Twenty Years After




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The Monk
Two men lay prone upon the ground, one bathed in blood and motionless, with his face toward the earth; this one was dead. The other leaned against a tree, supported there by the two valets, and was praying fervently, with clasped hands and eyes raised to Heaven. He had received a ball in his thigh, which had broken the bone. The young men first approached the dead man.

“He is a priest,” said Bragelonne, “he has worn the tonsure. Oh, the scoundrels! to lift their hands against a minister of God.”

“Come here, sir,” said Urban, an old soldier who had served under the cardinal duke in all his campaigns; “come here, there is nothing to be done with him, whilst we may perhaps be able to save the other.”

The wounded man smiled sadly. “Save me! Oh, no!” said he, “but help me to die, if you can.”

“Are you a priest?” asked Raoul.

“No sir.”

“I ask, as your unfortunate companion appeared to me to belong to the church.”

“He is the curate of Bethune, sir, and was carrying the holy vessels belonging to his church, and the treasure of the chapter, to a safe place, the prince having abandoned our town yesterday; and as it was known that bands of the enemy were prowling about the country, no one dared to accompany the good man, so I offered to do so.

“And, sir,” continued the wounded man, “I suffer much and would like, if possible, to be carried to some house.”

“Where you can be relieved?” asked de Guiche.

“No, where I can confess.”

“But perhaps you are not so dangerously wounded as you think,” said Raoul.

“Sir,” replied the wounded man, “believe me, there is no time to lose; the ball has broken the thigh bone and entered the intestines.”

“Are you a surgeon?” asked de Guiche.

“No, but I know a little about wounds, and mine, I know, is mortal. Try, therefore, either to carry me to some place where I may see a priest or take the trouble to send one to me here. It is my soul that must be saved; as for my body, it is lost.”

“To die whilst doing a good deed! It is impossible. God will help you.”

“Gentlemen, in the name of Heaven!” said the wounded man, collecting all his forces, as if to get up, “let us not lose time in useless words. Either help me to gain the nearest village or swear to me on your salvation that you will send me the first monk, the first curé, the first priest you may meet. But,” he added in a despairing tone, “perhaps no one will dare to come for it is known that the Spaniards are ranging through the country, and I shall die without absolution. My God! my God! Good God! good God!” added the wounded man, in an accent of terror which made the young men shudder; “you will not allow that? that would be too terrible!”

“Calm yourself, sir,” replied de Guiche. “I swear to you, you shall receive the consolation that you ask. Only tell us where we shall find a house at which we can demand aid and a village from which we can fetch a priest.”

“Thank you, and God reward you! About half a mile from this, on the same road, there is an inn, and about a mile further on, after leaving the inn, you will reach the village of Greney. There you must find the curate, or if he is not at home, go to the convent of the Augustines, which is the last house on the right, and bring me one of the brothers. Monk or priest, it matters not, provided only that he has received from holy church the power of absolving in articulo mortis.”

“Monsieur d’Arminges,” said de Guiche, “remain beside this unfortunate man and see that he is removed as gently as possible. The vicomte and myself will go and find a priest.”

“Go, sir,” replied the tutor; “but in Heaven’s name do not expose yourself to danger!”

“Do not fear. Besides, we are safe for today; you know the axiom, Non bis in idem.”

“Courage, sir,” said Raoul to the wounded man. “We are going to execute your wishes.”

“May Heaven prosper you!” replied the dying man, with an accent of gratitude impossible to describe.

The two young men galloped off in the direction mentioned and in ten minutes reached the inn. Raoul, without dismounting, called to the host and announced that a wounded man was about to be brought to his house and begged him in the meantime to prepare everything needful. He desired him also, should he know in the neighborhood any doctor or chirurgeon, to fetch him, taking on himself the payment of the messenger.

The host, who saw two young noblemen, richly clad, promised everything they required, and our two cavaliers, after seeing that preparations for the reception were actually begun, started off again and proceeded rapidly toward Greney.

They had gone rather more than a league and had begun to descry the first houses of the village, the red-tiled roofs of which stood out from the green trees which surrounded them, when, coming toward them mounted on a mule, they perceived a poor monk, whose large hat and gray worsted dress made them take him for an Augustine brother. Chance for once seemed to favor them in sending what they were so assiduously seeking. He was a man about twenty-two or twenty-three years old, but who appeared much older from ascetic exercises. His complexion was pale, not of that deadly pallor which is a kind of neutral beauty, but of a bilious, yellow hue; his colorless hair was short and scarcely extended beyond the circle formed by the hat around his head, and his light blue eyes seemed destitute of any expression.

“Sir,” began Raoul, with his usual politeness, “are you an ecclesiastic?”

“Why do you ask me that?” replied the stranger, with a coolness which was barely civil.

“Because we want to know,” said de Guiche, haughtily.

The stranger touched his mule with his heel and continued his way.

In a second de Guiche had sprung before him and barred his passage. “Answer, sir,” exclaimed he; “you have been asked politely, and every question is worth an answer.”

“I suppose I am free to say or not to say who I am to two strangers who take a fancy to ask me.”

It was with difficulty that de Guiche restrained the intense desire he had of breaking the monk’s bones.

“In the first place,” he said, making an effort to control himself, “we are not people who may be treated anyhow; my friend there is the Viscount of Bragelonne and I am the Count de Guiche. Nor was it from caprice we asked the question, for there is a wounded and dying man who demands the succor of the church. If you be a priest, I conjure you in the name of humanity to follow me to aid this man; if you be not, it is a different matter, and I warn you in the name of courtesy, of which you appear profoundly ignorant, that I shall chastise you for your insolence.”

The pale face of the monk became so livid and his smile so strange, that Raoul, whose eyes were still fixed upon him, felt as if this smile had struck to his heart like an insult.

“He is some Spanish or Flemish spy,” said he, putting his hand to his pistol. A glance, threatening and transient as lightning, replied to Raoul.

“Well, sir,” said de Guiche, “are you going to reply?”

“I am a priest,” said the young man.

“Then, father,” said Raoul, forcing himself to convey a respect by speech that did not come from his heart, “if you are a priest you have an opportunity, as my friend has told you, of exercising your vocation. At the next inn you will find a wounded man, now being attended by our servants, who has asked the assistance of a minister of God.”

“I will go,” said the monk.

And he touched his mule.

“If you do not go, sir,” said de Guiche, “remember that we have two steeds able to catch your mule and the power of having you seized wherever you may be; and then I swear your trial will be summary; one can always find a tree and a cord.”

The monk’s eye again flashed, but that was all; he merely repeated his phrase, “I will go”⁠—and he went.

“Let us follow him,” said de Guiche; “it will be the surest plan.”

“I was about to propose so doing,” answered de Bragelonne.

In the space of five minutes the monk turned around to ascertain whether he was followed or not.

“You see,” said Raoul, “we have done wisely.”

“What a horrible face that monk has,” said de Guiche.

“Horrible!” replied Raoul, “especially in expression.”

“Yes, yes,” said de Guiche, “a strange face; but these monks are subject to such degrading practices; their fasts make them pale, the blows of the discipline make them hypocrites, and their eyes become inflamed through weeping for the good things of this life we common folk enjoy, but they have lost.”

“Well,” said Raoul, “the poor man will get his priest, but, by Heaven, the penitent appears to me to have a better conscience than the confessor. I confess I am accustomed to priests of a very different appearance.”

“Ah!” exclaimed de Guiche, “you must understand that this is one of those wandering brothers, who go begging on the high road until some day a benefice falls down from Heaven on them; they are mostly foreigners⁠—Scotch, Irish or Danish. I have seen them before.”

“As ugly?”

“No, but reasonably hideous.”

“What a misfortune for the wounded man to die under the hands of such a friar!”

“Pshaw!” said de Guiche. “Absolution comes not from him who administers it, but from God. However, for my part, I would rather die unshriven than have anything to say to such a confessor. You are of my opinion, are you not, viscount? and I see you playing with the pommel of your sword, as if you had a great inclination to break the holy father’s head.”

“Yes, count, it is a strange thing and one which might astonish you, but I feel an indescribable horror at the sight of yonder man. Have you ever seen a snake rise up on your path?”

“Never,” answered de Guiche.

“Well, it has happened to me to do so in our Blaisois forests, and I remember that the first time I encountered one with its eyes fixed upon me, curled up, swinging its head and pointing its tongue, I remained fixed, pale and as though fascinated, until the moment when the Comte de la Fère⁠—”

“Your father?” asked de Guiche.

“No, my guardian,” replied Raoul, blushing.

“Very well⁠—”

“Until the moment when the Comte de la Fère,” resumed Raoul, “said, ‘Come, Bragelonne, draw your sword’; then only I rushed upon the reptile and cut it in two, just at the moment when it was rising on its tail and hissing, ere it sprang upon me. Well, I vow I felt exactly the same sensation at sight of that man when he said, ‘Why do you ask me that?’ and looked so strangely at me.”

“Then you regret that you did not cut your serpent in two morsels?”

“Faith, yes, almost,” said Raoul.

They had now arrived within sight of the little inn and could see on the opposite side the procession bearing the wounded man and guided by Monsieur d’Arminges. The youths spurred on.

“There is the wounded man,” said de Guiche, passing close to the Augustine brother. “Be good enough to hurry yourself a little, Monsieur monk.”

As for Raoul, he avoided the monk by the whole width of the road and passed him, turning his head away in repulsion.

The young men rode up to the wounded man to announce that they were followed by the priest. He raised himself to glance in the direction which they pointed out, saw the monk, and fell back upon the litter, his face illumined by joy.

“And now,” said the youths, “we have done all we can for you; and as we are in haste to rejoin the prince’s army we must continue our journey. You will excuse us, sir, but we are told that a battle is expected and we do not wish to arrive the day after it.”

“Go, my young sirs,” said the sick man, “and may you both be blessed for your piety. You have done for me, as you promised, all that you could do. As for me I can only repeat, may God protect you and all dear to you!”

“Sir,” said de Guiche to his tutor, “we will precede you, and you can rejoin us on the road to Cambrin.”

The host was at his door and everything was prepared⁠—bed, bandages, and lint; and a groom had gone to Lens, the nearest village, for a doctor.

“Everything,” said he to Raoul, “shall be done as you desire; but you will not stop to have your wound dressed?”

“Oh, my wound⁠—mine⁠—’tis nothing,” replied the viscount; “it will be time to think about it when we next halt; only have the goodness, should you see a cavalier who makes inquiries about a young man on a chestnut horse followed by a servant, to tell him, in fact, that you have seen me, but that I have continued my journey and intend to dine at Mazingarbe and to stop at Cambrin. This cavalier is my attendant.”

“Would it not be safer and more certain if I should ask him his name and tell him yours?” demanded the host.

“There is no harm in over-precaution. I am the Viscount de Bragelonne and he is called Grimaud.”

At this moment the wounded man arrived from one direction and the monk from the other, the latter dismounting from his mule and desiring that it should be taken to the stables without being unharnessed.

“Sir Monk,” said de Guiche, “confess well that brave man; and be not concerned for your expenses or for those of your mule; all is paid.”

“Thanks, Monsieur,” said the monk, with one of those smiles that made Bragelonne shudder.

“Come, count,” said Raoul, who seemed instinctively to dislike the vicinity of the Augustine; “come, I feel ill here,” and the two young men spurred on.

The litter, borne by two servants, now entered the house. The host and his wife were standing on the steps, whilst the unhappy man seemed to suffer dreadful pain and yet to be concerned only to know if he was followed by the monk. At sight of this pale, bleeding man, the wife grasped her husband’s arm.

“Well, what’s the matter?” asked the latter, “are you going to be ill just now?”

“No, but look,” replied the hostess, pointing to the wounded man; “I ask you if you recognize him?”

“That man⁠—wait a bit.”

“Ah! I see you know him,” exclaimed the wife; “for you have become pale in your turn.”

“Truly,” cried the host, “misfortune is coming on our house; it is the former executioner of Bethune.”

“The former executioner of Bethune!” murmured the young monk, shrinking back and showing on his countenance the feeling of repugnance which his penitent inspired.

Monsieur d’Arminges, who was at the door, perceived his hesitation.

“Sir monk,” said he, “whether he is now or has been an executioner, this unfortunate being is none the less a man. Render to him, then, the last service he can by any possibility ask of you, and your work will be all the more meritorious.”

The monk made no reply, but silently wended his way to the room where the two valets had deposited the dying man on a bed. D’Arminges and Olivain and the two grooms then mounted their horses, and all four started off at a quick trot to rejoin Raoul and his companion. Just as the tutor and his escort disappeared in their turn, a new traveler stopped on the threshold of the inn.

“What does your worship want?” demanded the host, pale and trembling from the discovery he had just made.

The traveler made a sign as if he wished to drink, and then pointed to his horse and gesticulated like a man who is brushing something.

Ah, diable! said the host to himself; this man seems dumb. “And where will your worship drink?”

“There,” answered the traveler, pointing to the table.

I was mistaken, said the host, he’s not quite dumb. “And what else does your worship wish for?”

“To know if you have seen a young man pass, fifteen years of age, mounted on a chestnut horse and followed by a groom?”

“The Viscount de Bragelonne?”

“Just so.”

“Then you are called Monsieur Grimaud?”

The traveler made a sign of assent.

“Well, then,” said the host, “your young master was here a quarter of an hour ago; he will dine at Mazingarbe and sleep at Cambrin.”

“How far is Mazingarbe?”

“Two miles and a half.”

“Thank you.”

Grimaud was drinking his wine silently and had just placed his glass on the table to be filled a second time, when a terrific scream resounded from the room occupied by the monk and the dying man. Grimaud sprang up.

“What is that?” said he; “whence comes that cry?”

“From the wounded man’s room,” replied the host.

“What wounded man?”

“The former executioner of Bethune, who has just been brought in here, assassinated by Spaniards, and who is now being confessed by an Augustine friar.”

“The old executioner of Bethune,” muttered Grimaud; “a man between fifty-five and sixty, tall, strong, swarthy, black hair and beard?”

“That is he, except that his beard has turned gray and his hair is white; do you know him?” asked the host.

“I have seen him once,” replied Grimaud, a cloud darkening his countenance at the picture so suddenly summoned to the bar of recollection.

At this instant a second cry, less piercing than the first, but followed by prolonged groaning, was heard.

The three listeners looked at one another in alarm.

“We must see what it is,” said Grimaud.

“It sounds like the cry of one who is being murdered,” murmured the host.

Mon Dieu!” said the woman, crossing herself.

If Grimaud was slow in speaking, we know that he was quick to act; he sprang to the door and shook it violently, but it was bolted on the other side.

“Open the door!” cried the host; “open it instantly, Sir Monk!”

No reply.

“Unfasten it, or I will break it in!” said Grimaud.

The same silence, and then, ere the host could oppose his design, Grimaud seized a pair of pincers he perceived in a corner and forced the bolt. The room was inundated with blood, dripping from the mattresses upon which lay the wounded man, speechless; the monk had disappeared.

“The monk!” cried the host; “where is the monk?”

Grimaud sprang toward an open window which looked into the courtyard.

“He has escaped by this means,” exclaimed he.

“Do you think so?” said the host, bewildered; “boy, see if the mule belonging to the monk is still in the stable.”

“There is no mule,” cried he to whom this question was addressed.

The host clasped his hands and looked around him suspiciously, whilst Grimaud knit his brows and approached the wounded man, whose worn, hard features awoke in his mind such awful recollections of the past.

“There can be no longer any doubt but that it is himself,” said he.

“Does he still live?” inquired the innkeeper.

Making no reply, Grimaud opened the poor man’s jacket to feel if the heart beat, whilst the host approached in his turn; but in a moment they both fell back, the host uttering a cry of horror and Grimaud becoming pallid. The blade of a dagger was buried up to the hilt in the left side of the executioner.

“Run! run for help!” cried Grimaud, “and I will remain beside him here.”

The host quitted the room in agitation, and as for his wife, she had fled at the sound of her husband’s cries.


The Absolution
This is what had taken place: We have seen that it was not of his own free will, but, on the contrary, very reluctantly, that the monk attended the wounded man who had been recommended to him in so strange a manner. Perhaps he would have sought to escape by flight had he seen any possibility of doing so. He was restrained by the threats of the two gentlemen and by the presence of their attendants, who doubtless had received their instructions. And besides, he considered it most expedient, without exhibiting too much ill-will, to follow to the end his role as confessor.

The monk entered the chamber and approached the bed of the wounded man. The executioner searched his face with the quick glance peculiar to those who are about to die and have no time to lose. He made a movement of surprise and said:

“Father, you are very young.”

“Men who bear my robe have no age,” replied the monk, dryly.

“Alas, speak to me more gently, father; in my last moments I need a friend.”

“Do you suffer much?” asked the monk.

“Yes, but in my soul much more than in my body.”

“We will save your soul,” said the young man; “but are you really the executioner of Bethune, as these people say?”

“That is to say,” eagerly replied the wounded man, who doubtless feared that the name of executioner would take from him the last help that he could claim⁠—“that is to say, I was, but am no longer; it is fifteen years since I gave up the office. I still assist at executions, but no longer strike the blow myself⁠—no, indeed.”

“You have, then, a repugnance to your profession?”

“So long as I struck in the name of the law and of justice my profession allowed me to sleep quietly, sheltered as I was by justice and law; but since that terrible night when I became an instrument of private vengeance and when with personal hatred I raised the sword over one of God’s creatures⁠—since that day⁠—”

The executioner paused and shook his head with an expression of despair.

“Tell me about it,” said the monk, who, sitting on the foot of the bed, began to be interested in a story so strangely introduced.

“Ah!” cried the dying man, with all the effusiveness of a grief declared after long suppression, “ah! I have sought to stifle remorse by twenty years of good deeds; I have assuaged the natural ferocity of those who shed blood; on every occasion I have exposed my life to save those who were in danger, and I have preserved lives in exchange for that I took away. That is not all; the money gained in the exercise of my profession I have distributed to the poor; I have been assiduous in attending church and those who formerly fled from me have become accustomed to seeing me. All have forgiven me, some have even loved me; but I think that God has not pardoned me, for the memory of that execution pursues me constantly and every night I see that woman’s ghost rising before me.”

“A woman! You have assassinated a woman, then?” cried the monk.

“You also!” exclaimed the executioner, “you use that word which sounds ever in my ears⁠—‘assassinated!’ I have assassinated, then, and not executed! I am an assassin, then, and not an officer of justice!” and he closed his eyes with a groan.

The monk doubtless feared that he would die without saying more, for he exclaimed eagerly:

“Go on, I know nothing, as yet; when you have finished your story, God and I will judge.”

“Oh, father,” continued the executioner, without opening his eyes, as if he feared on opening them to see some frightful object, “it is especially when night comes on and when I have to cross a river, that this terror which I have been unable to conquer comes upon me; it then seems as if my hand grew heavy, as if the cutlass was still in its grasp, as if the water had the color of blood, and all the voices of nature⁠—the whispering of the trees, the murmur of the wind, the lapping of the wave⁠—united in a voice tearful, despairing, terrible, crying to me, ‘Place for the justice of God!’ ”

“Delirium!” murmured the monk, shaking his head.

The executioner opened his eyes, turned toward the young man and grasped his arm.

“ ‘Delirium,’ ” he repeated; “ ‘delirium,’ do you say? Oh, no! I remember too well. It was evening; I had thrown the body into the river and those words which my remorse repeats to me are those which I in my pride pronounced. After being the instrument of human justice I aspired to be that of the justice of God.”

“But let me see, how was it done? Speak,” said the monk.

“It was at night. A man came to me and showed me an order and I followed him. Four other noblemen awaited me. They led me away masked. I reserved the right of refusing if the office they required of me should seem unjust. We traveled five or six leagues, serious, silent, and almost without speaking. At length, through the window of a little hut, they showed me a woman sitting, leaning on a table, and said, ‘there is the person to be executed.’ ”

“Horrible!” said the monk. “And you obeyed?”

“Father, that woman was a monster. It was said that she had poisoned her second husband; she had tried to assassinate her brother-in-law; she had just poisoned a young woman who was her rival, and before leaving England she had, it was believed, caused the favorite of the king to be murdered.”

“Buckingham?” cried the monk.

“Yes, Buckingham.”

“The woman was English, then?”

“No, she was French, but she had married in England.”

The monk turned pale, wiped his brow and went and bolted the door. The executioner thought that he had abandoned him and fell back, groaning, upon his bed.

“No, no; I am here,” said the monk, quickly coming back to him. “Go on; who were those men?”

“One of them was a foreigner, English, I think. The four others were French and wore the uniform of Musketeers.”

“Their names?” asked the monk.

“I don’t know them, but the four other noblemen called the Englishman ‘my lord.’ ”

“Was the woman handsome?”

“Young and beautiful. Oh, yes, especially beautiful. I see her now, as on her knees at my feet, with her head thrown back, she begged for life. I have never understood how I could have laid low a head so beautiful, with a face so pale.”

The monk seemed agitated by a strange emotion; he trembled all over; he seemed eager to put a question which yet he dared not ask. At length, with a violent effort at self-control:

“The name of that woman?” he said.

“I don’t know what it was. As I have said, she was twice married, once in France, the second time in England.”

“She was young, you say?”

“Twenty-five years old.”





“Abundance of hair⁠—falling over her shoulders?”


“Eyes of an admirable expression?”

“When she chose. Oh, yes, it is she!”

“A voice of strange sweetness?”

“How do you know it?”

The executioner raised himself on his elbow and gazed with a frightened air at the monk, who became livid.

“And you killed her?” the monk exclaimed. “You were the tool of those cowards who dared not kill her themselves? You had no pity for that youthfulness, that beauty, that weakness?⁠—you killed that woman?”

“Alas! I have already told you, father, that woman, under that angelic appearance, had an infernal soul, and when I saw her, when I recalled all the evil she had done to me⁠—”

“To you? What could she have done to you? Come, tell me!”

“She had seduced and ruined my brother, a priest. She had fled with him from her convent.”

“With your brother?”

“Yes, my brother was her first lover, and she caused his death. Oh, father, do not look in that way at me! Oh, I am guilty, then; you will not pardon me?”

The monk recovered his usual expression.

“Yes, yes,” he said, “I will pardon you if you tell me all.”

“Oh!” cried the executioner, “all! all! all!”

“Answer, then. If she seduced your brother⁠—you said she seduced him, did you not?”


“If she caused his death⁠—you said that she caused his death?”

“Yes,” repeated the executioner.

“Then you must know what her name was as a young girl.”

“Oh, mon Dieu!” cried the executioner, “I think I am dying. Absolution, father! absolution.”

“Tell me her name and I will give it.”

“Her name was⁠—My God, have pity on me!” murmured the executioner; and he fell back on the bed, pale, trembling, and apparently about to die.

“Her name!” repeated the monk, bending over him as if to tear from him the name if he would not utter it; “her name! Speak, or no absolution!”

The dying man collected all his forces.

The monk’s eyes glittered.

“Anne de Bueil,” murmured the wounded man.

“Anne de Bueil!” cried the monk, standing up and lifting his hands to Heaven. “Anne de Bueil! You said Anne de Bueil, did you not?”

“Yes, yes, that was her name; and now absolve me, for I am dying.”

“I, absolve you!” cried the priest, with a laugh which made the dying man’s hair stand on end; “I, absolve you? I am not a priest.”

“You are not a priest!” cried the executioner. “What, then, are you?”

“I am about to tell you, wretched man.”

“Oh, mon Dieu!

“I am John Francis de Winter.”

“I do not know you,” said the executioner.

“Wait, wait; you are going to know me. I am John Francis de Winter,” he repeated, “and that woman⁠—”

“Well, that woman?”

“Was my mother!”

The executioner uttered the first cry, that terrible cry which had been first heard.

“Oh, pardon me, pardon me!” he murmured; “if not in the name of God, at least in your own name; if not as priest, then as son.”

“Pardon you!” cried the pretended monk, “pardon you! Perhaps God will pardon you, but I, never!”

“For pity’s sake,” said the executioner, extending his arms.

“No pity for him who had no pity! Die, impenitent, die in despair, die and be damned!” And drawing a poniard from beneath his robe he thrust it into the breast of the wounded man, saying, “Here is my absolution!”

Then was heard that second cry, not so loud as the first and followed by a long groan.

The executioner, who had lifted himself up, fell back upon his bed. As to the monk, without withdrawing the poniard from the wound, he ran to the window, opened it, leaped out into the flowers of a small garden, glided onward to the stable, took out his mule, went out by a back gate, ran to a neighbouring thicket, threw off his monkish garb, took from his valise the complete habiliment of a cavalier, clothed himself in it, went on foot to the first post, secured there a horse and continued with a loose rein his journey to Paris.


Grimaud Speaks
Grimaud was left alone with the executioner, who in a few moments opened his eyes.

“Help, help,” he murmured; “oh, God! have I not a single friend in the world who will aid me either to live or to die?”

“Take courage,” said Grimaud; “they are gone to find assistance.”

“Who are you?” asked the wounded man, fixing his half opened eyes on Grimaud.

“An old acquaintance,” replied Grimaud.

“You?” and the wounded man sought to recall the features of the person now before him.

“Under what circumstances did we meet?” he asked again.

“One night, twenty years ago, my master fetched you from Bethune and conducted you to Armentières.”

“I know you well now,” said the executioner; “you were one of the four grooms.”

“Just so.”

“Where do you come from now?”

“I was passing by and drew up at this inn to rest my horse. They told me the executioner of Bethune was here and wounded, when you uttered two piercing cries. At the first we ran to the door and at the second forced it open.”

“And the monk?” exclaimed the executioner, “did you see the monk?”

“What monk?”

“The monk that was shut in with me.”

“No, he was no longer here; he appears to have fled by the window. Was he the man that stabbed you?”

“Yes,” said the executioner.

Grimaud moved as if to leave the room.

“What are you going to do?” asked the wounded man.

“He must be apprehended.”

“Do not attempt it; he has revenged himself and has done well. Now I may hope that God will forgive me, since my crime is expiated.”

“Explain yourself,” said Grimaud.

“The woman whom you and your masters commanded me to kill⁠—”


“Yes, Milady; it is true you called her thus.”

“What has the monk to do with this Milady?”

“She was his mother.”

Grimaud trembled and stared at the dying man in a dull and leaden manner.

“His mother!” he repeated.

“Yes, his mother.”

“But does he know this secret, then?”

“I mistook him for a monk and revealed it to him in confession.”

“Unhappy man!” cried Grimaud, whose face was covered with sweat at the bare idea of the evil results such a revelation might cause; “unhappy man, you named no one, I hope?”

“I pronounced no name, for I knew none, except his mother’s, as a young girl, and it was by this name that he recognized her, but he knows that his uncle was among her judges.”

Thus speaking, he fell back exhausted. Grimaud, wishing to relieve him, advanced his hand toward the hilt of the dagger.

“Touch me not!” said the executioner; “if this dagger is withdrawn I shall die.”

Grimaud remained with his hand extended; then, striking his forehead, he exclaimed:

“Oh! if this man should ever discover the names of the others, my master is lost.”

“Haste! haste to him and warn him,” cried the wounded man, “if he still lives; warn his friends, too. My death, believe me, will not be the end of this atrocious misadventure.”

“Where was the monk going?” asked Grimaud.

“Toward Paris.”

“Who stopped him?”

“Two young gentlemen, who were on their way to join the army and the name of one of whom I heard his companion mention⁠—the Viscount de Bragelonne.”

“And it was this young man who brought the monk to you? Then it was the will of God that it should be so and this it is which makes it all so awful,” continued Grimaud. “And yet that woman deserved her fate; do you not think so?”

“On one’s deathbed the crimes of others appear very small in comparison with one’s own,” said the executioner; and falling back exhausted he closed his eyes.

Grimaud was reluctant to leave the man alone and yet he perceived the necessity of starting at once to bear these tidings to the Comte de la Fère. Whilst he thus hesitated the host re-entered the room, followed not only by a surgeon, but by many other persons, whom curiosity had attracted to the spot. The surgeon approached the dying man, who seemed to have fainted.

“We must first extract the steel from the side,” said he, shaking his head in a significant manner.

The prophecy which the wounded man had just uttered recurred to Grimaud, who turned away his head. The weapon, as we have already stated, was plunged into the body to the hilt, and as the surgeon, taking it by the end, drew it forth, the wounded man opened his eyes and fixed them on him in a manner truly frightful. When at last the blade had been entirely withdrawn, a red froth issued from the mouth of the wounded man and a stream of blood spouted afresh from the wound when he at length drew breath; then, fixing his eyes upon Grimaud with a singular expression, the dying man uttered the last death-rattle and expired.

Then Grimaud, lifting the dagger from the pool of blood which was gliding along the room, to the horror of all present, made a sign to the host to follow him, paid him with a generosity worthy of his master and again mounted his horse. Grimaud’s first intention had been to return to Paris, but he remembered the anxiety which his prolonged absence might occasion Raoul, and reflecting that there were now only two miles between the vicomte and himself and a quarter of an hour’s riding would unite them, and that the going, returning and explanation would not occupy an hour, he put spurs to his horse and a few minutes after had reached the only inn of Mazingarbe.

Raoul was seated at table with the Count de Guiche and his tutor, when all at once the door opened and Grimaud presented himself, travel-stained, dirty, and sprinkled with the blood of the unhappy executioner.

“Grimaud, my good Grimaud!” exclaimed Raoul, “here you are at last! Excuse me, sirs, this is not a servant, but a friend. How did you leave the count?” continued he. “Does he regret me a little? Have you seen him since I left him? Answer, for I have many things to tell you, too; indeed, the last three days some odd adventures have happened⁠—but what is the matter? how pale you are! and blood, too! What is this?”

“It is the blood of the unfortunate man whom you left at the inn and who died in my arms.”

“In your arms?⁠—that man! but know you who he was?”

“He used to be the headsman of Bethune.”

“You knew him? and he is dead?”


“Well, sir,” said d’Arminges, “it is the common lot; even an executioner is not exempted. I had a bad opinion of him the moment I saw his wound, and since he asked for a monk you know that it was his opinion, too, that death would follow.”

At the mention of the monk, Grimaud became pale.

“Come, come,” continued d’Arminges, “to dinner”; for like most men of his age and generation he did not allow sentiment or sensibility to interfere with a repast.

“You are right, sir,” said Raoul. “Come, Grimaud, order dinner for yourself and when you have rested a little we can talk.”

“No, sir, no,” said Grimaud. “I cannot stop a moment; I must start for Paris again immediately.”

“What? You start for Paris? You are mistaken; it is Olivain who leaves me; you are to remain.”

“On the contrary, Olivain is to stay and I am to go. I have come for nothing else but to tell you so.”

“But what is the meaning of this change?”

“I cannot tell you.”

“Explain yourself.”

“I cannot explain myself.”

“Come, tell me, what is the joke?”

“Monsieur le Vicomte knows that I never joke.”

“Yes, but I know also that Monsieur le Comte de la Fère arranged that you were to remain with me and that Olivain should return to Paris. I shall follow the count’s directions.”

“Not under present circumstances, Monsieur.”

“Perhaps you mean to disobey me?”

“Yes, Monsieur, I must.”

“You persist, then?”

“Yes, I am going; may you be happy, Monsieur,” and Grimaud saluted and turned toward the door to go out.

Raoul, angry and at the same time uneasy, ran after him and seized him by the arm. “Grimaud!” he cried; “remain; I wish it.”

“Then,” replied Grimaud, “you wish me to allow Monsieur le Comte to be killed.” He saluted and made a movement to depart.

“Grimaud, my friend,” said the viscount, “will you leave me thus, in such anxiety? Speak, speak, in Heaven’s name!” And Raoul fell back trembling upon his chair.

“I can tell you but one thing, sir, for the secret you wish to know is not my own. You met a monk, did you not?”


The young men looked at each other with an expression of fear.

“You conducted him to the wounded man and you had time to observe him, and perhaps you would know him again were you to meet him.”

“Yes, yes!” cried both young men.

“Very well; if ever you meet him again, wherever it may be, whether on the high road or in the street or in a church, anywhere that he or you may be, put your foot on his neck and crush him without pity, without mercy, as you would crush a viper or a scorpion! destroy him utterly and quit him not until he is dead; the lives of five men are not safe, in my opinion, as long as he is on the earth.”

And without adding another word, Grimaud, profiting by the astonishment and terror into which he had thrown his auditors, rushed from the room. Two minutes later the thunder of a horse’s hoofs was heard upon the road; it was Grimaud, on his way to Paris. When once in the saddle Grimaud reflected on two things; first, that at the pace he was going his horse would not carry him ten miles, and secondly, that he had no money. But Grimaud’s ingenuity was more prolific than his speech, and therefore at the first halt he sold his steed and with the money obtained from the purchase took post horses.


On the Eve of Battle
Raoul was aroused from his sombre reflections by his host, who rushed into the apartment crying out, “The Spaniards! the Spaniards!”

That cry was of such importance as to overcome all preoccupation. The young men made inquiries and ascertained that the enemy was advancing by way of Houdin and Bethune.

While Monsieur d’Arminges gave orders for the horses to be made ready for departure, the two young men ascended to the upper windows of the house and saw in the direction of Marsin and of Lens a large body of infantry and cavalry. This time it was not a wandering troop of partisans; it was an entire army. There was therefore nothing for them to do but to follow the prudent advice of Monsieur d’Arminges and beat a retreat. They quickly went downstairs. Monsieur d’Arminges was already mounted. Olivain had ready the horses of the young men, and the lackeys of the Count de Guiche guarded carefully between them the Spanish prisoner, mounted on a pony which had been bought for his use. As a further precaution they had bound his hands.

The little company started off at a trot on the road to Cambrin, where they expected to find the prince. But he was no longer there, having withdrawn on the previous evening to La Bassée, misled by false intelligence of the enemy’s movements. Deceived by this intelligence he had concentrated his forces between Vieille-Chapelle and La Venthie; and after a reconnoissance along the entire line, in company with Marshal de Grammont, he had returned and seated himself before a table, with his officers around him. He questioned them as to the news they had each been charged to obtain, but nothing positive had been learned. The hostile army had disappeared two days before and seemed to have gone out of existence.

Now an enemy is never so near, and consequently so threatening, as when he has completely disappeared. The prince was, therefore, contrary to his custom, gloomy and anxious, when an officer entered and announced to Marshal de Grammont that someone wished to see him.

The Duc de Grammont received permission from the prince by a glance and went out. The prince followed him with his eyes and continued looking at the door; no one ventured to speak, for fear of disturbing him.

Suddenly a dull and heavy noise was heard. The prince leaped to his feet, extending his hand in the direction whence came the sound, there was no mistaking it⁠—it was the noise of cannon. Everyone stood up.

At that moment the door opened.

“Monseigneur,” said Marshal de Grammont, with a radiant face, “will your Highness permit my son, Count de Guiche, and his traveling companion, Viscount de Bragelonne, to come in and give news of the enemy, whom they have found while we were looking for him?”

“What!” eagerly replied the prince, “will I permit? I not only permit, I desire; let them come in.”

The marshal introduced the two young men and placed them face to face with the prince.

“Speak, gentlemen,” said the prince, saluting them; “first speak; we shall have time afterward for the usual compliments. The most urgent thing now is to learn where the enemy is and what he is doing.”

It fell naturally to the Count de Guiche to make reply; not only was he the elder, but he had been presented to the prince by his father. Besides, he had long known the prince, whilst Raoul now saw him for the first time. He therefore narrated to the prince what they had seen from the inn at Mazingarbe.

Meanwhile Raoul closely observed the young general, already made so famous by the battles of Rocroy, Fribourg, and Nordlingen.

Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, who, since the death of his father, Henri de Bourbon, was called, in accordance with the custom of that period, Monsieur le Prince, was a young man, not more than twenty-six or twenty-seven years old, with the eye of an eagle⁠—agl’ occhi grifani, as Dante says⁠—aquiline nose, long, waving hair, of medium height, well formed, possessed of all the qualities essential to the successful soldier⁠—that is to say, the rapid glance, quick decision, fabulous courage. At the same time he was a man of elegant manners and strong mind, so that in addition to the revolution he had made in war, by his new contributions to its methods, he had also made a revolution at Paris, among the young noblemen of the court, whose natural chief he was and who, in distinction from the social leaders of the ancient court, modeled after Bassompierre, Bellegarde and the Duke d’Angoulême, were called the petits-maîtres.

At the first words of the Count de Guiche, the prince, having in mind the direction whence came the sound of cannon, had understood everything. The enemy was marching upon Lens, with the intention, doubtless, of securing possession of that town and separating from France the army of France. But in what force was the enemy? Was it a corps sent out to make a diversion? Was it an entire army? To this question de Guiche could not respond.

Now, as these questions involved matters of gravest consequence, it was these to which the prince had especially desired an answer, exact, precise, positive.

Raoul conquered the very natural feeling of timidity he experienced and approaching the prince:

“My lord,” he said, “will you permit me to hazard a few words on that subject, which will perhaps relieve you of your uncertainty?”

The prince turned and seemed to cover the young man with a single glance; he smiled on perceiving that he was a child hardly fifteen years old.

“Certainly, Monsieur, speak,” he said, softening his stern, accented tones, as if he were speaking to a woman.

“My lord,” said Raoul, blushing, “might examine the Spanish prisoner.”

“Have you a Spanish prisoner?” cried the prince.

“Yes, my lord.”

“Ah, that is true,” said de Guiche; “I had forgotten it.”

“That is easily understood; it was you who took him, count,” said Raoul, smiling.

The old marshal turned toward the viscount, grateful for that praise of his son, whilst the prince exclaimed:

“The young man is right; let the prisoner be brought in.”

Meanwhile the prince took de Guiche aside and asked him how the prisoner had been taken and who this young man was.

“Monsieur,” said the prince, turning toward Raoul, “I know that you have a letter from my sister, Madame de Longueville; but I see that you have preferred commending yourself to me by giving me good counsel.”

“My lord,” said Raoul, coloring up, “I did not wish to interrupt your Highness in a conversation so important as that in which you were engaged with the count. But here is the letter.”

“Very well,” said the prince; “give it to me later. Here is the prisoner; let us attend to what is most pressing.”

The prisoner was one of those military adventurers who sold their blood to whoever would buy, and grew old in stratagems and spoils. Since he had been taken he had not uttered a word, so that it was not known to what country he belonged. The prince looked at him with unspeakable distrust.

“Of what country are you?” asked the prince.

The prisoner muttered a few words in a foreign tongue.

“Ah! ah! it seems that he is a Spaniard. Do you speak Spanish, Grammont?”

“Faith, my lord, but indifferently.”

“And I not at all,” said the prince, laughing. “Gentlemen,” he said, turning to those who were near him “can any one of you speak Spanish and serve me as interpreter?”

“I can, my lord,” said Raoul.

“Ah, you speak Spanish?”

“Enough, I think, to fulfill your Highness’s wishes on this occasion.”

Meanwhile the prisoner had remained impassive and as if he had no understanding of what was taking place.

“My lord asks of what country you are,” said the young man, in the purest Castilian.

Ich bin ein Deutscher,” replied the prisoner.

“What in the devil does he say?” asked the prince. “What new gibberish is that?”

“He says he is German, my lord,” replied Raoul; “but I doubt it, for his accent is bad and his pronunciation defective.”

“Then you speak German, also?” asked the prince.

“Yes, my lord.”

“Well enough to question him in that language?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Question him, then.”

Raoul began the examination, but the result justified his opinion. The prisoner did not understand, or seemed not to understand, what Raoul said to him; and Raoul could hardly understand his replies, containing a mixture of Flemish and Alsatian. However, amidst all the prisoner’s efforts to elude a systematic examination, Raoul had recognized his natural accent.

Non siete Spagnuolo,” he said; “non siete Tedesco; siete Italiano.

The prisoner started and bit his lips.

“Ah, that,” said the prince, “I understand that language thoroughly; and since he is Italian I will myself continue the examination. Thank you, viscount,” continued the prince, laughing, “and I appoint you from this moment my interpreter.”

But the prisoner was not less unwilling to respond in Italian than in the other languages; his aim was to elude the examination. Therefore, he knew nothing either of the enemy’s numbers, or of those in command, or of the purpose of the army.

“Very good,” said the prince, understanding the reason of that ignorance; “the man was caught in the act of assassination and robbery; he might have purchased his life by speaking; he doesn’t wish to speak. Take him out and shoot him.”

The prisoner turned pale. The two soldiers who had brought him in took him, each by one arm, and led him toward the door, whilst the prince, turning to Marshal de Grammont, seemed to have already forgotten the order he had given.

When he reached the threshold of the door the prisoner stopped. The soldiers, who knew only their orders, attempted to force him along.

“One moment,” said the prisoner, in French. “I am ready to speak, my lord.”

“Ah! ah!” said the prince, laughing, “I thought we should come to that. I have a sure method of limbering tongues. Young men, take advantage of it against the time when you may be in command.”

“But on condition,” continued the prisoner, “that your Highness will swear that my life shall be safe.”

“Upon my honor,” said the prince.

“Question, then, my lord.”

“Where did the army cross the Lys?”

“Between Saint-Venant and Aire.”

“By whom is it commanded?”

“By Count de Fuonsaldagna, General Beck, and the archduke.”

“Of how many does it consist?”

“Eighteen thousand men and thirty-six cannon.”

“And its aim is?”


“You see; gentlemen!” said the prince, turning with a triumphant air toward Marshal de Grammont and the other officers.

“Yes, my lord,” said the marshal, “you have divined all that was possible to human genius.”

“Recall Le Plessis, Bellièvre, Villequier and d’Erlac,” said the prince, “recall all the troops that are on this side of the Lys. Let them hold themselves in readiness to march tonight. Tomorrow, according to all probability, we shall attack the enemy.”

“But, my lord,” said Marshal de Grammont, “consider that when we have collected all our forces we shall have hardly thirteen thousand men.”

“Monsieur le Maréchal,” said the prince, with that wonderful glance that was peculiar to him, “it is with small armies that great battles are won.”

Then turning toward the prisoner, “Take away that man,” he said, “and keep him carefully in sight. His life is dependent on the information he has given us; if it is true, he shall be free; if false, let him be shot.”

The prisoner was led away.

“Count de Guiche,” said the prince, “it is a long time since you saw your father, remain here with him. Monsieur,” he continued, addressing Raoul, “if you are not too tired, follow me.”

“To the end of the world, my lord!” cried Raoul, feeling an unknown enthusiasm for that young general, who seemed to him so worthy of his renown.

The prince smiled; he despised flatterers, but he appreciated enthusiasts.

“Come, Monsieur,” he said, “you are good in council, as we have already discovered; tomorrow we shall know if you are good in action.”

“And I,” said the marshal, “what am I to do?”

“Wait here to receive the troops. I shall either return for them myself or shall send a courier directing you to bring them to me. Twenty guards, well mounted, are all that I shall need for my escort.”

“That is very few,” said the marshal.

“It is enough,” replied the prince. “Have you a good horse, Monsieur de Bragelonne?”

“My horse was killed this morning, my lord, and I am mounted provisionally on my lackey’s.”

“Choose for yourself in my stables the horse you like best. No false modesty; take the best horse you can find. You will need it this evening, perhaps; you will certainly need it tomorrow.”

Raoul didn’t wait to be told twice; he knew that with superiors, especially when those superiors are princes, the highest politeness is to obey without delay or argument; he went down to the stables, picked out a piebald Andalusian horse, saddled and bridled it himself, for Athos had advised him to trust no one with those important offices at a time of danger, and went to rejoin the prince, who at that moment mounted his horse.

“Now, Monsieur,” he said to Raoul, “will you give me the letter you have brought?”

Raoul handed the letter to the prince.

“Keep near me,” said the latter.

The prince threw his bridle over the pommel of the saddle, as he was wont to do when he wished to have both hands free, unsealed the letter of Madame de Longueville and started at a gallop on the road to Lens, attended by Raoul and his small escort, whilst messengers sent to recall the troops set out with a loose rein in other directions. The prince read as he hastened on.

“Monsieur,” he said, after a moment, “they tell me great things of you. I have only to say, after the little that I have seen and heard, that I think even better of you than I have been told.”

Raoul bowed.

Meanwhile, as the little troop drew nearer to Lens, the noise of the cannon sounded louder. The prince kept his gaze fixed in the direction of the sound with the steadfastness of a bird of prey. One would have said that his gaze could pierce the branches of trees which limited his horizon. From time to time his nostrils dilated as if eager for the smell of powder, and he panted like a horse.

At length they heard the cannon so near that it was evident they were within a league of the field of battle, and at a turn of the road they perceived the little village of Aunay.

The peasants were in great commotion. The report of Spanish cruelty had gone out and everyone was frightened. The women had already fled, taking refuge in Vitry; only a few men remained. On seeing the prince they hastened to meet him. One of them recognized him.

“Ah, my lord,” he said, “have you come to drive away those rascal Spaniards and those Lorraine robbers?”

“Yes,” said the prince, “if you will serve me as guide.”

“Willingly, my lord. Where does your Highness wish to go?”

“To some elevated spot whence I can look down on Lens and the surrounding country⁠—”

“In that case, I’m your man.”

“I can trust you⁠—you are a true Frenchman?”

“I am an old soldier of Rocroy, my lord.”

“Here,” said the prince, handing him a purse, “here is for Rocroy. Now, do you want a horse, or will you go afoot?”

“Afoot, my lord; I have served always in the infantry. Besides, I expect to lead your Highness into places where you will have to walk.”

“Come, then,” said the prince; “let us lose no time.”

The peasant started off, running before the prince’s horse; then, a hundred steps from the village, he took a narrow road hidden at the bottom of the valley. For a half league they proceeded thus, the cannon-shot sounding so near that they expected at each discharge to hear the hum of the balls. At length they entered a path which, going out from the road, skirted the mountainside. The prince dismounted, ordered one of his aids and Raoul to follow his example, and directed the others to await his orders, keeping themselves meanwhile on the alert. He then began to ascend the path.

In about ten minutes they reached the ruins of an old château; those ruins crowned the summit of a hill which overlooked the surrounding country. At a distance of hardly a quarter of a league they looked down on Lens, at bay, and before Lens the enemy’s entire army.

With a single glance the prince took in the extent of country that lay before him, from Lens as far as Vimy. In a moment the plan of the battle which on the following day was to save France the second time from invasion was unrolled in his mind. He took a pencil, tore a page from his tablets and wrote:

My dear Marshal
⁠—In an hour Lens will be in the enemy’s possession. Come and rejoin me; bring with you the whole army. I shall be at Vendin to place it in position. Tomorrow we shall retake Lens and beat the enemy.

Then, turning toward Raoul: “Go, Monsieur,” he said; “ride fast and give this letter to Monsieur de Grammont.”

Raoul bowed, took the letter, went hastily down the mountain, leaped on his horse and set out at a gallop. A quarter of an hour later he was with the marshal.

A portion of the troops had already arrived and the remainder was expected from moment to moment. Marshal de Grammont put himself at the head of all the available cavalry and infantry and took the road to Vendin, leaving the Duc de Châtillon to await and bring on the rest. All the artillery was ready to move, and started off at a moment’s notice.

It was seven o’clock in the evening when the marshal arrived at the appointed place. The prince awaited him there. As he had foreseen, Lens had fallen into the hands of the enemy immediately after Raoul’s departure. The event was announced by the cessation of the firing.

As the shadows of night deepened the troops summoned by the prince arrived in successive detachments. Orders were given that no drum should be beaten, no trumpet sounded.

At nine o’clock the night had fully come. Still a last ray of twilight lighted the plain. The army marched silently, the prince at the head of the column. Presently the army came in sight of Lens; two or three houses were in flames and a dull noise was heard which indicated what suffering was endured by a town taken by assault.

The prince assigned to every one his post. Marshal de Grammont was to hold the extreme left, resting on Méricourt. The Duc de Châtillon commanded the centre. Finally, the prince led the right wing, resting on Aunay. The order of battle on the morrow was to be that of the positions taken in the evening. Each one, on awaking, would find himself on the field of battle.

The movement was executed in silence and with precision. At ten o’clock everyone was in his appointed position; at half-past ten the prince visited the posts and gave his final orders for the following day.

Three things were especially urged upon the officers, who were to see that the soldiers observed them scrupulously: the first, that the different corps should so march that cavalry and infantry should be on the same line and that each body should protect its gaps; the second, to go to the charge no faster than a walk; the third, to let the enemy fire first.

The prince assigned the Count de Guiche to his father and kept Bragelonne near his own person; but the two young men sought the privilege of passing the night together and it was accorded them. A tent was erected for them near that of the marshal.

Although the day had been fatiguing, neither of them was inclined to sleep. And besides, even for old soldiers the evening before a battle is a serious time; it was so with greater reason to two young men who were about to witness for the first time that terrible spectacle. On the evening before a battle one thinks of a thousand things forgotten till then; those who are indifferent to one another become friends and those who are friends become brothers. It need not be said that if in the depths of the heart there is a sentiment more tender, it reaches then, quite naturally, the highest exaltation of which it is capable. Some sentiment of this kind must have been cherished by each one of these two friends, for each of them almost immediately sat down by himself at an end of the tent and began to write.

The letters were long⁠—the four pages were covered with closely written words. The writers sometimes looked up at each other and smiled; they understood without speaking, their organizations were so delicate and sympathetic. The letters being finished, each put his own into two envelopes, so that no one, without tearing the first envelope, could discover to whom the second was addressed; then they drew near to each other and smilingly exchanged their letters.

“In case any evil should happen to me,” said Bragelonne.

“In case I should be killed,” said de Guiche.

They then embraced each other like two brothers, and each wrapping himself in his cloak they soon passed into that kindly sleep of youth which is the prerogative of birds, flowers and infants.


A Dinner in the Old Style
The second interview between the former musketeers was not so formal and threatening as the first. Athos, with his superior understanding, wisely deemed that the supper table would be the most complete and satisfactory point of reunion, and at the moment when his friends, in deference to his deportment and sobriety, dared scarcely speak of some of their former good dinners, he was the first to propose that they should all assemble around some well spread table and abandon themselves unreservedly to their own natural character and manners⁠—a freedom which had formerly contributed so much to that good understanding between them which gave them the name of the inseparables. For different reasons this was an agreeable proposition to them all, and it was therefore agreed that each should leave a very exact address and that upon the request of any of the associates a meeting should be convoked at a famous eating house in the Rue de la Monnaie, of the sign of the Hermitage. The first rendezvous was fixed for the following Wednesday, at eight o’clock in the evening precisely.

On that day, in fact, the four friends arrived punctually at the hour, each from his own abode or occupation. Porthos had been trying a new horse; d’Artagnan was on guard at the Louvre; Aramis had been to visit one of his penitents in the neighborhood; and Athos, whose domicile was established in the Rue Guénégaud, found himself close at hand. They were, therefore, somewhat surprised to meet altogether at the door of the Hermitage, Athos starting out from the Pont Neuf, Porthos by the Rue de la Roule, d’Artagnan by the Rue des Fosse Saint Germain l’Auxerrois, and Aramis by the Rue de Bethisy.

