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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 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 the Queen of England? D'Artag-
nan is with Mazarin! Pardon my frankness, dear friend. I
neither hate nor blame the Cardinal, and your opinions will
be held ever sacred by me; do you happen to belong to this

"M. d'Artagnan," replied Athos, "is in the service; he is
a soldier and obeys the constituted authority: M. d'Artag-
nan is not rich, and has need of his pay as lieutenant to enable


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him to live. Millionaires like yourself, my lord, are rare in
France.** ^^

"Alas!" said 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.

**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 married?"

"Ah! as to that, no," replied Athos, laughing.

"Because that young man — so handsome, so elegant, so
polished ."

"He is a child that 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 Porthos and Aramis?"

"And add d'Artagnan, too, my lord. We still remain four
friends devoted to each other; but when it becomes a question
of serving the Cardinal, or of fighting, of being Mazarinists
or Frondists, then we are only two."

"Is Aramis with d'Artagnan?" asked Lord Winter.

"No," said Athos: "Aramis does me the honor to share my

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

"He has become a priest, that is all."

"You alarm me; his profession must have made him re-
nounce any great undertakings."

"On the contrary," said Athos, smiling, "he has never been
so much a Musketeer as since he became a priest, and you
will find him a true^ soldier."

"Could you engage to bring him to me to-morrow morning
at ten o'clock, on the Louvre Bridge?"

"Oh, ho!" exclaimed Athos, smiling, "you have a duel in

"Yes, Count, and a splendid duel, too; one in which I hope
you will take a hand."

"Where are we to go to, my lord?"

"To the Queen of England, who has desired me to present
you to her."

"This is an enigma," said Athos; "but it matters not; from
the moment that you have guessed the key, I ask no further.
Will your lordship do me the honor to sup with me?"

"Thanks, Count, no," replied Winter. "I own to you that
that young man's visit has taken away my appetite, and will
probably deprive me of 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 ter-


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rifles me, my lord; for there lies in him a sanguinary pre-

"What occupies him in England?"

"He is one of Crom well's most enthusiastic disciples."

"But what has attached him to this 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 Winter."

"And what is his name now?"


"A Puritan, yet, disguised as z monk, he travels alone in

"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 fore-
stalled. Everything is clear to me now. Farewell, Coimt, till

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

"I have Tony, a good but simple youth."

"Halloa there, ' Grimaud, Olivain, and Blaisois, call the vis-
count here, and take muskets with you."

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

"Viscount,' said Athos to Raoul as he entered, "you will
escort my lord as far as his hotel, and permit no one to ap-
proach him."

"Oh! Count," said 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."

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 little
procession, bearing the torch in one hand and the musket in the
other, until it reached the door of Winter's inn, when, strik-
ing on the door with his fist, he bowed to my lord without
saying a word.

The same order was pursued in returning ; nor did Grimaud's
searching glance discover anything of a suspicious appear-
ance, save a dark shadow in ambuscade at the corner of the
Quai. He fancied also that in going he had already observed


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the street watcher who had attracted his attention. He pushed
on towards him, but before he could reach it, the shadow had
disappeared into an alley, in which Grimaud deemed it scarcely
prudent to pursue it.

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

"Already up, Raoul!** exclaimed the count.

"Yes, sir," replied Raoul with a 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 — I have the
wish to go and pass a day at Blois. You look at me, and 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;
go where 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 Chev-
reuse, so kind to me, and to whom I owe my introduction to
the prince."

"And you ought to thank her, Raoul. Well, try Luynes
Mansion, Raoul, and ask if the duchess can receive you. I am
glad to see that you pay attention to social usages. You must
take Grimaud and Olivain."

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 lot. Nature has made us thus; she looks ahead.
He certainly likes that girl, but will he love me less because
he loves others?"

Everything was ready at ten o'clock for their journey, and
as Athos was seeing Raoul mount, a groom rode up from the
Duchess de Chevreuse. He was charged to tell the Count
de la Fere that she had learnt the return of her youthful
protege, and also the manner in which he had conducted him-
self 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 her residence."

Then, with renewed instructions to Grimaud, Athos signi-
fied 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.


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Athos had not failed to send early to Aramis, and had given
his letter to Blaisois, the only serving-man whom he had left
Blaisois found Bazin donning his beadle's gown, his services
being required that day at Church.

