, then, whether he be grateful or
not? It is to myself I have rendered a service, by relieving myself of
this responsibility, and not to him.

Well, I have always said,replied D'Artagnanwith a sighthat
disinterestedness was the finest thing in the world.

Well, and you, my friend,resumed Athosare you not in the same
situation as myself? If I have properly understood your words, you
allowed yourself to be affected by the misfortunes of this young man;
that, on your part, was much greater than it was upon mine, for I had a
duty to fulfill; whilst you were under no obligation to the son of the
martyr. You had not, on your part, to pay him the price of that precious
drop of blood which he let fall upon my brow, through the floor of the
scaffold. That which made you act was heart alone - the noble and good
heart which you possess beneath your apparent skepticism and sarcastic
irony; you have engaged the fortune of a servitor, and your own, I
suspect, my benevolent miser! and your sacrifice is not acknowledged! Of
what consequence is it? You wish to repay Planchet his money. I can
comprehend that, my friend: for it is not becoming in a gentleman to
borrow from his inferior, without returning to him principal and
interest. Well, I will sell La Fere if necessary, and if not, some
little farm. You shall pay Planchet, and there will be enough, believe
me, of corn left in my granaries for us two and Raoul. In this way, my
friend, you will be under obligations to nobody but yourself; and, if I
know you well, it will not be a small satisfaction to your mind to be
able to say, 'I have made a king!' Am I right?

Athos! Athos!murmured D'ArtagnanthoughtfullyI have told you more
than once that the day on which you will preach I shall attend the
sermon; the day on which you will tell me there is a hell - _Mordioux!_
I shall be afraid of the gridiron and the pitch-forks. You are better
than I, or rather, better than anybody, and I only acknowledge the
possession of one quality, and that is, of not being jealous. Except
that defect, damme, as the English say, if I have not all the rest.

I know no one equal to D'Artagnan,replied Athos; "but here we are
having quietly reached the house I inhabit. Will you come inmy friend?"

Eh! why this is the tavern of the Corne du Cerf, I think,said
D'Artagnan.

I confess I chose it on purpose. I like old acquaintances; I like to
sit down on that place, whereon I sank, overcome by fatigue, overwhelmed
by despair, when you returned on the 31st of January.

After having discovered the abode of the masked executioner? Yes, that
was a terrible day!

Come in, then,said Athosinterrupting him.

They entered the large apartmentformerly the common one. The tavern
in generaland this room in particularhad undergone great changes; the
ancient host of the musketeershaving become tolerably rich for an
innkeeperhad closed his shopand make of this room of which we were
speakinga store-room for colonial provisions. As for the rest of the


househe let it ready furnished to strangers. It was with unspeakable
emotion D'Artagnan recognized all the furniture of the chamber of the
first story; the wainscotingthe tapestriesand even that geographical
chart which Porthos had so fondly studied in his moments of leisure.

It is eleven years ago,cried D'Artagnan. "_Mordioux!_ it appears to
me a century!"

And to me but a day,said Athos. "Imagine the joy I experiencemy
friendin seeing you therein pressing your handin casting from me
sword and daggerand tasting without mistrust this glass of sherry.
Andoh! what still further joy it would beif our two friends were
thereat the two corners of the tableand Raoulmy beloved Raoulon
the thresholdlooking at us with his large eyesat once so brilliant
and so soft!"

Yes, yes,said D'Artagnanmuch affectedthat is true. I approve
particularly of the first part of your thought; it is very pleasant to
smile there where we have so legitimately shuddered in thinking that from
one moment to another M. Mordaunt might appear upon the landing.

At this moment the door openedand D'Artagnanbrave as he wascould
not restrain a slight movement of fright. Athos understood himand
smiling


It is our host,said hebringing me a letter.

Yes, my lord,said the good man; "here is a letter for your honor."

Thank you,said Athostaking the letter without looking at it. "Tell
memy dear hostif you do not remember this gentleman?"

The old man raised his headand looked attentively at D'Artagnan.

No,said he.

It is,said Athosone of those friends of whom I have spoken to you,
and who lodged here with me eleven years ago.

Oh! but,said the old manso many strangers have lodged here!

But we lodged here on the 30th of January, 1649,added Athosbelieving
he should stimulate the lazy memory of the host by this remark.

That is very possible,replied hesmiling; "but it is so long ago!"
and he bowedand went out.

Thank you,said D'Artagnan - "perform exploitsaccomplish revolutions
endeavor to engrave your name in stone or bronze with strong swords!
there is something more rebelliousmore hardmore forgetful than iron
bronzeor stoneand that isthe brain of a lodging-house keeper who
has grown rich in the trade; - he does not know me! WellI should have
known himthough."

Athossmiling at his friend's philosophyunsealed his letter.

Ah!said hea letter from Parry.

Oh! oh!said D'Artagnan; "read itmy friendread it! No doubt it
contains news."

Athos shook his headand read:

MONSIEUR LE COMTE. - The king has experienced much regret at not seeing


you to-day beside him, at his entrance. His majesty commands me to say
so, and to recall him to your memory. His majesty will expect you this
evening, at the palace of St. James, between nine and ten o'clock.

I amrespectfullymonsieur le comteyour honor's very humble and very
obedient servant- PARRY."

You see, my dear D'Artagnan,said Athoswe must not despair of the
hearts of kings.

Not despair! you are right to say so!replied D'Artagnan.

Oh! my dear, very dear friend,resumed Athoswhom the almost
imperceptible bitterness of D'Artagnan had not escaped. "Pardon me! can
I have unintentionally wounded my best comrade?"

You are mad, Athos, and to prove it, I shall conduct you to the palace;
to the very gate, I mean; the walk will do me good.

You shall go in with me, my friend; I will speak to his majesty.

No, no!replied D'Artagnanwith true pridefree from all mixture; "if
there is anything worse than begging yourselfit is making others beg
for you. Comelet us gomy friendthe walk will be charming; on the
way I shall show you the house of M. Monkwho has detained me with him.
A beautiful houseby my faith. Being a general in England is better
than being a marechal in Franceplease to know."

Athos allowed himself to be led alongquite saddened by D'Artagnan's
forced attempts at gayety. The whole city was in a state of joy; the two
friends were jostled at every moment by enthusiasts who required themin
their intoxicationto cry outLong live good King Charles!
D'Artagnan replied by a gruntand Athos by a smile. They arrived thus
in front of Monk's housebefore whichas we have saidthey had to pass
on their way to St. James's.

Athos and D'Artagnan said but little on the roadfor the simple reason
that they would have had so many things to talk about if they had
spoken. Athos thought that by speaking he should evince satisfaction
and that might wound D'Artagnan. The latter feared that in speaking he
should allow some little bitterness to steal into his words which would
render his company unpleasant to his friend. It was a singular emulation
of silence between contentment and ill-humor. D'Artagnan gave way first
to that itching at the tip of his tongue which he so habitually
experienced.

Do you remember, Athos,said hethe passage of the 'Memoires de
D'Aubigny,' in which that devoted servant, a Gascon like myself, poor as
myself, and, I was going to add, brave as myself, relates instances of
the meanness of Henry IV.? My father always told me, I remember, that
D'Aubigny was a liar. But, nevertheless, examine how all the princes,
the issue of the great Henry, keep up the character of the race.

Nonsense!said Athos the kings of France misers? You are mad, my
friend.

Oh! you are so perfect yourself, you never agree to the faults of
others. But, in reality, Henry IV. was covetous, Louis XIII., his son,
was so likewise; we know something of that, don't we? Gaston carried
this vice to exaggeration, and has made himself, in this respect, hated
by all who surround him. Henriette, poor woman, might well be
avaricious, she who did not eat every day, and could not warm herself
every winter; and that is an example she has given to her son Charles
II., grandson of the great Henry IV., who is as covetous as his mother


and his grandfather. See if I have well traced the genealogy of the
misers?

D'Artagnan, my friend,cried Athosyou are very rude towards that
eagle race called the Bourbons.

Eh! and I have forgotten the best instance of all - the other grandson
of the Bernais, Louis XIV., my ex-master. Well, I hope he is miserly
enough, he who would not lend a million to his brother Charles! Good! I
see you are beginning to be angry. Here we are, by good luck, close to
my house, or rather that of my friend, M. Monk.

My dear D'Artagnan, you do not make me angry, you make me sad; it is
cruel, in fact, to see a man of your deserts out of the position his
services ought to have acquired; it appears to me, my dear friend, that
your name is as radiant as the greatest names in war and diplomacy. Tell
me if the Luynes, the Ballegardes, and the Bassompierres have merited, as
we have, fortunes and honors? You are right, my friend, a hundred times
right.

D'Artagnan sighedand preceded his friend under the porch of he mansion
Monk inhabitedat the extremity of the city. "Permit me said he, to
leave my purse at home; for if in the crowd those clever pickpockets of
Londonwho are much boasted ofeven in Pariswere to steal from me the
remainder of my poor crownsI should not be able to return to France.
Nowcontent I left Franceand wild with joy I should return to it
seeing that all my prejudices of former days against England have
returnedaccompanied by many others."

Athos made no reply.

So, then, my dear friend, one second, and I will follow you,said
D'Artagnan. "I know you are in a hurry to go yonder to receive your
rewardbutbelieve meI am not less eager to partake of your joy
although from a distance. Wait for me." And D'Artagnan was already
passing through the vestibulewhen a manhalf servanthalf soldier
who filled in Monk's establishment the double function of porter and
guardstopped our musketeersaying to him in English:

I beg your pardon, my Lord d'Artagnan!

Well,replied the latter: "what is it? Is the general going to dismiss
me? I only needed to be expelled by him."

These wordsspoken in Frenchmade no impression upon the person to whom
they were addressedand who himself only spoke an English mixed with the
rudest Scots. But Athos was grieved at themfor he began to think
D'Artagnan was not wrong.

The Englishman showed D'Artagnan a letter: "From the general said he.

Aye! that's itmy dismissal!" replied the Gascon. "Must I read it
Athos?"

You must be deceived,said Athosor I know no more honest people in
the world but you and myself.

D'Artagnan shrugged his shoulders and unsealed the letterwhile the
impassible Englishman held for him a large lanternby the light of which
he was enabled to read it.

Well, what is the matter?said Athosseeing the countenance of the
reader change.


Read it yourself,said the musketeer.

Athos took the paper and read:

MONSIEUR D'ARTAGNAN. - The king regrets very much you did not come to
St. Paul's with his _cortege_. He missed you, as I also have missed you,
my dear captain. There is but one means of repairing all this. His
majesty expects me at nine o'clock at the palace of St. James's: will you
be there at the same time with me? His gracious majesty appoints that
hour for an audience he grants you.

This letter was from Monk.

Chapter XXXIII:
The Audience.

Well?cried Athos with a mild look of reproachwhen D'Artagnan had
read the letter addressed to him by Monk.

Well!said D'Artagnanred with pleasureand a little with shameat
having so hastily accused the king and Monk. "This is a politeness-
which leads to nothingit is truebut yet it is a politeness."

I had great difficulty in believing the young prince ungrateful,said
Athos.

The fact is, that his present is still too near his past,replied
D'Artagnan; "after alleverything to the present moment proved me right."

I acknowledge it, my dear friend, I acknowledge it. Ah! there is your
cheerful look returned. You cannot think how delighted I am.

Thus you see,said D'ArtagnanCharles II. receives M. Monk at nine
o'clock; he will receive me at ten; it is a grand audience, of the sort
which at the Louvre are called 'distributions of court holy water.'
Come, let us go and place ourselves under the spout, my dear friend!
Come along.

Athos replied nothing; and both directed their stepsat a quick pace
towards the palace of St. James'swhich the crowd still surroundedto
catchthrough the windowsthe shadows of the courtiersand the
reflection of the royal person. Eight o'clock was striking when the two
friends took their places in the gallery filled with courtiers and
politicians. Every one looked at these simply-dressed men in foreign
costumesat these two noble heads so full of character and meaning. On
their sideAthos and D'Artagnanhaving with two glances taken the
measure of the whole assemblyresumed their chat.

A great noise was suddenly heard at the extremity of the gallery- it
was General Monkwho enteredfollowed by more than twenty officersall
eager for a smileas only the evening before he was master of all
Englandand a glorious to-morrow was looked tofor the restorer of the
Stuart family.

Gentlemen,said Monkturning roundhenceforward I beg you to
remember that I am no longer anything. Lately I commanded the principal
army of the republic; now that army is the king's, into whose hands I am
about to surrender, at his command, my power of yesterday.

Great surprise was painted on all the countenancesand the circle of
adulators and suppliants which surrounded Monk an instant beforewas
enlarged by degreesand ended by being lost in the large undulations of
the crowd. Monk was going into the ante-chamber as others did.


D'Artagnan could not help remarking this to the Comte de la Ferewho
frowned on beholding it. Suddenly the door of the royal apartment
openedand the young king appearedpreceded by two officers of his
household.

Good evening, gentlemen,said he. "Is General Monk here?"

I am here, sire,replied the old general.

Charles stepped hastily towards himand seized his hand with the warmest
demonstration of friendship. "General said the king, aloud, I have
just signed your patent- you are Duke of Albemarle; and my intention
is that no one shall equal you in power and fortune in this kingdom
where - the noble Montrose excepted - no one has equaled you in loyalty
courageand talent. Gentlementhe duke is commander of our armies of
land and sea; pay him your respectsif you pleasein that character."

Whilst every one was pressing round the generalwho received all this
homage without losing his impassibility for an instantD'Artagnan said
to Athos: "When one thinks that this duchythis commander of the land
and sea forcesall these grandeursin a wordhave been shut up in a
box six feet long and three feet wide - "

My friend,replied Athosmuch more imposing grandeurs are confined in
boxes still smaller, - and remain there forever.

All at once Monk perceived the two gentlemenwho held themselves aside
until the crowd had diminished; he made himself a passage towards them
so that he surprised them in the midst of their philosophical
reflections. "Were you speaking of me?" sad hewith a smile.

My lord,replied Athoswe were speaking likewise of God.

Monk reflected for a momentand then replied gayly: "Gentlemenlet us
speak a little of the king likewiseif you please; for you haveI
believean audience of his majesty."

At nine o'clock,said Athos.

At ten o'clock,said D'Artagnan.

Let us go into this closet at once,replied Monkmaking a sign to his
two companions to precede him; but to that neither would consent.

The kingduring this discussion so characteristic of the Frenchhad
returned to the center of the gallery.

Oh! my Frenchmen!said hein that tone of careless gayety whichin
spite of so much grief and so many crosseshe had never lost. "My
Frenchmen! my consolation!" Athos and D'Artagnan bowed.

Duke, conduct these gentlemen into my study. I am at your service,
messieurs,added he in French. And he promptly expedited his courtto
return to his Frenchmenas he called them. "Monsieur d'Artagnan said
he, as he entered his closet, I am glad to see you again."

Sire, my joy is at its height, at having the honor to salute your
majesty in your own palace of St. James's.

Monsieur, you have been willing to render me a great service, and I owe
you my gratitude for it. If I did not fear to intrude upon the rights of
our command general, I would offer you some post worthy of you near our
person.


Sire,replied D'ArtagnanI have quitted the service of the king of
France, making a promise to my prince not to serve any other king.

Humph!said CharlesI am sorry to hear that; I should like to do much
for you; I like you very much.

Sire -

But, let us see,said Charles with a smileif we cannot make you
break your word. Duke, assist me. If you were offered, that is to say,
if I offered you the chief command of my musketeers?D'Artagnan bowed
lower than before.

I should have the regret to refuse what your gracious majesty would
offer me,said he; "a gentleman has but his wordand that wordas I
have had the honor to tell your majestyis engaged to the king of
France."

We shall say no more about it, then,said the kingturning towards
Athosand leaving D'Artagnan plunged in the deepest pangs of
disappointment.

Ah! I said so!muttered the musketeer. "Words! words! Court holy
water! Kings have always a marvelous talent for offering us that which
they know we will not acceptand in appearing generous without risk. So
be it! - triple fool that I was to have hoped for a moment!"

During this timeCharles took the hand of Athos. "Comte said he, you
have been to me a second father; the services you have rendered to me are
above all price. I haveneverthelessthought of a recompense. You
were created by my father a Knight of the Garter - that is an order which
all the kings of Europe cannot bear; by the queen regentKnight of the
Holy Ghost - which is an order not less illustrious; I join to it that of
the Golden Fleece sent me by the king of Franceto whom the king of
Spainhis father-in-lawgave two on the occasion of his marriage; but
in returnI have a service to ask of you."

Sire,said Athoswith confusionthe Golden Fleece for me! when the
king of France is the only person in my country who enjoys that
distinction?

I wish you to be in your country and all others the equal of all those
whom sovereigns have honored with their favor,said Charlesdrawing the
chain from his neck; "and I am surecomtemy father smiles on me from
his grave."

It is unaccountably strange,said D'Artagnan to himselfwhilst his
friendon his kneesreceived the eminent order which the king conferred
on him - "it is almost incredible that I have always seen showers of
prosperity fall upon all who surrounded meand that not a drop ever
reached me! If I were a jealous manit would be enough to make one tear
one's hair_parole d'honneur!_"

Athos rose from his kneesand Charles embraced him tenderly. "General!"
said he to Monk - then stoppingwith a smilepardon me, duke, I mean.
No wonder if I make a mistake; the word duke is too short for me, I
always seek some title to lengthen it. I should wish to see you so near
my throne, that I might say to you, as to Louis XIV., my brother! Oh! I
have it; and you will almost be my brother, for I make you viceroy of
Ireland and Scotland, my dear duke. So, after that fashion, henceforward
I shall not make a mistake.

The duke seized the hand of the kingbut without enthusiasmwithout
joyas he did everything. His hearthoweverhad been moved by this


last favor. Charlesby skillfully husbanding his generosityhad given
the duke time to wishalthough he might not have wished for so much as
was given him.

_Mordioux!_grumbled D'Artagnanthere is the shower beginning again!
Oh! it is enough to turn one's brain!and he turned away with an air so
sorrowful and so comically piteousthat the kingwho caught itcould
not restrain a smile. Monk was preparing to leave the roomto take
leave of Charles.

What! my trusty and well-beloved!said the king to the dukeare you
going?

With your majesty's permission, for in truth I am weary. The emotions
of the day have worn me out; I stand in need of rest.

But,said the kingyou are not going without M. d'Artagnan, I hope.

Why not, sire?said the old warrior.

Well! you know very well why,said the king.

Monk looked at Charles with astonishment.

Oh! it may be possible; but if you forget, you, M. d'Artagnan, do not.

Astonishment was painted on the face of the musketeer.

Well, then, duke,said the kingdo you not lodge with M. d'Artagnan?

I had the honor of offering M. d'Artagnan a lodging; yes, sire.

That idea is your own, and yours solely?

Mine and mine only; yes, sire.

Well! but it could not be otherwise - the prisoner always lodges with
his conqueror.

Monk colored in his turn. "Ah! that is true said he; I am M.
d'Artagnan's prisoner."

Without doubt, duke, since you are not yet ransomed; but have no care of
that; it was I who took you out of M. d'Artagnan's hands, and it is I who
will pay your ransom.

The eyes of D'Artagnan regained their gayety and their brilliancy. The
Gascon began to understand. Charles advanced towards him.

The general,said heis not rich, and cannot pay you what he is
worth. I am richer, certainly; but now that he is a duke, and if not a
king, almost a king, he is worth a sum I could not perhaps pay. Come, M.
d'Artagnan, be moderate with me; how much do I owe you?

D'Artagnandelighted at the turn things were takingbut not for a
moment losing his self-possessionreplied- "Sireyour majesty has no
occasion to be alarmed. When I had the good fortune to take his grace

M. Monk was only a general; it is therefore only a general's ransom that
is due to me. But if the general will have the kindness to deliver me
his swordI shall consider myself paid; for there is nothing in the
world but the general's sword which is worth as much as himself."
Odds fish! as my father said,cried Charles. "That is a gallant
proposaland a gallant manis he notduke?"


Upon my honor, yes, sire,and he drew his sword. "Monsieur said he
to D'Artagnan, here is what you demand. Many have handled a better
blade; but however modest mine may beI have never surrendered it to any
one."


D'Artagnan received with pride the sword which had just made a king.


Oh! oh!cried Charles II.; "what a sword that has restored me to my
throne - to go out of the kingdom - and notone dayto figure among the
crown jewels! Noon my soul! that shall not be! Captain d'ArtagnanI
will give you two hundred thousand livres for your sword! If that is too
littlesay so."


It is too little, sire,replied D'Artagnanwith inimitable
seriousness. "In the first placeI do not at all wish to sell it; but
your majesty desires me to do soand that is an order. I obeythen
but the respect I owe to the illustrious warrior who hears mecommands
me to estimate a third more the reward of my victory. I ask then three
hundred thousand livres for the swordor I shall give it to your majesty
for nothing." And taking it by the point he presented it to the king.
Charles broke into hilarious laughter.


A gallant man, and a merry companion! Odds fish! is he not, duke? is he
not, comte? He pleases me! I like him! Here, Chevalier d'Artagnan,
take this.And going to the tablehe took a pen and wrote an order
upon his treasurer for three hundred thousand livres.


D'Artagnan took itand turning gravely towards Monk: "I have still asked
too littleI know said he, but believe meyour graceI would rather
have died that allow myself to be governed by avarice."


The king began to laugh againlike the happiest cockney of his kingdom.


You will come and see me again before you go, chevalier?said he; "I
shall want to lay in a stock of gayety now my Frenchmen are leaving me."


Ah! sire, it will not be with the gayety as with the duke's sword; I
will give it to your majesty gratis,replied D'Artagnanwhose feet
scarcely seemed to touch the ground.


And you, comte,added Charlesturning towards Athoscome again,
also; I have an important message to confide to you. Your hand, duke.
Monk pressed the hand of the king.


Adieu! gentlemen,said Charlesholding out each of his hands to the
two Frenchmenwho carried them to their lips.


Well,said Athoswhen they were out of the palaceare you satisfied?


Hush!said D'Artagnanwild with joyI have not yet returned from the
treasurer's - a shutter may fall upon my head.


Chapter XXXIV:
Of the Embarrassment of Riches.


D'Artagnan lost no timeand as soon as the thing was suitable and
opportunehe paid a visit to the lord treasurer of his majesty. He had
then the satisfaction to exchange a piece of papercovered with very
ugly writingfor a prodigious number of crownsrecently stamped with
the _effigies_ of his very gracious majesty Charles II.


D'Artagnan easily controlled himself: and yeton this occasionhe could



not help evincing a joy which the reader will perhaps comprehendif he
deigns to have some indulgence for a man whosince his birthhad never
seen so many pieces and rolls of pieces juxta-placed in an order truly
agreeable to the eye. The treasurer placed all the rolls in bagsand
closed each bag with a stamp sealed with the arms of Englanda favor
which treasurers do not grant to everybody. Thenimpassibleand just
as polite as he ought to be towards a man honored with the friendship of
the kinghe said to D'Artagnan:

Take away your money, sir._Your money!_ These words made a thousand
chords vibrate in the heart of D'Artagnanwhich he had never felt
before. He had the bags packed in a small cartand returned home
meditating deeply. A man who possessed three hundred thousand livres can
no longer expect to wear a smooth brow; a wrinkle for every hundred
thousand livres is not too much.

D'Artagnan shut himself upate no dinnerclosed his door to everybody
andwith a lighted lampand a loaded pistol on the tablehe watched
all nightruminating upon the means of preventing these lovely crowns
which from the coffers of the king had passed into his coffersfrom
passing from his coffers into the pockets of any thief whatever. The
best means discovered by the Gascon was to inclose his treasurefor the
presentunder locks so solid that no wrist could break themand so
complicated that no master-key could open them. D'Artagnan remembered
that the English are masters in mechanics and conservative industry; and
he determined to go in the morning in search of a mechanic who would sell
him a strong box. He did not go far; Master Will Jobsondwelling in
Piccadillylistened to his propositionscomprehended his wishesand
promised to make him a safety lock that should relieve him from all
future fear.

I will give you,said hea piece of mechanism entirely new. At the
first serious attempt upon your lock, an invisible plate will open of
itself and vomit forth a pretty copper bullet the weight of a mark -
which will knock down the intruder, and not with a loud report. What do
you think of it?

I think it very ingenuous,cried D'Artagnan; "the little copper bullet
pleases me mightily. So nowsir mechanicthe terms?"

A fortnight for the execution, and fifteen hundred livres payable on
delivery,replied the artisan.

D'Artagnan's brow darkened. A fortnight was delay enough to allow the
thieves of London time to remove all occasion for the strong box. As to
the fifteen hundred livres - that would be paying too dear for what a
little vigilance would procure him for nothing.

I will think of it,said he; "thank yousir." And he returned home at
full speed; nobody had yet touched his treasure. That same day Athos
paid a visit to his friend and found him so thoughtful that he could not
help expressing his surprise.

How is this?said heyou are rich and not gay - you, who were so
anxious for wealth!

My friend, the pleasures to which we are not accustomed oppress us more
than the griefs with which we are familiar. Give me your opinion, if you
please. I can ask you, who have always had money: when we have money,
what do we do with it?

That depends.

What have you done with yours, seeing that it has not made you a miser


or a prodigal? For avarice dries up the heart, and prodigality drowns
it - is that not so?

Fabricius could not have spoken more justly. But in truth, my money has
never been a burden to me.

How so? Do you place it out at interest?

No; you know I have a tolerably handsome house; and that house composes
the better part of my property.

I know it does.

So that you can be as rich as I am, and, indeed, more rich, whenever you
like, by the same means.

But your rents, - do you lay them by?

No.

What do you think of a chest concealed in a wall?

I never made use of such a thing.

Then you must have some confidant, some safe man of business who pays
you interest at a fair rate.

Not at all.

Good heavens! what do you do with it, then?

I spend all I have, and I only have what I spend, my dear D'Artagnan.

Ah! that may be. But you are something of a prince; fifteen or sixteen
thousand livres melt away between your fingers; and then you have
expenses and appearances -

Well, I don't see why you should be less of a noble than I am, my
friend; your money would be quite sufficient.

Three hundred thousand livres! Two-thirds too much!

I beg your pardon - did you not tell me? - I thought I heard you say - I
fancied you had a partner -

Ah! _Mordioux!_ that's true,cried D'Artagnancoloring; "there is
Planchet. I had forgotten Planchetupon my life! Well! there are my
three hundred thousand livres broken into. That's a pity! it was a round
sumand sounded well. That is trueAthos; I am no longer rich. What a
memory you have!"

Tolerably good; yes, thank God!

The worthy Planchet!grumbled D'Artagnan; "his was not a bad dream!
What a speculation! _Peste!_ Well! what is said is said."

How much are you to give him?

Oh!said D'Artagnanhe is not a bad fellow; I shall arrange matters
with him. I have had a great deal of trouble, you see, and expenses; all
that must be taken into account.

My dear friend, I can depend on you, and have no fear for the worthy
Planchet; his interests are better in your hands than in his own. But


now that you have nothing more to do here, we shall depart, if you
please. You can go and thank his majesty, ask if he has any commands,
and in six days we may be able to get sight of the towers of Notre Dame.

My friend, I am most anxious to be off, and will go at once and pay my
respects to the king.

I,said Athosam going to call upon some friends in the city, and
shall then be at your service.

Will you lend me Grimaud?

With all my heart. What do you want to do with him?

Something very simple, and which will not fatigue him; I shall only beg
him to take charge of my pistols, which lie there on the table near that
coffer.

Very well!replied Athosimperturbably.

And he will not stir, will he?

Not more than the pistols themselves.

Then I shall go and take leave of his majesty. _Au revoir!_

D'Artagnan arrived at St. James'swhere Charles II.who was busy
writingkept him in the ante-chamber a full hour. Whilst walking about
in the galleryfrom the door to the windowfrom the window to the door
he thought he saw a cloak like Athos's cross the vestibule; but at the
moment he was going to ascertain if it were hethe usher summoned him to
his majesty's presence. Charles II. rubbed his hands while receiving the
thanks of our friend.

Chevalier,said heyou are wrong to express gratitude to me; I have
not paid you a quarter of the value of the history of the box into which
you put the brave general - the excellent Duke of Albemarle, I mean.
And the king laughed heartily.

D'Artagnan did not think it proper to interrupt his majestyand he bowed
with much modesty.

_A propos_,continued Charlesdo you think my dear Monk has really
pardoned you?

Pardoned me! yes, I hope so, sire!

Eh! - but it was a cruel trick! Odds fish! to pack up the first
personage of the English revolution like a herring. In your place I
would not trust him, chevalier.

But, sire -

Yes, I know very well Monk calls you his friend, but he has too
penetrating an eye not to have a memory, and too lofty a brow not to be
very proud, you know, _grande supercilium_.

I shall certainly learn Latin,said D'Artagnan to himself.

But stop,cried the merry monarchI must manage your reconciliation;
I know how to set about it; so -

D'Artagnan bit his mustache. "Will your majesty permit me to tell you
the truth?"


Speak, chevalier, speak.

Well, sire, you alarm me greatly. If your majesty undertakes the
affair, as you seem inclined to do, I am a lost man; the duke will have
me assassinated.

The king burst into a fresh roar of laughterwhich changed D'Artagnan's
alarm into downright terror.

Sire, I beg you to allow me to settle this matter myself, and if your
majesty has no further need of my services -

No, chevalier. What, do you want to leave us?replied Charleswith a
hilarity that grew more and more alarming.

If your majesty has no more commands for me.
Charles became more serious.

One single thing. See my sister, the Lady Henrietta. Do you know her?

No, sire, but - an old soldier like me is not an agreeable spectacle for
a young and gay princess.

Ah! but my sister must know you; she must in case of need have you to
depend upon.

Sire, every one that is dear to your majesty will be sacred to me.
Very well! - Parry! Come here, Parry!

The side door opened and Parry enteredhis face beaming with pleasure as
soon as he saw D'Artagnan.

What is Rochester doing?said the king.

He is on the canal with the ladies,replied Parry.
And Buckingham?

He is there also.

That is well. You will conduct the chevalier to Villiers; that is the
Duke of Buckingham, chevalier; and beg the duke to introduce M.
d'Artagnan to the Princess Henrietta.

Parry bowed and smiled to D'Artagnan.

Chevalier,continued the kingthis is your parting audience; you can
afterwards set out as soon as you please.

Sire, I thank you.
But be sure you make your peace with Monk!


Oh, sire -
You know there is one of my vessels at your disposal?


Sire, you overpower me; I cannot think of putting your majesty's
officers to inconvenience on my account.

The king slapped D'Artagnan upon the shoulder.


Nobody will be inconvenienced on your account, chevalier, but for that
of an ambassador I am about sending to France, and to whom you will
willingly serve as a companion, I fancy, for you know him.

D'Artagnan appeared astonished.

He is a certain Comte de la Fere, - whom you call Athos,added the
king; terminating the conversationas he had begun itby a joyous burst
of laughter. "Adieuchevalieradieu. Love me as I love you." And
thereuponmaking a sign to Parry to ask if there were any one waiting
for him in the adjoining closetthe king disappeared into that closet
leaving the chevalier perfectly astonished by this singular audience.
The old man took his arm in a friendly wayand led him towards the
garden.

Chapter XXXV:
On the Canal.

Upon the green waters of the canal bordered with marbleupon which time
had already scattered black spots and tufts of mossy grassthere glided
majestically a longflat bark adorned with the arms of England
surmounted by a daisand carpeted with long damasked stuffswhich
trailed their fringes in the water. Eight rowersleaning lazily to
their oarsmade it move upon the canal with the graceful slowness of the
swanswhichdisturbed in their ancient possessions by the approach of
the barklooked from a distance at this splendid and noisy pageant. We
say noisy - for the bark contained four guitar and lute playerstwo
singersand several courtiersall sparkling with gold and precious
stonesand showing their white teeth in emulation of each otherto
please the Lady Henrietta Stuartgrand-daughter of Henry IV.daughter
of Charles I.and sister of Charles II.who occupied the seat of honor
under the dais of the bark. We know this young princesswe have seen
her at the Louvre with her motherwanting woodwanting breadand fed
by the _coadjuteur_ and the parliament. She hadthereforelike her
brotherspassed through an uneasy youth; thenall at onceshe had just
awakened from a long and horrible dreamseated on the steps of a throne
surrounded by courtiers and flatterers. Like Mary Stuart on leaving
prisonshe aspired not only to life and libertybut to power and wealth.

The Lady Henriettain growinghad attained remarkable beautywhich the
recent restoration had rendered celebrated. Misfortune had taken from
her the luster of pridebut prosperity had restored it to her. She was
resplendentthenin her joy and her happiness- like those hot-house
flowers whichforgotten during a frosty autumn nighthave hung their
headsbut which on the morrowwarmed once more by the atmosphere in
which they were bornrise again with greater splendor than ever.
VilliersDuke of Buckinghamson of him who played so conspicuous a part
in the early chapters of this history- Villiers of Buckinghama
handsome cavaliermelancholy with womena jester with men- and
WilmotLord Rochestera jester with both sexeswere standing at this
moment before the Lady Henriettadisputing the privilege of making her
smile. As to that young and beautiful princessreclining upon a cushion
of velvet bordered with goldher hands hanging listlessly so as to dip
in the watershe listened carelessly to the musicians without hearing
themand heard the two courtiers without appearing to listen to them.

This Lady Henrietta - this charming creature - this woman who joined the
graces of France to the beauties of Englandnot having yet lovedwas
cruel in her coquetry. The smilethen- that innocent favor of young
girls- did not even lighten her countenance; and ifat timesshe did
raise her eyesit was to fasten them upon one or other of the cavaliers


with such a fixitythat their gallantrybold as it generally wastook
the alarmand became timid.

In the meanwhile the boat continued its coursethe musicians made a
great noiseand the courtiers beganlike themto be out of breath.
Besidesthe excursion became doubtless monotonous to the princessfor
all at onceshaking her head with an air of impatience- "Come
gentlemen- enough of this; - let us land."

Ah, madam,said Buckinghamwe are very unfortunate! We have not
succeeded in making the excursion agreeable to your royal highness.

My mother expects me,replied the princess; "and I must frankly admit
gentlemenI am bored." And whilst uttering this cruel wordHenrietta
endeavored to console by a look each of the two young menwho appeared
terrified at such frankness. The look produced its effect - the two
faces brightened; but immediatelyas if the royal coquette thought she
had done too much for simple mortalsshe made a movementturned her
back on both her adorersand appeared plunged in a reverie in which it
was evident they had no part.

Buckingham bit his lips with angerfor he was truly in love with the
Lady Henriettaandin that casetook everything in a serious light.
Rochester bit his lips likewise; but his wit always dominated over his
heartit was purely and simply to repress a malicious smile. The
princess was then allowing the eyes she turned from the young nobles to
wander over the green and flowery turf of the parkwhen she perceived
Parry and D'Artagnan at a distance.

Who is coming yonder?said she.

The two young men turned round with the rapidity of lightning.

Parry,replied Buckingham; "nobody but Parry."

I beg your pardon,said Rochesterbut I think he has a companion.

Yes,said the princessat first with languorbut then- "What mean
those words'Nobody but Parry;' saymy lord?"

Because, madam,replied Buckinghampiquedbecause the faithful
Parry, the wandering Parry, the eternal Parry, is not, I believe, of much
consequence.

You are mistaken, duke. Parry - the wandering Parry, as you call him –
has always wandered in the service of my family, and the sight of that
old man always gives me satisfaction.

The Lady Henrietta followed the usual progress of pretty women
particularly coquettish women; she passed from caprice to
contradiction; - the gallant had undergone the capricethe courtier must
bend beneath the contradictory humor. Buckingham bowedbut made no
reply.

It is true, madam,said Rochesterbowing in his turnthat Parry is
the model of servants; but, madam, he is no longer young, and we laugh
only when we see cheerful objects. Is an old man a gay object?

Enough, my lord,said the princesscoolly; "the subject of
conversation is unpleasant to me."

Thenas if speaking to herselfIt is really unaccountable,said she
how little regard my brother's friends have for his servants.


Ah, madam,cried Buckinghamyour royal highness pierces my heart with
a dagger forged by your own hands.

What is the meaning of that speech, which is turned so like a French
madrigal, duke? I do not understand it.

It means, madam, that you yourself, so good, so charming, so sensible,
you have laughed sometimes - smiled, I should say - at the idle prattle
of that good Parry, for whom your royal highness to-day entertains such a
marvelous susceptibility.

Well, my lord, if I have forgotten myself so far,said Henriettayou
do wrong to remind me of it.And she made a sign of impatience. "The
good Parry wants to speak to meI believe: please order them to row to
the shoremy Lord Rochester."

Rochester hastened to repeat the princess's command; and a moment later
the boat touched the bank.

Let us land, gentlemen,said Henriettataking the arm which Rochester
offered heralthough Buckingham was nearer to herand had presented
his. Then Rochesterwith an ill-dissembled pridewhich pierced the
heart of the unhappy Buckingham through and throughled the princess
across the little bridge which the rowers had cast from the royal boat to
the shore.

Which way will your highness go?asked Rochester.

You see, my lord, towards that good Parry, who is wandering, as my lord
of Buckingham says, and seeking me with eyes weakened by the tears he has
shed over our misfortunes.

Good heavens!said Rochesterhow sad your royal highness is to-day;
in truth we seem ridiculous fools to you, madam.

Speak for yourself, my lord,interrupted Buckingham with vexation; "for
my partI displease her royal highness to such a degreethat I appear
absolutely nothing to her."

Neither Rochester nor the princess made any reply; Henrietta only urged
her companion more quickly on. Buckingham remained behindand took
advantage of this isolation to give himself up to his anger; he bit his
handkerchief so furiously that it was soon in shreds.

Parry, my good Parry,said the princesswith her gentle voicecome
hither. I see you are seeking me, and I am waiting for you.

Ah, madam,said Rochestercoming charitably to the help of his
companionwho had remainedas we have saidbehindif Parry cannot
see your royal highness, the man who follows him is a sufficient guide,
even for a blind man; for he has eyes of flame. That man is a doublelamped
lantern.

Lighting a very handsome martial countenance,said the princess
determined to be as ill-natured as possible. Rochester bowed. "One of
those vigorous soldiers' heads seen nowhere but in France added the
princess, with the perseverance of a woman sure of impunity.

Rochester and Buckingham looked at each other, as much as to say, - What
can be the matter with her?"

See, my lord of Buckingham, what Parry wants,said Henrietta. "Go!"

The young manwho considered this order as a favorresumed his courage


and hastened to meet Parrywhofollowed by D'Artagnanadvanced slowly
on account of his age. D'Artagnan walked slowly but noblyas
D'Artagnandoubled by the third of a millionought to walkthat is to
saywithout conceit or swaggerbut without timidity. When Buckingham
very eager to comply with the desire of the princesswho had seated
herself on a marble benchas if fatigued with the few steps she had
gone- when Buckinghamwe saywas at a distance of only a few paces
from Parrythe latter recognized him.

Ah! my lord!cried hequite out of breathwill your grace obey the
king?

In what, Mr. Parry?said the young manwith a kind of coolness
tempered by a desire to make himself agreeable to the princess.

Well, his majesty begs your grace to present this gentleman to her royal
highness the Princess Henrietta.

In the first place, what is the gentleman's name?said the duke
haughtily.

D'Artagnanas we knowwas easily affrontedand the Duke of
Buckingham's tone displeased him. He surveyed the courtier from head to
footand two flashes beamed from beneath his bent brows. Butafter a
struggle- "Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnanmy lord replied he,
quietly.

Pardon mesirthat teaches me your namebut nothing more."

You mean -

I mean I do not know you.

I am more fortunate than you, sir,replied D'Artagnanfor I have had
the honor of knowing your family, and particularly my lord Duke of
Buckingham, your illustrious father.

My father?said Buckingham. "WellI think I now remember. Monsieur
le Chevalier d'Artagnando you say?"

D'Artagnan bowed. "In person said he.

Pardon mebut are you one of those Frenchmen who had secret relations
with my father?"

Exactly, my lord duke, I am one of those Frenchmen.

Then, sir, permit me to say that it was strange my father never heard of
you during his lifetime.

No, monsieur, but he heard of me at the moment of his death: it was I
who sent to him, through the hands of the _valet de chambre_ of Anne of
Austria, notice of the dangers which threatened him; unfortunately, it
came too late.

Never mind, monsieur,said Buckingham. "I understand nowthathaving
had the intention of rendering a service to the fatheryou have come to
claim the protection of the son."

In the first place, my lord,replied D'ArtagnanphlegmaticallyI
claim the protection of no man. His majesty, Charles II., to whom I have
had the honor of rendering some services - I may tell you, my lord, my
life has been passed in such occupations - King Charles II., then, who
wishes to honor me with some kindness, desires me to be presented to her


royal highness the Princess Henrietta, his sister, to whom I shall,
perhaps, have the good fortune to be of service hereafter. Now, the king
knew that you at this moment were with her royal highness, and sent me to
you. There is no other mystery, I ask absolutely nothing of you; and if
you will not present me to her royal highness, I shall be compelled to do
without you, and present myself.

At least, sir,said Buckinghamdetermined to have the last wordyou
will not refuse me an explanation provoked by yourself.

I never refuse, my lord,said D'Artagnan.

As you have had relations with my father, you must be acquainted with
some private details?

These relations are already far removed from us, my lord - for you were
not then born - and for some unfortunate diamond studs, which I received
from his hands and carried back to France, it is really not worth while
awakening so many remembrances.

Ah! sir,said Buckinghamwarmlygoing up to D'Artagnanand holding
out his hand to himit is you, then - you whom my father sought
everywhere and who had a right to expect so much from us.

To expect, my lord, in truth, that is my _forte_; all my life I have
expected.

At this momentthe princesswho was tired of not seeing the stranger
approach herarose and came towards them.

At least, sir,said Buckinghamyou shall not wait for the
presentation you claim of me.

Then turning towards the princess and bowing: "Madam said the young
man, the kingyour brotherdesires me to have the honor of presenting
to your royal highnessMonsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."

In order that your royal highness may have, in case of need, a firm
support and a sure friend,added Parry. D'Artagnan bowed.

You have still something to say, Parry,replied Henriettasmiling upon
D'Artagnanwhile addressing the old servant.

Yes, madam, the king desires you to preserve religiously in your memory
the name and merit of M. d'Artagnan, to whom his majesty owes, he says,
the recovery of his kingdom.Buckinghamthe princessand Rochester
looked at each other.

That,said D'Artagnanis another little secret, of which, in all
probability, I shall not boast to his majesty's son, as I have done to
you with respect to the diamond studs.

Madam,said Buckinghammonsieur has just, for the second time,
recalled to my memory an event which excites my curiosity to such a
degree, that I shall venture to ask your permission to take him to one
side for a moment, to converse in private.

Do, my lord,said the princess; "but restore to the sisteras quickly
as possiblethis friend so devoted to the brother." And she took the
arm of Rochesterwhilst Buckingham took that of D'Artagnan.

Oh! tell me, chevalier,said Buckinghamall that affair of the
diamonds, which nobody knows in England, not even the son of him who was
the hero of it.


My lord, one person alone had a right to relate all that affair, as you
call it, and that was your father; he thought it proper to be silent, I
must beg you to allow me to be so likewise.And D'Artagnan bowed like a
man upon whom it was evident no entreaties could prevail.


Since it is so, sir,said Buckinghampardon my indiscretion, I beg
you; and if, at any time, I should go into France - and he turned round
to take a last look at the princesswho took but little notice of him
totally occupied as she wasor appeared to bewith Rochester.
Buckingham sighed.


Well?said D'Artagnan.


I was saying that if, any day, I were to go to France -


You will go, my lord,said D'ArtagnanI shall answer for that.


And how so?


Oh, I have strange powers of prediction; if I do predict anything I am
seldom mistaken. If, then, you do come to France?


Well, then, monsieur, you, of whom kings ask that valuable friendship
which restores crowns to them, I will venture to beg of you a little of
that great interest you took in my father.


My lord,replied D'Artagnanbelieve me, I shall deem myself highly
honored if, in France, you remember having seen me here. And now
permit -


Thenturning towards the princess: "Madam said he, your royal
highness is a daughter of France; and in that quality I hope to see you
again in Paris. One of my happy days will be on that on which your royal
highness shall give me any command whateverthus proving to me that you
have not forgotten the recommendations of your august brother." And he
bowed respectfully to the young princesswho gave him her hand to kiss
with a right royal grace.


Ah! madam,said Buckinghamin a subdued voicewhat can a man do to
obtain a similar favor from your royal highness?


_Dame!_ my lord,replied Henriettaask Monsieur d'Artagnan; he will
tell you.


Chapter XXXVI:
How D'Artagnan drewas a Fairy would have donea Country-Seat from a
Deal Box.


The king's words regarding the wounded pride of Monk had inspired
D'Artagnan with no small portion of apprehension. The lieutenant had
hadall his lifethe great art of choosing his enemies; and when he had
found them implacable and invincibleit was when he had not been able
under any pretenseto make them otherwise. But points of view change
greatly in the course of a life. It is a magic lanternof which the eye
of man every year changes the aspects. It results that from the last day
of a year on which we saw whiteto the first day of the year on which we
shall see blackthere is the interval of but a single night.


NowD'Artagnanwhen he left Calais with his ten scampswould have
hesitated as little in attacking a Goliatha Nebuchadnezzaror a
Holofernesas he would in crossing swords with a recruit or caviling
with a land-lady. Then he resembled the sparrow-hawkwhichwhen



fastingwill attack a ram. Hunger is blind. But D'Artagnan satisfied -
D'Artagnan rich - D'Artagnan a conqueror - D'Artagnan proud of so
difficult a triumph - D'Artagnan had too much to lose not to reckon
figure by figurewith probable misfortune.

His thoughts were employedthereforeall the way on the road from his
presentationwith one thingand that washow he should conciliate a
man like Monka man whom Charles himselfking as he wasconciliated
with difficulty; forscarcely establishedthe protected might again
stand in need of the protectorand wouldconsequentlynot refuse him
such being the casethe petty satisfaction of transporting M.
d'Artagnanor of confining him in one of the Middlesex prisonsor
drowning him a little on his passage from Dover to Boulogne. Such sorts
of satisfaction kings are accustomed to render to viceroys without
disagreeable consequences.

It would not be at all necessary for the king to be active in that
_contrepartie_ of the play in which Monk should take his revenge. The
part of the king would be confined to simply pardoning the viceroy of
Ireland all he should undertake against D'Artagnan. Nothing more was
necessary to place the conscience of the Duke of Albemarle at rest than
a _te absolvo_ said with a laughor the scrawl of "Charles the King
traced at the foot of a parchment; and with these two words pronounced,
and these two words written, poor D'Artagnan was forever crushed beneath
the ruins of his imagination.

And then, a thing sufficiently disquieting for a man with such foresight
as our musketeer, he found himself alone; and even the friendship of
Athos could not restore his confidence. Certainly if the affair had only
concerned a free distribution of sword-thrusts, the musketeer would have
counted upon his companion; but in delicate dealings with a king, when
the _perhaps_ of an unlucky chance should arise in justification of Monk
or of Charles of England, D'Artagnan knew Athos well enough to be sure he
would give the best possible coloring to the loyalty of the survivor, and
would content himself with shedding floods of tears on the tomb of the
dead, supposing the dead to be his friend, and afterwards composing his
epitaph in the most pompous superlatives.

Decidedly thought the Gascon; and this thought was the result of the
reflections which he had just whispered to himself and which we have
repeated aloud - decidedlyI must be reconciled with M. Monkand
acquire proof of his perfect indifference for the past. Ifand God
forbid it should be so! he is still sulky and reserved in the expression
of this sentimentI shall give my money to Athos to take away with him
and remain in England just long enough to unmask himthenas I have a
quick eye and a light footI shall notice the first hostile sign; to
decamp or conceal myself at the residence of my lord Buckinghamwho
seems a good sort of devil at the bottomand to whomin return for his
hospitalityI shall relate all that history of the diamondswhich can
now compromise nobody but an old queenwho need not be ashamedafter
being the wife of a miserly creature like Mazarinof having formerly
been the mistress of a handsome nobleman like Buckingham. _Mordioux!_
that is the thingand this Monk shall not get the better of me. Eh?
and besides I have an idea!"

We know thatin generalD'Artagnan was not wanting in ideas; and during
this soliloquyD'Artagnan buttoned his vest up to the chinand nothing
excited his imagination like this preparation for a combat of any kind
called _accinction_ by the Romans. He was quite heated when he reached the
mansion of the Duke of Albemarle. He was introduced to the viceroy with
a promptitude which proved that he was considered as one of the
household. Monk was in his business-closet.

My lord,said D'Artagnanwith that expression of frankness which the


Gascon knew so well how to assumemy lord, I have come to ask your
grace's advice!

Monkas closely buttoned up morally as his antagonist was physically
replied: "Askmy friend;" and his countenance presented an expression
not less open than that of D'Artagnan.

My lord, in the first place, promise me secrecy and indulgence.

I promise you all you wish. What is the matter? Speak!

It is, my lord, that I am not quite pleased with the king.

Indeed! And on what account, my dear lieutenant?

Because his majesty gives way sometimes to jests very compromising for
his servants; and jesting, my lord, is a weapon that seriously wounds men
of the sword, as we are.

Monk did all in his power not to betray his thoughtbut D'Artagnan
watched him with too close attention not to detect an almost
imperceptible flush upon his face. "Wellnowfor my part said he,
with the most natural air possible, I am not an enemy of jestingmy
dear Monsieur d'Artagnan; my soldiers will tell you that even many times
in campI listened very indifferentlyand with a certain pleasureto
the satirical songs which the army of Lambert passed into mineand
whichcertainlywould have caused the ears of a general more
susceptible than I am to tingle."

Oh, my lord,said D'ArtagnanI know you are a complete man; I know
you have been, for a long time, placed above human miseries; but there
are jests and jests of a certain kind, which have the power of irritating
me beyond expression.

May I inquire what kind, my friend?

Such as are directed against my friends or against people I respect, my
lord!

Monk made a slight movementwhich D'Artagnan perceived. "Eh! and in
what asked Monk, in what can the stroke of a pin which scratches
another tickle your skin? Answer me that."

My lord, I can explain it to you in a single sentence; it concerns you.

Monk advanced a single step towards D'Artagnan. "Concerns me?" said he.

Yes, and this is what I cannot explain; but that arises, perhaps, from
my want of knowledge of his character. How can the king have the heart
to jest about a man who has rendered him so many and such great
services? How can one understand that he should amuse himself in setting
by the ears a lion like you with a gnat like me?

I cannot conceive that in any way,said Monk.

But so it is. The king, who owed me a reward, might have rewarded me as
a soldier, without contriving that history of the ransom, which affects
you, my lord.

No,said Monklaughing: "it does not affect me in any wayI can
assure you."

Not as regards me, I can understand; you know me, my lord, I am so
discreet that the grave would appear a babbler compared to me; but - do


you understand, my lord?

No,replied Monkwith persistent obstinacy.

If another knew the secret which I know -

What secret?

Eh! my lord, why, that unfortunate secret of Newcastle.

Oh! the million of the Comte de la Fere?

No, my lord, no; the enterprise made upon your grace's person.

It was well played, chevalier, that is all, and no more is to be said
about it: you are a soldier, both brave and cunning, which proves that
you unite the qualities of Fabius and Hannibal. You employed your means,
force and cunning: there is nothing to be said against that: I ought to
have been on guard.

Ah! yes; I know, my lord, and I expected nothing less from your
partiality; so that if it were only the abduction in itself, _Mordioux!_
that would be nothing; but there are -

What?

The circumstances of that abduction.

What circumstances?

Oh! you know very well what I mean, my lord.

No, curse me if I do.

There is - in truth, it is difficult to speak it.

There is?

Well, there is that devil of a box!

Monk colored visibly. "WellI have forgotten it."

