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Twenty Years After

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Chapter 19. Pates made by the Successor of Father Marteau are described.


In half an hour La Ramee returned, full of glee, like most men who have eaten, and more especially drank to their heart’s content. The pates were excellent, the wine delicious.

The weather was fine and the game at tennis took place in the open air.

At two o’clock the tennis balls began, according to Grimaud’s directions, to take the direction of the moat, much to the joy of La Ramee, who marked fifteen whenever the duke sent a ball into the moat; and very soon balls were wanting, so many had gone over. La Ramee then proposed to send some one to pick them up, but the duke remarked that it would be losing time; and going near the rampart himself and looking over, he saw a man working in one of the numerous little gardens cleared out by the peasants on the opposite side of the moat.

“Hey, friend!” cried the duke.

The man raised his head and the duke was about to utter a cry of surprise. The peasant, the gardener, was Rochefort, whom he believed to be in the Bastile.

“Well? Who’s up there?” said the man.

“Be so good as to collect and throw us back our balls,” said the duke.

The gardener nodded and began to fling up the balls, which were picked up by La Ramee and the guard. One, however, fell at the duke’s feet, and seeing that it was intended for him, he put it into his pocket.

La Ramee was in ecstasies at having beaten a prince of the blood.

The duke went indoors and retired to bed, where he spent, indeed, the greater part of every day, as they had taken his books away. La Ramee carried off all his clothes, in order to be certain that the duke would not stir. However, the duke contrived to hide the ball under his bolster and as soon as the door was closed he tore off the cover of the ball with his teeth and found underneath the following letter:

My Lord,--Your friends are watching over you and the hour of your deliverance is at hand. Ask day after to-morrow to have a pie supplied you by the new confectioner opposite the castle, and who is no other than Noirmont, your former maitre d’hotel. Do not open the pie till you are alone. I hope you will be satisfied with its contents.

“Your highness’s most devoted servant,

“In the Bastile, as elsewhere,

“Comte de Rochefort.”

The duke, who had latterly been allowed a fire, burned the letter, but kept the ball, and went to bed, hiding the ball under his bolster. La Ramee entered; he smiled kindly on the prisoner, for he was an excellent man and had taken a great liking for the captive prince. He endeavored to cheer him up in his solitude.

“Ah, my friend!” cried the duke, “you are so good; if I could but do as you do, and eat pates and drink Burgundy at the house of Father Marteau’s successor.”

“‘Tis true, my lord,” answered La Ramee, “that his pates are famous and his wine magnificent.”

“In any case,” said the duke, “his cellar and kitchen might easily excel those of Monsieur de Chavigny.”

“Well, my lord,” said La Ramee, falling into the trap, “what is there to prevent your trying them? Besides, I have promised him your patronage.”

“You are right,” said the duke. “If I am to remain here permanently, as Monsieur Mazarin has kindly given me to understand, I must provide myself with a diversion for my old age, I must turn gourmand.”

“My lord,” said La Ramee, “if you will take a bit of good advice, don’t put that off till you are old.”

“Good!” said the Duc de Beaufort to himself, “every man in order that he may lose his heart and soul, must receive from celestial bounty one of the seven capital sins, perhaps two; it seems that Master La Ramee’s is gluttony. Let us then take advantage of it.” Then, aloud:

“Well, my dear La Ramee! the day after to-morrow is a holiday.”

“Yes, my lord--Pentecost.”

“Will you give me a lesson the day after to-morrow?”

“In what?”

“In gastronomy?”

“Willingly, my lord.”

“But tete-a-tete. Send the guards to take their meal in the canteen of Monsieur de Chavigny; we’ll have a supper here under your direction.”

“Hum!” said La Ramee.

The proposal was seductive, but La Ramee was an old stager, acquainted with all the traps a prisoner was likely to set. Monsieur de Beaufort had said that he had forty ways of getting out of prison. Did this proposed breakfast cover some stratagem? He reflected, but he remembered that he himself would have charge of the food and the wine and therefore that no powder could be mixed with the food, no drug with the wine. As to getting him drunk, the duke couldn’t hope to do that, and he laughed at the mere thought of it. Then an idea came to him which harmonized everything.

The duke had followed with anxiety La Ramee’s unspoken soliloquy, reading it from point to point upon his face. But presently the exempt’s face suddenly brightened.

“Well,” he asked, “that will do, will it not?”

“Yes, my lord, on one condition.”

“What?”

“That Grimaud shall wait on us at table.”

Nothing could be more agreeable to the duke, however, he had presence of mind enough to exclaim:

“To the devil with your Grimaud! He will spoil the feast.”

“I will direct him to stand behind your chair, and since he doesn’t speak, your highness will neither see nor hear him and with a little effort can imagine him a hundred miles away.”

“Do you know, my friend, I find one thing very evident in all this, you distrust me.”

“My lord, the day after to-morrow is Pentecost.”

“Well, what is Pentecost to me? Are you afraid that the Holy Spirit will come as a tongue of fire to open the doors of my prison?”

“No, my lord; but I have already told you what that damned magician predicted.”

“And what was it?”

“That the day of Pentecost would not pass without your highness being out of Vincennes.”

“You believe in sorcerers, then, you fool?”

“I---I mind them no more than that----” and he snapped his fingers; “but it is my Lord Giulio who cares about them; as an Italian he is superstitious.”

The duke shrugged his shoulders.

“Well, then,” with well acted good-humor, “I allow Grimaud, but no one else; you must manage it all. Order whatever you like for supper--the only thing I specify is one of those pies; and tell the confectioner that I will promise him my custom if he excels this time in his pies--not only now, but when I leave my prison.”

“Then you think you will some day leave it?” said La Ramee.

“The devil!” replied the prince; “surely, at the death of Mazarin. I am fifteen years younger than he is. At Vincennes, ‘tis true, one lives faster----”

“My lord,” replied La Ramee, “my lord----”

“Or dies sooner, for it comes to the same thing.”

La Ramee was going out. He stopped, however, at the door for an instant.

“Whom does your highness wish me to send to you?”

“Any one, except Grimaud.”

“The officer of the guard, then, with his chessboard?”

“Yes.”

Five minutes afterward the officer entered and the duke seemed to be immersed in the sublime combinations of chess.