Athos had desired Blaisois to try and speak to Aramis him-
self. Blaisois, a tall, simple youth, who understood nothing
but what he was desired; asked, therefore, for the Abbi
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 a clerical guise, was little
discomposed at his denials, and wanted , to pass at all risks,
believing, too, that he with whom he had to do was endowed
with the virtues of his cloth — namely, patience and Christian

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

"You insulted the Church; my friend, you have insulted the

At this moment Aramis, aroused by this unusual disturb-
ance, 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 Count de la Fere," said Aramis. "All right*
And he retired into his room without even asking the cause
of so much noise.

At ten o'clock, Athos, with his habitual exactitude, was wait-
ing on the Pont du Louvre, and was almost immediately joined
by Lord Winter.

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

"Patience," said Athos, whose eyes were fixed in the direc-
tion of the Rue du Bac, "patience; I see a priest giving a
cuff to a man, and a bow to a woman — ^that must be Aramis."

It was he, in truth; having run against a young storekeeper
who was gaping at the crows, and who had splashed him,
Aramis with one blow of his fist had sent 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 Winter.

"Where arc we going?" inquired Aramis; "are we going to


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fight there, 'faith? I carry no sword this morning, and cannot
return home to procure one."

"No,** said Lord Winter, "we are going to pay a visit to the
Queen of England."

"Oh, very well," replied Aramis; then, bending his face
down to Athos* ear, "what is the object of this visit?" con-
tinued he.

"I* faith, I know not; some evidence required from us, per-

"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 some reproofs; and since I am used to give it to so
many, I do not like to receive it myself."

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

"Truly — ^yes, let us go."

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

It was impossible, in daylight, for the impoverished state af
the habitation, which avaricious charity had conceded to an
unfortunate Queen, to pass unnoticed by Athos, Aramis, and
even the Englishman.

"Mazarin is better lodged," said Aramis.

"Mazarin is almost King," answered Athos; "and Mdmc
Henrietta is hardly yet a Queen."

The Queen appeared to be impatiently expecting them, for
at the first slight noise which she heard in the hall leading to
her room, she came herself to the door to receive the cour-
tiers of the days of misfortune. ^ ^

"Enter and be welcome, gentlemen," she said.
^ The gentlemen entered and remained standing, but at a mo-
tion from the Queen, they seated themselves. Athos was calnn
and grave, but Aramis was furious; the sight of such royal
misery exasperated him, and his eyes examined every new
trace of poverty which presented itself.

"You are admiring the luxury I enjoy?" said the Queen,
glancing sadly around her.

"Madam," replied Aramis, "I must ask your pardon, but I
know not how to hide my indignation at seeing how a daugh-
ter of Henry IV. is treated at the court of France."

**M. Aramis is not a military officer?" asked the Queen of
Lord Winter.

"That gentleman is the Abbe d'Herblay," replied he.

Aramis blushed. "Madam," he said, "I am a priest, 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 again. This morning,
being ignorant that I should have the honor of seeing your


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majesty, I encumbered myself with this dress, but you will
find me no less a man devoted to vour majesty's service, in
whatever you see fit to command me. *

"The Abbe d'Herblay," tesumed Winter, "is one of those
gallant Musketeers belonging to his majesty, King Louis
XIII., of whom I have spoken to you, madam." Then, turn-
ing towards Athos, he continued: "And this gentleman is
that noble Count de la Fere, whose high reputation is so well
known to your majesty."

"Ah!" exclaimed the Queen, **a few years ago I had around
mie, gentlemen, treasures, and armies, and by the lifting of a
finger all these were occupied in my service. To-day, look
around you, and it may astonish you, that in order to accom-
plish a plan which is dearer to me than life, I have only Lord
Winter, the friend of twenty years, apd you, gentlemen, whom
I see for the first time, and whom I know but as my

"It is enough," said Athos, bowing low, "if the life of three
men can purchase yours, madam."

"I thank you, gentlemen. But hear me," continued she, "I
am not only the most miserable of queens, but the most un-
happy of mothers, the most despairing 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 arts of the
ambitious and the blows of our foes ; my husband, the King,
is leading in England so wretched an existence, that it is no
exaggeration to say that he seeks death, as a thing to be de-
sired. Hold! gentlemen, there is a letter conveyed to me by
Lord Winter. Read it."

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

**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 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 Winter turned to her
with a glance which said, Did I not answer for them to you?"

"But you, sir?" said the Queen to Aramis.

"I, madam," replied he, "follow M. de la Fere wherever he
leads, even were it 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 his 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^


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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; sur-
rounded by the Scotch whom he distrusts, although he be
himself a Scotchman. Since Lord Winter left him I am dis-
tracted, sirs. I ask much, tpo much perhaps, for I have no
title to ask it Go to England, join the King, be his friends,
his protectors, march to battle at his side, and be near him in
the interior of his house, where conspiracies, more dangerous
than the perils of war, increase 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 every one. I swear it before Heaven."