Deal box,continued D'Artagnanwith holes for the nose and mouth. In
truth, my lord, all the rest was well; but the box, the box! that was
really a coarse joke.Monk fidgeted about in his chair. "And
notwithstanding my having done that resumed D'Artagnan, Ia soldier
of fortuneit was quite simplebecause by the side of that actiona
little inconsiderate I admitwhich I committedbut which the gravity of
the case may excuseI am circumspect and reserved."

Oh!said Monkbelieve me, I know you well, Monsieur d'Artagnan, and I
appreciate you.

D'Artagnan never took his eyes off Monk; studying all which passed in the
mind of the generalas he prosecuted _his idea_. "But it does not
concern me resumed he.

Wellthenwho does it concern?" said Monkwho began to grow a little
impatient.

It relates to the king, who will never restrain his tongue.

Well! and suppose he should say all he knows?said Monkwith a degree
of hesitation.


My lord,replied D'Artagnando not dissemble, I implore you, with a
man who speaks so frankly as I do. You have a right to feel your
susceptibility excited, however benignant it may be. What, the devil! it
is not the place for a man like you, a man who plays with crowns and
scepters as a Bohemian plays with his balls; it is not the place of a
serious man, I said, to be shut up in a box like some freak of natural
history; for you must understand it would make all your enemies ready to
burst with laughter, and you are so great, so noble, so generous, that
you must have many enemies. This secret is enough to set half the human
race laughing, if you were represented in that box. It is not decent to
have the second personage in the kingdom laughed at.

Monk was quite out of countenance at the idea of seeing himself
represented in this box. Ridiculeas D'Artagnan had judiciously
foreseenacted upon him in a manner which neither the chances of war
the aspirations of ambitionnor the fear of death had been able to do.

Good,thought the Gasconhe is frightened: I am safe.

Oh! as to the king,said Monkfear nothing, my dear Monsieur
d'Artagnan; the king will not jest with Monk, I assure you!

The momentary flash of his eye was noticed by D'Artagnan. Monk lowered
his tone immediately: "The king continued he, is of too noble a
naturethe king's heart is too high to allow him to wish ill to those
who do him good."

Oh! certainly,cried D'Artagnan. "I am entirely of your grace's
opinion with regard to his heartbut not as to his head - it is good
but it is trifling."

The king will not trifle with Monk, be assured.

Then you are quite at ease, my lord?

On that side, at least! yes, perfectly!

Oh! I understand you; you are at ease as far as the king is concerned?

I have told you I was.

But you are not so much so on my account?

I thought I had told you that I had faith in your loyalty and
discretion.

No doubt, no doubt, but you must remember one thing -

What is that?

That I was not alone, that I had companions; and what companions!

Oh! yes, I know them.

And, unfortunately, my lord, they know you, too!

Well?

Well; they are yonder, at Boulogne, waiting for me.

And you fear -

Yes, I fear that in my absence - _Parbleu!_ If I were near them, I


could answer for their silence.

Was I not right in saying that the danger, if there was any danger,
would not come from his majesty, however disposed he may be to jest, but
from your companions, as you say? To be laughed at by a king may be
tolerable, but by the horse-boys and scamps of the army! Damn it!

Yes, I understand, that would be unbearable; that is why, my lord, I
came to say, - do you not think it would be better for me to set out for
France as soon as possible?

Certainly, if you think your presence -

Would impose silence upon those scoundrels? Oh! I am sure of that, my
lord.

Your presence will not prevent the report from spreading, if the tale
has already transpired.

Oh! it has not transpired, my lord, I will wager. At all events, be
assured that I am determined upon one thing.

What is that?

To blow out the brains of the first who shall have propagated that
report, and of the first who has heard it. After which I shall return to
England to seek an asylum, and perhaps employment with your grace.

Oh, come back! come back!

Unfortunately, my lord, I am acquainted with nobody here but your grace,
and if I should no longer find you, or if you should have forgotten me in
your greatness?

Listen to me, Monsieur d'Artagnan,replied Monk; "you are a superior
manfull of intelligence and courage; you deserve all the good fortune
this world can bring you; come with me into ScotlandandI swear to
youI shall arrange for you a fate which all may envy."

Oh! my lord, that is impossible. At present I have a sacred duty to
perform; I have to watch over your glory, I have to prevent a low jester
from tarnishing in the eyes of our contemporaries - who knows? in the
eyes of posterity - the splendor of your name.

Of posterity, Monsieur d'Artagnan?

Doubtless. It is necessary, as regards posterity, that all the details
of that history should remain a mystery; for, admit that this unfortunate
history of the deal box should spread, and it should be asserted that you
had not re-established the king loyally, and of your own free will, but
in consequence of a compromise entered into at Scheveningen between you
two. It would be vain for me to declare how the thing came about, for
though I know I should not be believed, it would be said that I had
received my part of the cake, and was eating it.

Monk knitted his brow. - "Gloryhonorprobity!" said heyou are but
empty words.

Mist!replied D'Artagnan; "nothing but mistthrough which nobody can
see clearly."

Well, then, go to France, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Monk; "go
and to render England more attractive and agreeable to youaccept a
remembrance of me."


What now?thought D'Artagnan.


I have on the banks of the Clyde,continued Monka little house in a
grove, cottage as it is called here. To this house are attached a
hundred acres of land. Accept it as a souvenir.


Oh, my lord! -


Faith! you will be there in your own home, and that will be the place of
refuge you spoke of just now.


For me to be obliged to your lordship to such an extent! Really, your
grace, I am ashamed.


Not at all, not at all, monsieur,replied Monkwith an arch smile; "it
is I who shall be obliged to you. And pressing the hand of the
musketeer, I shall go and draw up the deed of gift - and he left the
room.


D'Artagnan looked at him as he went out with something of a pensive and
even an agitated air.


After all said he, he is a brave man. It is only a sad reflection
that it is from fear of meand not affection that he acts thus. WellI
shall endeavor that affection may follow." Thenafter an instant's
deeper reflection- "Bah!" said heto what purpose? He is an
Englishman.And he in turn went outa little confused after the combat.


So,said heI am a land-owner! But how the devil am I to share the
cottage with Planchet? Unless I give him the land, and I take the
chateau, or the he takes the house and I - nonsense! M. Monk will never
allow me to share a house he has inhabited, with a grocer. He is too
proud for that. Besides, why should I say anything about it to him? It
was not with the money of the company I have acquired that property, it
was with my mother-wit alone; it is all mine, then. So, now I will go
and find Athos.And he directed his steps towards the dwelling of the
Comte de la Fere.


Chapter XXXVII:
How D'Artagnan regulated the "Assets" of the Company before he
established its "Liabilities."


Decidedly,said D'Artagnan to himselfI have struck a good vein.
That star which shines once in the life of every man, which shone for Job
and Iris, the most unfortunate of the Jews and the poorest of the Greeks,
is come at last to shine on me. I will commit no folly, I will take
advantage of it; it comes quite late enough to find me reasonable.


He supped that eveningin very good humorwith his friend Athos; he
said nothing to him about the expected donationbut he could not forbear
questioning his friendwhile eatingabout country producesowingand
planting. Athos replied complacentlyas he always did. His idea was
that D'Artagnan wished to become a land-owneronly he could not help
regrettingmore than oncethe absence of the lively humor and amusing
sallies of the cheerful companion of former days. In factD'Artagnan
was so absorbedthatwith his knifehe took advantage of the grease
left at the bottom of his plateto trace ciphers and make additions of
surprising rotundity.


The orderor rather licensefor their embarkationarrived at Athos's
lodgings that evening. While this paper was remitted to the comte
another messenger brought to D'Artagnan a little bundle of parchments



adorned with all the seals employed in setting off property deeds in
England. Athos surprised him turning over the leaves of these different
acts which established the transmission of property. The prudent Monk –
others would say the generous Monk - had commuted the donation into a
saleand acknowledged the receipt of the sum of fifteen thousand crowns
as the price of the property ceded. The messenger was gone. D'Artagnan
still continued readingAthos watched him with a smile. D'Artagnan
surprising one of those smiles over his shoulderput the bundle in its
wrapper.

I beg your pardon,said Athos.

Oh! not at all, my friend,replied the lieutenantI shall tell you -

No, don't tell me anything, I beg you; orders are things so sacred, that
to one's brother, one's father, the person charged with such orders
should never open his mouth. Thus I, who speak to you, and love you more
tenderly than brother, father, or all the world -

Except your Raoul?

I shall love Raoul still better when he shall be a man, and I shall have
seen him develop himself in all the phases of his character and his
actions - as I have seen you, my friend.

You said, then, that you had an order likewise, and that you would not
communicate it to me.

Yes, my dear D'Artagnan.

The Gascon sighed. "There was a time said he, when you would have
placed that order open upon the tablesaying'D'Artagnanread this
scrawl to PorthosAramisand to me.'"

That is true. Oh! that was the time of youth, confidence, the generous
season when the blood commands, when it is warmed by feeling!

Well! Athos, will you allow me to tell you?

Speak, my friend!

That delightful time, that generous season, that ruling by warm blood,
were all very fine things, no doubt: but I do not regret them at all. It
is absolutely like the period of studies. I have constantly met with
fools who would boast of the days of pensums, ferules, and crusts of dry
bread. It is singular, but I never loved all that; for my part, however
active and sober I might be (you know if I was so, Athos), however simple
I might appear in my clothes, I would not the less have preferred the
braveries and embroideries of Porthos to my little perforated cassock,
which gave passage to the wind in winter and the sun in summer. I should
always, my friend, mistrust him who would pretend to prefer evil to
good. Now, in times past all went wrong with me, and every month found a
fresh hole in my cassock and in my skin, a gold crown less in my poor
purse; of that execrable time of small beer and see-saw, I regret
absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing save our friendship; for within me I
have a heart, and it is a miracle that heart has not been dried up by the
wind of poverty which passed through all the holes of my cloak, or
pierced by the swords of all shapes which passed through the holes in my
poor flesh.

Do not regret our friendship,said Athosthat will only die with
ourselves. Friendship is composed, above all things, of memories and
habits, and if you have just now made a little satire upon mine, because
I hesitate to tell you the nature of my mission into France -


Who! I? - Oh! heavens! if you knew, my dear friend, how indifferent all
the missions of the world will henceforth become to me!And he laid his
hand upon the parchment in his vest pocket.

Athos rose from the table and called the host in order to pay the
reckoning.

Since I have known you, my friend,said D'ArtagnanI have never
discharged the reckoning. Porthos often did, Aramis sometimes, and you,
you almost always drew out your purse with the dessert. I am now rich,
and should like to try if it is heroic to pay.

Do so,said Athosreturning his purse to his pocket.

The two friends then directed their steps towards the portnothowever
without D'Artagnan's frequently turning round to watch the transportation
of his dear crowns. Night had just spread her thick veil over the yellow
waters of the Thames; they heard those noises of casks and pulleysthe
preliminaries of preparing to sail which had so many times made the
hearts of the musketeers beat when the dangers of the sea were the least
of those they were going to face. This time they were to embark on board
a large vessel which awaited them at Gravesendand Charles II.always
delicate in small affairshad sent one of his yachtswith twelve men of
his Scots guardto do honor to the ambassador he was sending to France.
At midnight the yacht had deposited its passengers on board the vessel
and at eight o'clock in the morningthe vessel landed the ambassador and
his friend on the wharf at Boulogne. Whilst the comtewith Grimaudwas
busy procuring horses to go straight to ParisD'Artagnan hastened to the
hostelry whereaccording to his ordershis little army was to wait for
him. These gentlemen were at breakfast upon oystersfishand spiced
brandywhen D'Artagnan appeared. They were all very gaybut not one of
them had yet exceeded the bounds of reason. A hurrah of joy welcomed the
general. "Here I am said D'Artagnan, the campaign is ended. I am
come to bring each his supplement of payas agreed upon." Their eyes
sparkled. "I will lay a wager there are notat this momenta hundred
crowns remaining in the purse of the richest among you."

That is true!cried they in chorus.

Gentlemen,said D'Artagnanthen, this is the last order. The treaty
of commerce has been concluded, thanks to our _coup-de-main_ which made
us masters of the most skillful financier of England, for now I am at
liberty to confess to you that the man we had to carry off was the
treasurer of General Monk.

This word treasurer produced a certain effect on his army. D'Artagnan
observed that the eyes of Menneville alone did not evince perfect faith.
This treasurer,he continuedI conveyed to a neutral territory,
Holland; I forced him to sign the treaty; I have even reconducted him to
Newcastle, and he was obliged to be satisfied with our proceedings
towards him - the deal coffer being always carried without jolting, and
being lined softly, I asked a gratification for you. Here it is.He
threw a respectable-looking purse upon the cloth; and all involuntarily
stretched out their hands. "One momentmy lambs said D'Artagnan; if
there are profitsthere are also charges."

Oh! oh!murmured they.

We are about to find ourselves, my friends, in a position which would
not be tenable for people without brains. I speak plainly; we are
between the gallows and the Bastile.

Oh! Oh!said the chorus.


That is easily understood. It was necessary to explain to General Monk
the disappearance of his treasurer. I waited, for that purpose, till the
unhoped-for moment of the restoration of King Charles II., who is one of
my friends.

This army exchanged a glance of satisfaction in reply to the sufficiently
proud look of D'Artagnan. "The king being restoredI restored to Monk
his man of businessa little pluckedit is truebutin shortI
restored him. NowGeneral Monkwhen he pardoned mefor he has
pardoned mecould not help repeating these words to mewhich I charge
every one of you to engrave deeply therebetween the eyesunder the
vault of the cranium: - 'Monsieurthe joke has been a good onebut I
don't naturally like jokes; if ever a word of what you have done' (you
understand meMenneville) 'escapes from your lipsor the lips of your
companionsI havein my government of Scotland and Irelandseven
hundred and forty-one wooden gibbetsof strong oakclamped with iron
and freshly greased every week. I will make a present of one of these
gibbets to each of youand observe wellM. d'Artagnan' added he
(observe it alsoM. Menneville)'I shall still have seven hundred and
thirty left for my private pleasure. And still further – '"

Ah! ah!said the auxiliariesis there still more?

A mere trifle. 'Monsieur d'Artagnan, I send to the king of France the
treaty in question, with a request that he will cast into the Bastile
provisionally, and then send to me, all who have taken part in this
expedition; and that is a prayer with which the king will certainly
comply.'

A cry of terror broke from all corners of the table.

There! there! there!said D'Artagnanthis brave M. Monk has forgotten
one thing, and that is he does not know the name of any one of you; I
alone know you, and it is not I, you well may believe, who will betray
you. Why should I? As for you - I cannot suppose you will be silly
enough to denounce yourselves, for then the king, to spare himself the
expense of feeding and lodging you, will send you off to Scotland, where
the seven hundred and forty-one gibbets are to be found. That is all,
messieurs; I have not another word to add to what I have had the honor to
tell you. I am sure you have understood me perfectly well, have you not,

M. Menneville?
Perfectly,replied the latter.

Now the crowns!said D'Artagnan. "Shut the doors he cried, and
opened the bag upon the table, from which rolled several fine gold
crowns. Every one made a movement towards the floor.

Gently!" cried D'Artagnan. "Let no one stoopand then I shall not be
out in my reckoning." He found it all rightgave fifty of those
splendid crowns to each manand received as many benedictions as he
bestowed pieces. "Now said he, if it were possible for you to reform
a littleif you could become good and honest citizens - "

That is rather difficult,said one of the troop.

What then, captain?said another.

Because I might be able to find you again, and, who knows what other
good fortune?He made a sign to Mennevillewho listened to all he said
with a composed air. "Menneville said he, come with me. Adieumy
brave fellows! I need not warn you to be discreet."


Menneville followed himwhilst the salutations of the auxiliaries were
mingled with the sweet sound of the money clinking in their pockets.


Menneville,said D'Artagnanwhen they were once in the streetyou
were not my dupe; beware of being so. You did not appear to have any
fear of the gibbets of Monk, or the Bastile of his majesty, King Louis
XIV., but you will do me the favor of being afraid of me. Then listen;
at the smallest word that shall escape you, I will kill you as I would a
fowl. I have absolution from our holy father, the pope, in my pocket.


I assure you I know absolutely nothing, my dear M. d'Artagnan, and that
your words have all been to me so many articles of faith.


I was quite sure you were an intelligent fellow,said the musketeer; "I
have tried you for a length of time. These fifty crowns which I give you
above the rest will prove the esteem I have for you. Take them."


Thanks, Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Menneville.


With that sum you can really become an honest man,replied D'Artagnan
in the most serious tone possible. "It would be disgraceful for a mind
like yoursand a name you no longer dare to bearto sink forever under
the rust of an evil life. Become a gallant manMennevilleand live for
a year upon those hundred gold crowns: it is a good provision; twice the
pay of a high officer. In a year come to meand_Mordioux!_ I will
make something of you."


Menneville sworeas his comrades had swornthat he would be as silent
as the grave. And yet some one must have spoken; and ascertainlyit
was not one of the nine companionsand quite as certainlyit was not
Mennevilleit must have been D'Artagnanwhoin his quality of a
Gasconhad his tongue very near to his lips. Forin shortif it were
not hewho could it be? And how can it be explained that the secret of
the deal coffer pierced with holes should come to our knowledgeand in
so complete a fashion that we haveas has been seenrelated the history
of it in all its most minute details; details whichbesidesthrow a
light as new as unexpected upon all that portion of the history of
England which has been leftup to the present daycompletely in
darkness by the historian of our neighbors?


Chapter XXXVIII:
In which it is seen that the French Grocer had already been established
in the Seventeenth Century.


His accounts once settledand his recommendations madeD'Artagnan
thought of nothing but returning to Paris as soon as possible. Athoson
his partwas anxious to reach home and to rest a little. However whole
the character and the man may remain after the fatigues of a voyagethe
traveler perceives with pleasureat the close of the day - even though
the day has been a fine one - that night is approachingand will bring a
little sleep with it. Sofrom Boulogne to Parisjogging onside by
sidethe two friendsin some degree absorbed each in his individual
thoughtsconversed of nothing sufficiently interesting for us to repeat
to our readers. Each of them given up to his personal reflectionsand
constructing his future after his own fashionwasabove allanxious to
abridge the distance by speed. Athos and D'Artagnan arrived at the gates
of Paris on the evening of the fourth day after leaving Boulogne.


Where are you going, my friend?asked Athos. "I shall direct my course
straight to my hotel."


And I straight to my partner's.



To Planchet's?

Yes; at the Pilon d'Or.

Well, but shall we not meet again?

If you remain in Paris, yes; for I shall stay here.

No: after having embraced Raoul, with whom I have appointed a meeting at
my hotel, I shall set out immediately for La Fere.

Well, adieu, then, dear and true friend.

_Au revoir!_ I should rather say, for why can you not come and live
with me at Blois? You are free, you are rich, I shall purchase for you,
if you like, a handsome estate in the vicinity of Cheverny or of
Bracieux. On the one side you will have the finest woods in the world,
which join those of Chambord; on the other, admirable marshes. You who
love sporting, and who, whether you admit it or not, are a poet, my dear
friend, you will find pheasants, rail and teal, without counting sunsets
and excursions on the water, to make you fancy yourself Nimrod and Apollo
themselves. While awaiting the purchase, you can live at La Fere, and we
shall go together to fly our hawks among the vines, as Louis XIII. used
to do. That is a quiet amusement for old fellows like us.

D'Artagnan took the hands of Athos in his own. "Dear count said he, I
shall say neither 'Yes' nor 'No.' Let me pass in Paris the time
necessary for the regulation of my affairsand accustom myselfby
degreesto the heavy and glittering idea which is beating in my brain
and dazzles me. I am richyou seeand from this moment until the time
when I shall have acquired the habit of being richI know myselfand I
shall be an insupportable animal. NowI am not enough of a fool to wish
to appear to have lost my wits before a friend like youAthos. The
cloak is handsomethe cloak is richly gildedbut it is newand does
not seem to fit me."

Athos smiled. "So be it said he. But _a propos_ of this cloakdear
D'Artagnanwill you allow me to offer you a little advice?"

Yes, willingly.

You will not be angry?

Proceed.

When wealth comes to a man late in life or all at once, that man, in
order not to change, must most likely become a miser - that is to say,
not spend much more money than he had done before; or else become a
prodigal, and contract so many debts as to become poor again.

Oh! but what you say looks very much like a sophism, my dear philosophic
friend.

I do not think so. Will you become a miser?

No, _pardieu!_ I was one already, having nothing. Let us change.

Then be prodigal.

Still less, _Mordioux!_ Debts terrify me. Creditors appear to me, by
anticipation, like those devils who turn the damned upon the gridirons,
and as patience is not my dominant virtue, I am always tempted to thrash
those devils.


You are the wisest man I know, and stand in no need of advice from any
one. Great fools must they be who think they have anything to teach
you. But are we not at the Rue Saint Honore?

Yes, dear Athos.

Look yonder, on the left, that small, long white house is the hotel
where I lodge. You may observe that it has but two stories; I occupy the
first; the other is let to an officer whose duties oblige him to be
absent eight or nine months in the year, - so I am in that house as in my
own home, without the expense.

Oh! how well you manage, Athos! What order and what liberality! They
are what I wish to unite! But, of what use trying! that comes from
birth, and cannot be acquired.

You are a flatterer! Well! adieu, dear friend. _A propos_, remember me
to Master Planchet; he always was a bright fellow.

And a man of heart, too, Athos. Adieu.

And the separated. During all this conversationD'Artagnan had not for
a moment lost sight of a certain pack-horsein whose panniersunder
some haywere spread the _sacoches_ (messenger's bags) with the
portmanteau. Nine o'clock was striking at Saint-Merri. Planchet's helps
were shutting up his shop. D'Artagnan stopped the postilion who rode the
pack-horseat the corner of the Rue des Lombardsunder a pent-house
and calling one of Planchet's boyshe desired him not only to take care
of the two horsesbut to watch the postilion; after which he entered the
shop of the grocerwho had just finished supperand whoin his little
private roomwaswith a degree of anxietyconsulting the calendaron
whichevery eveninghe scratched out the day that was past. At the
moment when Planchetaccording to his daily customwith the back of his
penerased another dayD'Artagnan kicked the door with his footand
the blow made his steel spur jingle. "Oh! good Lord!" cried Planchet.
The worthy grocer could say no more; he had just perceived his partner.
D'Artagnan entered with a bent back and a dull eye: the Gascon had an
idea with regard to Planchet.

Good God!thought the grocerlooking earnestly at the travelerhe
looks sad!The musketeer sat down.

My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan!said Planchetwith a horrible palpitation
of the heart. "Here you are! and your health?"

Tolerably good, Planchet, tolerably good!said D'Artagnanwith a
profound sigh.

You have not been wounded, I hope?

Phew!

Ah, I see,continued Planchetmore and more alarmedthe expedition
has been a trying one?

Yes,said D'Artagnan. A shudder ran down Planchet's back. "I should
like to have something to drink said the musketeer, raising his head
piteously.

Planchet ran to the cupboard, and poured out to D'Artagnan some wine in a
large glass. D'Artagnan examined the bottle.

What wine is that?" asked he.


Alas! that which you prefer, monsieur,said Planchet; "that good old
Anjou winewhich was one day nearly costing us all so dear."

Ah!replied D'Artagnanwith a melancholy smileAh! my poor Planchet,
ought I still to drink good wine?

Come! my dear master,said Planchetmaking a super-human effort
whilst all his contracted muscleshis pallor and his trembling betrayed
the most acute anguish. "Come! I have been a soldier and consequently
have some courage; do not make me lingerdear Monsieur d'Artagnan; our
money is lostis it not?"

Before he answeredD'Artagnan took his timeand that appeared an age to
the poor grocer. Nevertheless he did nothing but turn about on his chair.

And if that were the case,said heslowlymoving his head up and
downif that were the case, what would you say, my dear friend?

Planchetfrom being paleturned yellow. It might have been thought he
was going to swallow his tongueso full became his throatso red were
his eyes!

Twenty thousand livres!murmured he. "Twenty thousand livresand
yet - "

D'Artagnanwith his neck elongatedhis legs stretched outand his
hands hanging listlesslylooked like a statue of discouragement.
Planchet drew up a sigh from the deepest cavities of his breast.

Well,said heI see how it is. Let us be men! It is all over, is it
not? The principal thing is, monsieur, that your life is safe.

Doubtless! doubtless! - life is something - but I am ruined!

_Cordieu!_ monsieur!said PlanchetIf it is so, we must not despair
for that; you shall become a grocer with me; I shall take you for my
partner, we will share the profits, and if there should be no more
profits, well, why then we shall share the almonds, raisins and prunes,
and we will nibble together the last quarter of Dutch cheese.

D'Artagnan could hold out no longer. "_Mordioux!_" cried hewith great
emotionthou art a brave fellow, on my honor, Planchet. You have not
been playing a part, have you? You have not seen the pack-horse with the
bags under the shed yonder?

What horse? What bags?said Planchetwhose trembling heart began to
suggest that D'Artagnan was mad.

Why, the English bags, _Mordioux!_said D'Artagnanall radiantquite
transfigured.

Ah! good God!articulated Planchetdrawing back before the dazzling
fire of his looks.

Imbecile!cried D'Artagnanyou think me mad! _Mordioux!_ On the
contrary, never was my head more clear, or my heart more joyous. To the
bags, Planchet, to the bags!

But to what bags, good heavens!

D'Artagnan pushed Planchet towards the window.

Under that shed yonder, don't you see a horse?


Yes.

Don't you see how his back is laden?

Yes, yes!

Don't you see your lad talking with the postilion?

Yes, yes, yes!

Well, you know the name of that lad, because he is your own. Call him.

Abdon! Abdon!vociferated Planchetfrom the window.

Bring the horse!shouted D'Artagnan.

Bring the horse!screamed Planchet.

Now give ten livres to the postilion,said D'Artagnanin the tone he
would have employed in commanding a maneuver; "two lads to bring up the
first two bagstwo to bring up the two last- and move_Mordioux!_ be
lively!"

Planchet rushed down the stairsas if the devil had been at his heels.
A moment later the lads ascended the stairsbending beneath their
burden. D'Artagnan sent them off to their garretscarefully closed the
doorand addressing Planchetwhoin his turnlooked a little wild


Now, we are by ourselves,said he; and he spread upon the floor a large
coverand emptied the first bag into it. Planchet did the same with the
second; then D'Artagnanall in a tremblelet out the precious bowels of
the third with a knife. When Planchet heard the provoking sound of the
silver and gold - when he saw bubbling out of the bags the shining
crownswhich glittered like fish from the sweep-net - when he felt
himself plunging his hands up to the elbows in that still rising tide of
yellow and white coinsa giddiness seized himand like a man struck by
lightninghe sank heavily down upon the enormous heapwhich his weight
caused to roll away in all directions. Planchetsuffocated with joy
had lost his senses. D'Artagnan threw a glass of white wine in his face
which incontinently recalled him to life.

Ah! good heavens! good heavens! good heavens!said Planchetwiping his
mustache and beard.

At that timeas they do nowgrocers wore the cavalier mustache and the
lansquenet beardonly the money bathsalready rare in those dayshave
become almost unknown now.

_Mordioux!_said D'Artagnanthere are a hundred thousand livres for
you, partner. Draw your share, if you please, and I will draw mine.

Oh! the lovely sum! Monsieur d'Artagnan, the lovely sum!

I confess that half an hour ago I regretted that I had to give you so
much; but now I no longer regret it; thou art a brave grocer, Planchet.
There, let us close our accounts, for, as they say, short reckonings make
long friends.

Oh! rather, in the first place, tell me the whole history,said
Planchet; "that must be better than the money."

_Ma foi!_said D'Artagnanstroking his mustacheI can't say no; and
if ever the historian turns to me for information, he will be able to say
he has not dipped his bucket into a dry spring. Listen, then, Planchet,


I will tell you all about it.

And I shall build piles of crowns,said Planchet. "Beginmy dear
master."

Well, this is it,said D'Artagnandrawing his breath.

And that is it,said Planchetpicking up his first handful of crowns.

Chapter XXXIX:
Mazarin's Gaming Party.

In a large chamber of the Palais Royalhung with a dark colored velvet
which threw into strong relief the gilded frames of a great number of
magnificent pictureson the evening of the arrival of the two Frenchmen
the whole court was assembled before the alcove of M. le Cardinal de
Mazarinwho gave a card party to the king and queen.

A small screen separated three prepared tables. At one of these tables
the king and the two queens were seated. Louis XIV.placed opposite to
the young queenhis wifesmiled upon her with an expression of real
happiness. Anne of Austria held the cards against the cardinaland her
daughter-in-law assisted her in the gamewhen she was not engaged in
smiling at her husband. As for the cardinalwho was lying on his bed
with a weary and careworn facehis cards were held by the Comtesse de
Soissonsand he watched them with an incessant look of interest and
cupidity.

The cardinal's face had been painted by Bernouin; but the rougewhich
glowed only on his cheeksthrew into stronger contrast the sickly pallor
of his countenance and the shining yellow of his brow. His eyes alone
acquired a more brilliant luster from this auxiliaryand upon those sick
man's eyes werefrom time to timeturned the uneasy looks of the king
the queenand the courtiers. The fact isthat the two eyes of the
Signor Mazarin were the stars more or less brilliant in which the France
of the seventeenth century read its destiny every evening and every
morning.

Monseigneur neither won nor lost; he wasthereforeneither gay nor
sad. It was a stagnation in whichfull of pity for himAnne of Austria
would not have willingly left him; but in order to attract the attention
of the sick man by some brilliant strokeshe must have either won or
lost. To win would have been dangerousbecause Mazarin would have
changed his indifference into an ugly grimace; to lose would likewise
have been dangerousbecause she must have cheatedand the infantawho
watched her gamewoulddoubtlesshave exclaimed against her partiality
for Mazarin. Profiting by this calmthe courtiers were chatting. When
not in a bad humorM. de Mazarin was a very _debonnaire_ princeand he
who prevented nobody from singingprovided they paidwas not tyrant
enough to prevent people from talkingprovided they made up their minds
to lose.

They were therefore chatting. At the first tablethe king's younger
brotherPhilipDuc d'Anjouwas admiring his handsome face in the glass
of a box. His favoritethe Chevalier de Lorraineleaning over the back
of the prince's chairwas listeningwith secret envyto the Comte de
Guicheanother of Philip's favoriteswho was relating in choice terms
the various vicissitudes of fortune of the royal adventurer Charles II.
He toldas so many fabulous eventsall the history of his
perigrinations in Scotlandand his terrors when the enemy's party was so
closely on his track; of nights spent in treesand days spent in hunger
and combats. By degreesthe fate of the unfortunate king interested his
auditors so greatlythat the play languished even at the royal table


and the young kingwith a pensive look and downcast eyefollowed
without appearing to give any attention to itthe smallest details of
this Odysseyvery picturesquely related by the Comte de Guiche.

The Comtesse de Soissons interrupted the narrator: "Confesscountyou
are inventing."

Madame, I am repeating like a parrot all the stories related to me by
different Englishmen. To my shame I am compelled to say, I am as exact
as a copy.

Charles II. would have died before he could have endured all that.

Louis XIV. raised his intelligent and proud head. "Madame said he, in
a grave tone, still partaking something of the timid child, monsieur le
cardinal will tell you that during my minority the affairs of France were
in jeopardy- and that if I had been olderand obliged to take sword in
handit would sometimes have been for the purpose of procuring the
evening meal."

Thanks to God,said the cardinalwho spoke for the first timeyour
majesty exaggerates, and your supper has always been ready with that of
your servants.

The king colored.

Oh!cried Philipinconsideratelyfrom his placeand without ceasing
to admire himself- "I recollect onceat Melunthe supper was laid for
nobodyand that the king ate two-thirds of a slice of breadand
abandoned to me the other third."

The whole assemblyseeing Mazarin smilebegan to laugh. Courtiers
flatter kings with the remembrance of past distressesas with the hopes
of future good fortune.

It is not to be denied that the crown of France has always remained firm
upon the heads of its kings,Anne of Austria hastened to sayand that
it has fallen off of that of the king of England; and when by chance that
crown oscillated a little, - for there are throne-quakes as well as
earthquakes, - every time, I say, that rebellion threatened it, a good
victory restored tranquillity.

With a few gems added to the crown,said Mazarin.

The Comte de Guiche was silent: the king composed his countenanceand
Mazarin exchanged looks with Anne of Austriaas if to thank her for her
intervention.

It is of no consequence,said Philipsmoothing his hair; "my cousin
Charles is not handsomebut he is very braveand fought like a
landsknecht; and if he continues to fight thusno doubt he will finish
by gaining a battlelike Rocroi - "

He has no soldiers,interrupted the Chevalier de Lorraine.

The king of Holland, his ally, will give him some. I would willingly
have given him some if I had been king of France.

Louis XIV. blushed excessively. Mazarin affected to be more attentive to
his game than ever.

By this time,resumed the Comte de Guichethe fortune of this unhappy
prince is decided. If he has been deceived by Monk, he is ruined.
Imprisonment, perhaps death, will finish what exiles, battles, and


privations have commenced.

Mazarin's brow became clouded.

It is certain,said Louis XIV.that his majesty Charles II., has
quitted the Hague?

Quite certain, your majesty,replied the young man; "my father has
received a letter containing all the details; it is even known that the
king has landed at Dover; some fishermen saw him entering the port; the
rest is still a mystery."

I should like to know the rest,said Philipimpetuously. "You know-
youmy brother."

Louis XIV. colored again. That was the third time within an hour. "Ask
my lord cardinal replied he, in a tone which made Mazarin, Anne of
Austria, and everybody else open their eyes.

That meansmy son said Anne of Austria, laughing, that the king does
not like affairs of state to be talked of out of the council."

Philip received the reprimand with good graceand bowedfirst smiling
at his brotherand then at his mother. But Mazarin saw from the corner
of his eye that a group was about to be formed in the corner of the room
and that the Duc d'Anjouwith the Comte de Guicheand the Chevalier de
Lorraineprevented from talking aloudmight sayin a whisperwhat it
was not convenient should be said. He was beginningthento dart at
them glances full of mistrust and uneasinessinviting Anne of Austria to
throw perturbation in the midst of the unlawful assemblywhensuddenly
Bernouinentering from behind the tapestry of the bedroomwhispered in
the ear of MazarinMonseigneur, an envoy from his majesty, the king of
England.

Mazarin could not help exhibiting a slight emotionwhich was perceived
by the king. To avoid being indiscreetrather than to appear useless
Louis XIV. rose immediatelyand approaching his eminencewished him
good-night. All the assembly had risen with a great noise of rolling of
chairs and tables being pushed away.

Let everybody depart by degrees,said Mazarin in a whisper to Louis
XIV.and be so good as to excuse me a few minutes. I am going to
dispatch an affair about which I wish to converse with your majesty this
very evening.

And the queens?asked Louis XIV.

And M. le Duc d'Anjou,said his eminence.

At the same time he turned round in his _ruelle_the curtains of which
in fallingconcealed the bed. The cardinalneverthelessdid not lose
sight of the conspirators.

M. le Comte de Guiche,said hein a fretful voicewhilst putting on
behind the curtainhis dressing-gownwith the assistance of Bernouin.

I am here, my lord,said the young manas he approached.

Take my cards, you are lucky. Win a little money for me of these
gentlemen.

Yes, my lord.

The young man sat down at the table from which the king withdrew to talk


with the two queens. A serious game was commenced between the comte and
several rich courtiers. In the meantime Philip was discussing the
questions of dress with the Chevalier de Lorraineand they had ceased to
hear the rustling of the cardinal's silk robe from behind the curtain.
His eminence had followed Bernouin into the closet adjoining the bedroom.


Chapter XL:
An Affair of State.


The cardinalon passing into his cabinetfound the Comte de la Fere
who was waiting for himengaged in admiring a very fine Raphael placed
over a sideboard covered with a plate. His eminence came in softly
lightlyand as silently as a shadowand surprised the countenance of
the comteas he was accustomed to dopretending to divine by the simple
expression of the face of his interlocutor what would be the result of
the conversation.


But this time Mazarin was foiled in his expectation: he read nothing upon
the face of Athosnot even the respect he was accustomed to see on all
faces. Athos was dressed in blackwith a simple lacing of silver. He
wore the Holy Ghostthe Garterand the Golden Fleecethree orders of
such importancethat a king aloneor else a playercould wear them at
once.


Mazarin rummaged a long time in his somewhat troubled memory to recall
the name he ought to give to this icy figurebut he did not succeed. "I
am told said he, at length, you have a message from England for me."


And he sat downdismissing Bernouinwhoin his quality of secretary
was getting his pen ready.


On the part of his majesty, the king of England, yes, your eminence.


You speak very good French for an Englishman, monsieur,said Mazarin
graciouslylooking through his fingers at the Holy GhostGarterand
Golden Fleecebut more particularly at the face of the messenger.


I am not an Englishman, but a Frenchman, monsieur le cardinal,replied
Athos.


It is remarkable that the king of England should choose a Frenchman for
his ambassador; it is an excellent augury. Your name, monsieur, if you
please.


Comte de la Fere,replied Athosbowing more slightly than the
ceremonial and pride of the all-powerful minister required.


Mazarin bent his shouldersas if to say:


I do not know that name.


Athos did not alter his carriage.


And you come, monsieur,continued Mazarinto tell me -


I come on the part of his majesty the king of Great Britain to announce
to the king of France- Mazarin frowned - "to announce to the king of
France continued Athos, imperturbably, the happy restoration of his
majesty Charles II. to the throne of his ancestors."


This shade did not escape his cunning eminence. Mazarin was too much
accustomed to mankindnot to see in the cold and almost haughty
politeness of Athosan index of hostilitywhich was not of the



temperature of that hot-house called a court.

You have powers, I suppose?asked Mazarinin a shortquerulous tone.

Yes, monseigneur.And the word "monseigneur" came so painfully from
the lips of Athos that it might be said it skinned them.

Athos took from an embroidered velvet bag which he carried under his
doublet a dispatch. The cardinal held out his hand for it. "Your
pardonmonseigneur said Athos. My dispatch is for the king."

Since you are a Frenchman, monsieur, you ought to know the position of a
prime minister at the court of France.

There was a time,replied Athoswhen I occupied myself with the
importance of prime ministers; but I have formed, long ago, a resolution
to treat no longer with any but the king.

Then, monsieur,said Mazarinwho began to be irritatedyou will
neither see the minister nor the king.

Mazarin rose. Athos replaced his dispatch in its bagbowed gravelyand
made several steps towards the door. This coolness exasperated Mazarin.
What strange diplomatic proceedings are these!cried he. "Have we
returned to the times when Cromwell sent us bullies in the guise of
_charges d'affaires?_ You want nothingmonsieurbut the steel cap on
your headand a Bible at your girdle."

Monsieur,said AthosdrylyI have never had, as you have, the
advantage of treating with Cromwell; and I have only seen his _charges
d'affaires_ sword in hand; I am therefore ignorant of how he treated with
prime ministers. As for the king of England, Charles II., I know that
when he writes to his majesty King Louis XIV., he does not write to his
eminence the Cardinal Mazarin. I see no diplomacy in that distinction.

Ah!cried Mazarinraising his attenuated handand striking his head
I remember now!Athos looked at him in astonishment. "Yesthat is
it!" said the cardinalcontinuing to look at his interlocutor; "yes
that is certainly it. I know you nowmonsieur. Ah! _diavolo!_ I am no
longer astonished."

In fact, I was astonished that, with your eminence's excellent memory,
replied Athossmilingyou had not recognized me before.

Always refractory and grumbling - monsieur - monsieur - What do they
call you? Stop - a name of a river - Potamos; no - the name of an island

-Naxos; no, _per Giove!_ - the name of a mountain - Athos! now I have
it. Delighted to see you again, and to be no longer at Rueil, where you
and your damned companions made me pay ransom. Fronde! still Fronde!
accursed Fronde! Oh, what grudges! Why, monsieur, have your antipathies
survived mine? If any one has cause to complain, I think it could not be
you, who got out of the affair not only in a sound skin, but with the
_cordon_ of the Holy Ghost around your neck.
My lord cardinal,replied Athospermit me not to enter into
considerations of that kind. I have a mission to fulfill. Will you
facilitate the means of my fulfilling that mission, or will you not?

I am astonished,said Mazarin- quite delighted at having recovered
his memoryand bristling with malice- "I am astonishedMonsieur –
Athos - that a _Frondeur_ like you should have accepted a mission for the
Perfidious Mazarinas used to be said in the good old times - " And
Mazarin began to laughin spite of a painful coughwhich cut short his
sentencesconverting them into sobs.


I have only accepted the mission near the king of France, monsieur le
cardinal,retorted the comtethough with less asperityfor he thought
he had sufficiently the advantage to show himself moderate.

And yet, _Monsieur le Frondeur_,said Mazaringaylythe affair which
you have taken in charge must, from the king -

With which I have been given in charge, monseigneur. I do not run after
affairs.

Be it so. I say that this negotiation must pass through my hands. Let
us lose no precious time, then. Tell me the conditions.

I have had the honor of assuring your eminence that only the letter of
his majesty King Charles II. contains the revelation of his wishes.

Pooh! you are ridiculous with your obstinacy, Monsieur Athos. It is
plain you have kept company with the Puritans yonder. As to your secret,
I know it better than you do; and you have done wrongly, perhaps, in not
having shown some respect for a very old and suffering man, who has
labored much during his life, and kept the field for his ideas as bravely
as you have for yours. You will not communicate your letter to me? You
will say nothing to me? Very well! Come with me into my chamber; you
shall speak to the king - and before the king. - Now, then, one last
word: who gave you the Fleece? I remember you passed for having the
Garter; but as to the Fleece, I do not know -

Recently, my lord, Spain, on the occasion of the marriage of his majesty
Louis XIV., sent King Charles II. a brevet of the Fleece in blank;
Charles II. immediately transmitted it to me, filling up the blank with
my name.

Mazarin aroseand leaning on the arm of Bernouinhe returned to his
_ruelle_ at the moment the name of M. le Prince was being announced. The
Prince de Condethe first prince of the bloodthe conqueror of Rocroi
Lensand Nordlingenwasin factentering the apartment of Monseigneur
de Mazarinfollowed by his gentlemenand had already saluted the king
when the prime minister raised his curtain. Athos had time to see Raoul
pressing the hand of the Comte de Guicheand send him a smile in return
for his respectful bow. He had timelikewiseto see the radiant
countenance of the cardinalwhen he perceived before himupon the
tablean enormous heap of goldwhich the Comte de Guiche had won in a
run of luckafter his eminence had confided his cards to him. So
forgetting ambassadorembassy and princehis first thought was of the
gold. "What!" cried the old man - "all that - won?"

Some fifty thousand crowns; yes, monseigneur,replied the Comte de
Guicherising. "Must I give up my place to your eminenceor shall I
continue?"

Give up! give up! you are mad. You would lose all you have won.
_Peste!_

My lord!said the Prince de Condebowing.

Good-evening, monsieur le prince,said the ministerin a careless
tone; "it is very kind of you to visit an old sick friend."

A friend!murmured the Comte de la Fereat witnessing with stupor this
monstrous alliance of words; - "friends! when the parties are Conde and
Mazarin!"

Mazarin seemed to divine the thoughts of the _Frondeur_for he smiled


upon him with triumphand immediately- "Sire said he to the king, I
have the honor of presenting to your majestyMonsieur le Comte de la
Fereambassador from his Britannic majesty. An affair of state
gentlemen added he, waving his hand to all who filled the chamber, and
who, the Prince de Conde at their head, all disappeared at the simple
gesture. Raoul, after a last look cast at the comte, followed M. de
Conde. Philip of Anjou and the queen appeared to be consulting about
departing.

A family affair said Mazarin, suddenly, detaining them in their
seats. This gentleman is the bearer of a letter in which King Charles
II.completely restored to his thronedemands an alliance between
Monsieurthe brother of the kingand Mademoiselle Henriettagranddaughter
of Henry IV. Will you remit your letter of credit to the king
monsieur le comte?"

Athos remained for a minute stupefied. How could the minister possibly
know the contents of the letterwhich had never been out of his keeping
for a single instant? Neverthelessalways master of himselfhe held
out the dispatch to the young kingLouis XIV.who took it with a
blush. A solemn silence reigned in the cardinal's chamber. It was only
troubled by the dull sound of the goldwhich Mazarinwith his yellow
dry handpiled up in a casketwhilst the king was reading.

Chapter XLI:
The Recital.

The maliciousness of the cardinal did not leave much for the ambassador
to say; neverthelessthe word "restoration" had struck the kingwho
addressing the comteupon whom his eyes had been fixed since his
entrance- "Monsieur said he, will you have the kindness to give us
some details concerning the affairs of England. You come from that
countryyou are a Frenchmanand the orders which I see glittering upon
your person announce you to be a man of merit as well as a man of
quality."

Monsieur,said the cardinalturning towards the queen-motheris an
ancient servant of your majesty's, Monsieur le Comte de la Fere.

Anne of Austria was as oblivious as a queen whose life had been mingled
with fine and stormy days. She looked at Mazarinwhose evil smile
promised her something disagreeable; then she solicited from Athosby
another lookan explanation.

Monsieur,continued the cardinalwas a Treville musketeer, in the
service of the late king. Monsieur is well acquainted with England,
whither he has made several voyages at various periods; he is a subject
of the highest merit.

These words made allusion to all the memories which Anne of Austria
trembled to evoke. Englandthat was her hatred of Richelieu and her
love for Buckingham; a Treville musketeerthat was the whole Odyssey of
the triumphs which had made the heart of the young woman throband of
the dangers which had been so near overturning the throne of the young
queen. These words had much powerfor they rendered mute and attentive
all the royal personageswhowith very various sentimentsset about
recomposing at the same time the mysteries which the young had not seen
and which the old had believed to be forever effaced.

Speak, monsieur,said Louis XIV.the first to escape from troubles
suspicionsand remembrances.

Yes, speak,added Mazarinto whom the little malicious thrust directed


against Anne of Austria had restored energy and gayety.

Sire,said the comtea sort of miracle has changed the whole destiny
of Charles II. That which men, till that time, had been unable to do,
God resolved to accomplish.

Mazarin coughed while tossing about in his bed.

King Charles II.,continued Athosleft the Hague neither as a
fugitive nor a conqueror, but as an absolute king, who, after a distant
voyage from his kingdom, returns amidst universal benedictions.

A great miracle, indeed,said Mazarin; "forif the news was trueKing
Charles II.who has just returned amidst benedictionswent away amidst
musket-shots."

The king remained impassible. Philipyounger and more frivolouscould
not repress a smilewhich flattered Mazarin as an applause of his
pleasantry.

It is plain,said the kingthere is a miracle; but God, who does so
much for kings, monsieur le comte, nevertheless employs the hand of man
to bring about the triumph of His designs. To what men does Charles II.
principally owe his re-establishment?

Why,interrupted Mazarinwithout any regard for the king's pride –
does not your majesty know that it is to M. Monk?

I ought to know it,replied Louis XIV.resolutely; "and yet I ask my
lord ambassadorthe causes of the change in this General Monk?"

And your majesty touches precisely the question,replied Athos; "for
without the miracle of which I have had the honor to speakGeneral Monk
would probably have remained an implacable enemy of Charles II. God
willed that a strangeboldand ingenious idea should enter into the
mind of a certain manwhilst a devoted and courageous idea took
possession of the mind of another man. The combinations of these two
ideas brought about such a change in the position of M. Monkthatfrom
an inveterate enemyhe became a friend to the deposed king."

These are exactly the details I asked for,said the king. "Who and
what are the two men of whom you speak?"

Two Frenchmen, sire.

Indeed! I am glad of that.

And the two ideas,said Mazarin; - "I am more curious about ideas than
about menfor my part."

Yes,murmured the king.

The second idea, the devoted, reasonable idea - the least important, sir

-was to go and dig up a million in gold, buried by King Charles I. at
Newcastle, and to purchase with that gold the adherence of Monk.
Oh, oh!said Mazarinreanimated by the word million. "But Newcastle
was at the time occupied by Monk."

Yes, monsieur le cardinal, and that is why I venture to call the idea
courageous as well as devoted. It was necessary, if Monk refused the
offers of the negotiator, to reinstate King Charles II. in possession of
this million, which was to be torn, as it were, from the loyalty and not
the loyalism of General Monk. This was effected in spite of many


difficulties: the general proved to be loyal, and allowed the money to be
taken away.

It seems to me,said the timidthoughtful kingthat Charles II.
could not have known of this million whilst he was in Paris.

It seems to me,rejoined the cardinalmaliciouslythat his majesty
the king of Great Britain knew perfectly well of this million, but that
he preferred having two millions to having one.

Sire,said Athosfirmlythe king of England, whilst in France, was
so poor that he had not even money to take the post; so destitute of hope
that he frequently thought of dying. He was so entirely ignorant of the
existence of the million at Newcastle, that but for a gentleman - one of
your majesty's subjects - the moral depositary of the million, who
revealed the secret to King Charles II., that prince would still be
vegetating in the most cruel forgetfulness.

Let us pass on to the strange, bold and ingenious idea,interrupted
Mazarinwhose sagacity foresaw a check. "What was that idea?"

This - M. Monk formed the only obstacle to the re-establishment of the
fallen king. A Frenchman imagined the idea of suppressing this obstacle.

Oh! oh! but he is a scoundrel, that Frenchman,said Mazarin; "and the
idea is not so ingenious as to prevent its author being tied up by the
neck at the Place de Greveby decree of the parliament."

Your eminence is mistaken,replied Athosdryly; "I did not say that
the Frenchman in question had resolved to assassinate M. Monkbut only
to suppress him. The words of the French language have a value which the
gentlemen of France know perfectly. Besidesthis is an affair of war;
and when men serve kings against their enemies they are not to be
condemned by a parliament - God is their judge. This French gentleman
thenformed the idea of gaining possession of the person of Monkand he
executed his plan."

The king became animated at the recital of great actions. The king's
younger brother struck the table with his handexclaimingAh! that is
fine!

He carried off Monk?said the king. "WhyMonk was in his camp."

And the gentleman was alone, sire.

That is marvelous!said Philip.

Marvelous, indeed!cried the king.

Good! There are the two little lions unchained,murmured the
cardinal. And with an air of spitewhich he did not dissemble: "I am
unacquainted with these detailswill you guarantee their authenticity
monsieur?"

All the more easily, my lord cardinal, from having seen the events.

You have?

Yes, monseigneur.

The king had involuntarily drawn close to the countthe Duc d'Anjou had
turned sharply roundand pressed Athos on the other side.

What next? monsieur, what next?cried they both at the same time.


Sire, M. Monk, being taken by the Frenchman, was brought to King Charles
II., at the Hague. The king gave back his freedom to Monk, and the
grateful general, in return, gave Charles II. the throne of Great
Britain, for which so many valiant men had fought in vain.

Philip clapped his hands with enthusiasmLouis XIV.more reflective
turned towards the Comte de la Fere.

Is this true,said hein all its details?

Absolutely true, sire.

That one of my gentlemen knew the secret of the million, and kept it?

Yes, sire.

The name of that gentleman?

It was your humble servant,said Athossimplyand bowing.

A murmur of admiration made the heart of Athos swell with pleasure. He
had reason to be proudat least. Mazarinhimselfhad raised his arms
towards heaven.

Monsieur,said the kingI shall seek and find means to reward you.
Athos made a movement. "Ohnot for your honestyto be paid for that
would humiliate you; but I owe you a reward for having participated in
the restoration of my brotherKing Charles II."

Certainly,said Mazarin.

It is the triumph of a good cause which fills the whole house of France
with joy,said Anne of Austria.

I continue,said Louis XIV.: "Is it also true that a single man
penetrated to Monkin his campand carried him off?"

That man had ten auxiliaries, taken from a very inferior rank.

And nothing more but them?

Nothing more.

And he is named?

Monsieur d'Artagnan, formerly lieutenant of the musketeers of your
majesty.

