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hated by his master, has descended into the tomb, drawing after
him the king, whom he would not leave alone on earth, lest
he should destroy what he had done. So blind were his con-
temporaries that they regarded the Cardinal's death as a deliv-
erance; and I, even I, opposed the designs of the great man who
held the destinies of France in his hands. Raoul, learn how to
distinguish the king from royalty; the king is but a man;
royalty is the gift of God. Whenever you hesitate as to whom
you ought to serve, abandon the extenor, the material appear-
ance, for the invisible principle: for the invisible principle is
everything. Raoul, I seem to read your future destiny as through
a cloud. It will be happier, I thmk, than ours has been. Dif-
ferent in your fate to us— you will have a king without a min-
ister, whom you may serve, love, respect Should the king prove
a tyrant, for power begets tyranny, serve, love, respect roy-
alty, that Divine right, that celestial spark which makes this
dust still powerful and holy, so that we— gentlemen, neverthe-
less, of rank and condition — are as nothing in comparison with
that cold corpse extended here."

"I shall adore God, sir," said Raoul. "I shall respect royalty,
I shall serve the king, and I shall, if death be my lot, hope to
die for the king, for royalty, and for God. Have I, sir, com-
prehended your instructions?"

Athos smiled.

"Yours is a noble nature," he said, "here is your sword."

Raoul bent his knee to the ground.

"It was worn by my father, a loyal nobleman. I have worn
it in my turn, and it has sometimes not been disgraced when the
hilt was in my hand, and the sheath at my side. Should your
hand still be too weak to use this sword, Raoul, so much the


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better. You will have more time to learn to draw it only when
it ought to be used."

"Sir," replied Raoul, putting the sword to his lips as he re-
ceived it from the count, **I owe ever3rthing to you, and yet
this sword is the most precious gift you have made me. I shall
wear it, I swear to you, as a grateful man should do.**

"Tis well— arise, embrace me."

Raoul rose, and threw himself with emotion into the count's
arms. ^

"Adieu," faltered the count, who felt his heart die away
within him; "adieu, and think of me.**

"Oh I for ever and ever!" cried the youth; **oh! I swear to
you, sir, should any harm happen to me, that your name shall be
the last I shall utter — ^the remembrance of you, my last thought.**

Athos hastened upstairs to conceal his emotion, and re-
gained, with hurried steps, the porch where Olivain was wait-
ing with the horses.

"Olivain,** said Athos, showing the servant Raoul's shoulder
belt; "tighten the buckle of this sword, which falls a little
too low. You will accompany M. le Viscount till Grimaud has
rejoined you. You know, Raoul, Grimaud is an old and zealous
servant He will follow you."

'*Yes, sir," answered Raoul.

"Now to horse, that I may sec you depart."

Raoul obeyed.

"Raoul,** said the count; "my dear boy!"

"Sir — ^my beloved protector!" .

Athos waved his hand; he dared not trust himself to speak,
and Raoul went away, his head uncovered. Athos remained
motionless, looking after him until he turned the corner of the

Then the count threw the bridle of his horse into the hands of
a peasant, mounted again the steps, went into the cathedral,
there to kneel down in the darkest corner and to pray.



The game of tennis, which, upon a signal from Grimaud, M,
dc Beaufort had consented to play, began in the afternoon.
The duke was in full force, and beat La Ramee completely.

Four of the guards^ constantly near the prisoner, assisted
in picking up the tennis balls. When the game was over, the
duke, laughing at La Ramee for his bad play, offered these men
some money to go and drink his health, with their four other

The guards asked permission of La Ramee, who gave it to


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them, but not till the evening, however; until then he had busi-
ness, and the prisoner was not to be left alone.

Six o'clock came, and, although they were not to sit down to
table until seven o'clock, dinner was ready, and served up.
Upon the side-board appeared the colossal pie with the duke's
arms on it, and, seemingly cooked to a turn, as far as one could
judge by the golden color which illumined the crust

The rest of the dinner was to come.

Everyone was impatient, La Ram6e to sit down to table —
the guards to go and drink— the duke to escape.

Grimaud alone was calm as ever. One might have fancied
that Athos had educated him with a forethought of this great
event There were moments when, looking at Grimaud, the
duke asked himself if he was not dreaming, and if that marble
figure was TeaAly at his service, and would become animate when
the moment arrived for action.