A strange thing is the mind, and it is wonderful what revolutions may be wrought in it by a sign, a word, a hope. The duke had been five years in prison, and now to him, looking back upon them, those five years, which had passed so slowly, seemed not so long a time as were the two days, the forty-eight hours, which still parted him from the time fixed for his escape. Besides, there was one thing that engaged his most anxious thought--in what way was the escape to be effected? They had told him to hope for it, but had not told him what was to be hidden in the mysterious pate. And what friends awaited him without? He had friends, then, after five years in prison? If that were so he was indeed a highly favored prince. He forgot that besides his friends of his own sex, a woman, strange to say, had remembered him. It is true that she had not, perhaps, been scrupulously faithful to him, but she had remembered him; that was something.

So the duke had more than enough to think about; accordingly he fared at chess as he had fared at tennis; he made blunder upon blunder and the officer with whom he played found him easy game.

But his successive defeats did service to the duke in one way--they killed time for him till eight o’clock in the evening; then would come night, and with night, sleep. So, at least, the duke believed; but sleep is a capricious fairy, and it is precisely when one invokes her presence that she is most likely to keep him waiting. The duke waited until midnight, turning on his mattress like St. Laurence on his gridiron. Finally he slept.

But at daybreak he awoke. Wild dreams had disturbed his repose. He dreamed that he was endowed with wings--he wished to fly away. For a time these wings supported him, but when he reached a certain height this new aid failed him. His wings were broken and he seemed to sink into a bottomless abyss, whence he awoke, bathed in perspiration and nearly as much overcome as if he had really fallen. He fell asleep again and another vision appeared. He was in a subterranean passage by which he was to leave Vincennes. Grimaud was walking before him with a lantern. By degrees the passage narrowed, yet the duke continued his course. At last it became so narrow that the fugitive tried in vain to proceed. The sides of the walls seem to close in, even to press against him. He made fruitless efforts to go on; it was impossible. Nevertheless, he still saw Grimaud with his lantern in front, advancing. He wished to call out to him but could not utter a word. Then at the other extremity he heard the footsteps of those who were pursuing him. These steps came on, came fast. He was discovered; all hope of flight was gone. Still the walls seemed to be closing on him; they appeared to be in concert with his enemies. At last he heard the voice of La Ramee. La Ramee took his hand and laughed aloud. He was captured again, and conducted to the low and vaulted chamber, in which Ornano, Puylaurens, and his uncle had died. Their three graves were there, rising above the ground, and a fourth was also there, yawning for its ghastly tenant.

The duke was obliged to make as many efforts to awake as he had done to go to sleep; and La Ramee found him so pale and fatigued that he inquired whether he was ill.

“In fact,” said one of the guards who had remained in the chamber and had been kept awake by a toothache, brought on by the dampness of the atmosphere, “my lord has had a very restless night and two or three times, while dreaming, he called for help.”

“What is the matter with your highness?” asked La Ramee.

“‘Tis your fault, you simpleton,” answered the duke. “With your idle nonsense yesterday about escaping, you worried me so that I dreamed that I was trying to escape and broke my neck in doing so.”

La Ramee laughed.

“Come,” he said, “‘tis a warning from Heaven. Never commit such an imprudence as to try to escape, except in your dreams.”

“And you are right, my dear La Ramee,” said the duke, wiping away the sweat that stood on his brow, wide awake though he was; “after this I will think of nothing but eating and drinking.”

“Hush!” said La Ramee; and one by one he sent away the guards, on various pretexts.

“Well?” asked the duke when they were alone.

“Well!” replied La Ramee, “your supper is ordered.”

“Ah! and what is it to be? Monsieur, my majordomo, will there be a pie?”

“I should think so, indeed--almost as high as a tower.”

“You told him it was for me?”

“Yes, and he said he would do his best to please your highness.”

“Good!” exclaimed the duke, rubbing his hands.

“Devil take it, my lord! what a gourmand you are growing; I haven’t seen you with so cheerful a face these five years.”

The duke saw that he had not controlled himself as he ought, but at that moment, as if he had listened at the door and comprehended the urgent need of diverting La Ramee’s ideas, Grimaud entered and made a sign to La Ramee that he had something to say to him.

La Ramee drew near to Grimaud, who spoke to him in a low voice.

The duke meanwhile recovered his self-control.

“I have already forbidden that man,” he said, “to come in here without my permission.”

“You must pardon him, my lord,” said La Ramee, “for I directed him to come.”

“And why did you so direct when you know that he displeases me?”

“My lord will remember that it was agreed between us that he should wait upon us at that famous supper. My lord has forgotten the supper.”

“No, but I have forgotten Monsieur Grimaud.”

“My lord understands that there can be no supper unless he is allowed to be present.”

“Go on, then; have it your own way.”

“Come here, my lad,” said La Ramee, “and hear what I have to say.”

Grimaud approached, with a very sullen expression on his face.

La Ramee continued: “My lord has done me the honor to invite me to a supper to-morrow en tete-a-tete.”

Grimaud made a sign which meant that he didn’t see what that had to do with him.

“Yes, yes,” said La Ramee, “the matter concerns you, for you will have the honor to serve us; and besides, however good an appetite we may have and however great our thirst, there will be something left on the plates and in the bottles, and that something will be yours.”

Grimaud bowed in thanks.

“And now,” said La Ramee, “I must ask your highness’s pardon, but it seems that Monsieur de Chavigny is to be away for a few days and he has sent me word that he has certain directions to give me before his departure.”

The duke tried to exchange a glance with Grimaud, but there was no glance in Grimaud’s eyes.

“Go, then,” said the duke, “and return as soon as possible.”

“Does your highness wish to take revenge for the game of tennis yesterday?”

Grimaud intimated by a scarcely perceptible nod that he should consent.

“Yes,” said the duke, “but take care, my dear La Ramee, for I propose to beat you badly.”

La Ramee went out. Grimaud looked after him, and when the door was closed he drew out of his pocket a pencil and a sheet of paper.

“Write, my lord,” he said.

“And what?”

Grimaud dictated.

“All is ready for to-morrow evening. Keep watch from seven to nine. Have two riding horses ready. We shall descend by the first window in the gallery.”

“What next?”

“Sign your name, my lord.”

The duke signed.

“Now, my lord, give me, if you have not lost it, the ball--that which contained the letter.”

The duke took it from under his pillow and gave it to Grimaud. Grimaud gave a grim smile.

“Well?” asked the duke.

“Well, my lord, I sew up the paper in the ball and you, in your game of tennis, will send the ball into the ditch.”

“But will it not be lost?”

“Oh no; there will be some one at hand to pick it up.”