The first words exchanged between the four friends, on account of the ceremony which each of them mingled with their demonstration, were somewhat forced and even the repast began with a kind of stiffness. Athos perceived this embarrassment, and by way of supplying an effectual remedy, called for four bottles of champagne.

At this order, given in Athos’s habitually calm manner, the face of the Gascon relaxed and Porthos’s brow grew smooth. Aramis was astonished. He knew that Athos not only never drank, but more, that he had a kind of repugnance to wine. This astonishment was doubled when Aramis saw Athos fill a bumper and toss it off with all his former enthusiasm. His companions followed his example. In a very few minutes the four bottles were empty and this excellent specific succeeded in dissipating even the slightest cloud that might have rested on their spirits. Now the four friends began to speak loud, scarcely waiting till one had finished before another began, and each assumed his favorite attitude on or at the table. Soon⁠—strange fact⁠—Aramis undid two buttons of his doublet, seeing which, Porthos unfastened his entirely.

Battles, long journeys, blows given and received, sufficed for the first themes of conversation, which turned upon the silent struggles sustained against him who was now called the great cardinal.

“Faith,” said Aramis, laughing, “we have praised the dead enough, let us revile the living a little; I should like to say something evil of Mazarin; is it permissible?”

“Go on, go on,” replied d’Artagnan, laughing heartily; “relate your story and I will applaud it if it is a good one.”

“A great prince,” said Aramis, “with whom Mazarin sought an alliance, was invited by him to send him a list of the conditions on which he would do him the honor to negotiate with him. The prince, who had a great repugnance to treat with such an ill-bred fellow, made out a list, against the grain, and sent it. In this list there were three conditions which displeased Mazarin and he offered the prince ten thousand crowns to renounce them.”

“Ah, ha, ha!” laughed the three friends, “not a bad bargain; and there was no fear of being taken at his word; what did the prince do then?”

“The prince immediately sent fifty thousand francs to Mazarin, begging him never to write to him again, and offered twenty thousand francs more, on condition that he would never speak to him. What did Mazarin do?”

“Stormed!” suggested Athos.

“Beat the messenger!” cried Porthos.

“Accepted the money!” said d’Artagnan.

“You have guessed it,” answered Aramis; and they all laughed so heartily that the host appeared in order to inquire whether the gentlemen wanted anything; he thought they were fighting.

At last their hilarity calmed down and:

“Faith!” exclaimed d’Artagnan to the two friends, “you may well wish ill to Mazarin; for I assure you, on his side he wishes you no good.”

“Pooh! really?” asked Athos. “If I thought the fellow knew me by my name I would be rebaptized, for fear it might be thought I knew him.”

“He knows you better by your actions than your name; he is quite aware that there are two gentlemen who greatly aided the escape of Monsieur de Beaufort, and he has instigated an active search for them, I can answer for it.”

“By whom?”

“By me; and this morning he sent for me to ask me if I had obtained any information.”

“And what did you reply?”

“That I had none as yet; but that I was to dine today with two gentlemen, who would be able to give me some.”

“You told him that?” said Porthos, a broad smile spreading over his honest face. “Bravo! and you are not afraid of that, Athos?”

“No,” replied Athos, “it is not the search of Mazarin that I fear.”

“Now,” said Aramis, “tell me a little what you do fear.”

“Nothing for the present; at least, nothing in good earnest.”

“And with regard to the past?” asked Porthos.

“Oh! the past is another thing,” said Athos, sighing; “the past and the future.”

“Are you afraid for your young Raoul?” asked Aramis.

“Well,” said d’Artagnan, “one is never killed in a first engagement.”

“Nor in the second,” said Aramis.

“Nor in the third,” returned Porthos; “and even when one is killed, one rises again, the proof of which is, that here we are!”

“No,” said Athos, “it is not Raoul about whom I am anxious, for I trust he will conduct himself like a gentleman; and if he is killed⁠—well, he will die bravely; but hold⁠—should such a misfortune happen⁠—well⁠—” Athos passed his hand across his pale brow.

“Well?” asked Aramis.

“Well, I shall look upon it as an expiation.”

“Ah!” said d’Artagnan; “I know what you mean.”

“And I, too,” added Aramis; “but you must not think of that, Athos; what is past, is past.”

“I don’t understand,” said Porthos.

“The affair at Armentières,” whispered d’Artagnan.

“The affair at Armentières?” asked he again.


“Oh, yes!” said Porthos; “true, I had forgotten it!”

Athos looked at him intently.

“You have forgotten it, Porthos?” said he.

“Faith! yes, it is so long ago,” answered Porthos.

“This affair does not, then, weigh upon your conscience?”

“Faith, no.”

“And you, d’Artagnan?”

“I⁠—I own that when my mind returns to that terrible period I have no recollection of anything but the rigid corpse of poor Madame Bonancieux. Yes, yes,” murmured he, “I have often felt regret for the victim, but never the very slightest remorse for the assassin.”

Athos shook his dead doubtfully.

“Consider,” said Aramis, “if you admit divine justice and its participation in the things of this world, that woman was punished by the will of heaven. We were but the instruments, that is all.”

“But as to free will, Aramis?”

“How acts the judge? He has a free will, yet he fearlessly condemns. What does the executioner? He is master of his arm, yet he strikes without remorse.”

“The executioner!” muttered Athos, as if arrested by some recollection.

“I know that it is terrible,” said d’Artagnan; “but when I reflect that we have killed English, Rochellais, Spaniards, nay, even French, who never did us any other harm but to aim at and to miss us, whose only fault was to cross swords with us and to be unable to ward off our blows⁠—I can, on my honor, find an excuse for my share in the murder of that woman.”

“As for me,” said Porthos, “now that you have reminded me of it, Athos, I have the scene again before me, as if I now were there. Milady was there, as it were, where you sit.” (Athos changed color.) “I⁠—I was where d’Artagnan stands. I wore a long sword which cut like a Damascus⁠—you remember it, Aramis, for you always called it Balizarde. Well, I swear to you, all three, that had the executioner of Bethune⁠—was he not of Bethune?⁠—yes, egad! of Bethune!⁠—not been there, I would have cut off the head of that infamous being without thinking of it, or even after thinking of it. She was a most atrocious woman.”

“And then,” said Aramis, with the tone of philosophical indifference which he had assumed since he had belonged to the church and in which there was more atheism than confidence in God, “what is the use of thinking of it all? At the last hour we must confess this action and God knows better than we can whether it is a crime, a fault, or a meritorious deed. I repent of it? Egad! no. Upon my honor and by the holy cross; I only regret it because she was a woman.”

“The most satisfactory part of the matter,” said d’Artagnan, “is that there remains no trace of it.”

“She had a son,” observed Athos.

“Oh! yes, I know that,” said d’Artagnan, “and you mentioned it to me; but who knows what has become of him? If the serpent be dead, why not its brood? Do you think his uncle de Winter would have brought up that young viper? De Winter probably condemned the son as he had done the mother.”

“Then,” said Athos, “woe to de Winter, for the child had done no harm.”

“May the devil take me, if the child be not dead,” said Porthos. “There is so much fog in that detestable country, at least so d’Artagnan declares.”

Just as the quaint conclusion reached by Porthos was about to bring back hilarity to faces now more or less clouded, hasty footsteps were heard upon the stair and someone knocked at the door.

“Come in,” cried Athos.

“Please your honors,” said the host, “a person in a great hurry wishes to speak to one of you.”

“To which of us?” asked all the four friends.

“To him who is called the Comte de la Fère.”

“It is I,” said Athos, “and what is the name of the person?”


“Ah!” exclaimed Athos, turning pale. “Back already! What can have happened, then, to Bragelonne?”

“Let him enter,” cried d’Artagnan; “let him come up.”

But Grimaud had already mounted the staircase and was waiting on the last step; so springing into the room he motioned the host to leave it. The door being closed, the four friends waited in expectation. Grimaud’s agitation, his pallor, the sweat which covered his face, the dust which soiled his clothes, all indicated that he was the messenger of some important and terrible news.

“Your honors,” said he, “that woman had a child; that child has become a man; the tigress had a little one, the tiger has roused himself; he is ready to spring upon you⁠—beware!”

Athos glanced around at his friends with a melancholy smile. Porthos turned to look at his sword, which was hanging on the wall; Aramis seized his knife; d’Artagnan arose.

“What do you mean, Grimaud?” he exclaimed.

“That Milady’s son has left England, that he is in France, on his road to Paris, if he be not here already.”

“The devil he is!” said Porthos. “Are you sure of it?”

“Certain,” replied Grimaud.

This announcement was received in silence. Grimaud was so breathless, so exhausted, that he had fallen back upon a chair. Athos filled a beaker with champagne and gave it to him.

“Well, after all,” said d’Artagnan, “supposing that he lives, that he comes to Paris; we have seen many other such. Let him come.”

“Yes,” echoed Porthos, glancing affectionately at his sword, still hanging on the wall; “we can wait for him; let him come.”

“Moreover, he is but a child,” said Aramis.

Grimaud rose.

“A child!” he exclaimed. “Do you know what he has done, this child? Disguised as a monk he discovered the whole history in confession from the executioner of Bethune, and having confessed him, after having learned everything from him, he gave him absolution by planting this dagger into his heart. See, it is on fire yet with his hot blood, for it is not thirty hours since it was drawn from the wound.”

And Grimaud threw the dagger on the table.

D’Artagnan, Porthos and Aramis rose and in one spontaneous motion rushed to their swords. Athos alone remained seated, calm and thoughtful.

“And you say he is dressed as a monk, Grimaud?”

“Yes, as an Augustine monk.”

“What sized man is he?”

“About my height; thin, pale, with light blue eyes and tawny flaxen hair.”

“And he did not see Raoul?” asked Athos.

“Yes, on the contrary, they met, and it was the viscount himself who conducted him to the bed of the dying man.”

Athos, in his turn, rising without speaking, went and unhooked his sword.

“Heigh, sir,” said d’Artagnan, trying to laugh, “do you know we look very much like a flock of silly, mouse-evading women! How is it that we, four men who have faced armies without blinking, begin to tremble at the mention of a child?”

“It is true,” said Athos, “but this child comes in the name of Heaven.”

And very soon they left the inn.


A Letter from Charles the First
The reader must now cross the Seine with us and follow us to the door of the Carmelite Convent in the Rue Saint Jacques. It is eleven o’clock in the morning and the pious sisters have just finished saying mass for the success of the armies of King Charles I. Leaving the church, a woman and a young girl dressed in black, the one as a widow and the other as an orphan, have re-entered their cell.

The woman kneels on a prie-dieu of painted wood and at a short distance from her stands the young girl, leaning against a chair, weeping.

The woman must have once been handsome, but traces of sorrow have aged her. The young girl is lovely and her tears only embellish her; the lady appears to be about forty years of age, the girl about fourteen.

“Oh, God!” prayed the kneeling suppliant, “protect my husband, guard my son, and take my wretched life instead!”

“Oh, God!” murmured the girl, “leave me my mother!”

“Your mother can be of no use to you in this world, Henrietta,” said the lady, turning around. “Your mother has no longer either throne or husband; she has neither son, money nor friends; the whole world, my poor child, has abandoned your mother!” And she fell back, weeping, into her daughter’s arms.

“Courage, take courage, my dear mother!” said the girl.

“Ah! ’tis an unfortunate year for kings,” said the mother. “And no one thinks of us in this country, for each must think about his own affairs. As long as your brother was with me he kept me up; but he is gone and can no longer send us news of himself, either to me or to your father. I have pledged my last jewels, sold your clothes and my own to pay his servants, who refused to accompany him unless I made this sacrifice. We are now reduced to live at the expense of these daughters of Heaven; we are the poor, succored by God.”

“But why not address yourself to your sister, the queen?” asked the girl.

“Alas! the queen, my sister, is no longer queen, my child. Another reigns in her name. One day you will be able to understand how all this is.”

“Well, then, to the king, your nephew. Shall I speak to him? You know how much he loves me, my mother.

“Alas! my nephew is not yet king, and you know Laporte has told us twenty times that he himself is in need of almost everything.”

“Then let us pray to Heaven,” said the girl.

The two women who thus knelt in united prayer were the daughter and granddaughter of Henry IV, the wife and daughter of Charles I.

They had just finished their double prayer, when a nun softly tapped at the door of the cell.

“Enter, my sister,” said the queen.

“I trust Your Majesty will pardon this intrusion on her meditations, but a foreign lord has arrived from England and waits in the parlor, demanding the honor of presenting a letter to Your Majesty.”

“Oh, a letter! a letter from the king, perhaps. News from your father, do you hear, Henrietta? And the name of this lord?”

“Lord de Winter.”

“Lord de Winter!” exclaimed the queen, “the friend of my husband. Oh, bid him enter!”

And the queen advanced to meet the messenger, whose hand she seized affectionately, whilst he knelt down and presented a letter to her, contained in a case of gold.

“Ah! my lord!” said the queen, “you bring us three things which we have not seen for a long time. Gold, a devoted friend, and a letter from the king, our husband and master.”

De Winter bowed again, unable to reply from excess of emotion.

On their side the mother and daughter retired into the embrasure of a window to read eagerly the following letter:

Dear Wife
⁠—We have now reached the moment of decision. I have concentrated here at Naseby camp all the resources Heaven has left me, and I write to you in haste from thence. Here I await the army of my rebellious subjects. I am about to struggle for the last time with them. If victorious, I shall continue the struggle; if beaten, I am lost. I shall try, in the latter case (alas! in our position, one must provide for everything), I shall try to gain the coast of France. But can they, will they receive an unhappy king, who will bring such a sad story into a country already agitated by civil discord? Your wisdom and your affection must serve me as guides. The bearer of this letter will tell you, Madame, what I dare not trust to pen and paper and the risks of transit. He will explain to you the steps that I expect you to pursue. I charge him also with my blessing for my children and with the sentiments of my soul for yourself, my dearest sweetheart.

The letter bore the signature, not of “Charles, King,” but of “Charles⁠—still king.”

“And let him be no longer king,” cried the queen. “Let him be conquered, exiled, proscribed, provided he still lives. Alas! in these days the throne is too dangerous a place for me to wish him to retain it. But my lord, tell me,” she continued, “hide nothing from me⁠—what is, in truth, the king’s position? Is it as hopeless as he thinks?”

“Alas! Madame, more hopeless than he thinks. His Majesty has so good a heart that he cannot understand hatred; is so loyal that he does not suspect treason! England is torn in twain by a spirit of disturbance which, I greatly fear, blood alone can exorcise.”

“But Lord Montrose,” replied the queen, “I have heard of his great and rapid successes of battles gained. I heard it said that he was marching to the frontier to join the king.”

“Yes, Madame; but on the frontier he was met by Lesly; he had tried victory by means of superhuman undertakings. Now victory has abandoned him. Montrose, beaten at Philiphaugh, was obliged to disperse the remains of his army and to fly, disguised as a servant. He is at Bergen, in Norway.”

“Heaven preserve him!” said the queen. “It is at least a consolation to know that some who have so often risked their lives for us are safe. And now, my lord, that I see how hopeless the position of the king is, tell me with what you are charged on the part of my royal husband.”

“Well, then, Madame,” said de Winter, “the king wishes you to try and discover the dispositions of the king and queen toward him.”

“Alas! you know that even now the king is but a child and the queen a woman weak enough. Here, Monsieur Mazarin is everything.”

“Does he desire to play the part in France that Cromwell plays in England?”

“Oh, no! He is a subtle, conscienceless Italian, who though he very likely dreams of crime, dares not commit it; and unlike Cromwell, who disposes of both Houses, Mazarin has had the queen to support him in his struggle with the parliament.”

“More reason, then, he should protect a king pursued by parliament.”

The queen shook her head despairingly.

“If I judge for myself, my lord,” she said, “the cardinal will do nothing, and will even, perhaps, act against us. The presence of my daughter and myself in France is already irksome to him; much more so would be that of the king. My lord,” added Henrietta, with a melancholy smile, “it is sad and almost shameful to be obliged to say that we have passed the winter in the Louvre without money, without linen, almost without bread, and often not rising from bed because we wanted fire.”

“Horrible!” cried de Winter; “the daughter of Henry IV, and the wife of King Charles! Wherefore did you not apply, then, Madame, to the first person you saw from us?”

“Such is the hospitality shown to a queen by the minister from whom a king demands it.”

“But I heard that a marriage between the Prince of Wales and Mademoiselle d’Orléans was spoken of,” said de Winter.

“Yes, for an instant I hoped it was so. The young people felt a mutual esteem; but the queen, who at first sanctioned their affection, changed her mind, and Monsieur, the Duc d’Orléans, who had encouraged the familiarity between them, has forbidden his daughter to think any more about the union. Oh, my lord!” continued the queen, without restraining her tears, “it is better to fight as the king has done, and to die, as perhaps he will, than live in beggary like me.”

“Courage, Madame! courage! Do not despair! The interests of the French crown, endangered at this moment, are to discountenance rebellion in a neighboring nation. Mazarin, as a statesman, will understand the politic necessity.”

“Are you sure,” said the queen doubtfully, “that you have not been forestalled?”

“By whom?”

“By the Joices, the Prinns, the Cromwells?”

“By a tailor, a coachmaker, a brewer! Ah! I hope, Madame, that the cardinal will not enter into negotiations with such men!”

“Ah! what is he himself?” asked Madame Henrietta.

“But for the honor of the king⁠—of the queen.”

“Well, let us hope he will do something for the sake of their honor,” said the queen. “A true friend’s eloquence is so powerful, my lord, that you have reassured me. Give me your hand and let us go to the minister; and yet,” she added, “suppose he should refuse and that the king loses the battle?”

“His Majesty will then take refuge in Holland, where I hear His Highness the Prince of Wales now is.”

“And can His Majesty count upon many such subjects as yourself for his flight?”

“Alas! no, Madame,” answered de Winter; “but the case is provided for and I am come to France to seek allies.”

“Allies!” said the queen, shaking her head.

“Madame,” replied de Winter, “provided I can find some of my good old friends of former times I will answer for anything.”

“Come then, my lord,” said the queen, with the painful doubt that is felt by those who have suffered much; “come, and may Heaven hear you.”


Cromwell’s Letter
At the very moment when the queen quitted the convent to go to the Palais Royal, a young man dismounted at the gate of this royal abode and announced to the guards that he had something of importance to communicate to Cardinal Mazarin. Although the cardinal was often tormented by fear, he was more often in need of counsel and information, and he was therefore sufficiently accessible. The true difficulty of being admitted was not to be found at the first door, and even the second was passed easily enough; but at the third watched, besides the guard and the doorkeepers, the faithful Bernouin, a Cerberus whom no speech could soften, no wand, even of gold, could charm.

It was therefore at the third door that those who solicited or were bidden to an audience underwent their formal interrogatory.

The young man having left his horse tied to the gate in the court, mounted the great staircase and addressed the guard in the first chamber.

“Cardinal Mazarin?” said he.

“Pass on,” replied the guard.

The cavalier entered the second hall, which was guarded by the musketeers and doorkeepers.

“Have you a letter of audience?” asked a porter, advancing to the new arrival.

“I have one, but not one from Cardinal Mazarin.”

“Enter, and ask for Monsieur Bernouin,” said the porter, opening the door of the third room. Whether he only held his usual post or whether it was by accident, Monsieur Bernouin was found standing behind the door and must have heard all that had passed.

“You seek me, sir,” said he. “From whom may the letter be you bear to his Eminence?”

“From General Oliver Cromwell,” said the newcomer. “Be so good as to mention this name to his Eminence and to bring me word whether he will receive me⁠—yes or no.”

Saying which, he resumed the proud and sombre bearing peculiar at that time to Puritans. Bernouin cast an inquisitorial glance at the person of the young man and entered the cabinet of the cardinal, to whom he transmitted the messenger’s words.

“A man bringing a letter from Oliver Cromwell?” said Mazarin. “And what kind of a man?”

“A genuine Englishman, your Eminence. Hair sandy-red⁠—more red than sandy; gray-blue eyes⁠—more gray than blue; and for the rest, stiff and proud.”

“Let him give in his letter.”

“His Eminence asks for the letter,” said Bernouin, passing back into the antechamber.

“His Eminence cannot see the letter without the bearer of it,” replied the young man; “but to convince you that I am really the bearer of a letter, see, here it is; and kindly add,” continued he, “that I am not a simple messenger, but an envoy extraordinary.”

Bernouin re-entered the cabinet, returning in a few seconds. “Enter, sir,” said he.

The young man appeared on the threshold of the minister’s closet, in one hand holding his hat, in the other the letter. Mazarin rose. “Have you, sir,” asked he, “a letter accrediting you to me?”

“There it is, my lord,” said the young man.

Mazarin took the letter and read it thus:

Mr. Mordaunt, one of my secretaries, will remit this letter of introduction to His Eminence, the Cardinal Mazarin, in Paris. He is also the bearer of a second confidential epistle for his Eminence.
Oliver Cromwell

“Very well, Monsieur Mordaunt,” said Mazarin, “give me this second letter and sit down.”

The young man drew from his pocket a second letter, presented it to the cardinal, and took his seat. The cardinal, however, did not unseal the letter at once, but continued to turn it again and again in his hand; then, in accordance with his usual custom and judging from experience that few people could hide anything from him when he began to question them, fixing his eyes upon them at the same time, he thus addressed the messenger:

“You are very young, Monsieur Mordaunt, for this difficult task of ambassador, in which the oldest diplomatists often fail.”

“My lord, I am twenty-three years of age; but your Eminence is mistaken in saying that I am young. I am older than your Eminence, although I possess not your wisdom. Years of suffering, in my opinion, count double, and I have suffered for twenty years.”

“Ah, yes, I understand,” said Mazarin; “want of fortune, perhaps. You are poor, are you not?” Then he added to himself: These English Revolutionists are all beggars and ill-bred.

“My lord, I ought to have a fortune of six millions, but it has been taken from me.”

“You are not, then, a man of the people?” said Mazarin, astonished.

“If I bore my proper title I should be a lord. If I bore my name you would have heard one of the most illustrious names of England.”

“What is your name, then?” asked Mazarin.

“My name is Mordaunt,” replied the young man, bowing.

Mazarin now understood that Cromwell’s envoy desired to retain his incognito. He was silent for an instant, and during that time he scanned the young man even more attentively than he had done at first. The messenger was unmoved.

“Devil take these Puritans,” said Mazarin aside; “they are carved from granite.” Then he added aloud, “But you have relations left you?”

“I have one remaining. Three times I presented myself to ask his support and three times he ordered his servants to turn me away.”

“Oh, mon Dieu! my dear Mr. Mordaunt,” said Mazarin, hoping by a display of affected pity to catch the young man in a snare, “how extremely your history interests me! You know not, then, anything of your birth⁠—you have never seen your mother?”

“Yes, my lord; she came three times, whilst I was a child, to my nurse’s house; I remember the last time she came as well as if it were today.”

“You have a good memory,” said Mazarin.

“Oh! yes, my lord,” said the young man, with such peculiar emphasis that the cardinal felt a shudder run through every vein.

“And who brought you up?” he asked again.

“A French nurse, who sent me away when I was five years old because no one paid her for me, telling me the name of a relation of whom she had heard my mother often speak.”

“What became of you?”

“As I was weeping and begging on the high road, a minister from Kingston took me in, instructed me in the Calvinistic faith, taught me all he knew himself and aided me in my researches after my family.”

“And these researches?”

“Were fruitless; chance did everything.”

“You discovered what had become of your mother?”

“I learned that she had been assassinated by my relation, aided by four friends, but I was already aware that I had been robbed of my wealth and degraded from my nobility by King Charles I.”

“Oh! I now understand why you are in the service of Cromwell; you hate the king.”

“Yes, my lord, I hate him!” said the young man.

Mazarin marked with surprise the diabolical expression with which the young man uttered these words. Just as, ordinarily, faces are colored by blood, his face seemed dyed by hatred and became livid.

“Your history is a terrible one, Mr. Mordaunt, and touches me keenly; but happily for you, you serve an all-powerful master; he ought to aid you in your search; we have so many means of gaining information.”

“My lord, to a well-bred dog it is only necessary to show one end of a track; he is certain to reach the other.”

“But this relation you mentioned⁠—do you wish me to speak to him?” said Mazarin, who was anxious to make a friend about Cromwell’s person.

“Thanks, my lord, I will speak to him myself. He will treat me better the next time I see him.”

“You have the means, then, of touching him?”

“I have the means of making myself feared.”

Mazarin looked at the young man, but at the fire which shot from his glance he bent his head; then, embarrassed how to continue such a conversation, he opened Cromwell’s letter.

The young man’s eyes gradually resumed their dull and glassy appearance and he fell into a profound reverie. After reading the first lines of the letter Mazarin gave a side glance at him to see if he was watching the expression of his face as he read. Observing his indifference, he shrugged his shoulders, saying:

“Send on your business those who do theirs at the same time! Let us see what this letter contains.”

We here present the letter verbatim:

To his Eminence, Monseigneur le Cardinal Mazarini:
I have wished, Monseigneur, to learn your intentions relating to the existing state of affairs in England. The two kingdoms are so near that France must be interested in our situation, as we are interested in that of France. The English are almost of one mind in contending against the tyranny of Charles and his adherents. Placed by popular confidence at the head of that movement, I can appreciate better than any other its significance and its probable results. I am at present in the midst of war, and am about to deliver a decisive battle against King Charles. I shall gain it, for the hope of the nation and the Spirit of the Lord are with me. This battle won by me, the king will have no further resources in England or in Scotland; and if he is not captured or killed, he will endeavor to pass over into France to recruit soldiers and to refurnish himself with arms and money. France has already received Queen Henrietta, and, unintentionally, doubtless, has maintained a centre of inextinguishable civil war in my country. But Madame Henrietta is a daughter of France and was entitled to the hospitality of France. As to King Charles, the question must be viewed differently; in receiving and aiding him, France will censure the acts of the English nation, and thus so essentially harm England, and especially the well-being of the government, that such a proceeding will be equivalent to pronounced hostilities.

At this moment Mazarin became very uneasy at the turn which the letter was taking and paused to glance under his eyes at the young man. The latter continued in thought. Mazarin resumed his reading:

It is important, therefore, Monseigneur, that I should be informed as to the intentions of France. The interests of that kingdom and those of England, though taking now diverse directions, are very nearly the same. England needs tranquillity at home, in order to consummate the expulsion of her king; France needs tranquillity to establish on solid foundations the throne of her young monarch. You need, as much as we do, that interior condition of repose which, thanks to the energy of our government, we are about to attain.
Your quarrels with the parliament, your noisy dissensions with the princes, who fight for you today and tomorrow will fight against you, the popular following directed by the coadjutor, President Blancmesnil, and Councillor Broussel⁠—all that disorder, in short, which pervades the several departments of the state, must lead you to view with uneasiness the possibility of a foreign war; for in that event England, exalted by the enthusiasm of new ideas, will ally herself with Spain, already seeking that alliance. I have therefore believed, Monseigneur, knowing your prudence and your personal relation to the events of the present time, that you will choose to hold your forces concentrated in the interior of the French kingdom and leave to her own the new government of England. That neutrality consists simply in excluding King Charles from the territory of France and in refraining from helping him⁠—a stranger to your country⁠—with arms, with money or with troops.
My letter is private and confidential, and for that reason I send it to you by a man who shares my most intimate counsels. It anticipates, through a sentiment which your Eminence will appreciate, measures to be taken after the events. Oliver Cromwell considered it more expedient to declare himself to a mind as intelligent as Mazarin’s than to a queen admirable for firmness, without doubt, but too much guided by vain prejudices of birth and of divine right.
Farewell, Monseigneur; should I not receive a reply in the space of fifteen days, I shall presume my letter will have miscarried.
Oliver Cromwell.

“Mr. Mordaunt,” said the cardinal, raising his voice, as if to arouse the dreamer, “my reply to this letter will be more satisfactory to General Cromwell if I am convinced that all are ignorant of my having given one; go, therefore, and await it at Boulogne-sur-Mer, and promise me to set out tomorrow morning.”

“I promise, my lord,” replied Mordaunt; “but how many days does your Eminence expect me to await your reply?”

“If you do not receive it in ten days you can leave.”

Mordaunt bowed.

“That is not all, sir,” continued Mazarin; “your private adventures have touched me to the quick; besides, the letter from Mr. Cromwell makes you an important person as ambassador; come, tell me, what can I do for you?”

Mordaunt reflected a moment and, after some hesitation, was about to speak, when Bernouin entered hastily and bending down to the ear of the cardinal, whispered:

“My lord, the Queen Henrietta Maria, accompanied by an English noble, is entering the Palais Royal at this moment.”

Mazarin made a bound from his chair, which did not escape the attention of the young man and suppressed the confidence he was about to make.

“Sir,” said the cardinal, “you have heard me? I fix on Boulogne because I presume that every town in France is indifferent to you; if you prefer another, name it; but you can easily conceive that, surrounded as I am by influences I can only muzzle by discretion, I desire your presence in Paris to be unknown.”

“I go, sir,” said Mordaunt, advancing a few steps to the door by which he had entered.

“No, not that way, I beg, sir,” quickly exclaimed the cardinal, “be so good as to pass by yonder gallery, by which you can regain the hall. I do not wish you to be seen leaving; our interview must be kept secret.”

Mordaunt followed Bernouin, who led him through the adjacent chamber and left him with a doorkeeper, showing him the way out.


Henrietta Maria and Mazarin
The cardinal rose, and advanced in haste to receive the queen of England. He showed the more respect to this queen, deprived of every mark of pomp and stripped of followers, as he felt some self-reproach for his own want of heart and his avarice. But supplicants for favor know how to accommodate the expression of their features, and the daughter of Henry IV smiled as she advanced to meet a man she hated and despised.

Ah! said Mazarin to himself, what a sweet face; does she come to borrow money of me?

And he threw an uneasy glance at his strong box; he even turned inside the bevel of the magnificent diamond ring, the brilliancy of which drew every eye upon his hand, which indeed was white and handsome.

“Your Eminence,” said the august visitor, “it was my first intention to speak of the matters that have brought me here to the queen, my sister, but I have reflected that political affairs are more especially the concern of men.”

“Madame,” said Mazarin, “Your Majesty overwhelms me with flattering distinction.”

He is very gracious, thought the queen; can he have guessed my errand?

“Give,” continued the cardinal, “your commands to the most respectful of your servants.”

“Alas, sir,” replied the queen, “I have lost the habit of commanding and have adopted instead that of making petitions. I am here to petition you, too happy should my prayer be favorably heard.”

“I am listening, Madame, with the greatest interest,” said Mazarin.

“Your Eminence, it concerns the war which the king, my husband, is now sustaining against his rebellious subjects. You are perhaps ignorant that they are fighting in England,” added she, with a melancholy smile, “and that in a short time they will fight in a much more decided fashion than they have done hitherto.”

“I am completely ignorant of it, Madame,” said the cardinal, accompanying his words with a slight shrug of the shoulders; “alas, our own wars quite absorb the time and the mind of a poor, incapable, infirm old minister like me.”

“Well, then, your Eminence,” said the queen, “I must inform you that Charles I, my husband, is on the eve of a decisive engagement. In case of a check” (Mazarin made a slight movement), “one must foresee everything; in the case of a check, he desires to retire into France and to live here as a private individual. What do you say to this project?”

The cardinal had listened without permitting a single fibre of his face to betray what he felt, and his smile remained as it ever was⁠—false and flattering; and when the queen finished speaking, he said:

“Do you think, Madame, that France, agitated and disturbed as it is, would be a safe retreat for a dethroned king? How will the crown, which is scarce firmly set on the head of Louis XIV, support a double weight?”

“The weight was not so heavy when I was in peril,” interrupted the queen, with a sad smile, “and I ask no more for my husband than has been done for me; you see that we are very humble monarchs, sir.”

“Oh, you, Madame,” the cardinal hastened to say, in order to cut short the explanation he foresaw was coming, “with regard to you, that is another thing. A daughter of Henry IV, of that great, that sublime sovereign⁠—”

“All which does not prevent you refusing hospitality to his son-in-law, sir! Nevertheless, you ought to remember that that great, that sublime monarch, when proscribed at one time, as my husband may be, demanded aid from England and England accorded it to him; and it is but just to say that Queen Elizabeth was not his niece.”

Peccato!” said Mazarin, writhing beneath this simple eloquence, “Your Majesty does not understand me; you judge my intentions wrongly, and that is partly because, doubtless, I explain myself in French.”

“Speak Italian, sir. Ere the cardinal, your predecessor, sent our mother, Marie de Médicis, to die in exile, she taught us that language. If anything yet remains of that great, that sublime king, Henry, of whom you have just spoken, he would be much surprised at so little pity for his family being united to such a profound admiration of himself.”

The perspiration stood in large drops on Mazarin’s brow.

“That admiration is, on the contrary, so great, so real, Madame,” returned Mazarin, without noticing the change of language offered to him by the queen, “that if the king, Charles I⁠—whom Heaven protect from evil!⁠—came into France, I would offer him my house⁠—my own house; but, alas! it would be but an unsafe retreat. Some day the people will burn that house, as they burned that of the Maréchal d’Ancre. Poor Concino Concini! And yet he but desired the good of the people.”

“Yes, my lord, like yourself!” said the queen, ironically.

Mazarin pretended not to understand the double meaning of his own sentence, but continued to compassionate the fate of Concino Concini.

“Well then, your Eminence,” said the queen, becoming impatient, “what is your answer?”

“Madame,” cried Mazarin, more and more moved, “will Your Majesty permit me to give you counsel?”

“Speak, sir,” replied the queen; “the counsels of so prudent a man as yourself ought certainly to be available.”

“Madame, believe me, the king ought to defend himself to the last.”

“He has done so, sir, and this last battle, which he encounters with resources much inferior to those of the enemy, proves that he will not yield without a struggle; but in case he is beaten?”

“Well, Madame, in that case, my advice⁠—I know that I am very bold to offer advice to Your Majesty⁠—my advice is that the king should not leave his kingdom. Absent kings are very soon forgotten; if he passes over into France his cause is lost.”

“But,” persisted the queen, “if such be your advice and you have his interest at heart, send him help of men and money, for I can do nothing for him; I have sold even to my last diamond to aid him. If I had had a single ornament left, I should have bought wood this winter to make a fire for my daughter and myself.”

“Oh, Madame,” said Mazarin, “Your Majesty knows not what you ask. On the day when foreign succor follows in the train of a king to replace him on his throne, it is an avowal that he no longer possesses the help and love of his own subjects.”

“To the point, sir,” said the queen, “to the point, and answer me, yes or no; if the king persists in remaining in England will you send him succor? If he comes to France will you accord him hospitality? What do you intend to do? Speak.”

“Madame,” said the cardinal, affecting an effusive frankness of speech, “I shall convince Your Majesty, I trust, of my devotion to you and my desire to terminate an affair which you have so much at heart. After which Your Majesty will, I think, no longer doubt my zeal in your behalf.”

The queen bit her lips and moved impatiently on her chair.

“Well, what do you propose to do?” she, said at length; “come, speak.”

“I will go this instant and consult the queen, and we will refer the affair at once to parliament.”

“With which you are at war⁠—is it not so? You will charge Broussel to report it. Enough, sir, enough. I understand you or rather, I am wrong. Go to the parliament, for it was from this parliament, the enemy of monarchs, that the daughter of the great, the sublime Henry IV, whom you so much admire, received the only relief this winter which prevented her from dying of hunger and cold!”

And with these words Henrietta rose in majestic indignation, whilst the cardinal, raising his hands clasped toward her, exclaimed, “Ah, Madame, Madame, how little you know me, mon Dieu!

But Queen Henrietta, without even turning toward him who made these hypocritical pretensions, crossed the cabinet, opened the door for herself and passing through the midst of the cardinal’s numerous guards, courtiers eager to pay homage, the luxurious show of a competing royalty, she went and took the hand of de Winter, who stood apart in isolation. Poor queen, already fallen! Though all bowed before her, as etiquette required, she had now but a single arm on which she could lean.

“It signifies little,” said Mazarin, when he was alone. “It gave me pain and it was an ungracious part to play, but I have said nothing either to the one or to the other. Bernouin!”

Bernouin entered.

“See if the young man with the black doublet and the short hair, who was with me just now, is still in the palace.”

Bernouin went out and soon returned with Comminges, who was on guard.

“Your Eminence,” said Comminges, “as I was re-conducting the young man for whom you have asked, he approached the glass door of the gallery, and gazed intently upon some object, doubtless the picture by Raphael, which is opposite the door. He reflected for a second and then descended the stairs. I believe I saw him mount a gray horse and leave the palace court. But is not your Eminence going to the queen?”

“For what purpose?”

“Monsieur de Guitant, my uncle, has just told me that Her Majesty had received news of the army.”

“It is well; I will go.”

Comminges had seen rightly, and Mordaunt had really acted as he had related. In crossing the gallery parallel to the large glass gallery, he perceived de Winter, who was waiting until the queen had finished her negotiation.

At this sight the young man stopped short, not in admiration of Raphael’s picture, but as if fascinated at the sight of some terrible object. His eyes dilated and a shudder ran through his body. One would have said that he longed to break through the wall of glass which separated him from his enemy; for if Comminges had seen with what an expression of hatred the eyes of this young man were fixed upon de Winter, he would not have doubted for an instant that the Englishman was his eternal foe.

But he stopped, doubtless to reflect; for instead of allowing his first impulse, which had been to go straight to Lord de Winter, to carry him away, he leisurely descended the staircase, left the palace with his head down, mounted his horse, which he reined in at the corner of the Rue Richelieu, and with his eyes fixed on the gate, waited until the queen’s carriage had left the court.

He had not long to wait, for the queen scarcely remained a quarter of an hour with Mazarin, but this quarter of an hour of expectation appeared a century to him. At last the heavy machine, which was called a chariot in those days, came out, rumbling against the gates, and de Winter, still on horseback, bent again to the door to converse with Her Majesty.

The horses started on a trot and took the road to the Louvre, which they entered. Before leaving the convent of the Carmelites, Henrietta had desired her daughter to attend her at the palace, which she had inhabited for a long time and which she had only left because their poverty seemed to them more difficult to bear in gilded chambers.

Mordaunt followed the carriage, and when he had watched it drive beneath the sombre arches he went and stationed himself under a wall over which the shadow was extended, and remained motionless, amidst the moldings of Jean Goujon, like a bas-relievo, representing an equestrian statue.


How, Sometimes, the Unhappy Mistake Chance for Providence
“Well, Madame,” said de Winter, when the queen had dismissed her attendants.

“Well, my lord, what I foresaw has come to pass.”

“What? does the cardinal refuse to receive the king? France refuse hospitality to an unfortunate prince? Ay, but it is for the first time, Madame!”

“I did not say France, my lord; I said the cardinal, and the cardinal is not even a Frenchman.”

“But did you see the queen?”

“It is useless,” replied Henrietta, “the queen will not say yes when the cardinal says no. Are you not aware that this Italian directs everything, both indoors and out? And moreover, I should not be surprised had we been forestalled by Cromwell. He was embarrassed whilst speaking to me and yet quite firm in his determination to refuse. Then did you not observe the agitation in the Palais Royal, the passing to and fro of busy people? Can they have received any news, my lord?”

“Not from England, Madame. I made such haste that I am certain of not having been forestalled. I set out three days ago, passing miraculously through the Puritan army, and I took post horses with my servant Tony; the horses upon which we were mounted were bought in Paris. Besides, the king, I am certain, awaits Your Majesty’s reply before risking anything.”

“You will tell him, my lord,” resumed the queen, despairingly, “that I can do nothing; that I have suffered as much as himself⁠—more than he has⁠—obliged as I am to eat the bread of exile and to ask hospitality from false friends who smile at my tears; and as regards his royal person, he must sacrifice it generously and die like a king. I shall go and die by his side.”

“Madame, Madame,” exclaimed de Winter, “Your Majesty abandons yourself to despair; and yet, perhaps, there still remains some hope.”

“No friends left, my lord; no other friends left in the wide world but yourself! Oh, God!” exclaimed the poor queen, raising her eyes to Heaven, “have You indeed taken back all the generous hearts that once existed in the world?”

“I hope not, Madame,” replied de Winter, thoughtfully; “I once spoke to you of four men.”

“What can be done with four?”

“Four devoted, resolute men can do much, assure yourself, Madame; and those of whom I speak performed great things at one time.”

“And where are these four men?”

“Ah, that is what I do not know. It is twenty years since I saw them, and yet whenever I have seen the king in danger I have thought of them.”

“And these men were your friends?”

“One of them held my life in his hands and gave it to me. I know not whether he is still my friend, but since that time I have remained his.”

“And these men are in France, my lord?”

“I believe so.”

“Tell me their names; perhaps I may have heard them mentioned and might be able to aid you in finding them.”

“One of them was called the Chevalier d’Artagnan.”

“Ah, my lord, if I mistake not, the Chevalier d’Artagnan is lieutenant of royal guards; but take care, for I fear that this man is entirely devoted to the cardinal.”

“That would be a misfortune,” said de Winter, “and I shall begin to think that we are really doomed.”

“But the others,” said the queen, who clung to this last hope as a shipwrecked man clings to the hull of his vessel. “The others, my lord!”

“The second⁠—I heard his name by chance; for before fighting us, these four gentlemen told us their names; the second was called the Comte de la Fère. As for the two others, I had so much the habit of calling them by nicknames that I have forgotten their real ones.”

“Oh, mon Dieu, it is a matter of the greatest urgency to find them out,” said the queen, “since you think these worthy gentlemen might be so useful to the king.”

“Oh, yes,” said de Winter, “for they are the same men. Listen, Madame, and recall your remembrances. Have you never heard that Queen Anne of Austria was once saved from the greatest danger ever incurred by a queen?”

“Yes, at the time of her relations with Monsieur de Buckingham; it had to do in some way with certain studs and diamonds.”

“Well, it was that affair, Madame; these men are the ones who saved her; and I smile with pity when I reflect that if the names of those gentlemen are unknown to you it is because the queen has forgotten them, who ought to have made them the first noblemen of the realm.”

“Well, then, my lord, they must be found; but what can four men, or rather three men do⁠—for I tell you, you must not count on Monsieur d’Artagnan.”

“It will be one valiant sword the less, but there will remain still three, without reckoning my own; now four devoted men around the king to protect him from his enemies, to be at his side in battle, to aid him with counsel, to escort him in flight, are sufficient, not to make the king a conqueror, but to save him if conquered; and whatever Mazarin may say, once on the shores of France your royal husband may find as many retreats and asylums as the seabird finds in a storm.”

“Seek them my lord, seek these gentlemen; and if they will consent to go with you to England, I will give to each a duchy the day that we reascend the throne, besides as much gold as would pave Whitehall. Seek them, my lord, and find them, I conjure you.”

“I will search for them, Madame,” said de Winter “and doubtless I shall find them; but time fails me. Has Your Majesty forgotten that the king expects your reply and awaits it in agony?”

“Then indeed we are lost!” cried the queen, in the fullness of a broken heart.

At this moment the door opened and the young Henrietta appeared; then the queen, with that wonderful strength which is the privilege of parents, repressed her tears and motioned to de Winter to change the subject.

But that act of self-control, effective as it was, did not escape the eyes of the young princess. She stopped on the threshold, breathed a sigh, and addressing the queen:

“Why, then, do you always weep, mother, when I am away from you?” she said.

The queen smiled, but instead of answering:

“See, de Winter,” she said, “I have at least gained one thing in being only half a queen; and that is that my children call me ‘mother’ instead of ‘Madame.’ ”

Then turning toward her daughter:

“What do you want, Henrietta?” she demanded.

“My mother,” replied the young princess, “a cavalier has just entered the Louvre and wishes to present his respects to Your Majesty; he arrives from the army and has, he says, a letter to remit to you, on the part of the Maréchal de Grammont, I think.”

“Ah!” said the queen to de Winter, “he is one of my faithful adherents; but do you not observe, my dear lord, that we are so poorly served that it is left to my daughter to fill the office of doorkeeper?”

“Madame, have pity on me,” exclaimed de Winter; “you wring my heart!”

“And who is this cavalier, Henrietta?” asked the queen.

“I saw him from the window, Madame; he is a young man that appears scarce sixteen years of age, and is called the Viscount de Bragelonne.”

The queen, smiling, made a sign with her head; the young princess opened the door and Raoul appeared on the threshold.

Advancing a few steps toward the queen, he knelt down.

“Madame,” said he, “I bear to Your Majesty a letter from my friend the Count de Guiche, who told me he had the honor of being your servant; this letter contains important news and the expression of his respect.”

At the name of the Count de Guiche a blush spread over the cheeks of the young princess, and the queen glanced at her with some degree of severity.

“You told me that the letter was from the Maréchal de Grammont, Henrietta!” said the queen.

“I thought so, Madame,” stammered the young girl.

“It is my fault, Madame,” said Raoul. “I did announce myself, in truth, as coming on the part of the Maréchal de Grammont; but being wounded in the right arm he was unable to write and therefore the Count de Guiche acted as his secretary.”

“There has been fighting, then?” asked the queen, motioning to Raoul to rise.

“Yes, Madame,” said the young man.

At this announcement of a battle having taken place, the princess opened her mouth as though to ask a question of interest; but her lips closed again without articulating a word, while the color gradually faded from her cheeks.

The queen saw this, and doubtless her maternal heart translated the emotion, for addressing Raoul again:

“And no evil has happened to the young Count de Guiche?” she asked; “for not only is he our servant, as you say, sir, but more⁠—he is one of our friends.”

“No, Madame,” replied Raoul; “on the contrary, he gained great glory and had the honor of being embraced by His Highness, the prince, on the field of battle.”

The young princess clapped her hands; and then, ashamed of having been betrayed into such a demonstration of joy, she half turned away and bent over a vase of roses, as if to inhale their odor.

“Let us see,” said the queen, “what the count says.” And she opened the letter and read:

“Madame⁠—Being unable to have the honor of writing to you myself, by reason of a wound I have received in my right hand, I have commanded my son, the Count de Guiche, who, with his father, is equally your humble servant, to write to tell you that we have just gained the battle of Lens, and that this victory cannot fail to give great power to Cardinal Mazarin and to the queen over the affairs of Europe. If Her Majesty will have faith in my counsels she ought to profit by this event to address at this moment, in favor of her august husband, the court of France. The Vicomte de Bragelonne, who will have the honor of remitting this letter to Your Majesty, is the friend of my son, who owes to him his life; he is a gentleman in whom Your Majesty may confide entirely, in case Your Majesty may have some verbal or written order to remit to me.
“I have the honor to be, with respect, etc.,
“Maréchal de Grammont.”

At the moment mention occurred of his having rendered a service to the count, Raoul could not help turning his glance toward the young princess, and then he saw in her eyes an expression of infinite gratitude to the young man; he no longer doubted that the daughter of King Charles I loved his friend.

“The battle of Lens gained!” said the queen; “they are lucky here indeed; they can gain battles! Yes, the Maréchal de Grammont is right; this will change the aspect of French affairs, but I much fear it will do nothing for English, even if it does not harm them. This is recent news, sir,” continued she, “and I thank you for having made such haste to bring it to me; without this letter I should not have heard till tomorrow, perhaps after tomorrow⁠—the last of all Paris.”

“Madame,” said Raoul, “the Louvre is but the second palace this news has reached; it is as yet unknown to all, and I had sworn to the Count de Guiche to remit this letter to Your Majesty before even I should embrace my guardian.”

“Your guardian! is he, too, a Bragelonne?” asked Lord de Winter. “I once knew a Bragelonne⁠—is he still alive?”

“No, sir, he is dead; and I believe it is from him my guardian, whose near relation he was, inherited the estate from which I take my name.”

“And your guardian, sir,” asked the queen, who could not help feeling some interest in the handsome young man before her, “what is his name?”

“The Comte de la Fère, Madame,” replied the young man, bowing.

De Winter made a gesture of surprise and the queen turned to him with a start of joy.

“The Comte de la Fère!” she cried. “Have you not mentioned that name to me?”

As for de Winter he could scarcely believe that he had heard aright. “The Comte de la Fère!” he cried in his turn. “Oh, sir, reply, I entreat you⁠—is not the Comte de la Fère a noble whom I remember, handsome and brave, a musketeer under Louis XIII, who must be now about forty-seven or forty-eight years of age?”

“Yes, sir, you are right in every particular!”

“And who served under an assumed name?”

“Under the name of Athos. Latterly I heard his friend, Monsieur d’Artagnan, give him that name.”

“That is it, Madame, that is the same. God be praised! And he is in Paris?” continued he, addressing Raoul; then turning to the queen: “We may still hope. Providence has declared for us, since I have found this brave man again in so miraculous a manner. And, sir, where does he reside, pray?”

“The Comte de la Fère lodges in the Rue Guénégaud, Hôtel du Grand Roi Charlemagne.”

“Thanks, sir. Inform this dear friend that he may remain within, that I shall go and see him immediately.”

“Sir, I obey with pleasure, if Her Majesty will permit me to depart.”

“Go, Monsieur de Bragelonne,” said the queen, “and rest assured of our affection.”

Raoul bent respectfully before the two princesses, and bowing to de Winter, departed.

The queen and de Winter continued to converse for some time in low voices, in order that the young princess should not overhear them; but the precaution was needless: she was in deep converse with her own thoughts.

Then, when de Winter rose to take leave:

“Listen, my lord,” said the queen; “I have preserved this diamond cross which came from my mother, and this order of St. Michael which came from my husband. They are worth about fifty thousand pounds. I had sworn to die of hunger rather than part with these precious pledges; but now that this ornament may be useful to him or his defenders, everything must be sacrificed. Take them, and if you need money for your expedition, sell them fearlessly, my lord. But should you find the means of retaining them, remember, my lord, that I shall esteem you as having rendered the greatest service that a gentleman can render to a queen; and in the day of my prosperity he who brings me this order and this cross shall be blessed by me and my children.”

“Madame,” replied de Winter, “Your Majesty will be served by a man devoted to you. I hasten to deposit these two objects in a safe place, nor should I accept them if the resources of our ancient fortune were left to us, but our estates are confiscated, our ready money is exhausted, and we are reduced to turn to service everything we possess. In an hour hence I shall be with the Comte de la Fère, and tomorrow Your Majesty shall have a definite reply.”

The queen tendered her hand to Lord de Winter, who, kissing it respectfully, went out and traversed alone and unconducted those large, dark and deserted apartments, brushing away tears which, blasé as he was by fifty years spent as a courtier, he could not withhold at the spectacle of royal distress so dignified, yet so intense.


Uncle and Nephew
The horse and servant belonging to de Winter were waiting for him at the door; he proceeded toward his abode very thoughtfully, looking behind him from time to him to contemplate the dark and silent frontage of the Louvre. It was then that he saw a horseman, as it were, detach himself from the wall and follow him at a little distance. In leaving the Palais Royal he remembered to have observed a similar shadow.

“Tony,” he said, motioning to his groom to approach.