La Ramee sent away the guards, desiring them to drink to the
duke's health, and, as soon as they were gone, he shut all the
doors, put the keys in his pocket, and showed the table to the
prince with an air which meant

"Whenever my lord pleases."

The prince looked at Grimaud — Grimaud looked at the clock —
it was hardly a quarter past six. The escape was fixed to take
place at seven o'clock. There were, therefore, three-quarters
of an hour to wait.

The duke, in order to delay a quarter of an hour, pretended to
be reading something that interested him, and said he wished
they would allow him to finish his chapter. La Ramee went up
to him and looked over his shoulder to see what book it was
that had so singular an influence over the prisoner as to make
him put off taking his dinner.

It was "Caesar's Commentaries," which La Ram^e had lent
him, contrary to the orders of the ^fovemor; and La Ramee
resolved never again to disobey those m junctions.

Meantime he uncorked the bottles, and went to smell if the
pie was good.

At half-past six the duke arose, and said very gravely:

**Certainly, Caesar was the greatest man of ancient times."

''You think so, my lord ?" answered La Ramee.


"Well, as for me, I prefer Hannibal because he left no Com-
mentaries," replied La Ramee, with his coar^ laugh.

The duke offered no reply, but sitting down at table, made
a sign that La Ramee should also seat himself opposite to him.
There is nothing so expressive as the face of an epicure who
finds himself before a well-spread table; so La Ramee, when
receiving his plate of soup from Grimaud, presented a type of
perfect bliss.

The duke smiled.


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"Zounds !" he said ; "I don't suppose there is a happier man
at this moment in the kingdom than you are!"

**You are right, my lord Duke/' answered the officer; "I don't
know a pieasanter sight than a well-loaded table; and when
added to that, he w^ho does the honors is the grandson of
Henry IV., you will, my lord Duke, easily comprehend that the
honor one receives doubles the pleasure one enjoys."

The duke bowed in his turn, and an imperceptible smile ap-
peared on Grimaud's face, who kept behind La Ramee.

**My dear La Ramee," said the duke, "you are the only man
who can turn a compliment as you do."

**No, my lord Duke," replied La Ram^e, in the fulness of his
heart; "I say what I think— there is no compliment in what I
say to you "

"Then you are attached to me?" asked the duke.

"To own the truth, I should be inconsolable if you were to
leave Vincennes."

**A droll way of showing your affliction." The duke meant
to say "affection."

"But, my lord," returned La Ramee; "what would you do
if you got out? Every folly you committed would embroil you
with the court, and they would put you into the Bastille, in-
stead of Vincennes. Now, M. de Chavigny is not amiable,
I allow; but M. du Tremblay is much worse."

"Indeed!" exclaimed the duke, who from time to time looked
at the clock, the fingers of which seemed to move with a sicken-
ing slowness; **but what could you expect from the brother of
a Capuchin monl^ brought up in the school of Cardinal

"Ah, my lord, it is a great happiness that the queen, who
always wished you well, had a fancy to send you here, where
there's promenade and a tennis court, good air, and a good

"In short," answered the duke, "if I comprehend you. La
Ramee, I am ungrateful for having ever thought of leaving
this place?"

"Oh! my lord Duke, 'tis the height of ingratitude; but your
highness has never seriously thought of it?"

"Yes," returned the duke; "I must confess I do sometimes
think of it"

"Still by one of your forty methods, your highness?"

"Yes— yes, indeed."

"My lord," said La Ramee, "now we are quite at our ease, and
enjoying ourselves, pray tell me one of those forty ways in-
vented by your highness."

"Willingly," answered the duke ; "give me the pie !*'

"I am listening," said La Ram^e, leaning back in his arm
chair, and raising his glass of Madeira to his lips, and winking
his eye that he might see the sun through the rich liquid that
he was about to taste.


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The duke glanced at the clock. In ten minutes it would strike

Grimaud placed the pie before the duke, who took a knife
with a silver blade to raise the upper crust; but La Ramee,
who was afraid of any harm happening to this fine work of art,
passed his knife, which had an iron blade, to the duke.

"Thank you. La Ramee," said the prisoner.

"Well, my lord! this famous invention of yours?**

"Must I tell you," replied the duke, "on what I most reckon,
and what I determine to try first?"

"Yes, that one! my lord."

"Well — I should hope, in the first instance, to have as a
keeper an honest fellow, like you."

"And you have one, my lord — ^well?"

"Having then a keeper like La Ramee, I should try also to
have introduced to me by some friend a man who would be
devoted to me, and who would assist me in my flight,"

"Come, come," said La Ramee, "not a bad idea."