“A gardener?”

Grimaud nodded.

“The same as yesterday?”

Another nod on the part of Grimaud.

“The Count de Rochefort?”

Grimaud nodded the third time.

“Come, now,” said the duke, “give some particulars of the plan for our escape.”

“That is forbidden me,” said Grimaud, “until the last moment.”

“Who will be waiting for me beyond the ditch?”

“I know nothing about it, my lord.”

“But at least, if you don’t want to see me turn crazy, tell what that famous pate will contain.”

“Two poniards, a knotted rope and a poire d’angoisse.” *

* This poire d’angoisse was a famous gag, in the form of a pear,
which, being thrust into the mouth, by the aid of a spring, dilated,
so as to distend the jaws to their greatest width.
“Yes, I understand.”

“My lord observes that there will be enough to go around.”

“We shall take to ourselves the poniards and the rope,” replied the duke.

“And make La Ramee eat the pear,” answered Grimaud.

“My dear Grimaud, thou speakest seldom, but when thou dost, one must do thee justice--thy words are words of gold.”


Chapter 20. One of Marie Michon’s Adventures.


Whilst these projects were being formed by the Duc de Beaufort and Grimaud, the Comte de la Fere and the Vicomte de Bragelonne were entering Paris by the Rue du Faubourg Saint Marcel.

They stopped at the sign of the Fox, in the Rue du Vieux Colombier, a tavern known for many years by Athos, and asked for two bedrooms.

“You must dress yourself, Raoul,” said Athos, “I am going to present you to some one.”

“To-day, monsieur?” asked the young man.

“In half an hour.”

The young man bowed. Perhaps, not being endowed with the endurance of Athos, who seemed to be made of iron, he would have preferred a bath in the river Seine of which he had heard so much, and afterward his bed; but the Comte de la Fere had spoken and he had no thought but to obey.

“By the way,” said Athos, “take some pains with your toilet, Raoul; I want you to be approved.”

“I hope, sir,” replied the youth, smiling, “that there’s no idea of a marriage for me; you know of my engagement to Louise?”

Athos, in his turn, smiled also.

“No, don’t be alarmed, although it is to a lady that I am going to present you, and I am anxious that you should love her----”

The young man looked at the count with a certain uneasiness, but at a smile from Athos he was quickly reassured.

“How old is she?” inquired the Vicomte de Bragelonne.

“My dear Raoul, learn, once for all, that that is a question which is never asked. When you can find out a woman’s age by her face, it is useless to ask it; when you cannot do so, it is indiscreet.”

“Is she beautiful?”

“Sixteen years ago she was deemed not only the prettiest, but the most graceful woman in France.”

This reply reassured the vicomte. A woman who had been a reigning beauty a year before he was born could not be the subject of any scheme for him. He retired to his toilet. When he reappeared, Athos received him with the same paternal smile as that which he had often bestowed on D’Artagnan, but a more profound tenderness for Raoul was now visibly impressed upon his face.

Athos cast a glance at his feet, hands and hair--those three marks of race. The youth’s dark hair was neatly parted and hung in curls, forming a sort of dark frame around his face; such was the fashion of the day. Gloves of gray kid, matching the hat, well displayed the form of a slender and elegant hand; whilst his boots, similar in color to the hat and gloves, confined feet small as those of a boy twelve years old.

“Come,” murmured Athos, “if she is not proud of him, she must be hard to please.”

It was three o’clock in the afternoon. The two travelers proceeded to the Rue Saint Dominique and stopped at the door of a magnificent hotel, surmounted with the arms of De Luynes.

“‘Tis here,” said Athos.

He entered the hotel and ascended the front steps, and addressing a footman who waited there in a grand livery, asked if the Duchess de Chevreuse was visible and if she could receive the Comte de la Fere?

The servant returned with a message to say, that, though the duchess had not the honor of knowing Monsieur de la Fere, she would receive him.

Athos followed the footman, who led him through a long succession of apartments and paused at length before a closed door. Athos made a sign to the Vicomte de Bragelonne to remain where he was.

The footman opened the door and announced Monsieur le Comte de la Fere.

Madame de Chevreuse, whose name appears so often in our story “The Three Musketeers,” without her actually having appeared in any scene, was still a beautiful woman. Although about forty-four or forty-five years old, she might have passed for thirty-five. She still had her rich fair hair; her large, animated, intelligent eyes, so often opened by intrigue, so often closed by the blindness of love. She had still her nymph-like form, so that when her back was turned she still was not unlike the girl who had jumped, with Anne of Austria, over the moat of the Tuileries in 1563. In all other respects she was the same mad creature who threw over her amours such an air of originality as to make them proverbial for eccentricity in her family.

She was in a little boudoir, hung with blue damask, adorned by red flowers, with a foliage of gold, looking upon a garden; and reclined upon a sofa, her head supported on the rich tapestry which covered it. She held a book in her hand and her arm was supported by a cushion.

At the footman’s announcement she raised herself a little and peeped out, with some curiosity.

Athos appeared.

He was dressed in violet-tinted velvet, trimmed with silk of the same color. His shoulder-knots were of burnished silver, his mantle had no gold nor embroidery on it; a simple plume of violet feathers adorned his hat; his boots were of black leather, and at his girdle hung that sword with a magnificent hilt that Porthos had so often admired in the Rue Feron. Splendid lace adorned the falling collar of his shirt, and lace fell also over the top of his boots.

In his whole person he bore such an impress of high degree, that Madame de Chevreuse half rose from her seat when she saw him and made him a sign to sit down near her.

Athos bowed and obeyed. The footman was withdrawing, but Athos stopped him by a sign.

“Madame,” he said to the duchess, “I have had the boldness to present myself at your hotel without being known to you; it has succeeded, since you deign to receive me. I have now the boldness to ask you for an interview of half an hour.”

“I grant it, monsieur,” replied Madame de Chevreuse with her most gracious smile.

“But that is not all, madame. Oh, I am very presuming, I am aware. The interview for which I ask is of us two alone, and I very earnestly wish that it may not be interrupted.”

“I am not at home to any one,” said the Duchess de Chevreuse to the footman. “You may go.”

The footman went out.

There ensued a brief silence, during which these two persons, who at first sight recognized each other so clearly as of noble race, examined each other without embarrassment on either side.

The duchess was the first to speak.

“Well, sir, I am waiting with impatience to hear what you wish to say to me.”

“And I, madame,” replied Athos, “am looking with admiration.”

