A. Dumas — The Man in the Iron Mask

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Chapter I
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XL
Chapter XL
Chapter XLI
Chapter XLI
Chapter XLII
Chapter XLIII
Chapter XLIII
Chapter XLIV
Chapter XLIV
Chapter XLV
Chapter XLV
Chapter XLVI
Chapter XLVI
Chapter XLVII
Chapter XLVII
Chapter XLVIII
Chapter XLVIII
Chapter XLIX
Chapter XLIX
Chapter L
Chapter L
Chapter LI
Chapter LI
Chapter LII
Chapter LII
Chapter LIII
Chapter LIII
Chapter LIV
Chapter LIV
Chapter LV
Chapter LV
Chapter LVI
Chapter LVI
Chapter LVII
Chapter LVII
Chapter LVIII
Chapter LVIII
Chapter LIX
Chapter LIX
Chapter LX
Chapter LX
The Man in the Iron Mask
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Introduction: In the months of March-July in 1844, in the magazine Le Siecle, the first portion of a story
appeared, penned by the celebrated playwright Alexandre Dumas. It was based, he claimed, on some
manuscripts he had found a year earlier in the Bibliotheque Nationale while researching a history he planned
to write on Louis XIV. They chronicled the adventures of a young man named D'Artagnan who, upon entering
Paris, became almost immediately embroiled in court intrigues, international politics, and ill-fated affairs
access to this mysterious prisoner who bears such a striking resemblance to Louis XIV...
And so Baisemeaux is conducting Aramis to the prisoner as the final section of The Vicomte de Bragelonne
inferior, and that Aramis was his master. He himself lighted a lantern, summoned a turnkey, and said,
"Then I leave off."
"You leave off?"
"Yes; my head becomes confused and my ideas melancholy; I feel
"I don't know; but I do not like to give myself up to longing for things which I do not possess, when I am so
happy with what I have."
"You are afraid of death?" said Aramis, with a slight uneasiness.
"Yes," said the young man, smiling.
Aramis felt the chill of that smile, and shuddered. "Oh, as you fear death, you know more about matters than
you say," he cried.
place of a chance-comer? I beseech you to reply, monseigneur."
This title slightly disturbed the prisoner; but nevertheless he did not appear astonished that it was given him.
"I do not know you, monsieur," said he.
"Oh, but if I dared, I would take your hand and kiss it!"
The young man seemed as if he were going to give Aramis his hand; but the light which beamed in his eyes
faded away, and he coldly and distrustfully withdrew his hand again. "Kiss the hand of a prisoner," he said,
shaking his head, "to what purpose?"
"Why did you tell me," said Aramis, "that you were happy here? Why, that you aspired to nothing? Why, in a
word, by thus speaking, do you prevent me from being frank in my turn?"
The same light shone a third time in the young man's eyes, but died ineffectually away as before.
"You distrust me," said Aramis.
"And why say you so, monsieur?"
"Oh, for a very simple reason; if you know what you ought to know, you ought to mistrust everybody."
"Then do not be astonished that I am mistrustful, since you suspect me of knowing what I do not know."
"If I am a prisoner here, then I was comparatively free, although in a very narrow sense - a house I never
quitted, a garden surrounded with walls I could not climb, these constituted my residence, but you know it, as
you have been there. In a word, being accustomed to live within these bounds, I never cared to leave them.
And so you will understand, monsieur, that having never seen anything of the world, I have nothing left to
care for; and therefore, if you relate anything, you will be obliged to explain each item to me as you go
"And I will do so," said Aramis, bowing; "for it is my duty, monseigneur."
"Well, then, begin by telling me who was my tutor."
"A worthy and, above all, an honorable gentleman, monseigneur; fit guide for both body and soul. Had you
ever any reason to complain of him?"
"Oh, no; quite the contrary. But this gentleman of yours often used to tell me that my father and mother were
dead. Did he deceive me, or did he speak the truth?"
"He was compelled to comply with the orders given him."
"Then he lied?"
"In one respect. Your father is dead."
"And my mother?"
"She is dead
"But then she lives for others, does she not?"
"And I - and I, then" (the young man looked sharply at Aramis) "am compelled to live in the obscurity of a
"Alas! I fear so."
"Seeing, then, that my nurse and preceptor were carried off, and that I, also, was separated from them - either
they were, or I am, very dangerous to my enemy?"
"Yes; but you are alluding to a peril from which he freed himself, by causing the nurse and preceptor to
the well.'
search of some stout-hearted youth, whom she was to persuade that a jewel had fallen into the well, and that
this jewel was wrapped in a paper. 'And as paper,' remarked my preceptor, 'naturally unfolds in water, the
"Listen, then; I will in a few words tell you what has passed in France during the last twenty-three or
twenty-four years; that is, from the probable date of your birth; in a word, from the time that interests you."
"Say on." And the young man resumed his serious and attentive attitude.
"Do you know who was the son of Henry IV.?"
"At least I know who his successor was."
"By means of a coin dated 1610, which bears the effigy of Henry IV.; and another of 1612, bearing that of
"The queen, then, gave birth to a son. But while the court was rejoicing over the event, when the king had
show the new-born child to the nobility and people, and was sitting gayly down to table, to celebrate the
event, the queen, who was alone in her room, was again taken ill and gave birth to a second son."
"A portrait of the king, Louis XIV., who at this moment reigns upon the throne of France."
"Here is the portrait," replied the bishop, handing the prisoner a miniature in enamel, on which Louis was
depicted life-like, with a handsome, lofty mien. The prisoner eagerly seized the portrait, and gazed at it with
devouring eyes.
"And now, monseigneur," said Aramis, "here is a mirror." Aramis left the prisoner time to recover his ideas.
"So high! - so high!" murmured the young man, eagerly comparing the likeness of Louis with his own
countenance reflected in the glass.
"What do you think of it?" at length said Aramis.
"I admit that, whoever would do this much for me, would seem more than mortal in my eyes; but as you tell
me I am a prince, brother of the king, how can you restore me the rank and power which my mother and my
brother have deprived me of? And as, to effect this, I must pass a life of war and hatred, how can you cause
me to prevail in those combats - render me invulnerable by my enemies? Ah! monsieur, reflect on all this;
place me, to-morrow, in some dark cavern at a mountain's base; yield me the delight of hearing in freedom
sounds of the river, plain and valley, of beholding in freedom the sun of the blue heavens, or the stormy sky,
and it is enough. Promise me no more than this, for, indeed, more you cannot give, and it would be a crime to
deceive me, since you call yourself my friend."
Aramis waited in silence. "Monseigneur," he resumed, after a moment's reflection, "I admire the firm, sound
sense which dictates your words; I am happy to have discovered my monarch's mind."
"Again, again! oh, God! for mercy's sake," cried the prince, pressing his icy hands upon his clammy brow, "do
not play with me! I have no need to be a king to be the happiest of men."
"But I, monseigneur, wish you to be a king for the good of humanity."
"Ah!" said the prince, with fresh distrust inspired by the word; "ah! with what, then, has humanity to reproach
my brother?"
"I forgot to say, monseigneur, that if you would allow me to guide you, and if you consent to become the most
powerful monarch in Christendom, you will have promoted the interests of all the friends whom I devote to
the success of your cause, and these friends are numerous."
"Less numerous than powerful, monseigneur."
"Explain yourself."
"It is impossible; I will explain, I swear before Heaven, on that day that I see you sitting on the throne of
"But my brother?"
"You shall decree his fate. Do you pity him?"
"Him, who leaves me to perish in a dungeon? No, no. For him I have no pity!"
"In what manner, monseigneur?"
"What do you say as to the resemblance that Heaven has given me to my brother?"
"I say that there was in that likeness a providential instruction which the king ought to have heeded; I say that
your mother committed a crime in rendering those different in happiness and fortune whom nature created so
startlingly alike, of her own flesh, and I conclude that the object of punishment should be only to restore the
"By which you mean - "
"That if I restore you to your place on your brother's throne, he shall take yours in prison."
"Alas! there's such infinity of suffering in prison, especially it would be so for one who has drunk so deeply of
the cup of enjoyment."
"Your royal highness will always be free to act as you may desire; and if it seems good to you, after
punishment, you will have it in your power to pardon."
"Good. And now, are you aware of one thing, monsieur?"
"Tell me, my prince."
"It is that I will hear nothing further from you till I am clear of the Bastile."
"I was going to say to your highness that I should only have the pleasure of seeing you once again."
"And when?"
"The day when my prince leaves these gloomy walls."
"Heavens! how will you give me notice of it?"
"I say that, in such a case, I bless and forgive you. If, on the other hand, you are come to restore me to that
position in the sunshine of fortune and glory to which I was destined by Heaven; if by your means I am
enabled to live in the memory of man, and confer luster on my race by deeds of valor, or by solid benefits
bestowed upon my people; if, from my present depths of sorrow, aided by your generous hand, I raise myself
to the very height of honor, then to you, whom I thank with blessings, to you will I offer half my power and
Chapter II
: How Mouston Had Become Fatter without Giving Porthos Notice Thereof, and of the Troubles Which
Consequently Befell that Worthy Gentleman.
friend of his master, who thus found himself freed from the material obstacle which had prevented his
reaching D'Artagnan. Porthos made his sturdy knees crack again in rising, and crossing the room in two
strides, found himself face to face with his friend, whom he folded to his breast with a force of affection that
seemed to increase with every day. "Ah!" he repeated, "you are always welcome, dear friend; but just now
you are more welcome than ever."
"But you seem to have the megrims here!" exclaimed D'Artagnan.
Porthos replied by a look expressive of dejection. "Well, then, tell me all about it, Porthos, my friend, unless it
from now till then."
Porthos shook his head.
"Come, my friend," said D'Artagnan, "this unnatural melancholy in you frightens me. My dear Porthos, pray
"To be sure he is," answered Mouston; "but unfortunately
"So much so that I am now bigger than the baron. Would you believe it, monsieur?"
"Do you see, stupid?" said Porthos, "that is quite evident!"
"Be still, my dear Porthos," resumed D'Artagnan, becoming slightly impatient, "I don't understand why your
clothes should not fit you, because Mouston has grown stouter."
"I am going to explain it," said Porthos. "You remember having related to me the story of the Roman general
Antony, who had always seven wild boars kept roasting, each cooked up to a different point; so that he might
be able to have his dinner at any time of the day he chose to ask for it. Well, then, I resolved, as at any time I
might be invited to court to spend a week, I resolved to have always seven suits ready for the occasion."
"Capitally reasoned, Porthos - only a man must have a fortune like yours to gratify such whims. Without
counting the time lost in being measured, the fashions are always changing."
"That is exactly the point," said Porthos, "in regard to which I flattered myself I had hit on a very ingenious
"Tell me what it is; for I don't doubt your genius."
"You remember what Mouston once was, then?"
D'Artagnan glanced at Mouston, who replied by a slight movement of his body, as if to say, "You will see
generous to me."
"Oh, we shall manage it. You won't leave for three days. The invitations are for Wednesday, and this is only
Sunday morning."
"'Tis true; but Aramis has strongly advised me to be at Vaux twenty-four hours beforehand."
"How, Aramis?"
"Yes, it was Aramis who brought me the invitation."
must allow yourself to be measured!"
"Ah!" said Porthos, with a sigh, "'tis vexatious, but what would you have me do?"
"Do? As others do; as the king does."
Chapter II
"The king is a beau, my good friend, and so are you, too, whatever you may say about it."
"Here! how here? We are at the Halles; and you told me the house was at the corner of the Rue de l'Arbre
"'Tis true, but look."
"Well, I do look, and I see - "
"You do not, I suppose, want our horses to clamber up on the roof of the carriage in front of us?"