Anne of Austria colored; Mazarin became yellow with shame; Louis XIV. was
deeply thoughtfuland a drop of moisture fell from his pale brow. "What
men!" murmured he. Andinvoluntarilyhe darted a glance at the
minister which would have terrified himif Mazarinat the momenthad
not concealed his head under his pillow.

Monsieur,said the young Duc d'Anjouplacing his handdelicate and
white as that of a womanupon the arm of Athostell that brave man, I
beg you, that Monsieur, brother of the king, will to-morrow drink his
health before five hundred of the best gentlemen of France.Andon
finishing those wordsthe young manperceiving that his enthusiasm had
deranged one of his rufflesset to work to put it to rights with the
greatest care imaginable.

Let us resume business, sire,interrupted Mazarinwho never was


enthusiasticand who wore no ruffles.


Yes, monsieur,replied Louis XIV. "Pursue your communicationmonsieur
le comte added he, turning towards Athos.


Athos immediately began and offered in due form the hand of the Princess
Henrietta Stuart to the young prince, the king's brother. The conference
lasted an hour; after which the doors of the chamber were thrown open to
the courtiers, who resumed their places as if nothing had been kept from
them in the occupations of that evening. Athos then found himself again
with Raoul, and the father and son were able to clasp each other's hands.


Chapter XLII:
In which Mazarin becomes Prodigal.


Whilst Mazarin was endeavoring to recover from the serious alarm he had
just experienced, Athos and Raoul were exchanging a few words in a corner
of the apartment. Wellhere you are at ParisthenRaoul?" said the
comte.


Yes, monsieur, since the return of M. le Prince.


I cannot converse freely with you here, because we are observed; but I
shall return home presently, and shall expect you as soon as your duty
permits.


Raoul bowedandat that momentM. le Prince came up to them. The
prince had that clear and keen look which distinguishes birds of prey of
the noble species; his physiognomy itself presented several distinct
traits of this resemblance. It is known that in the Prince de Condethe
aquiline nose rose out sharply and incisively from a brow slightly
retreatingrather low than highand according to the railers of the
court- a pitiless race without mercy even for genius- constituted
rather an eagle's beak than a human nosein the heir of the illustrious
princes of the house of Conde. This penetrating lookthis imperious
expression of the whole countenancegenerally disturbed those to whom
the prince spokemore than either majesty or regular beauty could have
done in the conqueror of Rocroi. Besides thisthe fire mounted so
suddenly to his projecting eyesthat with the prince every sort of
animation resembled passion. Nowon account of his rankeverybody at
the court respected M. le Princeand many evenseeing only the man
carried their respect as far as terror.


Louis de Conde then advanced towards the Comte de la Fere and Raoulwith
the marked intention of being saluted by the oneand of speaking with
the other. No man bowed with more reserved grace than the Comte de la
Fere. He disdained to put into a salutation all the shades which a
courtier ordinarily borrows from the same color - the desire to please.
Athos knew his own personal valueand bowed to the prince like a man
correcting by something sympathetic and undefinable that which might have
appeared offensive to the pride of the highest rank in the inflexibility
of his attitude. The prince was about to speak to Raoul. Athos
forestalled him. "If M. le Vicomte de Bragelonne said he, were not
one of the humble servants of your royal highnessI would beg him to
pronounce my name before you - _mon prince_."


I have the honor to address Monsieur le Comte de la Fere,said Conde
instantly.


My protector,added Raoulblushing.


One of the most honorable men in the kingdom,continued the prince;
one of the first gentlemen of France, and of whom I have heard so much



that I have frequently desired to number him among my friends.

An honor of which I should be unworthy,replied Athosbut for the
respect and admiration I entertain for your royal highness.

Monsieur de Bragelonne,said the princeis a good officer, and it is
plainly seen that he has been to a good school. Ah, monsieur le comte,
in your time, generals had soldiers!

That is true, my lord, but nowadays soldiers have generals.

This complimentwhich savored so little of flatterygave a thrill of
joy to the man whom already Europe considered a hero; and who might be
thought to be satiated with praise.

I regret very much,continued the princethat you should have retired
from the service, monsieur le comte; for it is more than probable that
the king will soon have a war with Holland or England, and opportunities
for distinguishing himself would not be wanting for a man who, like you,
knows Great Britain as well as you do France.

I believe I may say, monseigneur, that I have acted wisely in retiring
from the service,said Athossmiling. "France and Great Britain will
henceforward live like two sistersif I can trust my presentiments."

Your presentiments?

Stop, monseigneur, listen to what is being said yonder, at the table of
my lord the cardinal.

Where they are playing?

Yes, my lord.

The cardinal had just raised himself on one elbowand made a sign to the
king's brotherwho went to him.

My lord,said the cardinalpick up, if you please, all those gold
crowns.And he pointed to the enormous pile of yellow and glittering
pieces which the Comte de Guiche had raised by degrees before him by a
surprising run of luck at play.

For me?cried the Duc d'Anjou.

Those fifty thousand crowns; yes, monseigneur, they are yours.

Do you give them to me?

I have been playing on your account, monseigneur,replied the cardinal
getting weaker and weakeras if this effort of giving money had
exhausted all his physical and moral faculties.

Oh, good heavens!exclaimed Philipwild with joywhat a fortunate
day!And he himselfmaking a rake of his fingersdrew a part of the
sum into his pocketswhich he filledand still full a third remained on
the table.

Chevalier,said Philip to his favoritethe Chevalier de Lorraine
come hither, chevalier.The favorite quickly obeyed. "Pocket the
rest said the young prince.

This singular scene was considered by the persons present only as a
touching kind of family _fete_. The cardinal assumed the airs of a
father with the sons of France, and the two princes had grown up under


his wing. No one then imputed to pride, or even impertinence, as would
be done nowadays, this liberality on the part of the first minister. The
courtiers were satisfied with envying the prince. - The king turned away
his head.

I never had so much money before said the young prince, joyously, as
he crossed the chamber with his favorite to go to his carriage. No
never! What a weight these crowns are!"

But why has monsieur le cardinal given away all this money at once?
asked M. le Prince of the Comte de la Fere. "He must be very illthe
dear cardinal!"

Yes, my lord, very ill, without doubt; he looks very ill, as your royal
highness may perceive.

But surely he will die of it. A hundred and fifty thousand livres! Oh,
it is incredible! But, comte, tell me a reason for it?

Patience, monseigneur, I beg of you. Here comes M. le Duc d'Anjou,
talking with the Chevalier de Lorraine; I should not be surprised if they
spared us the trouble of being indiscreet. Listen to them.

In fact the chevalier said to the prince in a low voiceMy lord, it is
not natural for M. Mazarin to give you so much money. Take care! you
will let some of the pieces fall, my lord. What design has the cardinal
upon you to make him so generous?

As I said,whispered Athos in the prince's ear; "thatperhapsis the
best reply to your question."

Tell me, my lord,repeated the chevalier impatientlyas he was
calculatingby weighing them in his pocketthe quota of the sum which
had fallen to his share by rebound.

My dear chevalier, a wedding present.

How a wedding present?

Eh! yes, I am going to be married,replied the Duc d'Anjouwithout
perceivingat the momenthe was passing the prince and Athoswho both
bowed respectfully.

The chevalier darted at the young duke a glance so strangeand so
maliciousthat the Comte de la Fere quite started on beholding it.

You! you to be married!repeated he; "oh! that's impossible. You would
not commit such a folly!"

Bah! I don't do it myself; I am made to do it,replied the Duc
d'Anjou. "But comequick! let us get rid of our money." Thereupon he
disappeared with his companionlaughing and talkingwhilst all heads
were bowed on his passage.

Then,whispered the prince to Athosthat is the secret.

It was not I who told you so, my lord.

He is to marry the sister of Charles II.?

I believe so.

The prince reflected for a momentand his eye shot forth one of its not
infrequent flashes. "Humph!" said he slowlyas if speaking to himself;


our swords are once more to be hung on the wall - for a long time!and
he sighed.

All that sigh contained of ambition silently stifledof extinguished
illusions and disappointed hopesAthos alone divinedfor he alone heard
that sigh. Immediately afterthe prince took leave and the king left
the apartment. Athosby a sign made to Bragelonnerenewed the desire
he had expressed at the beginning of the scene. By degrees the chamber
was desertedand Mazarin was left alonea prey to suffering which he
could no longer dissemble. "Bernouin! Bernouin!" cried he in a broken
voice.

What does monseigneur want?

Guenaud - let Guenaud be sent for,said his eminence. "I think I'm
dying."

Bernouinin great terrorrushed into the cabinet to give the orderand
the _piqueur_who hastened to fetch the physicianpassed the king's
carriage in the Rue Saint Honore.

Chapter XLIII:
Guenaud.

The cardinal's order was pressing; Guenaud quickly obeyed it. He found
his patient stretched on his bedhis legs swelledhis face lividand
his stomach collapsed. Mazarin had a severe attack of gout. He suffered
tortures with the impatience of a man who has not been accustomed to
resistances. On seeing Guenaud: "Ah!" said he; "now I am saved!"

Guenaud was a very learned and circumspect manwho stood in no need of
the critiques of Boileau to obtain a reputation. When facing a disease
if it were personified in a kinghe treated the patient as a Turk treats
a Moor. He did notthereforereply to Mazarin as the minister
expected: "Here is the doctor; good-bye disease!" On the contraryon
examining his patientwith a very serious air:

Oh! oh!said he.

Eh! what! Guenaud! How you look at me!

I look as I should on seeing your complaint, my lord; it is a very
dangerous one.

The gout - oh! yes, the gout.

With complications, my lord.

Mazarin raised himself upon his elbowandquestioning by look and
gesture: "What do you mean by that? Am I worse than I believe myself to
be?"

My lord,said Guenaudseating himself beside the bed; "your eminence
has worked very hard during your life; your eminence has suffered much."

But I am not old, I fancy. The late M. de Richelieu was but seventeen
months younger than I am when he died, and died of a mortal disease. I
am young, Guenaud: remember, I am scarcely fifty-two.

Oh! my lord, you are much more than that. How long did the Fronde last?

For what purpose do you put such a question to me?


For a medical calculation, monseigneur.

Well, some ten years - off and on.

Very well; be kind enough to reckon every year of the Fronde as three
years - that makes thirty; now twenty and fifty-two makes seventy-two
years. You are seventy-two, my lord; and that is a great age.

Whilst saying thishe felt the pulse of his patient. This pulse was
full of such fatal indicationsthat the physician continued
notwithstanding the interruptions of the patient: "Put down the years of
the Fronde at four eachand you have lived eighty-two years."

Are you speaking seriously, Guenaud?

Alas! yes, monseigneur.

You take a roundabout way, then, to inform me that I am very ill?

_Ma foi!_ yes, my lord, and with a man of the mind and courage of your
eminence, it ought not to be necessary to do so.

The cardinal breathed with such difficulty that he inspired pity even in
a pitiless physician. "There are diseases and diseases resumed
Mazarin. From some of them people escape."

That is true, my lord.

Is it not?cried Mazarinalmost joyously; "forin shortwhat else
would be the use of powerof strength of will? What would the use of
genius be - your geniusGuenaud? What would be the use of science and
artif the patientwho disposes of all thatcannot be saved from
peril?"

Guenaud was about to open his mouthbut Mazarin continued:

Remember,said heI am the most confiding of your patients; remember
I obey you blindly, and that consequently -

I know all that,said Guenaud.

I shall be cured, then?

Monseigneur, there is neither strength of will, nor power, nor genius,
nor science that can resist a disease which God doubtless sends, or which
He cast upon the earth at the creation, with full power to destroy and
kill mankind. When the disease is mortal, and nothing can -

Is - my - disease - mortal?asked Mazarin.

Yes, my lord.

His eminence sank down for a momentlike an unfortunate wretch who is
crushed by a falling column. But the spirit of Mazarin was a strong one
or rather his mind was a firm one. "Guenaud said he, recovering from
his first shock, you will permit me to appeal from your judgment. I
will call together the most learned men of Europe: I will consult them.
I will livein shortby the virtue of I care not what remedy."

My lord must not suppose,said Guenaudthat I have the presumption to
pronounce alone upon an existence so valuable as yours. I have already
assembled all the good physicians and practitioners of France and
Europe. There were twelve of them.


And they said -

They said that your eminence was suffering from a mortal disease; I have
the consultation signed in my portfolio. If your eminence will please to
see it, you will find the names of all the incurable diseases we have met
with. There is first -

No, no!cried Mazarinpushing away the paper. "NonoGuenaudI
yield! I yield!" And a profound silenceduring which the cardinal
resumed his senses and recovered his strengthsucceeded to the agitation
of this scene. "There is another thing murmured Mazarin; there are
empirics and charlatans. In my countrythose whom physicians abandon
run the chance of a quackwho kills them ten times but saves them a
hundred times."

Has not your eminence observed, that during the last month I have
changed my remedies ten times?

Yes. Well?

Well, I have spent fifty thousand crowns in purchasing the secrets of
all these fellows: the list is exhausted, and so is my purse. You are
not cured: and, but for my art, you would be dead.

That ends it!murmured the cardinal; "that ends it." And he threw a
melancholy look upon the riches which surrounded him. "And must I quit
all that?" sighed he. "I am dyingGuenaud! I am dying!"

Oh! not yet, my lord,said the physician.

Mazarin seized his hand. "In what time?" asked hefixing his two large
eyes upon the impassible countenance of the physician.

My lord, we never tell that.

To ordinary men, perhaps not; - but to me - to me, whose every minute is
worth a treasure. Tell me, Guenaud, tell me!

No, no, my lord.

I insist upon it, I tell you. Oh! give me a month, and for every one of
those thirty days I will pay you a hundred thousand crowns.

My lord,replied Guenaudin a firm voiceit is God who can give you
days of grace, and not I. God only allows you a fortnight.

The cardinal breathed a painful sighand sank back down upon his pillow
murmuringThank you, Guenaud, thank you!

The physician was about to depart; the dying manraising himself up:
Silence!said hewith flaming eyessilence!

My lord, I have known this secret two months; you see that I have kept
it faithfully.

Go, Guenaud; I will take care of your fortunes; go, and tell Brienne to
send me a clerk called M. Colbert. Go!

Chapter XLIV:
Colbert.

Colbert was not far off. During the whole evening he had remained in one
of the corridorschatting with Bernouin and Brienneand commenting


with the ordinary skill of people of courtupon the news which developed
like air-bubbles upon the wateron the surface of each event. It is
doubtless time to tracein a few wordsone of the most interesting
portraits of the ageand to trace it with as much truthperhapsas
contemporary painters have been able to do. Colbert was a man in whom
the historian and the moralist have an equal right.

He was thirteen years older than Louis XIV.his future master. Of
middle heightrather lean than otherwisehe had deep-set eyesa mean
appearancehis hair was coarseblack and thinwhichsay the
biographers of his timemade him take early to the skull-cap. A look of
severityof harshness evena sort of stiffnesswhichwith inferiors
was pridewith superiors an affectation of superior virtue; a surly cast
of countenance upon all occasionseven when looking at himself in a
glass alone - such is the exterior of his personage. As to the moral
part of his characterthe depth of his talent for accountsand his
ingenuity in making sterility itself productivewere much boasted of.
Colbert had formed the idea of forcing governors of frontier places to
feed the garrisons without paywith what they drew from contributions.
Such a valuable quality made Mazarin think of replacing Jouberthis
intendantwho had recently diedby M. Colbertwho had such skill in
nibbling down allowances. Colbert by degrees crept into court
notwithstanding his lowly birthfor he was the son of a man who sold
wine as his father had donebut who afterwards sold clothand then silk
stuffs. Colbertdestined for tradehad been clerk in Lyons to a
merchantwhom he had quitted to come to Paris in the office of a Chatlet
procureur named Biterne. It was here he learned the art of drawing up an
accountand the much more valuable one of complicating it.

This stiffness of manner in Colbert had been of great service to him; it
is so true that Fortunewhen she has a capriceresembles those women of
antiquitywhowhen they had a fancywere disgusted by no physical or
moral defects in either men or things. Colbertplaced with Michel
Letelliersecretary of state in 1648by his cousin ColbertSeigneur de
Saint-Penangewho protected himreceived one day from the minister a
commission for Cardinal Mazarin. His eminence was then in the enjoyment
of flourishing healthand the bad years of the Fronde had not yet
counted triple and quadruple for him. He was at Sedanvery much annoyed
at a court intrigue in which Anne of Austria seemed inclined to desert
his cause.

Of this intrigue Letellier held the thread. He had just received a
letter from Anne of Austriaa letter very valuable to himand strongly
compromising Mazarin; butas he already played the double part which
served him so welland by which he always managed two enemies so as to
draw advantage from botheither by embroiling them more and more or by
reconciling themMichel Letellier wished to send Anne of Austria's
letter to Mazarinin order that he might be acquainted with itand
consequently pleased with his having so willingly rendered him a
service. To send the letter was an easy matter; to recover it again
after having communicated itthat was the difficulty. Letellier cast
his eyes around himand seeing the black and meager clerk with the
scowling browscribbling away in his officehe preferred him to the
best gendarme for the execution of this design.

Colbert was commanded to set out for Sedanwith positive orders to carry
the letter to Mazarinand bring it back to Letellier. He listened to
his orders with scrupulous attentionrequired the instructions to be
repeated twiceand was particular in learning whether the bringing back
was as necessary as the communicatingand Letellier replied sternly
More necessary.Then he set outtraveled like a courierwithout any
care for his bodyand placed in the hands of Mazarinfirst a letter
from Letellierwhich announced to the cardinal the sending of the
precious letterand then that letter itself. Mazarin colored greatly


whilst reading Anne of Austria's lettergave Colbert a gracious smile
and dismissed him.

When shall I have the answer, monseigneur?

To-morrow.

To-morrow morning?

Yes, monsieur.

The clerk turned upon his heelafter making his very best bow. The next
day he was at his post at seven o'clock. Mazarin made him wait till
ten. He remained patiently in the ante-chamber; his turn having comehe
entered; Mazarin gave him a sealed packet. On the envelope of this packet
were these words: - Monsieur Michel Letellieretc. Colbert looked at
the packet with much attention; the cardinal put on a pleasant
countenance and pushed him towards the door.

And the letter of the queen-mother, my lord?asked Colbert.

It is in with the rest, in the packet,said Mazarin.

Oh! very well,replied Colbert; and placing his hat between his knees
he began to unseal the packet.

Mazarin uttered a cry. "What are you doing?" said heangrily.

I am unsealing the packet, my lord.

You mistrust me, then, master pedant, do you? Did any one ever see such
impertinence?

Oh! my lord, do not be angry with me! It is certainly not your
eminence's word I place in doubt, God forbid!

What then?

It is the carefulness of your chancery, my lord. What is a letter? A
rag. May not a rag be forgotten? And look, my lord, look if I was not
right. Your clerks have forgotten the rag; the letter is not in the
packet.

You are an insolent fellow, and you have not looked,cried Mazarin
very angrily; "begone and wait my pleasure." Whilst saying these words
with perfectly Italian subtlety he snatched the packet from the hands of
Colbertand re-entered his apartments.

But this anger could not last so long as to be replaced in time by
reason. Mazarinevery morningon opening his closet doorfound the
figure of Colbert like a sentinel behind the benchand this disagreeable
figure never failed to ask him humblybut with tenacityfor the queenmother's
letter. Mazarin could hold out no longerand was obliged to
give it up. He accompanied this restitution with a most severe
reprimandduring which Colbert contented himself with examining
feelingeven smellingas it werethe paperthe charactersand the
signatureneither more nor less than if he had to deal with the greatest
forger in the kingdom. Mazarin behaved still more rudely to himbut
Colbertstill impassiblehaving obtained a certainty that the letter
was the true onewent off as if he had been deaf. This conduct obtained
for him afterwards the post of Joubert; for Mazarininstead of bearing
maliceadmired himand was desirous of attaching so much fidelity to
himself.


It may be judged by this single anecdotewhat the character of Colbert
was. Eventsdeveloping themselvesby degrees allowed all the powers of
his mind to act freely. Colbert was not long in insinuating himself to
the good graces of the cardinal: he became even indispensable to him.
The clerk was acquainted with all his accounts without the cardinal's
ever having spoken to him about them. This secret between them was a
powerful tieand this was whywhen about to appear before the Master of
another worldMazarin was desirous of taking good counsel in disposing
the wealth he was so unwillingly obliged to leave in this world. After
the visit of Guenaudhe therefore sent for Colbertdesired him to sit
downand said to him: "Let us converseMonsieur Colbertand seriously
for I am very illand I may chance to die."

Man is mortal,replied Colbert.

I have always remembered that, M. Colbert, and I have worked with that
end in view. You know that I have amassed a little wealth.

I know you have, monseigneur.

At how much do you estimate, as near as you can, the amount of this
wealth, M. Colbert?

At forty millions, five hundred and sixty thousand, two hundred livres,
nine cents, eight farthings,replied Colbert.

The cardinal heaved a deep sighand looked at Colbert with wonderbut
he allowed a smile to steal across his lips.

Known money,added Colbertin reply to that smile.

The cardinal gave quite a start in bed. "What do you mean by that?" said
he.

I mean,said Colbertthat besides those forty millions, five hundred
and sixty thousand, two hundred livres, nine cents, eight farthings,
there are thirteen millions that are not known.

_Ouf!_sighed Mazarinwhat a man!

At this momentthe head of Bernouin appeared through the embrasure of
the door.

What is it?asked Mazarinand why do you disturb me?

The Theatin father, your eminence's director, was sent for this evening;
and he cannot come again to my lord till after to-morrow.

Mazarin looked a Colbertwho rose and took his hatsaying: "I shall
come againmy lord."

Mazarin hesitated. "Nono said he; I have as much business to
transact with you as with him. Besidesyou are my other confessor - and
what I have to say to one the other may hear. Remain where you are
Colbert."

But my lord, if there be no secret of penitence, will the director
consent to my being here?

Do not trouble yourself about that; come into the _ruelle_.

I can wait outside, monseigneur.

No, no, it will do you good to hear the confession of a rich man.


Colbert bowed and went into the _ruelle_.

Introduce the Theatin father,said Mazarinclosing the curtains.

Chapter XLV:
Confession of a Man of Wealth.


The Theatin entered deliberatelywithout being too much astonished at
the noise and agitation which anxiety for the cardinal's health had
raised in his household. "Come inmy reverend father said Mazarin,
after a last look at the _ruelle_, come in and console me."


That is my duty, my lord,replied the Theatin.


Begin by sitting down, and making yourself comfortable, for I am going
to begin with a general confession; you will afterwards give me a good
absolution, and I shall believe myself more tranquil.


My lord,said the fatheryou are not so ill as to make a general
confession urgent - and it will be very fatiguing - take care.


You suspect, then, that it may be long, father?


How can I think it otherwise, when a man has lived so completely as your
eminence has done?


Ah! that is true! - yes - the recital may be long.


The mercy of God is great,snuffled the Theatin.


Stop,said Mazarin; "there I begin to terrify myself with having
allowed so many things to pass which the Lord might reprove."


Is that not always so?said the Theatin naivelyremoving further from
the lamp his thin pointed facelike that of a mole. "Sinners are so
forgetful beforehandand scrupulous when it is too late."


Sinners?replied Mazarin. "Do you use that word ironicallyand to
reproach me with all the genealogies I have allowed to be made on my
account - I - the son of a fishermanin fact?"


[This is quite untranslatable - it being a play upon the words _pecheur_
(with a grave over the first e)a sinnerand _pecheur_ (with an accent
circumflex over the first e)a fisherman. It is in very bad taste. –
TRANS.]


Hum!said the Theatin.


That is a first sin, father; for I have allowed myself made to descend
from two old Roman consuls, S. Geganius Macerinus 1st, Macerinus 2d, and
Proculus Macerinus 3d, of whom the Chronicle of Haolander speaks. From
Macerinus to Mazarin the proximity was tempting. Macerinus, a
diminutive, means leanish, poorish, out of case. Oh! reverend father!
Mazarini may now be carried to the augmentative _Maigre_, thin as
Lazarus. Look!- and he showed his fleshless arms.


In your having been born of a family of fishermen I see nothing
injurious to you; for - St. Peter was a fisherman; and if you are a
prince of the church, my lord, he was the supreme head of it. Pass on,
if you please.


So much the more for my having threatened with the Bastile a certain



Bounet, a priest of Avignon, who wanted to publish a genealogy of the
Casa Mazarini much too marvelous.

To be probable?replied the Theatin.

Oh! if I had acted up to his idea, father, that would have been the vice
of pride - another sin.

It was an excess of wit, and a person is not to be reproached with such
sorts of abuses. Pass on, pass on!

I was all pride. Look you, father, I will endeavor to divide that into
capital sins.

I like divisions, when well made.

I am glad of that. You must know that in 1630 - alas! that is thirty-
one years ago -

You were then twenty-nine years old, monseigneur.

A hot-headed age. I was then something of a soldier, and I threw myself
at Casal into the arquebusades, to show that I rode on horseback as well
as an officer. It is true, I restored peace between the French and the
Spaniards. That redeems my sin a little.

I see no sin in being able to ride well on horseback,said the Theatin;
that is in perfect good taste, and does honor to our gown. As a
Christian, I approve of your having prevented the effusion of blood; as a
monk, I am proud of the bravery a monk has exhibited.

Mazarin bowed his head humbly. "Yes said he, but the consequences?"

What consequences?

Eh! that damned sin of pride has roots without end. From the time that
I threw myself in that manner between two armies, that I had smelt powder
and faced lines of soldiers, I have held generals a little in contempt.

Ah!said the father.

There is the evil; so that I have not found one endurable since that
time.

The fact is,said the Theatinthat the generals we have had have not
been remarkable.

Oh!cried Mazarinthere was Monsieur le Prince. I have tormented him
thoroughly!

He is not much to be pitied: he has acquired sufficient glory, and
sufficient wealth.

That may be, for Monsieur le Prince; but M. Beaufort, for example - whom
I held suffering so long in the dungeon of Vincennes?

Ah! but he was a rebel, and the safety of the state required that you
should make a sacrifice. Pass on!

I believe I have exhausted pride. There is another sin which I am
afraid to qualify.

I can qualify it myself. Tell it.


A great sin, reverend father!
We shall judge, monseigneur.

You cannot fail to have heard of certain relations which I have had –
with her majesty the queen-mother; - the malevolent -

The malevolent, my lord, are fools. Was it not necessary for the good
of the state and the interests of the young king, that you should live in
good intelligence with the queen? Pass on, pass on!

I assure you,said Mazarinyou remove a terrible weight from my
breast.

These are all trifles! - look for something serious.

I have had much ambition, father.
That is the march of great minds and things, my lord.


Even the longing for the tiara?


To be pope is to be the first of Christians. Why should you not desire
that?

It has been printed that, to gain that object, I had sold Cambria to the
Spaniards.

You have, perhaps, yourself written pamphlets without severely
persecuting pamphleteers.

Then, reverend father, I have truly a clean breast. I feel nothing
remaining but slight peccadilloes.

What are they?

Play.

That is rather worldly: but you were obliged by the duties of greatness
to keep a good house.

I like to win.
No player plays to lose.


I cheated a little.
You took your advantage. Pass on.


Well! reverend father, I feel nothing else upon my conscience. Give me
absolution, and my soul will be able, when God shall please to call it,
to mount without obstacle to the throne -

The Theatin moved neither his arms nor his lips. "What are you waiting
forfather?" said Mazarin.

I am waiting for the end.
The end of what?

Of the confession, monsieur.
But I have ended.


Oh, no; your eminence is mistaken.
Not that I know of.
Search diligently.
I have searched as well as possible.
Then I shall assist your memory.
Do.
The Theatin coughed several times. "You have said nothing of avarice


another capital sinnor of those millions said he.
What millionsfather?"
Why, those you possess, my lord.
Father, that money is mine, why should I speak to you about that?
Because, you see, our opinions differ. You say that money is yours,


whilst I - I believe it is rather the property of others.


Mazarin lifted his cold hand to his browwhich was beaded with
perspiration. "How so?" stammered he.
This way. Your excellency had gained much wealth - in the service of

the king.
Hum! much - that is, not too much.
Whatever it may be, whence came that wealth?
From the state.
The state; that is the king.
But what do you conclude from that, father?said Mazarinwho began to


tremble.


I cannot conclude without seeing a list of the riches you possess. Let


us reckon a little, if you please. You have the bishopric of Metz?


Yes.


The abbeys of St. Clement, St. Arnould, and St. Vincent, all at Metz?


Yes.


You have the abbey of St. Denis, in France, magnificent property?


Yes, father.


You have the abbey of Cluny, which is rich?


I have.


That of St. Medard at Soissons, with a revenue of one hundred thousand


livres?
I cannot deny it.
That of St. Victor, at Marseilles, - one of the best in the south?



Yes father.


A good million a year. With the emoluments of the cardinalship and the
ministry, I say too little when I say two millions a year.
Eh!


In ten years that is twenty millions - and twenty millions put out at
fifty per cent. give, by progression, twenty-three millions in ten years.

How well you reckon for a Theatin!

Since your eminence placed our order in the convent we occupy, near St.
Germain des Pres, in 1644, I have kept the accounts of the society.

And mine likewise, apparently, father.
One ought to know a little of everything, my lord.


Very well. Conclude, at present.


I conclude that your baggage is too heavy to allow you to pass through
the gates of Paradise.

Shall I be damned?
If you do not make restitution, yes.


Mazarin uttered a piteous cry. "Restitution! - but to whomgood God?"
To the owner of that money, - to the king.


But the king did not give it all to me.
One moment, - does not the king sign the _ordonances_?


Mazarin passed from sighs to groans. "Absolution! absolution!" cried he.
Impossible, my lord. Restitution! restitution!replied the Theatin.


But you absolve me from all other sins, why not from that?


Because,replied the fatherto absolve you for that motive would be a
sin for which the king would never absolve me, my lord.

Thereupon the confessor quitted his penitent with an air full of
compunction. He then went out in the same manner he had entered.

Oh, good God!groaned the cardinal. "Come hereColbertI am very
very ill indeedmy friend."

Chapter XLVI:
The Donation.

Colbert reappeared beneath the curtains.
Have you heard?said Mazarin.


Alas! yes, my lord.
Can he be right? Can all this money be badly acquired?



A Theatin, monseigneur, is a bad judge in matters of finance,replied
Colbertcoolly. "And yet it is very possible thataccording to his
theological viewsyour eminence has beenin a certain degreein the
wrong. People generally find they have been so- when they die."

In the first place, they commit the wrong of dying, Colbert.

That is true, my lord. Against whom, however, did the Theatin make out
that you had committed these wrongs? Against the king?

Mazarin shrugged his shoulders. "As if I had not saved both his state
and his finances."

That admits of no contradiction, my lord.

Does it? Then I have received a merely legitimate salary, in spite of
the opinion of my confessor?

That is beyond doubt.

And I might fairly keep for my own family, which is so needy, a good
fortune, - the whole, even, of which I have earned?

I see no impediment to that, monseigneur.

I felt assured that in consulting you, Colbert, I should have good
advice,replied Mazaringreatly delighted.

Colbert resumed his pedantic look. "My lord interrupted he, I think
it would be quite as well to examine whether what the Theatin said is not
a _snare_."

Oh! no; a snare? What for? The Theatin is an honest man.

He believed your eminence to be at death's door, because your eminence
consulted him. Did I not hear him say - 'Distinguish that which the king
has given you from that which you have given yourself.' Recollect, my
lord, if he did not say something a little like that to you? - that is
quite a theatrical speech.

That is possible.

In which case, my lord, I should consider you as required by the Theatin
to -

To make restitution!cried Mazarinwith great warmth.

Eh! I do not say no.

What, of all! You do not dream of such a thing! You speak just as the
confessor did.

To make restitution of a part, - that is to say, his majesty's part; and
that, monseigneur, may have its dangers. Your eminence is too skillful a
politician not to know that, at this moment, the king does not possess a
hundred and fifty thousand livres clear in his coffers.

That is not my affair,said Mazarintriumphantly; "that belongs to M.
le Surintendant Fouquetwhose accounts I gave you to verify some months
ago."

Colbert bit his lips at the name of Fouquet. "His majesty said he,
between his teeth, has no money but that which M. Fouquet collects: your
moneymonseigneurwould afford him a delicious banquet."


Well, but I am not the superintendent of his majesty's finances - I have
my purse - surely I would do much for his majesty's welfare - some legacy

-but I cannot disappoint my family.
The legacy of a part would dishonor you and offend the king. Leaving a
part to his majesty, is to avow that that part has inspired you with
doubts as to the lawfulness of the means of acquisition.

Monsieur Colbert!

I thought your eminence did me the honor to ask my advice?

Yes, but you are ignorant of the principal details of the question.

I am ignorant of nothing, my lord; during ten years, all the columns of
figures which are found in France, have passed into review before me; and
if I have painfully nailed them into my brain, they are there now so well
riveted, that, from the office of M. Letellier, who is sober, to the
little secret largesses of M. Fouquet, who is prodigal, I could recite,
figure by figure, all the money that is spent in France from Marseilles
to Cherbourg.

Then, you would have me throw all my money into the coffers of the
king!cried Mazarinironically; and from whomat the same time the
gout forced painful moans. "Surely the king would reproach me with
nothingbut he would laugh at mewhile squandering my millionsand
with good reason."

Your eminence has misunderstood me. I did not, the least in the world,
pretend that his majesty ought to spend your money.

You said so, clearly, it seems to me, when you advised me to give it to
him.

Ah,replied Colbertthat is because your eminence, absorbed as you
are by your disease, entirely loses sight of the character of Louis XIV.

How so?

That character, if I may venture to express myself thus, resembles that
which my lord confessed just now to the Theatin.

Go on - that is?

Pride! Pardon me, my lord, haughtiness, nobleness; kings have no pride,
that is a human passion.

Pride, - yes, you are right. Next?

Well, my lord, if I have divined rightly, your eminence has but to give
all your money to the king, and that immediately.

But for what?said Mazarinquite bewildered.

Because the king will not accept of the whole.

What, and he a young man, and devoured by ambition?

Just so.

A young man who is anxious for my death -

My lord!


To inherit, yes, Colbert, yes; he is anxious for my death, in order to
inherit. Triple fool that I am! I would prevent him!

Exactly: if the donation were made in a certain form he would refuse it.

Well; but how?

That is plain enough. A young man who has yet done nothing - who burns
to distinguish himself - who burns to reign alone, will never take
anything ready built, he will construct for himself. This prince,
monseigneur, will never be content with the Palais Royal, which M. de
Richelieu left him, nor with the Palais Mazarin, which you have had so
superbly constructed, nor with the Louvre, which his ancestors inhabited;
nor with St. Germain, where he was born. All that does not proceed from
himself, I predict, he will disdain.

And you will guarantee, that if I give my forty millions to the king -

Saying certain things to him at the same time, I guarantee he will
refuse them.

But those things - what are they?

I will write them, if my lord will have the goodness to dictate them.

Well, but, after all, what advantage will that be to me?

An enormous one. Nobody will afterwards be able to accuse your eminence
of that unjust avarice with which pamphleteers have reproached the most
brilliant mind of the present age.

You are right, Colbert, you are right; go, and seek the king, on my
part, and take him my will.

Your donation, my lord.

But, if he should accept it; if he should even think of accepting it!

Then there would remain thirteen millions for your family, and that is a
good round sum.

But then you would be either a fool or a traitor.

And I am neither the one nor the other, my lord. You appear to be much
afraid that the king will accept; you have a deal more reason to fear
that he will not accept.

But, see you, if he does not accept, I should like to guarantee my
thirteen reserved millions to him - yes, I will do so - yes. But my
pains are returning, I shall faint. I am very, very ill, Colbert; I am
near my end!

Colbert started. The cardinal was indeed very ill; large drops of sweat
flowed down upon his bed of agonyand the frightful pallor of a face
streaming with water was a spectacle which the most hardened practitioner
could not have beheld without much compassion. Colbert waswithout
doubtvery much affectedfor he quitted the chambercalling Bernouin
to attend to the dying manand went into the corridor. Therewalking
about with a meditative expressionwhich almost gave nobility to his
vulgar headhis shoulders thrown uphis neck stretched outhis lips
half opento give vent to unconnected fragments of incoherent thoughts
he lashed up his courage to the pitch of the undertaking contemplated
whilst within ten paces of himseparated only by a wallhis master was


being stifled by anguish which drew from him lamentable criesthinking
no more of the treasures of the earthor of the joys of Paradisebut
much of all the horrors of hell. Whilst burning-hot napkinsphysic
revulsivesand Guenaudwho was recalledwere performing their
functions with increased activityColbertholding his great head in
both his handsto compress within it the fever of the projects
engendered by the brainwas meditating the tenor of the donation he
would make Mazarin writeat the first hour of respite his disease should
afford him. It would appear as if all the cries of the cardinaland all
the attacks of death upon this representative of the pastwere
stimulants for the genius of this thinker with the bushy eyebrowswho
was turning already towards the rising sun of a regenerated society.
Colbert resumed his place at Mazarin's pillow at the first interval of
painand persuaded him to dictate a donation thus conceived.


About to appear before God, the Master of mankind, I beg the king, who
was my master on earth, to resume the wealth which his bounty has
bestowed upon me, and which my family would be happy to see pass into
such illustrious hands. The particulars of my property will be found –
they are drawn up - at the first requisition of his majesty, or at the
last sigh of his most devoted servant,


JULES_Cardinal de Mazarin._"


The cardinal sighed heavily as he signed this; Colbert sealed the packet
and carried it immediately to the Louvrewhither the king had returned.


He then went back to his own homerubbing his hands with the confidence
of workman who has done a good day's work.


Chapter XLVII:
How Anne of Austria gave one Piece of Advice to Louis XIV.and how M.
Fouquet gave him Another.


The news of the extreme illness of the cardinal had already spreadand
attracted at least as much attention among the people of the Louvre as
the news of the marriage of Monsieurthe king's brotherwhich had
already been announced as an official fact. Scarcely had Louis XIV.
returned homewith his thoughts fully occupied with the various things
he had seen and heard in the course of the eveningwhen an usher
announced that the same crowd of courtiers whoin the morninghad
thronged his _lever_presented themselves again at his _coucher_a
remarkable piece of respect whichduring the reign of the cardinalthe
courtnot very discreet in its performancehad accorded to the
ministerwithout caring about displeasing the king.


But the minister had hadas we have saidan alarming attack of gout
and the tide of flattery was mounting towards the throne. Courtiers have
a marvelous instinct in scenting the turn of events; courtiers possess a
supreme kind of science; they are diplomatists in throwing light upon the
unraveling of complicated intriguescaptains in divining the issue of
battlesand physicians in curing the sick. Louis XIV.to whom his
mother had taught this axiomtogether with many othersunderstood at
once that the cardinal must be very ill.


Scarcely had Anne of Austria conducted the young queen to her apartments
and taken from her brow the head-dress of ceremonywhen she went to see
her son in his cabinetwherealonemelancholyand depressedhe was
indulgingas if to exercise his willin one of those terrible inward
passions - king's passions - which create events when they break outand
with Louis XIV.thanks to his astonishing command over himselfbecame
such benign tempeststhat his most violenthis only passionthat
which Saint Simon mentions with astonishmentwas that famous fit of



anger which he exhibited fifty years lateron the occasion of a little
concealment of the Duc de Maine'sand which had for result a shower of
blows inflicted with a cane upon the back of a poor valet who had stolen
a biscuit. The young king then wasas we have seena prey to a double
excitement; and he said to himself as he looked in a glassO king! –
king by name, and not in fact; - phantom, vain phantom art thou! - inert
statue, which has no other power than that of provoking salutations from
courtiers, when wilt thou be able to raise thy velvet arm, or clench thy
silken hand? when wilt thou be able to open, for any purpose but to sigh,
or smile, lips condemned to the motionless stupidity of the marbles in
thy gallery?

Thenpassing his hand over his browand feeling the want of airhe
approached a windowand looking downsaw below some horsemen talking
togetherand groups of timid observers. These horsemen were a fraction
of the watch: the groups were busy portions of the peopleto whom a king
is always a curious thingthe same as a rhinocerosa crocodileor a
serpent. He struck his brow with his open handcrying- "King of
France! what a title! People of France! what a heap of creatures! I
have just returned to my Louvre; my horsesjust unharnessedare still
smokingand I have created interest enough to induce scarcely twenty
persons to look at me as I passed. Twenty! what do I say? no; there were
not twenty anxious to see the king of France. There are not even ten
archers to guard my palace of residence: archerspeopleguardsall are
at the Palais Royal! Whymy good God! have not Ithe kingthe right
to ask of you all that?"

Because,said a voicereplying to hisand which sounded from the
other side of the door of the cabinetbecause at the Palais Royal lies
all the gold, - that is to say, all the power of him who desires to
reign.

Louis turned round sharply. The voice which had pronounced these words
was that of Anne of Austria. The king startedand advanced towards
her. "I hope said he, you majesty has paid no attention to the vain
declamations which the solitude and disgust familiar to kings suggest to
the happiest dispositions?"

I only paid attention to one thing, my son, and that was, that you were
complaining.

Who! I? Not at all,said Louis XIV.; "noin truthyou errmadame."

What were you doing, then?

I thought I was under the ferule of my professor, and developing a
subject of amplification.

My son,replied Anne of Austriashaking her headyou are wrong not
to trust my word; you are wrong not to grant me your confidence. A day
will come, and perhaps quickly, wherein you will have occasion to
remember that axiom: - 'Gold is universal power; and they alone are kings
who are all-powerful.'

Your intention,continued the kingwas not, however, to cast blame
upon the rich men of this age, was it?

No,said the queenwarmly; "nosire; they who are rich in this age
under your reignare rich because you have been willing they should be
soand I entertain against them neither malice nor envy; they have
without doubtserved your majesty sufficiently well for your majesty to
have permitted them to reward themselves. That is what I mean to say by
the words for which you reproach me."


God forbid, madame, that I should ever reproach my mother with anything!

Besides,continued Anne of Austriathe Lord never gives the goods of
this world but for a season; the Lord - as correctives to honor and
riches - the Lord has placed sufferings, sickness, and death; and no
one,added shewith a melancholy smilewhich proved she made the
application of the funeral precept to herselfno man can take his
wealth or greatness with him to the grave. It results, therefore, that
the young gather the abundant harvest prepared for them by the old.

Louis listened with increased attention to the words which Anne of
Austriano doubtpronounced with a view to console him. "Madame said
he, looking earnestly at his mother, one would almost say in truth that
you had something else to announce to me."

I have absolutely nothing, my son; only you cannot have failed to remark
that his eminence the cardinal is very ill.

Louis looked at his motherexpecting some emotion in her voicesome
sorrow in her countenance. The face of Anne of Austria appeared a little
changedbut that was from sufferings of quite a personal character.
Perhaps the alteration was caused by the cancer which had begun to
consume her breast. "Yesmadame said the king; yesM. de Mazarin is
very ill."

And it would be a great loss to the kingdom if God were to summon his
eminence away. Is not that your opinion as well as mine, my son?said
the queen.

Yes, madame; yes, certainly, it would be a great loss for the kingdom,
said Louiscoloring; "but the peril does not seem to me to be so great;
besidesthe cardinal is still young." The king had scarcely ceased
speaking when an usher lifted the tapestryand stood with a paper in his
handwaiting for the king to speak to him.

What have you there?asked the king.

A message from M. de Mazarin,replied the usher.

Give it to me,said the king; and he took the paper. But at the moment
he was about to open itthere was a great noise in the gallerythe antechamber
and the court.

Ah, ah,said Louis XIV.who doubtless knew the meaning of that triple
noise. "How could I say there was but one king in France! I was
mistakenthere are two."

As he spoke or thought thusthe door openedand the superintendent of
financesFouquetappeared before his nominal master. It was he who
made the noise in the ante-chamberit was his horse that made the noise
in the courtyard. In addition to all thisa loud murmur was heard along
his passagewhich did not die away till some time after he had passed.
It was this murmur which Louis XIV. regretted so deeply not hearing as he
passedand dying away behind him.

He is not precisely a king, as you fancy,said Anne of Austria to her
son; "he is only a man who is much too rich - that is all."

Whilst saying these wordsa bitter feeling gave to these words of the
queen a most hateful expression; whereas the brow of the kingcalm and
self-possessedon the contrarywas without the slightest wrinkle. He
noddedthereforefamiliarly to Fouquetwhilst he continued to unfold
the paper given to him by the usher. Fouquet perceived this movement
and with a politeness at once easy and respectfuladvanced towards the


queenso as not to disturb the king. Louis had opened the paperand
yet he did not read it. He listened to Fouquet paying the most charming
compliments to the queen upon her hand and arm. Anne of Austria's frown
relaxed a littleshe even almost smiled. Fouquet perceived that the
kinginstead of readingwas looking at him; he turned half round
thereforeand while continuing his conversation with the queenfaced
the king.

You know, Monsieur Fouquet,said Louishow ill M. Mazarin is?

Yes, sire, I know that,said Fouquet; "in facthe is very ill. I was
at my country-house of Vaux when the news reached me; and the affair
seemed so pressing that I left at once."

You left Vaux this evening, monsieur?

An hour and a half ago, yes, your majesty,said Fouquetconsulting a
watchrichly ornamented with diamonds.

An hour and a half!said the kingstill able to restrain his anger
but not to conceal his astonishment.

I understand you, sire. Your majesty doubts my word, and you have
reason to do so; but I have really come in that time, though it is
wonderful! I received from England three pairs of very fast horses, as I
had been assured. They were placed at distances of four leagues apart,
and I tried them this evening. They really brought me from Vaux to the
Louvre in an hour and a half, so your majesty sees I have not been
cheated.The queen-mother smiled with something like secret envy. But
Fouquet caught her thought. "Thusmadame he promptly said, such
horses are made for kingsnot for subjects; for kings ought never to
yield to any one in anything."

The king looked up.

And yet,interrupted Anne of Austriayou are not a king, that I know
of, M. Fouquet.

Truly not, madame; therefore the horses only await the orders of his
majesty to enter the royal stables; and if I allowed myself to try them,
it was only for fear of offering to the king anything that was not
positively wonderful.

The king became quite red.

You know, Monsieur Fouquet,said the queenthat at the court of
France it is not the custom for a subject to offer anything to his king.

Louis started.

I hoped, madame,said Fouquetmuch agitatedthat my love for his
majesty, my incessant desire to please him, would serve to compensate the
want of etiquette. It was not so much a present that I permitted myself
to offer, as the tribute I paid.

Thank you, Monsieur Fouquet,said the king politelyand I am
gratified by your intention, for I love good horses; but you know I am
not very rich; you, who are my superintendent of finances, know it better
than any one else. I am not able, then, however willing I may be, to
purchase such a valuable set of horses.

Fouquet darted a haughty glance at the queen-motherwho appeared to
triumph at the false position in which the minister had placed himself
and replied:



Luxury is the virtue of kings, sire: it is luxury which makes them
resemble God; it is by luxury they are more than other men. With luxury
a king nourishes his subjects, and honors them. Under the mild heat of
this luxury of kings springs the luxury of individuals, a source of
riches for the people. His majesty, by accepting the gift of these six
incomparable horses, would stimulate the pride of his own breeders, of
Limousin, Perche, and Normandy; and this emulation would have been
beneficial to all. But the king is silent, and consequently I am
condemned.

During this speechLouis wasunconsciouslyfolding and unfolding
Mazarin's paperupon which he had not cast his eyes. At length he
glanced upon itand uttered a faint cry at reading the first line.

What is the matter, my son?asked the queenanxiouslyand going
towards the king.

From the cardinal,replied the kingcontinuing to read; "yesyesit
is really from him."

Is he worse, then?

Read!said the kingpassing the parchment to his motheras if he
thought that nothing less than reading would convince Anne of Austria of
a thing so astonishing as was conveyed in that paper.

Anne of Austria read in turnand as she readher eyes sparkled with joy
all the greater from her useless endeavor to hide itwhich attracted the
attention of Fouquet.

Oh! a regularly drawn up deed of gift,said she.

A gift?repeated Fouquet.

Yes,said the kingreplying pointedly to the superintendent of
financesyes, at the point of death, monsieur le cardinal makes me a
donation of all his wealth.

Forty millions,cried the queen. "Ohmy son! this is very noble on
the part of his eminenceand will silence all malicious rumors; forty
millions scraped together slowlycoming back all in one heap to the
treasury! It is the act of a faithful subject and a good Christian."
And having once more cast her eyes over the actshe restored it to Louis
XIV.whom the announcement of the sum greatly agitated. Fouquet had
taken some steps backwards and remained silent. The king looked at him
and held the paper out to himin turn. The superintendent only bestowed
a haughty look of a second upon it; then bowing- "Yessire said he,
a donationI see."

You must reply to it, my son,said Anne of Austria; "you must reply to
itand immediately."

But how, madame?

By a visit to the cardinal.

Why, it is but an hour since I left his eminence,said the king.

Write, then, sire.

Write!said the young kingwith evident repugnance.

Well!replied Anne of Austriait seems to me, my son, that a man who


has just made such a present, has a good right to expect to be thanked
for it with some degree of promptitude.Then turning towards Fouquet:
Is not that likewise your opinion, monsieur?

That the present is worth the trouble? Yes, madame,said Fouquetwith
a lofty air that did not escape the king.

Accept, then, and thank him,insisted Anne of Austria.

What says M. Fouquet?asked Louis XIV.

Does your majesty wish to know my opinion?

Yes.

Thank him, sire -

Ah!said the queen.

But do not accept,continued Fouquet.

And why not?asked the queen.

You have yourself said why, madame,replied Fouquet; "because kings
cannot and ought not to receive presents from their subjects."

The king remained silent between these two contrary opinions.

But forty millions!said Anne of Austriain the same tone as that in
whichat a later periodpoor Marie Antoinette repliedYou will tell
me as much!

I know,said Fouquetlaughingforty millions makes a good round sum,

-such a sum as could almost tempt a royal conscience.
But, monsieur,said Anne of Austriainstead of persuading the king
not to receive this present, recall to his majesty's mind, you, whose
duty it is, that these forty millions are a fortune to him.

It is precisely, madame, because these forty millions would be a fortune
that I will say to the king, 'Sire, if it be not decent for a king to
accept from a subject six horses, worth twenty thousand livres, it would
be disgraceful for him to owe a fortune to another subject, more or less
scrupulous in the choice of the materials which contributed to the
building up of that fortune.'

It ill becomes you, monsieur, to give your king a lesson,said Anne of
Austria; "better procure for him forty millions to replace those you make
him lose."

The king shall have them whenever he wishes,said the superintendent of
financesbowing.

Yes, by oppressing the people,said the queen.

And were they not oppressed, madame,replied Fouquetwhen they were
made to sweat the forty millions given by this deed? Furthermore, his
majesty has asked my opinion, I have given it; if his majesty ask my
concurrence, it will be the same.

Nonsense! accept, my son, accept,said Anne of Austria. "You are above
reports and interpretations."

Refuse, sire,said Fouquet. "As long as a king liveshe has no other


measure but his conscience- no other judge than his own desires; but
when deadhe has posteritywhich applauds or accuses."

Thank you, mother,replied Louisbowing respectfully to the queen.
Thank you Monsieur, Fouquet,said hedismissing the superintendent
civilly.

Do you accept?asked Anne of Austriaonce more.

I shall consider of it,replied helooking at Fouquet.

Chapter XLVIII:
Agony.

The day that the deed of gift had been sent to the kingthe cardinal
caused himself to be transported to Vincennes. The king and the court
followed him thither. The last flashes of this torch still cast splendor
enough around to absorb all other lights in its rays. Besidesas it has
been seenthe faithful satellite of his ministeryoung Louis XIV.
marched to the last minute in accordance with his gravitation. The
diseaseas Guenaud had predictedhad become worse; it was no longer an
attack of goutit was an attack of death; then there was another thing
which made that agony more agonizing still- and that was the agitation
brought into his mind by the donation he had sent to the kingand which
according to Colbertthe king ought to send back unaccepted to the
cardinal. The cardinal hadas we have saidgreat faith in the
predictions of his secretary; but the sum was a large oneand whatever
might be the genius of Colbertfrom time to time the cardinal thought to
himself that the Theatin also might possibly have been mistakenand
there was at least as much chance of his not being damnedas there was
of Louis XIV. sending back his millions.