“Here I am, my lord.”

“Did you remark that man who is following us?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Who is he?”

“I do not know, only he has followed your grace from the Palais Royal, stopped at the Louvre to wait for you, and now leaves the Louvre with you.”

“Some spy of the cardinal,” said de Winter to him, aside. “Let us pretend not to notice that he is watching us.”

And spurring on he plunged into the labyrinth of streets which led to his hotel, situated near the Marais, for having for so long a time lived near the Place Royale, Lord de Winter naturally returned to lodge near his ancient dwelling.

The unknown spurred his horse to a gallop.

De Winter dismounted at his hotel and went up into his apartment, intending to watch the spy; but as he was about to place his gloves and hat on a table, he saw reflected in a glass opposite to him a figure which stood on the threshold of the room. He turned around and Mordaunt stood before him.

There was a moment of frozen silence between these two.

“Sir,” said de Winter, “I thought I had already made you aware that I am weary of this persecution; withdraw, then, or I shall call and have you turned out as you were in London. I am not your uncle, I know you not.”

“My uncle,” replied Mordaunt, with his harsh and bantering tone, “you are mistaken; you will not have me turned out this time as you did in London⁠—you dare not. As for denying that I am your nephew, you will think twice about it, now that I have learned some things of which I was ignorant a year ago.”

“And how does it concern me what you have learned?” said de Winter.

“Oh, it concerns you very closely, my uncle, I am sure, and you will soon be of my opinion,” added he, with a smile which sent a shudder through the veins of him he thus addressed. “When I presented myself before you for the first time in London, it was to ask you what had become of my fortune; the second time it was to demand who had sullied my name; and this time I come before you to ask a question far more terrible than any other, to say to you as God said to the first murderer: ‘Cain, what hast thou done to thy brother Abel?’ My lord, what have you done with your sister⁠—your sister, who was my mother?”

De Winter shrank back from the fire of those scorching eyes.

“Your mother?” he said.

“Yes, my lord, my mother,” replied the young man, advancing into the room until he was face to face with Lord de Winter, and crossing his arms. “I have asked the headsman of Bethune,” he said, his voice hoarse and his face livid with passion and grief. “And the headsman of Bethune gave me a reply.”

De Winter fell back in a chair as though struck by a thunderbolt and in vain attempted a reply.

“Yes,” continued the young man; “all is now explained; with this key I open the abyss. My mother inherited an estate from her husband, you have assassinated her; my name would have secured me the paternal estate, you have deprived me of it; you have despoiled me of my fortune. I am no longer astonished that you knew me not. I am not surprised that you refused to recognize me. When a man is a robber it is hard to call him nephew whom he has impoverished; when one is a murderer, to recognize the man whom one has made an orphan.”

These words produced a contrary effect to that which Mordaunt had anticipated. De Winter remembered the monster that Milady had been; he rose, dignified and calm, restraining by the severity of his look the wild glance of the young man.

“You desire to fathom this horrible secret?” said de Winter; “well, then, so be it. Know, then, what manner of woman it was for whom today you call me to account. That woman had, in all probability, poisoned my brother, and in order to inherit from me she was about to assassinate me in my turn. I have proof of it. What say you to that?”

“I say that she was my mother.”

“She caused the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham to be stabbed by a man who was, ere that, honest, good and pure. What say you to that crime, of which I have the proof?”

“She was my mother.”

“On our return to France she had a young woman who was attached to one of her opponents poisoned in the convent of the Augustines at Bethune. Will this crime persuade you of the justice of her punishment⁠—for of all this I have the proofs?”

“She was my mother!” cried the young man, who uttered these three successive exclamations with constantly increasing force.

“At last, charged with murders, with debauchery, hated by everyone and yet threatening still, like a panther thirsting for blood, she fell under the blows of men whom she had rendered desperate, though they had never done her the least injury; she met with judges whom her hideous crimes had evoked; and that executioner you saw⁠—that executioner who you say told you everything⁠—that executioner, if he told you everything, told you that he leaped with joy in avenging on her his brother’s shame and suicide. Depraved as a girl, adulterous as a wife, an unnatural sister, homicide, poisoner, execrated by all who knew her, by every nation that had been visited by her, she died accursed by Heaven and earth.”

A sob which Mordaunt could not repress burst from his throat and his livid face became suffused with blood; he clenched his fists, sweat covered his face, his hair, like Hamlet’s, stood on end, and racked with fury he cried out:

“Silence, sir! she was my mother! Her crimes, I know them not; her disorders, I know them not; her vices, I know them not. But this I know, that I had a mother, that five men leagued against one woman, murdered her clandestinely by night⁠—silently⁠—like cowards. I know that you were one of them, my uncle, and that you cried louder than the others: ‘She must die.’ Therefore I warn you, and listen well to my words, that they may be engraved upon your memory, never to be forgotten: this murder, which has robbed me of everything⁠—this murder, which has deprived me of my name⁠—this murder, which has impoverished me⁠—this murder, which has made me corrupt, wicked, implacable⁠—I shall summon you to account for it first and then those who were your accomplices, when I discover them!”

With hatred in his eyes, foaming at his mouth, and his fist extended, Mordaunt had advanced one more step, a threatening, terrible step, toward de Winter. The latter put his hand to his sword, and said, with the smile of a man who for thirty years has jested with death:

“Would you assassinate me, sir? Then I shall recognize you as my nephew, for you would be a worthy son of such a mother.”

“No,” replied Mordaunt, forcing his features and the muscles of his body to resume their usual places and be calm; “no, I shall not kill you; at least not at this moment, for without you I could not discover the others. But when I have found them, then tremble, sir. I stabbed to the heart the headsman of Bethune, without mercy or pity, and he was the least guilty of you all.”

With these words the young man went out and descended the stairs with sufficient calmness to pass unobserved; then upon the lowest landing place he passed Tony, leaning over the balustrade, waiting only for a call from his master to mount to his room.

But de Winter did not call; crushed, enfeebled, he remained standing and with listening ear; then only when he had heard the step of the horse going away he fell back on a chair, saying:

“My God, I thank Thee that he knows me only.”


Paternal Affection
Whilst this terrible scene was passing at Lord de Winter’s, Athos, seated near his window, his elbow on the table and his head supported on his hand, was listening intently to Raoul’s account of the adventures he met with on his journey and the details of the battle.

Listening to the relation of those emotions so fresh and pure, the fine, noble face of Athos betrayed indescribable pleasure; he inhaled the tones of that young voice, as harmonious music. He forgot all that was dark in the past and that was cloudy in the future. It almost seemed as if the return of this much loved boy had changed his fears to hopes. Athos was happy⁠—happy as he had never been before.

“And you assisted and took part in this great battle, Bragelonne!” cried the former musketeer.

“Yes, sir.”

“And it was a fierce one?”

“His Highness the prince charged eleven times in person.”

“He is a great commander, Bragelonne.”

“He is a hero, sir. I did not lose sight of him for an instant. Oh! how fine it is to be called Condé and to be so worthy of such a name!”

“He was calm and radiant, was he not?”

“As calm as at parade, radiant as at a fête. When we went up to the enemy it was slowly; we were forbidden to draw first and we were marching toward the Spaniards, who were on a height with lowered muskets. When we arrived about thirty paces from them the prince turned around to the soldiers: ‘Comrades,’ he said, ‘you are about to suffer a furious discharge; but after that you will make short work with those fellows.’ There was such dead silence that friends and enemies could have heard these words; then raising his sword, ‘Sound trumpets!’ he cried.”

“Well, very good; you will do as much when the opportunity occurs, will you, Raoul?”

“I know not, sir, but I thought it really very fine and grand!”

“Were you afraid, Raoul?” asked the count.

“Yes, sir,” replied the young man naively; “I felt a great chill at my heart, and at the word ‘fire,’ which resounded in Spanish from the enemy’s ranks, I closed my eyes and thought of you.”

“In honest truth, Raoul?” said Athos, pressing his hand.

“Yes, sir; at that instant there was such a rataplan of musketry that one might have imagined the infernal regions had opened. Those who were not killed felt the heat of the flames. I opened my eyes, astonished to find myself alive and even unhurt; a third of the squadron were lying on the ground, wounded, dead or dying. At that moment I encountered the eye of the prince. I had but one thought and that was that he was observing me. I spurred on and found myself in the enemy’s ranks.”

“And the prince was pleased with you?”

“He told me so, at least, sir, when he desired me to return to Paris with Monsieur de Châtillon, who was charged to carry the news to the queen and to bring the colors we had taken. ‘Go,’ said he; ‘the enemy will not rally for fifteen days and until that time I have no need of your service. Go and see those whom you love and who love you, and tell my sister de Longueville that I thank her for the present that she made me of you.’ And I came, sir,” added Raoul, gazing at the count with a smile of real affection, “for I thought you would be glad to see me again.”

Athos drew the young man toward him and pressed his lips to his brow, as he would have done to a young daughter.

“And now, Raoul,” said he, “you are launched; you have dukes for friends, a marshal of France for godfather, a prince of the blood as commander, and on the day of your return you have been received by two queens; it is not so bad for a novice.”

“Oh sir,” said Raoul, suddenly, “you recall something, which, in my haste to relate my exploits, I had forgotten; it is that there was with Her Majesty the Queen of England, a gentleman who, when I pronounced your name, uttered a cry of surprise and joy; he said he was a friend of yours, asked your address, and is coming to see you.”

“What is his name?”

“I did not venture to ask, sir; he spoke elegantly, although I thought from his accent he was an Englishman.”

“Ah!” said Athos, leaning down his head as if to remember who it could be. Then, when he raised it again, he was struck by the presence of a man who was standing at the open door and was gazing at him with a compassionate air.

“Lord de Winter!” exclaimed the count.

“Athos, my friend!”

And the two gentlemen were for an instant locked in each other’s arms; then Athos, looking into his friend’s face and taking him by both hands, said:

“What ails you, my lord? you appear as unhappy as I am the reverse.”

“Yes, truly, dear friend; and I may even say the sight of you increases my dismay.”

And de Winter glancing around him, Raoul quickly understood that the two friends wished to be alone and he therefore left the room unaffectedly.

“Come, now that we are alone,” said Athos, “let us talk of yourself.”

“Whilst we are alone let us speak of ourselves,” replied de Winter. “He is here.”


“Milady’s son.”

Athos, again struck by this name, which seemed to pursue him like an echo, hesitated for a moment, then slightly knitting his brows, he calmly said:

“I know it, Grimaud met him between Bethune and Arras and then came here to warn me of his presence.”

“Does Grimaud know him, then?”

“No; but he was present at the deathbed of a man who knew him.”

“The headsman of Bethune?” exclaimed de Winter.

“You know about that?” cried Athos, astonished.

“He has just left me,” replied de Winter, “after telling me all. Ah! my friend! what a horrible scene! Why did we not destroy the child with the mother?”

“What need you fear?” said Athos, recovering from the instinctive fear he had at first experienced, by the aid of reason; “are we not men accustomed to defend ourselves? Is this young man an assassin by profession⁠—a murderer in cold blood? He has killed the executioner of Bethune in an access of passion, but now his fury is assuaged.”

De Winter smiled sorrowfully and shook his head.

“Do you not know the race?” said he.

“Pooh!” said Athos, trying to smile in his turn. “It must have lost its ferocity in the second generation. Besides, my friend, Providence has warned us, that we may be on our guard. All we can now do is to wait. Let us wait; and, as I said before, let us speak of yourself. What brings you to Paris?”

“Affairs of importance which you shall know later. But what is this that I hear from Her Majesty the Queen of England? Monsieur d’Artagnan sides with Mazarin! Pardon my frankness, dear friend. I neither hate nor blame the cardinal, and your opinions will be held ever sacred by me. But do you happen to belong to him?”

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” replied Athos, “is in the service; he is a soldier and obeys all constitutional authority. Monsieur d’Artagnan is not rich and has need of his position as lieutenant to enable him to live. Millionaires like yourself, my lord, are rare in France.”

“Alas!” said de Winter, “I am at this moment as poor as he is, if not poorer. But to return to our subject.”

“Well, then, you wish to know if I am of Mazarin’s party? No. Pardon my frankness, too, my lord.”

“I am obliged to you, count, for this pleasing intelligence! You make me young and happy again by it. Ah! so you are not a Mazarinist? Delightful! Indeed, you could not belong to him. But pardon me, are you free? I mean to ask if you are married?”

“Ah! as to that, no,” replied Athos, laughing.

“Because that young man, so handsome, so elegant, so polished⁠—”

“Is a child I have adopted and who does not even know who was his father.”

“Very well; you are always the same, Athos, great and generous. Are you still friends with Monsieur Porthos and Monsieur Aramis?”

“Add Monsieur d’Artagnan, my lord. We still remain four friends devoted to each other; but when it becomes a question of serving the cardinal or of fighting him, of being Mazarinists or Frondists, then we are only two.”

“Is Monsieur Aramis with d’Artagnan?” asked Lord de Winter.

“No,” said Athos; “Monsieur Aramis does me the honor to share my opinions.”

“Could you put me in communication with your witty and agreeable friend? Is he much changed?”

“He has become an abbé, that is all.”

“You alarm me; his profession must have made him renounce any great undertakings.”

“On the contrary,” said Athos, smiling, “he has never been so much a musketeer as since he became an abbé, and you will find him a veritable soldier.”

“Could you engage to bring him to me tomorrow morning at ten o’clock, on the Pont du Louvre?”

“Oh, oh!” exclaimed Athos, smiling, “you have a duel in prospect.”

“Yes, count, and a splendid duel, too; a duel in which I hope you will take your part.”

“Where are we to go, my lord?”

“To Her Majesty the Queen of England, who has desired me to present you to her.”

“This is an enigma,” said Athos, “but it matters not; since you know the solution of it I ask no further. Will your lordship do me the honor to sup with me?”

“Thanks, count, no,” replied de Winter. “I own to you that that young man’s visit has subdued my appetite and probably will rob me of my sleep. What undertaking can have brought him to Paris? It was not to meet me that he came, for he was ignorant of my journey. This young man terrifies me, my lord; there lies in him a sanguinary predisposition.”

“What occupies him in England?”

“He is one of Cromwell’s most enthusiastic disciples.”

“But what attached him to the cause? His father and mother were Catholics, I believe?”

“His hatred of the king, who deprived him of his estates and forbade him to bear the name of de Winter.”

“And what name does he now bear?”


“A Puritan, yet disguised as a monk he travels alone in France.”

“Do you say as a monk?”

“It was thus, and by mere accident⁠—may God pardon me if I blaspheme⁠—that he heard the confession of the executioner of Bethune.”

“Then I understand it all! he has been sent by Cromwell to Mazarin, and the queen guessed rightly; we have been forestalled. Everything is clear to me now. Adieu, count, till tomorrow.”

“But the night is dark,” said Athos, perceiving that Lord de Winter seemed more uneasy than he wished to appear; “and you have no servant.”

“I have Tony, a safe if simple youth.”

“Halloo, there, Grimaud, Olivain, and Blaisois! call the viscount and take the musket with you.”

Blaisois was the tall youth, half groom, half peasant, whom we saw at the Château de Bragelonne, whom Athos had christened by the name of his province.

“Viscount,” said Athos to Raoul, as he entered, “you will conduct my lord as far as his hotel and permit no one to approach him.”

“Oh! count,” said de Winter, “for whom do you take me?”

“For a stranger who does not know Paris,” said Athos, “and to whom the viscount will show the way.”

De Winter shook him by the hand.

“Grimaud,” said Athos, “put yourself at the head of the troop and beware of the monk.”

Grimaud shuddered, and nodding, awaited the departure, regarding the butt of his musket with silent eloquence. Then obeying the orders given him by Athos, he headed the small procession, bearing the torch in one hand and the musket in the other, until it reached de Winter’s inn, when pounding on the portal with his fist, he bowed to my lord and faced about without a word.

The same order was followed in returning, nor did Grimaud’s searching glance discover anything of a suspicious appearance, save a dark shadow, as it were, in ambuscade, at the corner of the Rue Guénégaud and of the Quai. He fancied, also, that in going he had already observed the street watcher who had attracted his attention. He pushed on toward him, but before he could reach it the shadow had disappeared into an alley, into which Grimaud deemed it scarcely prudent to pursue it.

The next day, on awaking, the count perceived Raoul by his bedside. The young man was already dressed and was reading a new book by M. Chapelain.

“Already up, Raoul?” exclaimed the count.

“Yes, sir,” replied Raoul, with slight hesitation; “I did not sleep well.”

“You, Raoul, not sleep well! then you must have something on your mind!” said Athos.

“Sir, you will perhaps think that I am in a great hurry to leave you when I have only just arrived, but⁠—”

“Have you only two days of leave, Raoul?”

“On the contrary, sir, I have ten; nor is it to the camp I wish to go.”

“Where, then?” said Athos, smiling, “if it be not a secret. You are now almost a man, since you have made your first passage of arms, and have acquired the right to go where you will without consulting me.”

“Never, sir,” said Raoul, “as long as I possess the happiness of having you for a protector, shall I deem I have the right of freeing myself from a guardianship so valuable to me. I have, however, a wish to go and pass a day at Blois. You look at me and you are going to laugh at me.”

“No, on the contrary, I am not inclined to laugh,” said Athos, suppressing a sigh. “You wish to see Blois again; it is but natural.”

“Then you permit me to go, you are not angry in your heart?” exclaimed Raoul, joyously.

“Certainly; and why should I regret what gives you pleasure?”

“Oh! how kind you are,” exclaimed the young man, pressing his guardian’s hand; “and I can set out immediately?”

“When you like, Raoul.”

“Sir,” said Raoul, as he turned to leave the room, “I have thought of one thing, and that is about the Duchess of Chevreuse, who was so kind to me and to whom I owe my introduction to the prince.”

“And you ought to thank her, Raoul. Well, try the Hôtel de Luynes, Raoul, and ask if the duchess can receive you. I am glad to see you pay attention to the usages of the world. You must take Grimaud and Olivain.”

“Both, sir?” asked Raoul, astonished.


Raoul went out, and when Athos heard his young, joyous voice calling to Grimaud and Olivain, he sighed.

It is very soon to leave me, he thought, but he follows the common custom. Nature has made us thus; she makes the young look ever forward, not behind. He certainly likes the child, but will he love me less as his affection grows for her?

And Athos confessed to himself that, he was unprepared for so prompt a departure; but Raoul was so happy that this reflection effaced everything else from the consideration of his guardian.

Everything was ready at ten o’clock for the departure, and as Athos was watching Raoul mount, a groom rode up from the Duchess de Chevreuse. He was charged to tell the Comte de la Fère that she had learned of the return of her youthful protégé, and also the manner he had conducted himself on the field, and she added that she should be very glad to offer him her congratulations.

“Tell her grace,” replied Athos, “that the viscount has just mounted his horse to proceed to the Hôtel de Luynes.”

Then, with renewed instructions to Grimaud, Athos signified to Raoul that he could set out, and ended by reflecting that it was perhaps better that Raoul should be away from Paris at that moment.


Another Queen in Want of Help
Athos had not failed to send early to Aramis and had given his letter to Blaisois, the only servingman whom he had left. Blaisois found Bazin donning his beadle’s gown, his services being required that day at Notre Dame.

Athos had desired Blaisois to try to speak to Aramis himself. Blaisois, a tall, simple youth, who understood nothing but what he was expressly told, asked, therefore for the Abbé d’Herblay, and in spite of Bazin’s assurances that his master was not at home, he persisted in such a manner as to put Bazin into a passion. Blaisois seeing Bazin in clerical guise, was a little discomposed at his denials and wanted to pass at all risks, believing too, that the man with whom he had to do was endowed with the virtues of his cloth, namely, patience and Christian charity.

But Bazin, still the servant of a musketeer, when once the blood mounted to his fat cheeks, seized a broomstick and began belaboring Blaisois, saying:

“You have insulted the church, my friend, you have insulted the church!”

At this moment Aramis, aroused by this unusual disturbance, cautiously opened the door of his room; and Blaisois, looking reproachfully at the Cerberus, drew the letter from his pocket and presented it to Aramis.

“From the Comte de la Fère,” said Aramis. “All right.” And he retired into his room without even asking the cause of so much noise.

Blaisois returned disconsolate to the Hôtel of the Grand Roi Charlemagne and when Athos inquired if his commission was executed, he related his adventure.

“You foolish fellow!” said Athos, laughing. “And you did not tell him that you came from me?”

“No, sir.”

At ten o’clock Athos, with his habitual exactitude, was waiting on the Pont du Louvre and was almost immediately joined by Lord de Winter.

They waited ten minutes and then his lordship began to fear Aramis was not coming to join them.

“Patience,” said Athos, whose eyes were fixed in the direction of the Rue du Bac, “patience; I see an abbé cuffing a man, then bowing to a woman; it must be Aramis.”

It was indeed Aramis. Having run against a young shopkeeper who was gaping at the crows and who had splashed him, Aramis with one blow of his fist had distanced him ten paces.

At this moment one of his penitents passed, and as she was young and pretty, Aramis took off his cap to her with his most gracious smile.

A most affectionate greeting, as one can well believe, took place between him and Lord de Winter.

“Where are we going?” inquired Aramis; “are we going to fight, perchance? I carry no sword this morning and cannot return home to procure one.”

“No,” said Lord de Winter, “we are going to pay a visit to Her Majesty the Queen of England.”

“Oh, very well,” replied Aramis; then bending his face down to Athos’s ear, “what is the object of this visit?” continued he.

“Nay, I know not; some evidence required from us, perhaps.”

“May it not be about that cursed affair?” asked Aramis, “in which case I do not greatly care to go, for it will be to pocket a lecture; and since it is my function to give them to others I am rather averse to receiving them myself.”

“If it were so,” answered Athos, “we should not be taken there by Lord de Winter, for he would come in for his share; he was one of us.”

“You’re right; yes, let us go.”

On arriving at the Louvre Lord de Winter entered first; indeed, there was but one porter there to receive them at the gate.

It was impossible in daylight for the impoverished state of the habitation grudging charity had conceded to an unfortunate queen to pass unnoticed by Athos, Aramis, and even the Englishman. Large rooms, completely stripped of furniture, bare walls upon which, here and there, shone the old gold moldings which had resisted time and neglect, windows with broken panes (impossible to close), no carpets, neither guards nor servants: this is what first met the eyes of Athos, to which he, touching his companion’s elbow, directed his attention by his glances.

“Mazarin is better lodged,” said Aramis.

“Mazarin is almost king,” answered Athos; “Madame Henrietta is almost no longer queen.”

“If you would condescend to be clever, Athos,” observed Aramis, “I really do think you would be wittier than poor Monsieur de Voiture.”

Athos smiled.

The queen appeared to be impatiently expecting them, for at the first slight noise she heard in the hall leading to her room she came herself to the door to receive these courtiers in the corridors of Misfortune.

“Enter. You are welcome, gentlemen,” she said.

The gentlemen entered and remained standing, but at a motion from the queen they seated themselves. Athos was calm and grave, but Aramis was furious; the sight of such royal misery exasperated him and his eyes examined every new trace of poverty that presented itself.

“You are examining the luxury I enjoy,” said the queen, glancing sadly around her.

“Madame,” replied Aramis, “I must ask your pardon, but I know not how to hide my indignation at seeing how a daughter of Henry IV is treated at the court of France.”

“Monsieur Aramis is not an officer?” asked the queen of Lord de Winter.

“That gentleman is the Abbé d’Herblay,” replied he.

Aramis blushed. “Madame,” he said, “I am an abbé, it is true, but I am so against my will. I never had a vocation for the bands; my cassock is fastened by one button only, and I am always ready to become a musketeer once more. This morning, being ignorant that I should have the honor of seeing Your Majesty, I encumbered myself with this dress, but you will find me none the less a man devoted to Your Majesty’s service, in whatever way you may see fit to use me.”

“The Abbé d’Herblay,” resumed de Winter, “is one of those gallant Musketeers formerly belonging to His Majesty King Louis XIII, of whom I have spoken to you, Madame.” Then turning to Athos, he continued, “And this gentleman is that noble Comte de la Fère, whose high reputation is so well known to Your Majesty.”

“Gentlemen,” said the queen, “a few years ago I had around me ushers, treasures, armies; and by the lifting of a finger all these were busied in my service. Today, look around you, and it may astonish you, that in order to accomplish a plan which is dearer to me than life, I have only Lord de Winter, the friend of twenty years, and you, gentlemen, whom I see for the first time and whom I know but as my countrymen.”

“It is enough,” said Athos, bowing low, “if the lives of three men can purchase yours, Madame.”

“I thank you, gentlemen. But hear me,” continued she. “I am not only the most miserable of queens, but the most unhappy of mothers, the most wretched of wives. My children, two of them, at least, the Duke of York and the Princess Elizabeth, are far away from me, exposed to the blows of the ambitious and our foes; my husband, the king, is leading in England so wretched an existence that it is no exaggeration to aver that he seeks death as a thing to be desired. Hold! gentlemen, here is the letter conveyed to me by Lord de Winter. Read it.”

Obeying the queen, Athos read aloud the letter which we have already seen, in which King Charles demanded to know whether the hospitality of France would be accorded him.

“Well?” asked Athos, when he had closed the letter.

“Well,” said the queen, “it has been refused.”

The two friends exchanged a smile of contempt.

“And now,” said Athos, “what is to be done? I have the honor to inquire from Your Majesty what you desire Monsieur d’Herblay and myself to do in your service. We are ready.”

“Ah, sir, you have a noble heart!” exclaimed the queen, with a burst of gratitude; whilst Lord de Winter turned to her with a glance which said, “Did I not answer for them?”

“But you, sir?” said the queen to Aramis.

“I, Madame,” replied he, “follow Monsieur de la Fère wherever he leads, even were it on to death, without demanding wherefore; but when it concerns Your Majesty’s service, then,” added he, looking at the queen with all the grace of former days, “I precede the count.”

“Well, then, gentlemen,” said the queen, “since it is thus, and since you are willing to devote yourselves to the service of a poor princess whom the whole world has abandoned, this is what is required to be done for me. The king is alone with a few gentlemen, whom he fears to lose every day; surrounded by the Scotch, whom he distrusts, although he be himself a Scotchman. Since Lord de Winter left him I am distracted, sirs. I ask much, too much, perhaps, for I have no title to request it. Go to England, join the king, be his friends, protectors, march to battle at his side, and be near him in his house, where conspiracies, more dangerous than the perils of war, are hatching every day. And in exchange for the sacrifice that you make, gentlemen, I promise⁠—not to reward you, I believe that word would offend you⁠—but to love you as a sister, to prefer you, next to my husband and my children, to everyone. I swear it before Heaven.”

And the queen raised her eyes solemnly upward.

“Madame,” said Athos, “when must we set out?”

“You consent then?” exclaimed the queen, joyfully.

“Yes, Madame; only it seems to me that Your Majesty goes too far in engaging to load us with a friendship so far above our merit. We render service to God, Madame, in serving a prince so unfortunate, a queen so virtuous. Madame, we are yours, body and soul.”

“Oh, sirs,” said the queen, moved even to tears, “this is the first time for five years I have felt the least approach to joy or hope. God, who can read my heart, all the gratitude I feel, will reward you! Save my husband! Save the king, and although you care not for the price that is placed upon a good action in this world, leave me the hope that we shall meet again, when I may be able to thank you myself. In the meantime, I remain here. Have you anything to ask of me? From this moment I become your friend, and since you are engaged in my affairs I ought to occupy myself in yours.”

“Madame,” replied Athos, “I have only to ask Your Majesty’s prayers.”

“And I,” said Aramis, “I am alone in the world and have only Your Majesty to serve.”

The queen held out her hand, which they kissed, and she said in a low tone to de Winter:

“If you need money, my lord, separate the jewels I have given you; detach the diamonds and sell them to some Jew. You will receive for them fifty or sixty thousand francs; spend them if necessary, but let these gentlemen be treated as they deserve, that is to say, like kings.”

The queen had two letters ready, one written by herself, the other by her daughter, the Princess Henrietta. Both were addressed to King Charles. She gave the first to Athos and the other to Aramis, so that should they be separated by chance they might make themselves known to the king; after which they withdrew.

At the foot of the staircase de Winter stopped.

“Not to arouse suspicions, gentlemen,” said he, “go your way and I will go mine, and this evening at nine o’clock we will assemble again at the Gate Saint Denis. We will travel on horseback as far as our horses can go and afterward we can take the post. Once more, let me thank you, my good friends, both in my own name and the queen’s.”

The three gentlemen then shook hands, Lord de Winter taking the Rue Saint-Honoré, and Athos and Aramis remaining together.

“Well,” said Aramis, when they were alone, “what do you think of this business, my dear count?”

“Bad,” replied Athos, “very bad.”

“But you received it with enthusiasm.”

“As I shall ever receive the defense of a great principle, my dear d’Herblay. Monarchs are only strong by the assistance of the aristocracy, but aristocracy cannot survive without the countenance of monarchs. Let us, then, support monarchy, in order to support ourselves.

“We shall be murdered there,” said Aramis. “I hate the English⁠—they are coarse, like every nation that swills beer.”

“Would it be better to remain here,” said Athos, “and take a turn in the Bastille or the dungeon of Vincennes for having favored the escape of Monsieur de Beaufort? I’faith, Aramis, believe me, there is little left to regret. We avoid imprisonment and we play the part of heroes; the choice is easy.”

“It is true; but in everything, friend, one must always return to the same question⁠—a stupid one, I admit, but very necessary⁠—have you any money?”

“Something like a hundred pistoles, that my farmer sent to me the day before I left Bragelonne; but out of that sum I ought to leave fifty for Raoul⁠—a young man must live respectably. I have then about fifty pistoles. And you?”

“As for me, I am quite sure that after turning out all my pockets and emptying my drawers I shall not find ten louis at home. Fortunately Lord de Winter is rich.”

“Lord de Winter is ruined for the moment; Oliver Cromwell has annexed his income resources.”

“Now is the time when Baron Porthos would be useful.”

“Now it is that I regret d’Artagnan.”

“Let us entice them away.”

“This secret, Aramis, does not belong to us; take my advice, then, and let no one into our confidence. And moreover, in taking such a step we should appear to be doubtful of ourselves. Let us regret their absence to ourselves for our own sakes, but not speak of it.”

“You are right; but what are you going to do until this evening? I have two things to postpone.”

“And what are they?”

“First, a thrust with the coadjutor, whom I met last night at Madame de Rambouillet’s and whom I found particular in his remarks respecting me.”

“Oh, fie⁠—a quarrel between priests, a duel between allies!”

“What can I do, friend? he is a bully and so am I; his cassock is a burden to him and I imagine I have had enough of mine; in fact, there is so much resemblance between us that I sometimes believe he is Aramis and I am the coadjutor. This kind of life fatigues and oppresses me; besides, he is a turbulent fellow, who will ruin our party. I am convinced that if I gave him a box on the ear, such as I gave this morning to the little citizen who splashed me, it would change the appearance of things.”

“And I, my dear Aramis,” quietly replied Athos, “I think it would only change Monsieur de Retz’s appearance. Take my advice, leave things just as they are; besides, you are neither of you now your own masters; he belongs to the Fronde and you to the queen of England. So, if the second matter which you regret being unable to attend to is not more important than the first⁠—”

“Oh! that is of the first importance.”

“Attend to it, then, at once.”

“Unfortunately, it is a thing that I can’t perform at any time I choose. It was arranged for the evening and no other time will serve.”

“I understand,” said Athos smiling, “midnight.”

“About that time.”

“But, my dear fellow, those are things that bear postponement and you must put it off, especially with so good an excuse to give on your return⁠—”

“Yes, if I return.”

“If you do not return, how does it concern you? Be reasonable. Come, you are no longer twenty years old.”

“To my great regret, mordieu! Ah, if I were but twenty years old!”

“Yes,” said Athos, “doubtless you would commit great follies! But now we must part. I have one or two visits to make and a letter yet to write. Call for me at eight o’clock or shall I wait supper for you at seven?”

“That will do very well,” said Aramis. “I have twenty visits to make and as many letters to write.”

They then separated. Athos went to pay a visit to Madame de Vendôme, left his name at Madame de Chevreuse’s and wrote the following letter to d’Artagnan:

Dear Friend⁠
—I am about to set off with Aramis on important business. I wished to make my adieux to you, but time does not permit. Remember that I write to you now to repeat how much affection for you I still cherish.

Raoul is gone to Blois and is ignorant of my departure; watch over him in my absence as much as you possibly can; and if by chance you receive no news of me three months hence, tell him to open a packet which he will find addressed to him in my bronze casket at Blois, of which I send you now the key.

Embrace Porthos from Aramis and myself. Adieu, perhaps farewell.

At the hour agreed upon Aramis arrived; he was dressed as an officer and had the old sword at his side which he had drawn so often and which he was more than ever ready to draw.

“By the by,” he said, “I think that we are decidedly wrong to depart thus, without leaving a line for Porthos and d’Artagnan.”

“The thing is done, dear friend,” said Athos; “I foresaw that and have embraced them both from you and myself.”

“You are a wonderful man, my dear count,” said Aramis; “you think of everything.”

“Well, have you made up your mind to this journey?”

“Quite; and now that I reflect about it, I am glad to leave Paris at this moment.”

“And so am I,” replied Athos; “my only regret is not having seen d’Artagnan; but the rascal is so cunning, he might have guessed our project.”

When supper was over Blaisois entered. “Sir,” said he, “here is Monsieur d’Artagnan’s answer.”

“But I did not tell you there would be an answer, stupid!” said Athos.

“And I set off without waiting for one, but he called me back and gave me this”; and he presented a little leather bag, plump and giving out a golden jingle.

Athos opened it and began by drawing forth a little note, written in these terms:

My dear Count
⁠—When one travels, and especially for three months, one never has a superfluity of money. Now, recalling former times of mutual distress, I send you half my purse; it is money to obtain which I made Mazarin sweat. Don’t make a bad use of it, I entreat you.
As to what you say about not seeing you again, I believe not a word of it; with such a heart as yours⁠—and such a sword⁠—one passes through the valley of the shadow of death a dozen times, unscathed and unalarmed. Au revoir, not farewell.
It is unnecessary to say that from the day I saw Raoul I loved him; nevertheless, believe that I heartily pray that I may not become to him a father, however much I might be proud of such a son.

P.S.⁠—Be it well understood that the fifty louis which I send are equally for Aramis as for you⁠—for you as Aramis.

Athos smiled, and his fine eye was dimmed by a tear. D’Artagnan, who had loved him so tenderly, loved him still, although a Mazarinist.

“There are the fifty louis, i’faith,” said Aramis, emptying the purse on the table, all bearing the effigy of Louis XIII. “Well, what shall you do with this money, count? Shall you keep it or send it back?”

“I shall keep it, Aramis, and even though I had no need of it I still should keep it. What is offered from a generous heart should be accepted generously. Take twenty-five of them, Aramis, and give me the remaining twenty-five.”

“All right; I am glad to see you are of my opinion. There now, shall we start?”

“When you like; but have you no groom?”

“No; that idiot Bazin had the folly to make himself verger, as you know, and therefore cannot leave Notre Dame.

“Very well, take Blaisois, with whom I know not what to do, since I already have Grimaud.”

“Willingly,” said Aramis.

At this moment Grimaud appeared at the door. “Ready,” said he, with his usual curtness.

“Let us go, then,” said Athos.

The two friends mounted, as did their servants. At the corner of the Quai they encountered Bazin, who was running breathlessly.

“Oh, sir!” exclaimed he, “thank Heaven I have arrived in time. Monsieur Porthos has just been to your house and has left this for you, saying that the letter was important and must be given to you before you left.”

“Good,” said Aramis, taking a purse which Bazin presented to him. “What is this?”

“Wait, your reverence, there is a letter.”

“You know I have already told you that if you ever call me anything but chevalier I will break every bone in your body. Give me the letter.”

“How can you read?” asked Athos, “it is as dark as a cold oven.”

“Wait,” said Bazin, striking a flint, and setting afire a twisted wax-light, with which he started the church candles. Thus illumined, Aramis read the following epistle:

“My dear d’Herblay⁠—I learned from d’Artagnan who has embraced me on the part of the Comte de la Fère and yourself, that you are setting out on a journey which may perhaps last two or three months; as I know that you do not like to ask money of your friends I offer you some of my own accord. Here are two hundred pistoles, which you can dispose of as you wish and return to me when opportunity occurs. Do not fear that you put me to inconvenience; if I want money I can send for some to any of my châteaux; at Bracieux alone, I have twenty thousand francs in gold. So, if I do not send you more it is because I fear you would not accept a larger sum.
“I address you, because you know, that although I esteem him from my heart I am a little awed by the Comte de la Fère; but it is understood that what I offer you I offer him at the same time.
“I am, as I trust you do not doubt, your devoted
“Du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds.”

“Well,” said Aramis, “what do you say to that?”

“I say, my dear d’Herblay, that it is almost sacrilege to distrust Providence when one has such friends, and therefore we will divide the pistoles from Porthos, as we divided the louis sent by d’Artagnan.”

The division being made by the light of Bazin’s taper, the two friends continued their road and a quarter of an hour later they had joined de Winter at the Porte Saint Denis.


In Which It Is Proved That First Impulses Are Oftentimes the Best
The three gentlemen took the road to Picardy, a road so well known to them and which recalled to Athos and Aramis some of the most picturesque adventures of their youth.

“If Mousqueton were with us,” observed Athos, on reaching the spot where they had had a dispute with the paviers, “how he would tremble at passing this! Do you remember, Aramis, that it was here he received that famous bullet wound?”

“By my faith, ’twould be excusable in him to tremble,” replied Aramis, “for even I feel a shudder at the recollection; hold, just above that tree is the little spot where I thought I was killed.”

It was soon time for Grimaud to recall the past. Arriving before the inn at which his master and himself had made such an enormous repast, he approached Athos and said, showing him the airhole of the cellar:


Athos began to laugh, for this juvenile escapade of his appeared to be as amusing as if someone had related it of another person.

At last, after traveling two days and a night, they arrived at Boulogne toward the evening, favored by magnificent weather. Boulogne was a strong position, then almost a deserted town, built entirely on the heights; what is now called the lower town did not then exist.

“Gentlemen,” said de Winter, on reaching the gate of the town, “let us do here as at Paris⁠—let us separate to avoid suspicion. I know an inn, little frequented, but of which the host is entirely devoted to me. I will go there, where I expect to find letters, and you go to the first tavern in the town, to L’Epée du Grand Henri for instance, refresh yourselves, and in two hours be upon the jetty; our boat is waiting for us there.”

The matter being thus decided, the two friends found, about two hundred paces further, the tavern indicated. Their horses were fed, but not unsaddled; the grooms supped, for it was already late, and their two masters, impatient to return, appointed a place of meeting with them on the jetty and desired them on no account to exchange a word with anyone. It is needless to say that this caution concerned Blaisois alone⁠—long enough since it had been a useless one to Grimaud.

Athos and Aramis walked down toward the port. From their dress, covered with dust, and from a certain easy manner by means of which a man accustomed to travel is always recognizable, the two friends excited the attention of a few promenaders. There was more especially one upon whom their arrival had produced a decided impression. This man, whom they had noticed from the first for the same reason they had themselves been remarked by others, was walking in a listless way up and down the jetty. From the moment he perceived them he did not cease to look at them and seemed to burn with the wish to speak to them.

On reaching the jetty Athos and Aramis stopped to look at a little boat made fast to a pile and ready rigged as if waiting to start.

“That is doubtless our boat,” said Athos.

“Yes,” replied Aramis, “and the sloop out there making ready to sail must be that which is to take us to our destination; now,” continued he, “if only de Winter does not keep us waiting. It is not at all amusing here; there is not a single woman passing.”

“Hush!” said Athos, “we are overheard.”

In truth, the walker, who, during the observations of the two friends, had passed and repassed behind them several times, stopped at the name of de Winter; but as his face betrayed no emotion at mention of this name, it might have been by chance he stood so still.

“Gentlemen,” said the man, who was young and pale, bowing with ease and courtesy, “pardon my curiosity, but I see you come from Paris, or at least that you are strangers at Boulogne.”

“We come from Paris, yes,” replied Athos, with the same courtesy; “what is there we can do for you?”

“Sir,” said the young man, “will you be so good as to tell me if it be true that Cardinal Mazarin is no longer minister?”

“That is a strange question,” said Aramis.

“He is and he is not,” replied Athos; “that is to say, he is dismissed by one-half of France, but by intrigues and promises he makes the other half sustain him; you will perceive that this may last a long time.”

“However, sir,” said the stranger, “he has neither fled nor is in prison?”

“No, sir, not at this moment at least.”

“Sirs, accept my thanks for your politeness,” said the young man, retreating.

“What do you think of that interrogator?” asked Aramis.

“I think he is either a dull provincial person or a spy in search of information.”

“And you replied to him with that notion?”

“Nothing warranted me to answer him otherwise; he was polite to me and I was so to him.”

“But if he be a spy⁠—”

“What do you think a spy would be about here? We are not living in the time of Cardinal Richelieu, who would have closed the ports on bare suspicion.”

“It matters not; you were wrong to reply to him as you did,” continued Aramis, following with his eyes the young man, now vanishing behind the cliffs.

“And you,” said Athos, “you forget that you committed a very different kind of imprudence in pronouncing Lord de Winter’s name. Did you not see that at that name the young man stopped?”

“More reason, then, when he spoke to you, for sending him about his business.”

“A quarrel?” asked Athos.

“And since when have you become afraid of a quarrel?”

“I am always afraid of a quarrel when I am expected at any place and when such a quarrel might possibly prevent my reaching it. Besides, let me own something to you. I am anxious to see that young man nearer.”

“And wherefore?”

“Aramis, you will certainly laugh at me, you will say that I am always repeating the same thing, you will call me the most timorous of visionaries; but to whom do you see a resemblance in that young man?”

“In beauty or on the contrary?” asked Aramis, laughing.

“In ugliness, in so far as a man can resemble a woman.”

“Ah! Egad!” cried Aramis, “you set me thinking. No, in truth you are no visionary, my dear friend, and now I think of it⁠—you⁠—yes, i’faith, you’re right⁠—those delicate, yet firm-set lips, those eyes which seem always at the command of the intellect and never of the heart! Yes, it is one of Milady’s bastards!”

“You laugh Aramis.”

“From habit, that is all. I swear to you, I like no better than yourself to meet that viper in my path.”

“Ah! here is de Winter coming,” said Athos.

“Good! one thing now is only awanting and that is, that our grooms should not keep us waiting.”

“No,” said Athos. “I see them about twenty paces behind my lord. I recognize Grimaud by his long legs and his determined slouch. Tony carries our muskets.”

“Then we set sail tonight?” asked Aramis, glancing toward the west, where the sun had left a single golden cloud, which, dipping into the ocean, appeared by degrees to be extinguished.

“Probably,” said Athos.

Diable!” resumed Aramis, “I have little fancy for the sea by day, still less at night; the sounds of wind and wave, the frightful movements of the vessel; I confess I prefer the convent of Noisy.”

Athos smiled sadly, for it was evident that he was thinking of other things as he listened to his friend and moved toward de Winter.

“What ails our friend?” said Aramis, “he resembles one of Dante’s damned, whose neck Apollyon has dislocated and who are ever looking at their heels. What the devil makes him glower thus behind him?”

When de Winter perceived them, in his turn he advanced toward them with surprising rapidity.

“What is the matter, my lord?” said Athos, “and what puts you out of breath thus?”

“Nothing,” replied de Winter; “nothing; and yet in passing the heights it seemed to me⁠—” and he again turned round.

Athos glanced at Aramis.

“But let us go,” continued de Winter; “let us be off; the boat must be waiting for us and there is our sloop at anchor⁠—do you see it there? I wish I were on board already,” and he looked back again.

“He has seen him,” said Athos, in a low tone, to Aramis.

They had reached the ladder which led to the boat. De Winter made the grooms who carried the arms and the porters with the luggage descend first and was about to follow them.

At this moment Athos perceived a man walking on the seashore parallel to the jetty, and hastening his steps, as if to reach the other side of the port, scarcely twenty steps from the place of embarking. He fancied in the darkness that he recognized the young man who had questioned him. Athos now descended the ladder in his turn, without losing sight of the young man. The latter, to make a shortcut, had appeared on a sluice.

“He certainly bodes us no good,” said Athos; “but let us embark; once out at sea, let him come.”

And Athos sprang into the boat, which was immediately pushed off and which soon sped seawards under the efforts of four stalwart rowers.

But the young man had begun to follow, or rather to advance before the boat. She was obliged to pass between the point of the jetty, surmounted by a beacon just lighted, and a rock which jutted out. They saw him in the distance climbing the rock in order to look down upon the boat as it passed.

“Ay, but,” said Aramis, “that young fellow is decidedly a spy.”

“Which is the young man?” asked de Winter, turning around.

“He who followed us and spoke to us awaits us there; behold!”

De Winter turned and followed the direction of Aramis’s finger. The beacon bathed with light the little strait through which they were about to pass and the rock where the young man stood with bare head and crossed arms.

“It is he!” exclaimed de Winter, seizing the arm of Athos; “it is he! I thought I recognized him and I was not mistaken.”

“Whom do you mean?” asked Aramis.

“Milady’s son,” replied Athos.

“The monk!” exclaimed Grimaud.

The young man heard these words and bent so forward over the rock that one might have supposed he was about to precipitate himself from it.

“Yes, it is I, my uncle⁠—I, the son of Milady⁠—I, the monk⁠—I, the secretary and friend of Cromwell⁠—I know you now, both you and your companions.”

In that boat sat three men, unquestionably brave, whose courage no man would have dared dispute; nevertheless, at that voice, that accent and those gestures, they felt a chill access of terror cramp their veins. As for Grimaud, his hair stood on end and drops of sweat ran down his brow.

“Ah!” exclaimed Aramis, “that is the nephew, the monk, and the son of Milady, as he says himself.”

“Alas, yes,” murmured de Winter.

“Then wait,” said Aramis; and with the terrible coolness which on important occasions he showed, he took one of the muskets from Tony, shouldered and aimed it at the young man, who stood, like the accusing angel, upon the rock.

“Fire!” cried Grimaud, unconsciously.

Athos threw himself on the muzzle of the gun and arrested the shot which was about to be fired.

“The devil take you,” said Aramis. “I had him so well at the point of my gun I should have sent a ball into his breast.”

“It is enough to have killed the mother,” said Athos, hoarsely.

“The mother was a wretch, who struck at us all and at those dear to us.”

“Yes, but the son has done us no harm.”

Grimaud, who had risen to watch the effect of the shot, fell back hopeless, wringing his hands.

The young man burst into a laugh.

“Ah, it is certainly you!” he cried. “I know you even better now.”

His mocking laugh and threatening words passed over their heads, carried by the breeze, until lost in the depths of the horizon. Aramis shuddered.

“Be calm,” exclaimed Athos, “for Heaven’s sake! have we ceased to be men?”

“No,” said Aramis, “but that fellow is a fiend; and ask the uncle whether I was wrong to rid him of his dear nephew.”

De Winter only replied by a groan.

“It was all up with him,” continued Aramis; “ah, I much fear that with all your wisdom such mercy yet will prove supernal folly.”

Athos took Lord de Winter’s hand and tried to turn the conversation.

“When shall we land in England?” he asked; but de Winter seemed not to hear his words and made no reply.

“Hold, Athos,” said Aramis, “perhaps there is yet time. See if he is still in the same place.”

Athos turned around with an effort; the sight of the young man was evidently painful to him, and there he still was, in fact, on the rock, the beacon shedding around him, as it were, a doubtful aureole.

“Decidedly, Aramis,” said Athos, “I think I was wrong not to let you fire.”

“Hold your tongue,” replied Aramis; “you would make me weep, if such a thing were possible.”

At this moment they were hailed by a voice from the sloop and a few seconds later men, servants and baggage were aboard. The captain was only waiting for his passengers; hardly had they put foot on deck ere her head was turned towards Hastings, where they were to disembark. At this instant the three friends turned, in spite of themselves, a last look on the rock, upon the menacing figure which pursued them and now stood out with a distinctness still. Then a voice reached them once more, sending this threat: “To our next meeting, sirs, in England.”


Te Deum for the Victory of Lens
The bustle which had been observed by Henrietta Maria, and for which she had vainly sought to discover a reason, was occasioned by the battle of Lens, announced by the prince’s messenger, the Duc de Châtillon, who had taken such a noble part in the engagement; he was, besides, charged to hang five and twenty flags, taken from the Lorraine party, as well as from the Spaniards, upon the arches of Notre Dame.

Such news was decisive: it destroyed, in favor of the court, the struggle commenced with parliament. The motive given for all the taxes summarily imposed and to which the parliament had made opposition, was the necessity of sustaining the honor of France and the uncertain hope of beating the enemy. Now, since the affair of Nordlingen, they had experienced nothing but reverses; the parliament had a plea for calling Mazarin to account for imaginary victories, always promised, ever deferred; but this time there really had been fighting, a triumph and a complete one. And this all knew so well that it was a double victory for the court, a victory at home and abroad; so that even when the young king learned the news he exclaimed, “Ah, gentlemen of the parliament, we shall see what you will say now!” Upon which the queen had pressed the royal child to her heart, whose haughty and unruly sentiments were in such harmony with her own. A council was called on the same evening, but nothing transpired of what had been decided on. It was only known that on the following Sunday a Te Deum would be sung at Notre Dame in honor of the victory of Lens.

The following Sunday, then, the Parisians arose with joy; at that period a Te Deum was a grand affair; this kind of ceremony had not then been abused and it produced a great effect. The shops were deserted, houses closed; everyone wished to see the young king with his mother, and the famous Cardinal Mazarin whom they hated so much that no one wished to be deprived of his presence. Moreover, great liberty prevailed throughout the immense crowd; every opinion was openly expressed and chorused, so to speak, of coming insurrection, as the thousand bells of all the Paris churches rang out the Te Deum. The police belonging to the city being formed by the city itself, nothing threatening presented itself to disturb this concert of universal hatred or freeze the frequent scoffs of slanderous lips.

Nevertheless, at eight o’clock in the morning the regiment of the queen’s Guards, commanded by Guitant, under whom was his nephew Comminges, marched publicly, preceded by drums and trumpets, filing off from the Palais Royal as far as Notre Dame, a manoeuvre which the Parisians witnessed tranquilly, delighted as they were with military music and brilliant uniforms.

Friquet had put on his Sunday clothes, under the pretext of having a swollen face which he had managed to simulate by introducing a handful of cherry kernels into one side of his mouth, and had procured a whole holiday from Bazin. On leaving Bazin, Friquet started off to the Palais Royal, where he arrived at the moment of the turning out of the regiment of Guards; and as he had only gone there for the enjoyment of seeing it and hearing the music, he took his place at their head, beating the drum on two pieces of slate and passing from that exercise to that of the trumpet, which he counterfeited quite naturally with his mouth in a manner which had more than once called forth the praises of amateurs of imitative harmony.