“Sir,” said Madame de Chevreuse, “you must excuse me, but I long to know to whom I am talking. You belong to the court, doubtless, yet I have never seen you at court. Have you, by any chance, been in the Bastile?”

“No, madame, I have not; but very likely I am on the road to it.”

“Ah! then tell me who you are, and get along with you upon your journey,” replied the duchess, with the gayety which made her so charming, “for I am sufficiently in bad odor already, without compromising myself still more.”

“Who I am, madame? My name has been mentioned to you--the Comte de la Fere; you do not know that name. I once bore another, which you knew, but you have certainly forgotten it.”

“Tell it me, sir.”

“Formerly,” said the count, “I was Athos.”

Madame de Chevreuse looked astonished. The name was not wholly forgotten, but mixed up and confused with ancient recollections.

“Athos?” said she; “wait a moment.”

And she placed her hands on her brow, as if to force the fugitive ideas it contained to concentration in a moment.

“Shall I help you, madame?” asked Athos.

“Yes, do,” said the duchess.

“This Athos was connected with three young musketeers, named Porthos, D’Artagnan, and----”

He stopped short.

“And Aramis,” said the duchess, quickly.

“And Aramis; I see you have not forgotten the name.”

“No,” she said; “poor Aramis; a charming man, elegant, discreet, and a writer of poetical verses. I am afraid he has turned out ill,” she added.

“He has; he is an abbe.”

“Ah, what a misfortune!” exclaimed the duchess, playing carelessly with her fan. “Indeed, sir, I thank you; you have recalled one of the most agreeable recollections of my youth.”

“Will you permit me, then, to recall another to you?”

“Relating to him?”

“Yes and no.”

“Faith!” said Madame de Chevreuse, “say on. With a man like you I fear nothing.”

Athos bowed. “Aramis,” he continued, “was intimate with a young needlewoman from Tours, a cousin of his, named Marie Michon.”

“Ah, I knew her!” cried the duchess. “It was to her he wrote from the siege of Rochelle, to warn her of a plot against the Duke of Buckingham.”

“Exactly so; will you allow me to speak to you of her?”

“If,” replied the duchess, with a meaning look, “you do not say too much against her.”

“I should be ungrateful,” said Athos, “and I regard ingratitude, not as a fault or a crime, but as a vice, which is much worse.”

“You ungrateful to Marie Michon, monsieur?” said Madame de Chevreuse, trying to read in Athos’s eyes. “But how can that be? You never knew her.”

“Eh, madame, who knows?” said Athos. “There is a popular proverb to the effect that it is only mountains that never meet; and popular proverbs contain sometimes a wonderful amount of truth.”

“Oh, go on, monsieur, go on!” said Madame de Chevreuse eagerly; “you can’t imagine how much this conversation interests me.”

“You encourage me,” said Athos, “I will continue, then. That cousin of Aramis, that Marie Michon, that needlewoman, notwithstanding her low condition, had acquaintances in the highest rank; she called the grandest ladies of the court her friend, and the queen--proud as she is, in her double character as Austrian and as Spaniard--called her her sister.”

“Alas!” said Madame de Chevreuse, with a slight sigh and a little movement of her eyebrows that was peculiarly her own, “since that time everything has changed.”

“And the queen had reason for her affection, for Marie was devoted to her--devoted to that degree that she served her as medium of intercourse with her brother, the king of Spain.”

“Which,” interrupted the duchess, “is now brought up against her as a great crime.”

“And therefore,” continued Athos, “the cardinal--the true cardinal, the other one--determined one fine morning to arrest poor Marie Michon and send her to the Chateau de Loches. Fortunately the affair was not managed so secretly but that it became known to the queen. The case had been provided for: if Marie Michon should be threatened with any danger the queen was to send her a prayer-book bound in green velvet.”

“That is true, monsieur, you are well informed.”

“One morning the green book was brought to her by the Prince de Marsillac. There was no time to lose. Happily Marie and a follower of hers named Kitty could disguise themselves admirably in men’s clothes. The prince procured for Marie Michon the dress of a cavalier and for Kitty that of a lackey; he sent them two excellent horses, and the fugitives went out hastily from Tours, shaping their course toward Spain, trembling at the least noise, following unfrequented roads, and asking for hospitality when they found themselves where there was no inn.”

“Why, really, it was all exactly as you say!” cried Madame de Chevreuse, clapping her hands. “It would indeed be strange if----” she checked herself.

“If I should follow the two fugitives to the end of their journey?” said Athos. “No, madame, I will not thus waste your time. We will accompany them only to a little village in Limousin, lying between Tulle and Angouleme--a little village called Roche-l’Abeille.”

Madame de Chevreuse uttered a cry of surprise, and looked at Athos with an expression of astonishment that made the old musketeer smile.

“Wait, madame,” continued Athos, “what remains for me to tell you is even more strange than what I have narrated.”

“Monsieur,” said Madame de Chevreuse, “I believe you are a sorcerer; I am prepared for anything. But really--No matter, go on.”

“The journey of that day had been long and wearing; it was a cold day, the eleventh of October, there was no inn or chateau in the village and the homes of the peasants were poor and unattractive. Marie Michon was a very aristocratic person; like her sister the queen, she had been accustomed to pleasing perfumes and fine linen; she resolved, therefore, to seek hospitality of the priest.”

Athos paused.

“Oh, continue!” said the duchess. “I have told you that I am prepared for anything.”

“The two travelers knocked at the door. It was late; the priest, who had gone to bed, cried out to them to come in. They entered, for the door was not locked--there is much confidence among villagers. A lamp burned in the chamber occupied by the priest. Marie Michon, who made the most charming cavalier in the world, pushed open the door, put her head in and asked for hospitality. ‘Willingly, my young cavalier,’ said the priest, ‘if you will be content with the remains of my supper and with half my chamber.’

“The two travelers consulted for a moment. The priest heard a burst of laughter and then the master, or rather, the mistress, replied: ‘Thank you, monsieur le cure, I accept.’ ‘Sup, then, and make as little noise as possible,’ said the priest, ‘for I, too, have been on the go all day and shall not be sorry to sleep to-night.’”

Madame de Chevreuse evidently went from surprise to astonishment, and from astonishment to stupefaction. Her face, as she looked at Athos, had taken on an expression that cannot be described. It could be seen that she had wished to speak, but she had remained silent through fear of losing one of her companion’s words.

“What happened then?” she asked.