And the Queen raised her eyes solemnly upwards.

"Madam,' said Athos, "when must we set out? we arc yours,
body and soul."

"Oh, sirs," said the Queen, moved to tears, "this is the first
time for five years that I have felt anything like 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 which 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 re-
main here. Have you any counsel to give me? From this
moment, I become your friend, and since you are engaged in
my affairs, I ought to occupy myself in yours."

"Madam," replied Athos, "I have only to ask your majesty's

"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 hav-
ing two letters prepared for the King — one from herself, and
one written by the Princess Henrietta — she gave one to Athos
and the other to Aramis, 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 Winter stopped.

"Not to arouse suspicions, gentlemen," said he, **go your
way, and I will go mine, jind this evening at nine o'clock we
will assemble again at the gate St. Denis. We will travel on
horseback as far as our horses can go, and afterwards we can
take the post. Once more, let me thank you, my good friends,
thank you in my own name, and in the Queen's.

The three gentlemen then shook hands. Lord Winter leav-
ing Athos and Aramis 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!"


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"As I shall ever receive the defense of a great principle, my
dear d'Herblay. Monarchs are only strong by the aid of the
aristocracy, but aristocracy cannot exist without 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 all people who drink beer.**

"Would it be better to remain here?" said Athos, **and take
a turn in the Bastille, or in Vincennes, for having favored
the escape of Beaufort? I*faith, Aramis, believe me there is
little left to regret. We avoid imprisonment, and we take 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 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 Winter is rich."

"Lord Winter is ruined for the moment, for Cromwell se-
questrates all his 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 put no one into our confidence. And, moreover, in
taking such a step, we should appear to be doubtful of our-
selves. Let us regret to ourselves for our own sakes, but not
spes^ of it"

"You are right; but what are you going to do till this even-
ing? I have two things to postpone.

"And what are they?"

"First, a thrust with the Coadjutor, whom I met last night
at Mdme. de Rambouillet*s ; 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 de Retz's appearance. Take my advice,
leave things 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. But now we must part. I have one or
two visits to make, and a letter 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 vis-
its to make, and as many letters to write."

They then separated. Athos went to pay a visit to Mdme.


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de Vendome, left his name at Mdme. de Chevreuse's, and wrote
the following letter to d'Artagnan:

"Dear Friend,— I am about to set off with Aramis on im-
portant business. I wished to make my farewell to you, but
time did not allow me. Remember that I write to you now to
repeat how much affection I have for you.

Raoul is gone to Blois, and is ignorant of my departure;
watch over him in my absence as much as you possibly caR,
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, and of which I send you the key.

** Embrace Porthos for Aramis and myself. Adieu, perhaps

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-bye," he said, "I think that we are decidedly wrong
to depart thus, without leaving a line for Porthos and d'Ar-

"The thing is done, dear friend," said Athos; **I foresaw
that, and have embraced them both for you and myself."

"You arc 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 hav-
ing seen d'Artagnan; but that rascal is so cunning, he might
have guessed our project."

When supper was over Blaisois entered. "Sir," said he, "here
is M. d'Artagnan's answer."

"But I did not tell you there was an answer, stupid!" said

"And I set off without waiting for one, but he called me
back and gave me this;" and he presented a little bag made
of leather, round and ringing.

Athos opened it, and began by drawing from it a little note,
written in these terms:

"My dear Count, — ^When one travels— and especially for
three months— one has never enough money. Now, recalling
our former time of distress, I send you the half of 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 your heart and your sword one might
pass through everjrthing. Godspeed, then, and not farewell


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''It is unnecessary to say tkat from the day I saw Raoul I
loved him; nevertheless, believe that 1 heartily pray to God
that I may not become his father, however much I might be
proud of such a son. Yours, d'Artagnan.

"P. S. — Be it well understood that the fifty louis which I send
are equally for Aramis as for you, and for you as for Aramis.*'

Athos smiled, and his fine eyes were dimmed by tears. D'Ar-
tagnan, who had loved him so tenderly, loved him still, Maz-
arinist though he was.

"There are the fifty louis, i' faith," Said Aramis, emptying the
purse on the table, **all bearing the efl5gy 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 had I no need of it, I
should still keep it. What is oflFered 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 that you are of my opinion.
Then, 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 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.

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 17 of 38)