Besidesthe longer the donation was in coming backthe more Mazarin
thought that forty millions were worth a little riskparticularly of so
hypothetic a thing as the soul. Mazarinin his character of cardinal
and prime ministerwas almost an atheistand quite a materialist.
Every time that the door openedhe turned sharply round towards that
doorexpecting to see the return of his unfortunate donation; then
deceived in his hopehe fell back again with a sighand found his pains
so much the greater for having forgotten them for an instant.

Anne of Austria had also followed the cardinal; her heartthough age had
made it selfishcould not help evincing towards the dying man a sorrow
which she owed him as a wifeaccording to some; and as a sovereign
according to others. She hadin some sortput on a mourning
countenance beforehandand all the court wore it as she did.

Louisin order not to show on his face what was passing at the bottom of
his heartpersisted in remaining in his own apartmentswhere his nurse
alone kept him company; the more he saw the approach of the time when all
constraint would be at an endthe more humble and patient he was
falling back upon himselfas all strong men do when they form great
designsin order to gain more spring at the decisive moment. Extreme
unction had been administered to the cardinalwhofaithful to his
habits of dissimulationstruggled against appearancesand even against
realityreceiving company in his bedas if he only suffered from a
temporary complaint.

Guenaudon his partpreserved profound secrecy; wearied with visits and
questionshe answered nothing but "his eminence is still full of youth
and strengthbut God wills that which He willsand when He has decided
that man is to be laid lowhe will be laid low." These wordswhich he
scattered with a sort of discretionreserveand preferencewere


commented upon earnestly by two persons- the king and the cardinal.
Mazarinnotwithstanding the prophecy of Guenaudstill lured himself
with a hopeor rather played his part so wellthat the most cunning
when saying that he lured himselfproved that they were his dupes.

Louisabsent from the cardinal for two days; Louiswith his eyes fixed
upon that same donation which so constantly preoccupied the cardinal;
Louis did not exactly know how to make out Mazarin's conduct. The son of
Louis XIII.following the paternal traditionshadup to that time
been so little of a king thatwhilst ardently desiring royaltyhe
desired it with that terror which always accompanies the unknown. Thus
having formed his resolutionwhichbesideshe communicated to nobody
he determined to have an interview with Mazarin. It was Anne of Austria
whoconstant in her attendance upon the cardinalfirst heard this
proposition of the king'sand transmitted it to the dying manwhom it
greatly agitated. For what purpose could Louis wish for an interview?
Was it to return the deedas Colbert had said he would? Was it to keep
itafter thanking himas Mazarin thought he would? Neverthelessas
the dying man felt that the uncertainty increased his tormentshe did
not hesitate an instant.

His majesty will be welcome, - yes, very welcome,cried hemaking a
sign to Colbertwho was seated at the foot of the bedand which the
latter understood perfectly. "Madame continued Mazarin, will your
majesty be good enough to assure the king yourself of the truth of what I
have just said?"

Anne of Austria rose; she herself was anxious to have the question of the
forty millions settled - the question which seemed to lie heavy on the
mind of everyone. Anne of Austria went out; Mazarin made a great effort
andraising himself up towards Colbert: "WellColbert said he, two
days have passed away - two mortal days - andyou seenothing has been
returned from yonder."

Patience, my lord,said Colbert.

Are you mad, you wretch? You advise me to have patience! Oh, in sad
truth, Colbert, you are laughing at me. I am dying and you call out to
me to wait!

My lord,said Colbertwith his habitual coolnessit is impossible
that things should not come out as I have said. His majesty is coming to
see you, and no doubt he brings back the deed himself.

Do you think so? Well, I, on the contrary, am sure that his majesty is
coming to thank me.

At this moment Anne of Austria returned. On her way to the apartments of
her son she had met with a new empiric. This was a powder which was said
to have power to save the cardinal; and she brought a portion of this
powder with her. But this was not what Mazarin expected; therefore he
would not even look at itdeclaring that life was not worth the pains
that were taken to preserve it. Butwhilst professing this
philosophical axiomhis long-confined secret escaped him at last.

That, madame,said hethat is not the interesting part of my
situation. I made, two days ago, a little donation to the king; up to
this time, from delicacy, no doubt, his majesty has not condescended to
say anything about it; but the time for explanation is come, and I
implore your majesty to tell me if the king has made up his mind on that
matter.

Anne of Austria was about to replywhen Mazarin stopped her.


The truth, madame,said he - "in the name of Heaventhe truth! Do
not flatter a dying man with a hope that may prove vain." There he
stoppeda look from Colbert telling him he was on the wrong track.

I know,said Anne of Austriataking the cardinal's handI know that
you have generously made, not a little donation, as you modestly call it,
but a magnificent gift. I know how painful it would be to you if the
king -

Mazarin listeneddying as he wasas ten living men could not have
listened.

If the king - replied he.

If the king,continued Anne of Austriashould not freely accept what
you offer so nobly.

Mazarin allowed himself to sink back upon his pillow like Pantaloon; that
is to saywith all the despair of a man who bows before the tempest; but
he still preserved sufficient strength and presence of mind to cast upon
Colbert one of those looks which are well worth ten sonnetswhich is to
sayten long poems.

Should you not,added the queenhave considered the refusal of the
king as a sort of insult?Mazarin rolled his head about upon his
pillowwithout articulating a syllable. The queen was deceivedor
feigned to be deceivedby this demonstration.

Therefore,resumed sheI have circumvented him with good counsels;
and as certain minds, jealous, no doubt, of the glory you are about to
acquire by this generosity, have endeavored to prove to the king that he
ought not to accept this donation, I have struggled in your favor, and so
well I have struggled, that you will not have, I hope, that distress to
undergo.

Ah!murmured Mazarinwith languishing eyesah! that is a service I
shall never forget for a single minute of the few hours I still have to
live.

I must admit,continued the queenthat it was not without trouble I
rendered it to your eminence.

Ah, _peste!_ I believe that. Oh! oh!

Good God! what is the matter?

I am burning!

Do you suffer much?

As much as one of the damned.

Colbert would have liked to sink through the floor.

So, then,resumed Mazarinyour majesty thinks that the king - he
stopped several seconds - "that the king is coming here to offer me some
small thanks?"

I think so,said queen. Mazarin annihilated Colbert with his last look.

At that moment the ushers announced that the king was in the antechambers
which were filled with people. This announcement produced a
stir of which Colbert took advantage to escape by the door of the
_ruelle_. Anne of Austria aroseand awaited her sonstanding. Louis


XIV. appeared at the threshold of the doorwith his eyes fixed upon the
dying manwho did not even think it worth while to notice that majesty
from whom he thought he had nothing more to expect. An usher placed an
armchair close to the bed. Louis bowed to his motherthen to the
cardinaland sat down. The queen took a seat in her turn.
Thenas the king looked behind himthe usher understood that lookand
made a sign to the courtiers who filled up the doorway to go outwhich
they instantly did. Silence fell upon the chamber with the velvet
curtains. The kingstill very youngand very timid in the presence of
him who had been his master from his birthstill respected him much
particularly nowin the supreme majesty of death. He did not dare
thereforeto begin the conversationfeeling that every word must have
its weight not only upon things of this worldbut of the next. As to
the cardinalat that moment he had but one thought - his donation. It
was not physical pain which gave him that air of despondencyand that
lugubrious look; it was the expectation of the thanks that were about to
issue from the king's mouthand cut off all hope of restitution.
Mazarin was the first to break the silence. "Is your majesty come to
make any stay at Vincennes?" said he.

Louis made an affirmative sign with his head.

That is a gracious favor,continued Mazaringranted to a dying man,
and which will render death less painful to him.

I hope,replied the kingI am come to visit, not a dying man, but a
sick man, susceptible of cure.

Mazarin replied by a movement of the head.

Your majesty is very kind; but I know more than you on that subject.
The last visit, sire,said hethe last visit.

If it were so, monsieur le cardinal,said LouisI would come a last
time to ask the counsels of a guide to whom I owe everything.

Anne of Austria was a woman; she could not restrain her tears. Louis
showed himself much affectedand Mazarin still more than his two guests
but from very different motives. Here the silence returned. The queen
wiped her eyesand the king resumed his firmness.

I was saying,continued the kingthat I owed much to your eminence.
The eyes of the cardinal had devoured the kingfor he felt the great
moment had come. "And continued Louis, the principal object of my
visit was to offer you very sincere thanks for the last evidence of
friendship you have kindly sent me."

The cheeks of the cardinal became sunkenhis lips partially openedand
the most lamentable sigh he had ever uttered was about to issue from his
chest.

Sire,said heI shall have despoiled my poor family; I shall have
ruined all who belong to me, which may be imputed to me as an error; but,
at least, it shall not be said of me that I have refused to sacrifice
everything to my king.

Anne of Austria's tears flowed afresh.

My dear Monsieur Mazarin,said the kingin a more serious tone than
might have been expected from his youthyou have misunderstood me,
apparently.

Mazarin raised himself upon his elbow.


I have no purpose to despoil your dear family, nor to ruin your
servants. Oh, no, that must never be!

Humph!thought Mazarinhe is going to restore me some scraps; let us
get the largest piece we can.

The king is going to be foolishly affected and play generous,thought
the queen; "he must not be allowed to impoverish himself; such an
opportunity for getting a fortune will never occur again."

Sire,said the cardinalaloudmy family is very numerous, and my
nieces will be destitute when I am gone.

Oh,interrupted the queeneagerlyhave no uneasiness with respect to
your family, dear Monsieur Mazarin; we have no friends dearer than your
friends; your nieces shall be my children, the sisters of his majesty;
and if a favor be distributed in France, it shall be to those you love.

Smoke!thought Mazarinwho knew better than any one the faith that can
be put in the promises of kings. Louis read the dying man's thought in
his face.

Be comforted, my dear Monsieur Mazarin,said hewith a half-smilesad
beneath its irony; "the Mesdemoiselles de Mancini will losein losing
youtheir most precious good; but they shall none the less be the
richest heiresses of France; and since you have been kind enough to give
me their dowry" - the cardinal was panting - "I restore it to them
continued Louis, drawing from his breast and holding towards the
cardinal's bed the parchment which contained the donation that, during
two days, had kept alive such tempests in the mind of Mazarin.

What did I tell youmy lord?" murmured in the alcove a voice which
passed away like a breath.

Your majesty returns my donation!cried Mazarinso disturbed by joy as
to forget his character of a benefactor.

Your majesty rejects the forty millions!cried Anne of Austriaso
stupefied as to forget her character of an afflicted wifeor queen.

Yes, my lord cardinal; yes, madame,replied Louis XIV.tearing the
parchment which Mazarin had not yet ventured to clutch; "yesI
annihilate this deedwhich despoiled a whole family. The wealth
acquired by his eminence in my service is his own wealth and not mine."

But, sire, does your majesty reflect,said Anne of Austriathat you
have not ten thousand crowns in your coffers?

Madame, I have just performed my first royal action, and I hope it will
worthily inaugurate my reign.

Ah! sire, you are right!cried Mazarin; "that is truly great - that is
truly generous which you have just done." And he lookedone after the
otherat the pieces of the act spread over his bedto assure himself
that it was the original and not a copy that had been torn. At length
his eyes fell upon the fragment which bore his signatureand recognizing
ithe sunk back on his bolster in a swoon. Anne of Austriawithout
strength to conceal her regretraised her hands and eyes towards heaven.

Oh! sire,cried Mazarinmay you be blessed! My God! May you be
beloved by all my family. _Per Baccho!_ If ever any of those belonging
to me should cause your displeasure, sire, only frown, and I will rise
from my tomb!


This _pantalonnade_ did not produce all the effect Mazarin had counted
upon. Louis had already passed to considerations of a higher natureand
as to Anne of Austriaunable to bearwithout abandoning herself to the
anger she felt burning within herthe magnanimity of her son and the
hypocrisy of the cardinalshe arose and left the chamberheedless of
thus betraying the extent of her grief. Mazarin saw all thisand
fearing that Louis XIV. might repent his decisionin order to draw
attention another way he began to cry outasat a later periodScapin
was to cry outin that sublime piece of pleasantry with which the morose
and grumbling Boileau dared to reproach Moliere. His crieshoweverby
degreesbecame fainter; and when Anne of Austria left the apartment
they ceased altogether.

Monsieur le cardinal,said the kinghave you any recommendations to
make me?

Sire,replied Mazarinyou are already wisdom itself, prudence
personified; of your generosity I shall not venture to speak; that which
you have just done exceeds all that the most generous men of antiquity or
of modern times have ever done.

The king received this praise coldly.

So you confine yourself,said heto your thanks - and your
experience, much more extensive than my wisdom, my prudence, or my
generosity, does not furnish you with a single piece of friendly advice
to guide my future.Mazarin reflected for a moment. "You have just
done much for mesire said he, that isfor my family."

Say no more about that,said the king.

Well!continued MazarinI shall give you something in exchange for
these forty millions you have refused so royally.

Louis XIV. indicated by a movement that these flatteries were displeasing
to him. "I shall give you a piece of advice continued Mazarin; yesa
piece of advice - advice more precious than the forty millions."

My lord cardinal!interrupted Louis.

Sire, listen to this advice.

I am listening.

Come nearer, sire, for I am weak! - nearer, sire, nearer!

The king bent over the dying man. "Sire said Mazarin, in so low a tone
that the breath of his words arrived only like a recommendation from the
tomb in the attentive ears of the king - Sirenever have a prime
minister."

Louis drew back astonished. The advice was a confession - a treasurein
factwas that sincere confession of Mazarin. The legacy of the cardinal
to the young king was composed of six words onlybut those six wordsas
Mazarin had saidwere worth forty millions. Louis remained for an
instant bewildered. As for Mazarinhe appeared only to have said
something quite natural. A little scratching was heard along the
curtains of the alcove. Mazarin understood: "Yesyes!" cried he
warmlyyes, sire, I recommend to you a wise man, an honest man, and a
clever man.

Tell me his name, my lord.


His name is yet almost unknown, sire; it is M. Colbert, my attendant.
Oh! try him,added Mazarinin an earnest voice; "all that he has
predicted has come to pass; he has a safe glancehe is never mistaken
either in things or in men - which is more surprising still. SireI owe
you muchbut I think I acquit myself of all towards you in giving you M.
Colbert."


So be it,said Louisfaintlyforas Mazarin had saidthe name of
Colbert was quite unknown to himand he thought the enthusiasm of the
cardinal partook of the delirium of a dying man. The cardinal sank back
on his pillows.


For the present, adieu, sire! adieu,murmured Mazarin. "I am tired
and I have yet a rough journey to take before I present myself to my new
Master. Adieusire!"


The young king felt the tears rise to his eyes; he bent over the dying
manalready half a corpseand then hastily retired.


Chapter XLIX:
The First Appearance of Colbert.


The whole night was passed in anguishcommon to the dying man and to the
king: the dying man expected his deliverancethe king awaited his
liberty. Louis did not go to bed. An hour after leaving the chamber of
the cardinalhe learned that the dying manrecovering a little
strengthhad insisted upon being dressedadorned and paintedand
seeing the ambassadors. Like Augustushe no doubt considered the world
a great stageand was desirous of playing out the last act of the
comedy. Anne of Austria reappeared no more in the cardinal's apartments;
she had nothing more to do there. Propriety was the pretext for her
absence. On his partthe cardinal did not ask for her: the advice the
queen had giver her son rankled in his heart.


Towards midnightwhile still paintedMazarin's mortal agony came on.
He had revised his willand as this will was the exact expression of his
wishesand as he feared that some interested influence might take
advantage of his weakness to make him change something in ithe had
given orders to Colbertwho walked up and down the corridor which led to
the cardinal's bed-chamberlike the most vigilant of sentinels. The
kingshut up in his own apartmentdispatched his nurse every hour to
Mazarin's chamberwith orders to bring him back an exact bulletin of the
cardinal's state. After having heard that Mazarin was dressedpainted
and had seen the ambassadorsLouis herd that the prayers for the dying
were being read for the cardinal. At one o'clock in the morningGuenaud
had administered the last remedy. This was a relic of the old customs of
that fencing timewhich was about to disappear to give place to another
timeto believe that death could be kept off by some good secret
thrust. Mazarinafter having taken the remedyrespired freely for
nearly ten minutes. He immediately gave orders that the news should be
spread everywhere of a fortunate crisis. The kingon learning this
felt as if a cold sweat were passing over his brow; - he had had a
glimpse of the light of liberty; slavery appeared to him more dark and
less acceptable than ever. But the bulletin which followed entirely
changed the face of things. Mazarin could no longer breathe at alland
could scarcely follow the prayers which the cure of Saint-Nicholas-des-
Champs recited near him. The king resumed his agitated walk about his
chamberand consultedas he walkedseveral papers drawn from a casket
of which he alone had the key. A third time the nurse returned. M. de
Mazarin had just uttered a jokeand had ordered his "Flora by Titian,
to be revarnished. At length, towards two o'clock in the morning, the
king could no longer resist his weariness: he had not slept for twenty-
four hours. Sleep, so powerful at his age, overcame him for about an



hour. But he did not go to bed for that hour; he slept in a _fauteuil_.
About four o'clock his nurse awoke him by entering the room.

Well?" asked the king.

Well, my dear sire,said the nurseclasping her hands with an air of
commiseration. "Well; he is dead!"

The king arose at a boundas if a steel spring had been applied to his
legs. "Dead!" cried he.

Alas! yes.

Is it quite certain?
Yes.

Official?
Yes.

Has the news been made public?
Not yet.

Who told you, then, that the cardinal was dead?
M. Colbert.

M. Colbert?
Yes.

And he was sure of what he said?

He came out of the chamber, and had held a glass for some minutes before
the cardinal's lips.
Ah!said the king. "And what is become of M. Colbert?"


He has just left his eminence's chamber.
Where is he?

He followed me.
So that he is -

Sire, waiting at your door, till it shall be your good pleasure to
receive him.

Louis ran to the dooropened it himselfand perceived Colbert standing
waiting in the passage. The king started at sight of this statueall
clothed in black. Colbertbowing with profound respectadvanced two
steps towards his majesty. Louis re-entered his chambermaking Colbert
a sign to follow. Colbert entered; Louis dismissed the nursewho closed
the door as she went out. Colbert remained modestly standing near that
door.

What do you come to announce to me, monsieur?said Louisvery much
troubled at being thus surprised in his private thoughtswhich he could
not completely conceal.

That monsieur le cardinal has just expired, sire; and that I bring your


majesty his last adieu.

The king remained pensive for a minute; and during that minute he looked
attentively at Colbert; - it was evident that the cardinal's last words
were in his mind. "Are youthenM. Colbert?" asked he.

Yes, sire.

His faithful servant, as his eminence himself told me?

Yes, sire.

The depositary of many of his secrets?

Of all of them.

The friends and servants of his eminence will be dear to me, monsieur,
and I shall take care that you are well placed in my employment.

Colbert bowed.

You are a financier, monsieur, I believe?

Yes, sire.

And did monsieur le cardinal employ you in his stewardship?

I had that honor, sire.

You never did anything personally for my household, I believe?

Pardon me, sire, it was I who had the honor of giving monsieur le
cardinal the idea of an economy which puts three hundred thousand francs
a year into your majesty's coffers.

What economy was that, monsieur?asked Louis XIV.

Your majesty knows that the hundred Swiss have silver lace on each side
of their ribbons?

Doubtless.

Well, sire, it was I who proposed that imitation silver lace should be
placed upon these ribbons; it could not be detected, and a hundred
thousand crowns serve to feed a regiment during six months; and is the
price of ten thousand good muskets or the value of a vessel of ten guns,
ready for sea.

That is true,said Louis XIV.considering more attentivelyand, _ma
foi!_ that was a well placed economy; besides, it was ridiculous for
soldiers to wear the same lace as noblemen.

I am happy to be approved of by your majesty.

Is that the only appointment you held about the cardinal?asked the
king.

It was I who was appointed to examine the accounts of the
superintendent, sire.

Ah!said Louiswho was about to dismiss Colbertbut whom that word
stopped; "ah! it was you whom his eminence had charged to control M.
Fouquetwas it? And the result of that examination?"


Is that there is a deficit, sire; but if your majesty will permit me -

Speak, M. Colbert.

I ought to give your majesty some explanations.

Not at all, monsieur, it is you who have controlled these accounts; give
me the result.

That is very easily done, sire: emptiness everywhere, money nowhere.

Beware, monsieur; you are roughly attacking the administration of M.
Fouquet, who, nevertheless, I have heard say, is an able man.

Colbert coloredand then became palefor he felt that from that minute
he entered upon a struggle with a man whose power almost equaled the sway
of him who had just died. "Yessirea very able man repeated
Colbert, bowing.

But if M. Fouquet is an able manandin spite of that abilityif
money be wantingwhose fault is it?"

I do not accuse, sire, I verify.

That is well; make out your accounts, and present them to me. There is
a deficit, you say? A deficit may be temporary; credit returns and funds
are restored.

No, sire.

Upon this year, perhaps, I understand that; but upon next year?

Next year is eaten as bare as the current year.

But the year after, then?

Will be just like next year.

What do you tell me, Monsieur Colbert?

I say there are four years engaged beforehand.

They must have a loan, then.

They must have three, sire.

I will create offices to make them resign, and the salary of the posts
shall be paid into the treasury.

Impossible, sire, for there have already been creations upon creations
of offices, the provisions of which are given in blank, so that the
purchasers enjoy them without filling them. That is why your majesty
cannot make them resign. Further, upon each agreement M. Fouquet has
made an abatement of a third, so that the people have been plundered,
without your majesty profiting by it.

The king started. "Explain me thatM. Colbert he said.

Let your majesty set down clearly your thoughtand tell me what you
wish me to explain."

You are right, clearness is what you wish, is it not?

Yes, sire, clearness. God is God above all things, because He made


light.

Well, for example,resumed Louis XIV.if to-day, the cardinal being
dead, and I being king, suppose I wanted money?

Your majesty would not have any.

Oh! that is strange, monsieur! How! my superintendent would not find me
any money?

Colbert shook his large head.

How is that?said the king; "is the income of the state so much in debt
that there is no longer any revenue?"

Yes, sire.

The king frowned and saidIf it be so, I will get together the
_ordonnances_ to obtain a discharge from the holders, a liquidation at a
cheap rate.

Impossible, for the _ordonnances_ have been converted into bills, which
bills, for the convenience of return and facility of transaction, are
divided into so many parts that the originals can no longer be
recognized.

Louisvery much agitatedwalked aboutstill frowning. "Butif this
is as you sayMonsieur Colbert said he, stopping all at once, I shall
be ruined before I begin to reign."

You are, in fact, sire,said the impassible caster-up of figures.

Well, but yet, monsieur, the money is somewhere?

Yes, sire, and even as a beginning, I bring your majesty a note of funds
which M. le Cardinal Mazarin was not willing to set down in his
testament, neither in any act whatever, but which he confided to me.

To you?

Yes, sire, with an injunction to remit it to your majesty.

What! besides the forty millions of the testament?

Yes, sire.

M. de Mazarin had still other funds?

Colbert bowed.

Why, that man was a gulf!murmured the king. "M. de Mazarin on one
sideM. Fouquet on the other- more than a hundred millions perhaps
between them! No wonder my coffers should be empty!" Colbert waited
without stirring.

And is the sum you bring me worth the trouble?asked the king.

Yes, sire, it is a round sum.

Amounting to how much?

To thirteen millions of livres, sire.

Thirteen millions!cried Louistrembling with joy; "do you say


thirteen millionsMonsieur Colbert?"
I said thirteen millions, yes, your majesty.

Of which everybody is ignorant?
Of which everybody is ignorant.

Which are in your hands?
In my hands, yes, sire.

And which I can have?
Within two hours, sire.

But where are they, then?

In the cellar of a house which the cardinal possessed in the city, and
which he was so kind as to leave me by a particular clause of his will.

You are acquainted with the cardinal's will, then?
I have a duplicate of it, signed by his hand.

A duplicate?

Yes, sire, and here it is.Colbert drew the deed quietly from his
pocketand showed it to the king. The king read the article relative to
the donation of the house.

But,said hethere is no question here but of the house; there is
nothing said of the money.

Your pardon, sire, it is in my conscience.

And Monsieur Mazarin has intrusted it to you?
Why not, sire?


He! a man mistrustful of everybody?
He was not so of me, sire, as your majesty may perceive.


Louis fixed his eyes with admiration upon that vulgar but expressive
face. "You are an honest manM. Colbert said the king.

That is not a virtueit is a duty replied Colbert, coolly.

But added Louis, does not the money belong to the family?"

If this money belonged to the family it would be disposed of in the
testament, as the rest of the fortune is. If this money belonged to the
family, I, who drew up the deed of donation in favor of your majesty,
should have added the sum of thirteen millions to that of forty millions
which was offered to you.

How!exclaimed Louis XIV.was it you who drew up the deed of
donation?

Yes, sire.
And yet the cardinal was attached to you?added the kingingenuously.



I had assured his eminence you would by no means accept the gift,said
Colbertin that same quiet manner we have describedand whicheven in
the common habits of lifehad something solemn in it.


Louis passed his hand over his brow: "Oh! how young I am murmured he,
to have command of men."


Colbert waited the end of this monologue. He saw Louis raise his head.
At what hour shall I send the money to your majesty?asked he.


To-night, at eleven o'clock; I desire that no one may know that I
possess this money.


Colbert made no more reply than if the thing had not been said to him.


Is the amount in ingots, or coined gold?


In coined gold, sire.


That is well.


Where shall I send it?


To the Louvre. Thank you, M. Colbert.


Colbert bowed and retired. "Thirteen millions!" exclaimed Louisas soon
as he was alone. "This must be a dream!" Then he allowed his head to
sink between his handsas if he were really asleep. Butat the end of
a momenthe aroseand opening the window violentlyhe bathed his
burning brow in the keen morning airwhich brought to his senses the
scent of the treesand the perfume of the flowers. A splendid dawn was
gilding the horizonand the first rays of the sun bathed in flame the
young king's brow. "This is the dawn of my reign murmured Louis XIV.
It's a presage sent by the Almighty."


Chapter L:
The First Day of the Royalty of Louis XIV.


In the morningthe news of the death of the cardinal was spread through
the castleand thence speedily reached the city. The ministers Fouquet
Lyonneand Letellier entered _la salle des seances_to hold a council.
The king sent for them immediately. "Messieurs said he,as long as
monsieur le cardinal livedI allowed him to govern my affairs; but now I
mean to govern them myself. You will give me your advice when I ask it.
You may go."


The ministers looked at each other with surprise. If they concealed a
smile it was with a great effortfor they knew that the princebrought
up in absolute ignorance of businessby this took upon himself a burden
much too heavy for his strength. Fouquet took leave of his colleagues
upon the stairssaying: - "Messieurs! there will be so much the less
labor for us."


And he gayly climbed into his carriage. The othersa little uneasy at the
turn things had takenwent back to Paris together. Towards ten o'clock
the king repaired to the apartment of his motherwith whom he had a long
and private conversation. After dinnerhe got into his carriageand
went straight to the Louvre. There he received much companyand took a
degree of pleasure in remarking the hesitation of eachand the curiosity
of all. Towards evening he ordered the doors of the Louvre to be closed
with the exception of only onewhich opened on the quay. He placed on
duty at this point two hundred Swisswho did not speak a word of French
with orders to admit all who carried packagesbut no others; and by no



means to allow any one to go out. At eleven o'clock preciselyhe heard
the rolling of a heavy carriage under the archthen of anotherthen of
a third; after which the gate grated upon its hinges to be closed. Soon
aftersomebody scratched with his nail at the door of the cabinet. The
king opened it himselfand beheld Colbertwhose first word was this: -
The money is in your majesty's cellar.

The king then descended and went himself to see the barrels of speciein
gold and silverwhichunder the direction of Colbertfour men had just
rolled into a cellar of which the king had given Colbert the key in the
morning. This review completedLouis returned to his apartments
followed by Colbertwho had not apparently warmed with one ray of
personal satisfaction.

Monsieur,said the kingwhat do you wish that I should give you, as a
recompense for this devotedness and probity?

Absolutely nothing, sire.

How! nothing? Not even an opportunity of serving me?

If your majesty were not to furnish me with that opportunity, I should
not the less serve you. It is impossible for me not to be the best
servant of the king.

You shall be intendant of the finances, M. Colbert.

But there is already a superintendent, sire.

I know that.

Sire, the superintendent of the finances is the most powerful man in the
kingdom.

Ah!cried Louiscoloringdo you think so?

He will crush me in a week, sire. Your majesty gives me a _controle_
for which strength is indispensable. An intendant under a
superintendent, - that is inferiority.

You want support - you do not reckon upon me?

I had the honor of telling your majesty, that during the lifetime of M.
de Mazarin, M. Fouquet was the second man in the kingdom; now M. de
Mazarin is dead, M. Fouquet is become the first.

Monsieur, I agree to what you told me of all things up to to-day; but tomorrow,
please to remember, I shall no longer suffer it.

Then I shall be of no use to your majesty?

You are already, since you fear to compromise yourself in serving me.

I only fear to be placed so that I cannot serve your majesty.

What do you wish, then?

I wish your majesty to allow me assistance in the labors of the office
of intendant.

That post would lose its value.

It would gain in security.


Choose your colleagues.
Messieurs Breteuil, Marin, Hervart.


To-morrow the _ordonnance_ shall appear.
Sire, I thank you.


Is that all you ask?
No, sire, one thing more.


What is that?
Allow me to compose a chamber of justice.


What would this chamber of justice do?


Try the farmers-general and contractors, who, during ten years, have
been robbing the state.

Well, but what would you do with them?
Hang two or three, and that would make the rest disgorge.


I cannot commence my reign with executions, Monsieur Colbert.


On the contrary, sire, you had better, in order not to have to end with
them.
The king made no reply. "Does your majesty consent?" said Colbert.


I will reflect upon it, monsieur.
It will be too late when reflection may be made.


Why?


Because you have to deal with people stronger than ourselves, if they
are warned.

Compose that chamber of justice, monsieur.
I will, sire.

Is that all?

No, sire; there is still another important affair. What rights does
your majesty attach to this office of intendant?
Well - I do not know - the customary ones.


Sire, I desire that this office be invested with the right of reading
the correspondence with England.

Impossible, monsieur, for that correspondence is kept from the council;
monsieur le cardinal himself carried it on.

I thought your majesty had this morning declared that there should no
longer be a council?

Yes, I said so.
Let your majesty then have the goodness to read all the letters



yourself, particularly those from England; I hold strongly to this
article.

Monsieur, you shall have that correspondence, and render me an account
of it.

Now, sire, what shall I do with respect to the finances?

Everything M. Fouquet has _not_ done.

That is all I ask of your majesty. Thanks, sire, I depart in peace;
and at these words he took his leave. Louis watched his departure.
Colbert was not yet a hundred paces from the Louvre when the king
received a courier from England. After having looked at and examined
the envelopethe king broke the seal precipitatelyand found a letter
from Charles II. The following is what the English prince wrote to his
royal brother:


Your majesty must be rendered very uneasy by the illness of M. le
Cardinal Mazarin; but the excess of danger can only prove of service to
you. The cardinal is given over by his physician. I thank you for the
gracious reply you have made to my communication touching the Princess
Henrietta, my sister, and, in a week, the princess and her court will set
out for Paris. It is gratifying to me to acknowledge the fraternal
friendship you have evinced towards me, and to call you, more justly than
ever, my brother. It is gratifying to me, above everything, to prove to
your majesty how much I am interested in all that may please you. You
are wrong in having Belle-Ile-en-Mer secretly fortified. That is wrong.
We shall never be at war against each other. That measure does not make
me uneasy, it makes me sad. You are spending useless millions; tell your
ministers so; and rest assured that I am well informed; render me the
same service, my brother, if occasion offers.

The king rang his bell violentlyand his _valet de chambre_ appeared.
Monsieur Colbert is just gone; he cannot be far off. Let him be called
back!exclaimed he.

The valet was about to execute the orderwhen the king stopped him.

No,said heno; I see the whole scheme of that man. Belle-Isle
belongs to M. Fouquet; Belle-Isle is being fortified: that is a
conspiracy on the part of M. Fouquet. The discovery of that conspiracy
is the ruin of the superintendent, and that discovery is the result of
the correspondence with England: this is why Colbert wished to have that
correspondence. Oh! but I cannot place all my dependence upon that man;
he has a good head, but I must have an arm!Louisall at onceuttered
a joyful cry. "I had said he, a lieutenant of musketeers!"

Yes, sire - Monsieur d'Artagnan.

He quitted the service for a time.

Yes, sire.

Let him be found, and be here to-morrow the first thing in the morning.

The _valet de chambre_ bowed and went out.

Thirteen millions in my cellar,said the king; "Colbert carrying my
purse and D'Artagnan my sword - _I am king_."

Chapter LI:
A Passion.


The day of his arrivalon returning from the Palais RoyalAthosas we
have seenwent straight to his hotel in the Rue Saint-Honore. He there
found the Vicomte de Bragelonne waiting for him in his chamberchatting
with Grimaud. It was not an easy thing to talk with this old servant.
Two men only possessed the secretAthos and D'Artagnan. The first
succeededbecause Grimaud sought to make him speak himself; D'Artagnan
on the contrarybecause he knew how to make Grimaud talk. Raoul was
occupied in making him describe the voyage to Englandand Grimaud had
related it in all its detailswith a limited number of gestures and
eight wordsneither more nor less. He hadat firstindicated by an
undulating movement of his handthat his master and he had crossed the
sea. "Upon some expedition?" Raoul had asked.

Grimaud by bending down his head had answeredYes.

When monsieur le comte incurred much danger?asked Raoul.

Neither too much nor too little,was replied by a shrug of the
shoulders.

But still, what sort of danger?insisted Raoul.

Grimaud pointed to the sword; he pointed to the fire and to a musket that
was hanging on the wall.

Monsieur le comte had an enemy there, then?cried Raoul.

Monk,replied Grimaud.

It is strange,continued Raoulthat monsieur le comte persists in
considering me a novice, and not allowing me to partake the honor and
danger of his adventure.

Grimaud smiled. It was at this moment Athos came in. The host was
lighting him up the stairsand Grimaudrecognizing the step of his
masterhastened to meet himwhich cut short the conversation. But
Raoul was launched on the sea of interrogatoriesand did not stop.
Taking both hands of the comtewith warmbut respectful tenderness-
How is it, monsieur,said hethat you have set out upon a dangerous
voyage without bidding me adieu, without commanding the aid of my sword,
of myself, who ought to be your support, now I have the strength; whom
you have brought up like a man? Ah! monsieur, can you expose me to the
cruel trial of never seeing you again?

Who told you, Raoul,said the comteplacing his cloak and hat in the
hands of Grimaudwho had unbuckled his swordwho told you that my
voyage was a dangerous one?

I,said Grimaud.

And why did you do so?said Athossternly.

Grimaud was embarrassed; Raoul came to his assistanceby answering for
him. "It is naturalmonsieurthat our good Grimaud should tell me the
truth in what concerns you. By whom should you be loved an supportedif
not by me?"

Athos did not reply. He made a friendly motion to Grimaudwhich sent
him out of the room; he then seated himself in a _fauteuil_whilst Raoul
remained standing before him.

But it is true,continued Raoulthat your voyage was an expedition,
and that steel and fire threatened you?


Say no more about that, vicomte,said Athosmildly. "I set out
hastilyit is true: but the service of King Charles II. required a
prompt departure. As to your anxietyI thank you for itand I know
that I can depend on you. You have not wanted for anythingvicomtein
my absencehave you?"

No, monsieur, thank you.

I left orders with Blaisois to pay you a hundred pistoles, if you should
stand in need of money.

Monsieur, I have not seen Blaisois.

You have been without money, then?

Monsieur, I had thirty pistoles left from the sale of the horses I took
in my last campaign, and M. le Prince had the kindness to allow me to win
two hundred pistoles at his play-table three months ago.

Do you play? I don't like that, Raoul.

I never play, monsieur; it was M. le Prince who ordered me to hold his
cards at Chantilly - one night when a courier came to him from the king.
I won, and M. le Prince commanded me to take the stakes.

Is that a practice in the household, Raoul?asked Athos with a frown.

Yes, monsieur; every week M. le Prince affords, upon one occasion or
another, a similar advantage to one of his gentlemen. There are fifty
gentlemen in his highness's household; it was my turn.

Very well! You went into Spain, then?

Yes, monsieur, I made a very delightful and interesting journey.

You have been back a month, have you not?

Yes, monsieur.

And in the course of that month?

In that month -

What have you done?

My duty, monsieur.

Have you not been home, to La Fere?

Raoul colored. Athos looked at him with a fixed but tranquil expression.

You would be wrong not to believe me,said Raoul. "I feel that I
coloredand in spite of myself. The question you did me the honor to
ask me is of a nature to raise in me much emotion. I colorthen
because I am agitatednot because I meditate a falsehood."

I know, Raoul, you never lie.

No, monsieur.

Besides, my young friend, you would be wrong; what I wanted to say -

I know quite well, monsieur. You would ask me if I have not been to


Blois?

Exactly so.

I have not been there; I have not even seen the person to whom you
allude.

Raoul's voice trembled as he pronounced these words. Athosa sovereign
judge in all matters of delicacyimmediately addedRaoul, you answer
me with a painful feeling; you are unhappy.

Very, monsieur; you have forbidden me to go to Blois, or to see
Mademoiselle de la Valliere again.Here the young man stopped. That
dear nameso delightful to pronouncemade his heart bleedalthough so
sweet upon his lips.

And I have acted rightly, Raoul.Athos hastened to reply. "I am
neither an unjust nor a barbarous father; I respect true love; but I look
forward for you to a future - an immense future. A new reign is about to
break upon us like a fresh dawn. War calls upon a young king full of
chivalric spirit. What is wanting to assist this heroic ardor is a
battalion of young and free lieutenants who would rush to the fight with
enthusiasmand fallcrying: '_Vive le Roi!_' instead of 'Adieumy dear
wife.' You understand thatRaoul. However brutal my reasoning may
appearI conjure youthento believe meand to turn away your
thoughts from those early days of youth in which you took up this habit
of love - days of effeminate carelessnesswhich soften the heart and
render it incapable of consuming those strong bitter draughts called
glory and adversity. ThereforeRaoulI repeat to youyou should see
in my counsel only the desire of being useful to youonly the ambition
of seeing you prosper. I believe you capable of becoming a remarkable
man. March aloneand you will march betterand more quickly."

You have commanded, monsieur,replied Raouland I obey.

Commanded!cried Athos. "Is it thus you reply to me? I have commanded
you! Oh! you distort my words as you misconceive my intentions. I do
not command you; I request you."

No, monsieur, you have commanded,said Raoulpersistently; "had you
requested meyour request is even more effective than your order. I
have not seen Mademoiselle de la Valliere again."

But you are unhappy! you are unhappy!insisted Athos.

Raoul made no reply.

I find you pale; I find you dull. The sentiment is strong, then?

It is a passion,replied Raoul.

No - a habit.

Monsieur, you know I have traveled much, that I have passed two years
far away from her. A habit would yield to an absence of two years, I
believe; whereas, on my return, I loved not more, that was impossible,
but as much. Mademoiselle de la Valliere is for me the one lady above
all others; but you are for me a god upon earth - to you I sacrifice
everything.

You are wrong,said Athos; "I have no longer any right over you. Age
has emancipated you; you no longer even stand in need of my consent.
BesidesI will not refuse my consent after what you have told me. Marry
Mademoiselle de la Valliereif you like."


Raoul was startledbut suddenly: "You are very kindmonsieur said he;
and your concession excites my warmest gratitudebut I will not accept
it."

Then you now refuse?

Yes, monsieur.

I will not oppose you in anything, Raoul.

But you have at the bottom of your heart an idea against this marriage:
it is not your choice.

That is true.

That is sufficient to make me resist: I will wait.

Beware, Raoul! What you are now saying is serious.

I know it is, monsieur; as I said, I will wait.

Until I die?said Athosmuch agitated.

Oh! monsieur,cried Raoulwith tears in his eyesis it possible that
you should wound my heart thus? I have never given you cause of
complaint!

Dear boy, that is true,murmured Athospressing his lips violently
together to conceal the emotion of which he was no longer master. "NoI
will no longer afflict you; only I do not comprehend what you mean by
waiting. Will you wait till you love no longer?"

Ah! for that! - no, monsieur. I will wait till you change your opinion.

I should wish to put the matter to a test, Raoul; I should like to see
if Mademoiselle de la Valliere will wait as you do.

I hope so, monsieur.

But, take care, Raoul! suppose she did not wait? Ah, you are young, so
confiding, so loyal! Women are changeable.

You have never spoken ill to me of women, monsieur; you have never had
to complain of them; why should you doubt of Mademoiselle de la Valliere?

That is true,said Athoscasting down his eyes; "I have never spoken
ill to you of women; I have never had to complain of them; Mademoiselle
de la Valliere never gave birth to a suspicion; but when we are looking
forwardwe must go even to exceptionseven to improbabilities! _If_I
sayMademoiselle de la Valliere should not wait for you?"

How, monsieur?

If she turned her eyes another way.

If she looked favorably upon another, do you mean, monsieur?said
Raoulpale with agony.

Exactly.

Well, monsieur, I would kill him,said Raoulsimplyand all the men
whom Mademoiselle de la Valliere should choose, until one of them had
killed me, or Mademoiselle de la Valliere had restored me her heart.


Athos started. "I thought resumed he, in an agitated voice, that you
called my just now your godyour law in this world."

Oh!said Raoultremblingyou would forbid me the duel?

Suppose I _did_ forbid it, Raoul?

You would not forbid me to hope, monsieur; consequently you would not
forbid me to die.

Athos raised his eyes toward the vicomte. He had pronounced these words
with the most melancholy look. "Enough said Athos, after a long
silence, enough of this subjectupon which we both go too far. Live as
well as you are ableRaoulperform your dutieslove Mademoiselle de la
Valliere; in a wordact like a mansince you have attained the age of a
man; only do not forget that I love you tenderlyand that you profess to
love me."

Ah! monsieur le comte!cried Raoulpressing the hand of Athos to his
heart.

Enough, dear boy, leave me; I want rest. _A propos_, M. d'Artagnan has
returned from England with me; you owe him a visit.

I will pay it, monsieur, with great pleasure. I love Monsieur
d'Artagnan exceedingly.

You are right in doing so; he is a worthy man and a brave cavalier.

Who loves you dearly.

I am sure of that. Do you know his address?

At the Louvre, I suppose, or wherever the king is. Does he not command
the musketeers?

No; at present M. d'Artagnan is absent on leave; he is resting for
awhile. Do not, therefore, seek him at the posts of his service. You
will hear of him at the house of a certain Planchet.

His former lackey?

Exactly; turned grocer.

I know; Rue des Lombards?

Somewhere thereabouts, or Rue des Arcis.

I will find it, monsieur - I will find it.

You will say a thousand kind things to him, on my part, and ask him to
come and dine with me before I set out for La Fere.

Yes, monsieur.

Good-might, Raoul!

Monsieur, I see you wear an order I never saw you wear before; accept my
compliments.

The Fleece! - that is true. A bauble, my boy, which no longer amuses an
old child like myself. Good-night, Raoul!


Chapter LII:
D'Artagnan's Lesson.

Raoul did not meet with D'Artagnan the next dayas he had hoped. He
only met with Planchetwhose joy was great at seeing the young man
againand who contrived to pay him two or three little soldierly
complimentssavoring very little of the grocer's shop. But as Raoul was
returning the next day from Vincennes at the head of fifty dragoons
confided to him by Monsieur le Princehe perceivedin La Place
Baudoyera man with his nose in the airexamining a house as we examine
a horse we have a fancy to buy. This mandressed in a citizen costume
buttoned up like a military _pourpoint_a very small hat on his
headbut a long shagreen-mounted sword by his sideturned his head as
soon as he heard the steps of the horsesand left off looking at the
house to look at the dragoons. It was simply M. d'Artagnan; D'Artagnan
on foot; D'Artagnan with his hands behind himpassing a little review
upon the dragoonsafter having reviewed the buildings. Not a mannot a
tagnot a horse's hoof escaped his inspection. Raoul rode at the side
of his troop; D'Artagnan perceived him the last. "Eh!" said heEh!
_Mordioux!_

I was not mistaken!cried Raoulturning his horse towards him.

Mistaken - no! Good-day to you,replied the ex-musketeer; whilst Raoul
eagerly pressed the hand of his old friend. "Take careRaoul said
D'Artagnan, the second horse of the fifth rank will lose a shoe before
he gets to the Pont Marie; he has only two nails left in his off forefoot."


Wait a minute, I will come back,said Raoul.

Can you quit your detachment?

The cornet is there to take my place.

Then you will come and dine with me?

Most willingly, Monsieur d'Artagnan.

Be quick, then; leave your horse, or make them give me one.

I prefer coming back on foot with you.

Raoul hastened to give notice to the cornetwho took his post; he then
dismountedgave his horse to one of the dragoonsand with great delight
seized the arm of M. d'Artagnanwho had watched him during all these
little evolutions with the satisfaction of a connoisseur.

What, do you come from Vincennes?said he.

Yes, monsieur le chevalier.

And the cardinal?

Is very ill; it is even reported he is dead.

Are you on good terms with M. Fouquet?asked D'Artagnanwith a
disdainful movement of the shouldersproving that the death of Mazarin
did not affect him beyond measure.

With M. Fouquet?said Raoul; "I do not know him."

So much the worse! so much the worse! for a new king always seeks to get


good men in his employment.

Oh! the king means no harm,replied the young man.

I say nothing about the crown,cried D'Artagnan; "I am speaking of the
king - the kingthat is M. Fouquetif the cardinal is dead. You must
contrive to stand well with M. Fouquetif you do not wish to molder away
all your life as I have moldered. It is true you havefortunately
other protectors."

M. le Prince, for instance.

Worn out! worn out!

M. le Comte de la Fere?

Athos! Oh! that's different; yes, Athos - and if you have any wish to
make your way in England, you cannot apply to a better person; I can even
say, without too much vanity, that I myself have some credit at the court
of Charles II. There is a king - God speed him!

Ah!cried Raoulwith the natural curiosity of well-born young people
while listening to experience and courage.

Yes, a king who amuses himself, it is true, but who has had a sword in
his hand, and can appreciate useful men. Athos is on good terms with
Charles II. Take service there, and leave these scoundrels of
contractors and farmers-general, who steal as well with French hands as
others have done with Italian hands; leave the little snivelling king,
who is going to give us another reign of Francis II. Do you know
anything of history, Raoul?

Yes, monsieur le chevalier.

Do you know, then, that Francis II. had always the earache?

No, I did not know that.

That Charles IV. had always the headache?

Indeed!

And Henry III. had always the stomach-ache?

Raoul began to laugh.

Well, my dear friend, Louis XIV. always has the heart-ache; it is
deplorable to see a king sighing from morning till night without saying
once in the course of the day, _ventre-saint-gris! corboef!_ or anything
to rouse one.

Was that the reason why you quitted the service, monsieur le chevalier?

Yes.

But you yourself, M. d'Artagnan, are throwing the handle after the axe;
you will not make a fortune.

Who? I?replied D'Artagnanin a careless tone; "I am settled - I had
some family property."

Raoul looked at him. The poverty of D'Artagnan was proverbial. A
Gasconhe exceeded in ill-luck all the gasconnades of France and
Navarre; Raoul had a hundred times heard Job and D'Artagnan named


togetheras the twins Romulus and Remus. D'Artagnan caught Raoul's look
of astonishment.

And has not your father told you I have been in England?

Yes, monsieur le chevalier.
And that I there met with a very lucky chance?


No, monsieur, I did not know that.


Yes, a very worthy friend of mine, a great nobleman, the viceroy of
Scotland and Ireland, has endowed me with an inheritance.
An inheritance?


And a good one, too.
Then you are rich?


Bah!
Receive my sincere congratulation.


Thank you! Look, that is my house.
Place de Greve?


Yes; don't you like this quarter?


On the contrary, the look-out over the water is pleasant. Oh! what a
pretty old house!

The sign Notre Dame; it is an old _cabaret_, which I have transformed
into a private house in two days.

But the _cabaret_ is still open?
_Pardieu!_


And where do you lodge, then?
I? I lodge with Planchet.


You said, just now, 'This is my house.'
I said so, because, in fact, it is my house. I have bought it.


Ah!said Raoul.


At ten years' purchase, my dear Raoul; a superb affair; I bought the
house for thirty thousand livres; it has a garden which opens to the Rue
de la Mortillerie; the _cabaret_ lets for a thousand livres, with the
first story; the garret, or second floor, for five hundred livres.

Indeed!

Yes, indeed.
Five hundred livres for a garret? Why, it is not habitable.


Therefore no one inhabits it; only, you see, this garret has two windows
which look out upon the Place.


Yes, monsieur.

Well, then, every time anybody is broken on the wheel or hung,
quartered, or burnt, these two windows let for twenty pistoles.

Oh!said Raoulwith horror.

It is disgusting, is it not?said D'Artagnan.

Oh!repeated Raoul.

It is disgusting, but so it is. These Parisian cockneys are sometimes
real anthropophagi. I cannot conceive how men, Christians, can make such
speculation.

That is true."

As for myself,continued D'Artagnanif I inhabited that house, on
days of execution I would shut it up to the very keyholes; but I do not
inhabit it.

And you let the garret for five hundred livres?

To the ferocious _cabaretier_, who sub-lets it. I said, then, fifteen
hundred livres.

The natural interest of money,said Raoul- "five per cent."

Exactly so. I then have left the side of the house at the back, storerooms,
and cellars, inundated every winter, two hundred livres; and the
garden, which is very fine, well planted, well shaded under the walls and
the portal of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais, thirteen hundred livres.

Thirteen hundred livres! why, that is royal!

This is the whole history. I strongly suspect some canon of the parish
(these canons are all rich as Croesus) - I suspect some canon of having
hired the garden to take his pleasure in. The tenant has given the name
of M. Godard. That is either a false name or a real name; if true, he is
a canon; if false, he is some unknown; but of what consequence is it to
me? he always pays in advance. I had also an idea just now, when I met
you, of buying a house in the Place Baudoyer, the back premises of which
join my garden, and would make a magnificent property. Your dragoons
interrupted my calculations. But come, let us take the Rue de la
Vannerie: that will lead us straight to M. Planchet's.D'Artagnan
mended his paceand conducted Raoul to Planchet's dwellinga chamber of
which the grocer had given up to his old master. Planchet was outbut
the dinner was ready. There was a remains of military regularity and
punctuality preserved in the grocer's household. D'Artagnan returned to
the subject of Raoul's future.

Your father brings you up rather strictly?said he.

Justly, monsieur le chevalier.

Oh, yes, I know Athos is just; but close, perhaps?

A royal hand, Monsieur d'Artagnan.

Well, never want, my boy! If ever you stand in need of a few pistoles,
the old musketeer is at hand.

My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan!


Do you play a little?

Never.

Successful with the ladies, then? - Oh! my little Aramis! That, my dear
friend, costs even more than play. It is true we fight when we lose;
that is a compensation. Bah! that little sniveller, the king, makes
winners give him his revenge. What a reign! my poor Raoul, what a
reign! When we think that, in my time, the musketeers were besieged in
their houses like Hector and Priam in the city of Troy; and the women
wept, and then the walls laughed, and then five hundred beggarly fellows
clapped their hands and cried, 'Kill! kill!' when not one musketeer was
hurt. _Mordioux!_ you will never see anything like that.

You are very hard upon the king, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan and yet you
scarcely know him.