“Then?” said Athos. “Ah, I have come now to what is most difficult.”

“Speak, speak! One can say anything to me. Besides, it doesn’t concern me; it relates to Mademoiselle Marie Michon.”

“Ah, that is true,” said Athos. “Well, then, Marie Michon had supper with her follower, and then, in accordance with the permission given her, she entered the chamber of her host, Kitty meanwhile taking possession of an armchair in the room first entered, where they had taken their supper.”

“Really, monsieur,” said Madame de Chevreuse, “unless you are the devil in person I don’t know how you could become acquainted with all these details.”

“A charming woman was that Marie Michon,” resumed Athos, “one of those wild creatures who are constantly conceiving the strangest ideas. Now, thinking that her host was a priest, that coquette took it into her head that it would be a happy souvenir for her old age, among the many happy souvenirs she already possessed, if she could win that of having damned an abbe.”

“Count,” said the duchess, “upon my word, you frighten me.”

“Alas!” continued Athos, “the poor abbe was not a St. Ambroise, and I repeat, Marie Michon was an adorable creature.”

“Monsieur!” cried the duchess, seizing Athos’s hands, “tell me this moment how you know all these details, or I will send to the convent of the Vieux Augustins for a monk to come and exorcise you.”

Athos laughed. “Nothing is easier, madame. A cavalier, charged with an important mission, had come an hour before your arrival, seeking hospitality, at the very moment that the cure, summoned to the bedside of a dying person, left not only his house but the village, for the entire night. The priest having all confidence in his guest, who, besides, was a nobleman, had left to him his house, his supper and his chamber. And therefore Marie came seeking hospitality from the guest of the good abbe and not from the good abbe himself.”

“And that cavalier, that guest, that nobleman who arrived before she came?”

“It was I, the Comte de la Fere,” said Athos, rising and bowing respectfully to the Duchess de Chevreuse.

The duchess remained a moment stupefied; then, suddenly bursting into laughter:

“Ah! upon my word,” said she, “it is very droll, and that mad Marie Michon fared better than she expected. Sit down, dear count, and go on with your story.”

“At this point I have to accuse myself of a fault, madame. I have told you that I was traveling on an important mission. At daybreak I left the chamber without noise, leaving my charming companion asleep. In the front room the follower was also still asleep, her head leaning back on the chair, in all respects worthy of her mistress. Her pretty face arrested my attention; I approached and recognized that little Kitty whom our friend Aramis had placed with her. In that way I discovered that the charming traveler was----”

“Marie Michon!” said Madame de Chevreuse, hastily.

“Marie Michon,” continued Athos. “Then I went out of the house; I proceeded to the stable and found my horse saddled and my lackey ready. We set forth on our journey.”

“And have you never revisited that village?” eagerly asked Madame de Chevreuse.

“A year after, madame.”

“Well?”

“I wanted to see the good cure again. I found him much preoccupied with an event that he could not at all comprehend. A week before he had received, in a cradle, a beautiful little boy three months old, with a purse filled with gold and a note containing these simple words: ‘11 October, 1633.’”

“It was the date of that strange adventure,” interrupted Madame de Chevreuse.

“Yes, but he couldn’t understand what it meant, for he had spent that night with a dying person and Marie Michon had left his house before his return.”

“You must know, monsieur, that Marie Michon, when she returned to France in 1643, immediately sought for information about that child; as a fugitive she could not take care of it, but on her return she wished to have it near her.”

“And what said the abbe?” asked Athos.

“That a nobleman whom he did not know had wished to take charge of it, had answered for its future, and had taken it away.”

“That was true.”

“Ah! I see! That nobleman was you; it was his father!”

“Hush! do not speak so loud, madame; he is there.”

“He is there! my son! the son of Marie Michon! But I must see him instantly.”

“Take care, madame,” said Athos, “for he knows neither his father nor his mother.”

“You have kept the secret! you have brought him to see me, thinking to make me happy. Oh, thanks! sir, thanks!” cried Madame de Chevreuse, seizing his hand and trying to put it to her lips; “you have a noble heart.”

“I bring him to you, madame,” said Athos, withdrawing his hand, “hoping that in your turn you will do something for him; till now I have watched over his education and I have made him, I hope, an accomplished gentleman; but I am now obliged to return to the dangerous and wandering life of party faction. To-morrow I plunge into an adventurous affair in which I may be killed. Then it will devolve on you to push him on in that world where he is called on to occupy a place.”

“Rest assured,” cried the duchess, “I shall do what I can. I have but little influence now, but all that I have shall most assuredly be his. As to his title and fortune----”

“As to that, madame, I have made over to him the estate of Bragelonne, my inheritance, which will give him ten thousand francs a year and the title of vicomte.”

“Upon my soul, monsieur,” said the duchess, “you are a true nobleman! But I am eager to see our young vicomte. Where is he?”

“There, in the salon. I will have him come in, if you really wish it.”

Athos moved toward the door; the duchess held him back.

“Is he handsome?” she asked.

Athos smiled.

“He resembles his mother.”

So he opened the door and beckoned the young man in.

The duchess could not restrain a cry of joy on seeing so handsome a young cavalier, so far surpassing all that her maternal pride had been able to conceive.

“Vicomte, come here,” said Athos; “the duchess permits you to kiss her hand.”

The youth approached with his charming smile and his head bare, and kneeling down, kissed the hand of the Duchess de Chevreuse.

“Sir,” he said, turning to Athos, “was it not in compassion to my timidity that you told me that this lady was the Duchess de Chevreuse, and is she not the queen?”

“No, vicomte,” said Madame de Chevreuse, taking his hand and making him sit near her, while she looked at him with eyes sparkling with pleasure; “no, unhappily, I am not the queen. If I were I should do for you at once the most that you deserve. But let us see; whatever I may be,” she added, hardly restraining herself from kissing that pure brow, “let us see what profession you wish to follow.”

Athos, standing, looked at them both with indescribable pleasure.

“Madame,” answered the youth in his sweet voice, “it seems to me that there is only one career for a gentleman--that of the army. I have been brought up by monsieur le comte with the intention, I believe, of making me a soldier; and he gave me reason to hope that at Paris he would present me to some one who would recommend me to the favor of the prince.”

“Yes, I understand it well. Personally, I am on bad terms with him, on account of the quarrels between Madame de Montbazon, my mother-in-law, and Madame de Longueville. But the Prince de Marsillac! Yes, indeed, that’s the right thing. The Prince de Marsillac--my old friend--will recommend our young friend to Madame de Longueville, who will give him a letter to her brother, the prince, who loves her too tenderly not to do what she wishes immediately.”