This amusement lasted from the Barrière des Sergens to the place of Notre Dame, and Friquet found in it very real enjoyment; but when at last the regiment separated, penetrated the heart of the city and placed itself at the extremity of the Rue Saint Christophe, near the Rue Cocatrix, in which Broussel lived, then Friquet remembered that he had not had breakfast; and after thinking in which direction he had better turn his steps in order to accomplish this important act of the day, he reflected deeply and decided that Councillor Broussel should bear the cost of this repast.

In consequence he took to his heels, arrived breathlessly at the councillor’s door, and knocked violently.

His mother, the councillor’s old servant, opened it.

“What doest thou here, good-for-nothing?” she said, “and why art thou not at Notre Dame?”

“I have been there, mother,” said Friquet, “but I saw things happen of which Master Broussel ought to be warned, and so with Monsieur Bazin’s permission⁠—you know, mother, Monsieur Bazin, the verger⁠—I came to speak to Monsieur Broussel.”

“And what hast thou to say, boy, to Monsieur Broussel?”

“I wish to tell him,” replied Friquet, screaming with all his might, “that there is a whole regiment of Guards coming this way. And as I hear everywhere that at the court they are ill-disposed to him, I wish to warn him, that he may be on his guard.”

Broussel heard the scream of the young oddity, and, enchanted with this excess of zeal, came down to the first floor, for he was, in truth, working in his room on the second.

“Well,” said he, “friend, what matters the regiment of Guards to us, and art thou not mad to make such a disturbance? Knowest thou not that it is the custom of these soldiers to act thus and that it is usual for the regiment to form themselves into two solid walls when the king goes by?”

Friquet counterfeited surprise, and twisting his new cap around in his fingers, said:

“It is not astonishing for you to know it, Monsieur Broussel, who knows everything; but as for me, by holy truth, I did not know it and I thought I would give you good advice; you must not be angry with me for that, Monsieur Broussel.”

“On the contrary, my boy, on the contrary, I am pleased with your zeal. Dame Nanette, look for those apricots which Madame de Longueville sent to us yesterday from Noisy and give half a dozen of them to your son, with a crust of new bread.”

“Oh, thank you, sir, thank you, Monsieur Broussel,” said Friquet; “I am so fond of apricots!”

Broussel then proceeded to his wife’s room and asked for breakfast; it was nine o’clock. The councillor placed himself at the window; the street was completely deserted, but in the distance was heard, like the noise of the tide rushing in, the deep hum of the populous waves increasing now around Notre Dame.

This noise redoubled when d’Artagnan, with a company of Musketeers, placed himself at the gates of Notre Dame to secure the service of the church. He had instructed Porthos to profit by this opportunity to see the ceremony; and Porthos, in full dress, mounted his finest horse, taking the part of supernumerary musketeer, as d’Artagnan had so often done formerly. The sergeant of this company, a veteran of the Spanish wars, had recognized Porthos, his old companion, and very soon all those who served under him were placed in possession of startling facts concerning the honor of the ancient Musketeers of Tréville. Porthos had not only been well received by the company, but he was moreover looked on with great admiration.

At ten o’clock the guns of the Louvre announced the departure of the king, and then a movement, similar to that of trees in a stormy wind that bend and writhe with agitated tops, ran though the multitude, which was compressed behind the immovable muskets of the Guard. At last the king appeared with the queen in a gilded chariot. Ten other carriages followed, containing the ladies of honor, the officers of the royal household, and the court.

“God save the king!” was the cry in every direction; the young monarch gravely put his head out of the window, looked sufficiently grateful and even bowed; at which the cries of the multitude were renewed.

Just as the court was settling down in the cathedral, a carriage, bearing the arms of Comminges, quitted the line of the court carriages and proceeded slowly to the end of the Rue Saint Christophe, now entirely deserted. When it arrived there, four guards and a police officer, who accompanied it, mounted into the heavy machine and closed the shutters; then through an opening cautiously made, the policeman began to watch the length of the Rue Cocatrix, as if he was waiting for someone.

All the world was occupied with the ceremony, so that neither the chariot nor the precautions taken by those who were within it had been observed. Friquet, whose eye, ever on the alert, could alone have discovered them, had gone to devour his apricots upon the entablature of a house in the square of Notre Dame. Thence he saw the king, the queen and Monsieur Mazarin, and heard the mass as well as if he had been on duty.

Toward the end of the service, the queen, seeing Comminges standing near her, waiting for a confirmation of the order she had given him before quitting the Louvre, said in a whisper:

“Go, Comminges, and may God aid you!”

Comminges immediately left the church and entered the Rue Saint Christophe. Friquet, seeing this fine officer thus walk away, followed by two guards, amused himself by pursuing them and did this so much the more gladly as the ceremony ended at that instant and the king remounted his carriage.

Hardly had the police officer observed Comminges at the end of the Rue Cocatrix when he said one word to the coachman, who at once put his vehicle into motion and drove up before Broussel’s door. Comminges knocked at the door at the same moment, and Friquet was waiting behind Comminges until the door should be opened.

“What dost thou there, rascal?” asked Comminges.

“I want to go into Master Broussel’s house, captain,” replied Friquet, in that wheedling way the “gamins” of Paris know so well how to assume when necessary.

“And on what floor does he live?” asked Comminges.

“In the whole house,” said Friquet; “the house belongs to him; he occupies the second floor when he works and descends to the first to take his meals; he must be at dinner now; it is noon.”

“Good,” said Comminges.

At this moment the door was opened, and having questioned the servant the officer learned that Master Broussel was at home and at dinner.

Broussel was seated at the table with his family, having his wife opposite to him, his two daughters by his side, and his son, Louvières, whom we have already seen when the accident happened to the councillor⁠—an accident from which he had quite recovered⁠—at the bottom of the table. The worthy man, restored to perfect health, was tasting the fine fruit which Madame de Longueville had sent to him.

At sight of the officer Broussel was somewhat moved, but seeing him bow politely he rose and bowed also. Still, in spite of this reciprocal politeness, the countenances of the women betrayed a certain amount of uneasiness; Louvières became very pale and waited impatiently for the officer to explain himself.

“Sir,” said Comminges, “I am the bearer of an order from the king.”

“Very well, sir,” replied Broussel, “what is this order?” And he held out his hand.

“I am commissioned to seize your person, sir,” said Comminges, in the same tone and with the same politeness; “and if you will believe me you had better spare yourself the trouble of reading that long letter and follow me.”

A thunderbolt falling in the midst of these good people, so peacefully assembled there, would not have produced a more appalling effect. It was a horrible thing at that period to be imprisoned by the enmity of the king. Louvières sprang forward to snatch his sword, which stood against a chair in a corner of the room; but a glance from the worthy Broussel, who in the midst of it all did not lose his presence of mind, checked this foolhardy action of despair. Madame Broussel, separated by the width of the table from her husband, burst into tears, and the young girls clung to their father’s arms.

“Come, sir,” said Comminges, “make haste; you must obey the king.”

“Sir,” said Broussel, “I am in bad health and cannot give myself up a prisoner in this state; I must have time.”

“It is impossible,” said Comminges; “the order is strict and must be put into execution this instant.”

“Impossible!” said Louvières; “sir, beware of driving us to despair.”

“Impossible!” cried a shrill voice from the end of the room.

Comminges turned and saw Dame Nanette, her eyes flashing with anger and a broom in her hand.

“My good Nanette, be quiet, I beseech you,” said Broussel.

“Me! keep quiet while my master is being arrested! he, the support, the liberator, the father of the people! Ah! well, yes; you have to know me yet. Are you going?” added she to Comminges.

The latter smiled.

“Come, sir,” said he, addressing Broussel, “silence that woman and follow me.”

“Silence me! me! me!” said Nanette. “Ah! yet one wants someone besides you for that, my fine king’s cockatoo! You shall see.” And Dame Nanette sprang to the window, threw it open, and in such a piercing voice that it might have been heard in the square of Notre Dame:

“Help!” she screamed, “my master is being arrested; the Councillor Broussel is being arrested! Help!”

“Sir,” said Comminges, “declare yourself at once; will you obey or do you intend to rebel against the king?”

“I obey, I obey, sir!” cried Broussel, trying to disengage himself from the grasp of his two daughters and by a look restrain his son, who seemed determined to dispute authority.

“In that case,” commanded Comminges, “silence that old woman.”

“Ah! old woman!” screamed Nanette.

And she began to shriek more loudly, clinging to the bars of the window:

“Help! help! for Master Broussel, who is arrested because he has defended the people! Help!”

Comminges seized the servant around the waist and would have dragged her from her post; but at that instant a treble voice, proceeding from a kind of entresol, was heard screeching:

“Murder! fire! assassins! Master Broussel is being killed! Master Broussel is being strangled.”

It was Friquet’s voice; and Dame Nanette, feeling herself supported, recommenced with all her strength to sound her shrilly squawk.

Many curious faces had already appeared at the windows and the people attracted to the end of the street began to run, first men, then groups, and then a crowd of people; hearing cries and seeing a chariot they could not understand it; but Friquet sprang from the entresol on to the top of the carriage.

“They want to arrest Master Broussel!” he cried; “the guards are in the carriage and the officer is upstairs!”

The crowd began to murmur and approached the house. The two guards who had remained in the lane mounted to the aid of Comminges; those who were in the chariot opened the doors and presented arms.

“Don’t you see them?” cried Friquet, “don’t you see? there they are!”

The coachman turning around, gave Friquet a slash with his whip which made him scream with pain.

“Ah! devil’s coachman!” cried Friquet, “you’re meddling too! Wait!”

And regaining his entresol he overwhelmed the coachman with every projectile he could lay hands on.

The tumult now began to increase; the street was not able to contain the spectators who assembled from every direction; the crowd invaded the space which the dreaded pikes of the guards had till then kept clear between them and the carriage. The soldiers, pushed back by these living walls, were in danger of being crushed against the spokes of the wheels and the panels of the carriages. The cries which the police officer repeated twenty times: “In the king’s name,” were powerless against this formidable multitude⁠—seemed, on the contrary, to exasperate it still more; when, at the shout, “In the name of the king,” an officer ran up, and seeing the uniforms ill-treated, he sprang into the scuffle sword in hand, and brought unexpected help to the guards. This gentleman was a young man, scarcely sixteen years of age, now white with anger. He leaped from his charger, placed his back against the shaft of the carriage, making a rampart of his horse, drew his pistols from their holsters and fastened them to his belt, and began to fight with the back sword, like a man accustomed to the handling of his weapon.

During ten minutes he alone kept the crowd at bay; at last Comminges appeared, pushing Broussel before him.

“Let us break the carriage!” cried the people.

“In the king’s name!” cried Comminges.

“The first who advances is a dead man!” cried Raoul, for it was in fact he, who, feeling himself pressed and almost crushed by a gigantic citizen, pricked him with the point of his sword and sent him howling back.

Comminges, so to speak, threw Broussel into the carriage and sprang in after him. At this moment a shot was fired and a ball passed through the hat of Comminges and broke the arm of one of the guards. Comminges looked up and saw amidst the smoke the threatening face of Louvières appearing at the window of the second floor.

“Very well, sir,” said Comminges, “you shall hear of this anon.”

“And you of me, sir,” said Louvières; “and we shall see then who can speak the loudest.”

Friquet and Nanette continued to shout; the cries, the noise of the shot, and the intoxicating smell of powder produced their usual maddening effects.

“Down with the officer! down with him!” was the cry.

“One step nearer,” said Comminges, putting down the sashes, that the interior of the carriage might be well seen, and placing his sword on his prisoner’s breast, “one step nearer, and I kill the prisoner; my orders were to carry him off alive or dead. I will take him dead, that’s all.”

A terrible cry was heard, and the wife and daughters of Broussel held up their hands in supplication to the people; the latter knew that this officer, who was so pale, but who appeared so determined, would keep his word; they continued to threaten, but they began to disperse.

“Drive to the palace,” said Comminges to the coachman, who was by then more dead than alive.

The man whipped his animals, which cleared a way through the crowd; but on arriving on the Quai they were obliged to stop; the carriage was upset, the horses carried off, stifled, mangled by the crowd. Raoul, on foot, for he had not time to mount his horse again, tired, like the guards, of distributing blows with the flat of his sword, had recourse to its point. But this last and dreaded resource served only to exasperate the multitude. From time to time a shot from a musket or the blade of a rapier flashed among the crowd; projectiles continued to hail down from the windows and some shots were heard, the echo of which, though they were probably fired in the air, made all hearts vibrate. Voices, unheard except on days of revolution, were distinguished; faces were seen that only appeared on days of bloodshed. Cries of “Death! death to the guards! to the Seine with the officer!” were heard above all the noise, deafening as it was. Raoul, his hat in ribbons, his face bleeding, felt not only his strength but also his reason going; a red mist covered his sight, and through this mist he saw a hundred threatening arms stretched over him, ready to seize upon him when he fell. The guards were unable to help anyone⁠—each one was occupied with his self-preservation. All was over; carriages, horses, guards, and perhaps even the prisoner were about to be torn to shreds, when all at once a voice well known to Raoul was heard, and suddenly a great sword glittered in the air; at the same time the crowd opened, upset, trodden down, and an officer of the Musketeers, striking and cutting right and left, rushed up to Raoul and took him in his arms just as he was about to fall.

“God’s blood!” cried the officer, “have they killed him? Woe to them if it be so!”

And he turned around, so stern with anger, strength, and threat, that the most excited rebels hustled back on one another, in order to escape, and some of them even rolled into the Seine.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan!” murmured Raoul.

“Yes, ’sdeath! in person, and fortunately it seems for you, my young friend. Come on, here, you others,” he continued, rising in his stirrups, raising his sword, and addressing those musketeers who had not been able to follow his rapid onslaught. “Come, sweep away all that for me! Shoulder muskets! Present arms! Aim⁠—”

At this command the mountain of populace thinned so suddenly that d’Artagnan could not repress a burst of Homeric laughter.

“Thank you, d’Artagnan,” said Comminges, showing half of his body through the window of the broken vehicle, “thanks, my young friend; your name⁠—that I may mention it to the queen.”

Raoul was about to reply when d’Artagnan bent down to his ear.

“Hold your tongue,” said he, “and let me answer. Do not lose time, Comminges,” he continued; “get out of the carriage if you can and make another draw up; be quick, or in five minutes the mob will be on us again with swords and muskets and you will be killed. Hold! there’s a carriage coming over yonder.”

Then bending again to Raoul, he whispered: “Above all things do not divulge your name.”

“That’s right. I will go,” said Comminges; “and if they come back, fire!”

“Not at all⁠—not at all,” replied d’Artagnan; “let no one move. On the contrary, one shot at this moment would be paid for dearly tomorrow.”

Comminges took his four guards and as many musketeers and ran to the carriage, from which he made the people inside dismount, and brought them to the vehicle which had upset. But when it was necessary to convey the prisoner from one carriage to the other, the people, catching sight of him whom they called their liberator, uttered every imaginable cry and knotted themselves once more around the vehicle.

“Start, start!” said d’Artagnan. “There are ten men to accompany you. I will keep twenty to hold in check the mob; go, and lose not a moment. Ten men for Monsieur de Comminges.”

As the carriage started off the cries were redoubled and more than ten thousand people thronged the Quai and overflowed the Pont Neuf and adjacent streets. A few shots were fired and one musketeer was wounded.

“Forward!” cried d’Artagnan, driven to extremities, biting his moustache; and then he charged with his twenty men and dispersed them in fear. One man alone remained in his place, gun in hand.

“Ah!” he exclaimed, “it is thou who wouldst have him assassinated? Wait an instant.” And he pointed his gun at d’Artagnan, who was riding toward him at full speed. D’Artagnan bent down to his horse’s neck, the young man fired, and the ball severed the feathers from the hat. The horse started, brushed against the imprudent man, who thought by his strength alone to stay the tempest, and he fell against the wall. D’Artagnan pulled up his horse, and whilst his musketeers continued to charge, he returned and bent with drawn sword over the man he had knocked down.

“Oh, sir!” exclaimed Raoul, recognizing the young man as having seen him in the Rue Cocatrix, “spare him! it is his son!”

D’Artagnan’s arm dropped to his side. “Ah, you are his son!” he said; “that is a different thing.”

“Sir, I surrender,” said Louvières, presenting his unloaded musket to the officer.

“Eh, no! do not surrender, egad! On the contrary, be off, and quickly. If I take you, you will be hung!”

The young man did not wait to be told twice, but passing under the horse’s head disappeared at the corner of the Rue Guénégaud.

“I’faith!” said d’Artagnan to Raoul, “you were just in time to stay my hand. He was a dead man; and on my honor, if I had discovered that it was his son, I should have regretted having killed him.”

“Ah! sir!” said Raoul, “allow me, after thanking you for that poor fellow’s life, to thank you on my own account. I too, sir, was almost dead when you arrived.”

“Wait, wait, young man; do not fatigue yourself with speaking. We can talk of it afterward.”

Then seeing that the musketeers had cleared the Quai from the Pont Neuf to the Quai Saint Michael, he raised his sword for them to double their speed. The musketeers trotted up, and at the same time the ten men whom d’Artagnan had given to Comminges appeared.

“Halloo!” cried d’Artagnan; “has something fresh happened?”

“Eh, sir!” replied the sergeant, “their vehicle has broken down a second time; it really must be doomed.”

“They are bad managers,” said d’Artagnan, shrugging his shoulders. “When a carriage is chosen, it ought to be strong. The carriage in which a Broussel is to be arrested ought to be able to bear ten thousand men.”

“What are your commands, lieutenant?”

“Take the detachment and conduct him to his place.”

“But you will be left alone?”

“Certainly. So you suppose I have need of an escort? Go.”

The musketeers set off and d’Artagnan was left alone with Raoul.

“Now,” he said, “are you in pain?”

“Yes; my head is not only swimming but burning.”

“What’s the matter with this head?” said d’Artagnan, raising the battered hat. “Ah! ah! a bruise.”

“Yes, I think I received a flowerpot upon my head.”

“Brutes!” said d’Artagnan. “But were you not on horseback? you have spurs.”

“Yes, but I got down to defend Monsieur de Comminges and my horse was taken away. Here it is, I see.”

At this very moment Friquet passed, mounted on Raoul’s horse, waving his particolored cap and crying, “Broussel! Broussel!”

“Halloo! stop, rascal!” cried d’Artagnan. “Bring hither that horse.”

Friquet heard perfectly, but he pretended not to do so and tried to continue his road. D’Artagnan felt inclined for an instant to pursue Master Friquet, but not wishing to leave Raoul alone he contented himself with taking a pistol from the holster and cocking it.

Friquet had a quick eye and a fine ear. He saw d’Artagnan’s movement, heard the sound of the click, and stopped at once.

“Ah! it is you, your honor,” he said, advancing toward d’Artagnan; “and I am truly pleased to meet you.”

D’Artagnan looked attentively at Friquet and recognized the little chorister of the Rue de la Calandre.

“Ah! ’tis thou, rascal!” said he, “come here: so thou hast changed thy trade; thou art no longer a choir boy nor a tavern boy; thou hast become a horse stealer?”

“Ah, your honor, how can you say so?” exclaimed Friquet. “I was seeking the gentleman to whom this horse belongs⁠—an officer, brave and handsome as a youthful Caesar”; then, pretending to see Raoul for the first time:

“Ah! but if I mistake not,” continued he, “here he is; you won’t forget the boy, sir.”

Raoul put his hand in his pocket.

“What are you about?” asked d’Artagnan.

“To give ten francs to this honest fellow,” replied Raoul, taking a pistole from his pocket.

“Ten kicks on his back!” said d’Artagnan; “be off, you little villain, and forget not that I have your address.”

Friquet, who did not expect to be let off so cheaply, bounded off like a gazelle up the Quai à la Rue Dauphine, and disappeared. Raoul mounted his horse, and both leisurely took their way to the Rue Tiquetonne.

D’Artagnan watched over the youth as if he had been his own son.

They arrived without accident at the Hôtel de la Chevrette.

The handsome Madeleine announced to d’Artagnan that Planchet had returned, bringing Mousqueton with him, who had heroically borne the extraction of the ball and was as well as his state would permit.

D’Artagnan desired Planchet to be summoned, but he had disappeared.

“Then bring some wine,” said d’Artagnan. “You are much pleased with yourself,” said he to Raoul when they were alone, “are you not?”

“Well, yes,” replied Raoul. “It seems to me I did my duty. I defended the king.”

“And who told you to defend the king?”

“The Comte de la Fère himself.”

“Yes, the king; but today you have not fought for the king, you have fought for Mazarin; which is not quite the same thing.”

“But you yourself?”

“Oh, for me; that is another matter. I obey my captain’s orders. As for you, your captain is the prince, understand that rightly; you have no other. But has one ever seen such a wild fellow,” continued he, “making himself a Mazarinist and helping to arrest Broussel! Breathe not a word of that, or the Comte de la Fère will be furious.”

“You think the count will be angry with me?”

“Think it? I’m certain of it; were it not for that, I should thank you, for you have worked for us. However, I scold you instead of him, and in his place; the storm will blow over more easily, believe me. And moreover, my dear child,” continued d’Artagnan, “I am making use of the privilege conceded to me by your guardian.”

“I do not understand you, sir,” said Raoul.

D’Artagnan rose, and taking a letter from his writing-desk, presented it to Raoul. The face of the latter became serious when he had cast his eyes upon the paper.

“Oh, mon Dieu!” he said, raising his fine eyes to d’Artagnan, moist with tears, “the count has left Paris without seeing me?”

“He left four days ago,” said d’Artagnan.

“But this letter seems to intimate that he is about to incur danger, perhaps death.”

“He⁠—he⁠—incur danger of death! No, be not anxious; he is traveling on business and will return ere long. I hope you have no repugnance to accept me as your guardian in the interim.”

“Oh, no, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” said Raoul, “you are such a brave gentleman and the Comte de la Fère has so much affection for you!”

“Eh! Egad! love me too; I will not torment you much, but only on condition that you become a Frondist, my young friend, and a hearty Frondist, too.”

“But can I continue to visit Madame de Chevreuse?”

“I should say you could! and the coadjutor and Madame de Longueville; and if the worthy Broussel were there, whom you so stupidly helped arrest, I should tell you to excuse yourself to him at once and kiss him on both cheeks.”

“Well, sir, I will obey you, although I do not understand you.”

“It is unnecessary for you to understand. Hold,” continued d’Artagnan, turning toward the door, which had just opened, “here is Monsieur du Vallon, who comes with his coat torn.”

“Yes, but in exchange,” said Porthos, covered with perspiration and soiled by dust, “in exchange, I have torn many skins. Those wretches wanted to take away my sword! Deuce take ’em, what a popular commotion!” continued the giant, in his quiet manner; “but I knocked down more than twenty with the hilt of Balizarde. A draught of wine, d’Artagnan.”

“Oh, I’ll answer for you,” said the Gascon, filling Porthos’s glass to the brim; “but when you have drunk, give me your opinion.”

“Upon what?” asked Porthos.

“Look here,” resumed d’Artagnan; “here is Monsieur de Bragelonne, who determined at all risks to aid the arrest of Broussel and whom I had great difficulty to prevent defending Monsieur de Comminges.”

“The devil!” said Porthos; “and his guardian, what would he have said to that?”

“Do you hear?” interrupted d’Artagnan; “become a Frondist, my friend, belong to the Fronde, and remember that I fill the count’s place in everything”; and he jingled his money.

“Will you come?” said he to Porthos.

“Where?” asked Porthos, filling a second glass of wine.

“To present our respects to the cardinal.”

Porthos swallowed the second glass with the same grace with which he had imbibed the first, took his beaver and followed d’Artagnan. As for Raoul, he remained bewildered with what he had seen, having been forbidden by d’Artagnan to leave the room until the tumult was over.


The Beggar of St. Eustache
D’Artagnan had calculated that in not going at once to the Palais Royal he would give Comminges time to arrive before him, and consequently to make the cardinal acquainted with the eminent services which he, d’Artagnan, and his friend had rendered to the queen’s party in the morning.

They were indeed admirably received by Mazarin, who paid them numerous compliments, and announced that they were more than half on their way to obtain what they desired, namely, d’Artagnan his captaincy, Porthos his barony.

D’Artagnan would have preferred money in hand to all that fine talk, for he knew well that to Mazarin it was easy to promise and hard to perform. But, though he held the cardinal’s promises as of little worth, he affected to be completely satisfied, for he was unwilling to discourage Porthos.

Whilst the two friends were with the cardinal, the queen sent for him. Mazarin, thinking that it would be the means of increasing the zeal of his two defenders if he procured them personal thanks from the queen, motioned them to follow him. D’Artagnan and Porthos pointed to their dusty and torn dresses, but the cardinal shook his head.

“Those costumes,” he said, “are of more worth than most of those which you will see on the backs of the queen’s courtiers; they are costumes of battle.”

D’Artagnan and Porthos obeyed. The court of Anne of Austria was full of gayety and animation; for, after having gained a victory over the Spaniard, it had just gained another over the people. Broussel had been conducted out of Paris without further resistance, and was at this time in the prison of Saint Germain; while Blancmesnil, who was arrested at the same time, but whose arrest had been made without difficulty or noise, was safe in the Castle of Vincennes.

Comminges was near the queen, who was questioning him upon the details of his expedition, and everyone was listening to his account, when d’Artagnan and Porthos were perceived at the door, behind the cardinal.

“Ah, Madame,” said Comminges, hastening to d’Artagnan, “here is one who can tell you better than myself, for he was my protector. Without him I should probably at this moment be a dead fish in the nets at Saint Cloud, for it was a question of nothing less than throwing me into the river. Speak, d’Artagnan, speak.”

D’Artagnan had been a hundred times in the same room with the queen since he had become lieutenant of the Musketeers, but Her Majesty had never once spoken to him.

“Well, sir,” at last said Anne of Austria, “you are silent, after rendering such a service?”

“Madame,” replied d’Artagnan, “I have nought to say, save that my life is ever at Your Majesty’s service, and that I shall only be happy the day I lose it for you.”

“I know that, sir; I have known that,” said the queen, “a long time; therefore I am delighted to be able thus publicly to mark my gratitude and my esteem.”

“Permit me, Madame,” said d’Artagnan, “to reserve a portion for my friend; like myself” (he laid an emphasis on these words) “an ancient musketeer of the company of Tréville; he has done wonders.”

“His name?” asked the queen.

“In the regiment,” said d’Artagnan, “he is called Porthos” (the queen started), “but his true name is the Chevalier du Vallon.”

“De Bracieux de Pierrefonds,” added Porthos.

“These names are too numerous for me to remember them all, and I will content myself with the first,” said the queen, graciously. Porthos bowed. At this moment the coadjutor was announced; a cry of surprise ran through the royal assemblage. Although the coadjutor had preached that same morning it was well known that he leaned much to the side of the Fronde; and Mazarin, in requesting the archbishop of Paris to make his nephew preach, had evidently had the intention of administering to Monsieur de Retz one of those Italian kicks he so much enjoyed giving.

The fact was, in leaving Notre Dame the coadjutor had learned the event of the day. Although almost engaged to the leaders of the Fronde he had not gone so far but that retreat was possible should the court offer him the advantages for which he was ambitious and to which the coadjutorship was but a stepping-stone. Monsieur de Retz wished to become archbishop in his uncle’s place, and cardinal, like Mazarin; and the popular party could with difficulty accord him favors so entirely royal. He therefore hastened to the palace to congratulate the queen on the battle of Lens, determined beforehand to act with or against the court, as his congratulations were well or ill received.

The coadjutor possessed, perhaps, as much wit as all those put together who were assembled at the court to laugh at him. His speech, therefore, was so well turned, that in spite of the great wish felt by the courtiers to laugh, they could find no point on which to vent their ridicule. He concluded by saying that he placed his feeble influence at Her Majesty’s command.

During the whole time he was speaking, the queen appeared to be well pleased with the coadjutor’s harangue; but terminating as it did with such a phrase, the only one which could be caught at by the jokers, Anne turned around and directed a glance toward her favorites, which announced that she delivered up the coadjutor to their tender mercies. Immediately the wits of the court plunged into satire. Nogent-Beautin, the fool of the court, exclaimed that “the queen was very happy to have the succor of religion at such a moment.” This caused a universal burst of laughter. The Count de Villeroy said that “he did not know how any fear could be entertained for a moment, when the court had, to defend itself against the parliament and the citizens of Paris, his holiness the coadjutor, who by a signal could raise an army of curates, church porters and vergers.”

The Maréchal de la Meilleraie added that in case the coadjutor should appear on the field of battle it would be a pity that he should not be distinguished in the melee by wearing a red hat, as Henry IV had been distinguished by his white plume at the battle of Ivry.

During this storm, Gondy, who had it in his power to make it most unpleasant for the jesters, remained calm and stern. The queen at last asked him if he had anything to add to the fine discourse he had just made to her.

“Yes, Madame,” replied the coadjutor; “I have to beg you to reflect twice ere you cause a civil war in the kingdom.”

The queen turned her back and the laughing recommenced.

The coadjutor bowed and left the palace, casting upon the cardinal such a glance as is best understood by mortal foes. That glance was so sharp that it penetrated the heart of Mazarin, who, reading in it a declaration of war, seized d’Artagnan by the arm and said:

“If occasion requires, Monsieur, you will remember that man who has just gone out, will you not?”

“Yes, my lord,” he replied. Then, turning toward Porthos, “The devil!” said he, “this has a bad look. I dislike these quarrels among men of the church.”

Gondy withdrew, distributing benedictions on his way, and finding a malicious satisfaction in causing the adherents of his foes to prostrate themselves at his feet.

“Oh!” he murmured, as he left the threshold of the palace: “ungrateful court! faithless court! cowardly court! I will teach you how to laugh tomorrow⁠—but in another manner.”

But whilst they were indulging in extravagant joy at the Palais Royal, to increase the hilarity of the queen, Mazarin, a man of sense, and whose fear, moreover, gave him foresight, lost no time in making idle and dangerous jokes; he went out after the coadjutor, settled his account, locked up his gold, and had confidential workmen to contrive hiding places in his walls.

On his return home the coadjutor was informed that a young man had come in after his departure and was waiting for him; he started with delight when, on demanding the name of this young man, he learned that it was Louvières. He hastened to his cabinet. Broussel’s son was there, still furious, and still bearing bloody marks of his struggle with the king’s officers. The only precaution he had taken in coming to the archbishopric was to leave his arquebuse in the hands of a friend.

The coadjutor went to him and held out his hand. The young man gazed at him as if he would have read the secret of his heart.

“My dear Monsieur Louvières,” said the coadjutor, “believe me, I am truly concerned for the misfortune which has happened to you.”

“Is that true, and do you speak seriously?” asked Louvières.

“From the depth of my heart,” said Gondy.

“In that case, my lord, the time for words has passed and the hour for action is at hand; my lord, in three days, if you wish it, my father will be out of prison and in six months you may be cardinal.”

The coadjutor started.

“Oh! let us speak frankly,” continued Louvières, “and act in a straightforward manner. Thirty thousand crowns in alms is not given, as you have done for the last six months, out of pure Christian charity; that would be too grand. You are ambitious⁠—it is natural; you are a man of genius and you know your worth. As for me, I hate the court and have but one desire at this moment⁠—vengeance. Give us the clergy and the people, of whom you can dispose, and I will bring you the citizens and the parliament; with these four elements Paris is ours in a week; and believe me, Monsieur coadjutor, the court will give from fear what it will not give from goodwill.”

It was now the coadjutor’s turn to fix his piercing eyes on Louvières.

“But, Monsieur Louvières, are you aware that it is simply civil war you are proposing to me?”

“You have been preparing long enough, my lord, for it to be welcome to you now.”

“Never mind,” said the coadjutor; “you must be well aware that this requires reflection.”

“And how many hours of reflection do you ask?”

“Twelve hours, sir; is it too long?”

“It is now noon; at midnight I will be at your house.”

“If I should not be in, wait for me.”

“Good! at midnight, my lord.”

“At midnight, my dear Monsieur Louvières.”

When once more alone Gondy sent to summon all the curates with whom he had any connection to his house. Two hours later, thirty officiating ministers from the most populous, and consequently the most disturbed parishes of Paris had assembled there. Gondy related to them the insults he had received at the Palais Royal and retailed the jests of Beautin, the Count de Villeroy and Maréchal de la Meilleraie. The curates asked him what was to be done.

“Simply this,” said the coadjutor. “You are the directors of all consciences. Well, undermine in them the miserable prejudice of respect and fear of kings; teach your flocks that the queen is a tyrant; and repeat often and loudly, so that all may know it, that the misfortunes of France are caused by Mazarin, her lover and her destroyer; begin this work today, this instant even, and in three days I shall expect the result. For the rest, if any one of you have further or better counsel to expound, I will listen to him with the greatest pleasure.”

Three curates remained⁠—those of St. Merri, St. Sulpice and St. Eustache. The others withdrew.

“You think, then, that you can help me more efficaciously than your brothers?” said Gondy.

“We hope so,” answered the curates.

“Let us hear. Monsieur de St. Merri, you begin.”

“My lord, I have in my parish a man who might be of the greatest use to you.”

“Who and what is this man?”

“A shopkeeper in the Rue des Lombards, who has great influence upon the commerce of his quarter.”

“What is his name?”

“He is named Planchet, who himself also caused a rising about six weeks ago; but as he was searched for after this émeute he disappeared.”

“And can you find him?”

“I hope so. I think he has not been arrested, and as I am his wife’s confessor, if she knows where he is I shall know it too.”

“Very well, sir, find this man, and when you have found him bring him to me.”

“We will be with you at six o’clock, my lord.”

“Go, my dear curate, and may God assist you!”

“And you, sir?” continued Gondy, turning to the curate of St. Sulpice.

“I, my lord,” said the latter, “I know a man who has rendered great services to a very popular prince and who would make an excellent leader of revolt. Him I can place at your disposal; it is Count de Rochefort.”

“I know him also, but unfortunately he is not in Paris.”

“My lord, he has been for three days at the Rue Cassette.”

“And wherefore has he not been to see me?”

“He was told⁠—my lord will pardon me⁠—”

“Certainly, speak.”

“That your lordship was about to treat with the court.”

Gondy bit his lips.

“They are mistaken; bring him here at eight o’clock, sir, and may Heaven bless you as I bless you!”

“And now ’tis your turn,” said the coadjutor, turning to the last that remained; “have you anything as good to offer me as the two gentlemen who have left us?”

“Better, my lord.”

Diable! think what a solemn engagement you are making; one has offered a wealthy shopkeeper, the other a count; you are going, then, to offer a prince, are you?”

“I offer you a beggar, my lord.”

“Ah! ah!” said Gondy, reflecting, “you are right, sir; someone who could raise the legion of paupers who choke up the crossings of Paris; someone who would know how to cry aloud to them, that all France might hear it, that it is Mazarin who has reduced them to poverty.”

“Exactly your man.”

“Bravo! and the man?”

“A plain and simple beggar, as I have said, my lord, who asks for alms, as he gives holy water; a practice he has carried on for six years on the steps of St. Eustache.”

“And you say that he has a great influence over his compeers?”

“Are you aware, my lord, that mendacity is an organized body, a kind of association of those who have nothing, or are supposed to have nothing, against those who have everything; an association in which everyone takes his share; one that elects a leader?”

“Yes, I have heard it said,” replied the coadjutor.

“Well, the man whom I offer you is a general syndic.”

“And what do you know of him?”

“Nothing, my lord, except that he is tormented with remorse.”

“What makes you think so?”

“On the twenty-eighth of every month he makes me say a mass for the repose of the soul of one who died a violent death; yesterday I said this mass again.”

“And his name?”

“Maillard; but I do not think it is his right one.”

“And think you that we should find him at this hour at his post?”


“Let us go and see your beggar, sir, and if he is such as you describe him, you are right⁠—it will be you who have discovered the true treasure.”

Gondy dressed himself as an officer, put on a felt cap with a red feather, hung on a long sword, buckled spurs to his boots, wrapped himself in an ample cloak and followed the curate.

The coadjutor and his companion passed through all the streets lying between the archbishopric and the St. Eustache Church, watching carefully to ascertain the popular feeling. The people were in an excited mood, but, like a swarm of frightened bees, seemed not to know at what point to concentrate; and it was very evident that if leaders of the people were not provided all this agitation would pass off in idle buzzing.

On arriving at the Rue des Prouvaires, the curate pointed toward the square before the church.

“Stop!” he said, “there he is at his post.”

Gondy looked at the spot indicated and perceived a beggar seated in a chair and leaning against one of the moldings; a little basin was near him and he held a holy water brush in his hand.

“Is it by permission that he remains there?” asked Gondy.

“No, my lord; these places are bought. I believe this man paid his predecessor a hundred pistoles for his.”

“The rascal is rich, then?”

“Some of those men sometimes die worth twenty thousand and twenty-five and thirty thousand francs and sometimes more.”

“Hum!” said Gondy, laughing; “I was not aware my alms were so well invested.”

In the meantime they were advancing toward the square, and the moment the coadjutor and the curate put their feet on the first church step the mendicant arose and proffered his brush.

He was a man between sixty-six and sixty-eight years of age, little, rather stout, with gray hair and light eyes. His countenance denoted the struggle between two opposite principles⁠—a wicked nature, subdued by determination, perhaps by repentance.

He started on seeing the cavalier with the curate. The latter and the coadjutor touched the brush with the tips of their fingers and made the sign of the cross; the coadjutor threw a piece of money into the hat, which was on the ground.

“Maillard,” began the curate, “this gentleman and I have come to talk with you a little.”

“With me!” said the mendicant; “it is a great honor for a poor distributor of holy water.”

There was an ironical tone in his voice which he could not quite disguise and which astonished the coadjutor.

“Yes,” continued the curate, apparently accustomed to this tone, “yes, we wish to know your opinion of the events of today and what you have heard said by people going in and out of the church.”

The mendicant shook his head.

“These are melancholy doings, your reverence, which always fall again upon the poor. As to what is said, everybody is discontented, everybody complains, but ‘everybody’ means ‘nobody.’ ”

“Explain yourself, my good friend,” said the coadjutor.

“I mean that all these cries, all these complaints, these curses, produce nothing but storms and flashes and that is all; but the lightning will not strike until there is a hand to guide it.”

“My friend,” said Gondy, “you seem to be a clever and a thoughtful man; are you disposed to take a part in a little civil war, should we have one, and put at the command of the leader, should we find one, your personal influence and the influence you have acquired over your comrades?”

“Yes, sir, provided this war were approved of by the church and would advance the end I wish to attain⁠—I mean, the remission of my sins.”

“The war will not only be approved of, but directed by the church. As for the remission of your sins, we have the archbishop of Paris, who has the very greatest power at the court of Rome, and even the coadjutor, who possesses some plenary indulgences; we will recommend you to him.”

“Consider, Maillard,” said the curate, “that I have recommended you to this gentleman, who is a powerful lord, and that I have made myself responsible for you.”

“I know, Monsieur le Curé,” said the beggar, “that you have always been very kind to me, and therefore I, in my turn, will be serviceable to you.”

“And do you think your power as great with the fraternity as Monsieur le Curé told me it was just now?”

“I think they have some esteem for me,” said the mendicant with pride, “and that not only will they obey me, but wherever I go they will follow me.”

“And could you count on fifty resolute men, good, unemployed, but active souls, brawlers, capable of bringing down the walls of the Palais Royal by crying, ‘Down with Mazarin,’ as fell those at Jericho?”

“I think,” said the beggar, “I can undertake things more difficult and more important than that.”

“Ah, ah,” said Gondy, “you will undertake, then, some night, to throw up some ten barricades?”

“I will undertake to throw up fifty, and when the day comes, to defend them.”

“I’faith!” exclaimed Gondy, “you speak with a certainty that gives me pleasure; and since Monsieur le Curé can answer for you⁠—”

“I answer for him,” said the curate.

“Here is a bag containing five hundred pistoles in gold; make all your arrangements, and tell me where I shall be able to find you this evening at ten o’clock.”

“It must be on some elevated place, whence a given signal may be seen in every part of Paris.”

“Shall I give you a line for the vicar of St. Jacques de la Boucherie? he will let you into the rooms in his tower,” said the curate.

“Capital,” answered the mendicant.

“Then,” said the coadjutor, “this evening, at ten o’clock, and if I am pleased with you another bag of five hundred pistoles will be at your disposal.”

The eyes of the mendicant dashed with cupidity, but he quickly suppressed his emotion.

“This evening, sir,” he replied, “all will be ready.”


The Tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie
At a quarter to six o’clock, Monsieur de Gondy, having finished his business, returned to the archiepiscopal palace.

At six o’clock the curate of St. Merri was announced.

The coadjutor glanced rapidly behind and saw that he was followed by another man. The curate then entered, followed by Planchet.

“Your holiness,” said the curate, “here is the person of whom I had the honor to speak to you.”

Planchet saluted in the manner of one accustomed to fine houses.

“And you are disposed to serve the cause of the people?” asked Gondy.

“Most undoubtedly,” said Planchet. “I am a Frondist from my heart. You see in me, such as I am, a person sentenced to be hung.”

“And on what account?”

“I rescued from the hands of Mazarin’s police a noble lord whom they were conducting back to the Bastille, where he had been for five years.”

“Will you name him?”

“Oh, you know him well, my lord⁠—it is Count de Rochefort.”

“Ah! really, yes,” said the coadjutor, “I have heard this affair mentioned. You raised the whole district, so they told me!”

“Very nearly,” replied Planchet, with a self-satisfied air.

“And your business is⁠—”

“That of a confectioner, in the Rue des Lombards.”

“Explain to me how it happens that, following so peaceful a business, you had such warlike inclinations.”

“Why does my lord, belonging to the church, now receive me in the dress of an officer, with a sword at his side and spurs to his boots?”

“Not badly answered, i’faith,” said Gondy, laughing; “but I have, you must know, always had, in spite of my bands, warlike inclinations.”

“Well, my lord, before I became a confectioner I myself was three years sergeant in the Piedmontese regiment, and before I became sergeant I was for eighteen months the servant of Monsieur d’Artagnan.”

“The lieutenant of Musketeers?” asked Gondy.

“Himself, my lord.”

“But he is said to be a furious Mazarinist.”

“Phew!” whistled Planchet.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Nothing, my lord; Monsieur d’Artagnan belongs to the service; Monsieur d’Artagnan makes it his business to defend the cardinal, who pays him, as much as we make it ours, we citizens, to attack him, whom he robs.”

“You are an intelligent fellow, my friend; can we count upon you?”

“You may count upon me, my lord, provided you want to make a complete upheaval of the city.”

“ ’Tis that exactly. How many men, think you, you could collect together tonight?”

“Two hundred muskets and five hundred halberds.”

“Let there be only one man in every district who can do as much and by tomorrow we shall have quite a powerful army. Are you disposed to obey Count de Rochefort?”

“I would follow him to hell, and that is saying not a little, as I believe him entirely capable of the descent.”


“By what sign tomorrow shall we be able to distinguish friends from foes?”

“Every Frondist must put a knot of straw in his hat.”

“Good! Give the watchword.”

“Do you want money?”

“Money never comes amiss at any time, my lord; if one has it not, one must do without it; with it, matters go on much better and more rapidly.”

Gondy went to a box and drew forth a bag.

“Here are five hundred pistoles,” he said; “and if the action goes off well you may reckon upon a similar sum tomorrow.”

“I will give a faithful account of the sum to your lordship,” said Planchet, putting the bag under his arm.

“That is right; I recommend the cardinal to your attention.”

“Make your mind easy, he is in good hands.”

Planchet went out, the curate remaining for a moment.

“Are you satisfied, my lord?” he asked.

“Yes; he appears to be a resolute fellow.”

“Well, he will do more than he has promised.”

“He will do wonders then.”

The curate rejoined Planchet, who was waiting for him on the stairs. Ten minutes later the curate of St. Sulpice was announced. As soon as the door of Gondy’s study was opened a man rushed in. It was the Count de Rochefort.

“ ’Tis you, then, my dear count,” cried Gondy, offering his hand.

“You have made up your mind at last, my lord?” said Rochefort.

“It has been made up a long time,” said Gondy.

“Let us say no more on the subject; you tell me so, I believe you. Well, we are going to give a ball to Mazarin.”

“I hope so.”

“And when will the dance begin?”

“The invitations are given for this evening,” said the coadjutor, “but the violins will not begin to play until tomorrow morning.”

“You may reckon upon me and upon fifty soldiers which the Chevalier d’Humières has promised me whenever I need them.”

“Upon fifty soldiers?”

“Yes, he is making recruits and he will lend them to me; if any are missing when the fête is over, I shall replace them.”

“Good, my dear Rochefort; but that is not all. What have you done with Monsieur de Beaufort?”

“He is in Vendôme, where he will wait until I write to him to return to Paris.”

“Write to him; now’s the time.”

“You are sure of your enterprise?”

“Yes, but he must make haste; for hardly will the people of Paris have revolted before we shall have a score of princes begging to lead them. If he defers he will find the place of honor taken.”

“Shall I send word to him as coming from you?”

“Yes, certainly.”

“Shall I tell him that he can count on you?”

“To the end.”

“And you will leave the command to him?”

“Of the war, yes, but in politics⁠—”

“You must know it is not his element.”

“He must leave me to negotiate for my cardinal’s hat in my own fashion.”

“You care about it, then, so much?”

“Since they force me to wear a hat of a form which does not become me,” said Gondy, “I wish at least that the hat should be red.”

“One must not dispute matters of taste and colors,” said Rochefort, laughing. “I answer for his consent.”

“How soon can he be here?”

“In five days.”

“Let him come and he will find a change, I will answer for it. Therefore, go and collect your fifty men and hold yourself in readiness.”

“For what?”

“For everything.”

“Is there any signal for the general rally?”

“A knot of straw in the hat.”

“Very good. Adieu, my lord.”

“Adieu, my dear Rochefort.”

“Ah, Monsieur Mazarin, Monsieur Mazarin,” said Rochefort, leading off his curate, who had not found an opportunity of uttering a single word during the foregoing dialogue, “you will see whether I am too old to be a man of action.”

It was half-past nine o’clock and the coadjutor required half an hour to go from the archbishop’s palace to the tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie. He remarked that a light was burning in one of the highest windows of the tower. “Good,” said he, “our syndic is at his post.”

He knocked and the door was opened. The vicar himself awaited him, conducted him to the top of the tower, and when there pointed to a little door, placed the light which he had brought with him in a corner of the wall, that the coadjutor might be able to find it on his return, and went down again. Although the key was in the door the coadjutor knocked.

“Come in,” said a voice which he recognized as that of the mendicant, whom he found lying on a kind of truckle bed. He rose on the entrance of the coadjutor, and at that moment ten o’clock struck.

“Well,” said Gondy, “have you kept your word with me?”

“Not exactly,” replied the mendicant.

“How is that?”

“You asked me for five hundred men, did you not? Well, I have ten thousand for you.”

“You are not boasting?”

“Do you wish for a proof?”


There were three candles alight, each of which burnt before a window, one looking upon the city, the other upon the Palais Royal, and a third upon the Rue Saint Denis.

The man went silently to each of the candles and blew them out one after the other.

“What are you doing?” asked the coadjutor.

“I have given the signal.”

“For what?”

“For the barricades. When you leave this you will behold my men at work. Only take care you do not break your legs in stumbling over some chain or your neck by falling in a hole.”

“Good! there is your money, the same sum as that you have received already. Now remember that you are a general and do not go and drink.”

“For twenty years I have tasted nothing but water.”

The man took the bag from the hands of the coadjutor, who heard the sound of his fingers counting and handling the gold pieces.

“Ah! ah!” said the coadjutor, “you are avaricious, my good fellow.”

The mendicant sighed and threw down the bag.

“Must I always be the same?” said he, “and shall I never succeed in overcoming the old leaven? Oh, misery, oh, vanity!”

“You take it, however.”

“Yes, but I make hereby a vow in your presence, to employ all that remains to me in pious works.”

His face was pale and drawn, like that of a man who had just undergone some inward struggle.

“Singular man!” muttered Gondy, taking his hat to go away; but on turning around he saw the beggar between him and the door. His first idea was that this man intended to do him some harm, but on the contrary he saw him fall on his knees before him with his hands clasped.

“Your blessing, your holiness, before you go, I beseech you!” he cried.

“Your holiness!” said Gondy; “my friend, you take me for someone else.”

“No, your holiness, I take you for what you are, that is to say, the coadjutor; I recognized you at the first glance.”

Gondy smiled. “And you want my blessing?” he said.

“Yes, I have need of it.”

The mendicant uttered these words in a tone of such humility, such earnest repentance, that Gondy placed his hand upon him and gave him his benediction with all the unction of which he was capable.

“Now,” said Gondy, “there is a communion between us. I have blessed you and you are sacred to me. Come, have you committed some crime, pursued by human justice, from which I can protect you?”

The beggar shook his head. “The crime which I have committed, my lord, has no call upon human justice, and you can only deliver me from it by blessing me frequently, as you have just done.”

“Come, be candid,” said the coadjutor, “you have not all your life followed the trade which you do now?”

“No, my lord. I have pursued it for six years only.”

“And previously, where were you?”

“In the Bastille.”

“And before you went to the Bastille?”

“I will tell you, my lord, on the day when you are willing to hear my confession.”

“Good! At whatsoever hour of the day or night you may present yourself, remember that I shall be ready to give you absolution.”

“Thank you, my lord,” said the mendicant in a hoarse voice. “But I am not yet ready to receive it.”

“Very well. Adieu.”

“Adieu, your holiness,” said the mendicant, opening the door and bending low before the prelate.


The Riot
It was about eleven o’clock at night. Gondy had not walked a hundred steps ere he perceived the strange change which had been made in the streets of Paris.

The whole city seemed peopled with fantastic beings; silent shadows were seen unpaving the streets and others dragging and upsetting great wagons, whilst others again dug ditches large enough to engulf whole regiments of horsemen. These active beings flitted here and there like so many demons completing some unknown labor; these were the beggars of the Court of Miracles⁠—the agents of the giver of holy water in the Square of Saint Eustache, preparing barricades for the morrow.

Gondy gazed on these deeds of darkness, on these nocturnal laborers, with a kind of fear; he asked himself, if, after having called forth these foul creatures from their dens, he should have the power of making them retire again. He felt almost inclined to cross himself when one of these beings happened to approach him. He reached the Rue Saint-Honoré and went up it toward the Rue de la Ferronnerie; there the aspect changed; here it was the tradesmen who were running from shop to shop; their doors seemed closed like their shutters, but they were only pushed to in such a manner as to open and allow the men, who seemed fearful of showing what they carried, to enter, closing immediately. These men were shopkeepers, who had arms to lend to those who had none.

One individual went from door to door, bending under the weight of swords, guns, muskets and every kind of weapon, which he deposited as fast as he could. By the light of a lantern the coadjutor recognized Planchet.