I! Listen, Raoul. Day by day, hour by hour, - take note of my words, -
I will predict what he will do. The cardinal being dead, he will fret;
very well, that is the least silly thing he will do, particularly if he
does not shed a tear.

And then?

Why, then he will get M. Fouquet to allow him a pension, and will go and
compose verses at Fontainebleau, upon some Mancini or other, whose eyes
the queen will scratch out. She is a Spaniard, you see, - this queen of
ours; and she has, for mother-in-law, Madame Anne of Austria. I know
something of the Spaniards of the house of Austria.

And next?

Well, after having torn the silver lace from the uniforms of his Swiss,
because lace is too expensive, he will dismount his musketeers, because
oats and hay of a horse cost five sols a day.

Oh! do not say that.

Of what consequence is it to _me?_ I am no longer a musketeer, am I?
Let them be on horseback, let them be on foot, let them carry a larding-
pin, a spit, a sword, or nothing - what is it to _me?_

My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, I beseech you speak no more ill of the
king. I am almost in his service, and my father would be very angry with
me for having heard, even from your mouth, words injurious to his
majesty.

Your father, eh! He is a knight in every bad cause. _Pardieu!_ yes,
your father is a brave man, a Caesar, it is true - but a man without
perception.

Now, my dear chevalier,exclaimed Raoullaughingare you going to
speak ill of my father, of him you call the great Athos? Truly you are
in a bad vein to-day; riches render you as sour as poverty renders other
people.

_Pardieu!_ you are right. I am a rascal and in my dotage; I am an
unhappy wretch grown old; a tent-cord untwisted, a pierced cuirass, a
boot without a sole, a spur without a rowel ; - but do me the pleasure to
add one thing.

What is that, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan?

Simply say: 'Mazarin was a pitiful wretch.'


Perhaps he is dead.

More the reason - I say _was_; if I did not hope that he was dead, I
would entreat you to say: 'Mazarin is a pitiful wretch.' Come, say so,
say so, for love of me.

Well, I will.

Say it!

Mazarin was a pitiful wretch,said Raoulsmiling at the musketeerwho
roared with laughteras in his best days.

A moment,said the latter; "you have spoken my first propositionhere
is the conclusion of it- repeatRaoulrepeat: 'But I regret Mazarin.'"

Chevalier!

You will not say it? Well, then, I will say it twice for you.

But you would regret Mazarin?

And they were still laughing and discussing this profession of
principleswhen one of the shop-boys entered. "A lettermonsieur
said he, for M. d'Artagnan."

Thank you; give it me,cried the musketeer

The handwriting of monsieur le comte,said Raoul.

Yes, yes.And D'Artagnan broke the seal.

Dear friend,said Athosa person has just been here to beg me to seek
for you, on the part of the king.

Seek me!said D'Artagnanletting the paper fall upon the table. Raoul
picked it upand continued to read aloud:


Make haste. His majesty is very anxious to speak to you, and expects
you at the Louvre.

Expects me?again repeated the musketeer.

He, he, he!laughed Raoul.

Oh, oh!replied D'Artagnan. "What the devil can this mean?"

Chapter LIII:
The King.

The first moment of surprise overD'Artagnan reperused Athos's note.
It is strange,said hethat the king should send for me.

Why so?said Raoul; "do you not thinkmonsieurthat the king must
regret such a servant as you?"

Oh, oh!cried the officerlaughing with all his might; "you are poking
fun at meMaster Raoul. If the king had regretted mehe would not have
let me leave him. Nono; I see in it something betteror worseif you
like."

Worse! What can that be, monsieur le chevalier?


You are young, you are a boy, you are admirable. Oh, how I should like
to be as you are! To be but twenty-four, with an unfortunate brow, under
which the brain is void of everything but women, love, and good
intentions. Oh, Raoul, as long as you have not received the smiles of
kings, the confidence of queens; as long as you have not had two
cardinals killed under you, the one a tiger, the other a fox; as long as
you have not - But what is the good of all this trifling? We must part,
Raoul.

How you say the word! What a serious face!

Eh! but the occasion is worthy of it. Listen to me. I have a very good
recommendation to tender you.

I am all attention, Monsieur d'Artagnan.

You will go and inform your father of my departure.

Your departure?

_Pardieu!_ You will tell him I am gone into England; and that I am
living in my little country-house.

In England, you! - And the king's orders?

You get more and more silly: do you imagine that I am going to the
Louvre, to place myself at the disposal of that little crowned wolf-cub?

The king a wolf-cub? Why, monsieur le chevalier, you are mad!

On the contrary, I never was so sane. You do not know what he wants to
do with me, this worthy son of _Louis le Juste!_ - But, _mordioux!_ that
is policy. He wishes to ensconce me snugly in the Bastile - purely and
simply, look you!

What for?cried Raoulterrified at what he heard.

On account of what I told him one day at Blois. I was warm; he
remembers it.

You told him what?

That he was mean, cowardly, and silly.

Good God!cried Raoulis it possible that such words should have
issued from your mouth?

Perhaps I don't give the letter of my speech, but I give the sense of
it.

But did not the king have you arrested immediately?

By whom? It was I who commanded the musketeers; he must have commanded
me to convey myself to prison; I would never have consented: I would have
resisted myself. And then I went into England - no more D'Artagnan.
Now, the cardinal is dead, or nearly so, they learn that I am in Paris,
and they lay their hands on me.

The cardinal was your protector?

The cardinal knew me; he knew certain particularities of me; I also knew
some of his; we appreciated each other mutually. And then, on rendering
his soul to the devil, he would recommend Anne of Austria to make me the


inhabitant of a safe place. Go, then, and find your father, relate the
fact to him - and adieu!

My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Raoulvery much agitatedafter
having looked out the windowyou cannot even fly!

Why not?

Because there is below an officer of the Swiss guards waiting for you.
Well?

Well, he will arrest you.
D'Artagnan broke into a Homeric laugh.

Oh! I know very well that you will resist, that you will fight, even; I
know very well that you will prove the conqueror; but that amounts to
rebellion, and you are an officer yourself, knowing what discipline is.

Devil of a boy, how logical that is!grumbled D'Artagnan.
You approve of it, do you not?

Yes, instead of passing into the street, where that idiot is waiting for
me, I will slip quietly out at the back. I have a horse in the stable,
and a good one. I will ride him to death; my means permit me to do so,
and by killing one horse after another, I shall arrive at Boulogne in
eleven hours; I know the road. Only tell your father one thing.

What is that?

That is - that the thing he knows about is placed at Planchet's house,
except a fifth, and that -

But, my dear D'Artagnan, rest assured that if you fly, two things will
be said of you.

What are they, my dear friend?

The first, that you have been afraid.
Ah! and who will dare to say that?


The king first.
Well! but he will tell the truth, - I am afraid.


The second, that you knew yourself guilty.
Guilty of what?


Why, of the crimes they wish to impute to you.


That is true again. So, then, you advise me to go and get myself made a
prisoner in the Bastile?

M. le Comte de la Fere would advise you just as I do.

_Pardieu!_ I know he would,said D'Artagnan thoughtfully. "You are
rightI shall not escape. But if they cast me into the Bastile?"
We will get you out again,said Raoulwith a quietcalm air.


_Mordioux!_ You said that after a brave fashion, Raoul,said
D'Artagnanseizing his hand; "that savors of Athosdistinctly. WellI
will gothen. Do not forget my last word."

Except a fifth,said Raoul.

Yes, you are a fine boy! and I wish you to add one thing to that last
word.

Speak, chevalier!

It is that if you cannot get me out of the Bastile, and I remain there –
Oh! that will be so, and I shall be a detestable prisoner; I, who have
been a passable man, - in that case, I give three-fifths to you, and the
fourth to your father.

Chevalier!

_Mordioux!_ If you will have some masses said for me, you are welcome.

That being saidD'Artagnan took his belt from the hookgirded on his
swordtook a hat the feather of which was freshand held his hand out
to Raoulwho threw himself into his arms. When in the shophe cast a
quick glance at the shop-ladswho looked upon the scene with a pride
mingled with some inquietude; then plunging his hands into a chest of
currantshe went straight to the officer who was waiting for him at the
door.

Those features! Can it be you, Monsieur de Friedisch?cried
D'Artagnangayly. "Eh! eh! whatdo we arrest our friends?"

Arrest!whispered the lads among themselves.

Ja, it is I, Monsieur d'Artagnan! Good-day to you!said the Swissin
his mountain _patois_.

Must I give you up my sword? I warn you that it is long and heavy; you
had better let me wear if to the Louvre: I feel quite lost in the streets
without a sword, and you would be more at a loss that I should, with two.

The king has given me no orders about it,replied the Swissso keep
your sword.

Well, that is very polite on the part of the king. Let us go, at once.

Monsieur Friedisch was not a talkerand D'Artagnan had too many things
to think about to say much. From Planchet's shop to the Louvre was not
far- they arrived in ten minutes. It was a dark night. M. de
Friedisch wanted to enter by the wicket. "No said D'Artagnan, you
would lose time by that; take the little staircase."

The Swiss did as D'Artagnan advisedand conducted him to the vestibule
of the king's cabinet. When arrived therehe bowed to his prisoner
andwithout saying anythingreturned to his post. D'Artagnan had not
had time to ask why his sword was not taken from himwhen the door of
the cabinet openedand a _valet de chambre_ calledM. d'Artagnan!
The musketeer assumed his parade carriageand enteredwith his large
eyes wide openhis brow calmhis moustache stiff. The king was seated
at a table writing. He did not disturb himself when the step of the
musketeer resounded on the floor; he did not even turn his head.
D'Artagnan advanced as far as the middle of the roomand seeing that the
king paid no attention to himand suspectingbesidesthat this was
nothing but affectationa sort of tormenting preamble to the explanation
that was preparinghe turned his back on the princeand began to


examine the frescoes on the cornicesand the cracks in the ceiling.
This maneuver was accompanied by a little tacit monologue. "Ah! you want
to humble medo you? - youwhom I have seen so young - youwhom I have
saved as I would my own child- youwhom I have served as I would a God

-that is to sayfor nothing. Wait awhile! wait awhile! you shall see
what a man can do who has suffered the air of the fire of the Huguenots
under the beard of monsieur le cardinal - the true cardinal." At this
moment Louis turned round.
Ah! are you there, Monsieur d'Artagnan?said he.

D'Artagnan saw the movement and imitated it. "Yessire said he.

Very well; have the goodness to wait till I have cast this up."

D'Artagnan made no reply; he only bowed. "That is polite enough
thought he; I have nothing to say."

Louis made a violent dash with his penand threw it angrily away.

Ah! go on, work yourself up!thought the musketeer; "you will put me at
my ease. You shall find I did not empty the bagthe other dayat
Blois."

Louis rose from his seatpassed his hand over his browthenstopping
opposite to D'Artagnanhe looked at him with an air at once imperious
and kindWhat the devil does he want with me? I wish he would begin!
thought the musketeer.

Monsieur,said the kingyou know, without doubt, that monsieur le
cardinal is dead?

I suspected so, sire.

You know that, consequently, I am master in my own kingdom?

That is not a thing that dates from the death of monsieur le cardinal,
sire; a man is always master in his own house, when he wishes to be so.

Yes; but do you not remember all you said to me at Blois?

Now we come to it,thought D'Artagnan; "I was not deceived. Wellso
much the betterit is a sign that my scent is tolerably keen yet."

You do not answer me,said Louis.

Sire, I think I recollect.

You only think?

It is so long ago.

If you do not remember, I do. You said to me, - listen with attention.

Ah! I shall listen with all my ears, sire; for it is very likely the
conversation will turn in a fashion very interesting to me.

Louis once more looked at the musketeer. The latter smoothed the feather
of his hatthen his mustacheand waited bravely. Louis XIV. continued:
You quitted my service, monsieur, after having told me the whole truth?

Yes, sire.

That is, after having declared to me all you thought to be true, with


regard to my mode of thinking and acting. That is always a merit. You
began by telling me that you had served my family thirty years, and were
fatigued.

I said so; yes, sire.

And you afterwards admitted that that fatigue was a pretext, and that
discontent was the real cause.

I was discontented, in fact; but that discontent has never betrayed
itself, that I know of, and if, like a man of heart, I have spoken out
before your majesty, I have not even thought of the matter before anybody
else.

Do not excuse yourself, D'Artagnan, but continue to listen to me. When
making me the reproach that you were discontented, you received in reply
a promise: - 'Wait.' - Is that not true?

Yes, sire, as true as what I told you.

You answered me, 'Hereafter! No, now, immediately.' Do not excuse
yourself, I tell you. It was natural, but you had no charity for your
poor prince, Monsieur d'Artagnan.

Sire! - charity for a king, on the part of a poor soldier!

You understand me very well; you knew that I stood in need of it; you
knew very well that I was not master; you knew very well that my hope was
in the future. Now, you answered me when I spoke of the future, 'My
discharge, - and that directly.'

That is true,murmured D'Artagnanbiting his mustache.

You did not flatter me when I was in distress,added Louis.

But,said D'Artagnanraising his head noblyif I did not flatter
your majesty when poor, neither did I betray you. I have shed my blood
for nothing; I have watched like a dog at a door, knowing full well that
neither bread nor bone would be thrown to me. I, although poor likewise,
asked nothing of your majesty but the discharge you speak of.

I know you are a brave man, but I was a young man, and you ought to have
had some indulgence for me. What had you to reproach the king with? –
that he left King Charles II. without assistance? - let us say further –
that he did not marry Mademoiselle de Mancini?When saying these words
the king fixed upon the musketeer a searching look.

Ah! ah!thought the latterhe is doing far more than remembering, he
divines. The devil!

Your sentence,continued Louisfell upon the king and fell upon the
man. But, Monsieur d'Artagnan, that weakness, for you considered it a
weakness?- D'Artagnan made no reply - "you reproached me also with
regard to monsieurthe defunct cardinal. Nowmonsieur le cardinaldid
he not bring me updid he not support me? - elevating himself and
supporting himself at the same timeI admit; but the benefit was
discharged. As an ingrate or an egotistwould youthenhave better
loved or served me?"

Sire!

We will say no more about it, monsieur; it would only create in you too
many regrets, and me too much pain.


D'Artagnan was not convinced. The young kingin adopting a tone of
_hauteur_ with himdid not forward his purpose.

You have since reflected?resumed Louis.

Upon what, sire?asked D'Artagnanpolitely.
Why, upon all that I have said to you, monsieur.


Yes, sire, no doubt -
And you have only waited for an opportunity of retracting your words?


Sire!
You hesitate, it seems.


I do not understand what your majesty did me the honor to say to me.
Louis's brow became cloudy.


Have the goodness to excuse me, sire; my understanding is particularly
thick; things do not penetrate it without difficulty; but it is true,
once they get in, they remain there.

Yes, yes; you appear to have a memory.
Almost as good a one as your majesty's.

Then give me quickly one solution. My time is valuable. What have you
been doing since your discharge?

Making my fortune, sire.
The expression is crude, Monsieur d'Artagnan.


Your majesty takes it in bad part, certainly. I entertain nothing but
the profoundest respect for the king; and if I have been impolite, which
might be excused by my long sojourn in camps and barracks, your majesty
is too much above me to be offended at a word that innocently escapes
from a soldier.

In fact, I know you performed a brilliant action in England, monsieur.
I only regret that you have broken your promise.

I!cried D'Artagnan.

Doubtless. You engaged your word not to serve any other prince on
quitting my service. Now it was for King Charles II. that you undertook
the marvelous carrying off of M. Monk.

Pardon me, sire; it was for myself.

And did you succeed?

Like the captains of the fifteenth century, _coups-de-main_ and
adventures.
What do you call succeeding? - a fortune?


A hundred thousand crowns, sire, which I now possess - that is, in one
week three times as much money as I ever had in fifty years.

It is a handsome sum. But you are ambitious, I perceive.


I, sire? The quarter of that would be a treasure; and I swear to you I
have no thought of augmenting it.

What! you contemplate remaining idle?

Yes, sire.

You mean to drop the sword?

That I have already done.

Impossible, Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Louisfirmly.

But, sire -

Well?

And why, sire?

Because it is _my_ wish you should not!said the young princein a
voice so stern and imperious that D'Artagnan evinced surprise and even
uneasiness.

Will your majesty allow me one word of reply?said he.

Speak.

I formed that resolution when I was poor and destitute.

So be it. Go on.

Now, when by my energy I have acquired a comfortable means of
subsistence, would your majesty despoil me of my liberty? Your majesty
would condemn me to the lowest, when I have gained the highest?

Who gave you permission, monsieur, to fathom my designs, or to reckon
with me?replied Louisin a voice almost angry; "who told you what I
shall do or what you will yourself do?"

Sire,said the musketeerquietlyas far as I see, freedom is not the
order of the conversation, as it was on the day we came to an explanation
at Blois.

No, monsieur; everything is changed.

I tender your majesty my sincere compliments upon that, but -

But you don't believe it?

I am not a great statesman, and yet I have my eye upon affairs; it
seldom fails; now, I do not see exactly as your majesty does, sire. The
reign of Mazarin is over, but that of the financiers is begun. They have
the money; your majesty will not often see much of it. To live under the
paw of these hungry wolves is hard for a man who reckoned upon
independence.

At this moment someone scratched at the door of the cabinet; the king
raised his head proudly. "Your pardonMonsieur d'Artagnan said he;
it is M. Colbertwho comes to make me a report. Come inM. Colbert."

D'Artagnan drew back. Colbert entered with papers in his handand went
up to the king. There can be little doubt that the Gascon did not lose
the opportunity of applying his keenquick glance to the new figure


which presented itself.

Is the inquiry made?

Yes, sire.

And the opinion of the inquisitors?

Is that the accused merit confiscation and death.

Ah! ah!said the kingwithout changing countenanceand casting an
oblique look at D'Artagnan. "And your own opinionM. Colbert?" said he.

Colbert looked at D'Artagnan is his turn. That imposing countenance
checked the words upon his lips. Louis perceived this. "Do not disturb
yourself said he; it is M. d'Artagnan- do you not know M. d'Artagnan
again?"

These two men looked at each other - D'Artagnanwith eyes open and
bright as the day - Colbertwith his half closedand dim. The frank
intrepidity of the financier annoyed the other; the circumspection of the
financier disgusted the soldier. "Ah! ah! this is the gentleman who made
that brilliant stroke in England said Colbert. And he bowed slightly
to D'Artagnan.

Ah! ah!" said the Gasconthis is the gentleman who clipped off the
lace from the uniform of the Swiss! A praiseworthy piece of economy.

The financier thought to pierce the musketeer; but the musketeer ran the
financier through.

Monsieur d'Artagnan,resumed the kingwho had not remarked all the
shades of which Mazarin would have missed not onethis concerns the
farmers of the revenue who have robbed me, whom I am hanging, and whose
death-warrants I am about to sign.

Oh! oh!said D'Artagnanstarting.

What did you say?

Oh! nothing, sire. This is no business of mine.

The king had already taken up the penand was applying it to the paper.
Sire,said Colbert in a subdued voiceI beg to warn your majesty,
that if an example be necessary, there will be difficulty in the
execution of your orders.

What do you say?said Louis.

You must not conceal from yourself,continued Colbert quietlythat
attacking the farmers-general is attacking the superintendence. The two
unfortunate guilty men in question are the particular friends of a
powerful personage, and the punishment, which otherwise might be
comfortably confined to the Chatlet, will doubtless be a signal for
disturbances!

Louis colored and turned towards D'Artagnanwho took a slight bite at
his mustachenot without a smile of pity for the financierand for the
king who had to listen to him so long. But Louis seized the penand
with a movement so rapid that his hand shookhe affixed his signature at
the bottom of the two papers presented by Colbert- then looking the
latter in the face- "Monsieur Colbert said he, when you speak to me
on businessexclude more frequently the word difficulty from your
reasonings and opinions; as to the word impossibilitynever pronounce


it."

Colbert bowedmuch humiliated at having to undergo such a lesson before
the musketeer; he was about to go outbutjealous to repair his check:
I forgot to announce to your majesty,said hethat the confiscations
amount to the sum of five millions of livres.

That's pretty well!thought D'Artagnan.

Which makes in my coffers?said the king.

Eighteen millions of livres, sire,replied Colbertbowing.

_Mordioux!_growled D'Artagnanthat's glorious!

Monsieur Colbert,added the kingyou will, if you please, go through
the gallery where M. Lyonne is waiting, and will tell him to bring hither
what he has drawn up - by my order.

Directly, sire; if your majesty wants me no more this evening?

No, monsieur: good-night!And Colbert went out.

Now, let us return to our affair, M. d'Artagnan,said the kingas if
nothing had happened. "You see thatwith respect to moneythere is
already a notable change."

Something to the tune of from zero to eighteen millions,replied the
musketeer gayly. "Ah! that was what your majesty wanted the day King
Charles II. came to Blois. The two states would not have been embroiled
to-day; for I must saythat there also I see another stumbling-block."

Well, in the first place,replied Louisyou are unjust, monsieur;
for, if Providence had made me able to give my brother the million that
day, you would not have quitted my service, and, consequently, you would
not have made your fortune, as you told me just now you have done. But,
in addition to this, I have had another piece of good fortune; and my
difference with Great Britain need not alarm you.

A _valet de chambre_ interrupted the king by announcing M. Lyonne. "Come
inmonsieur said the king; you are punctual; that is like a good
servant. Let us see your letter to my brother Charles II."

D'Artagnan pricked up his ears. "A momentmonsieur said Louis
carelessly to the Gascon; I must expedite to London my consent to the
marriage of my brotherM. le Duc d'Anjouwith the Princess Henrietta
Stuart."

He is knocking me about, it seems,murmured D'Artagnanwhilst the king
signed the letterand dismissed M. de Lyonne; "but _ma foi!_ the more he
knocks me about in this mannerthe better I like it."

The king followed M. de Lyonne with his eyestill the door was closed
behind him; he even made three stepsas if he would follow the minister;
butafter these three stepsstoppingpassingand coming back to the
musketeer- "Nowmonsieur said he, let us hasten to terminate our
affair. You told me the other dayat Bloisthat you were not rich?"

But I am now, sire.

Yes, but that does not concern me; you have your own money, not mine;
_that_ does not enter into my account.

I do not well understand what your majesty means.


Then, instead of leaving you to draw out words, speak spontaneously.
Should you be satisfied with twenty thousand livres a year as a fixed
income?

But, siresaid D'Artagnanopening his eyes to the utmost.

Would you be satisfied with four horses furnished and kept, and with a
supplement of funds such as you might require, according to occasions and
needs, or would you prefer a fixed sum which would be, for example, forty
thousand livres? Answer.

Sire, your majesty -

Yes, you are surprised; that is natural, and I expected it. Answer me,
come! or I shall think you have no longer that rapidity of judgment I
have so much admired in you.

It is certain, sire, that twenty thousand livres a year make a handsome
sum; but -

No buts! Yes or no, is it an honorable indemnity?

Oh! very certainly.

You will be satisfied with it? That is well. It will be better to
reckon the extra expenses separately; you can arrange that with Colbert.

Now let us pass to something more important.

But, sire, I told your majesty -

That you wanted rest, I know you did: only I replied that I would not
allow it - I am master, I suppose?

Yes, sire.

That is well. You were formerly in the way of becoming captain of the
musketeers?

Yes, sire.

Well, here is your commission signed. I place it in this drawer. The
day on which you return from a certain expedition which I have to confide
to you, on that day you may yourself take the commission from the
drawer.D'Artagnan still hesitatedand hung down his head. "Come
monsieur said the king, one would believeto look at youthat you
did not know that at the court of the most Christian kingthe captain-
general of the musketeers takes precedence of the marechals of France."

Sire, I know he does.

Then, am I to think you do put no faith in my word?

Oh! sire, never - never dream of such a thing.

I have wished to prove to you, that you, so good a servant, had lost a
good master; am I anything like the master that will suit you?

I begin to think you are, sire.

Then, monsieur, you will resume your functions. Your company is quite
disorganized since your departure, and the men go about drinking and
rioting in the _cabarets_, where they fight, in spite of my edicts, and
those of my father. You will reorganize the service as soon as possible.


Yes, sire.

You will not again quit my person.

Very well, sire.

You will march with me to the army, you will encamp round my tent.

Then, sire,said D'Artagnanif it is only to impose upon me a service
like that, your majesty need not give me twenty thousand livres a year.
I shall not earn them.

I desire that you shall keep open house; I desire that you should keep a
liberal table; I desire that my captain of musketeers should be a
personage.

And I,said D'Artagnanbluntly; "I do not like easily found money; I
like money won! Your majesty gives me an idle tradewhich the first
comer would perform for four thousand livres."

Louis XIV. began to laugh. "You are a true GasconMonsieur d'Artagnan;
you will draw my heart's secret from me."

Bah! has your majesty a secret, then?

Yes, monsieur.

Well! then I accept the twenty thousand livres, for I will keep that
secret, and discretion is above all price, in these times. Will your
majesty speak now?

Boot yourself, Monsieur d'Artagnan, and to horse!

Directly, sire.

Within two days.

That is well, sire: for I have my affairs to settle before I set out;
particularly if it is likely there should be any blows stirring.

That _may_ happen.

We can receive them! But, sire, you have addressed yourself to avarice,
to ambition; you have addressed yourself to the heart of M. d'Artagnan,
but you have forgotten one thing.

What is that?

You have said nothing to his vanity; when shall I be a knight of the
king's orders?

Does that interest you?

Why, yes, sire. My friend Athos is quite covered with orders, and that
dazzles me.

You shall be a knight of my order a month after you have taken your
commission of captain.

Ah! ah!said the officerthoughtfullyafter the expedition.

Precisely.


Where is your majesty going to send me?
Are you acquainted with Bretagne?
No, sire.
Have you any friends there?
In Bretagne? No, _ma foi!_
So much the better. Do you know anything about fortifications?
I believe I do, sire,said D'Artagnansmiling.
That is to say you can readily distinguish a fortress from a simple


fortification, such as is allowed to _chatelains_ or vassals?


I distinguish a fort from a rampart as I distinguish a cuirass from a


raised pie-crust, sire. Is that sufficient?


Yes, monsieur. You will set out, then.


For Bretagne?


Yes.


Alone?


Absolutely alone. That is to say, you must not even take a lackey with


you.
May I ask your majesty for what reason?
Because, monsieur, it will be necessary to disguise yourself sometimes,


as the servant of a good family. Your face is very well known in France,


M. d'Artagnan.
And then, sire?
And then you will travel slowly through Bretagne, and will examine the
fortifications of that country.
The coasts?
Yes, and the isles; commencing by Belle-Ile-en-Mer.
Ah! which belongs to M. Fouquet!said D'Artagnanin a serious tone


raising his intelligent eye to Louis XIV.


I fancy you are right, monsieur, and that Bell-Isle does belong to M.
Fouquet, in fact.
Then your majesty wishes me to ascertain if Belle-Isle is a strong


place?
Yes.
If the fortifications of it are new or old?
Precisely.
And if the vassals of M. Fouquet are sufficiently numerous to form a


garrison?


That is what I want to know; you have placed your finger on the
question.

And if they are not fortifying, sire?

You will travel about Bretagne, listening and judging.

Then I am a king's spy?said D'Artagnanbluntlytwisting his
mustache.
No, monsieur.


Your pardon sire; I spy on your majesty's account.


You start on a voyage of discovery, monsieur. Would you march at the
head of your musketeers, with your sword in your hand, to observe any
spot whatever, or an enemy's position?

At this word D'Artagnan started.

Do you,continued the kingimagine yourself to be a spy?

No, no,said D'Artagnanbut pensively; "the thing changes its face
when one observes an enemy: one is but a soldier. And if they are
fortifying Belle-Isle?" added hequickly.

You will take an exact plan of the fortifications.

Will they permit me to enter?

That does not concern me; that is _your_ affair. Did you not understand
that I reserved for you a supplement of twenty thousand livres per annum,
if you wished it?

Yes, sire; but if they are not fortifying?

You will return quietly, without fatiguing your horse.
Sire, I am ready.

You will begin to-morrow by going to monsieur le surintendant's to take
the first quarter of the pension I give you. Do you know M. Fouquet?

Very little, sire; but I beg your majesty to observe that I don't think
it immediately necessary that I _should_ know him.

Your pardon, monsieur; for he will refuse you the money I wish you to
take; and it is that refusal I look for.

Ah!said D'Artagnan. "Thensire?"

The money being refused, you will go and seek it at M. Colbert's. _A
propos_, have you a good horse?
An excellent one, sire.


How much did it cost you?
A hundred and fifty pistoles.


I will buy it of you. Here is a note for two hundred pistoles.
But I want a horse for my journey, sire.



Well!
Well, and you take mine from me.
Not at all. On the contrary, I give it you. Only as it is now mine and


not yours, I am sure you will not spare it.
Your majesty is in a hurry, then?
A great hurry.
Then what compels me to wait two days?
Reasons known to myself.
That's a different affair. The horse may make up the two days, in the


eight he has to travel; and then there is the post.


No, no, the post compromises, Monsieur d'Artagnan. Begone and do not
forget you are my servant.
Sire, it is not my duty to forget it! At what hour to-morrow shall I

take my leave of your majesty?
Whence do you lodge?
I must henceforward lodge at the Louvre.
That must not be now - keep your lodgings in the city: I will pay for


them. As to your departure, it must take place at night; you must set


out without being seen by any one, or, if you are seen, it must not be


known that you belong to me. Keep your mouth shut, monsieur.

Your majesty spoils all you have said by that single word.

I asked where you lodged, for I cannot always send to M. le Comte de la
Fere to seek you.
I lodge with M. Planchet, a grocer, Rue des Lombards, at the sign of the

Pilon d'Or.
Go out but little, show yourself less, and await my orders.
And yet, sire, I must go for the money.
That is true, but when going to the superintendence, where so many


people are constantly going, you must mingle with the crowd.
I want the notes, sire, for the money.
Here they are.The king signed themand D'Artagnan looked onto


assure himself of their regularity.


Adieu! Monsieur d'Artagnan,added the king; "I think you have
perfectly understood me."
I? I understand that your majesty sends me to Belle-Ile-en-Mer, that

is all.
To learn?
To learn how M. Fouquet's works are going on; that is all.
Very well: I admit you may be taken.



And I do not admit it,replied the Gasconboldly.

I admit you may be killed,continued the king.

That is not probable, sire.

In the first case, you must not speak; in the second there must be no
papers found upon you.


D'Artagnan shrugged his shoulders without ceremonyand took leave of the
kingsaying to himself: - "The English shower continues - let us remain
under the spout!"


Chapter LIV:
The Houses of M. Fouquet.


Whilst D'Artagnan was returning to Planchet's househis head aching and
bewildered with all that had happened to himthere was passing a scene
of quite a different characterand whichneverthelessis not foreign
to the conversation our musketeer had just had with the king; only this
scene took place out of Parisin a house possessed by the superintendent
Fouquet in the village of Saint-Mande. The minister had just arrived at
this country-housefollowed by his principal clerkwho carried an
enormous portfolio full of papers to be examinedand others waiting for
signature. As it might be about five o'clock in the afternoonthe
masters had dined: supper was being prepared for twenty subaltern
guests. The superintendent did not stop: on alighting from his carriage
heat the same boundsprang through the doorwaytraversed the
apartments and gained his cabinetwhere he declared he would shut
himself up to workcommanding that he should not be disturbed for
anything but an order from the king. As soon as this order was given
Fouquet shut himself upand two footmen were placed as sentinels at his
door. Then Fouquet pushed a bolt which displaced a panel that walled up
the entranceand prevented everything that passed in this apartment from
being either seen or heard. Butagainst all probabilityit was only
for the sake of shutting himself up that Fouquet shut himself up thus
for he went straight to a bureauseated himself at itopened the
portfolioand began to make a choice amongst the enormous mass of papers
it contained. It was not more than ten minutes after he had enteredand
taken all the precautions we have describedwhen the repeated noise of
several slight equal knocks struck his earand appeared to fix his
utmost attention. Fouquet raised his headturned his earand listened.


The strokes continued. Then the worker arose with a slight movement of
impatience and walked straight up to a glass behind which the blows were
struck by a handor by some invisible mechanism. It was a large glass
let into a panel. Three other glassesexactly similar to itcompleted
the symmetry of the apartment. Nothing distinguished that one from the
others. Without doubtthese reiterated knocks were a signal; forat
the moment Fouquet approached the glass listeningthe same noise was
renewedand in the same measure. "Oh! oh!" murmured the _intendant_
with surprisewho is yonder? I did not expect anybody to-day.And
without doubtto respond to the signalhe pulled out a gilded nail near
the glassand shook it thrice. Then returning to his placeand seating
himself again_Ma foi!_ let them wait,said he. And plunging again
into the ocean of papers unrolled before himhe appeared to think of
nothing now but work. In factwith incredible rapidity and marvelous
lucidityFouquet deciphered the largest papers and most complicated
writingscorrecting themannotating them with a pen moved as if by a
feverand the work melting under his handssignaturesfigures
referencesbecame multiplied as if ten clerks - that is to saya
hundred fingers and ten brains had performed the dutiesinstead of the



five fingers and single brain of this man. From time to timeonly
Fouquetabsorbed by his workraised his head to cast a furtive glance
upon a clock placed before him. The reason of this wasFouquet set
himself a taskand when this task was once setin one hour's work he
by himselfdid what another would not have accomplished in a day; always
certainconsequentlyprovided he was not disturbedof arriving at the
close in the time his devouring activity had fixed. But in the midst of
his ardent laborthe soft strokes upon the little bell placed behind the
glass sounded againhastyandconsequentlymore urgent.

The lady appears to be impatient,said Fouquet. "Humph! a calm! That
must be the comtesse; butnothe comtesse is gone to Rambouillet for
three days. The presidentethen? Oh! nothe presidente would not
assume such grand airs; she would ring very humblythen she would wait
my good pleasure. The greatest certainty isthat I do not know who it
can bebut that I know who it cannot be. And since it is not you
marquisesince it cannot be youdeuce take the rest!" And he went on
with his work in spite of the reiterated appeals of the bell. At the end
of a quarter of an hourhoweverimpatience prevailed over Fouquet in
his turn: he might be said to consumerather than to complete the rest
of his work; he thrust his papers into his portfolioand giving a glance
at the mirrorwhilst the taps continued faster than ever: "Oh! oh!" said
hewhence comes all this racket? What has happened, and who can the
Ariadne be who expects me so impatiently. Let us see!

He then applied the tip of his finger to the nail parallel to the one he
had drawn. Immediately the glass moved like a folding-door and
discovered a secret closetrather deepinto which the superintendent
disappeared as if going into a vast box. When therehe touched another
springwhich openednot a boardbut a block of the walland he went
out by that openingleaving the door to shut of itself. Then Fouquet
descended about a score of steps which sankwindingundergroundand
came to a longsubterranean passagelighted by imperceptible
loopholes. The walls of this vault were covered with slabs or tilesand
the floor with carpeting. This passage was under the street itself
which separated Fouquet's house from the Park of Vincennes. At the end
of the passage ascended a winding staircase parallel with that by which
Fouquet had entered. He mounted these other stairsentered by means of
a spring placed in a closet similar to that in his cabinetand from this
closet an untenanted chamber furnished with the utmost elegance. As soon
as he enteredhe examined carefully whether the glass closed without
leaving any traceanddoubtless satisfied with his observationhe
opened by means of a small gold key the triple fastenings of a door in
front of him. This time the door opened upon a handsome cabinet
sumptuously furnishedin which was seated upon cushions a lady of
surpassing beautywho at the sound of the lock sprang towards Fouquet.
Ah! good heavens!cried the latterstarting back with astonishment.
Madame la Marquise de Belliere, you here?

Yes,murmured la marquise. "Yes; it is Imonsieur."

Marquise! dear marquise!added Fouquetready to prostrate himself.
Ah! my God! how did you come here? And I, to keep you waiting!

A long time, monsieur; yes, a very long time!

I am happy in thinking this waiting has appeared long to you, marquise!

Oh! an eternity, monsieur; oh! I rang more than twenty times. Did you
not hear me?

Marquise, you are pale, you tremble.

Did you not hear, then, that you were summoned?


Oh, yes; I heard plainly enough, madame; but I could not come. After
your rigors and your refusals, how could I dream it was you? If I could
have had any suspicion of the happiness that awaited me, believe me,
madame, I would have quitted everything to fall at your feet, as I do at
this moment.

Are we quite alone, monsieur?asked the marquiselooking round the
room.

Oh, yes, madame, I can assure you of that.

Really?said the marquisein a melancholy tone.

You sigh!said Fouquet.

What mysteries! what precautions!said the marquisewith a slight
bitterness of expression; "and how evident it is that you fear the least
suspicion of your amours to escape."

Would you prefer their being made public?

Oh, no; you act like a delicate man,said the marquisesmiling.

Come, dear marquise, punish me not with reproaches, I implore you.

Reproaches! Have I a right to make you any?

No, unfortunately, no; but tell me, you, who during a year I have loved
without return or hope -

You are mistaken - without hope it is true, but not without return.

What! for me, of my love! there is but one proof, and that proof I still
want.

I am here to bring it, monsieur.

Fouquet wished to clasp her in his armsbut she disengaged herself with
a gesture.

You persist in deceiving yourself, monsieur, and will never accept of me
the only thing I am willing to give you - devotion.

Ah, then, you do not love me? Devotion is but a virtue, love is a
passion.

Listen to me, I implore you: I should not have come hither without a
serious motive: you are well assured of that, are you not?

The motive is of very little consequence, so that you are but here - so
that I see you - so that I speak to you!

You are right; the principal thing is that I am here without any one
having seen me, and that I can speak to you.- Fouquet sank on his knees
before her. "Speak! speakmadame!" said heI listen to you.

The marquise looked at Fouqueton his knees at her feetand there was
in the looks of the woman a strange mixture of love and melancholy.
Oh!at length murmured shewould that I were she who has the right of
seeing you every minute, of speaking to you every instant! would that I
were she who might watch over you, she who would have no need of
mysterious springs to summon and cause to appear, like a sylph, the man
she loves, to look at him for an hour, and then see him disappear in the


darkness of a mystery, still more strange at his going out than at his
coming in. Oh! that would be to live like a happy woman!

Do you happen, marquise,said Fouquetsmilingto be speaking of my
wife?

Yes, certainly, of her I spoke.

Well, you need not envy her lot, marquise; of all the women with whom I
have had any relations, Madame Fouquet is the one I see the least of, and
who has the least intercourse with me.

At least, monsieur, she is not reduced to place, as I have done, her
hand upon the ornament of a glass to call you to her; at least you do not
reply to her by the mysterious, alarming sound of a bell, the spring of
which comes from I don't know where; at least you have not forbidden her
to endeavor to discover the secret of these communications under pain of
breaking off forever your connections with her, as you have forbidden all
who come here before me, and who will come after me.

Dear marquise, how unjust you are, and how little do you know what you
are doing in thus exclaiming against mystery; it is with mystery alone we
can love without trouble; it is with love without trouble alone that we
can be happy. But let us return to ourselves, to that devotion of which
you were speaking, or rather let me labor under a pleasing delusion, and
believe this devotion is love.

Just now,repeated the marquisepassing over her eyes a hand that
might have been a model for the graceful contours of antiquity; "just now
I was prepared to speakmy ideas were clear and bold; now I am quite
confusedquite troubled; I fear I bring you bad news."

If it is to that bad news I owe your presence, marquise, welcome be even
that bad news! or rather, marquise, since you allow that I am not quite
indifferent to you, let me hear nothing of the bad news, but speak of
yourself.

No, no, on the contrary, demand it of me; require me to tell it to you
instantly, and not to allow myself to be turned aside by any feeling
whatever. Fouquet, my friend! it is of immense importance.

You astonish me, marquise; I will even say you almost frighten me. You,
so serious, so collected; you who know the world we live in so well. Is
it, then, important?

Oh! very important.

In the first place, how did you come here?

You shall know that presently; but first to something of more
consequence.

Speak, marquise, speak! I implore you, have pity on my impatience.

Do you know that Colbert is made intendant of the finances?

Bah! Colbert, little Colbert.

Yes, Colbert, _little_ Colbert.

Mazarin's factotum?

The same.


Well! what do you see so terrific in that, dear marquise? little Colbert
is intendant; that is astonishing I confess, but is not terrible.

Do you think the king has given, without pressing motive, such a place
to one you call a little _cuistre?_

In the first place, is it positively true that the king has given it to
him?

It is so said.

Ay, but who says so?

Everybody.

Everybody, that's nobody; mention some one likely to be well informed
who says so.

Madame Vanel.

Ah! now you begin to frighten me in earnest,said Fouquetlaughing;
if any one is well informed, or ought to be well informed, it is the
person you name.

Do not speak ill of poor Marguerite, Monsieur Fouquet, for she still
loves you.

Bah! indeed? That is scarcely credible. I thought little Colbert, as
you said just now, had passed over that love, and left the impression
upon it of a spot of ink or a stain of grease.

Fouquet! Fouquet! Is this the way you always treat the poor creatures
you desert?

Why, you surely are not going to undertake the defense of Madame Vanel?

Yes, I will undertake it; for, I repeat, she loves you still, and the
proof is she saves you.

But your interposition, marquise; that is very cunning on her part. No
angel could be more agreeable to me, or could lead me more certainly to
salvation. But, let me ask you, do you know Marguerite?

She was my convent friend.

And you say that she has informed you that Monsieur Colbert was named
intendant?

Yes, she did.

Well, enlighten me, marquise; granted Monsieur Colbert is intendant - so
be it. In what can an intendant, that is to say my subordinate, my
clerk, give me umbrage or injure me, even if he is Monsieur Colbert?

You do not reflect, monsieur, apparently,replied the marquise.

Upon what?

This: that Monsieur Colbert hates you.

Hates me?cried Fouquet. "Good heavens! marquisewhence do you come?
where can you live? Hates me! why all the world hates meheof course
as others do."


He more than others.
More than others - let him.


He is ambitious.
Who is not, marquise.


Yes, but with him ambition has no bounds.


I am quite aware of that, since he made it a point to succeed me with
Madame Vanel.

And obtained his end; look at that.

Do you mean to say he has the presumption to pass from intendant to
superintendent?
Have you not yourself already had the same fear?


Oh! oh!said Fouquetto succeed with Madame Vanel is one thing, to
succeed me with the king is another. France is not to be purchased so
easily as the wife of a _maitre des comptes_.

Eh! monsieur, everything is to be bought; if not by gold, by intrigue.

Nobody knows to the contrary better than you, madame, you to whom I have
offered millions.

Instead of millions, Fouquet, you should have offered me a true, only
and boundless love: I might have accepted that. So you see, still,
everything is to be bought, if not in one way, by another.

So, Colbert, in your opinion, is in a fair way of bargaining for my
place of superintendent. Make yourself easy on that head, my dear
marquise; he is not yet rich enough to purchase it.

But if he should rob you of it?

Ah! that is another thing. Unfortunately, before he can reach me, that
is to say, the body of the place, he must destroy, must make a breach in
the advanced works, and I am devilishly well fortified, marquise.

What you call your advanced works are your creatures, are they not –
your friends?

Exactly so.

And is M. d'Eymeris one of your creatures?
Yes, he is.


Is M. Lyodot one of your friends?
Certainly.


M. de Vanin?
M. de Vanin! ah! they may do what they like with him, but -


But -
But they must not touch the others!



Well, if you are anxious they should not touch MM. d'Eymeris and Lyodot,
it is time to look about you.
Who threatens them?
Will you listen to me now?
Attentively, marquise.
Without interrupting me?
Speak.
Well, this morning Marguerite sent for me.
And what did she want with you?


'I dare not see M. Fouquet myself,' said she.
Bah! why should she think I would reproach her? Poor woman, she vastly
deceives herself.


'See him yourself,' said she, 'and tell him to beware of M. Colbert.'
What! she warned me to beware of her lover?
I have told you she still loves you.
Go on, marquise.
'M. Colbert,' she added, 'came to me two hours ago, to inform me he was


appointed intendant.'


I have already told you, marquise, that M. Colbert would only be the
more in my power for that.
Yes, but that is not all: Marguerite is intimate, as you know, with


Madame d'Eymeris and Madame Lyodot.
I know it.
Well, M. Colbert put many questions to her, relative to the fortunes of


these two gentlemen, and as to the devotion they had for you.


Oh, as to those two, I can answer for them; they must be killed before
they will cease to be mine.
Then, as Madame Vanel was obliged to quit M. Colbert for an instant to


receive a visitor, and as M. Colbert is industrious, scarcely was the new
intendant left alone, before he took a pencil from his pocket, and, there
was paper on the table, began to make notes.

Notes concerning d'Eymeris and Lyodot?
Exactly.
I should like to know what those notes were about.
And that is just what I have brought you.
Madame Vanel has taken Colbert's notes and sent them to me?
No; but by a chance which resembles a miracle, she has a duplicate of


those notes.



How could she get that?

Listen; I told you that Colbert found paper on the table.

Yes.

That he took a pencil from his pocket.

Yes.

And wrote upon that paper.

Yes.

Well, this pencil was a lead-pencil, consequently hard; so, it marked in
black upon the first sheet, and in white upon the second.

Go on.

Colbert, when tearing off the first sheet, took no notice of the second.

Well?

Well, on the second was to be read what had been written on the first;
Madame Vanel read it, and sent for me.

Yes, yes.

Then, when she was assured I was your devoted friend, she gave me the
paper, and told me the secret of this house.

And this paper?said Fouquetin some degree of agitation.

Here it is, monsieur - read it,said the marquise.

Fouquet read:

Names of the farmers of revenue to be condemned by the Chamber of
Justice: D'Eymeris, friend of M. F.; Lyodot, friend of M. F.; De Vanin,
indif.

D'Eymeris and Lyodot!cried Fouquetreading the paper eagerly again.

Friends of M. F.,pointed the marquise with her finger.

But what is the meaning of these words: 'To be condemned by the Chamber
of Justice'?

_Dame!_said the marquisethat is clear enough, I think. Besides,
that is not all. Read on, read on;and Fouquet continued- "The two
first to deaththe third to be dismissedwith MM. d'Hautemont and de la
Vallettewho will only have their property confiscated."

Great God!cried Fouquetto death, to death! Lyodot and D'Eymeris.
But even if the Chamber of Justice should condemn them to death, the king
will never ratify their condemnation, and they cannot be executed without
the king's signature.

The king has made M. Colbert intendant.

Oh!cried Fouquetas if he caught a glimpse of the abyss that yawned
beneath his feetimpossible! impossible! But who passed a pencil over
the marks made by Colbert?


I did. I was afraid the first would be effaced.

Oh! I will know all.

You will know nothing, monsieur; you despise your enemy too much for
that.

Pardon me, my dear marquise; excuse me; yes, M. Colbert is my enemy, I
believe him to be so; yes, M. Colbert is a man to be dreaded, I admit.
But I! I have time, and as you are here, as you have assured me of your
devotion, as you have allowed me to hope for your love, as we are alone

-
I came here to save you, Monsieur Fouquet, and not to ruin myself,said
the marquiserising - "thereforebeware! - "


Marquise, in truth you terrify yourself too much at least, unless this
terror is but a pretext -


He is very deep, very deep; this M. Colbert: beware!


Fouquetin his turndrew himself up. "And I?" asked he.


And you, you have only a noble heart. Beware! beware!


So?


I have done what was right, my friend, at the risk of my reputation.
Adieu!


Not adieu, _au revoir!_


Perhaps,said the marquisegiving her hand to Fouquet to kissand
walking towards the door with so firm a stepthat he did not dare to bar
her passage. As to Fouquethe retookwith his head hanging down and a
fixed cloud on his browthe path of the subterranean passage along which
ran the metal wires that communicated from one house to the other
transmittingthrough two glassesthe wishes and signals of hidden
correspondents.


Chapter LV:
The Abbe Fouquet.


Fouquet hastened back to his apartment by the subterranean passageand
immediately closed the mirror with the spring. He was scarcely in his


closetwhen he heard some one knocking violently at the doorand a
well-known voice crying: - "Open the doormonseigneurI entreat you
open the door!" Fouquet quickly restored a little order to everything
that might have revealed either his absence or his agitation: he spread
his papers over the desktook up a penandto gain timesaidthrough
the closed door- "Who is there?"

What, monseigneur, do you not know me?replied the voice.

Yes, yes,said Fouquet to himselfyes, my friend, I know you well
enough.And thenaloud: "Is it not Gourville?"

Why, yes, monseigneur.

Fouquet arosecast a look at one of his glasseswent to the door
pushed back the boltand Gourville entered. "Ah! monseigneur!
monseigneur!" cried hewhat cruelty!


In what?

I have been a quarter of an hour imploring you to open the door, and you
would not even answer me.

Once and for all, you know that I will not be disturbed when I am busy.
Now, although I might make you an exception, Gourville, I insist upon my
orders being respected by others.

Monseigneur, at this moment, orders, doors, bolts, locks, and walls I
could have broken, forced and overthrown!

Ah! ah! it relates to some great event, then?asked Fouquet.

Oh! I assure you it does, monseigneur,replied Gourville.

And what is this event?said Fouqueta little troubled by the evident
agitation of his most intimate confidant.

There is a secret chamber of justice instituted, monseigneur.

I know there is, but do the members meet, Gourville?

They not only meet, but they have passed a sentence, monseigneur.

A sentence?said the superintendentwith a shudder and pallor he could
not conceal. "A sentence! - and on whom?"

Two of your best friends.

Lyodot and D'Eymeris, do you mean? But what sort of a sentence?

Sentence of death.

Passed? Oh! you must be mistaken, Gourville; that is impossible.

Here is a copy of the sentence which the king is to sign to-day, if he
has not already signed it.

Fouquet seized the paper eagerlyread itand returned it to Gourville.
The king will never sign that,said he.

Gourville shook his head.

Monseigneur, M. Colbert is a bold councilor: do not be too confident!

Monsieur Colbert again!cried Fouquet. "How is it that that name rises
upon all occasions to torment my earsduring the last two or three
days? You make so trifling a subject of too much importanceGourville.
Let M. Colbert appearI will face him; let him raise his headI will
crush him; but you understandthere must be an outline upon which my
look may fallthere must be a surface upon which my feet may be placed."

Patiencemonseigneur; for you do not know what Colbert is - study him
quickly; it is with this dark financier as it is with meteorswhich the
eye never sees completely before their disastrous invasion; when we feel
them we are dead."

Oh! Gourville, this is going too far,replied Fouquetsmiling; "allow
memy friendnot to be so easily frightened; M. Colbert a meteor!
_Corbleu_we confront the meteor. Let us see actsand not words. What
has he done?"


He has ordered two gibbets of the executioner of Paris,answered
Gourville.

Fouquet raised his headand a flash gleamed from his eyes. "Are you
sure of what you say?" cried he.

Here is the proof, monseigneur.And Gourville held out to the
superintendent a note communicated by a certain secretary of the Hotel de
Villewho was one of Fouquet's creatures.

Yes, that is true,murmured the minister; "the scaffold may be
preparedbut the king has not signed; Gourvillethe king will not sign."

I shall soon know,said Gourville.

How?

If the king has signed, the gibbets will be sent this evening to the
Hotel de Ville, in order to be got up and ready by to-morrow morning.

Oh! no, no!cried the superintendentonce again; "you are all
deceivedand deceive me in my turn; Lyodot came to see me only the day
before yesterday; only three days ago I received a present of some
Syracuse wine from poor D'Eymeris."

What does that prove?replied Gourvilleexcept that the chamber of
justice has been secretly assembled, has deliberated in the absence of
the accused, and that the whole proceeding was complete when they were
arrested.

What! are they, then, arrested?

No doubt they are.

But where, when, and how have they been arrested?

Lyodot, yesterday at daybreak; D'Eymeris, the day before yesterday, in
the evening, as he was returning from the house of his mistress; their
disappearances had disturbed nobody; but at length M. Colbert all at once
raised the mask, and caused the affair to be published; it is being cried
by sound of trumpet, at this moment in Paris, and, in truth, monseigneur,
there is scarcely anybody but yourself ignorant of the event.