“Well, that will do charmingly,” said the count; “but may I beg that the greatest haste may be made, for I have reasons for wishing the vicomte not to sleep longer than to-morrow night in Paris!”

“Do you wish it known that you are interested about him, monsieur le comte?”

“Better for him in future that he should be supposed never to have seen me.”

“Oh, sir!” cried Raoul.

“You know, Bragelonne,” said Athos, “I never speak without reflection.”

“Well, comte, I am going instantly,” interrupted the duchess, “to send for the Prince de Marsillac, who is happily, in Paris just now. What are you going to do this evening?”

“We intend to visit the Abbe Scarron, for whom I have a letter of introduction and at whose house I expect to meet some of my friends.”

“‘Tis well; I will go there also, for a few minutes,” said the duchess; “do not quit his salon until you have seen me.”

Athos bowed and prepared to leave.

“Well, monsieur le comte,” said the duchess, smiling, “does one leave so solemnly his old friends?”

“Ah,” murmured Athos, kissing her hand, “had I only sooner known that Marie Michon was so charming a creature!” And he withdrew, sighing.


Chapter 21. The Abbe Scarron.


There was once in the Rue des Tournelles a house known by all the sedan chairmen and footmen of Paris, and yet, nevertheless, this house was neither that of a great lord nor of a rich man. There was neither dining, nor playing at cards, nor dancing in that house. Nevertheless, it was the rendezvous of the great world and all Paris went there. It was the abode of the little Abbe Scarron.

In the home of the witty abbe dwelt incessant laughter; there all the items of the day had their source and were so quickly transformed, misrepresented, metamorphosed, some into epigrams, some into falsehoods, that every one was anxious to pass an hour with little Scarron, listening to what he said, reporting it to others.

The diminutive Abbe Scarron, who, however, was an abbe only because he owned an abbey, and not because he was in orders, had formerly been one of the gayest prebendaries in the town of Mans, which he inhabited. On a day of the carnival he had taken a notion to provide an unusual entertainment for that good town, of which he was the life and soul. He had made his valet cover him with honey; then, opening a feather bed, he had rolled in it and had thus become the most grotesque fowl it is possible to imagine. He then began to visit his friends of both sexes, in that strange costume. At first he had been followed through astonishment, then with derisive shouts, then the porters had insulted him, then children had thrown stones at him, and finally he was obliged to run, to escape the missiles. As soon as he took to flight every one pursued him, until, pressed on all sides, Scarron found no way of escaping his escort, except by throwing himself into the river; but the water was icy cold. Scarron was heated, the cold seized on him, and when he reached the farther bank he found himself crippled.

Every means had been employed in vain to restore the use of his limbs. He had been subjected to a severe disciplinary course of medicine, at length he sent away all his doctors, declaring that he preferred the disease to the treatment, and came to Paris, where the fame of his wit had preceded him. There he had a chair made on his own plan, and one day, visiting Anne of Austria in this chair, she asked him, charmed as she was with his wit, if he did not wish for a title.

“Yes, your majesty, there is a title which I covet much,” replied Scarron.

“And what is that?”

“That of being your invalid,” answered Scarron.

So he was called the queen’s invalid, with a pension of fifteen hundred francs.

From that lucky moment Scarron led a happy life, spending both income and principal. One day, however, an emissary of the cardinal’s gave him to understand that he was wrong in receiving the coadjutor so often.

“And why?” asked Scarron; “is he not a man of good birth?”

“Certainly.”

“Agreeable?”

“Undeniably.”

“Witty?”

“He has, unfortunately, too much wit.”

“Well, then, why do you wish me to give up seeing such a man?”

“Because he is an enemy.”

“Of whom?”

“Of the cardinal.”

“What?” answered Scarron, “I continue to receive Monsieur Gilles Despreaux, who thinks ill of me, and you wish me to give up seeing the coadjutor, because he thinks ill of another man. Impossible!”

The conversation had rested there and Scarron, through sheer obstinacy, had seen Monsieur de Gondy only the more frequently.

Now, the very morning of which we speak was that of his quarter-day payment, and Scarron, as usual, had sent his servant to get his money at the pension-office, but the man had returned and said that the government had no more money to give Monsieur Scarron.

It was on Thursday, the abbe’s reception day; people went there in crowds. The cardinal’s refusal to pay the pension was known about the town in half an hour and he was abused with wit and vehemence.

In the Rue Saint Honore Athos fell in with two gentlemen whom he did not know, on horseback like himself, followed by a lackey like himself, and going in the same direction that he was. One of them, hat in hand, said to him:

“Would you believe it, monsieur? that contemptible Mazarin has stopped poor Scarron’s pension.”

“That is unreasonable,” said Athos, saluting in his turn the two cavaliers. And they separated with courteous gestures.

“It happens well that we are going there this evening,” said Athos to the vicomte; “we will pay our compliments to that poor man.”

“What, then, is this Monsieur Scarron, who thus puts all Paris in commotion? Is he some minister out of office?”

“Oh, no, not at all, vicomte,” Athos replied; “he is simply a gentleman of great genius who has fallen into disgrace with the cardinal through having written certain verses against him.”

“Do gentlemen, then, make verses?” asked Raoul, naively, “I thought it was derogatory.”

“So it is, my dear vicomte,” said Athos, laughing, “to make bad ones; but to make good ones increases fame--witness Monsieur de Rotrou. Nevertheless,” he continued, in the tone of one who gives wholesome advice, “I think it is better not to make them.”

“Then,” said Raoul, “this Monsieur Scarron is a poet?”

“Yes; you are warned, vicomte. Consider well what you do in that house. Talk only by gestures, or rather always listen.”

“Yes, monsieur,” replied Raoul.

“You will see me talking with one of my friends, the Abbe d’Herblay, of whom you have often heard me speak.”

“I remember him, monsieur.”

“Come near to us from time to time, as if to speak; but do not speak, and do not listen. That little stratagem may serve to keep off interlopers.”

“Very well, monsieur; I will obey you at all points.”