"Nor the carriage in front of us to mount on top of the one in front of it. Nor that the second should be driven
over the roofs of the thirty or forty others which have arrived before us."
"No, you are right, indeed. What a number of people! And what are they all about?"
"'Tis very simple. They are waiting their turn."
"Bah! Have the comedians of the Hotel de Bourgogne shifted their quarters?"
"No; their turn to obtain an entrance to M. Percerin's house."
"And we are going to wait too?"
"Oh, we shall show ourselves prompter and not so proud."
"What are we to do, then?"
their master, leaving off drawing a stitch to knit a sentence; and when wounded pride, or disappointed
expectation, brought down upon them too cutting a rebuke, he who was attacked made a dive and disappeared
under the counter. The line of discontented lords formed a truly remarkable picture. Our captain of
over his eyes. It was this action, perhaps, that attracted D'Artagnan's attention. If so, the gentleman who had
pulled down his hat produced an effect entirely different from what he had desired. In other respects his
costume was plain, and his hair evenly cut enough for customers, who were not close observers, to take him
Moliere indicated Porthos by an imperceptible gesture, "This gentleman, is it not?"
Chapter IV
: The Patterns.
During all this time the noble mob was slowly heaving away, leaving at every angle of the counter either a
"Later? but when?"
"When I have time."
"No, not I - I wished - "
"My dear M. de Percerin," Aramis continued, "you are making five dresses for the king, are you not? One in
"The king's dresses! Give the king's dresses to any mortal whatever! Oh! for once, monseigneur, your grace is
mad!" cried the poor tailor in extremity.
"Help me now, D'Artagnan," said Aramis, more and more calm and smiling. "Help me now to persuade
monsieur, for
"Eh! eh! - not exactly, I declare."
finer shades."
"Quite true," said Percerin, "but time is wanting, and on that head, you will agree with me, monseigneur, I can
do nothing."
D'Artagnan found Porthos in the adjoining chamber; but no longer an irritated Porthos, or a disappointed
Porthos, but Porthos radiant, blooming, fascinating, and chattering with Moliere, who was looking upon him
with a species of idolatry, and as a man would who had not only never seen anything greater, but not even
Chapter V
the gigantic clasp of his old friend, - an operation which Aramis never hazarded without a certain uneasiness.
But the friendly pressure having been performed not too painfully for him, the bishop of Vannes passed over
to Moliere.
"Well, monsieur," said he, "will you come with me to Saint-Mande?"
"I will go anywhere you like, monseigneur," answered Moliere.
"To Saint-Mande!" cried Porthos, surprised at seeing the proud bishop of Vannes fraternizing with a
journeyman tailor. "What, Aramis, are you going to take this gentleman to Saint-Mande?"
"Yes," said Aramis, smiling, "our work is pressing."
would be one to suit mine, but the largest - that of the drum-major of the Swiss guard - was two inches too
short, and a half foot too narrow in the chest."
"It is exactly as I tell you, D'Artagnan; but he is a great man, or at the very least a great tailor, is this M.
Moliere. He was not at all put at fault by the circumstance."
"What did he do, then?"
"Oh! it is a very simple matter. I'faith, 'tis an unheard-of thing that people should have been so stupid as not to
"Oh, Porthos! what excellent words you have command of. Where in the word did you acquire such a
voluminous vocabulary?"
"At Belle-Isle. Aramis and I had to use such words in our strategic studies and castramentative experiments."
D'Artagnan recoiled, as though the sesquipedalian syllables had knocked the breath out of his body.
"'Throw yourself on guard,' pursued he.
"I did it with such wondrous firmness, that two panes of glass burst out of the window.
"''Tis nothing, nothing,' said he. 'Keep your position.'
"I raised my left arm in the air, the forearm gracefully bent, the ruffle drooping, and my wrist curved, while
my right arm, half extended, securely covered my wrist with the elbow, and my breast with the wrist."
"Yes," said D'Artagnan, "'tis the true guard - the academic guard."
"You have said the very word, dear friend. In the meanwhile, Voliere - "
"Hold! I should certainly, after all, prefer to call him - what did you say his other name was?"
"I prefer to call him Poquelin."
"Ah, but, my good friend, one cannot talk of
my friend," he added, with increasing grief, "it seems that I rhyme in a slovenly manner."
"Oh, 'tis wrong to say so."
"Nay, I am a poor creature!"
"Who said so?"
Pelisson, again absorbed in his work, took good care not to answer.
"But if Pelisson said you were so," cried Moliere, "Pelisson has seriously offended you."
"Do you think so?"
"Ah! I advise you, as you are a gentleman, not to leave an insult like that unpunished."
"Did you ever fight?"
"Once only, with a lieutenant in the light horse."
"What wrong had he done you?"
"It seems he ran away with my wife."
"Ah, ah!" said Moliere, becoming slightly pale; but as, at La Fontaine's declaration, the others had turned
round, Moliere kept upon his lips the rallying smile which had so nearly died away, and continuing to make
La Fontaine speak -
"And what was the result of the duel?"
"The result was, that on the ground my opponent disarmed me, and then made an apology, promising never
"Well, you can do so, if you think it indispensable."
"I do think it indispensable, and I am going to - "
"Stay," exclaimed La Fontaine, "I want your advice."
"Upon what? this insult?"
"Ah! you are of my opinion?"
"So much so, that I have asked you to write this very prologue."
"You asked
"Yes, you, and on your refusal begged you to ask Pelisson, who is engaged upon it at this moment."
"Ah! that is what Pelisson is doing, then? I'faith, my dear Moliere, you are indeed often right."
"When you call me absent-minded. It is a monstrous defect; I will cure myself of it, and do your prologue for
"But inasmuch as Pelisson is about it! - "
of the present indicative; and should go on thus: 'this grot profound.'"
"But the verb, the verb?" asked Pelisson.
"To admire the greatest king of all kings round," continued La Fontaine.
"But the verb, the verb," obstinately insisted Pelisson. "This second person singular of the present indicative?"
"Well, then; quittest:
"Oh, nymph, who quittest now this grot profound, To admire the greatest king of all kings round."
"You would not put 'who quittest,' would you?"
"Why not?"
"'Quittest,' after 'you who'?"
"Ah! my dear fellow," exclaimed La Fontaine, "you are a shocking pedant!"
"Without counting," said Moliere, "that the second verse, 'king of all kings round,' is very weak, my dear La
"Then you see clearly I am nothing but a poor creature, - a shuffler, as you said."
"I never said so."
: Another Supper at the Bastile.
Seven o'clock sounded from the great clock of the Bastile, that famous clock, which, like all the accessories of
the state prison, the very use of which is a torture, recalled to the prisoners' minds the destination of every
hour of their punishment. The time-piece of the Bastile, adorned with figures, like most of the clocks of the
to embroil myself with the church this evening."
"But you have wicked intentions, nevertheless, monseigneur."
"Oh, yes, wicked, I own, as everything mundane is."
drinking it."
"No; it is a horse, who is making noise enough in the court for a whole squadron."
"Pooh! some courier or other," replied the governor, redoubling his attention to the passing bottle. "Yes; and
may the devil take him, and so quickly that we shall never hear him speak more. Hurrah! hurrah!"
"And what to these ministers do but countersign the signature of the king?"
"Perhaps you are right. Nevertheless, 'tis very tiresome when you are sitting before a good table,
"Pardon me, merely an irregularity. But I thought it my duty to make an observation which I deem important."
"Oh! perhaps you are right," stammered Baisemeaux. "The king's order is sacred; but as to orders that arrive
when one is at supper, I repeat that the devil - "
"If you had said as much to the great cardinal - hem! my dear Baisemeaux, and if his order had any
"I do it that I may not disturb a bishop.
yesterday did."
"In any case," said Baisemeaux, "the visit of the Jesuit confessor must have given happiness to this man."
Aramis made no reply, but recommenced eating and drinking. As for Baisemeaux, no longer touching
anything that was on the table, he again took up the order and examined it every way. This investigation,
under ordinary circumstances, would have made the ears of the impatient Aramis burn with anger; but the
bishop of Vannes did not become incensed for so little, above all, when he had murmured to himself that to do
so was dangerous. "Are you going to release Marchiali?" he said. "What mellow, fragrant and delicious sherry
this is, my dear governor."
"Monseigneur," replied Baisemeaux, "I shall release the prisoner Marchiali when I have summoned the
courier who brought the order, and above all, when, by interrogating him, I have satisfied myself."
"The order is sealed, and the courier is ignorant of the contents. What do you want to satisfy yourself about?"
"Be it so, monseigneur; but I shall send to the ministry, and M. de Lyonne will either confirm or withdraw the
"What is the good of all that?" asked Aramis, coldly.
"What good?"
"Yes; what is your object, I ask?"
"The object of never deceiving oneself, monseigneur; nor being wanting in the respect which a subaltern owes
to his superior officers, nor infringing the duties of a service one has accepted of one's own free will."
"Very good; you have just spoken so eloquently, that I cannot but admire you. It is true that a subaltern owes
respect to his superiors; he is guilty when he deceives himself, and he should be punished if he infringed
either the duties or laws of his office."
Baisemeaux looked at the bishop with astonishment.
"It follows," pursued Aramis, "that you are going to ask advice, to put your conscience at ease in the matter?"
"Yes, monseigneur."
"And if a superior officer gives you orders, you will obey?"
"Never doubt it, monseigneur."
"You know the king's signature well, M. de Baisemeaux?"
"Yes, monseigneur."
"Is it not on this order of release?"
"It is true, but it may - "
"Be forged, you mean?"
Chapter VIII
"You are right. And that of M. de Lyonne?"
"I see it plain enough on the order; but for the same reason that the king's signature may have been forged, so
also, and with even greater probability, may M. de Lyonne's."
"Your logic has the stride of a giant, M. de Baisemeaux," said Aramis; "and your reasoning is irresistible. But
on what special grounds do you base your idea that these signatures are false?"
"On this: the absence of counter-signatures. Nothing checks his majesty's signature; and M. de Lyonne is not
there to tell me he has signed."
"Well, Monsieur de Baisemeaux," said Aramis, bending an eagle glance on the governor, "I adopt so frankly
your doubts, and your mode of clearing them up, that I will take a pen, if you will give me one."
Baisemeaux gave him a pen.
"Monseigneur, I shall never recover such a shock as this; I who have laughed, who have jested with you! I
who have dared to treat you on a footing of equality!"
"Say nothing about it, old comrade," replied the bishop, who perceived how strained the cord was and how
left burning behind the door. This flickering glare prevented the sight from resting steadily on any object. It
multiplied tenfold the changing forms and shadows of the place, by its wavering uncertainty. Steps drew near.
"What is the matter?" asked the prisoner, as if waking from a long dream.
Chapter VIII
I should converse."
"I will await an opportunity, monsieur," answered the young prince.
about to say to me." And he buried himself still deeper in the thick cushions of the carriage, trying to deprive
his companion not only of the sight of him, but even of the very idea of his presence.
Black was the darkness which fell wide and dense from the summits of the intertwining trees. The carriage,
covered in by this prodigious roof, would not have received a particle of light, not even if a ray could have
struggled through the wreaths of mist that were already rising in the avenue.
"Monseigneur," resumed Aramis, "you know the history of the government which to-day controls France. The
king issued from an infancy imprisoned like yours, obscure as yours, and confined as yours; only, instead of
ending, like yourself, this slavery in a prison, this obscurity in solitude, these straightened circumstances in
concealment, he was fain to bear all these miseries, humiliations, and distresses, in full daylight, under the
pitiless sun of royalty; on an elevation flooded with light, where every stain appears a blemish, every glory a
stain. The king has suffered; it rankles in his mind; and he will avenge himself. He will be a bad king. I say
not that he will pour out his people's blood, like Louis XI., or Charles IX.; for he has no mortal injuries to
avenge; but he will devour the means and substance of his people; for he has himself undergone wrongs in his
own interest and money. In the first place, then, I acquit my conscience, when I consider openly the merits
and the faults of this great prince; and if I condemn him, my conscience absolves me."