Fouquet began to walk about in his chamber with an uneasiness that became
more and more serious.

What do you decide upon, monseigneur?said Gourville.

If it were really as easy as you say, I would go to the king,cried
Fouquet. "But as I go to the LouvreI will pass by the Hotel de Ville.
We shall see if the sentence is signed."

Incredulity! thou art the pest of all great minds,said Gourville
shrugging his shoulders.

Gourville!

Yes,continued heand incredulity! thou ruinest, as contagion
destroys the most robust health; that is to say, in an instant.

Let us go,cried Fouquet; "desire the door to be openedGourville."

Be cautious,said the latterthe Abbe Fouquet is there.


Ah! my brother,replied Fouquetin a tone of annoyance; "he is there
is he? he knows all the ill newsthenand is rejoiced to bring it to
meas usual. The devil! if my brother is theremy affairs are bad
Gourville; why did you not tell me that sooner: I should have been the
more readily convinced."

Monseigneur calumniates him,said Gourvillelaughing; "if he is come
it is not with a bad intention."

What, do you excuse him?cried Fouquet; "a fellow without a heart
without ideas; a devourer of wealth."

He knows you are rich.

And would ruin me.

No, but he would have your purse. That is all.

Enough! enough! A hundred thousand crowns per month, during two years.
_Corbleu!_ it is I that pay, Gourville, and I know my figures.
Gourville laughed in a silentsly manner. "Yesyesyou mean to say it
is the king pays said the superintendent. AhGourvillethat is a
vile joke; this is not the place."

Monseigneur, do not be angry.

Well, then, send away the Abbe Fouquet; I have not a sou.Gourville
made a step towards the door. "He has been a month without seeing me
continued Fouquet, why could he not be _two_ months?"

Because he repents of living in bad company,said Gourvilleand
prefers you to all his bandits.

Thanks for the preference! You make a strange advocate, Gourville, today
- the advocate of the Abbe Fouquet!

Eh! but everything and every man has a good side - their useful side,
monseigneur.

The bandits whom the abbe keeps in pay and drink have their useful side,
have they? Prove that, if you please.

Let the circumstance arise, monseigneur, and you will be very glad to
have these bandits under your hand.

You advise me, then, to be reconciled to the abbe?said Fouquet
ironically.

I advise you, monseigneur, not to quarrel with a hundred or a hundred
and twenty loose fellows, who, by putting their rapiers end to end, would
form a cordon of steel capable of surrounding three thousand men.

Fouquet darted a searching glance at Gourvilleand passing before him-
That is all very well; let M. l'Abbe Fouquet be introduced,said he to
the footman. "You are rightGourville."

Two minutes afterthe Abbe Fouquet appeared in the doorwaywith
profound reverence. He was a man of from forty to forty-five years of
agehalf churchmanhalf soldier- a _spadassin_ grafted upon an abbe;
upon seeing that he had not a sword by his sideyou might be sure he had
pistols. Fouquet saluted him more as elder brother than as a minister.

What can I do to serve you, monsieur l'abbe?said he.


Oh! oh! how coldly you speak to me, brother!

I speak like a man who is in a hurry, monsieur.

The abbe looked maliciously at Gourvilleand anxiously at Fouquetand
saidI have three hundred pistoles to pay to M. de Bregi this evening.
A play debt, a sacred debt.

What next?said Fouquet bravelyfor he comprehended that the Abbe
Fouquet would not have disturbed him for such a want.

A thousand to my butcher, who will supply no more meat.

Next?

Twelve hundred to my tailor,continued the abbe; "the fellow has made
me take back seven suits of my people'swhich compromises my liveries
and my mistress talks of replacing me by a farmer of the revenuewhich
would be a humiliation for the church."

What else?said Fouquet.

You will please to remark,said the abbehumblythat I have asked
nothing for myself.

That is delicate, monsieur,replied Fouquet; "soas you seeI wait."

And I ask nothing, oh! no, - it is not for want of need, though, I
assure you.

The minister reflected for a minute. "Twelve hundred pistoles to the
tailor; that seems a great deal for clothes said he.

I maintain a hundred men said the abbe, proudly; that is a chargeI
believe."

Why a hundred men?said Fouquet. "Are you a Richelieu or a Mazarinto
require a hundred men as a guard? What use do you make of these men? –
speak."

And do you ask me that?cried the Abbe Fouquet; "ah! how can you put
such a question- why I maintain a hundred men? Ah!"

Why, yes, I do put that question to you. What have you to do with a
hundred men? - answer.

Ingrate!continued the abbemore and more affected.

Explain yourself.

Why, monsieur the superintendent, I only want one _valet de chambre_,
for _my_ part, and even if I were alone, could help myself very well; but
you, you who have so many enemies - a hundred men are not enough for me
to defend you with. A hundred men! - you ought to have ten thousand. I
maintain, then, these men in order that in public places, in assemblies,
no voice may be raised against you; and without them, monsieur, you would
be loaded with imprecations, you would be torn to pieces, you would not
last a week; no, not a week, do you understand?

Ah! I did not know you were my champion to such an extent, monsieur le
abbe.

You doubt it!cried the abbe. "Listenthento what happenedno
longer ago than yesterdayin the Rue de la Hochette. A man was


cheapening a fowl."

Well, how could that injure me, abbe?

This way. The fowl was not fat. The purchaser refused to give eighteen
sous for it, saying that he could not afford eighteen sous for the skin
of a fowl from which M. Fouquet had sucked all the fat.

Go on.

The joke caused a deal of laughter,continued the abbe; "laughter at
your expensedeath to the devils! and the _canaille_ were delighted.
The joker added'Give me a fowl fed by M. Colbertif you like! and I
will pay all you ask.' And immediately there was a clapping of hands. A
frightful scandal! you understand; a scandal which forces a brother to
hide his face."

Fouquet colored. "And you veiled it?" said the superintendent.

No, for so it happened I had one of my men in the crowd; a new recruit
from the provinces, one M. Menneville, whom I like very much. He made
his way through the press, saying to the joker: '_Mille barbes!_
Monsieur the false joker, here's a thrust for Colbert!' 'And one for
Fouquet,' replied the joker. Upon which they drew in front of the cook's
shop, with a hedge of the curious round them, and five hundred as curious
at the windows.

Well?said Fouquet.

Well, monsieur, my Menneville spitted the joker, to the great
astonishment of the spectators, and said to the cook: - 'Take this goose,
my friend, for it is fatter than your fowl.' That is the way, monsieur,
ended the abbetriumphantlyin which I spend my revenues; I maintain
the honor of the family, monsieur.Fouquet hung his head. "And I have
a hundred as good as he continued the abbe.

Very well said Fouquet, give the account to Gourvilleand remain
here this evening."

Shall we have supper?

Yes, there will be supper.

But the chest is closed.

Gourville will open it for you. Leave us, monsieur l'abbe, leave us.

Then we are friends?said the abbewith a bow.

Oh, yes, friends. Come, Gourville.

Are you going out? You will not stay to supper, then?

I shall be back in an hour; rest easy, abbe.Then aside to Gourville

-"Let them put to my English horses said he, and direct the coachman
to stop at the Hotel de Ville de Paris."
Chapter LVI:

M. de la Fontaine's Wine.
Carriages were already bringing the guests of Fouquet to Saint-Mande;
already the whole house was getting warm with the preparations for
supperwhen the superintendent launched his fleet horses upon the roads


to Parisand going by the quaysin order to meet fewer people on the
waysoon reached the Hotel de Ville. It wanted a quarter to eight.
Fouquet alighted at the corner of the Rue de Long-Pontandon foot
directed his course towards the Place de Greveaccompanied by
Gourville. At the turning of the Place they saw a man dressed in black
and violetof dignified mienwho was preparing to stop at Vincennes.
He had before him a large hamper filled with bottleswhich he had
just purchased at the _cabaret_ with the sign of "L'Image-de-Notre-Dame."

Eh, but! that is Vatel! my _maitre d'hotel!_said Fouquet to Gourville.

Yes, monseigneur,replied the latter.

What can he have been doing at the sign of L'Image-de-Notre-Dame?

Buying wine, no doubt.

What! buy wine for me, at a _cabaret?_said Fouquet. "My cellarthen
must be in a miserable condition!" and he advanced towards the _maitre
d'hotel_who was arranging his bottles in the carriage with the most
minute care.

_Hola!_ Vatel,said hein the voice of a master.

Take care, monseigneur!said Gourvilleyou will be recognized.

Very well! Of what consequence? - Vatel!

The man dressed in black and violet turned round. He had a good and mild
countenancewithout expression - a mathematician minus the pride. A
certain fire sparkled in the eyes of this personagea rather sly smile
played round his lips; but the observer might soon have remarked that
this fire and this smile applied to nothingenlightened nothing. Vatel
laughed like an absent manand amused himself like a child. At the
sound of his master's voice he turned roundexclaiming: "Oh!
monseigneur!"

Yes, it is I. What the devil are you doing here, Vatel? Wine! You are
buying wine at a _cabaret_ in the Place de Greve!

But, monseigneur,said Vatelquietly after having darted a hostile
glance at Gourvillewhy am I interfered with here? Is my cellar kept
in bad order?

No, certes, Vatel, no; but -

But what?replied Vatel. Gourville touched Fouquet's elbow.

Don't be angry, Vatel; I thought my cellar - your cellar - sufficiently
well stocked for us to be able to dispense with recourse to the cellar of
L'Image-de-Notre-Dame.

Eh, monsieur,said Vatelshrinking from monseigneur to monsieur with a
degree of disdain: "your cellar is so well stocked that when certain of
your guests dine with you they have nothing to drink."

Fouquetin great surpriselooked at Gourville. "What do you mean by
that?"

I mean that your butler had not wine for all tastes, monsieur; and that

M. de la Fontaine, M. Pelisson, and M. Conrart, do not drink when they
come to the house - these gentlemen do not like strong wine. What is to
be done, then?

Well, and therefore?

Well, then, I have found here a _vin de Joigny_, which they like. I
know they come here once a week to drink at the Image-de-Notre-Dame.
That is the reason I am making this provision.

Fouquet had no more to say; he was convinced. Vatelon his parthad
much more to saywithout doubtand it was plain he was getting warm.
It is just as if you would reproach me, monseigneur, for going to the
Rue Planche Milbray, to fetch, myself, the cider M. Loret drinks when he
comes to dine at your house.

Loret drinks cider at my house!cried Fouquetlaughing.

Certainly he does, monsieur, and that is the reason why he dines there
with pleasure.

Vatel,cried Fouquetpressing the hand of his _maitre d'hotel_you
are a man! I thank you, Vatel, for having understood that at my house M.
de la Fontaine, M. Conrart, and M. Loret are as great as dukes and peers,
as great as princes, greater than myself. Vatel, you are a good servant,
and I double your salary.

Vatel did not even thank his masterhe merely shrugged his shoulders a
littlemurmuring this superb sentiment: "To be thanked for having done
one's duty is humiliating."

He is right,said Gourvilleas he drew Fouquet's attentionby a
gestureto another point. He showed him a low-built tumbreldrawn by
two horsesupon which rocked two strong gibbetsbound togetherback to
backby chainswhilst an archerseated upon the cross-beamsuffered
as well as he couldwith his head cast downthe comments of a hundred
vagabondswho guessed the destination of the gibbetsand were escorting
them to the Hotel de Ville. Fouquet started. "It is decidedyou see
said Gourville.

But it is not done replied Fouquet.

Ohdo not flatter yourselfmonseigneur; if they have thus lulled your
friendship and suspicions - if things have gone so faryou will be able
to undo nothing."

But I have not given my sanction.

M. de Lyonne has ratified for you.

I will go to the Louvre.

Oh, no, you will not.

Would you advise such baseness?cried Fouquetwould you advise me to
abandon my friends? would you advise me, whilst able to fight, to throw
the arms I hold in my hand to the ground?

I do not advise you to do anything of the kind, monseigneur. Are you
in a position to quit the post of superintendent at this moment?

No.

Well, if the king wishes to displace you -

He will displace me absent as well as present.

Yes, but you will not have insulted him.


Yes, but I shall have been base; now I am not willing that my friends
should die; and they shall _not_ die!


For that it is necessary you should go to the Louvre, is it not?


Gourville!


Beware! once at the Louvre, you will be forced to defend your friends
openly, that is to say, to make a profession of faith; or you will be
forced to abandon them irrevocably.


Never!


Pardon me; - the king will propose the alternative to you, rigorously,
or else you will propose it to him yourself.


That is true.


That is the reason why conflict must be avoided. Let us return to Saint-
Mande, monseigneur.


Gourville, I will not stir from this place, where the crime is to be
carried out, where my disgrace is to be accomplished; I will not stir, I
say, till I have found some means of combating my enemies.


Monseigneur,replied Gourvilleyou would excite my pity, if I did not
know you for one of the great spirits of this world. You possess a
hundred and fifty millions, you are equal to the king in position, and a
hundred and fifty millions his superior in money. M. Colbert has not
even had the wit to have the will of Mazarin accepted. Now, when a man
is the richest person in a kingdom, and will take the trouble to spend
the money, if things are done he does not like, it is because he is a
poor man. Let us return to Saint-Mande, I say.


To consult with Pelisson? - we will.


No, monseigneur, to count your money.


So be it,said Fouquetwith angry eyes; - "yesyesto Saint-Mande!"
He got into his carriage againand Gourville with him. Upon their road
at the end of the Faubourg Saint-Antoinethey overtook the humble
equipage of Vatelwho was quietly conveying home his _vin de Joigny_.
The black horsesgoing at a swift pacealarmedas they passedthe
timid hack of the _maitre d'hotel_whoputting his head out at the
windowcriedin a frightTake care of my bottles!


Transcriber's note: In the five-volume editionVolume 1 ends here. - JB


Chapter LVII:
The Gallery of Saint-Mande.


Fifty persons were waiting for the superintendent. He did not even take
the time to place himself in the hands of his _valet de chambre_ for a
minutebut from the _perron_ went straight into the _premier salon_.
There his friends were assembled in full chat. The intendant was about
to order supper to be servedbutabove allthe Abbe Fouquet watched
for the return of his brotherand was endeavoring to do the honors of
the house in his absence. Upon the arrival of the superintendenta
murmur of joy and affection was heard; Fouquetfull of affabilitygood
humorand munificencewas beloved by his poetshis artistsand his
men of business. His browupon which his little court readas upon
that of a godall the movements of his souland thence drew rules of



conduct- his browupon which affairs of state never impressed a
wrinklewas this evening paler than usualand more than one friendly
eye remarked that pallor. Fouquet placed himself at the head of the
tableand presided gayly during supper. He recounted Vatel's expedition
to La Fontainehe related the history of Menneville and the skinny fowl
to Pelissonin such a manner that all the table heard it. A tempest of
laughter and jokes ensuedwhich was only checked by a serious and even
sad gesture from Pelisson. The Abbe Fouquetnot being able to
comprehend why his brother should have led the conversation in that
directionlistened with all his earsand sought in the countenance of
Gourvilleor in that of his brotheran explanation which nothing
afforded him. Pelisson took up the matter: - "Did they mention M.
Colbertthen?" said he.

Why not?replied Fouquet; "if trueas it is said to bethat the king
has made him his intendant?" Scarcely had Fouquet uttered these words
with a marked intentionthan an explosion broke forth among the guests.

The miser!said one.

The mean, pitiful fellow!said another.

The hypocrite!said a third.

Pelisson exchanged a meaning look with Fouquet. "Messieurs said he,
in truth we are abusing a man whom no one knows: it is neither
charitable nor reasonable; and here is monsieur le surintendantwhoI
am sureagrees with me."

Entirely,replied Fouquet. "Let the fat fowls of M. Colbert alone; our
business to-day is with the _faisans truffes_ of M. Vatel." This speech
stopped the dark cloud which was beginning to throw its shade over the
guests. Gourville succeeded so well in animating the poets with the _vin
de Joigny_; the abbeintelligent as a man who stands in need of his
host's moneyso enlivened the financiers and the men of the swordthat
amidst the vapors of this joy and the noise of conversationinquietudes
disappeared completely. The will of Cardinal Mazarin was the text of the
conversation at the second course and dessert; then Fouquet ordered bowls
of sweetmeats and fountains of liquor to be carried into the _salon_
adjoining the gallery. He led the way thitherconducting by the hand a
ladythe queenby his preferenceof the evening. The musicians then
suppedand the promenades in the gallery and the gardens commenced
beneath a spring skymild and flower-scented. Pelisson then approached
the superintendentand said: "Something troubles monseigneur?"

Greatly,replied the minister; "ask Gourville to tell you what it is."
Pelissonon turning roundfound La Fontaine treading upon his heels.
He was obliged to listen to a Latin versewhich the poet had composed
upon Vatel. La Fontaine hadfor an hourbeen scanning this verse in
all cornersseeking some one to pour it out upon advantageously. He
thought he had caught Pelissonbut the latter escaped him; he turned
towards Sorelwho hadhimselfjust composed a _quatrain_ in honor of
the supperand the _Amphytrion_. La Fontaine in vain endeavored to gain
attention to his verses; Sorel wanted to obtain a hearing for his
_quatrain_. He was obliged to retreat before M. le Comte de Charost
whose arm Fouquet had just taken. L'Abbe Fouquet perceived that the
poetabsent-mindedas usualwas about to follow the two talkers; and
he interposed. La Fontaine seized upon himand recited his verses. The
abbewho was quite innocent of Latinnodded his headin cadenceat
every roll which La Fontaine impressed upon his bodyaccording to the
undulations of the dactyls and spondees. While this was going onbehind
the confiture-basinsFouquet related the event of the day to his son-inlaw
M. de Charost. "We will send the idle and useless to look at the
fireworks said Pelisson to Gourville, whilst we converse here."


So be it,said Gourvilleaddressing four words to Vatel. The latter
then led towards the gardens the major part of the beauxthe ladies and
the chattererswhilst the men walked in the gallerylighted by three
hundred wax-lightsin the sight of all; the admirers of fireworks all
ran away towards the garden. Gourville approached Fouquetand said:
Monsieur, we are here.

All?said Fouquet.

Yes, - count.The superintendent counted; there were eight persons.
Pelisson and Gourville walked arm in armas if conversing upon vague
and frivolous subjects. Sorel and two officers imitated themand in an
opposite direction. The Abbe Fouquet walked alone. Fouquetwith M. de
Charostwalked as if entirely absorbed in the conversation of his son-inlaw.
Messieurs,said helet no one of you raise his head as he
walks, or appear to pay attention to me; continue walking, we are alone,
listen to me.

A perfect silence ensueddisturbed only by the distant cries of the
joyous guestsfrom the groves whence they beheld the fireworks. It was a
whimsical spectacle thisof these men walking in groupsas if each one
was occupied about somethingwhilst lending attention really only to one
amongst themwhohimselfseemed to be speaking only to his companion.
Messieurs,said Fouquetyou have, without doubt, remarked the absence
of two of my friends this evening, who were with us on Wednesday. For
God's sake, abbe, do not stop, - it is not necessary to enable you to
listen; walk on, carrying your head in a natural way, and as you have
excellent sight, place yourself at the window, and if any one returns
towards the gallery, give us notice by coughing.

The abbe obeyed.

I have not observed their absence,said Pelissonwhoat this moment
was turning his back to Fouquetand walking the other way.

I do not see M. Lyodot,said Sorelwho pays me my pension.

And I,said the abbeat the windowdo not see M. d'Eymeris, who owes
me eleven hundred livres from our last game of brelan.

Sorel,continued Fouquetwalking bentand gloomilyyou will never
receive your pension any more from M. Lyodot; and you, abbe, will never
be paid you eleven hundred livres by M. d'Eymeris; for both are doomed to
die.

To die!exclaimed the whole assemblyarrestedin spite of themselves
in the comedy they were playingby that terrible word.

Recover yourselves, messieurs,said Fouquetfor perhaps we are
watched - I said: to die!

To die!repeated Pelisson; "whatthe men I saw six days agofull of
healthgayetyand the spirit of the future! What then is mangood
God! that disease should thus bring him down all at once!"

It is not a disease,said Fouquet.

Then there is a remedy,said Sorel.

No remedy. Messieurs de Lyodot and D'Eymeris are on the eve of their
last day.

Of what are these gentlemen dying, then?asked an officer.


Ask of him who kills them,replied Fouquet.

Who kills them? Are they being killed, then?cried the terrified
chorus.

They do better still; the are hanging them,murmured Fouquetin a
sinister voicewhich sounded like a funeral knell in that rich gallery
splendid with picturesflowersvelvetand gold. Involuntarily every
one stopped; the abbe quitted his window; the first fuses of the
fireworks began to mount above the trees. A prolonged cry from the
gardens attracted the superintendent to enjoy the spectacle. He drew
near to a windowand his friends placed themselves behind himattentive
to his least wish.

Messieurs,said heM. Colbert has caused to be arrested, tried and
will execute my two friends; what does it become me to do?

_Mordieu!_exclaimed the abbethe first one to speakrun M. Colbert
through the body.

Monseigneur,said Pelissonyou must speak to his majesty.

The king, my dear Pelisson, himself signed the order for the execution.

Well!said the Comte de Charostthe execution must not take place,
then; that is all.

Impossible,said Gourvilleunless we could corrupt the jailers.

Or the governor,said Fouquet.

This night the prisoners might be allowed to escape.

Which of you will take charge of the transaction?

I,said the abbewill carry the money.

And I,said Pelissonwill be the bearer of the words.

Words and money,said Fouquetfive hundred thousand livres to the
governor of the _conciergerie_ that is sufficient; nevertheless, it shall
be a million, if necessary.

A million!cried the abbe; "whyfor less than halfI would have half
Paris sacked."

There must be no disorder,said Pelisson. "The governor being gained
the two prisoners escape; once clear of the fangs of the lawthey will
call together the enemies of Colbertand prove to the king that his
young justicelike all other monstrositiesis not infallible."

Go to Paris, then, Pelisson,said Fouquetand bring hither the two
victims; to-morrow we shall see.

Gourville gave Pelisson the five hundred thousand livres. "Take care
the wind does not carry you away said the abbe; what a
responsibility. _Peste!_ Let me help you a little."

Silence!said Fouquetsomebody is coming. Ah! the fireworks are
producing a magical effect.At this moment a shower of sparks fell
rustling among the branches of the neighboring trees. Pelisson and
Gourville went out together by the door of the gallery; Fouquet descended
to the garden with the five last plotters.


Chapter LVIII:
Epicureans.

As Fouquet was givingor appearing to giveall his attention to the
brilliant illuminationsthe languishing music of the violins and
hautboysthe sparkling sheaves of the artificial fireswhichinflaming
the heavens with glowing reflectionsmarked behind the trees the dark
profile of the donjon of Vincennes; aswe saythe superintendent was
smiling on the ladies and the poetsthe _fete_ was every whit as gay as
usual; and Vatelwhose restlesseven jealous lookearnestly consulted
the aspect of Fouquetdid not appear dissatisfied with the welcome given
to the ordering of the evening's entertainment. The fireworks overthe
company dispersed about the gardens and beneath the marble porticoes with
the delightful liberty which reveals in the master of the house so much
forgetfulness of greatnessso much courteous hospitalityso much
magnificent carelessness. The poets wandered aboutarm in armthrough
the groves; some reclined upon beds of mossto the great damage of
velvet clothes and curled headsinto which little dried leaves and
blades of grass insinuated themselves. The ladiesin small numbers
listened to the songs of the singers and the verses of the poets; others
listened to the prosespoken with much artby men who were neither
actors nor poetsbut to whom youth and solitude gave an unaccustomed
eloquencewhich appeared to them better than everything else in the
world. "Why said La Fontaine, does not our master Epicurus descend
into the garden? Epicurus never abandoned his pupils; the master is
wrong."

Monsieur,said Conrartyou yourself are in the wrong persisting in
decorating yourself with the name of an Epicurean; indeed, nothing here
reminds me of the doctrine of the philosopher of Gargetta.

Bah!said La Fontaineis it not written that Epicurus purchased a
large garden and lived in it tranquilly with his friends?

That is true.

Well, has not M. Fouquet purchased a large garden at Saint-Mande, and do
we not live here very tranquilly with him and his friends?

Yes, without doubt; unfortunately it is neither the garden nor the
friends which constitute the resemblance. Now, what likeness is there
between the doctrine of Epicurus and that of M. Fouquet?

This - pleasure gives happiness.

Next?

Well, I do not think we ought to consider ourselves unfortunate, for my
part, at least. A good repast - _vin de Joigny_, which they have the
delicacy to go and fetch for me from my favorite _cabaret_ - not one
impertinence heard during a supper an hour long, in spite of the presence
of ten millionaires and twenty poets.

I stop you there. You mentioned _vin de Joigny_, and a good repast; do
you persist in that?

I persist, - _anteco_, as they say at Port Royal.

Then please to recollect that the great Epicurus lived, and made his
pupils live, upon bread, vegetables, and water.

That is not certain,said La Fontaine; "and you appear to me to be


confounding Epicurus with Pythagorasmy dear Conrart."

Remember, likewise, that the ancient philosopher was rather a bad friend
of the gods and the magistrates.

Oh! that is what I will not admit,replied La Fontaine. "Epicurus was
like M. Fouquet."

Do not compare him to monsieur le surintendant,said Conrartin an
agitated voiceor you would accredit the reports which are circulating
concerning him and us.

What reports?

That we are bad Frenchmen, lukewarm with regard to the king, deaf to the
law.

I return, then, to my text,said La Fontaine. "ListenConrartthis
is the morality of EpicuruswhombesidesI considerif I must tell
you soas a myth. Antiquity is mostly mythical. Jupiterif we give a
little attention to itis life. Alcides is strength. The words are
there to bear me out; Zeusthat is_zen_to live. Alcidesthat is
_alce_vigor. WellEpicurusthat is mild watchfulnessthat is
protection; now who watches better over the stateor who protects
individuals better than M. Fouquet does?"

You talk etymology and not morality; I say that we modern Epicureans are
indifferent citizens.

Oh!cried La Fontaine if we become bad citizens, it is not through
following the maxims of our master. Listen to one of his principal
aphorisms.

I - will.

Pray for good leaders.

Well?

Well! what does M. Fouquet say to us every day? 'When shall we be
governed?' Does he say so? Come, Conrart, be frank.

He says so, that is true.

Well, that is a doctrine of Epicurus.

Yes; but that is a little seditious, observe.

What! seditious to wish to be governed by good heads or leaders?

Certainly, when those who govern are bad.

Patience, I have a reply for all.

Even for what I have just said to you?

Listen! would you submit to those who govern ill? Oh! it is written:
_Cacos politeuousi_. You grant me the text?

_Pardieu!_ I think so. Do you know, you speak Greek as well as Aesop
did, my dear La Fontaine.

Is there any wickedness in that, my dear Conrart?


God forbid I should say so.

Then let us return to M. Fouquet. What did he repeat to us all the
day? Was it not this? 'What a _cuistre_ is that Mazarin! what an ass!
what a leech! We must, however, submit to that fellow.' Now, Conrart,
did he say so, or did he not?

I confess that he said it, and even perhaps too often.

Like Epicurus, my friend, still like Epicurus; I repeat, we are
Epicureans, and that is very amusing.

Yes; but I am afraid there will rise up, by the side of us, a sect like
that of Epictetus; you know him well; the philosopher of Hierapolis, he
who called bread luxury, vegetables prodigality, and clear water
drunkenness; he who, being beaten by his master, said to him, grumbling a
little it is true, but without being angry, 'I will lay a wager you have
broken my leg!' - and who won his wager.

He was a goose, that fellow Epictetus.

Granted, but he might easily become the fashion by only changing his
name into that of Colbert.

Bah!replied La Fontainethat is impossible. Never will you find
Colbert in Epictetus.

You are right, I shall find - _Coluber_ there, at the most.

Ah! you are beaten, Conrart; you are reduced to a play upon words. M.
Arnaud pretends that I have no logic; I have more than M. Nicole.

Yes,replied Conrartyou have logic, but you are a Jansenist.

This peroration was hailed with a boisterous shout of laughter; by
degrees the promenaders had been attracted by the exclamations of the two
disputants around the arbor under which they were arguing. The
discussion had been religiously listened toand Fouquet himself
scarcely able to suppress his laughterhad given an example of
moderation. But with the _denouement_ of the scene he threw off all
restraintand laughed aloud. Everybody laughed as he didand the two
philosophers were saluted with unanimous felicitations. La Fontaine
howeverwas declared conqueroron account of his profound erudition and
his irrefragable logic. Conrart obtained the compensation due to an
unsuccessful combatant; he was praised for the loyalty of his intentions
and the purity of his conscience.

At the moment when this jollity was manifesting itself by the most lively
demonstrationswhen the ladies were reproaching the two adversaries with
not having admitted women into the system of Epicurean happiness
Gourville was seen hastening from the other end of the garden
approaching Fouquetand detaching himby his presence alonefrom the
group. The superintendent preserved on his face the smile and character
of carelessness; but scarcely was he out of sight than he threw off the
mask.

Well!said heeagerlywhere is Pelisson! What is he doing?

Pelisson has returned from Paris.

Has he brought back the prisoners?

He has not even seen the _concierge_ of the prison.


What! did he not tell him he came from me?


He told him so, but the _concierge_ sent him this reply: 'If any one
came to me from M. Fouquet, he would have a letter from M. Fouquet.'


Oh!cried the latterif a letter is all he wants -


It is useless, monsieur!said Pelissonshowing himself at the corner
of the little wooduseless! Go yourself, and speak in your own name.


You are right. I will go in, as if to work; let the horses remain
harnessed, Pelisson. Entertain my friends, Gourville.


One last word of advice, monseigneur,replied the latter.


Speak, Gourville.


Do not go to the _concierge_ save at the last minute; it is brave, but
it is not wise. Excuse me, Monsieur Pelisson, if I am not of the same
opinion as you; but take my advice, monseigneur, send again a message to
this _concierge_, - he is a worthy man, but do not carry it yourself.


I will think of it,said Fouquet; "besideswe have all the night
before us."


Do not reckon too much on time; were the hours we have twice as many as
they are, they would not be too much,replied Pelisson; "it is never a
fault to arrive too soon."


Adieu!said the superintendent; "come with mePelisson. GourvilleI
commend my guests to your care." And he set off. The Epicureans did not
perceive that the head of the school had left them; the violins continued
playing all night long.


Chapter LIX:
A Quarter of an Hour's Delay.


Fouqueton leaving his house for the second time that dayfelt himself
less heavy and less disturbed than might have been expected. He turned
towards Pelissonwho was meditating in the corner of the carriage some
good arguments against the violent proceedings of Colbert.


My dear Pelisson,said Fouquetit is a great pity you are not a
woman.


I think, on the contrary, it is very fortunate,replied Pelissonfor,
monseigneur, I am excessively ugly.


Pelisson! Pelisson!said the superintendentlaughing: "You repeat
too oftenyou are 'ugly'not to leave people to believe that it gives
you much pain."


In fact it does, monseigneur, much pain; there is no man more
unfortunate than I: I was handsome, the small-pox rendered me hideous; I
am deprived of a great means of attraction; now, I am your principal
clerk, or something of that sort; I take great interest in your affairs,
and if, at this moment, I were a pretty woman, I could render you an
important service.


What?


I would go and find the _concierge_ of the Palais. I would seduce him,
for he is a gallant man, extravagantly partial to women; then I would get



away our two prisoners.

I hope to be able to do so myself, although I am not a pretty woman,
replied Fouquet.

Granted, monseigneur; but you are compromising yourself very much.

Oh!cried Fouquetsuddenlywith one of those secret transports which
the generous blood of youthor the remembrance of some sweet emotion
infuses into the heart. "Oh! I know a woman who will enact the
personage we stand in need ofwith the lieutenant-governor of the
_concierge_."

And, on my part, I know fifty, monseigneur; fifty trumpets, which will
inform the universe of your generosity, of your devotion to your friends,
and, consequently, will ruin you sooner or later in ruining themselves.

I do not speak of such women, Pelisson; I speak of a noble and beautiful
creature who joins to the intelligence and wit of her sex the valor and
coolness of ours; I speak of a woman, handsome enough to make the walls
of a prison bow down to salute her, discreet enough to let no one suspect
by whom she has been sent.

A treasure!said Pelisson; "you would make a famous present to monsieur
the governor of the _concierge! Peste!_ monseigneurhe might have his
head cut off; but he wouldbefore dyinghave had such happiness as no
man had enjoyed before him."

And I add,said Fouquetthat the _concierge_ of the Palais would not
have his head cut off, for he would receive of me my horses, to effect
his escape, and five hundred thousand livres wherewith to live
comfortably in England: I add, that this lady, my friend, would give him
nothing but the horses and the money. Let us go and seek her, Pelisson.

The superintendent reached forth his hand towards the golden and silken
cord placed in the interior of his carriagebut Pelisson stopped him.
Monseigneur,said heyou are going to lose as much time in seeking
this lady as Columbus took to discover the new world. Now, we have but
two hours in which we can possibly succeed; the _concierge_ once gone to
bed, how shall we get at him without making a disturbance? When daylight
dawns, how can we conceal our proceedings? Go, go yourself, monseigneur,
and do not seek either woman or angel to-night.

But, my dear Pelisson, here we are before her door.

What! before the angel's door?

Why, yes.

This is the hotel of Madame de Belliere!

Hush!

Ah! Good Lord!exclaimed Pelisson.

What have you to say against her?

Nothing, alas! and it is that which causes my despair. Nothing,
absolutely nothing. Why can I not, on the contrary, say ill enough of
her to prevent your going to her?

But Fouquet had already given orders to stopand the carriage was
motionless. "Prevent me!" cried Fouquet; "whyno power on earth should
prevent my going to pay my compliments to Madame de Plessis-Belliere;


besideswho knows that we shall not stand in need of her!"

No, monseigneur, no!

But I do not wish you to wait for me, Pelisson,replied Fouquet
sincerely courteous.

The more reason I should, monseigneur; knowing that you are keeping me
waiting, you will, perhaps, stay a shorter time. Take care! You see
there is a carriage in the courtyard: she has some one with her.
Fouquet leaned towards the steps of the carriage. "One word more cried
Pelisson; do not go to this lady till you have been to the _concierge_
for Heaven's sake!"

Eh! five minutes, Pelisson,replied Fouquetalighting at the steps of
the hotelleaving Pelisson in the carriagein a very ill-humor.
Fouquet ran upstairstold his name to the footmanwhich excited an
eagerness and a respect that showed the habit the mistress of the house
had of honoring that name in her family. "Monsieur le surintendant
cried the marquise, advancing, very pale, to meet him; what an honor!
what an unexpected pleasure!" said she. Thenin a low voiceTake
care!added the marquiseMarguerite Vanel is here!

Madame,replied Fouquetrather agitatedI came on business. One
single word, and quickly, if you please!And he entered the _salon_.
Madame Vanel had risenpalermore lividthan Envy herself. Fouquet in
vain addressed herwith the most agreeablemost pacific salutation; she
only replied by a terrible glance darted at the marquise and Fouquet.
This keen glance of a jealous woman is a stiletto which pierces every
cuirass; Marguerite Vanel plunged it straight into the hearts of the two
confidants. She made a courtesy to _her friend_a more profound one to
Fouquetand took leaveunder pretense of having a number of visits to
makewithout the marquise trying to prevent heror Fouqueta prey to
anxietythinking further about her. She was scarcely out of the room
and Fouquet left alone with the marquisebefore he threw himself on his
kneeswithout saying a word. "I expected you said the marquise, with
a tender sigh.

Oh! no cried he, or you would have sent away that woman."

She has been here little more than half an hour, and I had no
expectation she would come this evening.

You love me just a little, then, marquise?

That is not the question now; it is of your danger; how are your affairs
going on?

I am going this evening to get my friends out of the prisons of the
Palais.

How will you do that?

By buying and bribing the governor.

He is a friend of mine; can I assist you, without injuring you?

Oh! marquise, it would be a signal service; but how can you be employed
without your being compromised? Now, never shall my life, my power, or
even my liberty, be purchased at the expense of a single tear from your
eyes, or of one frown of pain upon your brow.

Monseigneur, no more such words, they bewilder me; I have been culpable
in trying to serve you, without calculating the extent of what I was


doing. I love you in reality, as a tender friend; and as a friend, I am
grateful for your delicate attentions - but, alas! - alas! you will never
find a mistress in me.

Marquise!cried Fouquetin a tone of despair; "why not?"

Because you are too much beloved,said the young womanin a low voice;
because you are too much beloved by too many people - because the
splendor of glory and fortune wound my eyes, whilst the darkness of
sorrow attracts them; because, in short, I, who have repulsed you in your
proud magnificence; I who scarcely looked at you in your splendor, I
came, like a mad woman, to throw myself, as it were, into your arms, when
I saw a misfortune hovering over your head. You understand me now,
monseigneur? Become happy again, that I may remain chaste in heart and
in thought: your misfortune entails my ruin.

Oh! madame,said Fouquetwith an emotion he had never before felt;
were I to fall to the lowest degree of human misery, and hear from your
mouth that word which you now refuse me, that day, madame, you will be
mistaken in your noble egotism; that day you will fancy you are consoling
the most unfortunate of men, and you will have said, _I love you_, to the
most illustrious, the most delighted, the most triumphant of the happy
beings of this world.

He was still at her feetkissing her handwhen Pelisson entered
precipitatelycryingin very ill-humorMonseigneur! madame! for
Heaven's sake! excuse me. Monseigneur, you have been here half an hour.
Oh! do not both look at me so reproachfully. Madame, pray who is that
lady who left your house soon after monseigneur came in?

Madame Vanel,said Fouquet.

Ha!cried PelissonI was sure of that.

Well! what then?

Why, she got into her carriage, looking deadly pale.

What consequence is that to me?

Yes, but what she said to her coachman is of consequence to you.

Kind heaven!cried the marquisewhat was that?

To M. Colbert's!said Pelissonin a hoarse voice.

_Bon Dieu!_ - begone, begone, monseigneur!replied the marquise
pushing Fouquet out of the salonwhilst Pelisson dragged him by the
hand.

Am I, then, indeed,said the superintendentbecome a child, to be
frightened by a shadow?

You are a giant,said the marquisewhom a viper is trying to bite in
the heel.

Pelisson continued to drag Fouquet to the carriage. "To the Palais at
full speed!" cried Pelisson to the coachman. The horses set off like
lightening; no obstacle relaxed their pace for an instant. Onlyat the
arcade Saint-Jeanas they were coming out upon the Place de Grevea
long file of horsemenbarring the narrow passagestopped the carriage
of the superintendent. There was no means of forcing this barrier; it
was necessary to wait till the mounted archers of the watchfor it was
they who stopped the wayhad passed with the heavy carriage they were


escortingand which ascended rapidly towards the Place Baudoyer.
Fouquet and Pelisson took no further account of this circumstance beyond
deploring the minute's delay they had thus to submit to. They entered
the habitation of the _concierge du Palais_ five minutes after. That
officer was still walking about in the front court. At the name of
Fouquetwhispered in his ear by Pelissonthe governor eagerly
approached the carriageandhat in handwas profuse in his
attentions. "What an honor for memonseigneur said he.

One wordmonsieur le governeurwill you take the trouble to get into
my carriage?" The officer placed himself opposite Fouquet in the coach.

Monsieur,said FouquetI have a service to ask of you.

Speak, monseigneur.

A service that will be compromising for you, monsieur, but which will
assure to you forever my protection and my friendship.

Were it to cast myself into the fire for you, monseigneur, I would do
it.

That is well,said Fouquet; "what I require is much more simple."

That being so, monseigneur, what is it?

To conduct me to the chamber of Messieurs Lyodot and D'Eymeris.

Will monseigneur have the kindness to say for what purpose?

I will tell you that in their presence, monsieur; at the same time that
I will give you ample means of palliating this escape.

Escape! Why, then, monseigneur does not know?

What?

That Messieurs Lyodot and D'Eymeris are no longer here.

Since when?cried Fouquetin great agitation.

About a quarter of an hour.

Whither have they gone, then?

To Vincennes - to the donjon.

Who took them from here?

An order from the king.

Oh! woe! woe!exclaimed Fouquetstriking his forehead. "Woe!" and
without saying a single word more to the governorhe threw himself back
into his carriagedespair in his heartand death on his countenance.

Well!said Pelissonwith great anxiety.

Our friends are lost. Colbert is conveying them to the donjon. They
crossed our path under the arcade Saint-Jean.

Pelissonstruck as by a thunderboltmade no reply. With a single
reproach he would have killed his master. "Where is monseigneur going?"
said the footman.


Home - to Paris. You, Pelisson, return to Saint-Mande, and bring the
Abbe Fouquet to me within an hour. Begone!

Chapter LX:
Plan of Battle.

The night was already far advanced when the Abbe Fouquet joined his
brother. Gourville had accompanied him. These three menpale with
dread of future eventsresembled less three powers of the day than three
conspiratorsunited by one single thought of violence. Fouquet walked
for a long timewith his eyes fixed upon the floorstriking his hands
one against the other. At lengthtaking couragein the midst of a deep
sigh: "Abbe said he, you were speaking to me only to-day of certain
people you maintain."

Yes, monsieur,replied the abbe.

Tell me precisely who are these people.The abbe hesitated.

Come! no fear, I am not threatening; no romancing, for I am not joking.

Since you demand the truth, monseigneur, here it is: - I have a hundred
and twenty friends or companions of pleasure, who are sworn to me as the
thief is to the gallows.

And you think you can depend on them?

Entirely.

And you will not compromise yourself?

I will not even make my appearance.

Are they men of resolution?

They would burn Paris, if I promised them they should not be burnt in
turn.

The thing I ask of you, abbe,said Fouquetwiping the sweat which fell
from his browis to throw your hundred and twenty men upon the people I
will point out to you, at a certain moment given - is it possible?

It will not be the first time such a thing has happened to them,
monseigneur.

That is well: but would these bandits attack an armed force?

They are used to that.

Then get your hundred and twenty men together, abbe.

Directly. But where?

On the road to Vincennes, to-morrow, at two o'clock precisely.

To carry off Lyodot and D'Eymeris? There will be blows to be got!

A number, no doubt; are you afraid?

Not for myself, but for you.

Your men will know, then, what they have to do?


They are too intelligent not to guess it. Now, a minister who gets up a
riot against his king - exposes himself -

Of what importance is that to you, I pray? Besides, if I fall, you fall
with me.

It would then be more prudent, monsieur, not to stir in the affair, and
leave the king to take this little satisfaction.

Think well of this, abbe, Lyodot and D'Eymeris at Vincennes are a
prelude of ruin for my house. I repeat it - I arrested, you will be
imprisoned - I imprisoned, you will be exiled.

Monsieur, I am at your orders; have you any to give me?

What I told you - I wish that, to-morrow, the two financiers of whom
they mean to make victims, whilst there remain so many criminals
unpunished, should be snatched from the fury of my enemies. Take your
measures accordingly. Is it possible?

It is possible.

Describe your plan.

It is of rich simplicity. The ordinary guard at executions consists of
twelve archers.

There will be a hundred to-morrow.

I reckon so. I even say more - there will be two hundred.

Then your hundred and twenty men will not be enough.

Pardon me. In every crowd composed of a hundred thousand spectators,
there are ten thousand bandits or cut-purses - only they dare not take
the initiative.

Well?

There will then be, to-morrow, on the Place de Greve, which I choose as
my battle-field, ten thousand auxiliaries to my hundred and twenty men.
The attack commenced by the latter, the others will finish it.

That all appears feasible. But what will be done with regard to the
prisoners upon the Place de Greve?

This: they must be thrust into some house - that will make a siege
necessary to get them out again. And stop! here is another idea, more
sublime still: certain houses have two issues - one upon the Place, and
the other into the Rue de la Mortellerie, or la Vannerie, or la
Tixeranderie. The prisoners entering by one door will go out at another.

Yes; but fix upon something positive.

I am seeking to do so.

And I,cried FouquetI have found it. Listen to what has occurred to
me at this moment.

I am listening.

Fouquet made a sign to Gourvillewho appeared to understand. "One of my
friends lends me sometimes the keys of a house which he rentsRue


Baudoyerthe spacious gardens of which extend behind a certain house on
the Place de Greve."

That is the place for us,said the abbe. "What house?"

A _cabaret_, pretty well frequented, whose sign represents the image of
Notre Dame.

I know it,said the abbe.

This _cabaret_ has windows opening upon the Place, a place of exit into
the court, which must abut upon the gardens of my friend by a door of
communication.

Good!said the abbe.

Enter by the _cabaret_, take the prisoners in; defend the door while you
enable them to fly by the garden and the Place Baudoyer.

That is all plain. Monsieur, you would make an excellent general, like
monsieur le prince.

Have you understood me?

Perfectly well.

How much will it amount to, to make your bandits all drunk with wine,
and to satisfy them with gold?

Oh, monsieur, what an expression! Oh! monsieur, if they heard you! some
of them are very susceptible.

I mean to say they must be brought to the point where they cannot tell
the heavens from the earth; for I shall to-morrow contend with the king;
and when I fight I mean to conquer - please to understand.

It shall be done, monsieur. Give me your other ideas.

That is your business.

Then give me your purse.

Gourville, count a hundred thousand livres for the abbe.

Good! and spare nothing, did you not say?

Nothing.

That is well.

Monseigneur,objected Gourvilleif this should be known, we should
lose our heads.

Eh! Gourville,replied Fouquetpurple with angeryou excite my
pity. Speak for yourself, if you please. My head does not shake in that
manner upon my shoulders. Now, abbe, is everything arranged?

Everything.

At two o'clock to-morrow.

At twelve, because it will be necessary to prepare our auxiliaries in a
secret manner.


That is true; do not spare the wine of the _cabaretier_.


I will spare neither his wine nor his house,replied the abbewith a
sneering laugh. "I have my planI tell you; leave me to set it in
operationand you shall see."


Where shall you be yourself?


Everywhere; nowhere.


And how shall I receive information?


By a courier whose horse shall be kept in the very same garden of your
friend. _A propos_, the name of your friend?


Fouquet looked again at Gourville. The latter came to the succor of his
mastersaying["The name is of no importance."


Fouquet continuedAccompany] monsieur l'abbe, for several reasons, but
the house is easily to be known - the 'Image-de-Notre-Dame' in the front,
a garden, the only one in the quarter, behind.


[The text is corrupt at this point. The suggested readingin brackets
is my own. – JB.]


Good, good! I will go and give notice to my soldiers.


Accompany him, Gourville,said Fouquetand count him down the money.
One moment, abbe - one moment, Gourville - what name will be given to
this carrying off?


A very natural one, monsieur - the Riot.


The riot on account of what? For, if ever the people of Paris are
disposed to pay their court to the king, it is when he hangs financiers.


I will manage that,said the abbe.


Yes; but you may manage it badly, and people will guess.


Not at all, - not at all. I have another idea.


What is that?


My men shall cry out, '_Colbert, vive Colbert!_' and shall throw
themselves upon the prisoners as if they would tear them in pieces, and
shall force them from the gibbets, as too mild a punishment.


Ah! that is an idea,said Gourville. "_Peste!_ monsieur l'abbewhat
an imagination you have!"


Monsieur, we are worthy of our family,replied the abbeproudly.


Strange fellow,murmured Fouquet. Then he addedThat is ingenious.
Carry it out, but shed no blood.


Gourville and the abbe set off togetherwith their heads full of the
meditated riot. The superintendent laid himself down upon some cushions
half valiant with respect to the sinister projects of the morrowhalf
dreaming of love.


Chapter LXI:
The Cabaret of the Image-de-Notre-Dame.



At two o'clock the next day fifty thousand spectators had taken their
position upon the Placearound the two gibbets which had been elevated
between the Quai de la Greve and the Quai Pelletier; one close to the
otherwith their backs to the embankment of the river. In the morning
alsoall the sworn criers of the good city of Paris had traversed the
quarters of the cityparticularly the _halles_ and the _faubourgs_
announcing with their hoarse and indefatigable voices the great justice
done by the king upon two speculatorstwo thievesdevourers of the
people. And these peoplewhose interests were so warmly looked after
in order not to fail in respect for their kingquitted shopsstalls
and _atliers_to go and evince a little gratitude to Louis XIV.
absolutely like invited guestswho feared to commit an impoliteness in
not repairing to the house of him who had invited them. According to the
tenor of the sentencewhich the criers read aloud and incorrectlytwo
farmers of the revenuesmonopolists of moneydilapidators of the royal
provisionsextortionersand forgerswere about to undergo capital
punishment on the Place de Grevewith their names blazoned over their
headsaccording to their sentence. As to those namesthe sentence made
no mention of them. The curiosity of the Parisians was at its height
andas we have saidan immense crowd waited with feverish impatience
the hour fixed for the execution. The news had already spread that the
prisonerstransferred to the Chateau of Vincenneswould be conducted
from that prison to the Place de Greve. Consequentlythe faubourg and
the Rue Saint Antoine were crowded; for the population of Paris in those
days of great executions was divided into two categories: those who came
to see the condemned pass - these were of timid and mild heartsbut
philosophically curious - and those who wished to see the condemned die -
these had hearts that hungered for sensation. On this day M. d'Artagnan
received his last instructions from the kingand made his adieus to his
friendsthe number of whom wasat the momentreduced to Planchet
then he traced the plan of his dayas every busy man whose moments are
counted ought to dobecause he appreciates their importance.

My departure is to be,said heat break of day, three o'clock in the
morning; I have then fifteen hours before me. Take from them the six
hours of sleep which are indispensable for me - six; one hour for repasts

-seven; one hour for a farewell visit to Athos - eight; two hours for
chance circumstances - total, ten. There are then five hours left. One
hour to get my money, - that is, to have payment refused by M. Fouquet;
another hour to go and receive my money of M. Colbert, together with his
questions and grimaces; one hour to look over my clothes and arms, and
get my boots cleaned. I still have two hours left. _Mordioux!_ how rich
I am.And so sayingD'Artagnan felt a strange joya joy of youtha
perfume of those great and happy years of former times mount into his
brain and intoxicate him. "During these two hours I will go said the
musketeer, and take my quarter's rent of the Image-de-Notre-Dame. That
will be pleasant. Three hundred and seventy-five livres! _Mordioux!_
but that is astonishing! If the poor man who has but one livre in his
pocketfound a livre and twelve deniersthat would be justicethat
would be excellent; but never does such a godsend fall to the lot of the
poor man. The rich manon the contrarymakes himself revenue with his
moneywhich he does not even touch. Here are three hundred and seventy-
five livres which fall to me from heaven. I will go then to the Image-deNotre-
Dameand drink a glass of Spanish wine with my tenantwhich he
cannot fail to offer me. But order must be observedMonsieur
d'Artagnanorder must be observed! Let us organize our timethenand
distribute the employment of it! Art. 1stAthos; Art. 2dthe Image-deNotre-
Dame; Art. 3rdM. Fouquet; Art. 4thM. Colbert; Art. 5thsupper;
Art. 6thclothesbootshorseportmanteau; Art. 7th and lastsleep."
In consequence of this arrangementD'Artagnan went straight to the Comte
de la Fereto whommodestly and ingenuouslyhe related a part of his
fortunate adventures. Athos had not been without uneasiness on the


subject of D'Artagnan's visit to the king; but few words sufficed for an
explanation of that. Athos divined that Louis had charged D'Artagnan
with some important missionand did not even make an effort to draw the
secret from him. He only recommended him to take care of himselfand
offered discreetly to accompany him if that were desirable.

But, my dear friend,said D'Artagnan I am going nowhere.

What! you come and bid me adieu, and are going nowhere?

Oh! yes, yes,replied D'Artagnancoloring a littleI am going to
make an acquisition.

That is quite another thing. Then I change my formula. Instead of 'Do
not get yourself killed,' I will say, - 'Do not get yourself robbed.'