"Isn't it ? For instance, the former serving man of some
brave gentleman, an enemy himself to Mazarin, as every gen-
tleman ought to be."

"Hush — don't let us talk politics, my lord !"

"Then my keeper will begin to trust this man, and to depend
on him; and then I shall have news from those without the
prison walls."

"Ah, yes! but how can the news be brought to you?"

"Nothing easier— in a game of tennis. I send a ball into the
moat; a man is there who picks it up; the ball contains a

"The devil it does!" said La Ram6e, scratching his head;
"you are wrong to tell me that, my lord. I shall watch the
men who pick up the balls."

The duke smiled.

"But,** resumed La Ramee, "this is only one way of corres-
ponding. Tis a good one, but not a sure one."

"Pardon me. For instance, I say to my friends, 'Be on a
certain day^ at a certain hour, at the other side of the moat,
with saddle horses.' "

"Well, what then?" — La Ram6e began to be uneasy — ^"unless
the horses have wings to mount up to the ramparts and to come
and fetch you."

"That's not needed. I have," replied the duke, "a way of
descending from the ramparts."


"A ladder of ropes."

"Yes — ^but," answered La Ramee, trying to laugh, "a ladder
of ropes can't be sent round a ball like a letter."

"No; but it may come in another way — ^in a pie, for instance,"
replied the duke. "The guards are away. Grimaud is here
itlpne; and Grimaud mi^ht be the man whom a friend has sent


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to second me in everything. The moment for my escape is
fixed — seven o'clock. Well — at a few minutes to seven "

**At a few minutes to seven?" cried La Ramee, the cold sweat
on his brow.

"At a few minutes to seven," returned the duke, **I raise the
crust of the pie. I find in it two poignards, a ladder of ropes
and a gag. I clasp one of the poignards to La Ramee's breast,
and I say to him, 'My friend, I am sorry for it, but if you stir
or utter a cry you are a dead man !' " ,

The duke, in pronouncing these words, suited the action to the
words. He was standing near the officer, and he directed the
point of the poignard in such a manner, close to La Ramee*s
heart, that there could be no doubt in the mind of that individ-
ual as to his determination. Meanwhile, Grimaud, still mute as
ever, drew from the pie the rope ladder and the gag.

La Ramee followed all these objects with his eyes; his alarm
every moment increasing.

**0h, my lord!" he cried, with an expression of stupefaction
in his face ; "you haven't the heart to Idll me !"

"No; not if you do not oppose my flight."

At this moment the clock struck.

"Seven o'clock!" said Grimaud, who had not spoken a word.

La Ramee made one movement, in order to satisfy his con-
science. The duke frowned; the officer felt the point of the
poignard, which, having penetrated through his clothes, was
close to his heart.

"Let us despatch," said the duke.

"My lord — one last favor."

"What? speak — ^make haste."

"Bind my arms, my lord, fast — ^that I may not be considered
as your accomplice."

The duke undid his belt and gave it to Grimaud, who tied
La Ramee in such a wav as to satisfy him.

"Your feet also," said Grimaud.

I^ Ramee stretched out his legs, Grimaud took a napkin, tore
it into strips, and tied La Ramee's feet together. /

"Now, my lord," said the poor man, "let me have the choke
pear. I ask for it; without it I would be tried in a court of
justice because I did not call out. Thrust it into my mouth,
my lord, thrust it in/'

In a second La Ramee was gagged, and lay prostrate. Two
or three chairs were thrown down, as if there had been a
struggle. ^ Grimaud then took from the pocket of the officer all
the keys it contained, and first opened the door of the room in
which they were, then shut it, and double-locked it, and both
he and the duke proceeded rapidly down the gallery, which led
to the little inclosure. At last they reached the tennis-court.
It was completely deserted. No sentinels — no one at the

The duke ran on to the rampart, and perceived, on the other


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side of the ditch, three cavaliers with two riding horses. The
duke exchanged a signal with them. It was well for him that
they were there.

Grimaud, meantime, undid the means of escape.

This was not, however, a rope-ladder, but a ball of silk cord,
with a narrow board, which was to pass between the legs and to
unwind itself by the weight of the person who sat astride
upon it.

"Go!** said the duke.

Instantly, Grimaud, sitting upon the board, as if on horse-
back, commenced his perilous descent.