Aramis paused. It was not to listen if the silence of the forest remained undisturbed, but it was to gather up his
thoughts from the very bottom of his soul - to leave the thoughts he had uttered sufficient time to eat deeply
into the mind of his companion.
"All that Heaven does, Heaven does well," continued the bishop of Vannes; "and I am so persuaded of it that I
"Tell me plainly, monsieur - tell me without disguise - what I am to-day, and what you aim at my being
"You are the son of King Louis XIII., brother of Louis XIV., natural and legitimate heir to the throne of
France. In keeping you near him, as Monsieur has been kept - Monsieur, your younger brother - the king
reserved to himself the right of being legitimate sovereign. The doctors only could dispute his legitimacy. But
the doctors always prefer the king who is to the king who is not. Providence has willed that you should be
persecuted; this persecution to-day consecrates you king of France. You had, then, a right to reign, seeing that
it is disputed; you had a right to be proclaimed seeing that you have been concealed; and you possess royal
blood, since no one has dared to shed yours, as that of your servants has been shed. Now see, then, what this
Providence, which you have so often accused of having in every way thwarted you, has done for you. It has
given you the features, figure, age, and voice of your brother; and the very causes of your persecution are
about to become those of your triumphant restoration. To-morrow, after to-morrow - from the very first, regal
phantom, living shade of Louis XIV., you will sit upon his throne, whence the will of Heaven, confided in
"To whom do you think he will speak - to the walls?"
"You mean, by walls, the men in whom you put confidence."
"If need be, yes. And besides, your royal highness - "
"I was going to say, that the designs of Providence do not stop on such a fair road. Every scheme of this
principle of life in withstanding all this. But your brother, a captive, forgotten, and in bonds, will not long
endure the calamity; and Heaven will resume his soul at the appointed time - that is to say, soon."
At this point in Aramis's gloomy analysis, a bird of night uttered from the depths of the forest that prolonged
and plaintive cry which makes every creature tremble.
"I will exile the deposed king," said Philippe, shuddering; "'twill be more human."
"The king's good pleasure will decide the point," said Aramis. "But has the problem been well put? Have I
brought out of the solution according to the wishes or the foresight of your royal highness?"
"Yes, monsieur, yes; you have forgotten nothing - except, indeed, two things."
"The first?"
"Have you a brother?" said the young man to Aramis.
"I am alone in the world," said the latter, with a hard, dry voice.
"But, surely, there is some one in the world whom you love?" added Philippe.
"No one! - Yes, I love you."
The young man sank into so profound a silence, that the mere sound of his respiration seemed like a roaring
tumult for Aramis. "Monseigneur," he resumed, "I have not said all I had to say to your royal highness; I have
not offered you all the salutary counsels and useful resources which I have at my disposal. It is useless to flash
are attached to the carriage yonder, and they, accompanied by my servant - my deaf and dumb attendant -
shall conduct you - traveling throughout the night, sleeping during the day - to the locality I have described;
and I shall, at least, have the satisfaction of knowing that I have rendered to my prince the major service he
the whole ten minutes which the young man had requested. During this space of time, which appeared an
I think you have no interest in this affair. Therefore, without subterfuge or hesitation, tell me the truth - "
"I will do so, monseigneur. Once a king - "
"When will that be?"
"To-morrow evening - I mean in the night."
"Explain yourself."
"When I shall have asked your highness a question."
"Do so."
"I sent to your highness a man in my confidence with instructions to deliver some closely written notes,
carefully drawn up, which will thoroughly acquaint your highness with the different persons who compose
and will compose your court."
"I perused those notes."
Chapter X
"And understand them? Pardon me, but I may venture to ask that question of a poor, abandoned captive of the
Bastile? In a week's time it will not be requisite to further question a mind like yours. You will then be in full
possession of liberty and power."
"Interrogate me, then, and I will be a scholar representing his lesson to his master."
"We will begin with your family, monseigneur."
"My mother, Anne of Austria! all her sorrows, her painful malady. Oh! I know her - I know her."
"Your second brother?" asked Aramis, bowing.
"To these notes," replied the prince, "you have added portraits so faithfully painted, that I am able to
recognize the persons whose characters, manners, and history you have so carefully portrayed. Monsieur, my
everything. Do you intend to ask me to exile him also?"
"Never, sire. D'Artagnan is a man to whom, at a certain given time, I will undertake to reveal everything; but
be on your guard with him, for if he discovers our plot before it is revealed to him, you or I will certainly be
killed or taken. He is a bold and enterprising man."
"Not immediately, monseigneur, for that would give rise to too much suspicion and astonishment."
"M. de Richelieu, the first minister of my grandmother, Marie de Medici, was simply bishop of Lucon, as you
are bishop of Vannes."
"I perceive that your royal highness has studied my notes to great advantage; your amazing perspicacity
overpowers me with delight."
"I am perfectly aware that M. de Richelieu, by means of the queen's protection, soon became cardinal."
king upon his throne, having around it four pavilions at the angles, the immense Ionic columns of which rose
majestically to the whole height of the building. The friezes ornamented with arabesques, and the pediments
which crowned the pilasters, conferred richness and grace on every part of the building, while the domes
which surmounted the whole added proportion and majesty. This mansion, built by a subject, bore a far
greater resemblance to those royal residences which Wolsey fancied he was called upon to construct, in order
to present them to his master form the fear of rendering him jealous. But if magnificence and splendor were
displayed in any one particular part of this palace more than another, - if anything could be preferred to the
wonderful arrangement of the interior, to the sumptuousness of the gilding, and to the profusion of the
paintings and statues, it would be the park and gardens of Vaux. The
With a perfect reliance that Aramis had made arrangements fairly to distribute the vast number of guests
throughout the palace, and that he had not omitted to attend to any of the internal regulations for their comfort,
that;" and then he began to rack his brains most uselessly. D'Artagnan, so intimately acquainted with all the
Baisemeaux; all this suspicious singularity of conduct had excessively troubled and tormented D'Artagnan
during the last two weeks.
"With men of Aramis's stamp," he said, "one is never the stronger except sword in hand. So long as Aramis
the man who had thought of the
nor had he long to wait, for the roads had been put into excellent order by the superintendent, and a stone
would hardly have been found of the size of an egg the whole way from Melun to Vaux; so that the carriages,
: A Gascon, and a Gascon and a Half.
new piece of gallant attention for his majesty's amusement. D'Artagnan desired the servants to announce him,
and found on the second story (in a beautiful room called the Blue Chamber, on account of the color of its
hangings) the bishop of Vannes in company with Porthos and several of the modern Epicureans. Aramis came
forward to embrace his friend, and offered him the best seat. As it was after awhile generally remarked among
"Do you believe in my instinctive feelings? Formerly you used to have faith in them. Well, then, an instinct
tells me that you have some concealed project on foot."
"I - a project?"
"I am convinced of it."
"What nonsense!"
"I am not only sure of it, but I would even swear it."
"Indeed, D'Artagnan, you cause me the greatest pain. Is it likely, if I have any project in hand that I ought to
Percerin for those patterns of the king's costumes. Oh! Aramis, we are not enemies, remember - we are
brothers. Tell me what you wish to undertake, and, upon the word of a D'Artagnan, if I cannot help you, I will
swear to remain neuter."
"I am undertaking nothing," said Aramis.
"Aramis, a voice within me speaks and seems to trickle forth a rill of light within my darkness: it is a voice
"Not the least in the world. He has a chamber to himself, but I don't know where."
"Look at the notes and the portraits, my prince."
"The man whom the king wishes to sit down in his presence is M. Colbert."
"Colbert sit down in the king's presence!" exclaimed Aramis. "It is impossible."
Aramis looked through the opening in the flooring. "Yes," he said. "Colbert himself. Oh, monseigneur! what
can we be going to hear - and what can result from this intimacy?"
"I know you are very exact."
"Exactitude is the principal qualification required in an intendant of finances."
"But all are not so."
"I thank you majesty for so flattering a compliment from your own lips."
"You say that these thirteen millions are found to be wanting in the accounts?"
"I do not say so, but the registry does."
"I think," said Philippe in a low tone to Aramis, "that the architect who planned this dome ought, anticipating
the use it could be put to at a future opportunity, so to have contrived that it might be made to fall upon the
heads of scoundrels such as M. Colbert."
"I think so too," replied Aramis; "but M. Colbert is so very
"That is true, and that would open the succession."
upon his face; every one who observed him noticed that a deep feeling of resentment, of remote origin,
increased by slow degrees, as the source becomes a river, thanks to the thousand threads of water that increase
its body, was keenly alive in the depths of the king's heart. Towards the middle of the day only did he begin to
resume a little serenity of manner, and by that time he had, in all probability, made up his mind. Aramis, who
followed him step by step in his thoughts, as in his walk, concluded that the event he was expecting would not
be long before it was announced. This time Colbert seemed to walk in concert with the bishop of Vannes, and
had he received for every annoyance which he inflicted on the king a word of direction from Aramis, he could
property that belongs to me, and which he has stolen. And therefore I am about to change this impudent
"Sire, you would dishonor yourself if you were to give such an order."
"Dishonor myself!" murmured the king, turning pale with anger. "In plain truth, mademoiselle, you show a
strange persistence in what you say."
"If I do, sire, my only motive is that of serving your majesty," replied the noble-hearted girl: "for that I would
risk, I would sacrifice my very life, without the least reserve."
Colbert seemed inclined to grumble and complain. La Valliere, that timid, gentle lamb, turned round upon
him, and with a glance like lightning imposed silence upon him. "Monsieur," she said, "when the king acts
master; I am the least of all his servants. But whoso touches his honor assails my life. Therefore, I repeat, that
to his breast, with all the ardor of ineffable affection, Colbert tranquilly fumbled among the papers in his
"What is the matter, sire?" inquired the superintendent, with an expression of graceful interest.
Louis made a violent effort over himself, as he replied, "Nothing."
"I am afraid your majesty is suffering?"
"I am suffering, and have already told you so, monsieur; but it is nothing."
and you wish to have him arrested!
be willing enough to give it in order to have such a termination as this. But what does that matter? it shall be
done at once."
"Stay," said the king; "do not make his arrest a public affair."
"That will be more difficult."
"Why so?"
as that by which a vessel plunges beneath the waves, had succeeded to the immovableness of the bed.
could perceive nothing but the damp walls which glistened here and there with the slimy traces of the snail.
"Oh - oh! - a dungeon," cried the king.
"No, a subterranean passage."
"Which leads - ?"
"Will you be good enough to follow us?"
"I shall not stir from hence!" cried the king.
"If you are obstinate, my dear young friend," replied the taller of the two, "I will lift you up in my arms, and
roll you up in your own cloak, and if you should happen to be stifled, why - so much the worse for you."
As he said this, he disengaged from beneath his cloak a hand of which Milo of Crotona would have envied
him the possession, on the day when he had that unhappy idea of rending his last oak. The king dreaded
violence, for he could well believe that the two men into whose power he had fallen had not gone so far with
any idea of drawing back, and that they would consequently be ready to proceed to extremities, if necessary.
He shook his head and said: "It seems I have fallen into the hands of a couple of assassins. Move on, then."