My friend, I will inform you if I set eyes on any property that pleases
me, and shall expect you will favor me with your opinion.

Yes, yes,said Athostoo delicate to permit himself even the
consolation of a smile. Raoul imitated the paternal reserve. But
D'Artagnan thought it would appear too mysterious to leave his friends
under a pretensewithout even telling them the route he was about to
take."

I have chosen Le Mans,said he to Athos. "It is a good country?"

Excellent, my friend,replied the countwithout making him observe
that Le Mans was in the same directions as La Touraineand that by
waiting two daysat mosthe might travel with a friend. But
D'Artagnanmore embarrassed than the countdugat every explanation
deeper into the mudinto which he sank by degrees. "I shall set out tomorrow
at daybreak said he at last. Till that timewill you come
with meRaoul?"

Yes, monsieur le chevalier,said the young manif monsieur le comte
does not want me.

No, Raoul; I am to have an audience to-day of Monsieur, the king's
brother; that is all I have to do.

Raoul asked Grimaud for his swordwhich the old man brought him
immediately. "Now then added D'Artagnan, opening his arms to Athos,
adieumy dear friend!" Athos held him in a long embraceand the
musketeerwho knew his discretion so wellmurmured in his ear - "An
affair of state to which Athos only replied by a pressure of the hand,
still more significant. They then separated. Raoul took the arm of his
old friend, who led him along the Rue Saint-Honore. I an conducting you
to the abode of the god Plutus said D'Artagnan to the young man;
prepare yourself. The whole day you will witness the piling up of
crowns. Heavens! how I am changed!"

Oh! what numbers of people there are in the street!said Raoul.

Is there a procession to-day?asked D'Artagnan of a passer-by.

Monsieur, it is a hanging,replied the man.

What! a hanging at the Greve?said D'Artagnan.

Yes, monsieur.

The devil take the rogue who gets himself hung the day I want to go and
take my rent!cried D'Artagnan. "Raouldid you ever see anybody hung?"


Never, monsieur - thank God!

Oh! how young that sounds! If you were on guard in the trenches, as I
was, and a spy! But, pardon me, Raoul, I am doting - you are quite
right, it is a hideous sight to see a person hung! At what hour do they
hang them, monsieur, if you please?

Monsieur,replied the stranger respectfullydelighted at joining
conversation with two men of the swordit will take place at about
three o'clock.

Aha! it is now only half-past one; let us step out, we shall be there in
time to touch my three hundred and seventy-five livres, and get away
before the arrival of the malefactor.

Malefactors, monsieur,continued the _bourgeois_; "there are two of
them."

Monsieur, I return to you many thanks,said D'Artagnanwho as he grew
olderhad become polite to a degree. Drawing Raoul alonghe directed
his course rapidly in the direction of La Greve. Without that great
experience musketeers have of a crowdto which were joined an
irresistible strength of wristand an uncommon suppleness of shoulders
our two travelers would not have arrived at their place of destination.
They followed the line of the Quaiwhich they had gained on quitting the
Rue Saint-Honorewhere they left Athos. D'Artagnan went first; his
elbowhis wristhis shoulder formed three wedges which he knew how to
insinuate with skill into the groupsto make them split and separate
like firewood. He made use sometimes of the hilt of his sword as an
additional help: introducing it between ribs that were too rebellious
making it take the part of a lever or crowbarto separate husband from
wifeuncle from nephewand brother from brother. And all that was done
so naturallyand with such gracious smilesthat people must have had
ribs of bronze not to cry thank you when the wrist made its playor
hearts of diamond not to be enchanted when such a bland smile enlivened
the lips of the musketeer. Raoulfollowing his friendcajoled the
women who admired his beautypushed back the men who felt the rigidity
of his musclesand both openedthanks to these maneuversthe compact
and muddy tide of the populace. They arrived in sight of the two
gibbetsfrom which Raoul turned away his eyes in disgust. As for
D'Artagnanhe did not even see them; his house with its gabled roofits
windows crowded with the curiousattracted and even absorbed all the
attention he was capable of. He distinguished in the Place and around
the houses a good number of musketeers on leavewhosome with women
others with friendsawaited the crowning ceremony. What rejoiced him
above all was to see that his tenantthe _cabaretier_was so busy he
hardly knew which way to turn. Three lads could not supply the
drinkers. They filled the shopthe chambersand the courteven.
D'Artagnan called Raoul's attention to this concourseadding: "The
fellow will have no excuse for not paying his rent. Look at those
drinkersRaoulone would say they were jolly companions. _Mordioux!_
whythere is no room anywhere!" D'Artagnanhowevercontrived to catch
hold of the master by the corner of his apronand to make himself known
to him.

Ah, monsieur le chevalier,said the _cabaretier_half distractedone
minute if you please. I have here a hundred mad devils turning my cellar
upside down.

The cellar, if you like, but not the money-box.

Oh, monsieur, your thirty-seven and a half pistoles are all counted out
ready for you, upstairs in my chamber; but there are in that chamber


thirty customers, who are sucking the staves of a little barrel of Oporto
which I tapped for them this very morning. Give me a minute, - only a
minute?

So be it; so be it.

I will go,said Raoulin a low voiceto D'Artagnan; "this hilarity is
vile!"

Monsieur,replied D'Artagnansternlyyou will please to remain where
you are. The soldier ought to familiarize himself with all kinds of
spectacles. There are in the eye, when it is young, fibers which we must
learn how to harden; and we are not truly generous and good save from the
moment when the eye has become hardened, and the heart remains tender.
Besides, my little Raoul, would you leave me alone here? That would be
very wrong of you. Look, there is yonder in the lower court a tree, and
under the shade of that tree we shall breathe more freely than in this
hot atmosphere of spilt wine.

From the spot on which they had placed themselves the two new guests of
the Image-de-Notre-Dame heard the ever-increasing hubbub of the tide of
peopleand lost neither a cry nor a gesture of the drinkersat tables
in the _cabaret_or disseminated in the chambers. If D'Artagnan had
wished to place himself as a _vidette_ for an expeditionhe could not
have succeeded better. The tree under which he and Raoul were seated
covered them with its already thick foliage; it was a lowthick chestnut-
treewith inclined branchesthat cast their shade over a table so
dilapidated the drinkers had abandoned it. We said that from this post
D'Artagnan saw everything. He observed the goings and comings of the
waiters; the arrival of fresh drinkers; the welcomesometimes friendly
sometimes hostilegiven to the newcomers by others already installed.
He observed all this to amuse himselffor the thirty-seven and a half
pistoles were a long time coming. Raoul recalled his attention to it.
Monsieur,said heyou do not hurry your tenant, and the condemned
will soon be here. There will then be such a press we shall not be able
to get out.

You are right,said the musketeer; "_Hola!_ oh! somebody there!
_Mordioux!_" But it was in vain he cried and knocked upon the wreck of
the old tablewhich fell to pieces beneath his fist; nobody came.
D'Artagnan was preparing to go and seek the _cabaretier_ himselfto
force him to a definite explanationwhen the door of the court in which
he was with Raoula door which communicated with the garden situated at
the backopenedand a man dressed as a cavalierwith his sword in the
sheathbut not at his beltcrossed the court without closing the door;
and having cast an oblique glance at D'Artagnan and his companion
directed his course towards the _cabaret_ itselflooking about in all
directions with his eyes capable of piercing walls of consciences.
Humph!said D'Artagnanmy tenants are communicating. That, no doubt,
now, is some amateur in hanging matters.At the same moment the cries
and disturbance in the upper chambers ceased. Silenceunder such
circumstancessurprises more than a twofold increase of noise.
D'Artagnan wished to see what was the cause of this sudden silence. He
then perceived that this mandressed as a cavalierhad just entered the
principal chamberand was haranguing the tipplerswho all listened to
him with the greatest attention. D'Artagnan would perhaps have heard his
speech but for the dominant noise of the popular clamorswhich made a
formidable accompaniment to the harangue of the orator. But it was soon
finishedand all the people the _cabaret_ contained came outone after
the otherin little groupsso that there only remained six in the
chamber; one of these sixthe man with the swordtook the _cabaretier_
asideengaging him in discourse more or less seriouswhilst the others
lit a great fire in the chimney-place - a circumstance rendered strange
by the fine weather and the heat.


It is very singular,said D'Artagnan to Raoulbut I think I know
those faces yonder.

Don't you think you can smell the smoke here?said Raoul.

I rather think I can smell a conspiracy,replied D'Artagnan.

He had not finished speakingwhen four of these men came down into the
courtand without the appearance of any bad designmounted guard at the
door of communicationcastingat intervalsglances at D'Artagnan
which signified many things.

_Mordioux!_said D'Artagnanin a low voice there is something going
on. Are you curious, Raoul?

According to the subject, chevalier.

Well, I am as curious as an old woman. Come a little more in front; we
shall get a better view of the place. I would lay a wager that view will
be something curious.

But you know, monsieur le chevalier, that I am not willing to become a
passive and indifferent spectator of the death of the two poor devils.

And I, then - do you think I am a savage? We will go in again, when it
is time to do so. Come along!And they made their way towards the
front of the houseand placed themselves near the window whichstill
more strangely than the restremained unoccupied. The two last
drinkersinstead of looking out at this windowkept up the fire. On
seeing D'Artagnan and his friend enter: - "Ah! ah! a reinforcement
murmured they.

D'Artagnan jogged Raoul's elbow. Yesmy bravesa reinforcement said
he; _cordieu!_ there is a famous fire. Whom are you going to cook?"

The two men uttered a shout of jovial laughterandinstead of
answeringthrew on more wood. D'Artagnan could not take his eyes off
them.

I suppose,said one of the fire-makersthey sent you to tell us the
time - did not they?

Without doubt they have,said D'Artagnananxious to know what was
going on; "why should I be here elseif it were not for that?"

Then place yourself at the window, if you please, and observe.
D'Artagnan smiled in his mustachemade a sign to Raouland placed
himself at the window.

Chapter LXII:
Vive Colbert!

The spectacle which the Greve now presented was a frightful one. The
headsleveled by the perspectiveextended afarthick and agitated as
the ears of corn in a vast plain. From time to time a fresh reportor a
distant rumormade the heads oscillate and thousands of eyes flash. Now
and then there were great movements. All those ears of corn bentand
became waves more agitated than those of the oceanwhich rolled from the
extremities to the centerand beatlike the tidesagainst the hedge of
archers who surrounded the gibbets. Then the handles of the halberds
were let fall upon the heads and shoulders of the rash invaders; at
timesalsoit was the steel as well as the woodandin that casea


large empty circle was formed around the guard; a space conquered upon
the extremitieswhich underwentin their turn the oppression of the
sudden movementwhich drove them against the parapets of the Seine.
From the windowthat commanded a view of the whole PlaceD'Artagnan
sawwith interior satisfactionthat such of the musketeers and guards
as found themselves involved in the crowdwere ablewith blows of their
fists and the hilts of theirs swordsto keep room. He even remarked
that they had succeededby that _esprit de corps_ which doubles the
strength of the soldierin getting together in one group to the amount
of about fifty men; and thatwith the exception of a dozen stragglers
whom he still saw rolling here and therethe nucleus was completeand
within reach of his voice. But it was not the musketeers and guards that
drew the attention of D'Artagnan. Around the gibbetsand particularly
at the entrances to the arcade of Saint-Jeanmoved a noisy massa busy
mass; daring facesresolute demeanors were to be seen here and there
mingled with silly faces and indifferent demeanors; signals were
exchangedhands given and taken. D'Artagnan remarked among the groups
and those groups the most animatedthe face of the cavalier whom he had
seen enter by the door of communication from his gardenand who had gone
upstairs to harangue the drinkers. That man was organizing troops and
giving orders.

_Mordioux!_said D'Artagnan to himselfI was not deceived; I know
that man, - it is Menneville. What the devil is he doing here?

A distant murmurwhich became more distinct by degreesstopped this
reflectionand drew his attention another way. This murmur was
occasioned by the arrival of the culprits; a strong picket of archers
preceded themand appeared at the angle of the arcade. The entire crowd
now joined as if in one cry; all the cries united formed one immense
howl. D'Artagnan saw Raoul was becoming paleand he slapped him roughly
on the shoulder. The fire-keepers turned round on hearing the great cry
and asked what was going on. "The condemned are arrived said
D'Artagnan. That's well replied they, again replenishing the fire.
D'Artagnan looked at them with much uneasiness; it was evident that these
men who were making such a fire for no apparent purpose had some strange
intentions. The condemned appeared upon the Place. They were walking,
the executioner before them, whilst fifty archers formed a hedge on their
right and their left. Both were dressed in black; they appeared pale,
but firm. They looked impatiently over the people's heads, standing on
tip-toe at every step. D'Artagnan remarked this. _Mordioux!_" cried
hethey are in a great hurry to get a sight of the gibbet!Raoul drew
backwithouthoweverhaving the power to leave the window. Terror
even has its attractions.

To the death! to the death!cried fifty thousand voices.

Yes; to the death!howled a hundred frantic othersas if the great
mass had given them the reply.

To the halter! to the halter!cried the great whole; "_Vive le roi!_"

Well,said D'Artagnanthis is droll; I should have thought it was M.
Colbert who had caused them to be hung.

There wasat this momenta great rolling movement in the crowdwhich
stopped for a moment the march of the condemned. The people of a bold
and resolute mienwhom D'Artagnan had observedby dint of pressing
pushingand lifting themselves uphad succeeded in almost touching the
hedge of archers. The _cortege_ resumed its march. All at onceto
cries of "_Vive Colbert!_" those menof whom D'Artagnan never lost
sightfell upon the escortwhich in vain endeavored to stand against
them. Behind these men was the crowd. Then commencedamidst a
frightful tumultas frightful a confusion. This time there was


something more than cries of expectation or cries of joythere were
cries of pain. Halberds struck men downswords ran through them
muskets were discharged at them. The confusion became then so great that
D'Artagnan could no longer distinguish anything. Thenfrom this chaos
suddenly surged something like a visible intentionlike a will
pronounced. The condemned had been torn from the hands of the guards
and were being dragged towards the house of L'Image-de-Notre-Dame. Those
who dragged them shouted_Vive Colbert!_The people hesitatednot
knowing which they ought to fall uponthe archers or the aggressors.
What stopped the people wasthat those who cried "_Vive Colbert!_" began
to cryat the same timeNo halter! no halter! to the fire! to the
fire! burn the thieves! burn the extortioners!This cryshouted with
an _ensemble_obtained enthusiastic success. The populace had come to
witness an executionand here was an opportunity offered them of
performing one themselves. It was this that must be most agreeable to
the populace: thereforethey ranged themselves immediately on the party
of the aggressors against the archerscrying with the minoritywhich
had becomethanks to themthe most compact majority: "Yesyes: to the
fire with the thieves! _Vive Colbert!_"

_Mordioux!_exclaimed D'Artagnanthis begins to look serious.

One of the men who remained near the chimney approached the windowa
firebrand in his hand. "Ahah!" said heit gets warm.Thenturning
to his companion: "There is the signal added he; and he immediately
applied the burning brand to the wainscoting. Now, this _cabaret_ of the
Image-de-Notre-Dame was not a very newly built house, and therefore, did
not require much entreating to take fire. In a second the boards began
to crackle, and the flames arose sparkling to the ceiling. A howling
from without replied to the shouts of the incendiaries. D'Artagnan, who
had not seen what passed, from being engaged at the window, felt, at the
same time, the smoke which choked him and the fire that scorched him.
_Hola!_" cried heturning roundis the fire here? Are you drunk or
mad, my masters?

The two men looked at each other with an air of astonishment. "In what?"
asked they of D'Artagnan; "was it not a thing agreed upon?"

A thing agreed upon that you should burn my house!vociferated
D'Artagnansnatching the brand from the hand of the incendiaryand
striking him with it across the face. The second wanted to assist his
comradebut Raoulseizing him by the middlethrew him out of the
windowwhilst D'Artagnan pushed his man down the stairs. Raoulfirst
disengagedtore the burning wainscoting downand threw it flaming into
the chamber. At a glance D'Artagnan saw there was nothing to be feared
from the fireand sprang to the window. The disorder was at its
height. The air was filled with simultaneous cries of "To the fire!"
To the death!To the halter!To the stake!_Vive Colbert!_
_Vive le roi!_The group which had forced the culprits from the hands
of the archers had drawn close to the housewhich appeared to be the
goal towards which they dragged them. Menneville was at the head of this
groupshouting louder than all the othersTo the fire! to the fire!
_Vive Colbert!_D'Artagnan began to comprehend what was meant. They
wanted to burn the condemnedand his house was to serve as a funeral
pile.

Halt, there!cried hesword in handand one foot upon the window.
Menneville, what do you want to do?

Monsieur d'Artagnan,cried the latter; "give waygive way!"

To the fire! to the fire with the thieves! _Vive Colbert!_

These cries exasperated D'Artagnan. "_Mordioux!_" said he. "What! burn


the poor devils who are only condemned to be hung? that is infamous!"

Before the doorhoweverthe mass of anxious spectatorsrolled back
against the wallshad become more thickand closed up the way.
Menneville and his menwho were dragging along the culpritswere within
ten paces of the door.

Menneville made a last effort. "Passage! passage!" cried hepistol in
hand.

Burn them! burn them!repeated the crowd. "The Image-de-Notre-Dame is
on fire! Burn the thieves! burn the monopolists in the Image-de-Notre-
Dame!"

There now remained no doubtit was plainly D'Artagnan's house that was
their object. D'Artagnan remembered the old cryalways so effective
from his mouth: "_A moi! mousquetaires!_" shouted hewith the voice of a
giantwith one of those voices which dominate over cannonthe seathe
tempest. "_A moi! mousquetaires!_" And suspending himself by the arm
from the balconyhe allowed himself to drop amidst the crowdwhich
began to draw back form a house that rained men. Raoul was on the ground
as soon as heboth sword in hand. All the musketeers on the Place heard
that challenging cry - all turned round at that cryand recognized
D'Artagnan. "To the captainto the captain!" cried theyin their
turn. And the crowd opened before them as though before the prow of a
vessel. At that moment D'Artagnan and Menneville found themselves face
to face. "Passagepassage!" cried Mennevilleseeing that he was within
an arm's length from the door.

No one passes here,said D'Artagnan.

Take that, then!said Mennevillefiring his pistol almost within an
arm's length. But before the cock fellD'Artagnan had struck up
Menneville's arm with the hilt of his sword and passed the blade through
his body.

I told you plainly to keep yourself quiet,said D'Artagnan to
Mennevillewho rolled at his feet.

Passage! passage!cried the companions of Mennevilleat first
terrifiedbut soon recoveringwhen they found they had only to do with
two men. But those two men were hundred-armed giants; the swords flew
about in their hands like the burning _glaive_ of the archangel. They
pierce with its pointstrike with the flatcut with the edge; every
stroke brings down a man. "For the king!" cried D'Artagnanto every man
he struck atthat is to sayto every man that fell. This cry became
the charging word for the musketeerswhoguided by itjoined
D'Artagnan. During this time the archersrecovering from the panic they
had undergonecharge the aggressors in the rearand regular as mill
strokesoverturn or knock down all that opposed them. The crowdwhich
sees swords gleamingand drops of blood flying in the air - the crowd
falls back and crushes itself. At length cries for mercy and of
despair resound; that isthe farewell of the vanquished. The two
condemned are again in the hands of the archers. D'Artagnan approaches
themseeing them pale and sinking: "Console yourselvespoor men said
he, you will not undergo the frightful torture with which these wretches
threatened you. The king has condemned you to be hung: you shall only be
hung. Go onhang themand it will be over."

There is no longer anything going on at the Image-de-Notre-Dame. The
fire has been extinguished with two tuns of wine in default of water.
The conspirators have fled by the garden. The archers are dragging the
culprits to the gibbets. From this moment the affair did not occupy much
time. The executionerheedless about operating according to the rules


of the artmade such haste that he dispatched the condemned in a couple
of minutes. In the meantime the people gathered around D'Artagnan-
they felicitatedthey cheered him. He wiped his browstreaming with
sweatand his swordstreaming with blood. He shrugged his shoulders at
seeing Menneville writhing at his feet in the last convulsions. And
while Raoul turned away his eyes in compassionhe pointed to the
musketeers the gibbets laden with their melancholy fruit. "Poor devils!"
said heI hope they died blessing me, for I saved them with great
difficulty.These words caught the ear of Menneville at the moment when
he himself was breathing his last sigh. A darkironical smile flitted
across his lips; he wished to replybut the effort hastened the snapping
of the chord of life - he expired.


Oh! all this is very frightful!murmured Raoul: "let us begone
monsieur le chevalier."


You are not wounded?asked D'Artagnan.


Not at all; thank you.


That's well! Thou art a brave fellow, _mordioux!_ The head of the
father, and the arm of Porthos. Ah! if he had been here, good Porthos,
you would have seen something worth looking at.Then as if by way of
remembrance


But where the devil can that brave Porthos be?murmured D'Artagnan.


Come, chevalier, pray come away,urged Raoul.


One minute, my friend; let me take my thirty-seven and a half pistols,
and I am at your service. The house is a good property,added
D'Artagnanas he entered the Image-de-Notre-Damebut decidedly, even
if it were less profitable, I should prefer its being in another quarter.


Chapter LXIII:
How M. d'Eymeris's Diamond passed into the Hands of M. d'Artagnan.


Whilst this violentnoisyand bloody scene was passing on the Greve
several menbarricaded behind the gate of communication with the garden
replaced their swords in their sheathsassisted one among them to mount
a ready saddled horse which was waiting in the gardenand like a flock
of startled birdsfled in all directionssome climbing the walls
others rushing out at the gates with all the fury of a panic. He who
mounted the horseand gave him the spur so sharply that the animal was
near leaping the wallthis cavalierwe saycrossed the Place Baudoyer
passed like lightening before the crowd in the streetsriding against
running over and knocking down all that came in his wayandten minutes
afterarrived at the gates of the superintendentmore out of breath
than his horse. The Abbe Fouquetat the clatter of hoofs on the
pavementappeared at a window of the courtand before even the cavalier
had set foot to the groundWell! Danicamp?cried heleaning half out
of the window.


Well, it is all over,replied the cavalier.


All over!cried the abbe. "Then they are saved?"


No, monsieur,replied the cavalierthey are hung.


Hung!repeated the abbeturning pale. A lateral door suddenly opened
and Fouquet appeared in the chamberpaledistractedwith lips half
openedbreathing a cry of grief and anger. He stopped upon the
threshold to listen to what was addressed from the court to the window.



Miserable wretches!said the abbeyou did not fight, then?

Like lions.

Say like cowards.

Monsieur!

A hundred men accustomed to war, sword in hand, are worth ten thousand
archers in a surprise. Where is Menneville, that boaster, that braggart,
who was to come back either dead or a conqueror?

Well, monsieur, he kept his word. He is dead!

Dead! Who killed him?

A demon disguised as a man, a giant armed with ten flaming swords - a
madman, who at one blow extinguished the fire, put down the riot, and
caused a hundred musketeers to rise up out of the pavement of the Greve.

Fouquet raised his browstreaming with sweatmurmuringOh! Lyodot
and D'Eymeris! dead! dead! dead! and I dishonored.

The abbe turned roundand perceiving his brotherdespairing and livid
Come, come,said heit is a blow of fate, monsieur; we must not
lament thus. Our attempt has failed because God -

Be silent, abbe! be silent!cried Fouquet; "your excuses are
blasphemies. Order that man up hereand let him relate the details of
this terrible event."

But, brother -

Obey, monsieur!

The abbe made a signand in half a minute the man's step was heard upon
the stairs. At the same time Gourville appeared behind Fouquetlike the
guardian angel of the superintendentpressing one finger on his lips to
enjoin observation even amidst the bursts of his grief. The minister
resumed all the serenity that human strength left at the disposal of a
heart half broken with sorrow. Danicamp appeared. "Make your report
said Gourville.

Monsieur replied the messenger, we received orders to carry off the
prisonersand to cry '_Vive Colbert!_' whilst carrying them off."

To burn them alive, was it not, abbe?interrupted Gourville.

Yes, yes, the order was given to Menneville. Menneville knew what was
to be done, and Menneville is dead.

This news appeared rather to reassure Gourville than to sadden him.

Yes, certainly to burn them alive,said the abbeeagerly.

Granted, monsieur, granted,said the manlooking into the eyes and the
faces of the two interlocutorsto ascertain what there was profitable or
disadvantageous to himself in telling the truth.

Now, proceed,said Gourville.

The prisoners,cried Danicampwere brought to the Greve, and the
people, in a fury, insisted upon their being burnt instead of being hung.


And the people were right,said the abbe. "Go on."

But,resumed the manat the moment the archers were broken, at the
moment the fire was set to one of the houses of the Place destined to
serve as a funeral-pile for the guilty, this fury, this demon, this giant
of whom I told you, and who, we had been informed, was the proprietor of
the house in question, aided by a young man who accompanied him, threw
out of the window those who kept the fire, called to his assistance the
musketeers who were in the crowd, leaped himself from the window of the
first story into the Place, and plied his sword so desperately that the
victory was restored to the archers, the prisoners were retaken, and
Menneville killed. When once recaptured, the condemned were executed in
three minutes.Fouquetin spite of his self-commandcould not prevent
a deep groan escaping him.

And this man, the proprietor of the house, what is his name?said the
abbe.

I cannot tell you, not having even been able to get sight of him; my
post had been appointed in the garden, and I remained at my post: only
the affair was related to me as I repeat it. I was ordered, when once
the affair was at an end, to come at best speed and announce to you the
manner in which it finished. According to this order, I set out, full
gallop, and here I am.

Very well, monsieur, we have nothing else to ask of you,said the abbe
more and more dejectedin proportion as the moment approached for
finding himself alone with his brother.

Have you been paid?asked Gourville.

Partly, monsieur,replied Danicamp.

Here are twenty pistols. Begone, monsieur, and never forget to defend,
as this time has been done, the true interests of the king.

Yes, monsieur,said the manbowing and pocketing the money. After
which he went out. Scarcely had the door closed after him when Fouquet
who had remained motionlessadvanced with a rapid step and stood between
the abbe and Gourville. Both of them at the same time opened their
mouths to speak to him. "No excuses said he, no recriminations
against anybody. If I had not been a false friend I should not have
confided to any one the care of delivering Lyodot and D'Eymeris. I alone
am guilty; to me alone are reproaches and remorse due. Leave meabbe."

And yet, monsieur, you will not prevent me,replied the latterfrom
endeavoring to find out the miserable fellow who has intervened to the
advantage of M. Colbert in this so well-arranged affair; for, if it is
good policy to love our friends dearly, I do not believe that is bad
which consists in obstinately pursuing our enemies.

A truce to policy, abbe; begone, I beg of you, and do not let me hear
any more of you till I send for you; what we most need is circumspection
and silence. You have a terrible example before you, gentlemen: no
reprisals, I forbid them.

There are no orders,grumbled the abbewhich will prevent me from
avenging a family affront upon the guilty person.

And I,cried Fouquetin that imperative tone to which one feels there
is nothing to replyif you entertain one thought, one single thought,
which is not the absolute expression of my will, I will have you cast
into the Bastile two hours after that thought has manifested itself.


Regulate your conduct accordingly, abbe.

The abbe colored and bowed. Fouquet made a sign to Gourville to follow
himand was already directing his steps towards his cabinetwhen the
usher announced with a loud voice: "Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."

Who is he?said Fouquetnegligentlyto Gourville.

An ex-lieutenant of his majesty's musketeers,replied Gourvillein the
same tone. Fouquet did not even take the trouble to reflectand resumed
his walk. "I beg your pardonmonseigneur!" said Gourvillebut I have
remembered; this brave man has quitted the king's service, and probably
comes to receive an installment of some pension or other.

Devil take him!said Fouquetwhy does he choose his opportunity so
ill?

Permit me then, monseigneur, to announce your refusal to him; for he is
one of my acquaintance, and is a man whom, in our present circumstances,
it would be better to have as a friend than an enemy.

Answer him as you please,said Fouquet.

Eh! good Lord!said the abbestill full of malicelike an egotistical
man; "tell him there is no moneyparticularly for musketeers."

But scarcely had the abbe uttered this imprudent speechwhen the partly
open door was thrown backand D'Artagnan appeared.

Eh! Monsieur Fouquet,said heI was well aware there was no money
for musketeers here. Therefore I did not come to obtain any, but to have
it refused. That being done, receive my thanks. I give you good-day,
and will go and seek it at M. Colbert's.And he went outmaking an
easy bow.

Gourville,said Fouquetrun after that man and bring him back.
Gourville obeyedand overtook D'Artagnan on the stairs.

D'Artagnanhearing steps behind himturned round and perceived
Gourville. "_Mordioux!_ my dear monsieur said he, there are sad
lessons which you gentlemen of finance teach us; I come to M. Fouquet to
receive a sum accorded by his majestyand I am received like a mendicant
who comes to ask charityor a thief who comes to steal a piece of plate."

But you pronounced the name of M. Colbert, my dear M. d'Artagnan; you
said you were going to M. Colbert's?

I certainly am going there, were it only to ask satisfaction of the
people who try to burn houses, crying '_Vive Colbert!_'

Gourville pricked up his ears. "Ohoh!" said heyou allude to what
has just happened at the Greve?

Yes, certainly.

And in what did that which has taken place concern you?

What! do you ask me whether it concerns me or does not concern me, if M.
Colbert pleases to make a funeral-pile of my house?

So, ho, _your_ house - was it your house they wanted to burn?

_Pardieu!_ was it!


Is the _cabaret_ of the Image-de-Notre-Dame yours, then?

It has been this week.

Well, then, are you the brave captain, are you the valiant blade who
dispersed those who wished to burn the condemned?

My dear Monsieur Gourville, put yourself in my place. I was an agent of
the public force and a landlord, too. As a captain, it is my duty to
have the orders of the king accomplished. As a proprietor, it is to my
interest my house should not be burnt. I have at the same time attended
to the laws of interest and duty in replacing Messieurs Lyodot and
D'Eymeris in the hands of the archers.

Then it was you who threw the man out of the window?

It was I, myself,replied D'Artagnanmodestly.

And you who killed Menneville?

I had that misfortune,said D'Artagnanbowing like a man who is being
congratulated.

It was you, then, in short, who caused the two condemned persons to be
hung?

Instead of being burnt, yes, monsieur, and I am proud of it. I saved
the poor devils from horrible tortures. Understand, my dear Monsieur de
Gourville, that they wanted to burn them alive. It exceeds imagination!

Go, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, go,said Gourvilleanxious to spare
Fouquet the sight of the man who had just caused him such profound grief.

No,said Fouquetwho had heard all from the door of the ante-chamber;
not so; on the contrary, Monsieur d'Artagnan, come in.

D'Artagnan wiped from the hilt of his sword a last bloody tracewhich
had escaped his noticeand returned. He then found himself face to face
with these three menwhose countenances wore very different
expressions. With the abbe it was angerwith Gourville stuporwith
Fouquet it was dejection.

I beg your pardon, monsieur le ministre,said D'Artagnanbut my time
is short; I have to go to the office of the intendant, to have an
explanation with Monsieur Colbert, and to receive my quarter's pension.

But, monsieur,said Fouquetthere is money here.D'Artagnan looked
at the superintendent with astonishment. "You have been answered
inconsideratelymonsieurI knowbecause I heard it said the
minister; a man of your merit ought to be known by everybody."
D'Artagnan bowed. "Have you an order?" added Fouquet.

Yes, monsieur.

Give it me, I will pay you myself; come with me.He made a sign to
Gourville and the abbewho remained in the chamber where they were. He
led D'Artagnan into his cabinet. As soon as the door was shut- "how
much is due to youmonsieur?"

Why, something like five thousand livres, monseigneur.

For arrears of pay?

For a quarter's pay.


A quarter consisting of five thousand livres!said Fouquetfixing upon
the musketeer a searching look. "Does the kingthengive you twenty
thousand livres a year?"

Yes, monseigneur, twenty thousand livres a year. Do you think it is too
much?

I?cried Fouquetand he smiled bitterly. "If I had any knowledge of
mankindif I were - instead of being a frivolousinconsequentand vain
spirit - of a prudent and reflective spirit; ifin a wordI hadas
certain persons have known howregulated my lifeyou would not receive
twenty thousand livres a yearbut a hundred thousandand you would
belong not to the king but to me."

D'Artagnan colored slightly. There is sometimes in the manner in which a
eulogium is givenin the voicein the affectionate tonea poison so
sweetthat the strongest mind is intoxicated by it. The superintendent
terminated his speech by opening a drawerand taking from it four
_rouleaux_which he placed before D'Artagnan. The Gascon opened one.
Gold!said he.

It will be less burdensome, monsieur.

But, then, monsieur, these make twenty thousand livres.

No doubt they do.

But only five are due to me.

I wish to spare you the trouble of coming four times to my office.

You overwhelm me, monsieur.

I do only what I ought to do, monsieur le chevalier; and I hope you will
not bear me any malice on account of the rude reception my brother gave
you. He is of a sour, capricious disposition.

Monsieur,said D'Artagnanbelieve me, nothing would grieve me more
than an excuse from you.

Therefore I will make no more, and will content myself with asking you a
favor.

Oh, monsieur.

Fouquet drew from his finger a ring worth about three thousand pistoles.
Monsieur,said hethis stone was given me by a friend of my
childhood, by a man to whom you have rendered a great service.

A service - I?said the musketeer; "I have rendered a service to one of
your friends?"

You cannot have forgotten it, monsieur, for it dates this very day.

And that friend's name was -

M. d'Eymeris.

One of the condemned?

Yes, one of the victims. Well! Monsieur d'Artagnan, in return for the
service you have rendered him, I beg you to accept this diamond. Do so
for my sake.


Monsieur! you -


Accept it, I say. To-day is with me a day of mourning; hereafter you
will, perhaps, learn why; to-day I have lost one friend; well, I will try
to get another.


But, Monsieur Fouquet -


Adieu! Monsieur d'Artagnan, adieu!cried Fouquetwith much emotion;
or rather, _au revoir_.And the minister quitted the cabinetleaving
in the hands of the musketeer the ring and the twenty thousand livres.


Oh!said D'Artagnanafter a moment's dark reflection. "How on earth
am I to understand what this means? _Mordioux!_ I can understand this
muchonly: he is a gallant man! I will go and explain matters to M.
Colbert." And he went out.


Chapter LXIV:
Of the Notable Difference D'Artagnan finds between Monsieur the Intendant
and Monsieur the Superintendent.


M. Colbert resided in the Rue Neuve des Petits-Champsin a house which
had belonged to Beautru. D'Artagnan's legs cleared the distance in a
short quarter of an hour. When he arrived at the residence of the new
favoritethe court was full of archers and policewho came to
congratulate himor to excuse themselvesaccording to whether he should
choose to praise or blame. The sentiment of flattery is instinctive with
people of abject condition; they have the sense of itas the wild animal
has that of hearing and smell. These peopleor their leaderunderstood
that there was a pleasure to offer to M. Colbertin rendering him an
account of the fashion in which his name had been pronounced during the
rash enterprise of the morning. D'Artagnan made his appearance just as
the chief of the watch was giving his report. He stood close to the
doorbehind the archers. That officer took Colbert on one sidein
spite of his resistance and the contradiction of his bushy eyebrows. "In
case said he, you really desiredmonsieurthat the people should do
justice on the two traitorsit would have been wise to warn us of it;
forindeedmonsieurin spite of our regret at displeasing youor
thwarting your viewswe had our orders to execute."
Triple fool!replied Colbertfuriously shaking his hairthick and
black as a mane; "what are you telling me? What! that _I_ could have had
an idea of a riot! Are you mad or drunk?"

But, monsieur, they cried '_Vive Colbert!_'replied the trembling watch.

A handful of conspirators -

No, no; a mass of people.

Ah! indeed,said Colbertexpanding. "A mass of people cried '_Vive
Colbert!_' Are you certain of what you saymonsieur?"

We had nothing to do but open our ears, or rather to close them, so
terrible were the cries.

And this was from the people, the real people?

Certainly, monsieur; only these real people beat us.

Oh! very well,continued Colbertthoughtfully. "Then you suppose it
was the people alone who wished to burn the condemned?"


Oh! yes, monsieur.

That is quite another thing. You strongly resisted, then?

We had three of our men crushed to death, monsieur!

But you killed nobody yourselves?

Monsieur, a few of the rioters were left upon the square, and one among
them who was not a common man.

Who was he?

A certain Menneville, upon whom the police have a long time had an eye.

Menneville!cried Colbertwhat, he who killed Rue de la Huchette, a
worthy man who wanted a fat fowl?

Yes, monsieur; the same.

And did this Menneville also cry, '_Vive Colbert_'?

Louder than all the rest; like a madman.

Colbert's brow grew dark and wrinkled. A kind of ambitious glory which
had lighted his face was extinguishedlike the light of glow-worms we
crush beneath the grass. "Then you say resumed the deceived intendant,
that the initiative came from the people? Menneville was my enemy; I
would have had him hungand he knew it well. Menneville belonged to the
Abbe Fouquet - the affair originated with Fouquet; does not everybody
know that the condemned were his friends from childhood?"

That is true,thought D'Artagnanand thus are all my doubts cleared
up. I repeat it, Monsieur Fouquet may be called what they please, but he
is a very gentlemanly man.

And,continued Colbertare you quite sure Menneville is dead?

D'Artagnan thought the time was come for him to make his appearance.
Perfectly, monsieur;replied headvancing suddenly.

Oh! is that you, monsieur?said Colbert.

In person,replied the musketeer with his deliberate tone; "it appears
that you had in Menneville a pretty enemy."

It was not I, monsieur, who had an enemy,replied Colbert; "it was the
king."

Double brute!thought D'Artagnanto think to play the great man and
the hypocrite with me. Well,continued he to ColbertI am very happy
to have rendered so good a service to the king; will you take upon you to
tell his majesty, monsieur l'intendant?

What commission is this you give me, and what do you charge me to tell
his majesty, monsieur? Be precise, if you please,said Colbertin a
sharp voicetuned beforehand to hostility.

I give you no commission,replied D'Artagnanwith that calmness which
never abandons the banterer; "I thought it would be easy for you to
announce to his majesty that it was I whobeing there by chancedid
justice upon Menneville and restored order to things."


Colbert opened his eyes and interrogated the chief of the watch with a
look - "Ah! it is very true said the latter, that this gentleman saved
us."

Why did you not tell me, monsieur, that you came to relate me this?
said Colbert with envy; "everything is explainedand more favorably for
you than for anybody else."

You are in error, monsieur l'intendant, I did not at all come for the
purpose of relating that to you.

It is an exploit, nevertheless.

Oh!said the musketeer carelesslyconstant habit blunts the mind.

To what do I owe the honor of your visit, then?

Simply to this: the king ordered me to come to you.

Ah!said Colbertrecovering himself when he saw D'Artagnan draw a
paper from his pocket; "it is to demand some money of me?"

Precisely, monsieur.

Have the goodness to wait, if you please, monsieur, till I have
dispatched the report of the watch.

D'Artagnan turned upon his heelinsolently enoughand finding himself
face to face with Colbertafter his first turnhe bowed to him as a
harlequin would have done; thenafter a second evolutionhe directed
his steps towards the door in quick time. Colbert was struck with this
pointed rudenessto which he was not accustomed. In generalmen of the
swordwhen they came to his officehad such a want of moneythat
though their feet seemed to take root in the marblethey hardly lost
their patience. Was D'Artagnan going straight to the king? Would he go
and describe his rough receptionor recount his exploit? This was a
matter for grave consideration. At all eventsthe moment was badly
chosen to send D'Artagnan awaywhether he came from the kingor on his
own account. The musketeer had rendered too great a serviceand that
too recentlyfor it to be already forgotten. Therefore Colbert thought
it would be better to shake off his arrogance and call D'Artagnan back.
Ho! Monsieur d'Artagnan,cried Colbertwhat! are you leaving me
thus?

D'Artagnan turned round: "Why not?" said hequietlywe have no more to
say to each other, have we?

You have, at least, money to receive, as you have an order?

Who, I? Oh! not at all, my dear Monsieur Colbert.

But, monsieur, you have an order. And, in the same manner as you give a
sword-thrust, when you are required, I, on my part, pay when an order is
presented to me. Present yours.

It is useless, my dear Monsieur Colbert,said D'Artagnanwho inwardly
enjoyed this confusion in the ideas of Colbert; "my order is paid."

Paid, by whom?

By monsieur le surintendant.

Colbert grew pale.


Explain yourself,said hein a stifled voice - "if you are paid why do
you show me that paper?"

In consequence of the word of order of which you spoke to me so
ingeniously just now, dear M. Colbert; the king told me to take a quarter
of the pension he is pleased to make me.

Of me?said Colbert.

Not exactly. The king said to me: 'Go to M. Fouquet; the superintendent
will, perhaps, have no money, then you will go and draw it of M.
Colbert.'

The countenance of M. Colbert brightened for a moment; but it was with
his unfortunate physiognomy as with a stormy skysometimes radiant
sometimes dark as nightaccording as the lightening gleams or the cloud
passes. "Eh! and was there any money in the superintendent's coffers?"
asked he.

Why, yes, he could not be badly off for money,replied D'Artagnan - "it
may be believedsince M. Fouquetinstead of paying me a quarter or five
thousand livres - "

A quarter or five thousand livres!cried Colbertstruckas Fouquet
had beenwith the generosity of the sum for a soldier's pensionwhy,
that would be a pension of twenty thousand livres?

Exactly, M. Colbert. _Peste!_ you reckon like old Pythagoras; yes,
twenty thousand livres.

Ten times the appointment of an intendant of the finances. I beg to
offer you my compliments,said Colbertwith a vicious smile.

Oh!said D'Artagnanthe king apologized for giving me so little; but
he promised to make it more hereafter, when he should be rich; but I must
be gone, having much to do -

So, then, notwithstanding the expectation of the king, the
superintendent paid you, did he?

In the same manner, as, in opposition to the king's expectation, you
refused to pay me.

I did not refuse, monsieur, I only begged you to wait. And you say that

M. Fouquet paid you your five thousand livres?
Yes, as _you_ might have done; but he did even better than that, M.
Colbert.

And what did he do?

He politely counted me down the sum-total, saying, that for the king,
his coffers were always full.

The sum-total! M. Fouquet has given you twenty thousand livres instead
of five thousand?

Yes, monsieur.

And what for?

In order to spare me three visits to the money-chest of the
superintendent, so that I have the twenty thousand livres in my pocket in
good new coin. You see, then, that I am able to go away without standing


in need of you, having come here only for form's sake.And D'Artagnan
slapped his hand upon his pocketwith a laugh which disclosed to Colbert
thirty-two magnificent teethas white as teeth of twenty-five years old
and which seemed to say in their language: "Serve up to us thirty-two
little Colbertsand we will chew them willingly." The serpent is as
brave as the lionthe hawk as courageous as the eaglethat cannot be
contested. It can only be said of animals that are decidedly cowardly
and are so calledthat they will be brave only when they have to defend
themselves. Colbert was not frightened at the thirty-two teeth of
D'Artagnan. He recoveredand suddenly- "Monsieur said he, monsieur
le surintendant has done what he had no right to do."

What do you mean by that?replied D'Artagnan.

I mean that your note - will you let me see your note, if you please?

Very willingly; here it is.

Colbert seized the paper with an eagerness which the musketeer did not
remark without uneasinessand particularly without a certain degree of
regret at having trusted him with it. "Wellmonsieurthe royal order
says thus: - 'At sightI command that there be paid to M. d'Artagnan the
sum of five thousand livresforming a quarter of the pension I have made
him.'"

So, in fact, it is written,said D'Artagnanaffecting calmness.

Very well; the king only owed you five thousand livres; why has more
been given to you?

Because there was more; and M. Fouquet was willing to give me more; that
does not concern anybody.

It is natural,said Colbert with a proud easethat you should be
ignorant of the usages of state-finance; but, monsieur, when you have a
thousand livres to pay, what do you do?

I never have a thousand livres to pay,replied D'Artagnan.

Once more,said Colbertirritated - "once moreif you had any sum to
paywould you not pay what you ought?"

That only proves one thing,said D'Artagnan; "and that isthat you
have your own particular customs in financeand M. Fouquet has his own."

Mine, monsieur, are the correct ones.

I do not say that they are not.

And you have accepted what was not due to you.

D'Artagnan's eyes flashed. "What is not due to me yetyou meant to say

M. Colbert; for if I have received what was not due to me at allI
should have committed a theft."
Colbert made no reply to this subtlety. "You then owe fifteen thousand
livres to the public chest said he, carried away by his jealous ardor.

Then you must give me credit for them replied D'Artagnan, with his
imperceptible irony.

Not at allmonsieur."

Well! what will you do, then? You will not take my _rouleaux_ from me,


will you?

You must return them to my chest.

I! Oh! Monsieur Colbert, don't reckon upon that.

The king wants his money, monsieur.

And I, monsieur, I want the king's money.

That may be so; but you must return this.

Not a _sou_. I have always understood that in matters of
_comptabilite_, as you call it, a good cashier never gives back or takes
back.


Then, monsieur, we shall see what the king will say about it. I will
show him this note, which proves that M. Fouquet not only pays what he
does not owe, but that he does not even take care of vouchers for the
sums that he has paid.


Ah! now I understand why you have taken that paper, M. Colbert!


Colbert did not perceive all that there was of a threatening character in
his name pronounced in a certain manner. "You shall see hereafter what
use I will make of it said he, holding up the paper in his fingers.


Oh!" said D'Artagnansnatching the paper from him with a rapid
movement; "I understand perfectly wellM. Colbert; I have no occasion to
wait for that." And he crumpled up the paper he had so cleverly seized.


Monsieur, monsieur!cried Colbertthis is violence!


Nonsense! You must not be particular about a soldier's manners!
replied D'Artagnan. "I kiss your handsmy dear M. Colbert." And he
went outlaughing in the face of the future minister.


That man, now,muttered hewas about to grow quite friendly; it is a
great pity I was obliged to cut his company so soon.


Chapter LXV:
Philosophy of the Heart and Mind.


For a man who had seen so many much more dangerous onesthe position of
D'Artagnan with respect to M. Colbert was only comic. D'Artagnan
thereforedid not deny himself the satisfaction of laughing at the
expense of monsieur l'intendantfrom the Rue des Petits-Champs to the
Rue des Lombards. It was a great while since D'Artagnan had laughed so
long together. He was still laughing when Planchet appearedlaughing
likewiseat the door of his house; for Planchetsince the return of his
patronsince the entrance of the English guineaspassed the greater
part of his life in doing what D'Artagnan had only done from the Rue
Neuve des Petits-Champs to the Rue des Lombards.


You are home, then, my dear master?said Planchet.


No, my friend,replied the musketeer; "I am offand that quickly. I
will sup with yougo to bedsleep five hoursand at break of day leap
into my saddle. Has my horse had an extra feed?"


Eh! my dear master,replied Planchetyou know very well that your
horse is the jewel of the family; that my lads are caressing it all day,
and cramming it with sugar, nuts, and biscuits. You ask me if he has had



an extra feed of oats; you should ask if he has not had enough to burst
him.

Very well, Planchet, that is all right. Now, then, I pass to what
concerns me - my supper?

Ready. A smoking roast joint, white wine, crayfish, and fresh-gathered
cherries. All ready, my master.

You are a capital fellow, Planchet; come on, then, let us sup, and I
will go to bed.

During supper D'Artagnan observed that Planchet kept rubbing his
foreheadas if to facilitate the issue of some idea closely pent within
his brain. He looked with an air of kindness at this worthy companion of
former adventures and misadventuresandclinking glass against glass
Come, Planchet,said helet us see what it is that gives you so much
trouble to bring forth. _Mordioux!_ Speak freely, and quickly.

Well, this is it,replied Planchet: "you appear to me to be going on
some expedition or another."

I don't say that I am not.

Then you have some new idea?

That is possible, too, Planchet.

Then there will be fresh capital to be ventured? I will lay down fifty
thousand livres upon the idea you are about to carry out.And so
sayingPlanchet rubbed his hands one against the other with a rapidity
evincing great delight.

Planchet,said D'Artagnanthere is but one misfortune in it.

And what is that?

That the idea is not mine. I can risk nothing upon it.

These words drew a deep sigh from the heart of Planchet. That Avarice is
an ardent counselor; she carries away her manas Satan did Jesusto the
mountainand when once she has shown to an unfortunate all the kingdoms
of the earthshe is able to repose herselfknowing full well that she
has left her companionEnvyto gnaw at his heart. Planchet had tasted
of riches easily acquiredand was never afterwards likely to stop in his
desires; butas he had a good heart in spite of his covetousnessas he
adored D'Artagnanhe could not refrain from making him a thousand
recommendationseach more affectionate than the others. He would not
have been sorryneverthelessto have caught a little hint of the secret
his master concealed so well; tricksturnscounselsand traps were all
uselessD'Artagnan let nothing confidential escape him. The evening
passed thus. After supper the portmanteau occupied D'Artagnanhe took a
turn to the stablepatted his horseand examined his shoes and legs;
thenhaving counted over his moneyhe went to bedsleeping as if only
twentybecause he had neither inquietude nor remorse; he closed his eyes
five minutes after he had blown out his lamp. Many events might
howeverhave kept him awake. Thought boiled in his brainconjectures
aboundedand D'Artagnan was a great drawer of horoscopes; butwith that
imperturbable phlegm which does more than genius for the fortune and
happiness of men of actionhe put off reflection till the next dayfor
fearhe saidnot to be fresh when he wanted to be so.

The day came. The Rue des Lombards had its share of the caresses of
Aurora with the rosy fingersand D'Artagnan arose like Aurora. He did


not awaken anybodyhe placed his portmanteau under his armdescended
the stairs without making one of them creakand without disturbing one
of the sonorous snorings in every story from the garret to the cellar
thenhaving saddled his horseshut the stable and house doorshe set
offat a foot-paceon his expedition to Bretagne. He had done quite
right not to trouble himself with all the political and diplomatic
affairs which solicited his attention; forin the morningin freshness
and mild twilighthis ideas developed themselves in purity and
abundance. In the first placehe passed before the house of Fouquet
and threw in a large gaping box the fortunate order whichthe evening
beforehe had had so much trouble to recover from the hooked fingers of
the intendant. Placed in an envelopeand addressed to Fouquetit had
not even been divined by Planchetwho in divination was equal to Calchas
or the Pythian Apollo. D'Artagnan thus sent back the order to Fouquet
without compromising himselfand without having thenceforward any
reproaches to make himself. When he had effected this proper
restitutionNow,he said to himselflet us inhale much maternal air,
much freedom from cares, much health, let us allow the horse Zephyr,
whose flanks puff as if he had to respire an atmosphere, to breathe, and
let us be very ingenious in our little calculations. It is time,said
D'Artagnanto form a plan of the campaign, and, according to the method
of M. Turenne, who has a large head full of all sorts of good counsels,
before the plan of the campaign it is advisable to draw a striking
portrait of the generals to whom we are opposed. In the first place, M.
Fouquet presents himself. What is M. Fouquet? M. Fouquet,replied
D'Artagnan to himselfis a handsome man, very much beloved by the
women, a generous man very much beloved by the poets; a man of wit, much
execrated by pretenders. Well, now I am neither woman, poet, nor
pretender: I neither love not hate monsieur le surintendant. I find
myself, therefore, in the same position in which M. Turenne found himself
when opposed to the Prince de Conde at Jargeau, Gien and the Faubourg
Saint-Antoine. He did not execrate monsieur le prince, it is true, but
he obeyed the king. Monsieur le prince is an agreeable man, but the king
is king. Turenne heaved a deep sigh, called Conde 'My cousin,' and swept
away his army. Now what does the king wish? That does not concern me.
Now, what does M. Colbert wish? Oh, that's another thing. M. Colbert
wishes all that M. Fouquet does not wish. Then what does M. Fouquet
wish? Oh, that is serious. M. Fouquet wishes precisely for all the king
wishes.