The coadjutor proceeded onward to the quay by way of the Rue de la Monnaie; there he found groups of bourgeois clad in black cloaks or gray, according as they belonged to the upper or lower bourgeoisie. They were standing motionless, while single men passed from one group to another. All these cloaks, gray or black, were raised behind by the point of a sword, or before by the barrel of an arquebuse or a musket.

On reaching the Pont Neuf the coadjutor found it strictly guarded and a man approached him.

“Who are you?” asked the man. “I do not know you for one of us.”

“Then it is because you do not know your friends, my dear Monsieur Louvières,” said the coadjutor, raising his hat.

Louvières recognized him and bowed.

Gondy continued his way and went as far as the Tour de Nesle. There he saw a lengthy chain of people gliding under the walls. They might be said to be a procession of ghosts, for they were all wrapped in white cloaks. When they reached a certain spot these men appeared to be annihilated, one after the other, as if the earth had opened under their feet. Gondy, edged into a corner, saw them vanish from the first until the last but one. The last raised his eyes, to ascertain, doubtless, that neither his companions nor himself had been watched, and, in spite of the darkness, he perceived Gondy. He walked straight up to him and placed a pistol to his throat.

“Halloo! Monsieur de Rochefort,” said Gondy, laughing, “are you a boy to play with firearms?”

Rochefort recognized the voice.

“Ah, it is you, my lord!” said he.

“The very same. What people are you leading thus into the bowels of the earth?”

“My fifty recruits from the Chevalier d’Humières, who are destined to enter the light cavalry and who have only received as yet for their equipment their white cloaks.”

“And where are you going?”

“To the house of one of my friends, a sculptor, only we enter by the trap through which he lets down his marble.”

“Very good,” said Gondy, shaking Rochefort by the hand, who descended in his turn and closed the trap after him.

It was now one o’clock in the morning and the coadjutor returned home. He opened a window and leaned out to listen. A strange, incomprehensible, unearthly sound seemed to pervade the whole city; one felt that something unusual and terrible was happening in all the streets, now dark as ocean’s most unfathomable caves. From time to time a dull sound was heard, like that of a rising tempest or a billow of the sea; but nothing clear, nothing distinct, nothing intelligible; it was like those mysterious subterraneous noises that precede an earthquake.

The work of revolt continued the whole night thus. The next morning, on awaking, Paris seemed to be startled at her own appearance. It was like a besieged town. Armed men shouldering muskets, watched over the barricades with menacing looks; words of command, patrols, arrests, executions, even, were encountered at every step. Those bearing plumed hats and gold swords were stopped and made to cry, “Long live Broussel!” “Down with Mazarin!” and whoever refused to comply with this ceremony was hooted at, spat upon and even beaten. They had not yet begun to slay, but it was well felt that the inclination to do so was not wanting.

The barricades had been pushed as far as the Palais Royal. From the Rue de Bons Enfants to that of the Ferronnerie, from the Rue Saint Thomas-du-Louvre to the Pont Neuf, from the Rue Richelieu to the Porte Saint-Honoré, there were more than ten thousand armed men; those who were at the front hurled defiance at the impassive sentinels of the regiment of guards posted around the Palais Royal, the gates of which were closed behind them, a precaution which made their situation precarious. Among these thousands moved, in bands numbering from one hundred to two hundred, pale and haggard men, clothed in rags, who bore a sort of standard on which was inscribed these words: “Behold the misery of the people!” Wherever these men passed, frenzied cries were heard; and there were so many of these bands that the cries were to be heard in all directions.

The astonishment of Mazarin and of Anne of Austria was great when it was announced to them that the city, which the previous evening they had left entirely tranquil, had awakened to such feverish commotion; nor would either the one or the other believe the reports that were brought to them, declaring they would rather rely on the evidence of their own eyes and ears. Then a window was opened and when they saw and heard they were convinced.

Mazarin shrugged his shoulders and pretended to despise the populace; but he turned visibly pale and ran to his closet, trembling all over, locked up his gold and jewels in his caskets and put his finest diamonds on his fingers. As for the queen, furious, and left to her own guidance, she went for the Maréchal de la Meilleraie and desired him to take as many men as he pleased and to go and see what was the meaning of this pleasantry.

The marshal was ordinarily very adventurous and was wont to hesitate at nothing; and he had that lofty contempt for the populace which army officers usually profess. He took a hundred and fifty men and attempted to go out by the Pont du Louvre, but there he met Rochefort and his fifty horsemen, attended by more than five hundred men. The marshal made no attempt to force that barrier and returned up the quay. But at Pont Neuf he found Louvières and his bourgeois. This time the marshal charged, but he was welcomed by musket shots, while stones fell like hail from all the windows. He left there three men.

He beat a retreat toward the market, but there he met Planchet with his halberdiers; their halberds were leveled at him threateningly. He attempted to ride over those gray cloaks, but the gray cloaks held their ground, and the marshal retired toward the Rue Saint-Honoré, leaving four of his guards dead on the field of battle.

The marshal then entered the Rue Saint-Honoré, but there he was opposed by the barricades of the mendicant of Saint Eustache. They were guarded, not only by armed men, but even by women and children. Master Friquet, the owner of a pistol and of a sword which Louvières had given him, had organized a company of rogues like himself and was making a tremendous racket.

The marshal thought this barrier not so well fortified as the others and determined to break through it. He dismounted twenty men to make a breach in the barricade, whilst he and others, remaining on their horses, were to protect the assailants. The twenty men marched straight toward the barrier, but from behind the beams, from among the wagon-wheels, and from the heights of the rocks a terrible fusillade burst forth, and at the same time Planchet’s halberdiers appeared at the corner of the Cemetery of the Innocents, and Louvières’s bourgeois at the corner of the Rue de la Monnaie.

The Maréchal de la Meilleraie was caught between two fires, but he was brave and made up his mind to die where he was. He returned blow for blow and cries of pain began to be heard in the crowd. The guards, more skillful, did greater execution; but the bourgeois, more numerous, overwhelmed them with a veritable hurricane of iron. Men fell around him as they had fallen at Rocroy or at Lérida. Fontrailles, his aide-de-camp, had an arm broken; his horse had received a bullet in his neck and he had difficulty in controlling him, maddened by pain. In short, he had reached that supreme moment when the bravest feel a shudder in their veins, when suddenly, in the direction of the Rue de l’Arbre-Sec, the crowd opened, crying: “Long live the coadjutor!” and Gondy, in surplice and cloak, appeared, moving tranquilly in the midst of the fusillade and bestowing his benedictions to the right and left, as undisturbed as if he were leading a procession of the Fête Dieu.

All fell to their knees. The marshal recognized him and hastened to meet him.

“Get me out of this, in Heaven’s name!” he said, “or I shall leave my carcass here and those of all my men.”

A great tumult arose, in the midst of which even the noise of thunder could not have been heard. Gondy raised his hand and demanded silence. All were still.

“My children,” he said, “this is the Maréchal de la Meilleraie, as to whose intentions you have been deceived and who pledges himself, on returning to the Louvre, to demand of the queen, in your name, our Broussel’s release. You pledge yourself to that, marshal?” added Gondy, turning to La Meilleraie.

Morbleu!” cried the latter, “I should say that I do pledge myself to it! I had no hope of getting off so easily.”

“He gives you his word of honor,” said Gondy.

The marshal raised his hand in token of assent.

“Long live the coadjutor!” cried the crowd. Some voices even added: “Long live the marshal!” But all took up the cry in chorus: “Down with Mazarin!”

The crowd gave place, the barricade was opened, and the marshal, with the remnant of his company, retreated, preceded by Friquet and his bandits, some of them making a presence of beating drums and others imitating the sound of the trumpet. It was almost a triumphal procession; only, behind the guards the barricades were closed again. The marshal bit his fingers.

In the meantime, as we have said, Mazarin was in his closet, putting his affairs in order. He called for d’Artagnan, but in the midst of such tumult he little expected to see him, d’Artagnan not being on service. In about ten minutes d’Artagnan appeared at the door, followed by the inseparable Porthos.

“Ah, come in, come in, Monsieur d’Artagnan!” cried the cardinal, “and welcome your friend too. But what is going on in this accursed Paris?”

“What is going on, my lord? nothing good,” replied d’Artagnan, shaking his head. “The town is in open revolt, and just now, as I was crossing the Rue Montorgueil with Monsieur du Vallon, who is here, and is your humble servant, they wanted in spite of my uniform, or perhaps because of my uniform, to make us cry ‘Long live Broussel!’ and must I tell you, my lord, what they wished us to cry as well?”

“Speak, speak.”

“ ‘Down with Mazarin!’ I’faith, the treasonable word is out.”

Mazarin smiled, but became very pale.

“And you did cry?” he asked.

“I’faith, no,” said d’Artagnan; “I was not in voice; Monsieur du Vallon has a cold and did not cry either. Then, my lord⁠—”

“Then what?” asked Mazarin.

“Look at my hat and cloak.”

And d’Artagnan displayed four gunshot holes in his cloak and two in his beaver. As for Porthos’s coat, a blow from a halberd had cut it open on the flank and a pistol shot had cut his feather in two.

Diavolo!” said the cardinal, pensively gazing at the two friends with lively admiration; “I should have cried, I should.”

At this moment the tumult was heard nearer.

Mazarin wiped his forehead and looked around him. He had a great desire to go to the window, but he dared not.

“See what is going on, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” said he.

D’Artagnan went to the window with his habitual composure. “Oho!” said he, “what is this? Maréchal de la Meilleraie returning without a hat⁠—Fontrailles with his arm in a sling⁠—wounded guards⁠—horses bleeding; eh, then, what are the sentinels about? They are aiming⁠—they are going to fire!”

“They have received orders to fire on the people if the people approach the Palais Royal!” exclaimed Mazarin.

“But if they fire, all is lost!” cried d’Artagnan.

“We have the gates.”

“The gates! to hold for five minutes⁠—the gates, they will be torn down, twisted into iron wire, ground to powder! God’s death, don’t fire!” screamed d’Artagnan, throwing open the window.

In spite of this recommendation, which, owing to the noise, could scarcely have been heard, two or three musket shots resounded, succeeded by a terrible discharge. The balls might be heard peppering the façade of the Palais Royal, and one of them, passing under d’Artagnan’s arm, entered and broke a mirror, in which Porthos was complacently admiring himself.

“Alack! alack!” cried the cardinal, “a Venetian glass!”

“Oh, my lord,” said d’Artagnan, quietly shutting the window, “it is not worth while weeping yet, for probably an hour hence there will not be one of your mirrors remaining in the Palais Royal, whether they be Venetian or Parisian.”

“But what do you advise, then?” asked Mazarin, trembling.

“Eh, egad, to give up Broussel as they demand! What the devil do you want with a member of the parliament? He is of no earthly use to anybody.”

“And you, Monsieur du Vallon, is that your advice? What would you do?”

“I should give up Broussel,” said Porthos.

“Come, come with me, gentlemen!” exclaimed Mazarin. “I will go and discuss the matter with the queen.”

He stopped at the end of the corridor and said:

“I can count upon you, gentlemen, can I not?”

“We do not give ourselves twice over,” said d’Artagnan; “we have given ourselves to you; command, we shall obey.”

“Very well, then,” said Mazarin; “enter this cabinet and wait till I come back.”

And turning off he entered the drawing-room by another door.


The Riot Becomes a Revolution
The closet into which d’Artagnan and Porthos had been ushered was separated from the drawing-room where the queen was by tapestried curtains only, and this thin partition enabled them to hear all that passed in the adjoining room, whilst the aperture between the two hangings, small as it was, permitted them to see.

The queen was standing in the room, pale with anger; her self-control, however, was so great that it might have been imagined that she was calm. Comminges, Villequier and Guitant were behind her and the women again were behind the men. The Chancellor Sequier, who twenty years previously had persecuted her so ruthlessly, stood before her, relating how his carriage had been smashed, how he had been pursued and had rushed into the Hôtel d’O⁠⸺, that the hotel was immediately invaded, pillaged and devastated; happily he had time to reach a closet hidden behind tapestry, in which he was secreted by an old woman, together with his brother, the Bishop of Meaux. Then the danger was so imminent, the rioters came so near, uttering such threats, that the chancellor thought his last hour had come and confessed himself to his brother priest, so as to be all ready to die in case he was discovered. Fortunately, however, he had not been taken; the people, believing that he had escaped by some back entrance, retired and left him at liberty to retreat. Then, disguised in the clothes of the Marquis d’O⁠⸺, he had left the hotel, stumbling over the bodies of an officer and two guards who had been killed whilst defending the street door.

During the recital Mazarin entered and glided noiselessly up to the queen to listen.

“Well,” said the queen, when the chancellor had finished speaking; “what do you think of it all?”

“I think that matters look very gloomy, Madame.”

“But what step would you propose to me?”

“I could propose one to Your Majesty, but I dare not.”

“You may, you may, sir,” said the queen with a bitter smile; “you were not so timid once.”

The chancellor reddened and stammered some words.

“It is not a question of the past, but of the present,” said the queen; “you said you could give me advice⁠—what is it?”

“Madame,” said the chancellor, hesitating, “it would be to release Broussel.”

The queen, although already pale, became visibly paler and her face was contracted.

“Release Broussel!” she cried, “never!”

At this moment steps were heard in the anteroom and without any announcement the Maréchal de la Meilleraie appeared at the door.

“Ah, there you are, maréchal,” cried Anne of Austria joyfully. “I trust you have brought this rabble to reason.”

“Madame,” replied the maréchal, “I have left three men on the Pont Neuf, four at the Halle, six at the corner of the Rue de l’Arbre-Sec and two at the door of your palace⁠—fifteen in all. I have brought away ten or twelve wounded. I know not where I have left my hat, and in all probability I should have been left with my hat, had the coadjutor not arrived in time to rescue me.”

“Ah, indeed,” said the queen, “it would have much astonished me if that low cur, with his distorted legs, had not been mixed up with all this.”

“Madame,” said La Meilleraie, “do not say too much against him before me, for the service he rendered me is still fresh.”

“Very good,” said the queen, “be as grateful as you like, it does not implicate me; you are here safe and sound, that is all I wished for; you are not only welcome, but welcome back.”

“Yes, Madame; but I only came back on one condition⁠—that I would transmit to Your Majesty the will of the people.”

“The will!” exclaimed the queen, frowning. “Oh! oh! Monsieur Maréchal, you must indeed have found yourself in wondrous peril to have undertaken so strange a commission!”

The irony with which these words were uttered did not escape the maréchal.

“Pardon, Madame,” he said, “I am not a lawyer, I am a mere soldier, and probably, therefore, I do not quite comprehend the value of certain words; I ought to have said the wishes, and not the will, of the people. As for what you do me the honor to say, I presume you mean I was afraid?”

The queen smiled.

“Well, then, Madame, yes, I did feel fear; and though I have been through twelve pitched battles and I cannot count how many charges and skirmishes, I own for the third time in my life I was afraid. Yes, and I would rather face Your Majesty, however threatening your smile, than face those demons who accompanied me hither and who sprung from I know not whence, unless from deepest hell.”

(“Bravo,” said d’Artagnan in a whisper to Porthos; “well answered.”)

“Well,” said the queen, biting her lips, whilst her courtiers looked at each other with surprise, “what is the desire of my people?”

“That Broussel shall be given up to them, Madame.”

“Never!” said the queen, “never!”

“Your Majesty is mistress,” said La Meilleraie, retreating a few steps.

“Where are you going, maréchal?” asked the queen.

“To give Your Majesty’s reply to those who await it.”

“Stay, maréchal; I will not appear to parley with rebels.”

“Madame, I have pledged my word, and unless you order me to be arrested I shall be forced to return.”

Anne of Austria’s eyes shot glances of fire.

“Oh! that is no impediment, sir,” said she; “I have had greater men than you arrested⁠—Guitant!”

Mazarin sprang forward.

“Madame,” said he, “if I dared in my turn advise⁠—”

“Would it be to give up Broussel, sir? If so, you can spare yourself the trouble.”

“No,” said Mazarin; “although, perhaps, that counsel is as good as any other.”

“Then what may it be?”

“To call for Monsieur le Coadjuteur.”

“The coadjutor!” cried the queen, “that dreadful mischief maker! It is he who has raised all this revolt.”

“The more reason,” said Mazarin; “if he has raised it he can put it down.”

“And hold, Madame,” suggested Comminges, who was near a window, out of which he could see; “hold, the moment is a happy one, for there he is now, giving his blessing in the square of the Palais Royal.”

The queen sprang to the window.

“It is true,” she said, “the arch hypocrite⁠—see!”

“I see,” said Mazarin, “that everybody kneels before him, although he be but coadjutor, whilst I, were I in his place, though I am cardinal, should be torn to pieces. I persist, then, Madame, in my wish” (he laid an emphasis on the word), “that Your Majesty should receive the coadjutor.”

“And wherefore do you not say, like the rest, your will?” replied the queen, in a low voice.

Mazarin bowed.

“Monsieur le Maréchal,” said the queen, after a moment’s reflection, “go and find the coadjutor and bring him to me.”

“And what shall I say to the people?”

“That they must have patience,” said Anne, “as I have.”

The fiery Spanish woman spoke in a tone so imperative that the maréchal made no reply; he bowed and went out.

(D’Artagnan turned to Porthos. “How will this end?” he said.

“We shall soon see,” said Porthos, in his tranquil way.)

In the meantime Anne of Austria approached Comminges and conversed with him in a subdued tone, whilst Mazarin glanced uneasily at the corner occupied by d’Artagnan and Porthos. Ere long the door opened and the maréchal entered, followed by the coadjutor.

“There, Madame,” he said, “is Monsieur Gondy, who hastens to obey Your Majesty’s summons.”

The queen advanced a few steps to meet him, and then stopped, cold, severe, unmoved, with her lower lip scornfully protruded.

Gondy bowed respectfully.

“Well, sir,” said the queen, “what is your opinion of this riot?”

“That it is no longer a riot, Madame,” he replied, “but a revolt.”

“The revolt is at the door of those who think my people can rebel,” cried Anne, unable to dissimulate before the coadjutor, whom she looked upon⁠—and probably with reason⁠—as the promoter of the tumult. “Revolt! thus it is called by those who have wished for this demonstration and who are, perhaps, the cause of it; but, wait, wait! the king’s authority will put all this to rights.”

“Was it to tell me that, Madame,” coldly replied Gondy, “that Your Majesty admitted me to the honor of entering your presence?”

“No, my dear coadjutor,” said Mazarin; “it was to ask your advice in the unhappy dilemma in which we find ourselves.”

“Is it true,” asked Gondy, feigning astonishment, “that Her Majesty summoned me to ask for my opinion?”

“Yes,” said the queen, “it is requested.”

The coadjutor bowed.

“Your Majesty wishes, then⁠—”

“You to say what you would do in her place,” Mazarin hastened to reply.

The coadjutor looked at the queen, who replied by a sign in the affirmative.

“Were I in Her Majesty’s place,” said Gondy, coldly, “I should not hesitate; I should release Broussel.”

“And if I do not give him up, what think you will be the result?” exclaimed the queen.

“I believe that not a stone in Paris will remain unturned,” put in the maréchal.

“It was not your opinion that I asked,” said the queen, sharply, without even turning around.

“If it is I whom Your Majesty interrogates,” replied the coadjutor in the same calm manner, “I reply that I hold Monsieur le Maréchal’s opinion in every respect.”

The color mounted to the queen’s face; her fine blue eyes seemed to start out of her head, and her carmine lips, compared by all the poets of the day to a pomegranate in flower, were trembling with anger. Mazarin himself, who was well accustomed to the domestic outbreaks of this disturbed household, was alarmed.

“Give up Broussel!” she cried; “fine counsel, indeed. Upon my word! one can easily see it comes from a priest.”

Gondy remained firm, and the abuse of the day seemed to glide over his head as the sarcasms of the evening before had done; but hatred and revenge were accumulating in his heart silently and drop by drop. He looked coldly at the queen, who nudged Mazarin to make him say something in his turn.

Mazarin, according to his custom, was thinking much and saying little.

“Ho! ho!” said he, “good advice, advice of a friend. I, too, would give up that good Monsieur Broussel, dead or alive, and all would be at an end.”

“If you yield him dead, all will indeed be at an end, my lord, but quite otherwise than you mean.”

“Did I say ‘dead or alive?’ ” replied Mazarin. “It was only a way of speaking. You know I am not familiar with the French language, which you, Monsieur le Coadjuteur, both speak and write so well.”

(“This is a council of state,” d’Artagnan remarked to Porthos; “but we held better ones at La Rochelle, with Athos and Aramis.”

“At the Saint Gervais bastion,” said Porthos.

“There and elsewhere.”)

The coadjutor let the storm pass over his head and resumed, still with the same tranquillity:

“Madame, if the opinion I have submitted to you does not please you it is doubtless because you have better counsels to follow. I know too well the wisdom of the queen and that of her advisers to suppose that they will leave the capital long in trouble that may lead to a revolution.”

“Thus, then, it is your opinion,” said Anne of Austria, with a sneer and biting her lips with rage, “that yesterday’s riot, which today is already a rebellion, tomorrow may become a revolution?”

“Yes, Madame,” replied the coadjutor, gravely.

“But if I am to believe you, sir, the people seem to have thrown off all restraint.”

“It is a bad year for kings,” said Gondy, shaking his head; “look at England, Madame.”

“Yes; but fortunately we have no Oliver Cromwell in France,” replied the queen.

“Who knows?” said Gondy; “such men are like thunderbolts⁠—one recognizes them only when they have struck.”

Everyone shuddered and there was a moment of silence, during which the queen pressed her hand to her side, evidently to still the beatings of her heart.

(“Porthos,” murmured d’Artagnan, “look well at that priest.”

“Yes,” said Porthos, “I see him. What then?”

“Well, he is a man.”

Porthos looked at d’Artagnan in astonishment. Evidently he did not understand his meaning.)

“Your Majesty,” continued the coadjutor, pitilessly, “is about to take such measures as seem good to you, but I foresee that they will be violent and such as will still further exasperate the rioters.”

“In that case, you, Monsieur le Coadjuteur, who have such power over them and are at the same time friendly to us,” said the queen, ironically, “will quiet them by bestowing your blessing upon them.”

“Perhaps it will be too late,” said Gondy, still unmoved; “perhaps I shall have lost all influence; while by giving up Broussel Your Majesty will strike at the root of the sedition and will gain the right to punish severely any revival of the revolt.”

“Have I not, then, that right?” cried the queen.

“If you have it, use it,” replied Gondy.

(“Peste!” said d’Artagnan to Porthos. “There is a man after my own heart. Oh! if he were minister and I were his d’Artagnan, instead of belonging to that beast of a Mazarin⁠—mordieu! what fine things we would do together!”

“Yes,” said Porthos.)

The queen made a sign for everyone, except Mazarin, to quit the room; and Gondy bowed, as if to leave with the rest.

“Stay, sir,” said Anne to him.

Good, thought Gondy, she is going to yield.

(“She is going to have him killed,” said d’Artagnan to Porthos, “but at all events it shall not be by me. I swear to Heaven, on the contrary, that if they fall upon him I will fall upon them.”

“And I, too,” said Porthos.)

“Good,” muttered Mazarin, sitting down, “we shall soon see something startling.”

The queen’s eyes followed the retreating figures and when the last had closed the door she turned away. It was evident that she was making unnatural efforts to subdue her anger; she fanned herself, smelled at her vinaigrette, and walked up and down. Gondy, who began to feel uneasy, examined the tapestry with his eyes, touched the coat of mail which he wore under his long gown, and felt from time to time to see if the handle of a good Spanish dagger, which was hidden under his cloak, was well within reach.

“And now,” at last said the queen, “now that we are alone, repeat your counsel, Monsieur le Coadjuteur.”

“It is this, Madame: that you should appear to have reflected, and publicly acknowledge an error, which constitutes the extra strength of a strong government; release Broussel from prison and give him back to the people.”

“Oh!” cried Anne, “to humble myself thus! Am I, or am I not, the queen? This screaming mob, are they, or are they not, my subjects? Have I friends? Have I guards? Ah! by Notre Dame! as Queen Catherine used to say,” continued she, excited by her own words, “rather than give up this infamous Broussel to them I will strangle him with my own hands!”

And she sprang toward Gondy, whom assuredly at that moment she hated more than Broussel, with outstretched arms. The coadjutor remained immovable and not a muscle of his face was discomposed; only his glance flashed like a sword in returning the furious looks of the queen.

(“He were a dead man” said the Gascon, “if there were still a Vitry at the court and if Vitry entered at this moment; but for my part, before he could reach the good prelate I would kill Vitry at once; the cardinal would be infinitely pleased with me.”

“Hush!” said Porthos; “listen.”)

“Madame,” cried the cardinal, seizing hold of Anne and drawing her back, “Madame, what are you about?”

Then he added in Spanish, “Anne, are you mad? You, a queen to quarrel like a washerwoman! And do you not perceive that in the person of this priest is represented the whole people of Paris and that it is dangerous to insult him at this moment, and if this priest wished it, in an hour you would be without a crown? Come, then, on another occasion you can be firm and strong; but today is not the proper time; today, flatter and caress, or you are only a common woman.”

(At the first words of this address d’Artagnan had seized Porthos’s arm, which he pressed with gradually increasing force. When Mazarin ceased speaking he said to Porthos in a low tone:

“Never tell Mazarin that I understand Spanish, or I am a lost man and you are also.”

“All right,” said Porthos.)

This rough appeal, marked by the eloquence which characterized Mazarin when he spoke in Italian or Spanish and which he lost entirely in speaking French, was uttered with such impenetrable expression that Gondy, clever physiognomist as he was, had no suspicion of its being more than a simple warning to be more subdued.

The queen, on her part, thus chided, softened immediately and sat down, and in an almost weeping voice, letting her arms fall by her side, said:

“Pardon me, sir, and attribute this violence to what I suffer. A woman, and consequently subject to the weaknesses of my sex, I am alarmed at the idea of civil war; a queen, accustomed to be obeyed, I am excited at the first opposition.”

“Madame,” replied Gondy, bowing, “Your Majesty is mistaken in qualifying my sincere advice as opposition. Your Majesty has none but submissive and respectful subjects. It is not the queen with whom the people are displeased; they ask for Broussel and are only too happy, if you release him to them, to live under your government.”

Mazarin, who at the words, “It is not the queen with whom the people are displeased,” had pricked up his ears, thinking that the coadjutor was about to speak of the cries, “Down with Mazarin,” and pleased with Gondy’s suppression of this fact, he said with his sweetest voice and his most gracious expression:

“Madame, credit the coadjutor, who is one of the most able politicians we have; the first available cardinal’s hat seems to belong already to his noble brow.”

Ah! how much you have need of me, cunning rogue! thought Gondy.

(“And what will he promise us?” said d’Artagnan. “Peste, if he is giving away hats like that, Porthos, let us look out and both demand a regiment tomorrow. Corbleu! let the civil war last but one year and I will have a constable’s sword gilt for me.”

“And for me?” put in Porthos.

“For you? I will give you the baton of the Maréchal de la Meilleraie, who does not seem to be much in favor just now.”)

“And so, sir,” said the queen, “you are seriously afraid of a public tumult.”

“Seriously,” said Gondy, astonished at not having further advanced; “I fear that when the torrent has broken its embankment it will cause fearful destruction.”

“And I,” said the queen, “think that in such a case other embankments should be raised to oppose it. Go; I will reflect.”

Gondy looked at Mazarin, astonished, and Mazarin approached the queen to speak to her, but at this moment a frightful tumult arose from the square of the Palais Royal.

Gondy smiled, the queen’s color rose, and Mazarin grew even paler.

“What is that again?” he asked.

At this moment Comminges rushed into the room.

“Pardon, Your Majesty,” he cried, “but the people have dashed the sentinels against the gates and they are now forcing the doors; what are your commands?”

“Listen, Madame,” said Gondy.

The moaning of waves, the noise of thunder, the roaring of a volcano, cannot be compared with the tempest of cries heard at that moment.

“What are my commands?” said the queen.

“Yes, for time presses.”

“How many men have you about the Palais Royal?”

“Six hundred.”

“Place a hundred around the king and with the remainder sweep away this mob for me.”

“Madame,” cried Mazarin, “what are you about?”

“Go!” said the queen.

Comminges went out with a soldier’s passive obedience.

At this moment a monstrous battering was heard. One of the gates began to yield.

“Oh! Madame,” cried Mazarin, “you have ruined us all⁠—the king, yourself and me.”

At this cry from the soul of the frightened cardinal, Anne became alarmed in her turn and would have recalled Comminges.

“It is too late,” said Mazarin, tearing his hair, “too late!”

The gale had given way. Hoarse shouts were heard from the excited mob. D’Artagnan put his hand to his sword, motioning to Porthos to follow his example.

“Save the queen!” cried Mazarin to the coadjutor.

Gondy sprang to the window and threw it open; he recognized Louvières at the head of a troop of about three or four thousand men.

“Not a step further,” he shouted, “the queen is signing!”

“What are you saying?” asked the queen.

“The truth, Madame,” said Mazarin, placing a pen and a paper before her, “you must”; then he added: “Sign, Anne, I implore you⁠—I command you.”

The queen fell into a chair, took the pen and signed.

The people, kept back by Louvières, had not made another step forward; but the awful murmuring, which indicates an angry people, continued.

The queen had written, “The keeper of the prison at Saint Germain will set Councillor Broussel at liberty”; and she had signed it.

The coadjutor, whose eyes devoured her slightest movements, seized the paper immediately the signature had been affixed to it, returned to the window and waved it in his hand.

“This is the order,” he said.

All Paris seemed to shout with joy, and then the air resounded with the cries of “Long live Broussel!” “Long live the coadjutor!”

“Long live the queen!” cried de Gondy; but the cries which replied to his were poor and few, and perhaps he had but uttered it to make Anne of Austria sensible of her weakness.

“And now that you have obtained what you want, go,” said she, “Monsieur de Gondy.”

“Whenever Her Majesty has need of me,” replied the coadjutor, bowing, “Her Majesty knows I am at her command.”

“Ah, cursed priest!” cried Anne, when he had retired, stretching out her arm to the scarcely closed door, “one day I will make you drink the dregs of the atrocious gall you have poured out on me today.”

Mazarin wished to approach her. “Leave me!” she exclaimed; “you are not a man!” and she went out of the room.

“It is you who are not a woman,” muttered Mazarin.

Then, after a moment of reverie, he remembered where he had left d’Artagnan and Porthos and that they must have overheard everything. He knit his brows and went direct to the tapestry, which he pushed aside. The closet was empty.

At the queen’s last word, d’Artagnan had dragged Porthos into the gallery. Thither Mazarin went in his turn and found the two friends walking up and down.

“Why did you leave the closet, Monsieur d’Artagnan?” asked the cardinal.

“Because,” replied d’Artagnan, “the queen desired everyone to leave and I thought that this command was intended for us as well as for the rest.”

“And you have been here since⁠—”

“About a quarter of an hour,” said d’Artagnan, motioning to Porthos not to contradict him.

Mazarin saw the sign and remained convinced that d’Artagnan had seen and heard everything; but he was pleased with his falsehood.

“Decidedly, Monsieur d’Artagnan, you are the man I have been seeking. You may reckon upon me and so may your friend.” Then bowing to the two musketeers with his most gracious smile, he re-entered his closet more calmly, for on the departure of de Gondy the uproar had ceased as though by enchantment.


Misfortune Refreshes the Memory
Anne of Austria returned to her oratory, furious.

“What!” she cried, wringing her beautiful hands, “What! the people have seen Monsieur de Condé, a prince of the blood royal, arrested by my mother-in-law, Maria de Médicis; they saw my mother-in-law, their former regent, expelled by the cardinal; they saw Monsieur de Vendôme, that is to say, the son of Henry IV, a prisoner at Vincennes; and whilst these great personages were imprisoned, insulted and threatened, they said nothing; and now for a Broussel⁠—good God! what, then, is to become of royalty?”

The queen unconsciously touched here upon the exciting question. The people had made no demonstration for the princes, but they had risen for Broussel; they were taking the part of a plebeian, and in defending Broussel they instinctively felt they were defending themselves.

During this time Mazarin walked up and down the study, glancing from time to time at his beautiful Venetian mirror, starred in every direction. “Ah!” he said, “it is sad, I know well, to be forced to yield thus; but, pshaw! we shall have our revenge. What matters it about Broussel⁠—it is a name, not a thing.”

Mazarin, clever politician as he was, was for once mistaken; Broussel was a thing, not a name.

The next morning, therefore, when Broussel made his entrance into Paris in a large carriage, having his son Louvières at his side and Friquet behind the vehicle, the people threw themselves in his way and cries of “Long live Broussel!” “Long live our father!” resounded from all parts and was death to Mazarin’s ears; and the cardinal’s spies brought bad news from every direction, which greatly agitated the minister, but was calmly received by the queen. The latter seemed to be maturing in her mind some great stroke, a fact which increased the uneasiness of the cardinal, who knew the proud princess and dreaded much the determination of Anne of Austria.

The coadjutor returned to parliament more a monarch than king, queen, and cardinal all three together. By his advice a decree from parliament summoned the citizens to lay down their arms and demolish the barricades. They now knew that it required but one hour to take up arms again and one night to reconstruct the barricades.

Rochefort had returned to the Chevalier d’Humières his fifty horsemen, less two, missing at roll call. But the chevalier was himself at heart a Frondist and would hear nothing said of compensation.

The mendicant had gone to his old place on the steps of Saint Eustache and was again distributing holy water with one hand and asking alms with the other. No one could suspect that those two hands had been engaged with others in drawing out from the social edifice the keystone of royalty.

Louvières was proud and satisfied; he had taken revenge on Mazarin and had aided in his father’s deliverance from prison. His name had been mentioned as a name of terror at the Palais Royal. Laughingly he said to the councillor, restored to his family:

“Do you think, father, that if now I should ask for a company the queen would give it to me?”

D’Artagnan profited by this interval of calm to send away Raoul, whom he had great difficulty in keeping shut up during the riot, and who wished positively to strike a blow for one party or the other. Raoul had offered some opposition at first; but d’Artagnan made use of the Comte de la Fère’s name, and after paying a visit to Madame de Chevreuse, Raoul started to rejoin the army.

Rochefort alone was dissatisfied with the termination of affairs. He had written to the Duc de Beaufort to come and the duke was about to arrive, and he would find Paris tranquil. He went to the coadjutor to consult with him whether it would not be better to send word to the duke to stop on the road, but Gondy reflected for a moment, and then said:

“Let him continue his journey.”

“All is not then over?” asked Rochefort.

“My dear count, we have only just begun.”

“What induces you to think so?”

“The knowledge that I have of the queen’s heart; she will not rest contented beaten.”

“Is she, then, preparing for a stroke?”

“I hope so.”

“Come, let us see what you know.”

“I know that she has written to the prince to return in haste from the army.”

“Ah! ha!” said Rochefort, “you are right. We must let Monsieur de Beaufort come.”

In fact, the evening after this conversation the report was circulated that the Prince de Condé had arrived. It was a very simple, natural circumstance and yet it created a profound sensation. It was said that Madame de Longueville, for whom the prince had more than a brother’s affection and in whom he had confided, had been indiscreet. His confidence had unveiled the sinister project of the queen.

Even on the night of the prince’s return, some citizens, bolder than the rest, such as the sheriffs, captains and the quartermaster, went from house to house among their friends, saying:

“Why do we not take the king and place him in the Hôtel de Ville? It is a shame to leave him to be educated by our enemies, who will give him evil counsel; whereas, brought up by the coadjutor, for instance, he would imbibe national principles and love his people.”

That night the question was secretly agitated and on the morrow the gray and black cloaks, the patrols of armed shop-people, and the bands of mendicants reappeared.

The queen had passed the night in lonely conference with the prince, who had entered the oratory at midnight and did not leave till five o’clock in the morning.

At five o’clock Anne went to the cardinal’s room. If she had not yet taken any repose, he at least was already up. Six days had already passed out of the ten he had asked from Mordaunt; he was therefore occupied in revising his reply to Cromwell, when someone knocked gently at the door of communication with the queen’s apartments. Anne of Austria alone was permitted to enter by that door. The cardinal therefore rose to open it.

The queen was in a morning gown, but it became her still; for, like Diana of Poictiers and Ninon, Anne of Austria enjoyed the privilege of remaining ever beautiful; nevertheless, this morning she looked handsomer than usual, for her eyes had all the sparkle inward satisfaction adds to expression.

“What is the matter, Madame?” said Mazarin, uneasily. “You seem secretly elated.”

“Yes, Giulio,” she said, “proud and happy; for I have found the means of strangling this hydra.”

“You are a great politician, my queen,” said Mazarin; “let us hear the means.” And he hid what he had written by sliding the letter under a folio of blank paper.

“You know,” said the queen, “that they want to take the king away from me?”

“Alas! yes, and to hang me.”

“They shall not have the king.”

“Nor hang me.”

“Listen. I want to carry off my son from them, with yourself. I wish that this event, which on the day it is known will completely change the aspect of affairs, should be accomplished without the knowledge of any others but yourself, myself, and a third person.”

“And who is this third person?”

“Monsieur le Prince.”

“He has come, then, as they told me?”

“Last evening.”

“And you have seen him?”

“He has just left me.”

“And will he aid this project?”

“The plan is his own.”

“And Paris?”

“He will starve it out and force it to surrender at discretion.”

“The plan is not wanting in grandeur; I see but one impediment.”

“What is it?”


“A senseless word. Nothing is impossible.”

“On paper.”

“In execution. We have money?”

“A little,” said Mazarin, trembling, lest Anne should ask to draw upon his purse.


“Five or six thousand men.”



“Then the thing is easy. Oh! do think of it, Giulio! Paris, this odious Paris, waking up one morning without queen or king, surrounded, besieged, famished⁠—having for its sole resource its stupid parliament and their coadjutor with crooked limbs!”

“Charming! charming!” said Mazarin. “I can imagine the effect, I do not see the means.”

“I will find the means myself.”

“You are aware it will be war, civil war, furious, devouring, implacable?”

“Oh! yes, yes, war,” said Anne of Austria. “Yes, I will reduce this rebellious city to ashes. I will extinguish the fire with blood! I will perpetuate the crime and punishment by making a frightful example. Paris!; I⁠—I detest, I loathe it!”

“Very fine, Anne. You are now sanguinary; but take care. We are not in the time of Malatesta and Castruccio Castracani. You will get yourself decapitated, my beautiful queen, and that would be a pity.”

“You laugh.”

“Faintly. It is dangerous to go to war with a nation. Look at your brother monarch, Charles I. He is badly off, very badly.”

“We are in France, and I am Spanish.”

“So much the worse; I had much rather you were French and myself also; they would hate us both less.”

“Nevertheless, you consent?”

“Yes, if the thing be possible.”

“It is; it is I who tell you so; make preparations for departure.”

“I! I am always prepared to go, only, as you know, I never do go, and perhaps shall go this time as little as before.”

“In short, if I go, will you go too?”

“I will try.”

“You torment me, Giulio, with your fears; and what are you afraid of, then?”

“Of many things.”

“What are they?”

Mazarin’s face, smiling as it was, became clouded.

“Anne,” said he, “you are but a woman and as a woman you may insult men at your ease, knowing that you can do it with impunity. You accuse me of fear; I have not so much as you have, since I do not fly as you do. Against whom do they cry out? is it against you or against myself? Whom would they hang, yourself or me? Well, I can weather the storm⁠—I, whom, notwithstanding, you tax with fear⁠—not with bravado, that is not my way; but I am firm. Imitate me. Make less hubbub and think more deeply. You cry very loud, you end by doing nothing; you talk of flying⁠—”

Mazarin shrugged his shoulders and taking the queen’s hand led her to the window.

“Look!” he said.

“Well?” said the queen, blinded by her obstinacy.

“Well, what do you see from this window? If I am not mistaken those are citizens, helmeted and mailed, armed with good muskets, as in the time of the League, and whose eyes are so intently fixed on this window that they will see you if you raise that curtain much; and now come to the other side⁠—what do you see? Creatures of the people, armed with halberds, guarding your doors. You will see the same at every opening from this palace to which I should lead you. Your doors are guarded, the airholes of your cellars are guarded, and I could say to you, as that good La Ramee said to me of the Duc de Beaufort, you must be either bird or mouse to get out.”

“He did get out, nevertheless.”

“Do you think of escaping in the same way?”

“I am a prisoner, then?”

Parbleu!” said Mazarin, “I have been proving it to you this last hour.”

And he quietly resumed his dispatch at the place where he had been interrupted.

Anne, trembling with anger and scarlet with humiliation, left the room, shutting the door violently after her. Mazarin did not even turn around. When once more in her own apartment Anne fell into a chair and wept; then suddenly struck with an idea:

“I am saved!” she exclaimed, rising; “oh, yes! yes! I know a man who will find the means of taking me from Paris, a man I have too long forgotten.” Then falling into a reverie, she added, however, with an expression of joy, “Ungrateful woman that I am, for twenty years I have forgotten this man, whom I ought to have made a maréchal of France. My mother-in-law expended gold, caresses, dignities on Concini, who ruined her; the king made Vitry maréchal of France for an assassination: while I have left in obscurity, in poverty, the noble d’Artagnan, who saved me!”

And running to a table, on which were paper, pens and ink, she hastily began to write.


The Interview
It had been d’Artagnan’s practice, ever since the riots, to sleep in the same room as Porthos, and on this eventful morning he was still there, sleeping, and dreaming that a yellow cloud had overspread the sky and was raining gold pieces into his hat, which he held out till it was overflowing with pistoles. As for Porthos, he dreamed that the panels of his carriage were not capacious enough to contain the armorial bearings he had ordered to be painted on them. They were both aroused at seven o’clock by the entrance of an unliveried servant, who brought a letter for d’Artagnan.

“From whom?” asked the Gascon.

“From the queen,” replied the servant.

“Ho!” said Porthos, raising himself in his bed; “what does she say?”

D’Artagnan requested the servant to wait in the next room and when the door was closed he sprang up from his bed and read rapidly, whilst Porthos looked at him with starting eyes, not daring to ask a single question.

“Friend Porthos,” said d’Artagnan, handing the letter to him, “this time, at least, you are sure of your title of baron, and I of my captaincy. Read for yourself and judge.”

Porthos took the letter and with a trembling voice read the following words:

“The queen wishes to speak to Monsieur d’Artagnan, who must follow the bearer.”

“Well!” exclaimed Porthos; “I see nothing in that very extraordinary.”

“But I see much that is very extraordinary in it,” replied d’Artagnan. “It is evident, by their sending for me, that matters are becoming complicated. Just reflect a little what an agitation the queen’s mind must be in for her to have remembered me after twenty years.”

“It is true,” said Porthos.

“Sharpen your sword, baron, load your pistols, and give some corn to the horses, for I will answer for it, something lightning-like will happen ere tomorrow.”

“But, stop; do you think it can be a trap that they are laying for us?” suggested Porthos, incessantly thinking how his greatness must be irksome to inferior people.

“If it is a snare,” replied d’Artagnan, “I shall scent it out, be assured. If Mazarin is an Italian, I am a Gascon.”

And d’Artagnan dressed himself in an instant.

Whilst Porthos, still in bed, was hooking on his cloak for him, a second knock at the door was heard.

“Come in,” exclaimed d’Artagnan; and another servant entered.

“From His Eminence, Cardinal Mazarin,” presenting a letter.

D’Artagnan looked at Porthos.

“A complicated affair,” said Porthos; “where will you begin?”

“It is arranged capitally; his Eminence expects me in half an hour.”


“My friend,” said d’Artagnan, turning to the servant, “tell his Eminence that in half an hour I shall be at his command.”

“It is very fortunate,” resumed the Gascon, when the valet had retired, “that he did not meet the other one.”

“Do you not think that they have sent for you, both for the same thing?”

“I do not think it, I am certain of it.”

“Quick, quick, d’Artagnan. Remember that the queen awaits you, and after the queen, the cardinal, and after the cardinal, myself.”

D’Artagnan summoned Anne of Austria’s servant and signified that he was ready to follow him into the queen’s presence.

The servant conducted him by the Rue des Petits Champs and turning to the left entered the little garden gate leading into the Rue Richelieu; then they gained the private staircase and d’Artagnan was ushered into the oratory. A certain emotion, for which he could not account, made the lieutenant’s heart beat: he had no longer the assurance of youth; experience had taught him the importance of past events. Formerly he would have approached the queen as a young man who bends before a woman; but now it was a different thing; he answered her summons as an humble soldier obeys an illustrious general.

The silence of the oratory was at last disturbed by the slight rustling of silk, and d’Artagnan started when he perceived the tapestry raised by a white hand, which, by its form, its color and its beauty he recognized as that royal hand which had one day been presented to him to kiss. The queen entered.

“It is you, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” she said, fixing a gaze full of melancholy interest on the countenance of the officer, “and I know you well. Look at me well in your turn. I am the queen; do you recognize me?”

“No, Madame,” replied d’Artagnan.

“But are you no longer aware,” continued Anne, giving that sweet expression to her voice which she could do at will, “that in former days the queen had once need of a young, brave and devoted cavalier; that she found this cavalier; and that, although he might have thought that she had forgotten him, she had kept a place for him in the depths of her heart?”

“No, Madame, I was ignorant of that,” said the musketeer.

“So much the worse, sir,” said Anne of Austria; “so much the worse, at least for the queen, for today she has need of the same courage and the same devotion.”

“What!” exclaimed d’Artagnan, “does the queen, surrounded as she is by such devoted servants, such wise counselors, men, in short, so great by merit or position⁠—does she deign to cast her eyes on an obscure soldier?”

Anne understood this covert reproach and was more moved than irritated by it. She had many a time felt humiliated by the self-sacrifice and disinterestedness shown by the Gascon gentleman. She had allowed herself to be exceeded in generosity.

“All that you tell me of those by whom I am surrounded, Monsieur d’Artagnan, is doubtless true,” said the queen, “but I have confidence in you alone. I know that you belong to the cardinal, but belong to me as well, and I will take upon myself the making of your fortune. Come, will you do today what formerly the gentleman you do not know did for the queen?”

“I will do everything Your Majesty commands,” replied d’Artagnan.

The queen reflected for a moment and then, seeing the cautious demeanor of the musketeer:

“Perhaps you like repose?” she said.

“I do not know, for I have never had it, Madame.”

“Have you any friends?”

“I had three, two of whom have left Paris, to go I know not where. One alone is left to me, but he is one of those known, I believe, to the cavalier of whom Your Majesty did me the honor to speak.”

“Very good,” said the queen; “you and your friend are worth an army.”

“What am I to do, Madame?”

“Return at five o’clock and I will tell you; but do not breathe to a living soul, sir, the rendezvous which I give you.”

“No, Madame.”

“Swear it upon the cross.”

“Madame, I have never been false to my word; when I say I will not do a thing, I mean it.”

The queen, although astonished at this language, to which she was not accustomed from her courtiers, argued from it a happy omen of the zeal with which d’Artagnan would serve her in the accomplishment of her project. It was one of the Gascon’s artifices to hide his deep cunning occasionally under an appearance of rough loyalty.

“Has the queen any further commands for me now?” asked d’Artagnan.

“No, sir,” replied Anne of Austria, “and you may retire until the time that I mentioned to you.”

D’Artagnan bowed and went out.

Diable!” he exclaimed when the door was shut, “they seem to have the greatest need of me just now.”

Then, as the half hour had already glided by, he crossed the gallery and knocked at the cardinal’s door.

Bernouin introduced him.

“I come for your commands, my lord,” he said.

And according to his custom d’Artagnan glanced rapidly around and remarked that Mazarin had a sealed letter before him. But it was so placed on the desk that he could not see to whom it was addressed.

“You come from the queen?” said Mazarin, looking fixedly at d’Artagnan.

“I! my lord⁠—who told you that?”

“Nobody, but I know it.”

“I regret infinitely to tell you, my lord, that you are mistaken,” replied the Gascon, impudently, firm to the promise he had just made to Anne of Austria.

“I opened the door of the anteroom myself and I saw you enter at the end of the corridor.”

“Because I was shown up the private stairs.”

“How so?”

“I know not; it must have been a mistake.”

Mazarin was aware that it was not easy to make d’Artagnan reveal anything he was desirous of hiding, so he gave up, for the time, the discovery of the mystery the Gascon was concealing.

“Let us speak of my affairs,” said Mazarin, “since you will tell me naught of yours. Are you fond of traveling?”

“My life has been passed on the high road.”

“Would anything retain you particularly in Paris?”

“Nothing but an order from a superior would retain me in Paris.”

“Very well. Here is a letter, which must be taken to its address.”

“To its address, my lord? But it has none.”

In fact, the side of the letter opposite the seal was blank.

“I must tell you,” resumed Mazarin, “that it is in a double envelope.”

“I understand; and I am to take off the first one when I have reached a certain place?”

“Just so, take it and go. You have a friend, Monsieur du Vallon, whom I like much; let him accompany you.”

The devil! said d’Artagnan to himself. He knows that we overheard his conversation yesterday and he wants to get us away from Paris.

“Do you hesitate?” asked Mazarin.

“No, my lord, and I will set out at once. There is one thing only which I must request.”

“What is it? Speak.”

“That your Eminence will go at once to the queen.”

“What for?”

“Merely to say these words: ‘I am going to send Monsieur d’Artagnan away and I wish him to set out directly.’ ”

“I told you,” said Mazarin, “that you had seen the queen.”

“I had the honor of saying to your Eminence that there had been some mistake.”

“What is the meaning of that?”

“May I venture to repeat my prayer to your Eminence?”

“Very well; I will go. Wait here for me.” And looking attentively around him, to see if he had left any of his keys in his closets, Mazarin went out. Ten minutes elapsed, during which d’Artagnan made every effort to read through the first envelope what was written on the second. But he did not succeed.

Mazarin returned, pale, and evidently thoughtful. He seated himself at his desk and d’Artagnan proceeded to examine his face, as he had just examined the letter he held, but the envelope which covered his countenance appeared as impenetrable as that which covered the letter.

Ah! thought the Gascon; he looks displeased. Can it be with me? He meditates. Is it about sending me to the Bastille? All very fine, my lord, but at the very first hint you give of such a thing I will strangle you and become Frondist. I should be carried home in triumph like Monsieur Broussel and Athos would proclaim me the French Brutus. It would be exceedingly droll.

The Gascon, with his vivid imagination, had already seen the advantage to be derived from his situation. Mazarin gave, however, no order of the kind, but on the contrary began to be insinuating.

“You were right,” he said, “my dear Monsieur d’Artagnan, and you cannot set out yet. I beg you to return me that dispatch.”

D’Artagnan obeyed, and Mazarin ascertained that the seal was intact.

“I shall want you this evening,” he said. “Return in two hours.”

“My lord,” said d’Artagnan, “I have an appointment in two hours which I cannot miss.”

“Do not be uneasy,” said Mazarin; “it is the same.”

Good! thought d’Artagnan; I fancied it was so.