Neither of the men answered a word to this remark. The one who carried the lantern walked first, the king
followed him, while the second masked figure closed the procession. In this manner they passed along a
winding gallery of some length, with as many staircases leading out of it as are to be found in the mysterious
and gloomy palaces of Ann Radcliffe's creation. All these windings and turnings, during which the king heard
the sound of running water
with the lamp opened the door with one of the keys he wore suspended at his girdle, where, during the whole
of the brief journey, the king had heard them rattle. As soon as the door was opened and admitted the air,
Louis recognized the balmy odors that trees exhale in hot summer nights. He paused, hesitatingly, for a
moment or two; but the huge sentinel who followed him thrust him out of the subterranean passage.
"Another blow," said the king, turning towards the one who had just had the audacity to touch his sovereign;
"what do you intend to do with the king of France?"
"Well, my dear Monsieur de Baisemeaux, it was a mistake; it was discovered at the ministry, so that I now
"In that case, have him up."
single word: he faltered in as limp and haggard as a rain-struck lily. Baisemeaux shut the door upon him,
prisoners, formerly his victims, now his companions. The voices ascended like vapors through the thick
ceilings and the massive walls, and rose in accusations against the author of this noise, as doubtless their sighs
and tears accused, in whispered tones, the author of their captivity. After having deprived so many people of
their liberty, the king came among them to rob them of their rest. This idea almost drove him mad; it
redoubled his strength, or rather his well, bent upon obtaining some information, or a conclusion to the affair.
had incurred for the purpose of giving the greatest possible honor to this
"Oh! beautiful!"
"Is the king pleased?"
"Did he desire you to say as much to me?"
"He would not choose so unworthy a messenger, monseigneur."
"You do not do yourself justice, Monsieur d'Artagnan."
"Is that your bed, there?"
"Yes; but why do you ask? Are you not satisfied with your own?"
"My I speak frankly to you?"
"Most assuredly."
"Well, then, I am not."
"On the contrary. What do you want with me?"
"It is not that, at all, monseigneur; but that I am going to look for M. d'Herblay, and, consequently, to leave
you alone."
as La Fontaine, as Moliere? with such a mistress as - Oh! if you knew how utterly lonely and desolate I feel at
this moment, and how you, who separate me from all I love, seem to resemble the image of solitude, of
annihilation - death itself."
"Monsieur d'Artagnan, will you do me a favor?"
"Most willingly."
"You guard me, I remain; you are acting in the full discharge of your duty, I suppose?"
"Very good, then; remain as close to me as my shadow if you like; and I infinitely prefer such a shadow to any
one else."
D'Artagnan bowed to the compliment.
: The Morning.
In vivid contrast to the sad and terrible destiny of the king imprisoned in the Bastile, and tearing, in sheer
presence of all the luxury which surrounded him; alone, in the presence of his power; alone, with the part he
was about to be forced to act, Philippe for the first time felt his heart, and mind, and soul expand beneath the
influence of a thousand mutable emotions, which are the vital throbs of a king's heart. He could not help
changing color when he looked upon the empty bed, still tumbled by his brother's body. This mute accomplice
mortal enemy of restless hearts, and of ambitious minds, shrouded in the thickness of its gloom during the
remainder of the night the future king of France, who lay there sheltered beneath his stolen crown. Towards
the morning a shadow, rather than a body, glided into the royal chamber; Philippe expected his approach and
neither expressed nor exhibited any surprise.
"Well, M. d'Herblay?"
"Well, sire, all is accomplished."
"Exactly as we expected."
"Did he resist?"
"Terribly! tears and entreaties."
"And then?"
"A perfect stupor."
"But at last?"
"With M. du Vallon?"
"Yes; confer a dukedom on him, I suppose."
"A dukedom," replied Aramis, smiling in a significant manner.
"Why do you laugh, Monsieur d'Herblay?"
"I laugh at the extreme caution of your idea."
"Cautious, why so?"
"Your majesty is doubtless afraid that poor Porthos may possible become a troublesome witness, and you
"I will take care of that," replied the bishop, "and in order to begin, I am going to strike a blow which will
admit that, I suppose?"
"Certainly. Pray conclude."
Chapter XXI
"Do you believe it likely?" asked the bishop, with a searching look.
"Without believing in his sincerity, I believe it in the accomplished fact."
Aramis slightly shrugged his shoulders.
"But why, then, should Louis XIV. have commissioned you to tell me what you have just stated?"
"The king charged me with no message for you."
"With nothing!" said the superintendent, stupefied. "But, that order - "
"Oh! yes. You are quite right. There
"D'Herblay, by our alliance, by our friendship, by everything you hold dearest in the world, speak openly, I
implore you. By what means have you succeeded in overcoming Louis XIV.'s prejudices, for he did not like
you, I am certain."
"The king will like me
"Most unreservedly; twins are one person in two bodies."
"I am pleased that a legist of your learning and authority should have pronounced such an opinion. It is
agreed, then, that each of them possessed equal rights, is it not?"
"Incontestably! but, gracious heavens, what an extraordinary circumstance!"
"Such a revelation, do you say? that is the very point where your logic fails you. What! do you suppose that if
I had made such a revelation to the king, I should have been alive now?"
"It is not ten minutes ago that you were with the king."
"I mean, my
"It was under my roof, then, monsieur, that you committed this crime?"
"This crime?" said Aramis, stupefied.
and his imprisonment saves your life."
"What else do you think he could say? Am I worth anything now, since you have got into such high favor?"
to one of the subalterns, who went and told the major. As for the governor they did not even dare disturb him.
"No, monseigneur; what does, in fact, influence me, is the king's service. I am doing my duty. Give me an
order from him, and you shall enter."
"Stay, M. le gouverneur, I give you my word that if you allow me to see the prisoner, I will give you an order
from the king at once."
"Give it to me now, monseigneur."
"And that, if you refuse me, I will have you and all your officers arrested on the spot."
"Before you commit such an act of violence, monseigneur, you will reflect," said Baisemeaux, who had turned
very pale, "that we will only obey an order signed by the king; and that it will be just as easy for you to obtain
one to see Marchiali as to obtain one to do me so much injury; me, too, who am perfectly innocent."
as mad as you like. Then - you shall
Baisemeaux stamped his foot on the ground like a man in a state of despair, but he did not reply a single
who thought this new madman was going to dash out his brains with one of them. "Ah!" he cried, "M.
d'Herblay did not say a word about that."
"Such friendships, sire, had nothing dishonorable in them so long as I was ignorant of the crime."
"You should have foreseen it."
"If I am guilty, I place myself in your majesty's hands."
"With death; yes, monsieur, I have said it."
"Sire," said the surintendant, with firmness, as he raised his head proudly, "your majesty will take the life, if
you please, of your brother Philippe of France; that concerns you alone, and you will doubtless consult the
queen-mother upon the subject. Whatever she may command will be perfectly correct. I do not wish to mix
myself up in it, not even for the honor of your crown, but I have a favor to ask of you, and I beg to submit it to
"Speak," said the king, in no little degree agitated by his minister's last words. "What do you require?"
"The pardon of M. d'Herblay and of M. du Vallon."
"My assassins?"
"Two rebels, sire, that is all."
"Oh! I understand, then, you ask me to forgive your friends."
"I do not understand you, sire."
"It is not difficult, either. Where am I now?"
"In the Bastile, sire."
"Yes; in a dungeon. I am looked upon as a madman, am I not?"
"Yes, sire."
"And no one is known here but Marchiali?"
judging by my conscience, the criminals we speak of are not worthy of consideration or forgiveness."
of it again."
"Your majesty shall be obeyed."
Chapter XXIII
"Oh! no, sire; for I anticipated the event."
"You had 'anticipated' that I should refuse to forgive those gentlemen?"
"Certainly; and all my measures were taken in consequence."
"What do you mean to say?" cried the king, surprised.
"M. d'Herblay came, as may be said, to deliver himself into my hands. M. d'Herblay left to me the happiness
of saving my king and my country. I could not condemn M. d'Herblay to death; nor could I, on the other hand,
expose him to your majesty's justifiable wrath; it would have been just the same as if I had killed him myself."
"Well! and what have you done?"
"Sire, I gave M. d'Herblay the best horses in my stables and four hours' start over all those your majesty
might, probably, dispatch after him."
"Be it so!" murmured the king. "But still, the world is wide enough and large enough for those whom I may
send to overtake your horses, notwithstanding the 'four hours' start' which you have given to M. d'Herblay."
"In giving him these four hours, sire, I knew I was giving him his life, and he will save his life."
"In what way?"
"You know all, sire," said the queen, more uneasy than irritated.
"Now," continued Philippe, "I have good reason to dislike this fury, who comes to my court to plan the shame
of some and the ruin of others. If Heaven has suffered certain crimes to be committed, and has concealed them
in the shadow of its clemency, I will not permit Madame de Chevreuse to counteract the just designs of fate."
The latter part of this speech had so agitated the queen-mother, that her son had pity on her. He took her hand
and kissed it tenderly; she did not feel that in that kiss, given in spite of repulsion and bitterness of the heart,
there was a pardon for eight years of suffering. Philippe allowed the silence of a moment to swallow the
emotions that had just developed themselves. Then, with a cheerful smile:
"We will not go to-day," said he, "I have a plan." And, turning towards the door, he hoped to see Aramis,
whose absence began to alarm him. The queen-mother wished to leave the room.
All bowed in support of that sentiment.
that time could disturb the usurper. With what strange facility had Providence just reversed the loftiest fortune
of the world to substitute the lowliest in its stead! Philippe admired the goodness of God with regard to
stealing and who staggered as he caught at the door for support.
Chapter XXV
: In Which Porthos Thinks He Is Pursuing a Duchy.
"Oh!" replied the postmaster, uncovering with respect, "a very worthy nobleman. But, whatever may be my
desire to make myself agreeable to him, I cannot furnish you with horses, for all mine are engaged by M. le
Duc de Beaufort."
"Indeed!" said Aramis, much disappointed.
"Only," continued the postmaster, "if you will put up with a little carriage I have, I will harness an old blind
horse who has still his legs left, and peradventure will draw you to the house of M. le Comte de la Fere."
"It is worth a louis," said Aramis.
"No, monsieur, such a ride is worth no more than a crown; that is what M. Grimaud, the comte's intendant,
always pays me when he makes use of that carriage; and I should not wish the Comte de la Fere to have to
reproach me with having imposed on one of his friends."
"As you please," said Aramis, "particularly as regards disobliging the Comte de la Fere; only I think I have a
right to give you a louis for your idea."
"Oh! doubtless," replied the postmaster with delight. And he himself harnessed the ancient horse to the
creaking carriage. In the meantime Porthos was curious to behold. He imagined he had discovered a clew to
first infidelity is necessary to every human existence; and that no one has loved without encountering it. Raoul
listened, again and again, but never understood. Nothing replaces in the deeply afflicted heart the
remembrance and thought of the beloved object. Raoul then replied to the reasoning of his father:
"Monsieur, all that you tell me is true; I believe that no one has suffered in the affections of the heart so much
as you have; but you are a man too great by reason of intelligence, and too severely tried by adverse fortune
not to allow for the weakness of the soldier who suffers for the first time. I am paying a tribute that will not be
: The Last Adieux.
Raoul uttered a cry, and affectionately embraced Porthos. Aramis and Athos embraced like old men; and this
embrace itself being a question for Aramis, he immediately said, "My friend, we have not long to remain with
"Ah!" said the comte.
"Only time to tell you of my good fortune," interrupted Porthos.
"Ah!" said Raoul.
Athos looked silently at Aramis, whose somber air had already appeared to him very little in harmony with
the good news Porthos hinted.
"You are pursued! - a conspiracy! Eh! my friend, what do you tell me?"
"The saddest truth. I am entirely ruined."