This monologue endedD'Artagnan began to laughwhilst making his whip
whistle in the air. He was already on the high roadfrightening the
birds in the hedgeslistening to the livres chinking and dancing in his
leather pocketat every step; andlet us confess itevery time that
D'Artagnan found himself in such conditionstenderness was not his
dominant vice. "Come said he, I cannot think the expedition a very
dangerous one; and it will fall out with my voyage as with that piece M.
Monk took me to see in Londonwhich was calledI think'Much Ado about
Nothing.'"

Chapter LXVI:
The Journey.

It was perhaps the fiftieth time since the day on which we open this
historythat this manwith a heart of bronze and muscles of steelhad
left house and friendseverythingin shortto go in search of fortune
and death. The one - that is to saydeath - had constantly retreated
before himas if afraid of him; the other - that is to sayfortune -
for only a month past had really made an alliance with him. Although
he was not a great philosopherafter the fashion of either Epicurus or
Socrateshe was a powerful spirithaving knowledge of lifeand endowed
with thought. No one is as braveas adventurousor as skillful as
D'Artagnanwithout at the same time being inclined to be a _dreamer_.


He had picked uphere and theresome scraps of M. de la Rochefoucault
worthy of being translated into Latin by MM. de Port Royal; and he had
made a collection_en passant_in the society of Athos and Aramisof
many morsels of Seneca and Cicerotranslated by themand applied to the
uses of common life. That contempt of riches which our Gascon had
observed as an article of faith during the thirty-five first years of his
lifehad for a long time been considered by him as the first article of
the code of bravery. "Article first said he, A man is brave because
he has nothing. A man has nothing because he despises riches."
Thereforewith these principleswhichas we have saidhad regulated
the thirty-five first years of his lifeD'Artagnan was no sooner
possessed of richesthan he felt it necessary to ask himself ifin
spite of his richeshe were still brave. To thisfor any other but
D'Artagnanthe events of the Place de Greve might have served as a
reply. Many consciences would have been satisfied with thembut
D'Artagnan was brave enough to ask himself sincerely and conscientiously
if he were brave. Therefore to this:


But it appears to me that I drew promptly enough, and cut and thrust
pretty freely on the Place de Greve, to be satisfied of my bravery,
D'Artagnan had himself replied. "Gentlycaptainthat is not an
answer. I was brave that daybecause they were burning my houseand
there are a hundredand even a thousandto speak against onethat if
those gentlemen of the riots had not formed that unlucky ideatheir plan
of attack would have succeededorat leastit would not have been I
who would have opposed myself to it. Nowwhat will be brought against
me? I have no house to be burnt in Bretagne; I have no treasure there
that can be taken from me. - No; but I have my skin; that precious skin
of M. d'Artagnanwhich to him is worth more than all the houses and all
the treasures of the world. That skin to which I cling above everything
because it iseverything consideredthe binding of a body which
encloses a heart very warm and ready to fightandconsequentlyto
live. ThenI do desire to live: andin realityI live much better
more completelysince I have become rich. Who the devil ever said that
money spoiled life? Upon my soulit is no such thingon the contrary
it seems as if I absorbed a double quantity of air and sun. _Mordioux!_
what will it be thenif I double that fortune; and ifinstead of the
switch I now hold in my handI should ever carry the baton of a
marechal? Then I really don't know if there will befrom that moment
enough of air and sun for me. In factthis is not a dreamwho the
devil would oppose itif the king made me a marechalas his father
King Louis XIII.made a duke and constable of Albert de Luynes? Am I
not as braveand much more intelligentthan that imbecile De Vitry?
Ah! that's exactly what will prevent my advancement: I have too much
wit. Luckilyif there is any justice in this worldfortune owes me
many compensations. She owes me certainly a recompense for all I did for
Anne of Austriaand an indemnification for all she has not done for me.
Thenat the presentI am very well with a kingand with a king who has
the appearance of determining to reign. May God keep him in that
illustrious road! Forif he is resolved to reignhe will want me; and
if he wants mehe will give me what he has promised me - warmth and
light; so that I marchcomparativelynowas I marched formerly- from
nothing to everything. Only the nothing of to-day is the all of former
days; there has only this little change taken place in my life. And now
let us see! let us take the part of the heartas I just now was speaking
of it. But in truthI only spoke of it from memory." And the Gascon
applied his hand to his breastas if he were actually seeking the place
where his heart was.

Ah! wretch!murmured hesmiling with bitterness. "Ah! poor mortal
species! You hopedfor an instantthat you had not a heartand now
you find you have one - bad courtier as thou art- and even one of the
most seditious. You have a heart which speaks to you in favor of M.
Fouquet. And what is M. Fouquetwhen the king is in question? - A


conspiratora real conspiratorwho did not even give himself the
trouble to conceal his being a conspirator; thereforewhat a weapon
would you not have against himif his good graceand his intelligence
had not made a scabbard for that weapon. An armed revolt! - forin
factM. Fouquet has been guilty of an armed revolt. Thuswhile the
king vaguely suspects M. Fouquet of rebellionI know it - I could prove
that M. Fouquet had caused the shedding of the blood of his majesty's
subjects. Nowthenlet us see. Knowing all thatand holding my
tonguewhat further would this heart wish in return for a kind action of

M. Fouquet'sfor an advance of fifteen thousand livresfor a diamond
worth a thousand pistolesfor a smile in which there was as much
bitterness as kindness? - I save his life."
Now, then, I hope,continued the musketeerthat this imbecile of a
heart is going to preserve silence, and so be fairly quits with M.
Fouquet. Now, then, the king becomes my sun, and as my heart is quits
with M. Fouquet, let him beware who places himself between me and my
sun! Forward, for his majesty Louis XIV.! - Forward !

These reflections were the only impediments which were able to retard the
progress of D'Artagnan. These reflections once madehe increased the
speed of his horse. Buthowever perfect his horse Zephyr might beit
could not hold out at such a pace forever. The day after his departure
from Parishis mount was left at Chartresat the house of an old friend
D'Artagnan had met with in an _hotelier_ of that city. From that moment
the musketeer travelled on post-horses. Thanks to this mode of
locomotionhe traversed the space separating Chartres from
Chateaubriand. In the last of these two citiesfar enough from the
coast to prevent any one guessing that D'Artagnan wished to reach the sea

-far enough from Paris to prevent all suspicion of his being a messenger
from Louis XIV.whom D'Artagnan had called his sunwithout suspecting
that he who was only at present a rather poor star in the heaven of
royaltywouldone daymake that star his emblem; the messenger of
Louis XIV.we sayquitted his post and purchased a _bidet_ of the
meanest appearance- one of those animals which an officer of the
cavalry would never choosefor fear of being disgraced. Excepting the
colorthis new acquisition recalled to the mind of D'Artagnan the famous
orange-colored horsewith whichor rather upon whichhe had made his
first appearance in the world. Truth to sayfrom the moment he crossed
this new steedit was no longer D'Artagnan who was travelling- it was
a good man clothed in an iron-gray _justaucorps_brown _haut-dechausses_
holding the medium between a priest and a layman; that which
brought him nearest to the churchman wasthat D'Artagnan had placed on
his head a _calotte_ of threadbare velvetand over the _calotte_a
large black hat; no more sworda stick hung by a cord to his wristbut
to whichhe promised himselfas an unexpected auxiliaryto joinupon
occasiona good daggerten inches longconcealed under his cloak. The
_bidet_ purchased at Chateaubriand completed the metamorphosis; it was
calledor rather D'Artagnan called ifFuret (ferret).
If I have changed Zephyr into Furet,said D'ArtagnanI must make some
diminutive or other of my own name. So, instead of D'Artagnan, I will be
Agnan, short; that is a concession which I naturally owe to my gray coat,
my round hat, and my rusty _calotte_.

Monsieur d'Artagnan traveledthenpretty easily upon Furetwho ambled
like a true butter-woman's padand whowith his amblemanaged
cheerfully about twelve leagues a dayupon four spindle-shanksof which
the practiced eye of D'Artagnan had appreciated the strength and safety
beneath the thick mass of hair which covered them. Jogging alongthe
traveler took notesstudied the countrywhich he traversed reserved and
silentever seeking the most plausible pretext for reaching Belle-Ileen-
Merand for seeing everything without arousing suspicion. In this
mannerhe was enabled to convince himself of the importance the event


assumed in proportion as he drew near to it. In this remote countryin
this ancient duchy of Bretagnewhich was not France at that periodand
is not so even nowthe people knew nothing of the king of France. They
not only did not know himbut were unwilling to know him. One face - a
single one - floated visibly for them upon the political current. Their
ancient dukes no longer ruled them; government was a void - nothing
more. In place of the sovereign dukethe seigneurs of parishes reigned
without control; andabove these seigneursGodwho has never been
forgotten in Bretagne. Among these suzerains of chateaux and belfries
the most powerfulthe richestthe most popularwas M. Fouquet
seigneur of Belle-Isle. Even in the countryeven within sight of that
mysterious islelegends and traditions consecrate its wonders. Every
one might not penetrate it: the isleof an extent of six leagues in
lengthand six in breadthwas a seignorial propertywhich the people
had for a long time respectedcovered as it was with the name of Retz
so redoubtable in the country. Shortly after the erection of this
seignory into a marquistateBelle-Isle passed to M. Fouquet. The
celebrity of the isle did not date from yesterday; its nameor rather
its qualificationis traced back to the remotest antiquity. The
ancients called it Kalonesefrom two Greek wordssignifying beautiful
isle. Thusat a distance of eighteen hundred yearsit had bornein
another idiomthe same name it still bears. There wasthensomething
in itself in this property of M. Fouquet'sbesides its position of six
leagues off the coast of France; a position which makes it a sovereign in
its maritime solitudelike a majestic ship which disdains roadsand
proudly casts anchor in mid-ocean.


D'Artagnan learnt all this without appearing the least in the world
astonished. He also learnt the best way to get intelligence was to go to
La Roche-Bernarda tolerably important city at the mouth of the
Vilaine. Perhaps there he could embark; if notcrossing the salt
marsheshe would repair to Guerande or Le Croisicto wait for an
opportunity to cross over to Belle-Isle. He had discoveredbesides
since his departure from Chateaubriandthat nothing would be impossible
for Furet under the impulsion of M. Agnanand nothing to M. Agnan
through the initiative of Furet. He preparedthento sup off a teal
and a _torteau_in a hotel of La Roche-Bernardand ordered to be
brought from the cellarto wash down these two Breton dishessome
ciderwhichthe moment it touched his lipshe perceived to be more
Breton still.


Chapter LXVII:
How D'Artagnan became Acquainted with a Poetwho had turned Printer for
the Sake of Printing his own Verses.


Before taking his place at tableD'Artagnan acquiredas was his custom
all the information he could; but it is an axiom of curiositythat every
man who wishes to question well and fruitfully ought in the first place
to lay himself open to questions. D'Artagnan soughtthenwith his
usual skilla promising questioner in the hostelry of La Roche-Bernard.
At the momentthere were in the houseon the first storytwo travelers
either preparing for supperor at supper itself. D'Artagnan had seen
their nags in the stableand their equipages in the _salle_. One
traveled with a lackeyundoubtedly a person of consideration; - two
Perche maressleeksound beastswere suitable means of locomotion.
The othera little fellowa traveler of meagre appearancewearing a
dusty surtoutdirty linenand boots more worn by the pavement than the
stirruphad come from Nantes with a cart drawn by a horse so like Furet
in colorthat D'Artagnan might have gone a hundred miles without finding
a better match. This cart contained divers large packets wrapped in
pieces of old stuff.


That traveler yonder,said D'Artagnan to himselfis the man for my



money. He will do, he suits me; I ought to do for him and suit him; M.
Agnan, with the gray doublet and the rusty _calotte_, is not unworthy of
supping with the gentleman of the old boots and still older horse.

This saidD'Artagnan called the hostand desired him to send his teal
_tourteau_and cider up to the chamber of the gentleman of modest
exterior. He himself climbeda plate in his handthe wooden staircase
which led to the chamberand began to knock at the door.

Come in!said the unknown. D'Artagnan enteredwith a simper on his
lipshis plate under his armhis hat in one handhis candle in the
other.

Excuse me, monsieur,said heI am as you are, a traveler; I know no
one in the hotel, and I have the bad habit of losing my spirits when I
eat alone; so that my repast appears a bad one to me, and does not
nourish me. Your face, which I saw just now, when you came down to have
some oysters opened, - your face pleased me much. Besides, I have
observed you have a horse just like mine, and that the host, no doubt on
account of that resemblance, has placed them side by side in the stable,
where they appear to agree amazingly well together. I therefore,
monsieur, do not see any reason why the masters should be separated when
the horses are united. Accordingly, I am come to request the pleasure of
being admitted to your table. My name is Agnan, at your service,
monsieur, the unworthy steward of a rich seigneur, who wishes to purchase
some salt-mines in this country, and sends me to examine his future
acquisitions. In truth, monsieur, I should be well pleased if my
countenance were as agreeable to you as yours is to me; for, upon my
honor, I am quite at your service.

The strangerwhom D'Artagnan saw for the first time- for before he had
only caught a glimpse of him- the stranger had black and brilliant
eyesa yellow complexiona brow a little wrinkled by the weight of
fifty years_bonhomie_ in his features collectivelybut some cunning in
his look.

One would say,thought D'Artagnanthat this merry fellow has never
exercised more than the upper part of his head, his eyes, and his brain.
He must be a man of science: his mouth, nose, and chin signify absolutely
nothing.

Monsieur,replied the latterwith whose mind and person we have been
making so freeyou do me much honor; not that I am ever _ennuye_, for I
have,added hesmilinga company which amuses me always: but, never
mind that, I am happy to receive you.But when saying thisthe man
with the worn boots cast an uneasy look at his tablefrom which the
oysters had disappearedand upon which there was nothing left but a
morsel of salt bacon.

Monsieur,D'Artagnan hastened to saythe host is bringing me up a
pretty piece of roasted poultry and a superb _tourteau_.D'Artagnan had
read in the look of his companionhowever rapidly it disappearedthe
fear of an attack by a parasite: he divined justly. At this openingthe
features of the man of modest exterior relaxed; andas if he had watched
the moment for his entranceas D'Artagnan spokethe host appeared
bearing the announced dishes. The _tourteau_ and the teal were added to
the morsel of broiled bacon; D'Artagnan and his guest bowedsat down
opposite to each otherandlike two brothersshared the bacon and the
other dishes.

Monsieur,said D'Artagnanyou must confess that association is a
wonderful thing.

How so?replied the strangerwith his mouth full.


Well, I will tell you,replied D'Artagnan.

The stranger gave a short truce to the movement of his jawsin order to
hear the better.

In the first place,continued D'Artagnaninstead of one candle, which
each of us had, we have two.

That is true!said the strangerstruck with the extreme lucidity of
the observation.

Then I see that you eat my _tourteau_ in preference, whilst I, in
preference, eat your bacon.

That is true again.

And then, in addition to being better lighted and eating what we prefer,
I place the pleasure of your company.

Truly, monsieur, you are very jovial,said the unknowncheerfully.

Yes, monsieur; jovial, as all people are who carry nothing on their
minds, or, for that matter, in their heads. Oh! I can see it is quite
another sort of thing with you,continued D'Artagnan; "I can read in
your eyes all sorts of genius."

Oh, monsieur!

Come, confess one thing.

What is that?

That you are a learned man.

_Ma foi!_ monsieur.

_Hein?_

Almost.

Come, then!

I am an author.

There!cried D'Artagnanclapping his handsI knew I could not be
deceived! It is a miracle!

Monsieur -

What, shall I have the honor of passing the evening in the society of an
author, of a celebrated author, perhaps?

Oh!said the unknownblushingcelebrated, monsieur, celebrated is
not the word.

Modest!cried D'Artagnantransportedhe is modest!Thenturning
towards the strangerwith a character of blunt _bonhomie_: "But tell me
at least the name of your worksmonsieur; for you will please to observe
you have not told me your nameand I have been forced to divine your
genius."

My name is Jupenet, monsieur,said the author.


A fine name! a grand name! upon my honor; and I do not know why - pardon
me the mistake, if it be one - but surely I have heard that name
somewhere.

I have made verses,said the poetmodestly.

Ah! that is it, then; I have heard them read.

A tragedy.

I must have seen it played.

The poet blushed againand said: "I do not think that can be the case
for my verses have never been printed."

Well, then, it must have been the tragedy which informed me of your
name.

You are again mistaken, for MM. the comedians of the Hotel de Bourgogne,
would have nothing to do with it,said the poetwith a smilethe
receipt for which certain sorts of pride alone knew the secret.
D'Artagnan bit his lips. "Thusthenyou seemonsieur continued the
poet, you are in error on my accountand that not being at all known to
youyou have never heard tell of me."

Ah! that confounds me. That name, Jupenet, appears to me, nevertheless,
a fine name, and quite as worthy of being known as those of MM.
Corneille, or Rotrou, or Garnier. I hope, monsieur, you will have the
goodness to repeat to me a part of your tragedy presently, by way of
dessert, for instance. That will be sugared roast meat, - _mordioux!_
Ah! pardon me, monsieur, that was a little oath which escaped me, because
it is a habit with my lord and master. I sometimes allow myself to usurp
that little oath, as it seems in pretty good taste. I take this liberty
only in his absence, please to observe, for you may understand that in
his presence - but, in truth, monsieur, this cider is abominable; do you
not think so? And besides, the pot is of such an irregular shape it will
not stand on the table.

Suppose we were to make it level?

To be sure; but with what?

With this knife.

And the teal, with what shall we cut that up? Do you not, by chance,
mean to touch the teal?

Certainly.

Well, then -

Wait.

And the poet rummaged in his pocketand drew out a piece of brass
oblongquadrangularabout a line in thicknessand an inch and a half
in length. But scarcely had this little piece of brass seen the light
than the poet appeared to have committed an imprudenceand made a
movement to put it back again in his pocket. D'Artagnan perceived this
for he was a man that nothing escaped. He stretched forth his hand
towards the piece of brass: "Humph! that which you hold in your hand is
pretty; will you allow me to look at it?"

Certainly,said the poetwho appeared to have yielded too soon to a
first impulse. "Certainlyyou may look at it: but it will be in vain


for you to look at it added he, with a satisfied air; if I were not
to tell you its useyou would never guess it."

D'Artagnan had seized as an avowal the hesitation of the poetand his
eagerness to conceal the piece of brass which a first movement had
induced him to take out of his pocket. His attentionthereforeonce
awakened on this pointhe surrounded himself with a circumspection which
gave him a superiority on all occasions. Besideswhatever M. Jupenet
might say about itby a simple inspection of the objecthe perfectly
well knew what it was. It was a character in printing.

Can you guess, now, what this is?continued the poet.

No,said D'Artagnanno, _ma foi!_

Well, monsieur,said M. Jupenetthis little piece of metal is a
printing letter.
Bah!


A capital.
Stop, stop, stop,said D'Artagnanopening his eyes very innocently.


Yes, monsieur, a capital; the first letter of my name.
And this is a letter, is it?


Yes, monsieur.
Well, I will confess one thing to you.


And what is that?
No, I will not, I was going to say something stupid.


No, no,said Master Jupenetwith a patronizing air.


Well, then, I cannot comprehend, if that is a letter, how you can make a
word.

A word?
Yes, a printed word.


Oh, that's very easy.
Let me see.


Does it interest you?
Enormously.


Well, I will explain the thing to you. Attend.
I am attending.


This is it.
Good.


Look attentively.
I am looking.D'Artagnanin factappeared absorbed in observations.



Jupenet drew from his pocket seven or eight other pieces of brass smaller
than the first.

Ah, ah,said D'Artagnan.

What!

You have, then, a whole printing-office in your pocket. _Peste!_ that
is curious, indeed.
Is it not?


Good God, what a number of things we learn by traveling.
To your health!said Jupenetquite enchanted.

To yours, _mordioux_, to yours. But - an instant - not in this cider.
It is an abominable drink, unworthy of a man who quenches his thirst at
the Hippocrene fountain - is not it so you call your fountain, you poets?

Yes, monsieur, our fountain is so called. That comes from two Greek
words - _hippos_, which means a horse, and -

Monsieur,interrupted D'Artagnanyou shall drink of a liquor which
comes from one single French word, and is none the worse for that - from
the word _grape_; this cider gives me the heartburn. Allow me to inquire
of your host if there is not a good bottle of Beaugency, or of the Ceran
growth, at the back of the large bins in his cellar.

The hostbeing sent forimmediately attended.

Monsieur,interrupted the poettake care, we shall not have time to
drink the wine, unless we make great haste, for I must take advantage of
the tide to secure the boat.

What boat?asked D'Artagnan.

Why the boat which sets out for Belle-Isle.
Ah - for Belle-Isle,said the musketeerthat is good.


Bah! you will have plenty of time, monsieur,replied the _hotelier_
uncorking the bottlethe boat will not leave this hour.

But who will give me notice?said the poet.
Your fellow-traveler,replied the host.


But I scarcely know him.
When you hear him departing, it will be time for you to go.


Is he going to Belle-Isle, likewise, then?
Yes.


The traveler who has a lackey?asked D'Artagnan. "He is some
gentlemanno doubt?"

I know nothing of him.

What! - know nothing of him?
No, all I know is, that he is drinking the same wine as you.



_Peste!_ - that is a great honor for us,said D'Artagnanfilling his
companion's glasswhilst the host went out.

So,resumed the poetreturning to his dominant ideasyou never saw
any printing done?

Never.

Well, then, take the letters thus, which compose the word, you see: A B;
_ma foi!_ here is an R, two E E, then a G.And he assembled the letters
with a swiftness and skill which did not escape the eye of D'Artagnan.

_Abrege_,said heas he ended.

Good!said D'Artagnan; "here are plenty of letters got together; but
how are they kept so?" And he poured out a second glass for the poet.

M. Jupenet smiled like a man who has an answer for everything; then he
pulled out - still from his pocket - a little metal rulercomposed of
two partslike a carpenter's ruleagainst which he put togetherand in
a linethe charactersholding them under his left thumb.
And what do you call that little metal ruler?said D'Artagnanfor, I
suppose, all these things have names.

This is called a composing-stick,said Jupenet; "it is by the aid of
this stick that the lines are formed."

Come, then, I was not mistaken in what I said; you have a press in your
pocket,said D'Artagnanlaughing with an air of simplicity so stupid
that the poet was completely his dupe.

No,replied he; "but I am too lazy to writeand when I have a verse in
my headI print it immediately. That is a labor spared."

_Mordioux!_thought D'Artagnan to himselfthis must be cleared up.
And under a pretextwhich did not embarrass the musketeerwho was
fertile in expedientshe left the tablewent downstairsran to the
shed under which stood the poet's little cartand poked the point of his
poniard into the stuff which enveloped one of the packageswhich he
found full of typeslike those which the poet had in his pocket.

Humph!said D'ArtagnanI do not yet know whether M. Fouquet wishes to
fortify Belle-Isle; but, at all events, here are some spiritual munitions
for the castle.Thenenchanted with his rich discoveryhe ran
upstairs againand resumed his place at the table.

D'Artagnan had learnt what he wished to know. Hehoweverremained
none the lessface to face with his partnerto the moment when they
heard from the next room symptoms of a person's being about to go out.
The printer was immediately on foot; he had given orders for his horse to
be got ready. His carriage was waiting at the door. The second traveler
got into his saddlein the courtyardwith his lackey. D'Artagnan
followed Jupenet to the door; he embarked his cart and horse on board the
boat. As to the opulent travelerhe did the same with his two horses
and servant. But all the wit D'Artagnan employed in endeavoring to find
out his name was lost - he could learn nothing. Only he took such notice
of his countenancethat it was impressed upon his mind forever.
D'Artagnan had a great inclination to embark with the two travelersbut
an interest more powerful than curiosity - that of success - repelled him
from the shoreand brought him back again to the hostelry. He entered
with a sighand went to bed directly in order to be ready early in the
morning with fresh ideas and the sage counsel of sufficing sleep.


Chapter LXVIII:
D'Artagnan continues his Investigations.


At daybreak D'Artagnan saddled Furetwho had fared sumptuously all
nightdevouring the remainder of the oats and hay left by his
companions. The musketeer sifted all he possibly could out of the host
who he found cunningmistrustfuland devotedbody and soulto M.
Fouquet. In order not to awaken the suspicions of this manhe carried
on his fable of being a probable purchaser of some salt-mines. To have
embarked for Belle-Isle at Roche-Bernardwould have been to expose
himself still further to comments which hadperhapsbeen already made
and would be carried to the castle. Moreoverit was singular that this
traveler and his lackey should have remained a mystery to D'Artagnanin
spite of all the questions addressed by him to the hostwho appeared to
know him perfectly well. The musketeer then made some inquiries
concerning the salt-minesand took the road to the marshesleaving the
sea on his rightand penetrating into that vast and desolate plain which
resembles a sea of mudof whichhere and therea few crests of salt
silver the undulations. Furet walked admirablywith his little nervous
legsalong the foot-wide causeways which separate the salt-mines.
D'Artagnanaware of the consequences of a fallwhich would result in a
cold bathallowed him to go as he likedcontenting himself with looking
aton the horizonthree rocksthat rose up like lance-blades from the
bosom of the plaindestitute of verdure. Piriacthe bourgs of Batz and
Le Croisicexactly resembling each otherattracted and suspended his
attention. If the traveler turned roundthe better to make his
observationshe saw on the other side an horizon of three other
steeplesGuerandeLe Pouliguenand Saint-Joachimwhichin their
circumferencerepresented a set of skittlesof which he and Furet were
but the wandering ball. Piriac was the first little port on his right.
He went thitherwith the names of the principal salters on his lips. At
the moment he reached the little port of Piriacfive large bargesladen
with stonewere leaving it. It appeared strange to D'Artagnanthat
stones should be leaving a country where none are found. He had recourse
to all the amenity of M. Agnan to learn from the people of the port the
cause of this singular arrangement. An old fisherman replied to M.
Agnanthat the stones very certainly did not come from Piriac or the
marshes.


Where do they come from, then?asked the musketeer.


Monsieur, they come from Nantes and Paimboeuf.


Where are they going, then?


Monsieur, to Belle-Isle.


Ah! ah!said D'Artagnanin the same tone he had assumed to tell the
printer that his character interested him; "are they building at Belle-
Islethen?"


Why, yes, monsieur, M. Fouquet has the walls of the castle repaired
every year.


It is in ruins, then?


It is old.


Thank you.


The fact is,said D'Artagnan to himselfnothing is more natural;
every proprietor has a right to repair his own property. It would be
like telling me I was fortifying the Image-de-Notre-Dame, when I was



simply obliged to make repairs. In good truth, I believe false reports
have been made to his majesty, and he is very likely to be in the wrong.

You must confess,continued he thenaloudand addressing the
fisherman - for his part of a suspicious man was imposed upon him by the
object even of his mission - "you must confessmy dear monsieurthat
these stones travel in a very curious fashion."

How so?said the fisherman.

They come from Nantes or Paimboeuf by the Loire, do they not?

With the tide.

That is convenient, - I don't say it is not; but why do they not go
straight from Saint-Nazaire to Belle-Isle?

Eh! because the _chalands_ (barges) are fresh-water boats, and take the
sea badly,replied the fisherman.

That is not sufficient reason.

Pardon me, monsieur, one may see that you have never been a sailor,
added the fishermannot without a sort of disdain.

Explain to me, if you please, my good man. It appears to me that to
come from Paimboeuf to Piriac, and go from Piriac to Belle-Isle, is as if
we went from Roche-Bernard to Nantes, and from Nantes to Piriac.

By water that would be the nearest way,replied the fisherman
imperturbably.

But there is an elbow?

The fisherman shook his head.

The shortest road from one place to another is a straight line,
continued D'Artagnan.

You forget the tide, monsieur.

Well! take the tide.

And the wind.

Well, and the wind.

Without doubt; the current of the Loire carries barks almost as far as
Croisic. If they want to lie by a little, or to refresh the crew, they
come to Piriac along the coast; from Piriac they find another inverse
current, which carries them to the Isle-Dumal, two leagues and a half.

Granted.

There the current of the Vilaine throws them upon another isle, the Isle
of Hoedic.

I agree with that.

Well, monsieur, from that isle to Belle-Isle the way is quite straight.
The sea, broken both above and below, passes like a canal - like a mirror
between the two isles; the _chalands_ glide along upon it like ducks upon
the Loire; that's how it is.


It does not signify,said the obstinate M. Agnan; "it is a long way
round."

Ah! yes; but M. Fouquet will have it so,repliedas conclusivethe
fishermantaking off his woolen cap at the enunciation of that respected
name.

A look from D'Artagnana look as keen and piercing as a sword-blade
found nothing in the heart of the old man but a simple confidence - on
his featuresnothing but satisfaction and indifference. He saidM.
Fouquet will have it so,as he would have saidGod has willed it.

D'Artagnan had already advanced too far in this direction; besidesthe
_chalands_ being gonethere remained nothing at Piriac but a single bark

-that of the old manand it did not look fit for sea without great
preparation. D'Artagnan therefore patted Furetwhoas a new proof of
his charming characterresumed his march with his feet in the salt-
minesand his nose to the dry windwhich bends the furze and the broom
of this country. They reached Le Croisic about five o'clock.
If D'Artagnan had been a poetit was a beautiful spectacle: the immense
strand of a league or morethe sea covers at high tideand whichat
the refluxappears gray and desolatestrewed with polypi and seaweed
with pebbles sparse and whitelike bones in some vast old cemetery. But
the soldierthe politicianand the ambitious manhad no longer the
sweet consolation of looking towards heaven to read there a hope or a
warning. A red sky signifies nothing to such people but wind and
disturbance. White and fleecy clouds upon the azure only say that the
sea will be smooth and peaceful. D'Artagnan found the sky bluethe
breeze embalmed with saline perfumesand he said: "I will embark with
the first tideif it be but in a nutshell."

At Le Croisic as at Piriache had remarked enormous heaps of stone lying
along the shore. These gigantic wallsdiminished every tide by the
barges for Belle-Islewerein the eyes of the musketeerthe
consequence and the proof of what he had well divined at Piriac. Was it
a wall that M. Fouquet was constructing? Was it a fortification that he
was erecting? To ascertain thathe must make fuller observations.
D'Artagnan put Furet into a stable; suppedwent to bedand on the
morrow took a walk upon the port or rather upon the shingle. Le Croisic
has a port of fifty feet; it has a look-out which resembles an enormous
_brioche_ (a kind of cake) elevated on a dish. The flat strand is the
dish. Hundreds of barrowsful of earth amalgamated with pebblesand
rounded into coneswith sinuous passages betweenare look-outs and
_brioches_ at the same time. It is so nowand it was so two hundred
years agoonly the _brioche_ was not so largeand probably there were
to be seen to trellises of lath around the _brioche_which constitute an
ornamentplanted like _gardes-fous_ along the passages that wind towards
the little terrace. Upon the shingle lounged three or four fishermen
talking about sardines and shrimps. D'Artagnanwith his eyes animated
by a rough gayetyand a smile upon his lipsapproached these fishermen.

Any fishing going on to-day?said he.

Yes, monsieur,replied one of themwe are only waiting for the tide.

Where do you fish, my friends?

Upon the coasts, monsieur.

Which are the best coasts?

Ah, that is all according. The tour of the isles, for example?


Yes, but they are a long way off, those isles, are they not?
Not very; four leagues.
Four leagues! That is a voyage.
The fishermen laughed in M. Agnan's face.
Hear me, then,said the latter with an air of simple stupidity; "four


leagues off you lose sight of landdo you not?"
Why, not always.
Ah, it is a long way - too long, or else I would have asked you to take


me aboard, and to show me what I have never seen.
What is that?
A live sea-fish.
Monsieur comes from the province?said a fisherman.
Yes, I come from Pairs.
The Breton shrugged his shoulders; then:
Have you ever seen M. Fouquet in Paris?asked he.
Often,replied D'Artagnan.
Often!repeated the fishermenclosing their circle round the


Parisian. "Do you know him?"
A little; he is the intimate friend of my master.
Ah!said the fishermenin astonishment.
And,said D'ArtagnanI have seen all his chateaux of Saint Mande, of


Vaux, and his hotel in Paris.
Is that a fine place?
Superb.
It is not so fine a place as Belle-Isle,said the fisherman.
Bah!cried M. d'Artagnanbreaking into a laugh so loud that he angered


all his auditors.
It is very plain that you have never seen Belle-Isle,said the most
curious of the fishermen. "Do you know that there are six leagues of it


and that there are such trees on it as cannot be equaled even at Natessur-
le-Fosse?"
Trees in the sea!cried D'Artagnan; "wellI should like to see them."
That can be easily done; we are fishing at the Isle de Hoedic - come


with us. From that place you will see, as a Paradise, the black trees of


Belle-Isle against the sky; you will see the white line of the castle,


which cuts the horizon of the sea like a blade.

Oh,said D'Artagnanthat must be very beautiful. But do you know
there are a hundred belfries at M. Fouquet's chateau of Vaux?


The Breton raised his head in profound admirationbut he was not
convinced. "A hundred belfries! Ahthat may be; but Belle-Isle is
finer than that. Should you like to see Belle-Isle?"

Is that possible?asked D'Artagnan.

Yes, with permission of the governor.

But I do not know the governor.

As you know M. Fouquet, you can tell your name.

Oh, my friends, I am not a gentleman.

Everybody enters Belle-Isle,continued the fisherman in his strong
pure languageprovided he means no harm to Belle-Isle or its master.

A slight shudder crept over the body of the musketeer. "That is true
thought he. Then recovering himself, If I were sure said he, not to
be sea-sick."

What, upon _her?_said the fishermanpointing with pride to his pretty
round-bottomed bark

Well, you almost persuade me,cried M. Agnan; "I will go and see Belle-
Islebut they will not admit me."

We shall enter, safe enough.

You! What for?

Why, _dame!_ to sell fish to the corsairs.

Ha! Corsairs - what do you mean?

Well, I mean that M. Fouquet is having two corsairs built to chase the
Dutch and the English, and we sell our fish to the crews of those little
vessels.

Come, come!said D'Artagnan to himself - "better and better. A
printing-pressbastionsand corsairs! WellM. Fouquet is not an enemy
to be despisedas I presumed to fancy. He is worth the trouble of
travelling to see him nearer."

We set out at half-past five,said the fisherman gravely.

I am quite ready, and I will not leave you now.So D'Artagnan saw the
fishermen haul their barks to meet the tide with a windlass. The sea
rose; M. Agnan allowed himself to be hoisted on boardnot without
sporting a little fear and awkwardnessto the amusement of the young
beach-urchins who watched him with their large intelligent eyes. He laid
himself down upon a folded sailnot interfering with anything whilst the
bark prepared for sea; andwith its large square sailit was fairly out
within two hours. The fishermenwho prosecuted their occupation as they
proceededdid not perceive that their passenger had not become pale
neither groaned nor suffered; that in spite of that horrible tossing and
rolling of the barkto which no hand imparted directionthe novice
passenger had preserved his presence of mind and his appetite. They
fishedand their fishing was sufficiently fortunate. To lines bated
with prawnsoles camewith numerous gambolsto bite. Two nets had
already been broken by the immense weight of congers and haddocks; three
sea-eels plowed the hold with their slimy folds and their dying
contortions. D'Artagnan brought them good luck; they told him so. The
soldier found the occupation so pleasantthat he put his hand to the


work - that is to sayto the lines - and uttered roars of joyand
_mordioux_ enough to have astonished his musketeers themselvesevery
time that a shock given to his line by the captured fish required the
play of the muscles of his armand the employment of his best
dexterity. The party of pleasure had made him forget his diplomatic
mission. He was struggling with a very large congerand holding fast
with one hand to the side of the vesselin order to seize with the other
the gaping jowl of his antagonistwhen the master said to himTake
care they don't see you from Belle-Isle!


These words produced the same effect upon D'Artagnan as the hissing of
the first bullet on a day of battle; he let go of both line and conger
whichdragging each otherreturned again to the water. D'Artagnan
perceivedwithin half a league at mostthe blue and marked profile of
the rocks of Belle-Isledominated by the majestic whiteness of the
castle. In the distancethe land with its forests and verdant plains;
cattle on the grass. This was what first attracted the attention of the
musketeer. The sun darted its rays of gold upon the searaising a
shining mist round this enchanted isle. Little could be seen of it
owing to this dazzling lightbut the salient points; every shadow was
strongly markedand cut with bands of darkness the luminous fields and
walls. "Eh! eh!" said D'Artagnanat the aspect of those masses of black
rocksthese are fortifications which do not stand in need of any
engineer to render a landing difficult. How the devil can a landing be
effected on that isle which God has defended so completely?


This way,replied the patron of the barkchanging the sailand
impressing upon the rudder a twist which turned the boat in the direction
of a pretty little portquite coquettishroundand newly battlemented.


What the devil do I see yonder?said D'Artagnan.


You see Locmaria,replied the fisherman.


Well, but there?


That is Bangor.


And further on?


Sauzon, and then Le Palais.


_Mordioux!_ It is a world. Ah! there are some soldiers.


There are seventeen hundred men in Belle-Isle, monsieur,replied the
fishermanproudly. "Do you know that the least garrison is of twenty
companies of infantry?"


_Mordioux!_cried D'Artagnanstamping with his foot. "His majesty was
right enough."


They landed.


Chapter LXIX:
In which the Readerno Doubtwill be as astonished as D'Artagnan was to
meet an Old Acquaintance.


There is always something in a landingif it be only from the smallest
sea-boat - a trouble and a confusion which do not leave the mind the
liberty of which it stands in need in order to study at the first glance
the new locality presented to it. The moveable bridgesthe agitated
sailorsthe noise of the water on the pebblesthe cries and
importunities of those who wait upon the shoresare multiplied details



of that sensation which is summed up in one single result - hesitation.
It was notthentill after standing several minutes on the shore that
D'Artagnan saw upon the portbut more particularly in the interior of
the islean immense number of workmen in motion. At his feet D'Artagnan
recognized the five _chalands_ laden with rough stone he had seen leave
the port of Piriac. The smaller stones were transported to the shore by
means of a chain formed by twenty-five or thirty peasants. The large
stones were loaded on trollies which conveyed them in the same direction
as the othersthat is to saytowards the worksof which D'Artagnan
could as yet appreciate neither the strength nor the extent. Everywhere
was to be seen an activity equal to that which Telemachus observed on his
landing at Salentum. D'Artagnan felt a strong inclination to penetrate
into the interior; but he could notunder the penalty of exciting
mistrustexhibit too much curiosity. He advanced then little by little
scarcely going beyond the line formed by the fishermen on the beach
observing everythingsaying nothingand meeting all suspicion that
might have been excited with a half-silly question or a polite bow. And
yetwhilst his companions carried on their tradegiving or selling
their fish to the workmen or the inhabitants of the cityD'Artagnan had
gained by degreesandreassured by the little attention paid to himhe
began to cast an intelligent and confident look upon the men and things
that appeared before his eyes. And his very first glance fell on certain
movements of earth about which the eye of a soldier could not be
mistaken. At the two extremities of the portin order that their fires
should converge upon the great axis of the ellipse formed by the basin
in the first placetwo batteries had been raisedevidently destined to
receive flank piecesfor D'Artagnan saw the workmen finishing the
platform and making ready the demi-circumference in wood upon which the
wheels of the pieces might turn to embrace every direction over the
epaulement. By the side of each of these batteries other workmen were
strengthening gabions filled with earththe lining of another battery.
The latter had embrasuresand the overseer of the works called
successively men whowith cordstied the _saucissons_ and cut the
lozenges and right angles of turfs destined to retain the matting of the
embrasures. By the activity displayed in these worksalready so far
advancedthey might be considered as finished: they were not yet
furnished with their cannonsbut the platforms had their _gites_ and
their _madriers_ all prepared; the earthbeaten carefullywas
consolidated; and supposing the artillery to be on the islandin less
than two or three days the port might be completely armed. That which
astonished D'Artagnanwhen he turned his eyes from the coast batteries
to the fortifications of the citywas to see that Belle-Isle was
defended by an entirely new systemof which he had often heard the Comte
de la Fere speak as a wonderful advancebut of which he had as yet never
seen the application. These fortifications belonged neither to the Dutch
method of Marollaisnor to the French method of the Chevalier Antoine de
Villebut to the system of Manesson Malleta skillful engineerwho
about six or eight years previously had quitted the service of Portugal
to enter that of France. The works had this peculiaritythat instead of
rising above the earthas did the ancient ramparts destined to defend a
city from escaladestheyon the contrarysank into it; and what
created the height of the walls was the depth of the ditches. It did not
take long to make D'Artagnan perceive the superiority of such a system
which gives no advantage to cannon. Besidesas the _fosses_ were lower
thanor on a level withthe seathese _fosses_ could be instantly
inundated by means of subterranean sluices. Otherwisethe works were
almost completeand a group of workmenreceiving orders from a man who
appeared to be conductor of the workswere occupied in placing the last
stones. A bridge of planks thrown over the _fosses_ for the greater
convenience of the maneuvers connected with the barrowsjoined the
interior to the exterior. With an air of simple curiosity D'Artagnan
asked if he might be permitted to cross the bridgeand he was told that
no order prevented it. Consequently he crossed the bridgeand advanced
towards the group.


This group was superintended by the man whom D'Artagnan had already
remarkedand who appeared to be the engineer-in-chief. A plan was lying
open before him upon a large stone forming a tableand at some paces
from him a crane was in action. This engineerwho by his evident
importance first attracted the attention of D'Artagnanwore a
_justaucorps_whichfrom its sumptuousnesswas scarcely in harmony
with the work he was employed inthat rather necessitated the costume of
a master-mason than of a noble. He was a man of immense stature and
great square shouldersand wore a hat covered with feathers. He
gesticulated in the most majestic mannerand appearedfor D'Artagnan
only saw his backto be scolding the workmen for their idleness and want
of strength.

D'Artagnan continued to draw nearer. At that moment the man with the
feathers ceased to gesticulateandwith his hands placed upon his
kneeswas followinghalf-bentthe effort of six workmen to raise a
block of hewn stone to the top of a piece of timber destined to support
that stoneso that the cord of the crane might be passed under it. The
six menall on one side of the stoneunited their efforts to raise it
to eight or ten inches from the groundsweating and blowingwhilst a
seventh got ready for when there should be daylight enough beneath it to
slide in the roller that was to support it. But the stone had already
twice escaped from their hands before gaining a sufficient height for the
roller to be introduced. There can be no doubt that every time the stone
escaped themthey bounded quickly backwardsto keep their feet from
being crushed by the refalling stone. Every timethe stoneabandoned
by themsunk deeper into the damp earthwhich rendered the operation
more and more difficult. A third effort was followed by no better
successbut with progressive discouragement. And yetwhen the six men
were bent towards the stonethe man with the feathers had himselfwith
a powerful voicegiven the word of command_Ferme!_which regulates
maneuvers of strength. Then he drew himself up.

Oh! oh!said hewhat is this all about? Have I to do with men of
straw? _Corne de boeuf!_ stand on one side, and you shall see how this
is to be done.

_Peste!_said D'Artagnanwill he pretend to raise that rock? that
would be a sight worth looking at.

The workmenas commanded by the engineerdrew back with their ears
downand shaking their headswith the exception of the one who held the
plankwho prepared to perform the office. The man with the feathers
went up to the stonestoopedslipped his hands under the face lying
upon the groundstiffened his Herculean musclesand without a strain
with a slow motionlike that of a machinelifted the end of the rock a
foot from the ground. The workman who held the plank profited by the
space thus given himand slipped the roller under the stone.

That's the way,said the giantnot letting the rock fall againbut
placing it upon its support.

_Mordioux!_cried D'ArtagnanI know but one man capable of such a
feat of strength.

_Hein!_cried the colossusturning round.

Porthos!murmured D'Artagnanseized with stuporPorthos at Belle-
Isle!

On his partthe man with the feathers fixed his eyes upon the disguised
lieutenantandin spite of his metamorphosisrecognized him.
D'Artagnan!cried he; and the color mounted to his face. "Hush!" said


he to D'Artagnan.

Hush!in his turnsaid the musketeer. In factif Porthos had just
been discovered by D'ArtagnanD'Artagnan had just been discovered by
Porthos. The interest of the particular secret of each struck them both
at the same instant. Nevertheless the first movement of the two men was
to throw their arms around each other. What they wished to conceal from
the bystanderswas not their friendshipbut their names. Butafter
the embracecame reflection.

What the devil brings Porthos to Belle-Isle, lifting stones?said
D'Artagnan; only D'Artagnan uttered that question in a low voice. Less
strong in diplomacy than his friendPorthos thought aloud.

How the devil did you come to Belle-Isle?asked he of D'Artagnan; "and
what do you want to do here?" It was necessary to reply without
hesitation. To hesitate in answer to Porthos would have been a check
for which the self-love of D'Artagnan would never have consoled itself.

_Pardieu!_ my friend, I am at Belle-Isle because you are here.

Ah, bah!said Porthosvisibly stupefied with the argument and seeking
to account for it to himselfwith the felicity of deduction we know to
be particular to him.

Without doubt,continued D'Artagnanunwilling to give his friend time
to recollect himselfI have been to see you at Pierrefonds.

Indeed!

Yes.

And you did not find me there?

No, but I found Mouston.

Is he well?

_Peste!_

Well, but Mouston did not tell you I was here.

Why should he _not?_ Have I, perchance, deserved to lose his
confidence?

No; but he did not know it.

Well; that is a reason at least that does not offend my self-love.

Then how did you manage to find me?

My dear friend, a great noble like you always leaves traced behind him
on his passage; and I should think but poorly of myself, if I were not
sharp enough to follow the traces of my friends.This explanation
flattering as it wasdid not entirely satisfy Porthos.

But I left no traces behind me, for I came here disguised,said Porthos.

Ah! You came disguised did you?said D'Artagnan.

Yes.

And how?


As a miller.

And do you think a great noble, like you, Porthos, can affect common
manners so as to deceive people?

Well, I swear to you my friend, that I played my part so well that
_everybody_ was deceived.

Indeed! so well, that I have not discovered and joined you?

Yes; but _how_ did you discover and join me?

Stop a bit. I was going to tell you how. Do you imagine Mouston -

Ah! it was that fellow, Mouston,said Porthosgathering up those two
triumphant arches which served him for eyebrows.

But stop, I tell you - it was no fault of Mouston's because he was
ignorant of where you were.

I know he was; and that is why I am in such haste to understand -

Oh! how impatient you are, Porthos.

When I do not comprehend, I am terrible.

Well, you will understand. Aramis wrote to you at Pierrefonds, did he
not?

Yes.

And he told you to come before the equinox.

That is true.

Well! that is it,said D'Artagnanhoping that this reason would
mystify Porthos. Porthos appeared to give himself up to a violent mental
labor.

Yes, yes,said heI understand. As Aramis told me to come before the
equinox, you have understood that that was to join him. You then
inquired where Aramis was, saying to yourself, 'Where Aramis is, there
Porthos will be.' You have learnt that Aramis was in Bretagne, and you
said to yourself, 'Porthos is in Bretagne.'

Exactly. In good truth, Porthos, I cannot tell why you have not turned
conjuror. So you understand that, arriving at Roche-Bernard, I heard of
the splendid fortifications going on at Belle-Isle. The account raised
my curiosity, I embarked in a fishing boat, without dreaming that you
were here: I came, and I saw a monstrous fine fellow lifting a stone Ajax
could not have stirred. I cried out, 'Nobody but the Baron de Bracieux
could have performed such a feat of strength.' You heard me, you turned
round, you recognized me, we embraced; and, _ma foi!_ if you like, my
dear friend, we will embrace again.

Ah! now all is explained,said Porthos; and he embraced D'Artagnan with
so much friendship as to deprive the musketeer of his breath for five
minutes.

Why, you are stronger than ever,said D'Artagnanand still, happily,
in your arms.Porthos saluted D'Artagnan with a gracious smile. During
the five minutes D'Artagnan was recovering his breathhe reflected that
he had a very difficult part to play. It was necessary that he always
should question and never reply. By the time his respiration returned


he had fixed his plans for the campaign.


Chapter LXX:
Wherein the Ideas of D'Artagnanat first strangely cloudedbegin to
clear up a little.


D'Artagnan immediately took the offensive. "Now that I have told you
alldear friendor rather you have guessed alltell me what you are
doing herecovered with dust and mud?"


Porthos wiped his browand looked around him with pride. "Whyit
appears said he, that you may see what I am doing here."


No doubt, no doubt, you lift great stones.


Oh! to show these idle fellows what a _man_ is,said Porthoswith
contempt. "But you understand - "


Yes, that is not your place to lift stones, although there are many
whose place it is, who cannot lift them as you do. It was that which
made me ask you, just now. What are you doing here, baron?


I am studying topography, chevalier.


You are studying topography?


Yes; but you - what are you doing in that common dress?


D'Artagnan perceived he had committed a fault in giving expression to his
astonishment. Porthos had taken advantage of itto retort with a
question. "Why said he, you know I am a bourgeoisin fact; my dress
thenhas nothing astonishing in itsince it conforms with my condition."


Nonsense! you are a musketeer.


You are wrong, my friend; I have given in my resignation.


Bah!


Oh, _mon Dieu!_ yes.


And you have abandoned the service?


I have quitted it.


You have abandoned the king?


Quite.


Porthos raised his arms towards heavenlike a man who has heard
extraordinary news. "Wellthat _does_ confound me said he.


It is nevertheless true."


And what led you to form such a resolution.


The king displeased me. Mazarin had disgusted me for a long time, as you
know; so I threw my cassock to the nettles.


But Mazarin is dead.


I know that well enough, _parbleu!_ Only, at the period of his death,
my resignation had been given in and accepted two months. Then, feeling



myself free, I set off for Pierrefonds, to see my friend Porthos. I had
heard talk of the happy division you had made of your time, and I wished,
for a fortnight, to divide mine after your fashion.

My friend, you know that it is not for a fortnight my house is open to
you; it is for a year - for ten years - for life.

Thank you, Porthos.

Ah! but perhaps you want money - do you?said Porthosmaking something
like fifty louis chink in his pocket. "In that caseyou know - "

No, thank you; I am not in want of anything. I placed my savings with
Planchet, who pays me the interest of them.

Your savings?

Yes, to be sure,said D'Artagnan: "why should I not put by my savings
as well as anotherPorthos?"

Oh, there is no reason why; on the contrary, I always suspected you -
that is to say, Aramis always suspected you to have savings. For my own
part, d'ye see, I take no concern about the management of my household;
but I presume the savings of a musketeer must be small.

No doubt, relative to yourself, Porthos, who are a millionaire; but you
shall judge. I had laid by twenty-five thousand livres.

That's pretty well,said Porthoswith an affable air.

And,continued D'Artagnanon the twenty-eighth of last month I added
to it two hundred thousand livres more.

Porthos opened his large eyeswhich eloquently demanded of the
musketeerWhere the devil did you steal such a sum as that, my dear
friend?Two hundred thousand livres!cried heat length.

Yes; which, with the twenty-five I had, and twenty thousand I have about
me, complete the sum of two hundred and forty-five thousand livres.

But tell me, whence comes this fortune?

I will tell you all about it presently, dear friend; but as you have, in
the first place, many things to tell me yourself, let us have my recital
in its proper order.

Bravo!said Porthos; "then we are both rich. But what can I have to
relate to you?"

You have to relate to me how Aramis came to be named -

Ah! bishop of Vannes.

That's it,said D'Artagnanbishop of Vannes. Dear Aramis! do you
know how he succeeded so well?

Yes, yes; without reckoning that he does not mean to stop there.

What! do you mean he will not be contented with violet stockings, and
that he wants a red hat?

Hush! that is _promised_ him.

Bah! by the king?


By somebody more powerful than the king.
Ah! the devil! Porthos: what incredible things you tell me, my friend!
Why incredible? Is there not always somebody in Fr