Athos made two visits in Paris; at seven o’clock he and Raoul directed their steps to the Rue des Tournelles; it was stopped by porters, horses and footmen. Athos forced his way through and entered, followed by the young man. The first person that struck him on his entrance was Aramis, planted near a great chair on castors, very large, covered with a canopy of tapestry, under which there moved, enveloped in a quilt of brocade, a little face, youngish, very merry, somewhat pallid, whilst its eyes never ceased to express a sentiment at once lively, intellectual, and amiable. This was the Abbe Scarron, always laughing, joking, complimenting--yet suffering--and toying nervously with a small switch.

Around this kind of rolling tent pressed a crowd of gentlemen and ladies. The room was neatly, comfortably furnished. Large valances of silk, embroidered with flowers of gay colors, which were rather faded, fell from the wide windows; the fittings of the room were simple, but in excellent taste. Two well trained servingmen were in attendance on the company. On perceiving Athos, Aramis advanced toward him, took him by the hand and presented him to Scarron. Raoul remained silent, for he was not prepared for the dignity of the bel esprit.

After some minutes the door opened and a footman announced Mademoiselle Paulet.

Athos touched the shoulder of the vicomte.

“Look at this lady, Raoul, she is an historic personage; it was to visit her King Henry IV. was going when he was assassinated.”

Every one thronged around Mademoiselle Paulet, for she was always very much the fashion. She was a tall woman, with a slender figure and a forest of golden curls, such as Raphael was fond of and Titian has painted all his Magdalens with. This fawn-colored hair, or, perhaps the sort of ascendancy which she had over other women, gave her the name of “La Lionne.” Mademoiselle Paulet took her accustomed seat, but before sitting down, she cast, in all her queen-like grandeur, a look around the room, and her eyes rested on Raoul.

Athos smiled.

“Mademoiselle Paulet has observed you, vicomte; go and bow to her; don’t try to appear anything but what you are, a true country youth; on no account speak to her of Henry IV.”

“When shall we two walk together?” Athos then said to Aramis.

“Presently--there are not a sufficient number of people here yet; we shall be remarked.”

At this moment the door opened and in walked the coadjutor.

At this name every one looked around, for his was already a very celebrated name. Athos did the same. He knew the Abbe de Gondy only by report.

He saw a little dark man, ill made and awkward with his hands in everything--except drawing a sword and firing a pistol--with something haughty and contemptuous in his face.

Scarron turned around toward him and came to meet him in his chair.

“Well,” said the coadjutor, on seeing him, “you are in disgrace, then, abbe?”

This was the orthodox phrase. It had been said that evening a hundred times--and Scarron was at his hundredth bon mot on the subject; he was very nearly at the end of his humoristic tether, but one despairing effort saved him.

“Monsieur, the Cardinal Mazarin has been so kind as to think of me,” he said.

“But how can you continue to receive us?” asked the coadjutor; “if your income is lessened I shall be obliged to make you a canon of Notre Dame.”

“Oh, no!” cried Scarron, “I should compromise you too much.”

“Perhaps you have resources of which we are ignorant?”

“I shall borrow from the queen.”

“But her majesty has no property,” interposed Aramis.

At this moment the door opened and Madame de Chevreuse was announced. Every one arose. Scarron turned his chair toward the door, Raoul blushed, Athos made a sign to Aramis, who went and hid himself in the enclosure of a window.

In the midst of all the compliments that awaited her on her entrance, the duchess seemed to be looking for some one; at last she found out Raoul and her eyes sparkled; she perceived Athos and became thoughtful; she saw Aramis in the seclusion of the window and gave a start of surprise behind her fan.

“Apropos,” she said, as if to drive away thoughts that pursued her in spite of herself, “how is poor Voiture, do you know, Scarron?”

“What, is Monsieur Voiture ill?” inquired a gentleman who had spoken to Athos in the Rue Saint Honore; “what is the matter with him?”

“He was acting, but forgot to take the precaution to have a change of linen ready after the performance,” said the coadjutor, “so he took cold and is about to die.”

“Is he then so ill, dear Voiture?” asked Aramis, half hidden by the window curtain.

“Die!” cried Mademoiselle Paulet, bitterly, “he! Why, he is surrounded by sultanas, like a Turk. Madame de Saintot has hastened to him with broth; La Renaudot warms his sheets; the Marquise de Rambouillet sends him his tisanes.”

“You don’t like him, my dear Parthenie,” said Scarron.

“What an injustice, my dear invalid! I hate him so little that I should be delighted to order masses for the repose of his soul.”

“You are not called ‘Lionne’ for nothing,” observed Madame de Chevreuse, “your teeth are terrible.”

“You are unjust to a great poet, it seems to me,” Raoul ventured to say.

“A great poet! come, one may easily see, vicomte, that you are lately from the provinces and have never so much as seen him. A great poet! he is scarcely five feet high.”

“Bravo bravo!” cried a tall man with an enormous mustache and a long rapier, “bravo, fair Paulet, it is high time to put little Voiture in his right place. For my part, I always thought his poetry detestable, and I think I know something about poetry.”

“Who is this officer,” inquired Raoul of Athos, “who is speaking?”

“Monsieur de Scudery, the author of ‘Clelie,’ and of ‘Le Grand Cyrus,’ which were composed partly by him and partly by his sister, who is now talking to that pretty person yonder, near Monsieur Scarron.”

Raoul turned and saw two faces just arrived. One was perfectly charming, delicate, pensive, shaded by beautiful dark hair, and eyes soft as velvet, like those lovely flowers, the heartsease, in which shine out the golden petals. The other, of mature age, seemed to have the former one under her charge, and was cold, dry and yellow--the true type of a duenna or a devotee.

Raoul resolved not to quit the room without having spoken to the beautiful girl with the soft eyes, who by a strange fancy, although she bore no resemblance, reminded him of his poor little Louise, whom he had left in the Chateau de la Valliere and whom, in the midst of all the party, he had never for one moment quite forgotten. Meantime Aramis had drawn near to the coadjutor, who, smiling all the while, contrived to drop some words into his ear. Aramis, notwithstanding his self-control, could not refrain from a slight movement of surprise.

“Laugh, then,” said Monsieur de Retz; “they are looking at us.” And leaving Aramis he went to talk with Madame de Chevreuse, who was in the midst of a large group.

Aramis affected a laugh, to divert the attention of certain curious listeners, and perceiving that Athos had betaken himself to the embrasure of a window and remained there, he proceeded to join him, throwing out a few words carelessly as he moved through the room.

As soon as the two friends met they began a conversation which was emphasized by frequent gesticulation.

Raoul then approached them as Athos had directed him to do.

“‘Tis a rondeau by Monsieur Voiture that monsieur l’abbe is repeating to me.” said Athos in a loud voice, “and I confess I think it incomparable.”