"Well, but Porthos - this title of duke - what does all that mean?"
"That is the subject of my severest pain; that is the deepest of my wounds. I have, believing in infallible
success, drawn Porthos into my conspiracy. He threw himself into it, as you know he would do, with all his
"It is a crime."
"A capital crime; I know it is.
"Porthos! poor Porthos!"
"What would you advise me to do? Success, as I have told you, was certain."
"How am I to understand you, monseigneur?" said Athos.
"Why, I call upon you to bid you farewell."
"Yes, in good truth. Have you no idea of what I am about to become?"
"Why, I suppose, what you have always been, monseigneur, - a valiant prince, and an excellent gentleman."
"I am going to become an African prince, - a Bedouin gentleman. The king is sending me to make conquests
among the Arabs."
"What is this you tell me, monseigneur?"
"Strange, is it not? I, the Parisian
St. Louis did. Do you know those fellows still use poisoned arrows? And then, you know me of old, I fancy,
and you know that when I once make up my mind to a thing, I perform it in grim earnest."
"Yes, you made up your mind to escape from Vincennes."
"Ay, but you aided me in that, my master; and,
friend, M. Vaugrimaud. How is he?"
"M. Vaugrimaud is still your highness's most respectful servant," said Athos, smiling.
"I have a hundred pistoles here for him, which I bring as a legacy. My will is made, count."
"Ah! monseigneur! monseigneur!"
"And you may understand that if Grimaud's name were to appear in my will - " The duke began to laugh; then
addressing Raoul, who, from the commencement of this conversation, had sunk into a profound reverie,
"Young man," said he, "I know there is to be found here a certain De Vouvray wine, and I believe - " Raoul
left the room precipitately to order the wine. In the meantime M. de Beaufort took the hand of Athos.
"What do you mean to do with him?" asked he.
"Nothing at present, monseigneur."
"Ah! yes, I know; since the passion of the king for La Valliere."
"Yes, monseigneur."
"That is all true, then, is it? I think I know her, that little La Valliere. She is not particularly handsome, if I
remember right?"
"No, monseigneur," said Athos.
"Do you know whom she reminds me of?"
"Does she remind your highness of any one?"
"She reminds me of a very agreeable girl, whose mother lived in the Halles."
"Ah! ah!" said Athos, smiling.
"Oh! the good old times," added M. de Beaufort. "Yes, La Valliere reminds me of that girl."
"Who had a son, had she not?" (3)
"I believe she had," replied the duke, with careless
Athos became pale, and was unable to conceal his agitation. The duke looked at his friend, as if desirous to
assist him to parry this unexpected blow.
"That is difficult, my dear vicomte, very difficult," added he, in a lower tone of voice.
duc, the objection you make I have already considered in my mind. I will serve on board your vessels, because
you do me the honor to take me with you; but I shall there serve a more powerful master than the king: I shall
serve God!"
She here interrupted herself by uttering a cry. "Raoul!" said she, blushing.
"Mademoiselle de Montalais!" said Raoul, paler than death.
He rose unsteadily, and tried to make his way across the slippery mosaic of the floor; but she had
comprehended that savage and cruel grief; she felt that in the flight of Raoul there was an accusation of
"Ah! monsieur," said she with disdain, "what you are doing is very unworthy of a gentleman. My heart
inclines me to speak to you; you compromise me by a reception almost uncivil; you are wrong, monsieur; and
you confound your friends with enemies. Farewell!"
Raoul had sworn never to speak of Louise, never even to look at those who might have seen Louise; he was
"In my apartment," said she, "we shall have an hour to ourselves." And taking her course, lighter than a fairy,
she ran up to her chamber, followed by Raoul. Shutting the door, and placing in the hands of her
mantle she had held upon her arm:
"You were seeking M. de Guiche, were you not?" said she to Raoul.
"Yes, mademoiselle."
"I will go and ask him to come up here, presently, after I have spoken to you."
"Do so, mademoiselle."
"Are you angry with me?"
Raoul looked at her for a moment, then, casting down his eyes, "Yes," said he.
"You think I was concerned in the plot which brought about the rupture, do you not?"
Chapter XXVIII
"You are in error," replied Montalais; "Louise did love you."
Raoul started.
mademoiselle," added he, with a shade of irony which did not glide off the cuirass.
"Who! I? - Oh, no! I am no longer one of those whom Mademoiselle de la Valliere condescends to look upon;
but - "
presage for her whom lately he loved so dearly; this terrible
interrupted by a moderately loud noise heard by the speakers proceeding from the alcove behind the
from Madame - from Madame, who is so clement and so generous, - obtain her pardon for you whom she has
just surprised also. You are both free, love each other, be happy!"
The princess felt for a moment a despair that cannot be described; it was repugnant to her, notwithstanding the
exquisite delicacy which Raoul had exhibited, to feel herself at the mercy of one who had discovered such an
"Oh! fear nothing - you are beloved - you are beloved, count; do you feel the value of these three words? They
signify that you can raise your head, that you can sleep tranquilly, that you can thank God every minute of you
life. You are beloved; that signifies that you may hear everything, even the counsel of a friend who wishes to
preserve your happiness. You are beloved, De Guiche, you are beloved! You do not endure those atrocious
nights, those nights without end, which, with arid eye and fainting heart, others pass through who are destined
to die. You will live long, if you act like the miser who, bit by bit, crumb by crumb, collects and heaps up
diamonds and gold. You are beloved! - allow me to tell you what you must do that you may be beloved
De Guiche contemplated for some time this unfortunate young man, half mad with despair, till there passed
The two young men embraced. Those who chanced to see them both thus, would not have hesitated to say,
pointing to Raoul, "That is the happy man!"
Chapter XXIX
time past I have felt myself attracted towards the country and gardening. I was a countryman formerly." And
: The Inventory of M. de Beaufort.
In addition to the mines to be worked € which could not be begun till after the campaign - there would be the
booty made by the army. M. de Beaufort would lay his hands on all the riches pirates had robbed Christendom
of since the battle of Lepanto. The number of millions from these sources defied calculation. Why, then,
"Ah," said he, with the courteous egotism of his rank and age, "you are such people as a man should not see
after dinner; you are cold, stiff, and dry when I am all fire, suppleness, and wine. No, devil take me! I should
always see you fasting, vicomte, and you, comte, if you wear such a face as that, you shall see me no more."
He said this, pressing the hand of Athos, who replied with a smile, "Monseigneur, do not talk so grandly
because you happen to have plenty of money. I predict that within a month you will be dry, stiff, and cold, in
presence of your strong-box, and that then, having Raoul at your elbow, fasting, you will be surprised to see
him gay, animated, and generous, because he will have some new crowns to offer you."
"God grant it may be so!" cried the delighted duke. "Comte, stay with me!"
"No, I shall go with Raoul; the mission with which you charge him is a troublesome and difficult one. Alone it
would be too much for him to execute. You do not observe, monseigneur, you have given him command of
the first order."
"And in your naval arrangements, too."
"That may be true. But one finds that such fine young fellows as your son generally do all that is required of
"Monseigneur, I believe you will find nowhere so much zeal and intelligence, so much real bravery, as in
"But all this does not tell us," said Athos, "how you injured your boat."
"This is the way. I was steering towards St. Honnorat as the gentleman desired me; but he changed his mind,
the shock, we found nothing, not even the carriage or the case."
"Very strange! very strange!" repeated the comte. "But after that, what did you do, my friend?"
"I made my complaint to the governor of Sainte-Marguerite's, who brought my finger under my nose by
telling me if I plagued him with such silly stories he would have me flogged."
"What! did the governor himself say so?"
"That is true."
The governor was obliged to be satisfied with these explanations, but he was still tenacious. "Invite these
gentlemen to come to the fortress," said he.
"That I will willingly do. I was about to propose it to you." The fact is, the captain had quite another idea, and
would have wished his friends a hundred leagues off. But he was obliged to make the best of it. He addressed
the two gentlemen in Spanish, giving them a polite invitation, which they accepted. They all turned towards
"Brought you to Sainte-Marguerite's with the carriage containing the prisoner - with a prisoner whom you
styled monseigneur. Oh! I am acquainted with all that," resumed the comte. D'Artagnan bit his mustache.
"If it were true," said he, "that I had brought hither in a boat and with a carriage a masked prisoner, nothing
proves that this prisoner must be a prince - a prince of the house of France."
"Ask Aramis such riddles," replied Athos, coolly.
"No," replied Athos, "Raoul will die of it."
to him, I tell you."
Athos shook his head, and continued his walk alone, D'Artagnan, cutting across the brambles, rejoined Raoul
"Well! you would cease to love her."
"Then I am decided, my dear D'Artagnan."
"On the day," said Bragelonne, pointing to the last sentence, "on the day when you can place a date under
"It was I," replied D'Artagnan, showing himself promptly. "You know that is the order."
him to your care. In watching over him, you are holding both our souls in your hands."
another friendship, monsieur, as precious and as strong as that of which you speak, since it is yours."
"I have not been a friend for you, Raoul," said Athos.
"Eh! monsieur, and in what respect not?"
"Because I have given you reason to think that life has but one face, because, sad and severe, alas! I have
always cut off for you, without, God knows, wishing to do so, the joyous buds that spring incessantly from the
fair tree of youth; so that at this moment I repent of not having made of you a more expansive, dissipated,
animated man."
"I know why you say that, monsieur. No, it is not you who have made me what I am; it was love, which took
me at the time when children only have inclinations; it is the constancy natural to my character, which with
other creatures is but habit. I believed that I should always be as I was; I thought God had cast me in a path
quite clear, quite straight, bordered with fruits and flowers. I had ever watching over me your vigilance and
strength. I believed myself to be vigilant and strong. Nothing prepared me; I fell once, and that once deprived
me of courage for the whole of my life. It is quite true that I wrecked myself. Oh, no, monsieur! you are
nothing in my past but happiness - in my future but hope! No, I have no reproach to make against life such as
you made it for me; I bless you, and I love you ardently."
"My dear Raoul, your words do me good. They prove to me that you will act a little for me in the time to
"I shall only act for you, monsieur."
"Raoul, what I have never hitherto done with respect to you, I will henceforward do. I will be your friend, not
your father. We will live in expanding ourselves, instead of living and holding ourselves prisoners, when you
come back. And that will be soon, will it not?"
"Certainly, monsieur, for such an expedition cannot last long."
"Soon, then, Raoul, soon, instead of living moderately on my income, I will give you the capital of my estates.
It will suffice for launching you into the world till my death; and you will give me, I hope, before that time,
the consolation of not seeing my race extinct."
"I will do all you may command," said Raoul, much agitated.
"It is not necessary, Raoul, that your duty as aide-de-camp should lead you into too hazardous enterprises.
You have gone through your ordeal; you are known to be a true man under fire. Remember that war with
Arabs is a war of snares, ambuscades, and assassinations."
"So it is said, monsieur."
"There is never much glory in falling in an ambuscade. It is a death which always implies a little rashness or
"There is in addition," said Athos, "the climate to be dreaded: that is an ugly end, to die of fever! King
Saint-Louis prayed God to send him an arrow or the plague, rather than the fever."
"You, yes, you!" cried Raoul, touched to the inmost heart.
"Alas!" said Athos, "you are very old, my good Grimaud."
admiral and his suite to embark last; the cannon waited to announce, with its formidable voice, that the leader
And from that moment, D'Artagnan, accommodating his action to the pace of the horse, like a true centaur,
gave up his thoughts to nothing - that is to say, to everything. He asked himself why the king had sent for him
which had urged the unfortunate Philippe to reveal his character and birth. Philippe, buried forever beneath a
mask of steel, exiled to a country where the men seemed little more than slaves of the elements; Philippe,
the art of venery ran great risk of degenerating at the court of France. D'Artagnan then thought of the wishes
"Do you know what my opinion is?" continued she, addressing D'Artagnan.