The duke followed him with his eyes, with involuntary ter-
ror. He had gone down about three-quarters of the length of the
wall when the cord broke. Grimaud fell— precipitated into the

The duke uttered a cry, but Grimaud did not give a single
moan. He must have been dreadfully hurt, for he did not stir
from the place where he fell.

Immediately, one of the men who were waiting, slipped down
into the moat, tied under Grimaud's shoulders the end of a
cord, and the other two, who held the other end, drew Grimaud
to them.

''Descend, my lord," said the man in the moat. "There arc
only fifteen feet more from the top down here, and the grass is

The duke had already begun to descend. His task was the
more difficult, as there was no board to support him. He was
obliged to let himself down by his hands, and froth a height of
fifty feet But, as we have said, he was active, strong, and full
of presence of mind. In less than five minutes he arrived at the
end of the cord. He was then only fifteen feet from the ground,
as the gentleman below had told him. He let go the ropej and
fell upon his feet, without receiving any injury.

He instantly began to climb up the slope of the moat, on the
top of which he met de Roche fort The other two gentlemen
were unknown to him. Grimaud, in a swoon, was tied onto a

"Gentlemen," said the duke, **I shall thank you later; now we
have not a moment to lose. On, thenl on! those who love me
follow me!"

And he jumped on his horse, and set off on full gallop, draw-
ing in the fresh air, and crying out, with an expression of face
which it would be impossible to describe:

"Free! free! freel"


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At Blois d'Artagnan received the money paid to him by Maz-
arin for any future services he might render the Cardinal.

From Blois to Paris was a journey of four days for ordinary
travelers, but d'Artagnan arrived on the third day at the Saint
Denis Bars. In turning the corner of the Rue Montmartre,
in order to reach the Hotel de la Chevrette, where
he had appointed Porthos to meet him, he saw, at one
of the windows of the hotd, his friend Porthos,
dressed in a sky-blue waistcoat embroidered with silver, gaping
till he showed all down his throat; whilst the peo-
ple passing by admiringly gazed at this gentleman, hand-
some and rich, who seemed so weary of his riches and his

Porthos, seeing d'Artagnan, hastened to receive him on the
threshold of the hotel.

**Ah! my dear friend!" he cried, "what bad stabling for my
horses here!"

** Indeed;" said d'Artagnan; **I am most unhappy to hear it,
on account of those fine animals."

**And I also — I was also wretchedly off," he answered, moving
backwards and forwards as he spoke — "and had it not been for
the hostess," he added, with his air of vulgar self-complacency,
"who is very agreeable, and understands a joke, I should have
got a lodging elsewhere."

"Yes, I understand," said d'Artagnan, "the air of La Rue
Tiquetonne is not like that of Pierref onds ; but console yourself,
I shall soon conduct you to one much better."

Then, taking Porthos aside:

"My dear du Vallon," he said, "here you are in full dress
most fortunately, for I shall take you directly to the Cardi-

"Gracious me! — ^really!" cried Porthos, opening his great,
wondering eyes. "A presentation? — ^indeed!"

"Does that alarm you?"

"No; but it agitates me."

"Oh! don't be distressed; you have not to deal with the other
Cardinal; and this one will not oppress you by his dignity."

"'Tis the same thing—you understand me, d'Artagaan— a

"There's no court now. Alas!"

"The Queen!"

"I was going to say, there's no longer a Queen. The Queen!
Be assured we shall not see her."

"But you, my friend, are you not going to change your dress?"


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**No, I shall go as I am. This traveling dress will show the
Cardinal my haste to obey his commands.

They set out on Vulcan and Bayard, followed by Mousqueton
on Phoebus, and arrived at the Palais Royal at about a quarter to
seven. The streets were crowded, for it was a holiday — and the
crowd looked in wonder at these two cavaliers ; one as fresh as if
he had come out of a band-box, and the other so covered with
dust that he looked as though he had come from a field of

Mousqueton also attracted attention; and as the romance of
Don Quixote was then the fashion, they said that he was San-
cho, who, after having lost one master, had found two.

On reaching the palace, d'Artagnan sent in to his Eminence
the letter in which he had been ordered to return without delay.
He was soon ordered to enter into the presence of the Cardinal.

"Courage 1" he whispered to Porthos, as they proceeded.