“Return, then, at five o’clock and bring that worthy Monsieur du Vallon with you. Only, leave him in the anteroom, as I wish to speak to you alone.”

D’Artagnan bowed, and thought: “Both at the same hour; both commands alike; both at the Palais Royal. Monsieur de Gondy would pay a hundred thousand francs for such a secret!”

“You are thoughtful,” said Mazarin, uneasily.

“Yes, I was thinking whether we ought to come armed or not.”

“Armed to the teeth!” replied Mazarin.

“Very well, my lord; it shall be so.”

D’Artagnan saluted, went out and hastened to repeat to his friend Mazarin’s flattering promises, which gave Porthos an indescribable happiness.


The Flight
When d’Artagnan returned to the Palais Royal at five o’clock, it presented, in spite of the excitement which reigned in the town, a spectacle of the greatest rejoicing. Nor was that surprising. The queen had restored Broussel and Blancmesnil to the people and had therefore nothing to fear, since the people had nothing more just then to ask for. The return, also, of the conqueror of Lens was the pretext for giving a grand banquet. The princes and princesses were invited and their carriages had crowded the court since noon; then after dinner the queen was to have a play in her apartment. Anne of Austria had never appeared more brilliant than on that day⁠—radiant with grace and wit. Mazarin disappeared as they rose from table. He found d’Artagnan waiting for him already at his post in the anteroom.

The cardinal advanced to him with a smile and taking him by the hand led him into his study.

“My dear M. d’Artagnan,” said the minister, sitting down, “I am about to give you the greatest proof of confidence that a minister can give an officer.”

“I hope,” said d’Artagnan, bowing, “that you give it, my lord, without hesitation and with the conviction that I am worthy of it.”

“More worthy than anyone in Paris my dear friend; therefore I apply to you. We are about to leave this evening,” continued Mazarin. “My dear M. d’Artagnan, the welfare of the state is deposited in your hands.” He paused.

“Explain yourself, my lord, I am listening.”

“The queen has resolved to make a little excursion with the king to Saint Germain.”

“Aha!” said d’Artagnan, “that is to say, the queen wishes to leave Paris.”

“A woman’s caprice⁠—you understand.”

“Yes, I understand perfectly,” said d’Artagnan.

“It was for this she summoned you this morning and that she told you to return at five o’clock.”

“Was it worth while to wish me to swear this morning that I would mention the appointment to no one?” muttered d’Artagnan. “Oh, women! women! whether queens or not, they are always the same.”

“Do you disapprove of this journey, my dear M. d’Artagnan?” asked Mazarin, anxiously.

“I, my lord?” said d’Artagnan; “why should I?”

“Because you shrug your shoulders.”

“It is a way I have of speaking to myself. I neither approve nor disapprove, my lord; I merely await your commands.”

“Good; it is you, accordingly, that I have pitched upon to conduct the king and the queen to Saint Germain.”

Liar! thought d’Artagnan.

“You see, therefore,” continued the cardinal, perceiving d’Artagnan’s composure, “that, as I have told you, the welfare of the state is placed in your hands.”

“Yes, my lord, and I feel the whole responsibility of such a charge.”

“You accept, however?”

“I always accept.”

“Do you think the thing possible?”

“Everything is possible.”

“Shall you be attacked on the road?”


“And what will you do in that case?”

“I shall pass through those who attack me.”

“And suppose you cannot pass through them?”

“So much the worse for them; I shall pass over them.”

“And you will place the king and queen in safety also, at Saint Germain?”


“On your life?”

“On my life.”

“You are a hero, my friend,” said Mazarin, gazing at the musketeer with admiration.

D’Artagnan smiled.

“And I?” asked Mazarin, after a moment’s silence.

“How? and you, my lord?”

“If I wish to leave?”

“That would be much more difficult.”

“Why so?”

“Your Eminence might be recognized.”

“Even under this disguise?” asked Mazarin, raising a cloak which covered an armchair, upon which lay a complete dress for an officer, of pearl-gray and red, entirely embroidered with silver.

“If your Eminence is disguised it will be almost easy.”

“Ah!” said Mazarin, breathing more freely.

“But it will be necessary for your Eminence to do what the other day you declared you should have done in our place⁠—cry, ‘Down with Mazarin!’ ”

“I will: ‘Down with Mazarin’ ”

“In French, in good French, my lord, take care of your accent; they killed six thousand Angevins in Sicily because they pronounced Italian badly. Take care that the French do not take their revenge on you for the Sicilian vespers.”

“I will do my best.”

“The streets are full of armed men,” continued d’Artagnan. “Are you sure that no one is aware of the queen’s project?”

Mazarin reflected.

“This affair would give a fine opportunity for a traitor, my lord; the chance of being attacked would be an excuse for everything.”

Mazarin shuddered, but he reflected that a man who had the least intention to betray would not warn first.

“And therefore,” added he, quietly, “I have not confidence in everyone; the proof of which is, that I have fixed upon you to escort me.”

“Shall you not go with the queen?”

“No,” replied Mazarin.

“Then you will start after the queen?”

“No,” said Mazarin again.

“Ah!” said d’Artagnan, who began to understand.

“Yes,” continued the cardinal. “I have my plan. With the queen I double her risk; after the queen her departure would double mine; then, the court once safe, I might be forgotten. The great are often ungrateful.”

“Very true,” said d’Artagnan, fixing his eyes, in spite of himself, on the queen’s diamond, which Mazarin wore on his finger. Mazarin followed the direction of his eyes and gently turned the hoop of the ring inside.

“I wish,” he said, with his cunning smile, “to prevent them from being ungrateful to me.”

“It is but Christian charity,” replied d’Artagnan, “not to lead one’s neighbors into temptation.”

“It is exactly for that reason,” said Mazarin, “that I wish to start before them.”

D’Artagnan smiled⁠—he was just the man to understand the astute Italian. Mazarin saw the smile and profited by the moment.

“You will begin, therefore, by taking me first out of Paris, will you not, my dear M. d’Artagnan?”

“A difficult commission, my lord,” replied d’Artagnan, resuming his serious manner.

“But,” said Mazarin, “you did not make so many difficulties with regard to the king and queen.”

“The king and the queen are my king and queen,” replied the musketeer, “my life is theirs and I must give it for them. If they ask it what have I to say?”

“That is true,” murmured Mazarin, in a low tone, “but as thy life is not mine I suppose I must buy it, must I not?” and sighing deeply he began to turn the hoop of his ring outside again. D’Artagnan smiled. These two men met at one point, and that was, cunning; had they been actuated equally by courage, the one would have done great things for the other.

“But, also,” said Mazarin, “you must understand that if I ask this service from you it is with the intention of being grateful.”

“Is it still only an intention, your Eminence?” asked d’Artagnan.

“Stay,” said Mazarin, drawing the ring from his finger, “my dear d’Artagnan, there is a diamond which belonged to you formerly, it is but just it should return to you; take it, I pray.”

D’Artagnan spared Mazarin the trouble of insisting, and after looking to see if the stone was the same and assuring himself of the purity of its water, he took it and passed it on his finger with indescribable pleasure.

“I valued it much,” said Mazarin, giving a last look at it; “nevertheless, I give it to you with great pleasure.”

“And I, my lord,” said d’Artagnan, “accept it as it is given. Come, let us speak of your little affairs. You wish to leave before everybody and at what hour?”

“At ten o’clock.”

“And the queen, at what time is it her wish to start?”

“At midnight.”

“Then it is possible. I can get you out of Paris and leave you beyond the barrière, and can return for her.”

“Capital; but how will you get me out of Paris?”

“Oh! as to that, you must leave it to me.”

“I give you absolute power, therefore, take as large an escort as you like.”

D’Artagnan shook his head.

“It seems to me, however,” said Mazarin, “the safest method.”

“Yes, for you, my lord, but not for the queen; you must leave it to me and give me the entire direction of the undertaking.”


“Or find someone else,” continued d’Artagnan, turning his back.

“Oh!” muttered Mazarin, “I do believe he is going off with the diamond! M. d’Artagnan, my dear M. d’Artagnan,” he called out in a coaxing voice, “will you answer for everything?”

“I will answer for nothing. I will do my best.”

“Well, then, let us go⁠—I must trust to you.”

It is very fortunate, said d’Artagnan to himself.

“You will be here at half-past nine.”

“And I shall find your Eminence ready?”

“Certainly, quite ready.”

“Well, then, it is a settled thing; and now, my lord, will you obtain for me an audience with the queen?”

“For what purpose?”

“I wish to receive Her Majesty’s commands from her own lips.”

“She desired me to give them to you.”

“She may have forgotten something.”

“You really wish to see her?”

“It is indispensable, my lord.”

Mazarin hesitated for one instant, but d’Artagnan was firm.

“Come, then,” said the minister; “I will conduct you to her, but remember, not one word of our conversation.”

“What has passed between us concerns ourselves alone, my lord,” replied d’Artagnan.

“Swear to be mute.”

“I never swear, my lord, I say yes or no; and, as I am a gentleman, I keep my word.”

“Come, then, I see that I must trust unreservedly to you.”

“Believe me, my lord, it will be your best plan.”

“Come,” said Mazarin, conducting d’Artagnan into the queen’s oratory and desiring him to wait there. He did not wait long, for in five minutes the queen entered in full gala costume. Thus dressed she scarcely appeared thirty-five years of age. She was still exceedingly handsome.

“It is you, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” she said, smiling graciously; “I thank you for having insisted on seeing me.”

“I ought to ask Your Majesty’s pardon, but I wished to receive your commands from your own mouth.”

“Do you accept the commission which I have entrusted to you?”

“With gratitude.”

“Very well, be here at midnight.”

“I will not fail.”

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” continued the queen, “I know your disinterestedness too well to speak of my own gratitude at such a moment, but I swear to you that I shall not forget this second service as I forgot the first.”

“Your Majesty is free to forget or to remember, as it pleases you; and I know not what you mean,” said d’Artagnan, bowing.

“Go, sir,” said the queen, with her most bewitching smile, “go and return at midnight.”

And d’Artagnan retired, but as he passed out he glanced at the curtain through which the queen had entered and at the bottom of the tapestry he remarked the tip of a velvet slipper.

Good, thought he; Mazarin has been listening to discover whether I betrayed him. In truth, that Italian puppet does not deserve the services of an honest man.

D’Artagnan was not less exact to his appointment and at half-past nine o’clock he entered the anteroom.

He found the cardinal dressed as an officer, and he looked very well in that costume, which, as we have already said, he wore elegantly; only he was very pale and trembled slightly.

“Quite alone?” he asked.

“Yes, my lord.”

“And that worthy Monsieur du Vallon, are we not to enjoy his society?”

“Certainly, my lord; he is waiting in his carriage at the gate of the garden of the Palais Royal.”

“And we start in his carriage, then?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“And with us no other escort but you two?”

“Is it not enough? One of us would suffice.”

“Really, my dear Monsieur d’Artagnan,” said the cardinal, “your coolness startles me.”

“I should have thought, on the contrary, that it ought to have inspired you with confidence.”

“And Bernouin⁠—do I not take him with me?”

“There is no room for him, he will rejoin your Eminence.”

“Let us go,” said Mazarin, “since everything must be done as you wish.”

“My lord, there is time to draw back,” said d’Artagnan, “and your Eminence is perfectly free.”

“Not at all, not at all,” said Mazarin; “let us be off.”

And so they descended the private stair, Mazarin leaning on the arm of d’Artagnan a hand the musketeer felt trembling. At last, after crossing the courts of the Palais Royal, where there still remained some of the conveyances of late guests, they entered the garden and reached the little gate. Mazarin attempted to open it by a key which he took from his pocket, but with such shaking fingers that he could not find the keyhole.

“Give it to me,” said d’Artagnan, who when the gate was open deposited the key in his pocket, reckoning upon returning by that gate.

The steps were already down and the door open. Mousqueton stood at the door and Porthos was inside the carriage.

“Mount, my lord,” said d’Artagnan to Mazarin, who sprang into the carriage without waiting for a second bidding. D’Artagnan followed him, and Mousqueton, having closed the door, mounted behind the carriage with many groans. He had made some difficulties about going, under pretext that he still suffered from his wound, but d’Artagnan had said to him:

“Remain if you like, my dear Monsieur Mouston, but I warn you that Paris will be burnt down tonight”; upon which Mousqueton had declared, without asking anything further, that he was ready to follow his master and Monsieur d’Artagnan to the end of the world.

The carriage started at a measured pace, without betraying by the slightest sign that it contained people in a hurry. The cardinal wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and looked around him. On his left was Porthos, whilst d’Artagnan was on his right; each guarded a door and served as a rampart to him on either side. Before him, on the front seat, lay two pairs of pistols⁠—one in front of Porthos and the other of d’Artagnan. About a hundred paces from the Palais Royal a patrol stopped the carriage.

“Who goes?” asked the captain.

“Mazarin!” replied d’Artagnan, bursting into a laugh. The cardinal’s hair stood on end. But the joke appeared an excellent one to the citizens, who, seeing the conveyance without escort and unarmed, would never have believed in the possibility of so great an imprudence.

“A good journey to ye,” they cried, allowing it to pass.

Hem!” said d’Artagnan, “what does my lord think of that reply?”

“Man of talent!” cried Mazarin.

“In truth,” said Porthos, “I understand; but now⁠—”

About the middle of the Rue des Petits Champs they were stopped by a second patrol.

“Who goes there?” inquired the captain of the patrol.

“Keep back, my lord,” said d’Artagnan. And Mazarin buried himself so far behind the two friends that he disappeared, completely hidden between them.

“Who goes there?” cried the same voice, impatiently whilst d’Artagnan perceived that they had rushed to the horses’ heads. But putting his head out of the carriage:

“Eh! Planchet,” said he.

The chief approached, and it was indeed Planchet; d’Artagnan had recognized the voice of his old servant.

“How, sir!” said Planchet, “is it you?”

“Eh! mon Dieu! yes, my good friend, this worthy Porthos has just received a sword wound and I am taking him to his country house at Saint Cloud.”

“Oh! really,” said Planchet.

“Porthos,” said d’Artagnan, “if you can still speak, say a word, my dear Porthos, to this good Planchet.”

“Planchet, my friend,” said Porthos, in a melancholy voice, “I am very ill; should you meet a doctor you will do me a favor by sending him to me.”

“Oh! good Heaven,” said Planchet, “what a misfortune! and how did it happen?”

“I will tell you all about it,” replied Mousqueton.

Porthos uttered a deep groan.

“Make way for us, Planchet,” said d’Artagnan in a whisper to him, “or he will not arrive alive; the lungs are attacked, my friend.”

Planchet shook his head with the air of a man who says, “In that case things look ill.” Then he exclaimed, turning to his men:

“Let them pass; they are friends.”

The carriage resumed its course, and Mazarin, who had held his breath, ventured to breathe again.

Bricconi!” muttered he.

A few steps in advance of the gate of Saint-Honoré they met a third troop; this latter party was composed of ill-looking fellows, who resembled bandits more than anything else; they were the men of the beggar of Saint Eustache.

“Attention, Porthos!” cried d’Artagnan.

Porthos placed his hand on the pistols.

“What is it?” asked Mazarin.

“My lord, I think we are in bad company.”

A man advanced to the door with a kind of scythe in his hand. “Qui vive?” he asked.

“Eh, rascal!” said d’Artagnan, “do you not recognize His Highness the prince’s carriage?”

“Prince or not,” said the man, “open. We are here to guard the gate, and no one whom we do not know shall pass.”

“What is to be done?” said Porthos.

Pardieu! pass,” replied d’Artagnan.

“But how?” asked Mazarin.

“Through or over; coachman, gallop on.”

The coachman raised his whip.

“Not a step further,” said the man, who appeared to be the captain, “or I will hamstring your horses.”

Peste!” said Porthos, “it would be a pity; animals which cost me a hundred pistoles each.”

“I will pay you two hundred for them,” said Mazarin.

“Yes, but when once they are hamstrung, our necks will be strung next.”

“If one of them comes to my side,” asked Porthos, “must I kill him?”

“Yes, by a blow of your fist, if you can; we will not fire but at the last extremity.”

“I can do it,” said Porthos.

“Come and open, then!” cried d’Artagnan to the man with the scythe, taking one of the pistols up by the muzzle and preparing to strike with the handle. And as the man approached, d’Artagnan, in order to have more freedom for his actions, leaned half out of the door; his eyes were fixed upon those of the mendicant, which were lighted up by a lantern. Without doubt he recognized d’Artagnan, for he became deadly pale; doubtless the musketeer knew him, for his hair stood up on his head.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan!” he cried, falling back a step; “it is Monsieur d’Artagnan! let him pass.

D’Artagnan was perhaps about to reply, when a blow, similar to that of a mallet falling on the head of an ox, was heard. The noise was caused by Porthos, who had just knocked down his man.

D’Artagnan turned around and saw the unfortunate man upon his back about four paces off.

“ ’Sdeath!” cried he to the coachman. “Spur your horses! whip! get on!”

The coachman bestowed a heavy blow of the whip upon his horses; the noble animals bounded forward; then cries of men who were knocked down were heard; then a double concussion was felt, and two of the wheels seemed to pass over a round and flexible body. There was a moment’s silence, then the carriage cleared the gate.

“To Cours la Reine!” cried d’Artagnan to the coachman; then turning to Mazarin he said, “Now, my lord, you can say five paters and five aves, in thanks to Heaven for your deliverance. You are safe⁠—you are free.”

Mazarin replied only by a groan; he could not believe in such a miracle. Five minutes later the carriage stopped, having reached Cours la Reine.

“Is my lord pleased with his escort?” asked d’Artagnan.

“Enchanted, Monsieur,” said Mazarin, venturing his head out of one of the windows; “and now do as much for the queen.”

“It will not be so difficult,” replied d’Artagnan, springing to the ground. “Monsieur du Vallon, I commend his Eminence to your care.”

“Be quite at ease,” said Porthos, holding out his hand, which d’Artagnan took and shook in his.

“Oh!” cried Porthos, as if in pain.

D’Artagnan looked with surprise at his friend.

“What is the matter, then?” he asked.

“I think I have sprained my wrist,” said Porthos.

“The devil! why, you strike like a blind or a deaf man.”

“It was necessary; my man was going to fire a pistol at me; but you⁠—how did you get rid of yours?”

“Oh, mine,” replied d’Artagnan, “was not a man.”

“What was it then?”

“It was an apparition.”


“I charmed it away.”

Without further explanation d’Artagnan took the pistols which were upon the front seat, placed them in his belt, wrapped himself in his cloak, and not wishing to enter by the same gate as that through which they had left, he took his way toward the Richelieu gate.


The Carriage of Monsieur le Coadjuteur
Instead of returning, then, by the Saint-Honoré gate, d’Artagnan, who had time before him, walked around and re-entered by the Porte Richelieu. He was approached to be examined, and when it was discovered by his plumed hat and his laced coat, that he was an officer of the Musketeers, he was surrounded, with the intention of making him cry, “Down with Mazarin!” The demonstration did not fail to make him uneasy at first; but when he discovered what it meant, he shouted it in such a voice that even the most exacting were satisfied. He walked down the Rue Richelieu, meditating how he should carry off the queen in her turn, for to take her in a carriage bearing the arms of France was not to be thought of, when he perceived an equipage standing at the door of the hotel belonging to Madame de Guéménée.

He was struck by a sudden idea.

“Ah, pardieu!” he exclaimed; “that would be fair play.”

And approaching the carriage, he examined the arms on the panels and the livery of the coachman on his box. This scrutiny was so much the more easy, the coachman being sound asleep.

“It is, in truth, Monsieur le Coadjuteur’s carriage,” said d’Artagnan; “upon my honor I begin to think that Heaven favors us.”

He mounted noiselessly into the chariot and pulled the silk cord which was attached to the coachman’s little finger.

“To the Palais Royal,” he called out.

The coachman awoke with a start and drove off in the direction he was desired, never doubting but that the order had come from his master. The porter at the palace was about to close the gates, but seeing such a handsome equipage he fancied that it was some visit of importance and the carriage was allowed to pass and to stop beneath the porch. It was then only the coachman perceived the grooms were not behind the vehicle; he fancied Monsieur le Coadjuteur had sent them back, and without dropping the reins he sprang from his box to open the door. D’Artagnan, in his turn, sprang to the ground, and just at the moment when the coachman, alarmed at not seeing his master, fell back a step, he seized him by his collar with the left, whilst with the right hand he placed the muzzle of a pistol at his breast.

“Pronounce one single word,” muttered d’Artagnan, “and you are a dead man.”

The coachman perceived at once, by the expression of the man who thus addressed him, that he had fallen into a trap, and he remained with his mouth wide open and his eyes portentously staring.

Two musketeers were pacing the court, to whom d’Artagnan called by their names.

“Monsieur de Bellière,” said he to one of them, “do me the favor to take the reins from the hands of this worthy man, mount upon the box and drive to the door of the private stair, and wait for me there; it is an affair of importance on the service of the king.”

The musketeer, who knew that his lieutenant was incapable of jesting with regard to the service, obeyed without a word, although he thought the order strange. Then turning toward the second musketeer, d’Artagnan said:

“Monsieur du Verger, help me to place this man in a place of safety.”

The musketeer, thinking that his lieutenant had just arrested some prince in disguise, bowed, and drawing his sword, signified that he was ready. D’Artagnan mounted the staircase, followed by his prisoner, who in his turn was followed by the soldier, and entered Mazarin’s anteroom. Bernouin was waiting there, impatient for news of his master.

“Well, sir?” he said.

“Everything goes on capitally, my dear Monsieur Bernouin, but here is a man whom I must beg you to put in a safe place.”

“Where, then, sir?”

“Where you like, provided that the place which you shall choose has iron shutters secured by padlocks and a door that can be locked.”

“We have that, sir,” replied Bernouin; and the poor coachman was conducted to a closet, the windows of which were barred and which looked very much like a prison.

“And now, my good friend,” said d’Artagnan to him, “I must invite you to deprive yourself, for my sake, of your hat and cloak.”

The coachman, as we can well understand, made no resistance; in fact, he was so astonished at what had happened to him that he stammered and reeled like a drunken man; d’Artagnan deposited his clothes under the arm of one of the valets.

“And now, Monsieur du Verger,” he said, “shut yourself up with this man until Monsieur Bernouin returns to open the door. The duty will be tolerably long and not very amusing, I know; but,” added he, seriously, “you understand, it is on the king’s service.”

“At your command, lieutenant,” replied the musketeer, who saw the business was a serious one.

“By the by,” continued d’Artagnan, “should this man attempt to fly or to call out, pass your sword through his body.”

The musketeer signified by a nod that these commands should be obeyed to the letter, and d’Artagnan went out, followed by Bernouin. Midnight struck.

“Lead me into the queen’s oratory,” said d’Artagnan, “announce to her I am here, and put this parcel, with a well-loaded musket, under the seat of the carriage which is waiting at the foot of the private stair.”

Bernouin conducted d’Artagnan to the oratory, where he sat down pensively. Everything had gone on as usual at the Palais Royal. As we said before, by ten o’clock almost all the guests had dispersed; those who were to fly with the court had the word of command and they were each severally desired to be from twelve o’clock to one at Cours la Reine.

At ten o’clock Anne of Austria had entered the king’s room. Monsieur had just retired, and the youthful Louis, remaining the last, was amusing himself by placing some lead soldiers in a line of battle, a game which delighted him much. Two royal pages were playing with him.

“Laporte,” said the queen, “it is time for His Majesty to go to bed.”

The king asked to remain up, having, he said, no wish to sleep; but the queen was firm.

“Are you not going tomorrow morning at six o’clock, Louis, to bathe at Conflans? I think you wished to do so of your own accord?”

“You are right, Madame,” said the king, “and I am ready to retire to my room when you have kissed me. Laporte, give the light to Monsieur the Chevalier de Coislin.”

The queen touched with her lips the white, smooth brow the royal child presented to her with a gravity which already partook of etiquette.

“Go to sleep soon, Louis,” said the queen, “for you must be awakened very early.”

“I will do my best to obey you, Madame,” said the youthful king, “but I have no inclination to sleep.”

“Laporte,” said Anne of Austria, in an undertone, “find some very dull book to read to His Majesty, but do not undress yourself.”

The king went out, accompanied by the Chevalier de Coislin, bearing the candlestick, and then the queen returned to her own apartment. Her ladies⁠—that is to say Madame de Brégy, Mademoiselle de Beaumont, Madame de Motteville, and Socratine, her sister, so called on account of her sense⁠—had just brought into her dressing-room the remains of the dinner, on which, according to her usual custom, she supped. The queen then gave her orders, spoke of a banquet which the Marquis de Villequier was to give to her on the day after the morrow, indicated the persons she would admit to the honor of partaking of it, announced another visit on the following day to Val-de-Grace, where she intended to pay her devotions, and gave her commands to her senior valet to accompany her. When the ladies had finished their supper the queen feigned extreme fatigue and passed into her bedroom. Madame de Motteville, who was on especial duty that evening, followed to aid and undress her. The queen then began to read, and after conversing with her affectionately for a few minutes, dismissed her.

It was at this moment d’Artagnan entered the courtyard of the palace, in the coadjutor’s carriage, and a few seconds later the carriages of the ladies-in-waiting drove out and the gates were shut after them.

A few minutes after twelve o’clock Bernouin knocked at the queen’s bedroom door, having come by the cardinal’s secret corridor. Anne of Austria opened the door to him herself. She was dressed, that is to say, in deshabille, wrapped in a long, warm dressing-gown.

“It is you, Bernouin,” she said. “Is Monsieur d’Artagnan there?”

“Yes, Madame, in your oratory. He is waiting till Your Majesty is ready.”

“I am. Go and tell Laporte to wake and dress the king, and then pass on to the Maréchal de Villeroy and summon him to me.”

Bernouin bowed and retired.

The queen entered her oratory, which was lighted by a single lamp of Venetian crystal, She saw d’Artagnan, who stood expecting her.

“Is it you?” she said.

“Yes, Madame.”

“Are you ready?”

“I am.”

“And his Eminence, the cardinal?”

“Has got off without any accident. He is awaiting Your Majesty at Cours la Reine.”

“But in what carriage do we start?”

“I have provided for everything; a carriage below is waiting for Your Majesty.”

“Let us go to the king.”

D’Artagnan bowed and followed the queen. The young Louis was already dressed, with the exception of his shoes and doublet; he had allowed himself to be dressed, in great astonishment, overwhelming Laporte with questions, who replied only in these words, “Sire, it is by the queen’s commands.”

The bedclothes were thrown back, exposing the king’s bed linen, which was so worn that here and there holes could be seen. It was one of the results of Mazarin’s niggardliness.

The queen entered and d’Artagnan remained at the door. As soon as the child perceived the queen he escaped from Laporte and ran to meet her. Anne then motioned to d’Artagnan to approach, and he obeyed.

“My son,” said Anne of Austria, pointing to the musketeer, calm, standing uncovered, “here is Monsieur d’Artagnan, who is as brave as one of those ancient heroes of whom you like so much to hear from my women. Remember his name well and look at him well, that his face may not be forgotten, for this evening he is going to render us a great service.”

The young king looked at the officer with his large-formed eye, and repeated:

“Monsieur d’Artagnan.”

“That is it, my son.”

The young king slowly raised his little hand and held it out to the musketeer; the latter bent on his knee and kissed it.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” repeated Louis; “very well, Madame.”

At this moment they were startled by a noise as if a tumult were approaching.

“What is that?” exclaimed the queen.

“Oh, oh!” replied d’Artagnan, straining both at the same time his quick ear and his intelligent glance, “it is the murmur of the populace in revolution.”

“We must fly,” said the queen.

“Your Majesty has given me the control of this business; we had better wait and see what they want.”

“Monsieur d’Artagnan!”

“I will answer for everything.”

Nothing is so catching as confidence. The queen, full of energy and courage, was quickly alive to these two virtues in others.

“Do as you like,” she said, “I rely upon you.”

“Will Your Majesty permit me to give orders in your name throughout this business?”

“Command, sir.”

“What do the people want this time?” demanded the king.

“We are about to ascertain, sire,” replied d’Artagnan, as he rapidly left the room.

The tumult continued to increase and seemed to surround the Palais Royal entirely. Cries were heard from the interior, of which they could not comprehend the sense. It was evident that there was clamor and sedition.

The king, half dressed, the queen and Laporte remained each in the same state and almost in the same place, where they were listening and waiting. Comminges, who was on guard that night at the Palais Royal, ran in. He had about two hundred men in the courtyards and stables, and he placed them at the queen’s disposal.

“Well,” asked Anne of Austria, when d’Artagnan reappeared, “what does it mean?”

“It means, Madame, that the report has spread that the queen has left the Palais Royal, carrying off the king, and the people ask to have proof to the contrary, or threaten to demolish the Palais Royal.”

“Oh, this time it is too much!” exclaimed the queen, “and I will prove to them I have not left.”

D’Artagnan saw from the expression of the queen’s face that she was about to issue some violent command. He approached her and said in a low voice:

“Has Your Majesty still confidence in me?”

This voice startled her. “Yes, sir,” she replied, “every confidence; speak.”

“Will the queen deign to follow my advice?”


“Let Your Majesty dismiss M. de Comminges and desire him to shut himself up with his men in the guardhouse and in the stables.”

Comminges glanced at d’Artagnan with the envious look with which every courtier sees a new favorite spring up.

“You hear, Comminges?” said the queen.

D’Artagnan went up to him; with his usual quickness he caught the anxious glance.

“Monsieur de Comminges,” he said, “pardon me; we both are servants of the queen, are we not? It is my turn to be of use to her; do not envy me this happiness.”

Comminges bowed and left.

Come, said d’Artagnan to himself, I have got one more enemy.

“And now,” said the queen, addressing d’Artagnan, “what is to be done? for you hear that, instead of becoming calmer, the noise increases.”

“Madame,” said d’Artagnan, “the people want to see the king and they must see him.”

“What! must see him! Where⁠—on the balcony?”

“Not at all, Madame, but here, sleeping in his bed.”

“Oh, Your Majesty,” exclaimed Laporte, “Monsieur d’Artagnan is right.”

The queen became thoughtful and smiled, like a woman to whom duplicity is no stranger.

“Without doubt,” she murmured.

“Monsieur Laporte,” said d’Artagnan, “go and announce to the people through the grating that they are going to be satisfied and that in five minutes they shall not only see the king, but they shall see him in bed; add that the king sleeps and that the queen begs that they will keep silence, so as not to awaken him.”

“But not everyone; a deputation of two or four people.”

“Everyone, Madame.”

“But reflect, they will keep us here till daybreak.”

“It shall take but a quarter of an hour, I answer for everything, Madame; believe me, I know the people; they are like a great child, who only wants humoring. Before the sleeping king they will be mute, gentle and timid as lambs.”

“Go, Laporte,” said the queen.

The young king approached his mother and said, “Why do as these people ask?”

“It must be so, my son,” said Anne of Austria.

“But if they say, ‘it must be’ to me, am I no longer king?”

The queen remained silent.

“Sire,” said d’Artagnan, “will Your Majesty permit me to ask you a question?”

Louis XIV turned around, astonished that anyone should dare to address him. But the queen pressed the child’s hand.

“Yes, sir,” he said.

“Does Your Majesty remember, when playing in the park of Fontainebleau, or in the palace courts at Versailles, ever to have seen the sky grow suddenly dark and heard the sound of thunder?”

“Yes, certainly.”

“Well, then, this noise of thunder, however much Your Majesty may have wished to continue playing, has said, ‘go in, sire. You must do so.’ ”

“Certainly, sir; but they tell me that the noise of thunder is the voice of God.”

“Well then, sire,” continued d’Artagnan, “listen to the noise of the people; you will perceive that it resembles that of thunder.”

In truth at that moment a terrible murmur was wafted to them by the night breeze; then all at once it ceased.

“Hold, sire,” said d’Artagnan, “they have just told the people that you are asleep; you see, you still are king.”

The queen looked with surprise at this strange man, whose brilliant courage made him the equal of the bravest, and who was, by his fine and quick intelligence, the equal of the most astute.

Laporte entered.

“Well, Laporte?” asked the queen.

“Madame,” he replied, “Monsieur d’Artagnan’s prediction has been accomplished; they are calm, as if by enchantment. The doors are about to be opened and in five minutes they will be here.”

“Laporte,” said the queen, “suppose you put one of your sons in the king’s place; we might be off during the time.”

“If Your Majesty desires it,” said Laporte, “my sons, like myself, are at the queen’s service.”

“Not at all,” said d’Artagnan; “should one of them know His Majesty and discover but a substitute, all would be lost.”

“You are right, sir, always right,” said Anne of Austria. “Laporte, place the king in bed.”

Laporte placed the king, dressed as he was, in the bed and then covered him as far as the shoulders with the sheet. The queen bent over him and kissed his brow.

“Pretend to sleep, Louis,” said she.

“Yes,” said the king, “but I do not wish to be touched by any of those men.”

“Sire, I am here,” said d’Artagnan, “and I give you my word, that if a single man has the audacity, his life shall pay for it.”

“And now what is to be done?” asked the queen, “for I hear them.”

“Monsieur Laporte, go to them and again recommend silence. Madame, wait at the door, whilst I shall be at the head of the king’s bed, ready to die for him.”

Laporte went out; the queen remained standing near the hangings, whilst d’Artagnan glided behind the curtains.

Then the heavy and collected steps of a multitude of men were heard, and the queen herself raised the tapestry hangings and put her finger on her lips.

On seeing the queen, the men stopped short, respectfully.

“Enter, gentlemen, enter,” said the queen.

There was then amongst that crowd a moment’s hesitation, which looked like shame. They had expected resistance, they had expected to be thwarted, to have to force the gates, to overturn the guards. The gates had opened of themselves, and the king, ostensibly at least, had no other guard at his bed-head but his mother. The foremost of them stammered and attempted to fall back.

“Enter, gentlemen,” said Laporte, “since the queen desires you so to do.”

Then one more bold than the rest ventured to pass the door and to advance on tiptoe. This example was imitated by the rest, until the room filled silently, as if these men had been the humblest, most devoted courtiers. Far beyond the door the heads of those who were not able to enter could be seen, all craning to their utmost height to try and see.

D’Artagnan saw it all through an opening he had made in the curtain, and in the very first man who entered he recognized Planchet.

“Sir,” said the queen to him, thinking he was the leader of the band, “you wished to see the king and therefore I determined to show him to you myself. Approach and look at him and say if we have the appearance of people who wish to run away.”

“No, certainly,” replied Planchet, rather astonished at the unexpected honor conferred upon him.

“You will say, then, to my good and faithful Parisians,” continued Anne, with a smile, the expression of which did not deceive d’Artagnan, “that you have seen the king in bed, asleep, and the queen also ready to retire.”

“I shall tell them, Madame, and those who accompany me will say the same thing; but⁠—”

“But what?” asked Anne of Austria.

“Will Your Majesty pardon me,” said Planchet, “but is it really the king who is lying there?”

Anne of Austria started. “If,” she said, “there is one among you who knows the king, let him approach and say whether it is really His Majesty lying there.”

A man wrapped in a cloak, in the folds of which his face was hidden, approached and leaned over the bed and looked.

For one second, d’Artagnan thought the man had some evil design and he put his hand to his sword; but in the movement made by the man in stooping a portion of his face was uncovered and d’Artagnan recognized the coadjutor.

“It is certainly the king,” said the man, rising again. “God bless His Majesty!”

“Yes,” repeated the leader in a whisper, “God bless His Majesty!” and all these men, who had entered enraged, passed from anger to pity and blessed the royal infant in their turn.

“Now,” said Planchet, “let us thank the queen. My friends, retire.”

They all bowed, and retired by degrees as noiselessly as they had entered. Planchet, who had been the first to enter, was the last to leave. The queen stopped him.

“What is your name, my friend?” she said.

Planchet, much surprised at the inquiry, turned back.

“Yes,” continued the queen, “I think myself as much honored to have received you this evening as if you had been a prince, and I wish to know your name.”

Yes, thought Planchet, to treat me as a prince. No, thank you.

D’Artagnan trembled lest Planchet, seduced, like the crow in the fable, should tell his name, and that the queen, knowing his name, would discover that Planchet had belonged to him.

“Madame,” replied Planchet, respectfully, “I am called Dulaurier, at your service.”

“Thank you, Monsieur Dulaurier,” said the queen; “and what is your business?”

“Madame, I am a clothier in the Rue Bourdonnais.”

“That is all I wished to know,” said the queen. “Much obliged to you, Monsieur Dulaurier. You will hear again from me.”

Come, come, thought d’Artagnan, emerging from behind the curtain, decidedly Monsieur Planchet is no fool; it is evident he has been brought up in a good school.

The different actors in this strange scene remained facing one another, without uttering a single word; the queen standing near the door, d’Artagnan half out of his hiding place, the king raised on his elbow, ready to fall down on his bed again at the slightest sound that would indicate the return of the multitude, but instead of approaching, the noise became more and more distant and very soon it died entirely away.

The queen breathed more freely. D’Artagnan wiped his damp forehead and the king slid off his bed, saying, “Let us go.”

At this moment Laporte reappeared.

“Well?” asked the queen.

“Well, Madame,” replied the valet, “I followed them as far as the gates. They announced to all their comrades that they had seen the king and that the queen had spoken to them; and, in fact, they went away quite proud and happy.”

“Oh, the miserable wretches!” murmured the queen, “they shall pay dearly for their boldness, and it is I who promise this.”

Then turning to d’Artagnan, she said:

“Sir, you have given me this evening the best advice I have ever received. Continue, and say what we must do now.”

“Monsieur Laporte,” said d’Artagnan, “finish dressing His Majesty.”

“We may go, then?” asked the queen.

“Whenever Your Majesty pleases. You have only to descend by the private stairs and you will find me at the door.”

“Go, sir,” said the queen; “I will follow you.”

D’Artagnan went down and found the carriage at its post and the musketeer on the box. D’Artagnan took out the parcel which he had desired Bernouin to place under the seat. It may be remembered that it was the hat and cloak belonging to Monsieur de Gondy’s coachman.

He placed the cloak on his shoulders and the hat on his head, whilst the musketeer got off the box.

“Sir,” said d’Artagnan, “you will go and release your companion, who is guarding the coachman. You must mount your horse and proceed to the Rue Tiquetonne, Hôtel de la Chevrette, whence you will take my horse and that of Monsieur du Vallon, which you must saddle and equip as if for war, and then you will leave Paris, bringing them with you to Cours la Reine. If, when you arrive at Cours la Reine, you find no one, you must go on to Saint Germain. On the king’s service.”

The musketeer touched his cap and went away to execute the orders thus received.

D’Artagnan mounted the box, having a pair of pistols in his belt, a musket under his feet and a naked sword behind him.

The queen appeared, and was followed by the king and the Duke d’Anjou, his brother.

“Monsieur the coadjutor’s carriage!” she exclaimed, falling back.

“Yes, Madame,” said d’Artagnan; “but get in fearlessly, for I myself will drive you.”

The queen uttered a cry of surprise and entered the carriage, and the king and Monsieur took their places at her side.

“Come, Laporte,” said the queen.

“How, Madame!” said the valet, “in the same carriage as your majesties?”

“It is not a matter of royal etiquette this evening, but of the king’s safety. Get in, Laporte.”

Laporte obeyed.

“Pull down the blinds,” said d’Artagnan.

“But will that not excite suspicion, sir?” asked the queen.

“Your Majesty’s mind may be quite at ease,” replied the officer; “I have my answer ready.”

The blinds were pulled down and they started at a gallop by the Rue Richelieu. On reaching the gate the captain of the post advanced at the head of a dozen men, holding a lantern in his hand.

D’Artagnan signed to them to draw near.

“Do you recognize the carriage?” he asked the sergeant.

“No,” replied the latter.

“Look at the arms.”

The sergeant put the lantern near the panel.

“They are those of Monsieur le Coadjuteur,” he said.

“Hush; he is enjoying a ride with Madame de Guéménée.”

The sergeant began to laugh.

“Open the gate,” he cried. “I know who it is!” Then putting his face to the lowered blinds, he said:

“I wish you joy, my lord!”

“Impudent fellow!” cried d’Artagnan, “you will get me turned off.”

The gate groaned on its hinges, and d’Artagnan, seeing the way clear, whipped his horses, who started at a canter, and five minutes later they had rejoined the cardinal.

“Mousqueton!” exclaimed d’Artagnan, “draw up the blinds of His Majesty’s carriage.”

“It is he!” cried Porthos.

“Disguised as a coachman!” exclaimed Mazarin.

“And driving the coadjutor’s carriage!” said the queen.

Corpo di Dio! Monsieur d’Artagnan!” said Mazarin, “you are worth your weight in gold.”


How d’Artagnan and Porthos Earned by Selling Straw, the One Two Hundred and Nineteen, and the Other Two Hundred and Fifteen Louis d’Or
Mazarin was desirous of setting out instantly for Saint Germain, but the queen declared that she should wait for the people whom she had appointed to meet her. However, she offered the cardinal Laporte’s place, which he accepted and went from one carriage to the other.

It was not without foundation that a report of the king’s intention to leave Paris by night had been circulated. Ten or twelve persons had been in the secret since six o’clock, and howsoever great their prudence might be, they could not issue the necessary orders for the departure without suspicion being generated. Besides, each individual had one or two others for whom he was interested; and as there could be no doubt but that the queen was leaving Paris full of terrible projects of vengeance, everyone had warned parents and friends of what was about to transpire; so that the news of the approaching exit ran like a train of lighted gunpowder along the streets.

The first carriage which arrived after that of the queen was that of the Prince de Condé, with the princess and dowager princess. Both these ladies had been awakened in the middle of the night and did not know what it all was about. The second contained the Duke and Duchess of Orléans, the tall young Mademoiselle, and the Abbé de la Rivière; and the third, the Duke de Longueville and the Prince de Conti, brother and brother-in-law of Condé. They all alighted and hastened to pay their respects to the king and queen in their coach. The queen fixed her eyes upon the carriage they had left, and seeing that it was empty, she said:

“But where is Madame de Longueville?”

“Ah, yes, where is my sister?” asked the prince.

“Madame de Longueville is ill,” said the duke, “and she desired me to excuse her to Your Majesty.”

Anne gave a quick glance to Mazarin, who answered by an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

“What do you say of this?” asked the queen.

“I say that she is a hostage for the Parisians,” answered the cardinal.

“Why is she not come?” asked the prince in a low voice, addressing his brother.

“Silence,” whispered the duke, “she has her reasons.”

“She will ruin us!” returned the prince.

“She will save us,” said Conti.

Carriages now arrived in crowds; those of the Maréchal de Villeroy, Guitant, Villequier and Comminges came into the line. The two musketeers arrived in their turn, holding the horses of d’Artagnan and Porthos in their hands. These two instantly mounted, the coachman of the latter replacing d’Artagnan on the coach-box of the royal coach. Mousqueton took the place of the coachman, and drove standing, for reasons known to himself, like Automedon of antiquity.

The queen, though occupied by a thousand details, tried to catch the Gascon’s eye; but he, with his wonted prudence, had mingled with the crowd.

“Let us be the avant-garde,” said he to Porthos, “and find good quarters at Saint Germain; nobody will think of us, and for my part I am greatly fatigued.”

“As for me,” replied Porthos, “I am falling asleep, which is strange, considering we have not had any fighting; truly the Parisians are idiots.”

“Or rather, we are very clever,” said d’Artagnan.


“And how is your wrist?”

“Better; but do you think that we’ve got them this time?”

“Got what?”

“You your command, and I my title?”

“I’faith! yes⁠—I should expect so; besides, if they forget, I shall take the liberty of reminding them.”

“The queen’s voice! she is speaking,” said Porthos; “I think she wants to ride on horseback.”

“Oh, she would like it, but⁠—”

“But what?”

“The cardinal won’t allow it. Gentlemen,” he said, addressing the two musketeers, “accompany the royal carriage, we are going forward to look for lodgings.”

D’Artagnan started off for Saint Germain, followed by Porthos.

“We will go on, gentlemen,” said the queen.

And the royal carriage drove on, followed by the other coaches and about fifty horsemen.

They reached Saint German without any accident; on descending, the queen found the prince awaiting her, bareheaded, to offer her his hand.

“What an awakening for the Parisians!” said the queen, radiant.

“It is war,” said the prince.

“Well, then, let it be war! Have we not on our side the conqueror of Rocroy, of Nordlingen, of Lens?”

The prince bowed low.

It was then three o’clock in the morning. The queen walked first, everyone followed her. About two hundred persons had accompanied her in her flight.

“Gentlemen,” said the queen, laughing, “pray take up your abode in the château; it is large, and there will be no want of room for you all; but, as we never thought of coming here, I am informed that there are, in all, only three beds in the whole establishment, one for the king, one for me⁠—”

“And one for the cardinal,” muttered the prince.

“Am I⁠—am I, then, to sleep on the floor?” asked Gaston d’Orléans, with a forced smile.

“No, my prince,” replied Mazarin, “the third bed is intended for your Highness.”

“But your Eminence?” replied the prince.

“I,” answered Mazarin, “I shall not sleep at all; I have work to do.”

Gaston desired that he should be shown into the room wherein he was to sleep, without in the least concerning himself as to where his wife and daughter were to repose.

“Well, for my part, I shall go to bed,” said d’Artagnan; “come, Porthos.”

Porthos followed the lieutenant with that profound confidence he ever had in the wisdom of his friend. They walked from one end of the château to the other, Porthos looking with wondering eyes at d’Artagnan, who was counting on his fingers.

“Four hundred, at a pistole each, four hundred pistoles.”

“Yes,” interposed Porthos, “four hundred pistoles; but who is to make four hundred pistoles?”

“A pistole is not enough,” said d’Artagnan, “ ’tis worth a louis.”

“What is worth a louis?”

“Four hundred, at a louis each, make four hundred louis.”

“Four hundred?” said Porthos.

“Yes, there are two hundred of them, and each of them will need two, which will make four hundred.”

“But four hundred what?”

“Listen!” cried d’Artagnan.

But as there were all kinds of people about, who were in a state of stupefaction at the unexpected arrival of the court, he whispered in his friend’s ear.

“I understand,” answered Porthos, “I understand you perfectly, on my honor; two hundred louis, each of us, would be making a pretty thing of it; but what will people say?”

“Let them say what they will; besides, how will they know that we are doing it?”

“But who will distribute these things?” asked Porthos.

“Isn’t Mousqueton there?”

“But he wears my livery; my livery will be known,” replied Porthos.

“He can turn his coat inside out.”

“You are always in the right, my dear friend,” cried Porthos; “but where the devil do you discover all the notions you put into practice?”

D’Artagnan smiled. The two friends turned down the first street they came to. Porthos knocked at the door of a house to the right, whilst d’Artagnan knocked at the door of a house to the left.

“Some straw,” they said.

“Sir, we don’t keep any,” was the reply of the people who opened the doors; “but please ask at the hay dealer’s.”

“Where is the hay dealer’s?”

“At the last large door in the street.”

“Are there any other people in Saint Germain who sell straw?”

“Yes; there’s the landlord of the Lamb, and Gros-Louis the farmer; they both live in the Rue des Ursulines.”

“Very well.”

D’Artagnan went instantly to the hay dealer and bargained with him for a hundred and fifty trusses of straw, which he obtained, at the rate of three pistoles each. He went afterward to the innkeeper and bought from him two hundred trusses at the same price. Finally, Farmer Louis sold them eighty trusses, making in all four hundred and thirty.

There was no more to be had in Saint Germain. This foraging did not occupy more than half an hour. Mousqueton, duly instructed, was put at the head of this sudden and new business. He was cautioned not to let a bit of straw out of his hands under a louis the truss, and they entrusted to him straw to the amount of four hundred and thirty louis. D’Artagnan, taking with him three trusses of straw, returned to the château, where everybody, freezing with cold and more than half asleep, envied the king, the queen, and the Duke of Orléans, on their camp beds. The lieutenant’s entrance produced a burst of laughter in the great drawing-room; but he did not appear to notice that he was the object of general attention, but began to arrange, with so much cleverness, nicety and gayety, his straw bed, that the mouths of all these poor creatures, who could not go to sleep, began to water.

“Straw!” they all cried out, “straw! where is there any to be found?”

“I can show you,” answered the Gascon.

And he conducted them to Mousqueton, who freely distributed the trusses at the rate of a louis apiece. It was thought rather dear, but people wanted to sleep, and who would not give even two or three louis for a few hours of sound sleep?

D’Artagnan gave up his bed to anyone who wanted it, making it over about a dozen times; and since he was supposed to have paid, like the others, a louis for his truss of straw, he pocketed in that way thirty louis in less than half an hour. At five o’clock in the morning the straw was worth eighty francs a truss and there was no more to be had.

D’Artagnan had taken the precaution to set apart four trusses for his own use. He put in his pocket the key of the room where he had hidden them, and accompanied by Porthos returned to settle with Mousqueton, who, naively, and like the worthy steward that he was, handed them four hundred and thirty louis and kept one hundred for himself.

Mousqueton, who knew nothing of what was going on in the château, wondered that the idea had not occurred to him sooner. D’Artagnan put the gold in his hat, and in going back to the château settled the reckoning with Porthos, each of them had cleared two hundred and fifteen louis.

Porthos, however, found that he had no straw left for himself. He returned to Mousqueton, but the steward had sold the last wisp. He then repaired to d’Artagnan, who, thanks to his four trusses of straw, was in the act of making up and tasting, by anticipation, the luxury of a bed so soft, so well stuffed at the head, so well covered at the foot, that it would have excited the envy of the king himself, if His Majesty had not been fast asleep in his own. D’Artagnan could on no account consent to pull his bed to pieces again for Porthos, but for a consideration of four louis that the latter paid him for it, he consented that Porthos should share his couch with him. He laid his sword at the head, his pistols by his side, stretched his cloak over his feet, placed his felt hat on the top of his cloak and extended himself luxuriously on the straw, which rustled under him. He was already enjoying the sweet dream engendered by the possession of two hundred and nineteen louis, made in a quarter of an hour, when a voice was heard at the door of the hall, which made him stir.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan!” it cried.

“Here!” cried Porthos, “here!”

Porthos foresaw that if d’Artagnan was called away he should remain the sole possessor of the bed. An officer approached.

“I am come to fetch you, Monsieur d’Artagnan.”

“From whom?”

“His Eminence sent me.”

“Tell my lord that I’m going to sleep, and I advise him, as a friend, to do the same.”

“His Eminence is not gone to bed and will not go to bed, and wants you instantly.”

“The devil take Mazarin, who does not know when to sleep at the proper time. What does he want with me? Is it to make me a captain? In that case I will forgive him.”

And the musketeer rose, grumbling, took his sword, hat, pistols, and cloak, and followed the officer, whilst Porthos, alone and sole possessor of the bed, endeavored to follow the good example of falling asleep, which his predecessor had set him.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” said the cardinal, on perceiving him, “I have not forgotten with what zeal you have served me. I am going to prove to you that I have not.”