"No, mademoiselle; but I should like very much to know it."
"My opinion is, then, that all the men who go to this war are desperate, desponding men, whom love has
the superlative expression of royal satisfaction. Many men would have been ready to lay down their lives for
such a speech from the king. The maids of honor and the courtiers, who had formed a respectful circle round
the king on his entrance, drew back, on observing he wished to speak privately with his captain of the
dinner to his friends. From the bottom to the top of the house, the hurry of the servants bearing dishes, and the
diligence of the
his hand, presented himself at the offices, when he was told it was too late to pay cash, the chest was closed.
He only replied: "On the king's service."
The clerk, a little put out by the serious air of the captain, replied, that "that was a very respectable reason, but
that the customs of the house were respectable likewise; and that, in consequence, he begged the bearer to call
"We will draw up memoirs to justify you," said La Fontaine. "Fly!"
was streaming with perspiration, and he was really suffering from his fever at that instant. He passed into his
"You are not able,
"I am not able, I allow, to destroy certain influences near the king."
"Oh! the reason is of very little consequence."
"On the contrary, I think it is of great consequence; for, if I were certain of not displeasing her majesty, the
queen-mother, my scruples would be all removed."
"Why not, madame?"
"Because M. d'Herblay is not one of those people who can be taken when and where you please."
"He is a rebel, then?"
"He will always find an asylum, monsieur. It is evident you know nothing of the man you have to do with.
"But, mark this well, M. Colbert. M. d'Herblay is never discouraged; if he has missed one blow, he will be
sure to make another; he will begin again. If he has allowed an opportunity to escape of making a king for
himself, sooner or later, he will make another, of whom, to a certainty, you will not be prime minister."
A little cloud at that moment passed across the azure, darkening the sun. Gourville, who was still looking,
with one hand over his eyes, became able to see what he sought, and all at once, jumping from the deck into
a prize for swiftness on the Loire, do they not aptly represent our fortunes; and do you not believe, Gourville,
that one of the two will be wrecked at Nantes?"
"At least," objected Gourville, "there is still uncertainty; you are about to appear at the States; you are about to
show what sort of man you are; your eloquence and genius for business are the buckler and sword that will
during the night, that the king was coming in great haste on post horses, and would arrive in ten or twelve
"For Heaven's sake, monseigneur," replied the captain, "leave the king alone! The day on which I shall come
on the part of the king, for the purpose you mean, take my word for it, I will not leave you long in doubt. You
will see me place my hand on my sword, according to the
ceremonial voice, 'Monseigneur, in the name of the king, I arrest you!'"
"You promise me that frankness?" said the superintendent.
"Upon my honor! But we have not come to that, believe me."
"What makes you think that, M. d'Artagnan? For my part, I think quite the contrary."
"I have heard speak of nothing of the kind," replied D'Artagnan.
"I am not speaking of M. Colbert," replied D'Artagnan. "He is an exceptional man. He does not love you; so
much is very possible; but,
"Yes, monsieur, I have seen him; and this time you come from him - "
"To inquire after you, monseigneur; and, if your health is not too bad, to beg you to have the kindness to
repair to the castle."
"Directly, Monsieur d'Artagnan, directly!"
will; the password governs all now, you as much as me, me as much as you."
of it."
"I mean to do so."
"That was, besides, your majesty's intention as well as mine; and I cannot express to your majesty how happy
and proud I have been to see all the king's regiments from Paris to help take possession."
The surintendant felt this stroke, which was not adroit, and replied, "No, sire; I was ignorant of your majesty's
wish; above all, I was ignorant of your haste to see Belle-Isle, and I am prepared with nothing."
"You have a boat of your own, nevertheless?"
"I have five; but they are all in port, or at Paimboeuf; and to join them, or bring them hither, would require at
least twenty-four hours. Have I any occasion to send a courier? Must I do so?"
"Wait a little, put an end to the fever, - wait till to-morrow."
"Afterwards we will see."
"Yes, sire."
: The White Horse and the Black.
Chapter XL
those famous black ones, as swift as the wind, which D'Artagnan, at Saint- Mande, had so frequently admired
"Your majesty did not inform me."
"Monsieur, there are things that must be guessed; and you, above all, are apt to guess them."
"I might have been able to imagine, sire; but I do not presume to be positive."
Colbert had not finished these words when a rougher voice than that of the king interrupted the interesting
"I have acted for the good of the king," said Colbert, in a faltering voice. "It is hard to be so treated by one of
your majesty's officers, and that without redress, on account of the respect I owe the king."
"The respect you owe the king," cried D'Artagnan, his eyes flashing fire, "consists, in the first place, in
making his authority respected, and his person beloved. Every agent of a power without control represents that
power, and when people curse the hand which strikes them, it is the royal hand that God reproaches, do you
hear? Must a soldier, hardened by forty years of wounds and blood, give you this lesson, monsieur? Must
mercy be on my side, and ferocity on yours? You have caused the innocent to be arrested, bound, and
admiration, monsieur, I would give my life."
"Yes, sire. Alone?"
"You will take a sufficient number of troops to prevent delay, in case the place should be contumacious."
A murmur of courtly incredulity rose from the group of courtiers. "That shall be done," said D'Artagnan.
"I saw the place in my infancy," resumed the king, "and I do not wish to see it again. You have heard me? Go,
the salt breeze with which he charged his massive chest, "It is of no use, Aramis. The disappearance of all the
fishing-boats that went out two days ago is not an ordinary circumstance. There has been no storm at sea; the
weather has been constantly calm, not even the lightest gale; and even if we had had a tempest, all our boats
sea, interrogating space, seeking to pierce the very horizon.
"With all that, Aramis," continued Porthos, who adhered to his idea, and that the more closely from the bishop
having apparently endorsed it, - "with all that, you give me no explanation about what can have happened to
these unfortunate boats. I am assailed by cries and complaints whichever way I go. The children cry to see the
desolation of the women, as if I could restore the absent husbands and fathers. What do you suppose, my
friend, and how ought I to answer them?"
"Think all you like, my good Porthos, and say nothing."
"By the flag."
"But," said Porthos, "the boat is scarcely visible; how the devil, my friend, can you distinguish the flag?"
"I see there is one," replied the old man; "our boats, trade lighters, do not carry any. That sort of craft is
generally used for transport of troops."
"Ah!" groaned Aramis.
"Unless it is the English coming."
"By the Loire? That would have an evil look, Porthos; for they must have come through Paris!"
"You are right; they are reinforcements, decidedly, or provisions."
Aramis leaned his head upon his hands, and made no reply. Then, all at once, - "Porthos," said he, "have the
alarm sounded."
"The alarm! do you imagine such a thing?"
covered his sight, went with his best speed to the batteries to overlook his people, and exhort every one to do
his duty. In the meantime, Aramis, with his eye fixed on the horizon, saw the ships continually drawing
nearer. The people and the soldiers, perched on the summits of the rocks, could distinguish the masts, then the
lower sails, and at last the hulls of the lighters, bearing at the masthead the royal flag of France. It was night
when one of these vessels, which had created such a sensation among the inhabitants of Belle-Isle, dropped
anchor within cannon shot of the place. It was soon seen, notwithstanding the darkness, that some sort of
agitation reigned on board the vessel, from the side of which a skiff was lowered, of which the three rowers,
bending to their oars, took the direction of the port, and in a few instants struck land at the foot of the fort. The
"It follows that we are rebels, my poor friend."
"The devil! the devil!" cried Porthos, much disappointed.
"Monsieur," continued D'Artagnan, growing warm - "monsieur, when I manifested the intention of quitting
my vessel to cross to Belle-Isle, you demanded to accompany me; I did not hesitate; I brought you with me.
You are now at Belle-Isle, are you not?"
"Yes, monsieur; but - "
"But - the question no longer is of M. Colbert, who has given you that order, or of whomsoever in the world
you are following the instructions; the question now is of a man who is a clog upon M. d'Artagnan, and who is
turned round, sword in hand, to see if the officer followed him. The officer made a sign of the cross and
stepped up. Porthos and Aramis, who knew their D'Artagnan, uttered a cry, and rushed down to prevent the
blow they thought they already heard. But D'Artagnan passed his sword into his left hand, -
"I have another trial to make of this officer, of this brave fellow who accompanies me, and whose courageous
resistance makes me very happy; for it denotes an honest man, who, though an enemy, is a thousand times
"Yes," added Aramis. Porthos alone said nothing, but merely bowed.
D'Artagnan, having tenderly embraced his two old friends, left Belle-Isle with the inseparable companion with
whom M. Colbert had saddled him. Thus, with the exception of the explanation with which the worthy
Porthos had been willing to be satisfied, nothing had changed in appearance in the fate of one or the other,
"Only," said Aramis, "there is D'Artagnan's idea."
place given up to us in a friendly way which it might cost prodigious efforts to subdue."
The officer who had followed D'Artagnan to Belle-Isle was preparing to speak, but D'Artagnan interrupted
"Yes, I know what you are going to tell me, monsieur; I know that there is an order of the king's to prevent all
louder. D'Artagnan shuddered.
"They have commenced the siege of Belle-Isle," replied the officer. The canoe had just touched the soil of
Chapter XLV
: The Ancestors of Porthos.
"Indeed!" said Aramis; "then your grandfather must have been Samson himself."
"That is a grand idea. What shall we gain by it?"
"We shall gain this - nobody knows that grotto, or rather its issue, except ourselves and two or three hunters of
the island; we shall gain this - that if the island is occupied, the scouts, seeing no bark upon the shore, will
never imagine we can escape, and will cease to watch."
"I understand."
"Well! that weakness in the legs?"
mole, and seized by the nape of the neck one of the officers of the royal army who was waiting to embark till
all his people should be in the boat. The arm of the giant lifted up his prey, which served him as a buckler, and
he recovered himself without a shot being fired at him.
"Here is a prisoner for you," said Porthos coolly to Aramis.
"Well!" cried the latter, laughing, "did you not calumniate your legs?"
"It was not with my legs I captured him," said Porthos, "it was with my arms!"
Chapter XLVI
: The Son of Biscarrat.
the officer was prolonged. He was an intelligent gentleman, and suffered himself to be led on by the charm of
Aramis's wit and Porthos's cordial
"Pardon me," said he, "if I address a question to you; but men who are in their sixth bottle have a clear right to
"Bah! you said so yourself."
"I said so just now, when I did not know you; but now that I know you, I say - you will evade this dismal fate,
if you wish!"
"How - if we wish?" echoed Aramis, whose eyes beamed with intelligence as he looked alternately at the
prisoner and Porthos.
"Provided," continued Porthos, looking, in his turn, with noble intrepidity, at M. Biscarrat and the bishop -
"provided nothing disgraceful be required of us."
"Nothing at all will be required of you, gentlemen," replied the officer - "what should they ask of you? If they
"Grace!" replied Porthos with flashing eyes, "what is the meaning of that word?"
Aramis touched the elbow of his friend roughly, as he had been accustomed to do in the days of their youth,
when he wanted to warn Porthos that he had committed, or was about to commit, a blunder. Porthos
understood him, and was silent immediately.
"I will go, messieurs," replied Biscarrat, a little surprised likewise at the word "grace" pronounced by the
that title, what will become of you in the meantime?" replied the officer, very much agitated at taking leave of
the two ancient adversaries of his father.
"We will wait here."