"Do not be intimidated. Believe me, the eye of the eagle is
closed forever. We have only the vulture to deal with. Hold
yourself up stiff, and do not bend too low to this Italian; that
might give him a poor idea of us.**

" Good ! '* answered Porthos. ^ Good 1 " ^

Mazarin was in his study, working at a list of pensions and
benefices, of which he was trying to reduce the number. He saw
d'Artagnan and Porthos enter with pleasure, yet showed no joy
in his countenance.

**Ah! you, is it? Lieutenant, you have been very prompt.
Tis well Welcome to ye.**

"Thanks, my lord. Here I am at your Eminence's service,
as well as M. du Vallon, one of my old friends, who used to
conceal his nobility under the name of Porthos."

Porthos bowed to the Cardinal.

**A magnificent cavalier,** remarked Mazarin.

Porthos turned his head to the left and to the right, and drew
himself up with a movement full of dignity.

**The best swordsman in the kingdom, my lord,** said d*Ar-

Porthos bowed to his friend.

Mazarin was fond of fine soldiers, as in later times, Fred-
erick of Prussia used to be. He admired strong hands, broad
shoulders, and steady eyes. He seemed to see before him the sal-
vation of his administration, and of the kingdom, sculptured in
flesh and bone. He remembered that the old association of
Musketeers was composed of four persons.

**And your two other friends?'* he asked.

Porthos opened his mouth, thinking it a good opportunity to
put in a word in his turn; d'Artagnan checked him by a glance
from the corner of his eye.

•*They are prevented at this moment, but will join us later."

Mazarin coughed a little.


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"And this gentleman, being disengaged, takes to the service
willingly?" he asked.

**Yes, my lord, and from complete devotion to the cause,
for M. de Bracieux is rich."

"Fifty thousand francs a year," said Porthos.

These were the first words he had spoken.

"From pure zeal?" resumed Mazarin with his artful smile,
"from pure zeal and devotion, then? What does your friend
wish for as the reward of his devotion?"

D'Artagnan was about to explain that the aim and end of the
zeal of Porthos was, that one of his estates should be raised into
a barony, when a great noise was heard in the ante-chamber;
at the same time the door of the study was burst open, and a
man, covered with dust, rushed into it, exclaiming:

"My lord! my lord the Cardinal!"

Mazarin thought that some one was going to assassinate him,
and he drew back, pushing his chair on the castors. D'Artag-
nan and Porthos moved so as to plant themselves between the
person entering and the Cardinal.

"Well, sir," exclaimed Mazarin, "what's the matter? and why
do you rush in here as if you were going into a market-place?"

"My lord," replied the messenger, "I wish to speak to your
Eminence in secret I am M. du Poins, an officer in the guards,
on duty at Vincennes."

Mazariuj'perceiving by the paleness and agitation of the mes-
senger that he had something of importance to say, made a sign
that d'Artagnan and Porthos should retire.

When they were alone the man stammered :

"My lord, the Duke de Beaufort has contrived to escape
from the castle of Vincennes."

Mazarin uttered a cry, and became paler than he who brought
this news. He fell, almost fainting, back in his chair.

"Escaped? M. de Beaufort escaped?"

"My lord, from the top of the terrace, I saw him run off."

"And you did not fire on him?"

"He was beyond shot"

"Where was M. Chavigny?"


"And La Ramee?"

"He was found locked up in the prisoner's room, a gag in his
mouth, and a poignard near Kim."

"But the man who was under him?"

**He was an accomplice of the duke's and escaped with him."

tMazarin groaned.

"My lord." said d'Artagnan, advancing towards the Cardinal,
"it seems to me that your Eminence is losing precious time.
It may still be possible to trace the prisoner. France is large;
the nearest frontier is sixty leagues distant."

"And who is to pursue him?" cried Mazarin.


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"I! Egad! if my lord orders me to pursue the devil, I wo^ld
do so, and seize him by the horns and bring him back again."

"'And I, too," said Porthos. .

"Go, then, take what guards you find here, and pursue him."

"You command us, my lord, to do so?"

"And I sign my orders," said Mazarin, taking a piece of paper,
and writing some lines, "M. du Vallon, your barony is on the back
of de Beaufort's horse; you have nothing to do but to overtake
it. As for you, my dear lieutenant, I promise you nothing; but
if you bring him back to me, dead or alive, you may ask all you

"To horse, Porthos!" said d'Artagnan, taking him by the hand.

"Coming," replied Porthos, with his sublime composure.

They descended the great staircase, taking with them all the
guards that they Sound on the road, and crying out "To horse!
To horse!" and they spurred on their horses, which set off along

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 10 of 38)