Raoul stayed only a few minutes near them and then mingled with the group round Madame de Chevreuse.

“Well, then?” asked Athos, in a low tone.

“It is to be to-morrow,” said Aramis hastily.

“At what time?”

“Six o’clock.”

“Where?”

“At Saint Mande.”

“Who told you?”

“The Count de Rochefort.”

Some one drew near.

“And then philosophic ideas are wholly wanting in Voiture’s works, but I am of the same opinion as the coadjutor--he is a poet, a true poet.” Aramis spoke so as to be heard by everybody.

“And I, too,” murmured the young lady with the velvet eyes. “I have the misfortune also to admire his poetry exceedingly.”

“Monsieur Scarron, do me the honor,” said Raoul, blushing, “to tell me the name of that young lady whose opinion seems so different from that of others of the company.”

“Ah! my young vicomte,” replied Scarron, “I suppose you wish to propose to her an alliance offensive and defensive.”

Raoul blushed again.

“You asked the name of that young lady. She is called the fair Indian.”

“Excuse me, sir,” returned Raoul, blushing still more deeply, “I know no more than I did before. Alas! I am from the country.”

“Which means that you know very little about the nonsense which here flows down our streets. So much the better, young man! so much the better! Don’t try to understand it--you will only lose your time.”

“You forgive me, then, sir,” said Raoul, “and you will deign to tell me who is the person that you call the young Indian?”

“Certainly; one of the most charming persons that lives--Mademoiselle Frances d’Aubigne.”

“Does she belong to the family of the celebrated Agrippa, the friend of Henry IV.?”

“His granddaughter. She comes from Martinique, so I call her the beautiful Indian.”

Raoul looked surprised and his eyes met those of the young lady, who smiled.

The company went on speaking of the poet Voiture.

“Monsieur,” said Mademoiselle d’Aubigne to Scarron, as if she wished to join in the conversation he was engaged in with Raoul, “do you not admire Monsieur Voiture’s friends? Listen how they pull him to pieces even whilst they praise him; one takes away from him all claim to good sense, another robs him of his poetry, a third of his originality, another of his humor, another of his independence of character, a sixth--but, good heavens! what will they leave him? as Mademoiselle de Scudery remarks.”

Scarron and Raoul laughed. The fair Indian, astonished at the sensation her observation produced, looked down and resumed her air of naivete.

Athos, still within the inclosure of the window, watched this scene with a smile of disdain on his lips.

“Tell the Comte de la Fere to come to me,” said Madame de Chevreuse, “I want to speak to him.”

“And I,” said the coadjutor, “want it to be thought that I do not speak to him. I admire, I love him--for I know his former adventures--but I shall not speak to him until the day after to-morrow.”

“And why day after to-morrow?” asked Madame de Chevreuse.

“You will know that to-morrow evening,” said the coadjutor, smiling.

“Really, my dear Gondy,” said the duchess, “you remind one of the Apocalypse. Monsieur d’Herblay,” she added, turning toward Aramis, “will you be my servant once more this evening?”

“How can you doubt it?” replied Aramis; “this evening, to-morrow, always; command me.”

“I will, then. Go and look for the Comte de la Fere; I wish to speak with him.”

Aramis found Athos and brought him.

“Monsieur le comte,” said the duchess, giving him a letter, “here is what I promised you; our young friend will be extremely well received.”

“Madame, he is very happy in owing any obligation to you.”

“You have no reason to envy him on that score, for I owe to you the pleasure of knowing him,” replied the witty woman, with a smile which recalled Marie Michon to Aramis and to Athos.

As she uttered that bon mot, she arose and asked for her carriage. Mademoiselle Paulet had already gone; Mademoiselle de Scudery was going.

“Vicomte,” said Athos to Raoul, “follow the duchess; beg her to do you the favor to take your arm in going downstairs, and thank her as you descend.”

The fair Indian approached Scarron.

“You are going already?” he said.

“One of the last, as you see; if you hear anything of Monsieur Voiture, be so kind as to send me word to-morrow.”

“Oh!” said Scarron, “he may die now.”

“Why?” asked the young girl with the velvet eyes.

“Certainly; his panegyric has been uttered.”

They parted, laughing, she turning back to gaze at the poor paralytic man with interest, he looking after her with eyes of love.

One by one the several groups broke up. Scarron seemed not to observe that certain of his guests had talked mysteriously, that letters had passed from hand to hand and that the assembly had seemed to have a secret purpose quite apart from the literary discussion carried on with so much ostentation. What was all that to Scarron? At his house rebellion could be planned with impunity, for, as we have said, since that morning he had ceased to be “the queen’s invalid.”

As to Raoul, he had attended the duchess to her carriage, where, as she took her seat, she gave him her hand to kiss; then, by one of those wild caprices which made her so adorable and at the same time so dangerous, she had suddenly put her arm around his neck and kissed his forehead, saying:

“Vicomte, may my good wishes and this kiss bring you good fortune!”

Then she had pushed him away and directed the coachman to stop at the Hotel de Luynes. The carriage had started, Madame de Chevreuse had made a parting gesture to the young man, and Raoul had returned in a state of stupefaction.

Athos surmised what had taken place and smiled. “Come, vicomte,” he said, “it is time for you to go to bed; you will start in the morning for the army of monsieur le prince. Sleep well your last night as citizen.”

“I am to be a soldier then?” said the young man. “Oh, monsieur, I thank you with all my heart.”

“Adieu, count,” said the Abbe d’Herblay; “I return to my convent.”

“Adieu, abbe,” said the coadjutor, “I am to preach to-morrow and have twenty texts to examine this evening.”

“Adieu, gentlemen,” said the count; “I am going to sleep twenty-four hours; I am just falling down with fatigue.”

The three men saluted one another, whilst exchanging a last look.

Scarron followed their movements with a glance from the corner of his eye.

“Not one of them will do as he says,” he murmured, with his little monkey smile; “but they may do as they please, the brave gentlemen! Who knows if they will not manage to restore to me my pension? They can move their arms, they can, and that is much. Alas, I have only my tongue, but I will try to show that it is good for something. Ho, there, Champenois! here, it is eleven o’clock. Come and roll me to bed. Really, that Demoiselle d’Aubigne is very charming!”

So the invalid disappeared soon afterward and went into his sleeping-room; and one by one the lights in the salon of the Rue des Tournelles were extinguished.