"I am bishop of Vannes, Monsieur de Biscarrat; and they no more shoot a bishop than they hang a
"Ah! yes, monsieur - yes, monseigneur," replied Biscarrat; "it is true, you are right, there is still that chance
for you. Then, I will depart, I will repair to the commander of the expedition, the king's lieutenant. Adieu!
three men, three servants, who were to accompany us. I don't see them - where are they?"
"Why should you see them, Porthos?" replied Aramis. "They are certainly waiting for us in the cavern, and, no
doubt, are resting, having accomplished their rough and difficult task."
Aramis stopped Porthos, who was preparing to enter the cavern. "Will you allow me, my friend," said he to
the giant, "to pass in first? I know the signal I have given to these men; who, not hearing it, would be very
likely to fire upon you or slash away with their knives in the dark."
"Go on, then, Aramis; go on - go first; you impersonate wisdom and foresight; go. Ah! there is that fatigue
again, of which I spoke to you. It has just seized me afresh."
to the risks of things over which uncertainty presides, did not fall out exactly as the bishop of Vannes had
of the grotto, and waited till his companions should have assembled round him.
"Well!" asked the young men, coming up, out of breath, and unable to understand the meaning of this
"Well! I cannot hear the dogs; they and the fox must all be lost in this infernal cavern."
"They were too close up," said one of the guards, "to have lost scent all at once. Besides, we should hear them
from one side or another. They must, as Biscarrat says, be in this grotto."
"But then," said one of the young men, "why don't they give tongue?"
"It is strange!" muttered another.
doing, here? Unfortunate men! I thought you were in the fort."
"And you, monsieur, you were to obtain conditions for us, I think?"
"I did all I was able, messieurs, but - "
"But what?"
"But there are positive orders."
"To kill us?"
Biscarrat made no reply. It would have cost him too much to speak of the cord to gentlemen. Aramis
understood the silence of the prisoner.
"Monsieur Biscarrat," said he, "you would be already dead if we had not regard for your youth and our ancient
with a chill. That is all."
"But the dogs, the dogs; have you seen them again - did you see anything of them - do you know anything
about them?"
"I suppose they have got out some other way."
"Messieurs," said one of the young men, "there is in that which is going on, in the paleness and silence of our
friend, a mystery which Biscarrat will not, or cannot reveal. Only, and this is certain, Biscarrat has seen
"Biscarrat is a prisoner?"
"No, for here he is - look." In fact, Biscarrat appeared at the opening of the grotto.
"He is making a sign to come on," said the officer. "Come on!"
"Two men - and they have killed ten in two discharges! It is impossible, Monsieur Biscarrat!"
"Eh! captain," replied the latter, "I do not tell you that they have not with them two or three men, as the
perhaps ten; but, certainly, they must end by taking the rebels, since there was no issue; and, at any rate, two
men could not kill eighty.
"Captain," said Biscarrat, "I beg to be allowed to march at the head of the first platoon."
"So be it," replied the captain; "you have all the honor. I make you a present of it."
"Thanks!" replied the young man, with all the firmness of his race.
"Take your sword, then."
"I shall go as I am, captain," said Biscarrat, "for I do not go to kill, I go to be killed."
And placing himself at the head of the first platoon, with head uncovered and arms crossed, - "March,
gentlemen," said he.
Chapter XLIX
: An Homeric Song.
It is time to pass to the other camp, and to describe at once the combatants and the field of battle. Aramis and
Porthos had gone to the grotto of Locmaria with the expectation of finding there their canoe ready armed, as
cavern was by a moderate descent, above which distorted rocks formed a weird arcade; the interior, very
uneven and dangerous from the inequalities of the vault, was subdivided into several compartments, which
communicated with each other by means of rough and jagged steps, fixed right and left, in uncouth natural
pillars. At the third compartment the vault was so low, the passage so narrow, that the bark would scarcely
have passed without touching the side; nevertheless, in moments of despair, wood softens and stone grows
flexible beneath the human will. Such was the thought of Aramis, when, after having fought the fight, he
decided upon flight - a flight most dangerous, since all the assailants were not dead; and that, admitting the
possibility of putting the bark to sea, they would have to fly in open day, before the conquered, so interested
on recognizing their small number, in pursuing their conquerors. When the two discharges had killed ten men,
Aramis, familiar with the windings of the cavern, went to reconnoiter them one by one, and counted them, for
the smoke prevented seeing outside; and he immediately commanded that the canoe should be rolled as far as
the great stone, the closure of the liberating issue. Porthos collected all his strength, took the canoe in his
"How many are there in all?" asked Porthos.
"They have received a reinforcement of seventy-five men."
"Seventy-five and five, eighty. Ah!" sighed Porthos.
"If they fire all at once they will riddle us with balls."
"Certainly they will."
"Don't trouble yourself about me; I have a task to perform."
"I think I hear shouts."
"It is they! To your post. Keep within reach of my voice and hand."
Porthos took refuge in the second compartment, which was in darkness, absolutely black. Aramis glided into
the third; the giant held in his hand an iron bar of about fifty pounds weight. Porthos handled this lever, which
: The Death of a Titan.
At the moment when Porthos, more accustomed to the darkness than these men, coming from open daylight,
was looking round him to see if through this artificial midnight Aramis were not making him some signal, he
felt his arm gently touched, and a voice low as a breath murmured in his ear, "Come."
"Oh!" said Porthos.
two seconds; but during these two seconds this is what it illumined: in the first place, the giant, enlarged in the
darkness; then, at ten paces off, a heap of bleeding bodies, crushed, mutilated, in the midst of which some still
heaved in the last agony, lifting the mass as a last respiration inflating the sides of some old monster dying in
the night. Every breath of Porthos, thus vivifying the match, sent towards this heap of bodies a
phosphorescent aura, mingled with streaks of purple. In addition to this principal group scattered about the
in gold, seek for the arms upon which they depended for their defense. One single man has made of all of
those things a chaos more confused, more shapeless, more terrible than the chaos which existed before the
creation of the world. There remained nothing of the three compartments - nothing by which God could have
recognized His handiwork. As for Porthos, after having hurled the barrel of powder amidst his enemies, he
had fled, as Aramis had directed him to do, and had gained the last compartment, into which air, light, and
"Quick! quick!" repeated Aramis, bending forward towards the shore, as if to draw Porthos towards him with
his arms.
"Here I am," stammered Porthos, collecting all his strength to make one step more.
"In the name of Heaven! Porthos, make haste! the barrel will blow up!"
rough voice of Porthos, seeing them exhaust themselves in a useless struggle, murmured in an almost cheerful
tone those supreme words which came to his lips with the last respiration, "Too heavy!"
After which his eyes darkened and closed, his face grew ashy pale, the hands whitened, and the colossus sank
quite down, breathing his last sigh. With him sank the rock, which, even in his dying agony he had still held
up. The three men dropped the levers, which rolled upon the tumulary stone. Then, breathless, pale, his brow
covered with sweat, Aramis listened, his breast oppressed, his heart ready to break.
take for the gigantic abode of a
wind of ocean, so many lichens solder thy sepulcher to earth, that no passers-by will imagine such a block of
granite could ever have been supported by the shoulders of one man.
Aramis, still pale, still icy-cold, his heart upon his lips, looked, even till, with the last ray of daylight, the
shore faded on the horizon. Not a word escaped him, not a sigh rose from his deep breast. The superstitious
across the dreaded Gulf of Gascony, so rife with storms. But scarcely half an hour after the sail had been
hoisted, the rowers became inactive, reclining on their benches, and, making an eye-shade with their hands,
pointed out to each other a white spot which appeared on the horizon as motionless as a gull rocked by the
viewless respiration of the waves. But that which might have appeared motionless to ordinary eyes was
moving at a quick rate to the experienced eye of the sailor; that which appeared stationary upon the ocean was
cutting a rapid way through it. For some time, seeing the profound torpor in which their master was plunged,
they did not dare to rouse him, and satisfied themselves with exchanging their conjectures in whispers.
Aramis, in fact, so vigilant, so active - Aramis, whose eye, like that of the lynx, watched without ceasing, and
if I were going to touch them. Twenty-five men at least! Ah! I see the captain forward. He holds a glass like
this, and is looking at us. Ah! he turns round, and gives an order; they are rolling a piece of cannon forward -
they are loading it - pointing it.
And by a mechanical movement, the skipper put aside the telescope, and the pursuing ship, relegated to the
horizon, appeared again in its true aspect. The vessel was still at the distance of nearly a league, but the
maneuver sighted thus was not less real. A light cloud of smoke appeared beneath the sails, more blue than
they, and spreading like a flower opening; then, at about a mile from the little canoe, they saw the ball take the
crown off two or three waves, dig a white furrow in the sea, and disappear at the end of it, as inoffensive as
the stone with which, in play, a boy makes ducks and drakes. It was at once a menace and a warning.
"What is to be done?" asked the patron.
"They will sink us!" said Goenne, "give us absolution, monseigneur!" And the sailors fell on their knees
before him.
At the same moment, as if the vessel was responsive to the appeal of Aramis, a second cloud of smoke
mounted slowly to the heavens, and from the bosom of that cloud sparkled an arrow of flame, which described
a parabola like a rainbow, and fell into the sea, where it continued to burn, illuminating a space of a quarter of
"At the first sign of resistance," cried the commander of the
speak to him. Yes; but in the meantime Belle-Isle is besieged, and my two friends by now probably taken or
killed. Poor Porthos! As to Master Aramis, he is always full of resources, and I am easy on his account. But,
that is all. I shan't die of that, I will swear."
"No, but - "
"One would say you have forgotten what these men have done to me!" said the king, in a hollow voice, "and
that it was no merit of theirs I was not lost."
the fire of Rochelle; riddled with sword-thrusts like a sieve, having grown a new skin ten times, as serpents
bow before it. Far from us the idea of coming to defend him who has had the misfortune to offend your
majesty. He who has incurred your displeasure may be a friend of ours, but he is an enemy to the state. We
abandon him, but with tears, to the severity of the king."
"Besides," interrupted the king, calmed by that supplicating voice, and those persuasive words, "my
parliament will decide. I do not strike without first having weighed the crime; my justice does not wield the
sword without employing first a pair of scales."
"Therefore we have every confidence in that impartiality of the king, and hope to make our feeble voices
heard, with the consent of your majesty, when the hour for defending an accused friend strikes."
"In that case, messieurs, what do you ask of me?" said the king, with his most imposing air.
"Sire," continued Pelisson, "the accused has a wife and family. The little property he had was scarcely
risks his life to combat death. He is the last resource of the dying, the chosen instrument of heavenly mercy.
my mercy towards the weak. I strike none but the arrogant. Do, messieurs, do all that your hearts counsel you
were rural neighbors, cures and bailiffs of adjacent estates. All these people entered the chateau silently,
handed their horses to a melancholy-looking groom, and directed their steps, conducted by a huntsman in
learned friend the bishop of Vannes - " (D'Artagnan shuddered at the dismal remembrance attached to that
name) - the procureur continued imperturbably - "they consist - "
"On condition that M. le Vicomte de Bragelonne do give to M. le Chevalier d'Artagnan, captain of the king's
: The Old Age of Athos.
see flock round him the poor of the canton, to whom Athos had so often given life and consolation by his kind
words and his charities. He examined, therefore, from the depths of his hiding-place, the nature of that
mysterious malady which bent and aged more mortally every day a man but lately so full of life and a desire
to live. He remarked upon the cheeks of Athos the hectic hue of fever, which feeds upon itself; slow fever,
pitiless, born in a fold of the heart, sheltering itself behind that rampart, growing from the suffering it
engenders, at once cause and effect of a perilous situation. The comte spoke to nobody; he did not even talk to
himself. His thought feared noise; it approached to that degree of over-excitement which borders upon
"I hope so," said Athos.
"Is it your wish to kill yourself?"