Good, thought the Gascon, this is a promising beginning.

“Monsieur d’Artagnan,” he resumed, “do you wish to become a captain?”

“Yes, my lord.”

“And your friend still longs to be made a baron?”

“At this very moment, my lord, he no doubt dreams that he is one already.”

“Then,” said Mazarin, taking from his portfolio the letter which he had already shown d’Artagnan, “take this dispatch and carry it to England.”

D’Artagnan looked at the envelope; there was no address on it.

“Am I not to know to whom to present it?”

“You will know when you reach London; at London you may tear off the outer envelope.”

“And what are my instructions?”

“To obey in every particular the man to whom this letter is addressed. You must set out for Boulogne. At the Royal Arms of England you will find a young gentleman named Mordaunt.”

“Yes, my lord; and what am I to do with this young gentleman?”

“Follow wherever he leads you.”

D’Artagnan looked at the cardinal with a stupefied air.

“There are your instructions,” said Mazarin; “go!”

“Go! ’tis easy to say so, but that requires money, and I haven’t any.”

“Ah!” replied Mazarin, “so you have no money?”

“None, my lord.”

“But the diamond I gave you yesterday?”

“I wish to keep it in remembrance of your Eminence.”

Mazarin sighed.

“ ’Tis very dear living in England, my lord, especially as envoy extraordinary.”

“Zounds!” replied Mazarin, “the people there are very sedate, and their habits, since the revolution, simple; but no matter.”

He opened a drawer and took out a purse.

“What do you say to a thousand crowns?”

D’Artagnan pouted out his lower lip in a most extraordinary manner.

“I reply, my lord, ’tis but little, as certainly I shall not go alone.”

“I suppose not. Monsieur du Vallon, that worthy gentleman, for, with the exception of yourself, Monsieur d’Artagnan, there’s not a man in France that I esteem and love so much as him⁠—”

“Then, my lord,” replied d’Artagnan, pointing to the purse which Mazarin still held, “if you love and esteem him so much, you⁠—understand me?”

“Be it so! on his account I add two hundred crowns.”

“Scoundrel!” muttered d’Artagnan. “But on our return,” he said aloud, “may we, that is, my friend and I, depend on having, he his barony, and I my promotion?”

“On the honor of Mazarin.”

I should like another sort of oath better, said d’Artagnan to himself; then aloud, “May I not offer my duty to Her Majesty the queen?”

“Her Majesty is asleep and you must set off directly,” replied Mazarin; “go, pray, sir⁠—”

“One word more, my lord; if there’s any fighting where I’m going, must I fight?”

“You are to obey the commands of the personage to whom I have addressed the enclosed letter.”

“ ’Tis well,” said d’Artagnan, holding out his hand to receive the money. “I offer my best respects and services to you, my lord.”

D’Artagnan then, returning to the officer, said:

“Sir, have the kindness also to awaken Monsieur du Vallon and to say ’tis by his Eminence’s order, and that I shall await him at the stables.”

The officer went off with an eagerness that showed the Gascon that he had some personal interest in the matter.

Porthos was snoring most musically when someone touched him on the shoulder.

“I come from the cardinal,” said the officer.

“Heigho!” said Porthos, opening his large eyes; “what have you got to say?”

“That his Eminence has ordered you to England and that Monsieur d’Artagnan is waiting for you in the stables.”

Porthos sighed heavily, arose, took his hat, his pistols, and his cloak, and departed, casting a look of regret upon the couch where he had hoped to sleep so well.

No sooner had he turned his back than the officer laid himself down in it, and he had scarcely crossed the threshold before his successor, in his turn, was snoring immoderately. It was very natural, he being the only person in the whole assemblage, except the king, the queen, and the Duke of Orléans, who slept gratuitously.


In Which We Hear Tidings of Aramis
D’Artagnan went straight to the stables; day was just dawning. He found his horse and that of Porthos fastened to the manger, but to an empty manger. He took pity on these poor animals and went to a corner of the stable, where he saw a little straw, but in doing so he struck his foot against a human body, which uttered a cry and arose on its knees, rubbing its eyes. It was Mousqueton, who, having no straw to lie upon, had helped himself to that of the horses.

“Mousqueton,” cried d’Artagnan, “let us be off! Let us set off.”

Mousqueton, recognizing the voice of his master’s friend, got up suddenly, and in doing so let fall some louis which he had appropriated to himself illegally during the night.

“Ho! ho!” exclaimed d’Artagnan, picking up a louis and displaying it; “here’s a louis that smells confoundedly of straw.”

Mousqueton blushed so confusedly that the Gascon began to laugh at him and said:

“Porthos would be angry, my dear Monsieur Mousqueton, but I pardon you, only let us remember that this gold must serve us as a joke, so be gay⁠—come along.”

Mousqueton instantly assumed a jovial countenance, saddled the horses quickly and mounted his own without making faces over it.

Whilst this went on, Porthos arrived with a very cross look on his face, and was astonished to find the lieutenant resigned and Mousqueton almost merry.

“Ah, that’s it!” he cried, “you have your promotion and I my barony.”

“We are going to fetch our brevets,” said d’Artagnan, “and when we come back, Master Mazarin will sign them.”

“And where are we going?” asked Porthos.

“To Paris first; I have affairs to settle.”

And they both set out for Paris.

On arriving at its gates they were astounded to see the threatening aspect of the capital. Around a broken-down carriage the people were uttering imprecations, whilst the persons who had attempted to escape were made prisoners⁠—that is to say, an old man and two women. On the other hand, as the two friends approached to enter, they showed them every kind of civility, thinking them deserters from the royal party and wishing to bind them to their own.

“What is the king doing?” they asked.

“He is asleep.”

“And the Spanish woman?”


“And the cursed Italian?”

“He is awake, so keep on the watch, as they are gone away; it’s for some purpose, rely on it. But as you are the strongest, after all,” continued d’Artagnan, “don’t be furious with old men and women, and keep your wrath for more appropriate occasions.”

The people listened to these words and let go the ladies, who thanked d’Artagnan with an eloquent look.

“Now! onward!” cried the Gascon.

And they continued their way, crossing the barricades, getting the chains about their legs, pushed about, questioning and questioned.

In the place of the Palais Royal d’Artagnan saw a sergeant, who was drilling six or seven hundred citizens. It was Planchet, who brought into play profitably the recollections of the regiment of Piedmont.

In passing before d’Artagnan he recognized his former master.

“Good day, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” said Planchet proudly.

“Good day, Monsieur Dulaurier,” replied d’Artagnan.

Planchet stopped short, staring at d’Artagnan. The first row, seeing their sergeant stop, stopped in their turn, and so on to the very last.

“These citizens are dreadfully ridiculous,” observed d’Artagnan to Porthos and went on his way.

Five minutes afterward he entered the hotel of La Chevrette, where pretty Madeleine, the hostess, came to him.

“My dear Mistress Turquaine,” said the Gascon, “if you happen to have any money, lock it up quickly; if you happen to have any jewels, hide them directly; if you happen to have any debtors, make them pay you, or any creditors, don’t pay them.”

“Why, prithee?” asked Madeleine.

“Because Paris is going to be reduced to dust and ashes like Babylon, of which you have no doubt heard tell.”

“And are you going to leave me at such a time?”

“This very instant.”

“And where are you going?”

“Ah, if you could tell me that, you would be doing me a service.”

“Ah, me! ah, me!”

“Have you any letters for me?” inquired d’Artagnan, wishing to signify to the hostess that her lamentations were superfluous and that therefore she had better spare him demonstrations of her grief.

“There’s one just arrived,” and she handed the letter to d’Artagnan.

“From Athos!” cried d’Artagnan, recognizing the handwriting.

“Ah!” said Porthos, “let us hear what he says.”

D’Artagnan opened the letter and read as follows:

“Dear d’Artagnan, dear Du Vallon, my good friends, perhaps this may be the last time that you will ever hear from me. Aramis and I are very unhappy; but God, our courage, and the remembrance of our friendship sustain us. Think often of Raoul. I entrust to you certain papers which are at Blois; and in two months and a half, if you do not hear of us, take possession of them. Embrace, with all your heart, the vicomte, for your devoted friend,

“I believe, by Heaven,” said d’Artagnan, “that I shall embrace him, since he’s upon our road; and if he is so unfortunate as to lose our dear Athos, from that very day he becomes my son.”

“And I,” said Porthos, “shall make him my sole heir.”

“Let us see, what more does Athos say?”

“Should you meet on your journey a certain Monsieur Mordaunt, distrust him, in a letter I cannot say more.”

“Monsieur Mordaunt!” exclaimed the Gascon, surprised.

“Monsieur Mordaunt! ’tis well,” said Porthos, “we shall remember that; but see, there is a postscript from Aramis.”

“So there is,” said d’Artagnan, and he read:

“We conceal the place where we are, dear friends, knowing your brotherly affection and that you would come and die with us were we to reveal it.”

“Confound it,” interrupted Porthos, with an explosion of passion which sent Mousqueton to the other end of the room; “are they in danger of dying?”

D’Artagnan continued:

“Athos bequeaths to you Raoul, and I bequeath to you my revenge. If by any good luck you lay your hand on a certain man named Mordaunt, tell Porthos to take him into a corner and to wring his neck. I dare not say more in a letter.

“If that is all, it is easily done,” said Porthos.

“On the contrary,” observed d’Artagnan, with a vexed look; “it would be impossible.”

“How so?”

“It is precisely this Monsieur Mordaunt whom we are going to join at Boulogne and with whom we cross to England.”

“Well, suppose instead of joining this Monsieur Mordaunt we were to go and join our friends?” said Porthos, with a gesture fierce enough to have frightened an army.

“I did think of it, but this letter has neither date nor postmark.”

“True,” said Porthos. And he began to wander about the room like a man beside himself, gesticulating and half drawing his sword out of the scabbard.

As to d’Artagnan, he remained standing like a man in consternation, with the deepest affliction depicted on his face.

“Ah, this is not right; Athos insults us; he wishes to die alone; it is bad, bad, bad.”

Mousqueton, witnessing this despair, melted into tears in a corner of the room.

“Come,” said d’Artagnan, “all this leads to nothing. Let us go on. We will embrace Raoul, and perhaps he will have news of Athos.”

“Stop⁠—an idea!” cried Porthos; “indeed, my dear d’Artagnan, I don’t know how you manage, but you are always full of ideas; let us go and embrace Raoul.”

Woe to that man who should happen to contradict my master at this moment, said Mousqueton to himself; I wouldn’t give a farthing for his life.

They set out. On arriving at the Rue Saint Denis, the friends found a vast concourse of people. It was the Duc de Beaufort, who was coming from the Vendomois and whom the coadjutor was showing to the Parisians, intoxicated with joy. With the duke’s aid they already considered themselves invincible.

The two friends turned off into a side street to avoid meeting the prince, and so reached the Saint Denis gate.

“Is it true,” said the guard to the two cavaliers, “that the Duc de Beaufort has arrived in Paris?”

“Nothing more certain; and the best proof of it is,” said d’Artagnan, “that he has dispatched us to meet the Duc de Vendôme, his father, who is coming in his turn.”

“Long live de Beaufort!” cried the guards, and they drew back respectfully to let the two friends pass. Once across the barriers these two knew neither fatigue nor fear. Their horses flew, and they never ceased speaking of Athos and Aramis.

The camp had entered Saint Omer; the friends made a little detour and went to the camp, and gave the army an exact account of the flight of the king and queen. They found Raoul near his tent, reclining on a truss of hay, of which his horse stole some mouthfuls; the young man’s eyes were red and he seemed dejected. The Maréchal de Grammont and the Comte de Guiche had returned to Paris and he was quite lonely. And as soon as he saw the two cavaliers he ran to them with open arms.

“Oh, is it you, dear friends? Did you come here to fetch me? Will you take me away with you? Do you bring me tidings of my guardian?”

“Have you not received any?” said d’Artagnan to the youth.

“Alas! sir, no, and I do not know what has become of him; so that I am really so unhappy that I weep.”

In fact, tears rolled down his cheeks.

Porthos turned aside, in order not to show by his honest round face what was passing in his mind.

“Deuce take it!” cried d’Artagnan, more moved than he had been for a long time, “don’t despair, my friend, if you have not received any letters from the count, we have received one.”

“Oh, really!” cried Raoul.

“And a comforting one, too,” added d’Artagnan, seeing the delight that his intelligence gave the young man.

“Have you it?” asked Raoul.

“Yes⁠—that is, I had it,” repined the Gascon, making believe to find it. “Wait, it ought to be there in my pocket; it speaks of his return, does it not, Porthos?”

All Gascon as he was, d’Artagnan could not bear alone the weight of that falsehood.

“Yes,” replied Porthos, coughing.

“Eh, give it to me!” said the young man.

“Eh! I read it a little while since. Can I have lost it? Ah! confound it! yes, my pocket has a hole in it.”

“Oh, yes, Monsieur Raoul!” said Mousqueton, “the letter was very consoling. These gentlemen read it to me and I wept for joy.”

“But at any rate, you know where he is, Monsieur d’Artagnan?” asked Raoul, somewhat comforted.

“Ah! that’s the thing!” replied the Gascon. “Undoubtedly I know it, but it is a mystery.”

“Not to me, I hope?”

“No, not to you, so I am going to tell you where he is.”

Porthos devoured d’Artagnan with wondering eyes.

Where the devil shall I say that he is, so that he cannot try to rejoin him? thought d’Artagnan.

“Well, where is he, sir?” asked Raoul, in a soft and coaxing voice.

“He is at Constantinople.”

“Among the Turks!” exclaimed Raoul, alarmed. “Good heavens! how can you tell me that?”

“Does that alarm you?” cried d’Artagnan. “Pooh! what are the Turks to such men as the Comte de la Fère and the Abbé d’Herblay?”

“Ah, his friend is with him?” said Raoul. “That comforts me a little.”

“Has he wit or not⁠—this demon d’Artagnan?” said Porthos, astonished at his friend’s deception.

“Now, sir,” said d’Artagnan, wishing to change the conversation, “here are fifty pistoles that the count has sent you by the same courier. I suppose you have no more money and that they will be welcome.”

“I have still twenty pistoles, sir.”

“Well, take them; that makes seventy.”

“And if you wish for more,” said Porthos, putting his hand to his pocket⁠—

“Thank you, sir,” replied Raoul, blushing; “thank you a thousand times.”

At this moment Olivain appeared. “Apropos,” said d’Artagnan, loud enough for the servant to hear him, “are you satisfied with Olivain?”

“Yes, in some respects, tolerably well.”

Olivain pretended to have heard nothing and entered the tent.

“What fault do you find with the fellow?”

“He is a glutton.”

“Oh, sir!” cried Olivain, reappearing at this accusation.

“And a little bit of a thief.”

“Oh, sir! oh!”

“And, more especially, a notorious coward.”

“Oh, oh! sir! you really vilify me!” cried Olivain.

“The deuce!” cried d’Artagnan. “Pray learn, Monsieur Olivain, that people like us are not to be served by cowards. Rob your master, eat his sweetmeats, and drink his wine; but, by Jove! don’t be a coward, or I shall cut off your ears. Look at Monsieur Mouston, see the honorable wounds he has received, observe how his habitual valor has given dignity to his countenance.”

Mousqueton was in the third heaven and would have embraced d’Artagnan had he dared; meanwhile he resolved to sacrifice his life for him on the next occasion that presented itself.

“Send away that fellow, Raoul,” said the Gascon; “for if he’s a coward he will disgrace thee some day.”

“Monsieur says I am coward,” cried Olivain, “because he wanted the other day to fight a cornet in Grammont’s regiment and I refused to accompany him.”

“Monsieur Olivain, a lackey ought never to disobey,” said d’Artagnan, sternly; then taking him aside, he whispered to him: “Thou hast done right; thy master was in the wrong; here’s a crown for thee, but should he ever be insulted and thou dost not let thyself be cut in quarters for him, I will cut out thy tongue. Remember that.”

Olivain bowed and slipped the crown into his pocket.

“And now, Raoul,” said the Gascon, “Monsieur du Vallon and I are going away as ambassadors, where, I know not; but should you want anything, write to Madame Turquaine, at La Chevrette, Rue Tiquetonne and draw upon her purse as on a banker⁠—with economy; for it is not so well filled as that of Monsieur d’Emery.”

And having, meantime, embraced his ward, he passed him into the robust arms of Porthos, who lifted him up from the ground and held him a moment suspended near the noble heart of the formidable giant.

“Come,” said d’Artagnan, “let us go.”

And they set out for Boulogne, where toward evening they arrived, their horses flecked with foam and dark with perspiration.

At ten steps from the place where they halted was a young man in black, who seemed waiting for someone, and who, from the moment he saw them enter the town, never took his eyes off them.

D’Artagnan approached him, and seeing him stare so fixedly, said:

“Well, friend! I don’t like people to quiz me!”

“Sir,” said the young man, “do you not come from Paris, if you please?”

D’Artagnan thought it was some gossip who wanted news from the capital.

“Yes, sir,” he said, in a softened tone.

“Are you not going to put up at the Arms of England?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Are you not charged with a mission from his Eminence, Cardinal Mazarin?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In that case, I am the man you have to do with. I am M. Mordaunt.”

Ah! thought d’Artagnan, the man I am warned against by Athos.

Ah! thought Porthos, the man Aramis wants me to strangle.

They both looked searchingly at the young man, who misunderstood the meaning of that inquisition.

“Do you doubt my word?” he said. “In that case I can give you proofs.”

“No, sir,” said d’Artagnan; “and we place ourselves at your orders.”

“Well, gentlemen,” resumed Mordaunt, “we must set out without delay, today is the last day granted me by the cardinal. My ship is ready, and had you not come I must have set off without you, for General Cromwell expects my return impatiently.”

So! thought the lieutenant, ’tis to General Cromwell that our dispatches are addressed.

“Have you no letter for him?” asked the young man.

“I have one, the seal of which I am not to break till I reach London; but since you tell me to whom it is addressed, ’tis useless to wait till then.”

D’Artagnan tore open the envelope of the letter. It was directed to “Monsieur Oliver Cromwell, General of the Army of the English Nation.”

“Ah!” said d’Artagnan; “a singular commission.”

“Who is this Monsieur Oliver Cromwell?” inquired Porthos.

“Formerly a brewer,” replied the Gascon.

“Perhaps Mazarin wishes to make a speculation in beer, as we did in straw,” said Porthos.

“Come, come, gentlemen,” said Mordaunt, impatiently, “let us depart.”

“What!” exclaimed Porthos, “without supper? Cannot Monsieur Cromwell wait a little?”

“Yes, but I?” said Mordaunt.

“Well, you,” said Porthos, “what then?”

“I cannot wait.”

“Oh! as to you, that is not my concern, and I shall sup either with or without your permission.”

The young man’s eyes kindled in secret, but he restrained himself.

“Monsieur,” said d’Artagnan, “you must excuse famished travelers. Besides, our supper can’t delay you much. We will hasten on to the inn; you will meanwhile proceed on foot to the harbor. We will take a bite and shall be there as soon as you are.”

“Just as you please, gentlemen, provided we set sail,” he said.

“The name of your ship?” inquired d’Artagnan.

“The Standard.”

“Very well; in half an hour we shall be on board.”

And the friends, spurring on their horses, rode to the hotel, the Arms of England.

“What do you say of that young man?” asked d’Artagnan, as they hurried along.

“I say that he doesn’t suit me at all,” said Porthos, “and that I feel a strong itching to follow Aramis’s advice.”

“By no means, my dear Porthos; that man is a messenger of General Cromwell; it would insure for us a poor reception, I imagine, should it be announced to him that we had twisted the neck of his confidant.”

“Nevertheless,” said Porthos, “I have always noticed that Aramis gives good advice.”

“Listen,” returned d’Artagnan, “when our embassy is finished⁠—”


“If it brings us back to France⁠—”


“Well, we shall see.”

At that moment the two friends reached the hotel, “Arms of England,” where they supped with hearty appetite and then at once proceeded to the port.

There they found a brig ready to set sail, upon the deck of which they recognized Mordaunt walking up and down impatiently.

“It is singular,” said d’Artagnan, whilst the boat was taking them to the Standard, “it is astonishing how that young man resembles someone I must have known, but who it was I cannot yet remember.”

A few minutes later they were on board, but the embarkation of the horses was a longer matter than that of the men, and it was eight o’clock before they raised anchor.

The young man stamped impatiently and ordered all sail to be spread.

Porthos, completely used up by three nights without sleep and a journey of seventy leagues on horseback, retired to his cabin and went to sleep.

D’Artagnan, overcoming his repugnance to Mordaunt, walked with him upon the deck and invented a hundred stories to make him talk.

Mousqueton was seasick.


The Scotchman
And now our readers must leave the Standard to sail peaceably, not toward London, where d’Artagnan and Porthos believed they were going, but to Durham, whither Mordaunt had been ordered to repair by the letter he had received during his sojourn at Boulogne, and accompany us to the royalist camp, on this side of the Tyne, near Newcastle.

There, placed between two rivers on the borders of Scotland, but still on English soil, the tents of a little army extended. It was midnight. Some Highlanders were listlessly keeping watch. The moon, which was partially obscured by heavy clouds, now and then lit up the muskets of the sentinels, or silvered the walls, the roofs, and the spires of the town that Charles I had just surrendered to the parliamentary troops, whilst Oxford and Newark still held out for him in the hopes of coming to some arrangement.

At one of the extremities of the camp, near an immense tent, in which the Scottish officers were holding a kind of council, presided over by Lord Leven, their commander, a man attired as a cavalier lay sleeping on the turf, his right hand extended over his sword.

About fifty paces off, another man, also appareled as a cavalier, was talking to a Scotch sentinel, and, though a foreigner, he seemed to understand without much difficulty the answers given in the broad Perthshire dialect.

As the town clock of Newcastle struck one the sleeper awoke, and with all the gestures of a man rousing himself out of deep sleep he looked attentively about him; perceiving that he was alone he rose, and making a little circuit passed close to the cavalier who was speaking to the sentinel. The former had no doubt finished his questions, for a moment later he said good night and carelessly followed the same path taken by the first cavalier.

In the shadow of a tent the former was awaiting him.

“Well, my dear friend?” said he, in as pure French as has ever been uttered between Rouen and Tours.

“Well, my friend, there is not a moment to lose; we must let the king know immediately.”

“Why, what is the matter?”

“It would take too long to tell you, besides, you will hear it all directly and the least word dropped here might ruin all. We must go and find Lord Winter.”

They both set off to the other end of the camp, but as it did not cover more than a surface of five hundred feet they quickly arrived at the tent they were looking for.

“Tony, is your master sleeping?” said one of the two cavaliers to a servant who was lying in the outer compartment, which served as a kind of anteroom.

“No, Monsieur le Comte,” answered the servant, “I think not; or at least he has not long been so, for he was pacing up and down for more than two hours after he left the king, and the sound of his footsteps has only ceased during the last ten minutes. However, you may look and see,” added the lackey, raising the curtained entrance of the tent.

Lord Winter was seated near an aperture, arranged as a window to let in the night air, his eyes mechanically following the course of the moon, intermittently veiled, as we before observed, by heavy clouds. The two friends approached Winter, who, with his head on his hands, was gazing at the heavens; he did not hear them enter and remained in the same attitude till he felt a hand upon his shoulder.

He turned around, recognized Athos and Aramis and held out his hand to them.

“Have you observed,” said he to them, “what a blood-red color the moon has tonight?”

“No,” replied Athos; “I thought it looked much the same as usual.”

“Look, again, chevalier,” returned Lord Winter.

“I must own,” said Aramis, “I am like the Comte de la Fère⁠—I can see nothing remarkable about it.”

“My lord,” said Athos, “in a position so precarious as ours we must examine the earth and not the heavens. Have you studied our Scotch troops and have you confidence in them?”

“The Scotch?” inquired Winter. “What Scotch?”

“Ours, egad!” exclaimed Athos. “Those in whom the king has confided⁠—Lord Leven’s Highlanders.”

“No,” said Winter, then he paused; “but tell me, can you not perceive the russet tint which marks the heavens?”

“Not the least in the world,” said Aramis and Athos at once.

“Tell me,” continued Winter, always possessed by the same idea, “is there not a tradition in France that Henry IV, the evening before the day he was assassinated, when he was playing at chess with M. de Bassompiere, saw clots of blood upon the chessboard?”

“Yes,” said Athos, “and the maréchal has often told me so himself.”

“Then it was so,” murmured Winter, “and the next day Henry IV was killed.”

“But what has this vision of Henry IV to do with you, my lord?” inquired Aramis.

“Nothing; and indeed I am mad to trouble you with such things, when your coming to my tent at such an hour announces that you are the bearers of important news.”

“Yes, my lord,” said Athos, “I wish to speak to the king.”

“To the king! but the king is asleep.”

“I have something important to reveal to him.”

“Can it not be put off till tomorrow?”

“He must know it this moment, and perhaps it is already too late.”

“Come, then,” said Lord Winter.

Lord Winter’s tent was pitched by the side of the royal marquee, a kind of corridor communicating between the two. This corridor was guarded, not by a sentinel, but by a confidential servant, through whom, in case of urgency, Charles could communicate instantly with his faithful subject.

“These gentlemen are with me,” said Winter.

The lackey bowed and let them pass. As he had said, on a camp bed, dressed in his black doublet, booted, unbelted, with his felt hat beside him, lay the king, overcome by sleep and fatigue. They advanced, and Athos, who was the first to enter, gazed a moment in silence on that pale and noble face, framed in its long and now untidy, matted hair, the blue veins showing through the transparent temples, his eyes seemingly swollen by tears.

Athos sighed deeply; the sigh woke the king, so lightly did he sleep.

He opened his eyes.

“Ah!” said he, raising himself on his elbow, “is it you, Comte de la Fère?”

“Yes, sire,” replied Athos.

“You watch while I sleep and you have come to bring me some news?”

“Alas, sire,” answered Athos, “Your Majesty has guessed aright.”

“It is bad news?”

“Yes, sire.”

“Never mind; the messenger is welcome. You never come to me without conferring pleasure. You whose devotion recognizes neither country nor misfortune, you who are sent to me by Henrietta; whatever news you bring, speak out.”

“Sire, Cromwell has arrived this night at Newcastle.”

“Ah!” exclaimed the king, “to fight?”

“No, sire, but to buy Your Majesty.”

“What did you say?”

“I said, sire, that four hundred thousand pounds are owing to the Scottish army.”

“For unpaid wages; yes, I know it. For the last year my faithful Highlanders have fought for honor alone.”

Athos smiled.

“Well, sir, though honor is a fine thing, they are tired of fighting for it, and tonight they have sold you for two hundred thousand pounds⁠—that is to say, for half what is owing them.”

“Impossible!” cried the king, “the Scotch sell their king for two hundred thousand pounds! And who is the Judas who has concluded this infamous bargain?”

“Lord Leven.”

“Are you certain of it, sir?”

“I heard it with my own ears.”

The king sighed deeply, as if his heart would break, and then buried his face in his hands.

“Oh! the Scotch,” he exclaimed, “the Scotch I called ‘my faithful,’ to whom I trusted myself when I could have fled to Oxford! the Scotch, my brothers! But are you well assured, sir?”

“Lying behind the tent of Lord Leven, I raised it and saw all, heard all!”

“And when is this to be consummated?”

“Today⁠—this morning; so Your Majesty must perceive there is no time to lose!”

“To do what? since you say I am sold.”

“To cross the Tyne, reach Scotland and rejoin Lord Montrose, who will not sell you.”

“And what shall I do in Scotland? A war of partisans, unworthy of a king.”

“The example of Robert Bruce will absolve you, sire.”

“No, no! I have fought too long; they have sold me, they shall give me up, and the eternal shame of treble treason shall fall on their heads.”

“Sire,” said Athos, “perhaps a king should act thus, but not a husband and a father. I have come in the name of your wife and daughter and of the children you have still in London, and I say to you, ‘Live, sire,’⁠—it is the will of Heaven.”

The king raised himself, buckled on his belt, and passing his handkerchief over his moist forehead, said:

“Well, what is to be done?”

“Sire, have you in the army one regiment on which you can implicitly rely?”

“Winter,” said the king, “do you believe in the fidelity of yours?”

“Sire, they are but men, and men are become both weak and wicked. I will not answer for them. I would confide my life to them, but I should hesitate ere I trusted them with Your Majesty’s.”

“Well!” said Athos, “since you have not a regiment, we are three devoted men. It is enough. Let Your Majesty mount on horseback and place yourself in the midst of us; we will cross the Tyne, reach Scotland, and you will be saved.”

“Is this your counsel also, Winter?” inquired the king.

“Yes, sire.”

“And yours, Monsieur d’Herblay?”

“Yes, sire.”

“As you wish, then. Winter, give the necessary orders.”

Winter then left the tent; in the meantime the king finished his toilet. The first rays of daybreak penetrated the aperture of the tent as Winter re-entered it.

“All is ready, sire,” said he.

“For us, also?” inquired Athos.

“Grimaud and Blaisois are holding your horses, ready saddled.”

“In that case,” exclaimed Athos, “let us not lose an instant, but set off.”

“Come,” added the king.

“Sire,” said Aramis, “will not Your Majesty acquaint some of your friends of this?”

“Friends!” answered Charles, sadly, “I have but three⁠—one of twenty years, who has never forgotten me, and two of a week’s standing, whom I shall never forget. Come, gentlemen, come!”

The king quitted his tent and found his horse ready waiting for him. It was a chestnut that the king had ridden for three years and of which he was very fond.

The horse neighed with pleasure at seeing him.

“Ah!” said the king, “I was unjust; here is a creature that loves me. You at least will be faithful to me, Arthur.”

The horse, as if it understood these words, bent its red nostrils toward the king’s face, and parting his lips displayed all its teeth, as if with pleasure.

“Yes, yes,” said the king, caressing it with his hand, “yes, my Arthur, thou art a fond and faithful creature.”

After this little scene Charles threw himself into the saddle, and turning to Athos, Aramis and Winter, said:

“Now, gentlemen, I am at your service.”

But Athos was standing with his eyes fixed on a black line which bordered the banks of the Tyne and seemed to extend double the length of the camp.

“What is that line?” cried Athos, whose vision was still rather obscured by the uncertain shades and demi-tints of daybreak. “What is that line? I did not observe it yesterday.”

“It must be the fog rising from the river,” said the king.

“Sire, it is something more opaque than the fog.”

“Indeed!” said Winter, “it appears to me like a bar of red color.”

“It is the enemy, who have made a sortie from Newcastle and are surrounding us!” exclaimed Athos.

“The enemy!” cried the king.

“Yes, the enemy. It is too late. Stop a moment; does not that sunbeam yonder, just by the side of the town, glitter on the Ironsides?”

This was the name given the cuirassiers, whom Cromwell had made his bodyguard.

“Ah!” said the king, “we shall soon see whether my Highlanders have betrayed me or not.”

“What are you going to do?” exclaimed Athos.

“To give them the order to charge, and run down these miserable rebels.”

And the king, putting spurs to his horse, set off to the tent of Lord Leven.

“Follow him,” said Athos.

“Come!” exclaimed Aramis.

“Is the king wounded?” cried Lord Winter. “I see spots of blood on the ground.” And he set off to follow the two friends.

He was stopped by Athos.

“Go and call out your regiment,” said he; “I can foresee that we shall have need of it directly.”

Winter turned his horse and the two friends rode on. It had taken but two minutes for the king to reach the tent of the Scottish commander; he dismounted and entered.

The general was there, surrounded by the more prominent chiefs.

“The king!” they exclaimed, as all rose in bewilderment.

Charles was indeed in the midst of them, his hat on his head, his brows bent, striking his boot with his riding whip.

“Yes, gentlemen, the king in person, the king who has come to ask for some account of what has happened.”

“What is the matter, sire?” exclaimed Lord Leven.

“It is this, sir,” said the king, angrily, “that General Cromwell has reached Newcastle; that you knew it and I was not informed of it; that the enemy have left the town and are now closing the passages of the Tyne against us; that our sentinels have seen this movement and I have been left unacquainted with it; that, by an infamous treaty you have sold me for two hundred thousand pounds to Parliament. Of this treaty, at least, I have been warned. This is the matter, gentlemen; answer and exculpate yourselves, for I stand here to accuse you.”

“Sire,” said Lord Leven, with hesitation, “sire, Your Majesty has been deceived by false reports.”

“My own eyes have seen the enemy extend itself between myself and Scotland; and I can almost say that with my own ears I have heard the clauses of the treaty debated.”

The Scotch chieftains looked at each other in their turn with frowning brows.

“Sire,” murmured Lord Leven, crushed by shame, “sire, we are ready to give you every proof of our fidelity.”

“I ask but one,” said the king; “put the army in battle array and face the enemy.”

“That cannot be, sire,” said the earl.

“How, cannot be? What hinders it?” exclaimed the king.

“Your Majesty is well aware that there is a truce between us and the English army.”

“And if there is a truce the English army has broken it by quitting the town, contrary to the agreement which kept it there. Now, I tell you, you must pass with me through this army across to Scotland, and if you refuse you may choose betwixt two names, which the contempt of all honest men will brand you with⁠—you are either cowards or traitors!”

The eyes of the Scotch flashed fire; and, as often happens on such occasions, from shame they passed to effrontery and two heads of clans advanced upon the king.

“Yes,” said they, “we have promised to deliver Scotland and England from him who for the last five-and-twenty years has sucked the blood and gold of Scotland and England. We have promised and we will keep our promise. Charles Stuart, you are our prisoner.”

And both extended their hands as if to seize the king, but before they could touch him with the tips of their fingers, both had fallen, one dead, the other stunned.

Aramis had passed his sword through the body of the first and Athos had knocked down the other with the butt end of his pistol.

Then, as Lord Leven and the other chieftains recoiled before this unexpected rescue, which seemed to come from Heaven for the prince they already thought was their prisoner, Athos and Aramis dragged the king from the perjured assembly into which he had so imprudently ventured, and throwing themselves on horseback all three returned at full gallop to the royal tent.

On their road they perceived Lord Winter marching at the head of his regiment. The king motioned him to accompany them.


The Avenger
They all four entered the tent; they had no plan ready⁠—they must think of one.

The king threw himself into an armchair. “I am lost,” said he.

“No, sire,” replied Athos. “You are only betrayed.”

The king sighed deeply.

“Betrayed! yes⁠—betrayed by the Scotch, amongst whom I was born, whom I have always loved better than the English. Oh, traitors that ye are!”

“Sire,” said Athos, “this is not a moment for recrimination, but a time to show yourself a king and a gentleman. Up, sire! up! for you have here at least three men who will not betray you. Ah! if we had been five!” murmured Athos, thinking of d’Artagnan and Porthos.

“What do you say?” inquired Charles, rising.

“I say, sire, that there is now but one way open. Lord Winter answers for his regiment, or at least very nearly so⁠—we will not split straws about words⁠—let him place himself at the head of his men, we will place ourselves at the side of Your Majesty, and we will mow a swath through Cromwell’s army and reach Scotland.”

“There is another method,” said Aramis. “Let one of us put on the dress and mount the king’s horse. Whilst they pursue him the king might escape.”

“It is good advice,” said Athos, “and if the king will do one of us the honor we shall be truly grateful to him.”

“What do you think of this counsel, Winter?” asked the king, looking with admiration at these two men, whose chief idea seemed to be how they could take on their shoulders all the dangers that assailed him.

“I think the only chance of saving Your Majesty has just been proposed by Monsieur d’Herblay. I humbly entreat Your Majesty to choose quickly, for we have not an instant to lose.”

“But if I accept, it is death, or at least imprisonment, for him who takes my place.”

“He will have had the glory of having saved his king,” cried Winter.

The king looked at his old friend with tears in his eyes; undid the Order of the Saint Esprit which he wore, to honor the two Frenchmen who were with him, and passed it around Winter’s neck, who received on his knees this striking proof of his sovereign’s confidence and friendship.

“It is right,” said Athos; “he has served Your Majesty longer than we have.”

The king overheard these words and turned around with tears in his eyes.

“Wait a moment, sir,” said he; “I have an order for each of you also.”

He turned to a closet where his own orders were locked up, and took out two ribbons of the Order of the Garter.

“These cannot be for us,” said Athos.

“Why not, sir?” asked Charles.

“Such are for royalty, and we are simple commoners.”

“Speak not of crowns. I shall not find amongst them such great hearts as yours. No, no, you do yourselves injustice; but I am here to do you justice. On your knees, count.”

Athos knelt down and the king passed the ribbon down from left to right as usual, raised his sword, and instead of pronouncing the customary formula, “I make you a knight. Be brave, faithful and loyal,” he said, “You are brave, faithful and loyal. I knight you, Monsieur le Comte.”

Then turning to Aramis, he said:

“It is now your turn, Monsieur le Chevalier.”

The same ceremony recommenced, with the same words, whilst Winter unlaced his leather cuirass, that he might disguise himself like the king. Charles, having proceeded with Aramis as with Athos, embraced them both.

“Sire,” said Winter, who in this trying emergency felt all his strength and energy fire up, “we are ready.”

The king looked at the three gentlemen. “Then we must fly!” said he.

“Flying through an army, sire,” said Athos, “in all countries in the world is called charging.”

“Then I shall die, sword in hand,” said Charles. “Monsieur le Comte, Monsieur le Chevalier, if ever I am king⁠—”

“Sire, you have already done us more honor than simple gentlemen could ever aspire to, therefore gratitude is on our side. But we must not lose time. We have already wasted too much.”

The king again shook hands with all three, exchanged hats with Winter and went out.

Winter’s regiment was ranged on some high ground above the camp. The king, followed by the three friends, turned his steps that way. The Scotch camp seemed as if at last awakened; the soldiers had come out of their tents and taken up their station in battle array.

“Do you see that?” said the king. “Perhaps they are penitent and preparing to march.”

“If they are penitent,” said Athos, “let them follow us.”

“Well!” said the king, “what shall we do?”

“Let us examine the enemy’s army.”

At the same instant the eyes of the little group were fixed on the same line which at daybreak they had mistaken for fog and which the morning sun now plainly showed was an army in order of battle. The air was soft and clear, as it generally is at that early hour of the morning. The regiments, the standards, and even the colors of the horses and uniforms were now clearly distinct.

On the summit of a rising ground, a little in advance of the enemy, appeared a short and heavy looking man; this man was surrounded by officers. He turned a spyglass toward the little group amongst which the king stood.

“Does this man know Your Majesty personally?” inquired Aramis.

Charles smiled.

“That man is Cromwell,” said he.

“Then draw down your hat, sire, that he may not discover the substitution.”

“Ah!” said Athos, “how much time we have lost.”

“Now,” said the king, “give the word and let us start.”

“Will you not give it, sire?” asked Athos.

“No; I make you my lieutenant-general,” said the king.

“Listen, then, Lord Winter. Proceed, sire, I beg. What we are going to say does not concern Your Majesty.”

The king, smiling, turned a few steps back.

“This is what I propose to do,” said Athos. “We will divide our regiments into two squadrons. You will put yourself at the head of the first. We and His Majesty will lead the second. If no obstacle occurs we will both charge together, force the enemy’s line and throw ourselves into the Tyne, which we must cross, either by fording or swimming; if, on the contrary, any repulse should take place, you and your men must fight to the last man, whilst we and the king proceed on our road. Once arrived at the brink of the river, should we even find them three ranks deep, as long as you and your regiment do your duty, we will look to the rest.”

“To horse!” said Lord Winter.

“To horse!” reechoed Athos; “everything is arranged and decided.”

“Now, gentlemen,” cried the king, “forward! and rally to the old cry of France, ‘Montjoy and St. Denis!’ The war cry of England is too often in the mouths of traitors.”

They mounted⁠—the king on Winter’s horse and Winter on that of the king; then Winter took his place at the head of the first squadron, and the king, with Athos on his right and Aramis on his left, at the head of the second.

The Scotch army stood motionless and silent, seized with shame at sight of these preparations.

Some of the chieftains left the ranks and broke their swords in two.

“There,” said the king, “that consoles me; they are not all traitors.”

At this moment Winter’s voice was raised with the cry of “Forward!”

The first squadron moved off; the second followed, and descended from the plateau. A regiment of cuirassiers, nearly equal as to numbers, issued from behind the hill and came full gallop toward it.

The king pointed this out.

“Sire,” said Athos, “we foresaw this; and if Lord Winter’s men but do their duty, we are saved, instead of lost.”

At this moment they heard above all the galloping and neighing of the horses Winter’s voice crying out:

“Sword in hand!”

At these words every sword was drawn, and glittered in the air like lightning.

“Now, gentlemen,” said the king in his turn, excited by this sight, “come, gentlemen, sword in hand!”

But Aramis and Athos were the only ones to obey this command and the king’s example.

“We are betrayed,” said the king in a low voice.

“Wait a moment,” said Athos, “perhaps they do not recognize Your Majesty’s voice, and await the order of their captain.”

“Have they not heard that of their colonel? But look! look!” cried the king, drawing up his horse with a sudden jerk, which threw it on its haunches, and seizing the bridle of Athos’s horse.

“Ah, cowards! traitors!” screamed Lord Winter, whose voice they heard, whilst his men, quitting their ranks, dispersed all over the plain.

About fifteen men were ranged around him and awaited the charge of Cromwell’s cuirassiers.

“Let us go and die with them!” said the king.

“Let us go,” said Athos and Aramis.

“All faithful hearts with me!” cried out Winter.

This voice was heard by the two friends, who set off, full gallop.

“No quarter!” cried a voice in French, answering to that of Winter, which made them tremble.

As for Winter, at the sound of that voice he turned pale, and was, as it were, petrified.

It was the voice of a cavalier mounted on a magnificent black horse, who was charging at the head of the English regiment, of which, in his ardor, he was ten steps in advance.

“ ’Tis he!” murmured Winter, his eyes glazed and he allowed his sword to fall to his side.

“The king! the king!” cried out several voices, deceived by the blue ribbon and chestnut horse of Winter; “take him alive.”

“No! it is not the king!” exclaimed the cavalier. “Lord Winter, you are not the king; you are my uncle.”

At the same moment Mordaunt, for it was he, leveled his pistol at Winter; it went off and the ball entered the heart of the old cavalier, who with one bound on his saddle fell back into the arms of Athos, murmuring: “He is avenged!”

“Think of my mother!” shouted Mordaunt, as his horse plunged and darted off at full gallop.

“Wretch!” exclaimed Aramis, raising his pistol as he passed by him; but the powder flashed in the pan and it did not go off.

At this moment the whole regiment came up and they fell upon the few men who had held out, surrounding the two Frenchmen. Athos, after making sure that Lord Winter was really dead, let fall the corpse and said:

“Come, Aramis, now for the honor of France!” and the two Englishmen who were nearest to them fell, mortally wounded.

At the same moment a fearful “hurrah!” rent the air and thirty blades glittered about their heads.

Suddenly a man sprang out of the English ranks, fell upon Athos, twined arms of steel around him, and tearing his sword from him, said in his ear:

“Silence! yield⁠—you yield to me, do you not?”

A giant had seized also Aramis’s two wrists, who struggled in vain to release himself from this formidable grasp.

“D’Art⁠—” exclaimed Athos, whilst the Gascon covered his mouth with his hand.

“I am your prisoner,” said Aramis, giving up his sword to Porthos.

“Fire, fire!” cried Mordaunt, returning to the group surrounding the two friends.

“And wherefore fire?” said the colonel; “everyone has yielded.”

“It is the son of Milady,” said Athos to d’Artagnan.

“I recognize him.”

“It is the monk,” whispered Porthos to Aramis.

“I know it.”

And now the ranks began to open. D’Artagnan held the bridle of Athos’s horse and Porthos that of Aramis. Both of them attempted to lead his prisoner off the battlefield.

This movement revealed the spot where Winter’s body had fallen. Mordaunt had found it out and was gazing on his dead relative with an expression of malignant hatred.

Athos, though now cool and collected, put his hand to his belt, where his loaded pistols yet remained.

“What are you about?” said d’Artagnan.

“Let me kill him.”

“We are all four lost, if by the least gesture you discover that you recognize him.”

Then turning to the young man he exclaimed:

“A fine prize! a fine prize, friend Mordaunt; we have both myself and Monsieur du Vallon, taken two Knights of the Garter, nothing less.”

“But,” said Mordaunt, looking at Athos and Aramis with bloodshot eyes, “these are Frenchmen, I imagine.”

“I’faith, I don’t know. Are you French, sir?” said he to Athos.

“I am,” replied the latter, gravely.

“Very well, my dear sir, you are the prisoner of a fellow countryman.”

“But the king⁠—where is the king?” exclaimed Athos, anxiously.

D’Artagnan vigorously seized his prisoner’s hand, saying:

“Eh! the king? We have secured him.”

“Yes,” said Aramis, “through an infamous act of treason.”

Porthos pressed his friend’s hand and said to him:

“Yes, sir, all is fair in war, stratagem as well as force; look yonder!”

At this instant the squadron, that ought to have protected Charles’s retreat, was advancing to meet the English regiments. The king, who was entirely surrounded, walked alone in a great empty space. He appeared calm, but it was evidently not without a mighty effort. Drops of perspiration trickled down his face, and from time to time he put a handkerchief to his mouth to wipe away the blood that rilled from it.

“Behold Nebuchadnezzar!” exclaimed an old Puritan soldier, whose eyes flashed at the sight of the man they called the tyrant.

“Do you call him Nebuchadnezzar?” said Mordaunt, with a terrible smile; “no, it is Charles the First, the king, the good King Charles, who despoils his subjects to enrich himself.”

Charles glanced a moment at the insolent creature who uttered this, but did not recognize him. Nevertheless, the calm religious dignity of his countenance abashed Mordaunt.

“Bon jour, messieurs!” said the king to the two gentlemen who were held by d’Artagnan and Porthos. “The day has been unfortunate, but it is not your fault, thank God! But where is my old friend Winter?”

The two gentlemen turned away their heads in silence.

“In Strafford’s company,” said Mordaunt, tauntingly.

Charles shuddered. The demon had known how to wound him. The remembrance of Strafford was a source of lasting remorse to him, the shadow that haunted him by day and night. The king looked around him. He saw a corpse at his feet. It was Winter’s. He uttered not a word, nor shed a tear, but a deadly pallor spread over his face; he knelt down on the ground, raised Winter’s head, and unfastening the Order of the Saint Esprit, placed it on his own breast.

“Lord Winter is killed, then?” inquired d’Artagnan, fixing his eyes on the corpse.

“Yes,” said Athos, “by his own nephew.”

“Come, he was the first of us to go; peace be to him! he was an honest man,” said d’Artagnan.

“Charles Stuart,” said the colonel of the English regiment, approaching the king, who had just put on the insignia of royalty, “do you yield yourself a prisoner?”

“Colonel Tomlison,” said Charles, “kings cannot yield; the man alone submits to force.”

“Your sword.”

The king drew his sword and broke it on his knee.

At this moment a horse without a rider, covered with foam, his nostrils extended and eyes all fire, galloped up, and recognizing his master, stopped and neighed with pleasure; it was Arthur.

The king smiled, patted it with his hand and jumped lightly into the saddle.

“Now, gentlemen,” said he, “conduct me where you will.”

Turning back again, he said, “I thought I saw Winter move; if he still lives, by all you hold most sacred, do not abandon him.”

“Never fear, King Charles,” said Mordaunt, “the bullet pierced his heart.”

“Do not breathe a word nor make the least sign to me or Porthos,” said d’Artagnan to Athos and Aramis, “that you recognize this man, for Milady is not dead; her soul lives in the body of this demon.”

The detachment now moved toward the town with the royal captive; but on the road an aide-de-camp, from Cromwell, sent orders that Colonel Tomlison should conduct him to Holdenby Castle.

At the same time couriers started in every direction over England and Europe to announce that Charles Stuart was the prisoner of Oliver Cromwell.


Oliver Cromwell
“Have you been to the general?” said Mordaunt to d’Artagnan and Porthos; “you know he sent for you after the action.”

“We want first to put our prisoners in a place of safety,” replied d’Artagnan. “Do you know, sir, these gentlemen are each of them worth fifteen hundred pounds?”

“Oh, be assured,” said Mordaunt, looking at them with an expression he vainly endeavoured to soften, “my soldiers will guard them, and guard them well, I promise you.”

“I shall take better care of them myself,” answered d’Artagnan; “besides, all they require is a good room, with sentinels, or their simple parole that they will not attempt escape. I will go and see about that, and then we shall have the honor of presenting ourselves to the general and receiving his commands for his Eminence.”

“You think of starting at once, then?” inquired Mordaunt.

“Our mission is ended, and there is nothing more to detain us now but the good pleasure of the great man to whom we were sent.”

The young man bit his lips and whispered to his sergeant:

“You will follow these men and not lose sight of them; when you have discovered where they lodge, come and await me at the town gate.”

The sergeant made a sign of comprehension.

Instead of following the knot of prisoners that were being taken into the town, Mordaunt turned his steps toward the rising ground from whence Cromwell had witnessed the battle and on which he had just had his tent pitched.

Cromwell had given orders that no one was to be allowed admission; but the sentinel, who knew that Mordaunt was one of the most confidential friends of the general, thought the order did not extend to the young man. Mordaunt, therefore, raised the canvas, and saw Cromwell seated before a table, his head buried in his hands, his back being turned.

Whether he heard Mordaunt or not as he entered, Cromwell did not move. Mordaunt remained standing near the door. At last, after a few moments, Cromwell raised his head, and, as if he divined that someone was there, turned slowly around.

“I said I wished to be alone,” he exclaimed, on seeing the young man.

“They thought this order did not concern me, sir; nevertheless, if you wish it, I am ready to go.”

“Ah! is it you, Mordaunt?” said Cromwell, the cloud passing away from his face; “since you are here, it is well; you may remain.”

“I come to congratulate you.”

“To congratulate me⁠—what for?”

“On the capture of Charles Stuart. You are now master of England.”

“I was much more really so two hours ago.”

“How so, general?”

“Because England had need of me to take the tyrant, and now the tyrant is taken. Have you seen him?”

“Yes, sir,” said Mordaunt.

“What is his bearing?”

Mordaunt hesitated; but it seemed as though he was constrained to tell the truth.

“Calm and dignified,” said he.

“What did he say?”

“Some parting words to his friends.”

“His friends!” murmured Cromwell. “Has he any friends?” Then he added aloud, “Did he make any resistance?”

“No, sir, with the exception of two or three friends everyone deserted him; he had no means of resistance.”

“To whom did he give up his sword?”

“He did not give it up; he broke it.”

“He did well; but instead of breaking it, he might have used it to still more advantage.”

There was a momentary pause.

“I heard that the colonel of the regiment that escorted Charles was killed,” said Cromwell, staring very fixedly at Mordaunt.

“Yes, sir.”

“By whom?” inquired Cromwell.

“By me.”

“What was his name?”

“Lord Winter.”

“Your uncle?” exclaimed Cromwell.