"Never, doctor."
"What do you say?"
courier of Blois," replied his
as midnight struck.
the day after the battle fought upon the shores of Gigelli by the army of the expedition, which he had seen
leave the coast of France and disappear upon the dim horizon, and of which he had saluted with thought and
gesture the last cannon-shot fired by the duke as a signal of farewell to his country.
Who can paint the mortal agony with which his soul followed, like a vigilant eye, these effigies of clay-cold
soldiers, and examined them, one after the other, to see if Raoul slept among them? Who can express the
intoxication of joy with which Athos bowed before God, and thanked Him for not having seen him he sought
with so much fear among the dead? In fact, fallen in their ranks, stiff, icy, the dead, still recognizable with
Fatigued, therefore, with having traversed seas and continents, he sought repose under one of the tents
sheltered behind a rock, on the top of which floated the white
conduct him to the tent of M. de Beaufort. Then, while his eye was wandering over the plain, turning on all
sides, he saw a white form appear behind the scented myrtles. This figure was clothed in the costume of an
officer; it held in its hand a broken sword; it advanced slowly towards Athos, who, stopping short and fixing
his eyes upon it, neither spoke nor moved, but wished to open his arms, because in this silent officer he had
already recognized Raoul. The comte attempted to utter a cry, but it was stifled in his throat. Raoul, with a
gesture, directed him to be silent, placing his finger on his lips and drawing back by degrees, without Athos
being able to see his legs move. The comte, still paler than Raoul, followed his son, painfully traversing briers
and bushes, stones and ditches, Raoul not appearing to touch the earth, no obstacle seeming to impede the
lightness of his march. The comte, whom the inequalities of the path fatigued, soon stopped, exhausted. Raoul
still continued to beckon him to follow him. The tender father, to whom love restored strength, made a last
effort, and climbed the mountain after the young man, who attracted him by gesture and by smile.
At length he gained the crest of the hill, and saw, thrown out in black, upon the horizon whitened by the
"Grimaud!" murmured he. And the sweat began to pour down his face. Grimaud appeared in the doorway. It
was no longer the Grimaud we have seen, still young with courage and devotion, when he jumped the first
towards the heavens, resuming his marvelous dream, he repassed by the same road by which the vision, at
and in the memory of other men - a death which caused to be loved the passage from this life to the other by
those whose existence upon this earth leads them not to dread the last judgment. Athos preserved, even in the
Chapter LVIII
steel-chill rays of dawn, in the dark alley of old limes, marked by the still visible footsteps of the comte who
had just died.
Chapter LIX
spectacle drew from him many painful sighs. He then cried aloud, seeing the Arabs running like white
the account of the death of poor Raoul. "Oh!" murmured he, "unhappy boy! a suicide!" And turning his eyes
: The Last Canto of the Poem.
On the morrow, all the
their families, came thither to hear mass, without having any occasion to go to the city.
Behind the chapel extended, surrounded by two high hedges of hazel, elder and white thorn, and a deep ditch,
the little inclosure - uncultivated, though gay in its sterility; because the mosses there grew thick, wild
heliotrope and ravenelles there mingled perfumes, while from beneath an ancient chestnut issued a crystal
spring, a prisoner in its marble cistern, and on the thyme all around alighted thousands of bees from the
neighboring plants, whilst chaffinches and redthroats sang cheerfully among the flower-spangled hedges. It
was to this place the somber coffins were carried, attended by a silent and respectful crowd. The office of the
dead being celebrated, the last adieux paid to the noble departed, the assembly dispersed, talking, along the
roads, of the virtues and mild death of the father, of the hopes the son had given, and of his melancholy end
upon the arid coast of Africa.
Little by little, all noises were extinguished, like the lamps illuminating the humble nave. The minister bowed
for the last time to the altar and the still fresh graves; then, followed by his assistant, he slowly took the road
back to the presbytery. D'Artagnan, left alone, perceived that night was coming on. He had forgotten the hour,
thinking only of the dead. He arose from the oaken bench on which he was seated in the chapel, and wished,
as the priest had done, to go and bid a last adieu to the double grave which contained his two lost friends.
A woman was praying, kneeling on the moist earth. D'Artagnan stopped at the door of the chapel, to avoid
disturbing her, and also to endeavor to find out who was the pious friend who performed this sacred duty with
so much zeal and perseverance. The unknown had hidden her face in her hands, which were white as
alabaster. From the noble simplicity of her costume, she must be a woman of distinction. Outside the
inclosure were several horses mounted by servants; a travelling carriage was in waiting for this lady.
D'Artagnan in vain sought to make out what caused her delay. She continued praying, and frequently pressed
her handkerchief to her face, by which D'Artagnan perceived she was weeping. He beheld her strike her breast
with the compunction of a Christian woman. He heard her several times exclaim as from a wounded heart:
"Pardon! pardon!" And as she appeared to abandon herself entirely to her grief, as she threw herself down,
almost fainting, exhausted by complaints and prayers, D'Artagnan, touched by this love for his so much
the comte, whom I supposed to be still living, and to pray God, on the tomb of Raoul, that he would send me
all the misfortunes I have merited, except a single one. Now, monsieur, I know that the death of the son has
killed the father; I have two crimes to reproach myself with; I have two punishments to expect from Heaven."
"I will repeat to you, mademoiselle," said D'Artagnan, "what M. de Bragelonne said of you, at Antibes, when
Saying these words, she again knelt down, softly and affectionately.
"Pardon me the last time, my affianced Raoul!" said she. "I have broken our chain; we are both destined to die
of grief. It is thou who departest first; fear nothing, I shall follow thee. See, only, that I have not been base,
and that I have come to bid thee this last adieu. The Lord is my witness, Raoul, that if with my life I could
have redeemed thine, I would have given that life without hesitation. I could not give my love. Once more,
forgive me, dearest, kindest friend."
He hesitated for a moment, with a dull eye; then, drawing himself up, "Forward! still forward!" said he.
The falconer was about to reply, when the king, perceiving D'Artagnan, "Ah, comte!" said he, "you are
amongst us once more then! Why have I not seen you?"
"Sire," replied the captain, "because your majesty was asleep when I arrived, and not awake when I resumed
my duties this morning."
"Still the same," said Louis, in a loud voice, denoting satisfaction. "Take some rest, comte; I command you to
do so. You will dine with me to- day."
A murmur of admiration surrounded D'Artagnan like a caress. Every one was eager to salute him. Dining with
the king was an honor his majesty was not so prodigal of as Henry IV. had been. The king passed a few steps
in advance, and D'Artagnan found himself in the midst of a fresh group, among whom shone Colbert.
"Good-day, Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the minister, with marked affability, "have you had a pleasant
"Yes, monsieur," said D'Artagnan, bowing to the neck of his horse.
master's face. Colbert took D'Artagnan and Aramis on one side. The king began to chat with his sister, whilst
Monsieur, very uneasy, entertained the queen with a preoccupied air, without ceasing to watch his wife and
Lorraine ought not with impunity to constitute themselves the executioners of my honor and my happiness."
"The Chevalier de Lorraine," said the king; "that dismal fellow?"
equipped - that we must serve up to our friends; vessels we must offer, all armed with cannons and stored with
provisions. It hence results that we have not always coffers in a fit condition for such friendships."
"Ah! you are quite right," said Madame; "the coffers of the king of England have been sonorous for some
"But you, my sister, who have so much influence over your brother, you can secure more than an ambassador
"Nobility; that is, enough to enable her to approach the king without awkwardness - not too lofty, so as not to
trouble herself about the dignity of her race."
"Very true."
"And who knows a little English."
"Oh! why, yes!" said Louis XIV.; "you have hit the mark, - it is you who have found, my sister."
"I will take her; she will have no cause to complain, I suppose."
"Oh! no, I will name her
"That is well."
"I fancy you already on your road, my dear little sister, consoled for all your griefs."
"I will go, on two conditions. The first is, that I shall know what I am negotiating about."
On hearing these words, Louis XIV. turned round towards the corner of the room in which D'Artagnan,
Colbert, and Aramis stood, and made an affirmative sign to his minister. Colbert then broke in on the
conversation suddenly, and said to Aramis:
"Monsieur l'ambassadeur, shall we talk about business?"
D'Artagnan immediately withdrew, from politeness. He directed his steps towards the fireplace, within
hearing of what the king was about to say to Monsieur, who, evidently uneasy, had gone to him. The face of
besides, that it would infer a maritime war, and that France is in no state to undertake this with advantage."
Colbert, turning round at this moment, saw D'Artagnan who was seeking some interlocutor, during this
"aside" of the king and Monsieur. He called him, at the same time saying in a low voice to Aramis, "We may
talk openly with D'Artagnan, I suppose?"
"Oh! certainly," replied the ambassador.
"We were saying, M. d'Almeda and I," said Colbert, "that a conflict with the United Provinces would mean a
maritime war."
"I think that to carry on such a war successfully, you must have very large land forces."
"What did you say?" said Colbert, thinking he had ill understood him.
"Why such a large land army?" said Aramis.
"Because the king will be beaten by sea if he has not the English with him, and that when beaten by sea, he
will soon be invaded, either by the Dutch in his ports, or by the Spaniards by land."
"And Spain neutral?" asked Aramis.
"Neutral as long as the king shall prove stronger," rejoined D'Artagnan.
Colbert admired that sagacity which never touched a question without enlightening it thoroughly. Aramis
smiled, as he had long known that in diplomacy D'Artagnan acknowledged no superior. Colbert, who, like all
proud men, dwelt upon his fantasy with a certainty of success, resumed the subject, "Who told you, M.
d'Artagnan, that the king had no navy?"
friendly with the king; they will be happy to sell to the king what they fabricate for themselves; then the more
we buy' - Ah! I must add this: I have Forant - do you know Forant, D'Artagnan?"
Colbert, in his warmth, forgot himself; he called the captain simply
captain only smiled at it.
"No," replied he, "I do not know him."
"That is another man I have discovered, with a genius for buying. This Forant has purchased for me 350,000
pounds of iron in balls, 200,000 pounds of powder, twelve cargoes of Northern timber, matches, grenades,
pitch, tar - I know not what! with a saving of seven per cent upon what all those articles would cost me
fabricated in France."
"Ah! but there are some bitter passages of canals and marshes yonder, Monsieur d'Artagnan, and the best
Chapter LX
His Catholic Majesty gives to the signature of a treaty which assures the neutrality of Spain in the event of a
These people arrived before the place which D'Artagnan was besieging towards daybreak, and presented
themselves at the lodgings of the general. They were told that M. d'Artagnan, annoyed by a sortie which the
governor, an artful man, had made the evening before, and in which the works had been destroyed and
seventy-seven men killed, and the reparation of the breaches commenced, had just gone with twenty
Chapter LX
M. Colbert's envoy had orders to go and seek M. d'Artagnan, wherever he might be, or at whatever hour of the
day or night. He directed his course, therefore, towards the trenches, followed by his escort, all on horseback.
They perceived M. d'Artagnan in the open plain, with his gold- laced hat, his long cane, and gilt cuffs. He was
biting his white mustache, and wiping off, with his left hand, the dust which the passing balls threw up from
the ground they plowed so near him. They also saw, amidst this terrible fire, which filled the air with
whistling hisses, officers handling the shovel, soldiers rolling barrows, and vast fascines, rising by being
either carried or dragged by from ten to twenty men, cover the front of the trench reopened to the center by
this extraordinary effort of the general. In three hours, all was reinstated. D'Artagnan began to speak more
mildly; and he became quite calm when the captain of the pioneers approached him, hat in hand, to tell him
that the trench was again in proper order. This man had scarcely finished speaking, when a ball took off one of

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