“My uncle,” answered Mordaunt; “but traitors to England are no longer members of my family.”

Cromwell observed the young man a moment in silence, then, with that profound melancholy Shakespeare describes so well:

“Mordaunt,” he said, “you are a terrible servant.”

“When the Lord commands,” said Mordaunt, “His commands are not to be disputed. Abraham raised the knife against Isaac, and Isaac was his son.”

“Yes,” said Cromwell, “but the Lord did not suffer that sacrifice to be accomplished.”

“I have looked around me,” said Mordaunt, “and I have seen neither goat nor kid caught among the bushes of the plain.”

Cromwell bowed. “You are strong among the strong, Mordaunt,” he said; “and the Frenchmen, how did they behave?”

“Most fearlessly.”

“Yes, yes,” murmured Cromwell; “the French fight well; and if my glass was good and I mistake not, they were foremost in the fight.”

“They were,” replied Mordaunt.

“After you, however,” said Cromwell.

“It was the fault of their horses, not theirs.”

Another pause.

“And the Scotch?”

“They kept their word and never stirred,” said Mordaunt.

“Wretched men!”

“Their officers wish to see you, sir.”

“I have no time to see them. Are they paid?”

“Yes, tonight.”

“Let them be off and return to their own country, there to hide their shame, if its hills are high enough; I have nothing more to do with them nor they with me. And now go, Mordaunt.”

“Before I go,” said Mordaunt, “I have some questions and a favor to ask you, sir.”

“A favor from me?”

Mordaunt bowed.

“I come to you, my leader, my head, my father, and I ask you, master, are you contented with me?”

Cromwell looked at him with astonishment. The young man remained immovable.

“Yes,” said Cromwell; “you have done, since I knew you, not only your duty, but more than your duty; you have been a faithful friend, a cautious negotiator, a brave soldier.”

“Do you remember, sir it was my idea, the Scotch treaty, for giving up the king?”

“Yes, the idea was yours. I had no such contempt for men before.”

“Was I not a good ambassador in France?”

“Yes, for Mazarin has granted what I desire.”

“Have I not always fought for your glory and interests?”

“Too ardently, perhaps; it is what I have just reproached you for. But what is the meaning of all these questions?”

“To tell you, my lord, that the moment has now arrived when, with a single word, you may recompense all these services.”

“Oh!” said Oliver, with a slight curl of his lip, “I forgot that every service merits some reward and that up to this moment you have not been paid.”

“Sir, I can take my pay at this moment, to the full extent of my wishes.”

“How is that?”

“I have the payment under my hand; I almost possess it.”

“What is it? Have they offered you money? Do you wish a step, or some place in the government?”

“Sir, will you grant me my request?”

“Let us hear what it is, first.”

“Sir, when you have told me to obey an order did I ever answer, ‘Let me see that order’?”

“If, however, your wish should be one impossible to fulfill?”

“When you have cherished a wish and have charged me with its fulfillment, have I ever replied, ‘It is impossible’?”

“But a request preferred with so much preparation⁠—”

“Ah, do not fear, sir,” said Mordaunt, with apparent simplicity: “it will not ruin you.”

“Well, then,” said Cromwell, “I promise, as far as lies in my power, to grant your request; proceed.”

“Sir, two prisoners were taken this morning, will you let me have them?”

“For their ransom? have they then offered a large one?” inquired Cromwell.

“On the contrary, I think they are poor, sir.”

“They are friends of yours, then?”

“Yes, sir,” exclaimed Mordaunt, “they are friends, dear friends of mine, and I would lay down my life for them.”

“Very well, Mordaunt,” exclaimed Cromwell, pleased at having his opinion of the young man raised once more; “I will give them to you; I will not even ask who they are; do as you like with them.”

“Thank you, sir!” exclaimed Mordaunt, “thank you; my life is always at your service, and should I lose it I should still owe you something; thank you; you have indeed repaid me munificently for my services.”

He threw himself at the feet of Cromwell, and in spite of the efforts of the Puritan general, who did not like this almost kingly homage, he took his hand and kissed it.

“What!” said Cromwell, arresting him for a moment as he arose; “is there nothing more you wish? neither gold nor rank?”

“You have given me all you can give me, and from today your debt is paid.”

And Mordaunt darted out of the general’s tent, his heart beating and his eyes sparkling with joy.

Cromwell gazed a moment after him.

“He has slain his uncle!” he murmured. “Alas! what are my servants? Possibly this one, who asks nothing or seems to ask nothing, has asked more in the eyes of Heaven than those who tax the country and steal the bread of the poor. Nobody serves me for nothing. Charles, who is my prisoner, may still have friends, but I have none!”

And with a deep sigh he again sank into the reverie that had been interrupted by Mordaunt.


Jésus Seigneur
Whilst Mordaunt was making his way to Cromwell’s tent, d’Artagnan and Porthos had brought their prisoners to the house which had been assigned to them as their dwelling at Newcastle.

The order given by Mordaunt to the sergeant had been heard by d’Artagnan, who accordingly, by an expressive glance, warned Athos and Aramis to exercise extreme caution. The prisoners, therefore, had remained silent as they marched along in company with their conquerors⁠—which they could do with the less difficulty since each of them had occupation enough in answering his own thoughts.

It would be impossible to describe Mousqueton’s astonishment when from the threshold of the door he saw the four friends approaching, followed by a sergeant with a dozen men. He rubbed his eyes, doubting if he really saw before him Athos and Aramis; and forced at last to yield to evidence, he was on the point of breaking forth in exclamations when he encountered a glance from the eyes of Porthos, the repressive force of which he was not inclined to dispute.

Mousqueton remained glued to the door, awaiting the explanation of this strange occurrence. What upset him completely was that the four friends seemed to have no acquaintance with one another.

The house to which d’Artagnan and Porthos conducted Athos and Aramis was the one assigned to them by General Cromwell and of which they had taken possession on the previous evening. It was at the corner of two streets and had in the rear, bordering on the side street, stables and a sort of garden. The windows on the ground floor, according to a custom in provincial villages, were barred, so that they strongly resembled the windows of a prison.

The two friends made the prisoners enter the house first, whilst they stood at the door, desiring Mousqueton to take the four horses to the stable.

“Why don’t we go in with them?” asked Porthos.

“We must first see what the sergeant wishes us to do,” replied d’Artagnan.

The sergeant and his men took possession of the little garden.

D’Artagnan asked them what they wished and why they had taken that position.

“We have had orders,” answered the man, “to help you in taking care of your prisoners.”

There could be no fault to find with this arrangement; on the contrary, it seemed to be a delicate attention, to be gratefully received; d’Artagnan, therefore, thanked the man and gave him a crown piece to drink to General Cromwell’s health.

The sergeant answered that Puritans never drank, and put the crown piece in his pocket.

“Ah!” said Porthos, “what a fearful day, my dear d’Artagnan!”

“What! a fearful day, when today we find our friends?”

“Yes; but under what circumstances?”

“ ’Tis true that our position is an awkward one; but let us go in and see more clearly what is to be done.”

“Things look black enough,” replied Porthos; “I understand now why Aramis advised me to strangle that horrible Mordaunt.”

“Silence!” cried the Gascon; “do not utter that name.”

“But,” argued Porthos, “I speak French and they are all English.”

D’Artagnan looked at Porthos with that air of wonder which a cunning man cannot help feeling at displays of crass stupidity.

But as Porthos on his side could not comprehend his astonishment, he merely pushed him indoors, saying, “Let us go in.”

They found Athos in profound despondency; Aramis looked first at Porthos and then at d’Artagnan, without speaking, but the latter understood his meaningful look.

“You want to know how we came here? ’Tis easily guessed. Mazarin sent us with a letter to General Cromwell.”

“But how came you to fall into company with Mordaunt, whom I bade you distrust?” asked Athos.

“And whom I advised you to strangle, Porthos,” said Aramis.

“Mazarin again. Cromwell had sent him to Mazarin. Mazarin sent us to Cromwell. There is a certain fatality in it.”

“Yes, you are right, d’Artagnan, a fatality that will separate and ruin us! So, my dear Aramis, say no more about it and let us prepare to submit to destiny.”

“Zounds! on the contrary, let us speak about it; for it was agreed among us, once for all, that we should always hold together, though engaged on opposing sides.”

“Yes,” added Athos, “I now ask you, d’Artagnan, what side you are on? Ah! behold for what end the wretched Mazarin has made use of you. Do you know in what crime you are today engaged? In the capture of a king, his degradation and his murder.”

“Oh! oh!” cried Porthos, “do you think so?”

“You are exaggerating, Athos; we are not so far gone as that,” replied the lieutenant.

“Good heavens! we are on the very eve of it. I say, why is the king taken prisoner? Those who wish to respect him as a master would not buy him as a slave. Do you think it is to replace him on the throne that Cromwell has paid for him two hundred thousand pounds sterling? They will kill him, you may be sure of it.”

“I don’t maintain the contrary,” said d’Artagnan. “But what’s that to us? I am here because I am a soldier and have to obey orders⁠—I have taken an oath to obey, and I do obey; but you who have taken no such oath, why are you here and what cause do you represent?”

“That most sacred in the world,” said Athos; “the cause of misfortune, of religion, royalty. A friend, a wife, a daughter, have done us the honor to call us to their aid. We have served them to the best of our poor means, and God will recompense the will, forgive the want of power. You may see matters differently, d’Artagnan, and think otherwise. I will not attempt to argue with you, but I blame you.”

“Heyday!” cried d’Artagnan, “what matters it to me, after all, if Cromwell, who’s an Englishman, revolts against his king, who is a Scotchman? I am myself a Frenchman. I have nothing to do with these things⁠—why hold me responsible?”

“Yes,” said Porthos.

“Because all gentlemen are brothers, because you are a gentleman, because the kings of all countries are the first among gentlemen, because the blind populace, ungrateful and brutal, always takes pleasure in pulling down what is above them. And you, you, d’Artagnan, a man sprung from the ancient nobility of France, bearing an honorable name, carrying a good sword, have helped to give up a king to beersellers, shopkeepers, and wagoners. Ah! d’Artagnan! perhaps you have done your duty as a soldier, but as a gentleman, I say that you are very culpable.”

D’Artagnan was chewing the stalk of a flower, unable to reply and thoroughly uncomfortable; for when turned from the eyes of Athos he encountered those of Aramis.

“And you, Porthos,” continued the count, as if in consideration for d’Artagnan’s embarrassment, “you, the best heart, the best friend, the best soldier that I know⁠—you, with a soul that makes you worthy of a birth on the steps of a throne, and who, sooner or later, must receive your reward from an intelligent king⁠—you, my dear Porthos, you, a gentleman in manners, in tastes and in courage, you are as culpable as d’Artagnan.”

Porthos blushed, but with pleasure rather than with confusion; and yet, bowing his head, as if humiliated, he said:

“Yes, yes, my dear count, I feel that you are right.”

Athos arose.

“Come,” he said, stretching out his hand to d’Artagnan, “come, don’t be sullen, my dear son, for I have said all this to you, if not in the tone, at least with the feelings of a father. It would have been easier to me merely to have thanked you for preserving my life and not to have uttered a word of all this.”

“Doubtless, doubtless, Athos. But here it is: you have sentiments, the devil knows what, such as everyone can’t entertain. Who could suppose that a sensible man could leave his house, France, his ward⁠—a charming youth, for we saw him in the camp⁠—to fly to the aid of a rotten, worm-eaten royalty, which is going to crumble one of these days like an old hovel. The sentiments you air are certainly fine, so fine that they are superhuman.”

“However that may be, d’Artagnan,” replied Athos, without falling into the snare which his Gascon friend had prepared for him by an appeal to his parental love, “however that may be, you know in the bottom of your heart that it is true; but I am wrong to dispute with my master. D’Artagnan, I am your prisoner⁠—treat me as such.”

“Ah! pardieu!” said d’Artagnan, “you know you will not be my prisoner very long.”

“No,” said Aramis, “they will doubtless treat us like the prisoners of the Philipghauts.”

“And how were they treated?” asked d’Artagnan.

“Why,” said Aramis, “one-half were hanged and the other half were shot.”

“Well, I,” said d’Artagnan “I answer that while there remains a drop of blood in my veins you will be neither hanged nor shot. Sang Diou! let them come on! Besides⁠—do you see that door, Athos?”

“Yes; what then?”

“Well, you can go out by that door whenever you please; for from this moment you are free as the air.”

“I recognize you there, my brave d’Artagnan,” replied Athos; “but you are no longer our masters. That door is guarded, d’Artagnan; you know that.”

“Very well, you will force it,” said Porthos. “There are only a dozen men at the most.”

“That would be nothing for us four; it is too much for us two. No, divided as we now are, we must perish. See the fatal example: on the Vendomois road, d’Artagnan, you so brave, and you, Porthos, so valiant and so strong⁠—you were beaten; today Aramis and I are beaten in our turn. Now that never happened to us when we were four together. Let us die, then, as de Winter has died; as for me, I will fly only on condition that we all fly together.”

“Impossible,” said d’Artagnan; “we are under Mazarin’s orders.”

“I know it and I have nothing more to say; my arguments lead to nothing; doubtless they are bad, since they have not determined minds so just as yours.”

“Besides,” said Aramis, “had they taken effect it would be still better not to compromise two excellent friends like d’Artagnan and Porthos. Be assured, gentlemen, we shall do you honor in our dying. As for myself, I shall be proud to face the bullets, or even the rope, in company with you, Athos; for you have never seemed to me so grand as you are today.”

D’Artagnan said nothing, but, after having gnawed the flower stalk, he began to bite his nails. At last:

“Do you imagine,” he resumed, “that they mean to kill you? And wherefore should they do so? What interest have they in your death? Moreover, you are our prisoners.”

“Fool!” cried Aramis; “knowest thou not, then, Mordaunt? I have but exchanged with him one look, yet that look convinced me that we were doomed.”

“The truth is, I’m very sorry that I did not strangle him as you advised me,” said Porthos.

“Eh! I make no account of the harm Mordaunt can do!” cried d’Artagnan. “Cap de Diou! if he troubles me too much I will crush him, the insect! Do not fly, then. It is useless; for I swear to you that you are as safe here as you were twenty years, ago⁠—you, Athos, in the Rue Ferou, and you, Aramis, in the Rue de Vaugirard.”

“Stop,” cried Athos, extending his hand to one of the grated windows by which the room was lighted; “you will soon know what to expect, for here he is.”



In fact, looking at the place to which Athos pointed, d’Artagnan saw a cavalier coming toward the house at full gallop.

It was Mordaunt.

D’Artagnan rushed out of the room.

Porthos wanted to follow him.

“Stay,” said d’Artagnan, “and do not come till you hear me drum my fingers on the door.”

When Mordaunt arrived opposite the house he saw d’Artagnan on the threshold and the soldiers lying on the grass here and there, with their arms.

“Halloo!” he cried, “are the prisoners still there?”

“Yes, sir,” answered the sergeant, uncovering.

“ ’Tis well; order four men to conduct them to my lodging.”

Four men prepared to do so.

“What is it?” said d’Artagnan, with that jeering manner which our readers have so often observed in him since they made his acquaintance. “What is the matter, if you please?”

“Sir,” replied Mordaunt, “I have ordered the two prisoners we made this morning to be conducted to my lodging.”

“Wherefore, sir? Excuse curiosity, but I wish to be enlightened on the subject.”

“Because these prisoners, sir, are at my disposal and I choose to dispose of them as I like.”

“Allow me⁠—allow me, sir,” said d’Artagnan, “to observe you are in error. The prisoners belong to those who take them and not to those who only saw them taken. You might have taken Lord Winter⁠—who, ’tis said, was your uncle⁠—prisoner, but you preferred killing him; ’tis well; we, that is, Monsieur du Vallon and I, could have killed our prisoners⁠—we preferred taking them.”

Mordaunt’s very lips grew white with rage.

D’Artagnan now saw that affairs were growing worse and he beat the guard’s march upon the door. At the first beat Porthos rushed out and stood on the other side of the door.

This movement was observed by Mordaunt.

“Sir!” he thus addressed d’Artagnan, “your resistance is useless; these prisoners have just been given me by my illustrious patron, Oliver Cromwell.”

These words struck d’Artagnan like a thunderbolt. The blood mounted to his temples, his eyes became dim; he saw from what fountainhead the ferocious hopes of the young man arose, and he put his hand to the hilt of his sword.

As for Porthos, he looked inquiringly at d’Artagnan.

This look of Porthos’s made the Gascon regret that he had summoned the brute force of his friend to aid him in an affair which seemed to require chiefly cunning.

Violence, he said to himself, would spoil all; d’Artagnan, my friend, prove to this young serpent that thou art not only stronger, but more subtle than he is.

“Ah!” he said, making a low bow, “why did you not begin by saying that, Monsieur Mordaunt? What! are you sent by General Oliver Cromwell, the most illustrious captain of the age?”

“I have this instant left him,” replied Mordaunt, alighting, in order to give his horse to a soldier to hold.

“Why did you not say so at once, my dear sir! all England is with Cromwell; and since you ask for my prisoners, I bend, sir, to your wishes. They are yours; take them.”

Mordaunt, delighted, advanced, Porthos looking at d’Artagnan with open-mouthed astonishment. Then d’Artagnan trod on his foot and Porthos began to understand that this was merely acting.

Mordaunt put his foot on the first step of the door and, with his hat in hand, prepared to pass by the two friends, motioning to the four men to follow him.

“But, pardon,” said d’Artagnan, with the most charming smile and putting his hand on the young man’s shoulder, “if the illustrious General Oliver Cromwell has disposed of our prisoners in your favour, he has, of course, made that act of donation in writing.”

Mordaunt stopped short.

“He has given you some little writing for me⁠—the least bit of paper which may show that you come in his name. Be pleased to give me that scrap of paper so that I may justify, by a pretext at least, my abandoning my countrymen. Otherwise, you see, although I am sure that General Oliver Cromwell can intend them no harm, it would have a bad appearance.”

Mordaunt recoiled; he felt the blow and discharged a terrible look at d’Artagnan, who responded by the most amiable expression that ever graced a human countenance.

“When I tell you a thing, sir,” said Mordaunt, “you insult me by doubting it.”

“I!” cried d’Artagnan, “I doubt what you say! God keep me from it, my dear Monsieur Mordaunt! On the contrary, I take you to be a worthy and accomplished gentleman. And then, sir, do you wish me to speak freely to you?” continued d’Artagnan, with his frank expression.

“Speak out, sir,” said Mordaunt.

“Monsieur du Vallon, yonder, is rich and has forty thousand francs yearly, so he does not care about money. I do not speak for him, but for myself.”

“Well, sir? What more?”

“Well⁠—I⁠—I’m not rich. In Gascony ’tis no dishonor, sir, nobody is rich; and Henry IV, of glorious memory, who was the king of the Gascons, as His Majesty Philip IV is the king of the Spaniards, never had a penny in his pocket.”

“Go on, sir, I see what you wish to get at; and if it is simply what I think that stops you, I can obviate the difficulty.”

“Ah, I knew well,” said the Gascon, “that you were a man of talent. Well, here’s the case, here’s where the saddle hurts me, as we French say. I am an officer of fortune, nothing else; I have nothing but what my sword brings me in⁠—that is to say, more blows than banknotes. Now, on taking prisoners, this morning, two Frenchmen, who seemed to me of high birth⁠—in short, two knights of the Garter⁠—I said to myself, my fortune is made. I say two, because in such circumstances, Monsieur du Vallon, who is rich, always gives me his prisoners.”

Mordaunt, completely deceived by the wordy civility of d’Artagnan, smiled like a man who understands perfectly the reasons given him, and said:

“I shall have the order signed directly, sir, and with it two thousand pistoles; meanwhile, let me take these men away.”

“No,” replied d’Artagnan; “what signifies a delay of half an hour? I am a man of order, sir; let us do things in order.”

“Nevertheless,” replied Mordaunt, “I could compel you; I command here.”

“Ah, sir!” said d’Artagnan, “I see that although we have had the honor of traveling in your company you do not know us. We are gentlemen; we are, both of us, able to kill you and your eight men⁠—we two only. For Heaven’s sake don’t be obstinate, for when others are obstinate I am obstinate likewise, and then I become ferocious and headstrong, and there’s my friend, who is even more headstrong and ferocious than myself. Besides, we are sent here by Cardinal Mazarin, and at this moment represent both the king and the cardinal, and are, therefore, as ambassadors, able to act with impunity, a thing that General Oliver Cromwell, who is assuredly as great a politician as he is a general, is quite the man to understand. Ask him then, for the written order. What will that cost you my dear Monsieur Mordaunt?”

“Yes, the written order,” said Porthos, who now began to comprehend what d’Artagnan was aiming at, “we ask only for that.”

However inclined Mordaunt was to have recourse to violence, he understood the reasons d’Artagnan had given him; besides, completely ignorant of the friendship which existed between the four Frenchmen, all his uneasiness disappeared when he heard of the plausible motive of the ransom. He decided, therefore, not only to fetch the order, but the two thousand pistoles, at which he estimated the prisoners. He therefore mounted his horse and disappeared.

Good! thought d’Artagnan; a quarter of an hour to go to the tent, a quarter of an hour to return; it is more than we need. Then turning, without the least change of countenance, to Porthos, he said, looking him full in the face: “Friend Porthos, listen to this; first, not a syllable to either of our friends of what you have heard; it is unnecessary for them to know the service we are going to render them.”

“Very well; I understand.”

“Go to the stable; you will find Mousqueton there; saddle your horses, put your pistols in your saddlebags, take out the horses and lead them to the street below this, so that there will be nothing to do but mount them; all the rest is my business.”

Porthos made no remark, but obeyed, with the sublime confidence he had in his friend.

“I go,” he said, “only, shall I enter the chamber where those gentlemen are?”

“No, it is not worth while.”

“Well, do me the kindness to take my purse, which I left on the mantelpiece.”

“All right.”

He then proceeded, with his usual calm gait, to the stable and went into the very midst of the soldiery, who, foreigner as he was, could not help admiring his height and the enormous strength of his great limbs.

At the corner of the street he met Mousqueton and took him with him.

D’Artagnan, meantime, went into the house, whistling a tune which he had begun before Porthos went away.

“My dear Athos, I have reflected on your arguments and I am convinced. I am sorry to have had anything to do with this matter. As you say, Mazarin is a knave. I have resolved to fly with you, not a word⁠—be ready. Your swords are in the corner; do not forget them, they are in many circumstances very useful; there is Porthos’s purse, too.”

He put it into his pocket. The two friends were perfectly stupefied.

“Well, pray, is there anything to be so surprised at?” he said. “I was blind; Athos has made me see, that’s all; come here.”

The two friends went near him.

“Do you see that street? There are the horses. Go out by the door, turn to the right, jump into your saddles, all will be right; don’t be uneasy at anything except mistaking the signal. That will be the signal when I call out⁠—Jésus Seigneur!”

“But give us your word that you will come too, d’Artagnan,” said Athos.

“I swear I will, by Heaven.”

“ ’Tis settled,” said Aramis; “at the cry ‘Jésus Seigneur’ we go out, upset all that stands in our way, run to our horses, jump into our saddles, spur them; is that all?”


“See, Aramis, as I have told you, d’Artagnan is first amongst us all,” said Athos.

“Very true,” replied the Gascon, “but I always run away from compliments. Don’t forget the signal: ‘Jésus Seigneur!’ ” and he went out as he came in, whistling the selfsame air.

The soldiers were playing or sleeping; two of them were singing in a corner, out of tune, the psalm: “On the rivers of Babylon.”

D’Artagnan called the sergeant. “My dear friend, General Cromwell has sent Monsieur Mordaunt to fetch me. Guard the prisoners well, I beg of you.”

The sergeant made a sign, as much as to say he did not understand French, and d’Artagnan tried to make him comprehend by signs and gestures. Then he went into the stable; he found the five horses saddled, his own amongst the rest.

“Each of you take a horse by the bridle,” he said to Porthos and Mousqueton; “turn to the left, so that Athos and Aramis may see you clearly from the window.”

“They are coming, then?” said Porthos.

“In a moment.”

“You didn’t forget my purse?”

“No; be easy.”


Porthos and Mousqueton each took a horse by the bridle and proceeded to their post.

Then d’Artagnan, being alone, struck a light and lighted a small bit of tinder, mounted his horse and stopped at the door in the midst of the soldiers. There, caressing as he pretended, the animal with his hand, he put this bit of burning tinder in his ear. It was necessary to be as good a horseman as he was to risk such a scheme, for no sooner had the animal felt the burning tinder than he uttered a cry of pain and reared and jumped as if he had been mad.

The soldiers, whom he was nearly trampling, ran away.

“Help! help!” cried d’Artagnan; “stop⁠—my horse has the staggers.”

In an instant the horse’s eyes grew bloodshot and he was white with foam.

“Help!” cried d’Artagnan. “What! will you let me be killed? Jésus Seigneur!

No sooner had he uttered this cry than the door opened and Athos and Aramis rushed out. The coast, owing to the Gascon’s stratagem, was clear.

“The prisoners are escaping! the prisoners are escaping!” cried the sergeant.

“Stop! stop!” cried d’Artagnan, giving rein to his famous steed, who, darting forth, overturned several men.

“Stop! stop!” cried the soldiers, and ran for their arms.

But the prisoners were in their saddles and lost no time hastening to the nearest gate.

In the middle of the street they saw Grimaud and Blaisois, who were coming to find their masters. With one wave of his hand Athos made Grimaud, who followed the little troop, understand everything, and they passed on like a whirlwind, d’Artagnan still directing them from behind with his voice.

They passed through the gate like apparitions, without the guards thinking of detaining them, and reached the open country.

All this time the soldiers were calling out, “Stop! stop!” and the sergeant, who began to see that he was the victim of an artifice, was almost in a frenzy of despair. Whilst all this was going on, a cavalier in full gallop was seen approaching. It was Mordaunt with the order in his hand.

“The prisoners!” he exclaimed, jumping off his horse.

The sergeant had not the courage to reply; he showed him the open door, the empty room. Mordaunt darted to the steps, understood all, uttered a cry, as if his very heart was pierced, and fell fainting on the stone steps.


In Which It Is Shown That Under the Most Trying Circumstances Noble Natures Never Lose Their Courage, Nor Good Stomachs Their Appetites
The little troop, without looking behind them or exchanging a word, fled at a rapid gallop, fording a little stream, of which none of them knew the name, and leaving on their left a town which Athos declared to be Durham. At last they came in sight of a small wood, and spurring their horses afresh, rode in its direction.

As soon as they had disappeared behind a green curtain sufficiently thick to conceal them from the sight of anyone who might be in pursuit they drew up to hold a council together. The two grooms held the horses, that they might take a little rest without being unsaddled, and Grimaud was posted as sentinel.

“Come first of all,” said Athos to d’Artagnan, “my friend, that I may shake hands with you⁠—you, our rescuer⁠—you, the true hero of us all.”

“Athos is right⁠—you have my adoration,” said Aramis, in his turn pressing his hand. “To what are you not equal, with your superior intelligence, infallible eye, your arm of iron and your enterprising mind!”

“Now,” said the Gascon, “that is all well, I accept for Porthos and myself everything⁠—thanks and compliments; we have plenty of time to spare.”

The two friends, recalled by d’Artagnan to what was also due to Porthos, pressed his hand in their turn.

“And now,” said Athos, “it is not our plan to run anywhere and like madmen, but we must map up our campaign. What shall we do?”

“What are we going to do, i’faith? It is not very difficult to say.”

“Tell us, then, d’Artagnan.”

“We are going to reach the nearest seaport, unite our little resources, hire a vessel and return to France. As for me I will give my last sou for it. Life is the greatest treasure, and speaking candidly, ours hangs by a thread.”

“What do you say to this, Du Vallon?”

“I,” said Porthos, “I am entirely of d’Artagnan’s opinion; this is a ‘beastly’ country, this England.”

“You are quite decided, then, to leave it?” asked Athos of d’Artagnan.

“Egad! I don’t see what is to keep me here.”

A glance was exchanged between Athos and Aramis.

“Go, then, my friends,” said the former, sighing.

“How, go then?” exclaimed d’Artagnan. “Let us go, you mean?”

“No, my friend,” said Athos, “you must leave us.”

“Leave you!” cried d’Artagnan, quite bewildered at this unexpected announcement.

“Bah!” said Porthos, “why separate, since we are all together?”

“Because you can and ought to return to France; your mission is accomplished, but ours is not.”

“Your mission is not accomplished?” exclaimed d’Artagnan, looking in astonishment at Athos.

“No, my friend,” replied Athos, in his gentle but decided voice, “we came here to defend King Charles; we have but ill defended him⁠—it remains for us to save him!”

“To save the king?” said d’Artagnan, looking at Aramis as he had looked at Athos.

Aramis contented himself by making a sign with his head.

D’Artagnan’s countenance took an expression of the deepest compassion; he began to think he had to do with madmen.

“You cannot be speaking seriously, Athos!” said he; “the king is surrounded by an army, which is conducting him to London. This army is commanded by a butcher, or the son of a butcher⁠—it matters little⁠—Colonel Harrison. His Majesty, I can assure you, will be tried on his arrival in London; I have heard enough from the lips of Oliver Cromwell to know what to expect.”

A second look was exchanged between Athos and Aramis.

“And when the trial is ended there will be no delay in putting the sentence into execution,” continued d’Artagnan.

“And to what penalty do you think the king will be condemned?” asked Athos.

“The penalty of death, I greatly fear; they have gone too far for him to pardon them, and there is nothing left to them but one thing, and that is to kill him. Have you never heard what Oliver Cromwell said when he came to Paris and was shown the dungeon at Vincennes where Monsieur de Vendôme was imprisoned?”

“What did he say?” asked Porthos.

“ ‘Princes must be knocked on the head.’ ”

“I remember it,” said Athos.

“And you fancy he will not put his maxim into execution, now that he has got hold of the king?”

“On the contrary, I am certain he will do so. But then that is all the more reason why we should not abandon the august head so threatened.”

“Athos, you are becoming mad.”

“No, my friend,” Athos gently replied, “but de Winter sought us out in France and introduced us, Monsieur d’Herblay and myself, to Madame Henrietta. Her Majesty did us the honor to ask our aid for her husband. We engaged our word; our word included everything. It was our strength, our intelligence, our life, in short, that we promised. It remains now for us to keep our word. Is that your opinion, d’Herblay?”

“Yes,” said Aramis, “we have promised.”

“Then,” continued Athos, “we have another reason; it is this⁠—listen: In France at this moment everything is poor and paltry. We have a king ten years old, who doesn’t yet know what he wants; we have a queen blinded by a belated passion; we have a minister who governs France as he would govern a great farm⁠—that is to say, intent only on turning out all the gold he can by the exercise of Italian cunning and invention; we have princes who set up a personal and egotistic opposition, who will draw from Mazarin’s hands only a few ingots of gold or some shreds of power granted as bribes. I have served them without enthusiasm⁠—God knows that I estimated them at their real value, and that they are not high in my esteem⁠—but on principle. Today I am engaged in a different affair. I have encountered misfortune in a high place, a royal misfortune, a European misfortune; I attach myself to it. If we can succeed in saving the king it will be good; if we die for him it will be grand.”

“So you know beforehand you must perish!” said d’Artagnan.

“We fear so, and our only regret is to die so far from both of you.”

“What will you do in a foreign land, an enemy’s country?”

“I traveled in England when I was young, I speak English like an Englishman, and Aramis, too, knows something of the language. Ah! if we had you, my friends! With you, d’Artagnan, with you, Porthos⁠—all four reunited for the first time for twenty years⁠—we would dare not only England, but the three kingdoms put together!”

“And did you promise the queen,” resumed d’Artagnan, petulantly, “to storm the Tower of London, to kill a hundred thousand soldiers, to fight victoriously against the wishes of the nation and the ambition of a man, and when that man is Cromwell? Do not exaggerate your duty. In Heaven’s name, my dear Athos, do not make a useless sacrifice. When I see you merely, you look like a reasonable being; when you speak, I seem to have to do with a madman. Come, Porthos, join me; say frankly, what do you think of this business?”

“Nothing good,” replied Porthos.

“Come,” continued d’Artagnan, who, irritated that instead of listening to him Athos seemed to be attending to his own thoughts, “you have never found yourself the worse for my advice. Well, then, believe me, Athos, your mission is ended, and ended nobly; return to France with us.”

“Friend,” said Athos, “our resolution is irrevocable.”

“Then you have some other motive unknown to us?”

Athos smiled and d’Artagnan struck his hands together in anger and muttered the most convincing reasons that he could discover; but to all these reasons Athos contented himself by replying with a calm, sweet smile and Aramis by nodding his head.

“Very well,” cried d’Artagnan, at last, furious, “very well, since you wish it, let us leave our bones in this beggarly land, where it is always cold, where fine weather is a fog, fog is rain, and rain a deluge; where the sun represents the moon and the moon a cream cheese; in truth, whether we die here or elsewhere matters little, since we must die.”

“Only reflect, my good fellow,” said Athos, “it is but dying rather sooner.”

“Pooh! a little sooner or a little later, it isn’t worth quarreling over.”

“If I am astonished at anything,” remarked Porthos, sententiously, “it is that it has not already happened.”

“Oh, it will happen, you may be sure,” said d’Artagnan. “So it is agreed, and if Porthos makes no objection⁠—”

“I,” said Porthos, “I will do whatever you please; and besides, I think what the Comte de la Fère said just now is very good.”

“But your future career, d’Artagnan⁠—your ambition, Porthos?”

“Our future, our ambition!” replied d’Artagnan, with feverish volubility. “Need we think of that since we are to save the king? The king saved⁠—we shall assemble our friends together⁠—we will head the Puritans⁠—reconquer England; we shall re-enter London⁠—place him securely on his throne⁠—”

“And he will make us dukes and peers,” said Porthos, whose eyes sparkled with joy at this imaginary prospect.

“Or he will forget us,” added d’Artagnan.

“Oh!” said Porthos.

“Well, that has happened, friend Porthos. It seems to me that we once rendered Anne of Austria a service not much less than that which today we are trying to perform for Charles I; but, none the less, Anne of Austria has forgotten us for twenty years.”

“Well, in spite of that, d’Artagnan,” said Athos, “you are not sorry that you were useful to her?”

“No, indeed,” said d’Artagnan; “I admit even that in my darkest moments I find consolation in that remembrance.”

“You see, then, d’Artagnan, though princes often are ungrateful, God never is.”

“Athos,” said d’Artagnan, “I believe that were you to fall in with the devil, you would conduct yourself so well that you would take him with you to Heaven.”

“So, then?” said Athos, offering his hand to d’Artagnan.

“ ’Tis settled,” replied d’Artagnan. “I find England a charming country, and I stay⁠—but on one condition only.”

“What is it?”

“That I am not forced to learn English.”

“Well, now,” said Athos, triumphantly, “I swear to you, my friend, by the God who hears us⁠—I believe that there is a power watching over us, and that we shall all four see France again.”

“So be it!” said d’Artagnan, “but I⁠—I confess I have a contrary conviction.”

“Our good d’Artagnan,” said Aramis, “represents among us the opposition in parliament, which always says no, and always does aye.”

“But in the meantime saves the country,” added Athos.

“Well, now that everything is decided,” cried Porthos, rubbing his hands, “suppose we think of dinner! It seems to me that in the most critical positions of our lives we have always dined.”

“Oh! yes, speak of dinner in a country where for a feast they eat boiled mutton, and as a treat drink beer. What the devil did you come to such a country for, Athos? But I forgot,” added the Gascon, smiling, “pardon, I forgot you are no longer Athos; but never mind, let us hear your plan for dinner, Porthos.”

“My plan!”

“Yes, have you a plan?”

“No! I am hungry, that is all.”

Pardieu, if that is all, I am hungry, too; but it is not everything to be hungry, one must find something to eat, unless we browse on the grass, like our horses⁠—”

“Ah!” exclaimed Aramis, who was not quite so indifferent to the good things of the earth as Athos, “do you remember, when we were at Parpaillot, the beautiful oysters that we ate?”

“And the legs of mutton of the salt marshes,” said Porthos, smacking his lips.

“But,” suggested d’Artagnan, “have we not our friend Mousqueton, who managed for us so well at Chantilly, Porthos?”

“Yes,” said Porthos, “we have Mousqueton, but since he has been steward, he has become very heavy; never mind, let us call him, and to make sure that he will reply agreeably⁠—

“Here! Mouston,” cried Porthos.

Mouston appeared, with a most piteous face.

“What is the matter, my dear M. Mouston?” asked d’Artagnan. “Are you ill?”

“Sir, I am very hungry,” replied Mouston.

“Well, it is just for that reason that we have called you, my good M. Mouston. Could you not procure us a few of those nice little rabbits, and some of those delicious partridges, of which you used to make fricassees at the hotel⁠—? ’Faith, I do not remember the name of the hotel.”

“At the hotel of⁠—,” said Porthos; “by my faith⁠—nor do I remember it either.”

“It does not matter; and a few of those bottles of old Burgundy wine, which cured your master so quickly of his sprain!”

“Alas! sir,” said Mousqueton, “I much fear that what you ask for are very rare things in this detestable and barren country, and I think we should do better to go and seek hospitality from the owner of a little house we see on the fringe of the forest.”

“How! is there a house in the neighborhood?” asked d’Artagnan.

“Yes, sir,” replied Mousqueton.

“Well, let us, as you say, go and ask a dinner from the master of that house. What is your opinion, gentlemen, and does not M. Mouston’s suggestion appear to you full of sense?”

“Oh!” said Aramis, “suppose the master is a Puritan?”

“So much the better, mordioux!” replied d’Artagnan; “if he is a Puritan we will inform him of the capture of the king, and in honor of the news he will kill for us his fatted hens.”

“But if he should be a cavalier?” said Porthos.

“In that case we will put on an air of mourning and he will pluck for us his black fowls.”

“You are very happy,” exclaimed Athos, laughing, in spite of himself, at the sally of the irresistible Gascon; “for you see the bright side of everything.”

“What would you have?” said d’Artagnan. “I come from a land where there is not a cloud in the sky.”

“It is not like this, then,” said Porthos stretching out his hand to assure himself whether a chill sensation he felt on his cheek was not really caused by a drop of rain.

“Come, come,” said d’Artagnan, “more reason why we should start on our journey. Halloa, Grimaud!”

Grimaud appeared.

“Well, Grimaud, my friend, have you seen anything?” asked the Gascon.

“Nothing!” replied Grimaud.

“Those idiots!” cried Porthos, “they have not even pursued us. Oh! if we had been in their place!”

“Yes, they are wrong,” said d’Artagnan. “I would willingly have said two words to Mordaunt in this little desert. It is an excellent spot for bringing down a man in proper style.”

“I think, decidedly,” observed Aramis, “gentlemen, that the son hasn’t his mother’s energy.”

“What, my good fellow!” replied Athos, “wait awhile; we have scarcely left him two hours ago⁠—he does not know yet in what direction we came nor where we are. We may say that he is not equal to his mother when we put foot in France, if we are not poisoned or killed before then.”

“Meanwhile, let us dine,” suggested Porthos.

“I’faith, yes,” said Athos, “for I am hungry.”

“Look out for the black fowls!” cried Aramis.

And the four friends, guided by Mousqueton, took up the way toward the house, already almost restored to their former gayety; for they were now, as Athos had said, all four once more united and of single mind.


Respect to Fallen Majesty
As our fugitives approached the house, they found the ground cut up, as if a considerable body of horsemen had preceded them. Before the door the traces were yet more apparent; these horsemen, whoever they might be, had halted there.

“Egad!” cried d’Artagnan, “it’s quite clear that the king and his escort have been by here.”

“The devil!” said Porthos; “in that case they have eaten everything.”

“Bah!” said d’Artagnan, “they will have left a chicken, at least.” He dismounted and knocked on the door. There was no response.

He pushed open the door and found the first room empty and deserted.

“Well?” cried Porthos.

“I can see nobody,” said d’Artagnan. “Aha!”



At this word the three friends leaped from their horses and entered. D’Artagnan had already opened the door of the second room, and from the expression of his face it was clear that he there beheld some extraordinary object.

The three friends drew near and discovered a young man stretched on the ground, bathed in a pool of blood. It was evident that he had attempted to regain his bed, but had not had sufficient strength to do so.

Athos, who imagined that he saw him move, was the first to go up to him.

“Well?” inquired d’Artagnan.

“Well, if he is dead,” said Athos, “he has not been so long, for he is still warm. But no, his heart is beating. Ho, there, my friend!”

The wounded man heaved a sigh. D’Artagnan took some water in the hollow of his hand and threw it upon his face. The man opened his eyes, made an effort to raise his head, and fell back again. The wound was in the top of his skull and blood was flawing copiously.

Aramis dipped a cloth into some water and applied it to the gash. Again the wounded man opened his eyes and looked in astonishment at these strangers, who appeared to pity him.

“You are among friends,” said Athos, in English; “so cheer up, and tell us, if you have the strength to do so, what has happened?”

“The king,” muttered the wounded man, “the king is a prisoner.”

“You have seen him?” asked Aramis, in the same language.

The man made no reply.

“Make your mind easy,” resumed Athos, “we are all faithful servants of His Majesty.”

“Is what you tell me true?” asked the wounded man.

“On our honor as gentlemen.”

“Then I may tell you all. I am brother to Parry, His Majesty’s lackey.”

Athos and Aramis remembered that this was the name by which de Winter had called the man they had found in the passage of the king’s tent.

“We know him,” said Athos, “he never left the king.”

“Yes, that is he. Well, he thought of me, when he saw the king was taken, and as they were passing before the house he begged in the king’s name that they would stop, as the king was hungry. They brought him into this room and placed sentinels at the doors and windows. Parry knew this room, as he had often been to see me when the king was at Newcastle. He knew that there was a trap-door communicating with a cellar, from which one could get into the orchard. He made a sign, which I understood, but the king’s guards must have noticed it and held themselves on guard. I went out as if to fetch wood, passed through the subterranean passage into the cellar, and whilst Parry was gently bolting the door, pushed up the board and beckoned to the king to follow me. Alas! he would not. But Parry clasped his hands and implored him, and at last he agreed. I went on first, fortunately. The king was a few steps behind me, when suddenly I saw something rise up in front of me like a huge shadow. I wanted to cry out to warn the king, but that very moment I felt a blow as if the house was falling on my head, and fell insensible. When I came to myself again, I was stretched in the same place. I dragged myself as far as the yard. The king and his escort were no longer there. I spent perhaps an hour in coming from the yard to this place; then my strength gave out and I fainted again.”

“And now how are you feeling?”

“Very ill,” replied the wounded man.

“Can we do anything for you?” asked Athos.

“Help to put me on the bed; I think I shall feel better there.”

“Have you anyone to depend on for assistance?”

“My wife is at Durham and may return at any moment. But you⁠—is there nothing that you want?”

“We came here with the intention of asking for something to eat.”

“Alas, they have taken everything; there isn’t a morsel of bread in the house.”

“You hear, d’Artagnan?” said Athos; “we shall have to look elsewhere for our dinner.”

“It is all one to me now,” said d’Artagnan; “I am no longer hungry.”

“Faith! neither am I,” said Porthos.

They carried the man to his bed and called Grimaud to dress the wound. In the service of the four friends Grimaud had had so frequent occasion to make lint and bandages that he had become something of a surgeon.

In the meantime the fugitives had returned to the first room, where they took counsel together.

“Now,” said Aramis, “we know how the matter stands. The king and his escort have gone this way; we had better take the opposite direction, eh?”

Athos did not reply; he reflected.

“Yes,” said Porthos, “let us take the opposite direction; if we follow the escort we shall find everything devoured and die of hunger. What a confounded country this England is! This is the first time I have gone without my dinner for ten years, and it is generally my best meal.”

“What do you think, d’Artagnan?” asked Athos. “Do you agree with Aramis?”

“Not at all,” said d’Artagnan; “I am precisely of the contrary opinion.”

“What! you would follow the escort?” exclaimed Porthos, in dismay.

“No, I would join the escort.”

Athos’s eyes shone with joy.

“Join the escort!” cried Aramis.

“Let d’Artagnan speak,” said Athos; “you know he always has wise advice to give.”

“Clearly,” said d’Artagnan, “we must go where they will not look for us. Now, they will be far from looking for us among the Puritans; therefore, with the Puritans we must go.”

“Good, my friend, good!” said Athos. “It is excellent advice. I was about to give it when you anticipated me.”

“That, then, is your opinion?” asked Aramis.

“Yes. They will think we are trying to leave England and will search for us at the ports; meanwhile we shall reach London with the king. Once in London we shall be hard to find⁠—without considering,” continued Athos, throwing a glance at Aramis, “the chances that may come to us on the way.”

“Yes,” said Aramis, “I understand.”

“I, however, do not understand,” said Porthos. “But no matter; since it is at the same time the opinion of d’Artagnan and of Athos, it must be the best.”

“But,” said Aramis, “shall we not be suspected by Colonel Harrison?”

“Egad!” cried d’Artagnan, “he’s just the man I count upon. Colonel Harrison is one of our friends. We have met him twice at General Cromwell’s. He knows that we were sent from France by Monsieur Mazarin; he will consider us as brothers. Besides, is he not a butcher’s son? Well, then, Porthos shall show him how to knock down an ox with a blow of the fist, and I how to trip up a bull by taking him by the horns. That will insure his confidence.”

Athos smiled. “You are the best companion that I know, d’Artagnan,” he said, offering his hand to the Gascon; “and I am very happy in having found you again, my dear son.”

This was, as we have seen, the term which Athos applied to d’Artagnan in his more expansive moods.

At this moment Grimaud came in. He had stanched the wound and the man was better.

The four friends took leave of him and asked if they could deliver any message for him to his brother.

“Tell him,” answered the brave man, “to let the king know that they have not killed me outright. However insignificant I am, I am sure that His Majesty is concerned for me and blames himself for my death.”

“Be easy,” said d’Artagnan, “he will know all before night.”

The little troop recommenced their march, and at the end of two hours perceived a considerable body of horsemen about half a league ahead.

“My dear friends,” said d’Artagnan, “give your swords to Monsieur Mouston, who will return them to you at the proper time and place, and do not forget you are our prisoners.”

It was not long before they joined the escort. The king was riding in front, surrounded by troopers, and when he saw Athos and Aramis a glow of pleasure lighted his pale cheeks.

D’Artagnan passed to the head of the column, and leaving his friends under the guard of Porthos, went straight to Harrison, who recognized him as having met him at Cromwell’s and received him as politely as a man of his breeding and disposition could. It turned out as d’Artagnan had foreseen. The colonel neither had nor could have any suspicion.

They halted for the king to dine. This time, however, due precautions were taken to prevent any attempt at escape. In the large room of the hotel a small table was placed for him and a large one for the officers.

“Will you dine with me?” asked Harrison of d’Artagnan.

“Gad, I should be very happy, but I have my companion, Monsieur du Vallon, and the two prisoners, whom I cannot leave. Let us manage it better. Have a table set for us in a corner and send us whatever you like from yours.”

“Good,” answered Harrison.

The matter was arranged as d’Artagnan had suggested, and when he returned he found the king already seated at his little table, where Parry waited on him, Harrison and his officers sitting together at another table, and, in a corner, places reserved for himself and his companions.

The table at which the Puritan officers were seated was round, and whether by chance or coarse intention, Harrison sat with his back to the king.

The king saw the four gentlemen come in, but appeared to take no notice of them.

They sat down in such a manner as to turn their backs on nobody. The officers, table and that of the king were opposite to them.

“I’faith, colonel,” said d’Artagnan, “we are very grateful for your gracious invitation; for without you we ran the risk of going without dinner, as we have without breakfast. My friend here, Monsieur du Vallon, shares my gratitude, for he was particularly hungry.”

“And I am so still,” said Porthos bowing to Harrison.

“And how,” said Harrison, laughing, “did this serious calamity of going without breakfast happen to you?”

“In a very simple manner, colonel,” said d’Artagnan. “I was in a hurry to join you and took the road you had already gone by. You can understand our disappointment when, arriving at a pretty little house on the skirts of a wood, which at a distance had quite a gay appearance, with its red roof and green shutters, we found nothing but a poor wretch bathed⁠—Ah! colonel, pay my respects to the officer of yours who struck that blow.”

“Yes,” said Harrison, laughing, and looking over at one of the officers seated at his table. “When Groslow undertakes this kind of thing there’s no need to go over the ground a second time.”

“Ah! it was this gentleman?” said d’Artagnan, bowing to the officer. “I am sorry he does not speak French, that I might tender him my compliments.”

“I am ready to receive and return them, sir,” said the officer, in pretty good French, “for I resided three years in Paris.”

“Then, sir, allow me to assure you that your blow was so well directed that you have nearly killed your man.”

“Nearly? I thought I had quite,” said Groslow.

“No. It was a very near thing, but he is not dead.”

As he said this, d’Artagnan gave a glance at Parry, who was standing in front of the king, to show him that the news was meant for him.

The king, too, who had listened in the greatest agony, now breathed again.

“Hang it,” said Groslow, “I thought I had succeeded better. If it were not so far from here to the house I would return and finish him.”

“And you would do well, if you are afraid of his recovering; for you know, if a wound in the head does not kill at once, it is cured in a week.”

And d’Artagnan threw a second glance toward Parry, on whose face such an expression of joy was manifested that Charles stretched out his hand to him, smiling.

Parry bent over his master’s hand and kissed it respectfully.

“I’ve a great desire to drink the king’s health,” said Athos.

“Let me propose it, then,” said d’Artagnan.

“Do,” said Aramis.

Porthos looked at d’Artagnan, quite amazed at the resources with which his companion’s Gascon sharpness continually supplied him. D’Artagnan took up his camp tin cup, filled it with wine and arose.

“Gentlemen,” said he, “let us drink to him who presides at the repast. Here’s to our colonel, and let him know that we are always at his commands as far as London and farther.”

And as d’Artagnan, as he spoke, looked at Harrison, the colonel imagined the toast was for himself. He arose and bowed to the four friends, whose eyes were fixed on Charles, while Harrison emptied his glass without the slightest misgiving.

The king, in return, looked at the four gentlemen and drank with a smile full of nobility and gratitude.

“Come, gentlemen,” cried Harrison, regardless of his illustrious captive, “let us be off.”

“Where do we sleep, colonel?”

“At Thirsk,” replied Harrison.

“Parry,” said the king, rising too, “my horse; I desire to go to Thirsk.”

“Egad!” said d’Artagnan to Athos, “your king has thoroughly taken me, and I am quite at his service.”

“If what you say is sincere,” replied Athos, “he will never reach London.”

“How so?”

“Because before then we shall have carried him off.”

“Well, this time, Athos,” said d’Artagnan, “upon my word, you are mad.”

“Have you some plan in your head then?” asked Aramis.

“Ay!” said Porthos, “the thing would not be impossible with a good plan.”

“I have none,” said Athos; “but d’Artagnan will discover one.”

D’Artagnan shrugged his shoulders and they proceeded.