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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. M. Porthos has just been to your house, and has left
this for you, saying that the thing was important, and ought to
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 that I have already told you that if you ever
call me anything but Chevalier I will break your bones. Give
me the letter."

"How can you read?" asked Athos; "it is as dark as in ar^
oven." ^

"Wait," said Bazin, striking a light, and lighting a twisted
waxlight, with which he lighted the church candles. By this
light Aramis read the following epistle:

"My dear d'Herblay, — I learn from d'Artagnan, who has
embraced me on the part of the Count de la F^re and yourself,



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166 TWENTY. YEARS AFTER.

that you are setting out on a journey which may perhaps last
two or three montiis. As I know that you do not like to ask
money of your friend, I offer to you. Here are two hundred
pistoles, of which you can dispose, and return to me when an
opportunity occurs. Do not fear that you put me to incon-
venience; if I want money, I can send for some from one of my
chateaux; 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 large suhl

**I address you, because you know, that although I esteem
him from my heart, I am a little awed by Count de la Fere;
but it is understood, that what I oflFer'to you, I offer to 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 dis-
trust 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 ha<l joined Winter at the Porte St. Denis.



CHAPTER XLI.

IT IS PROVED THAT FIRST IMPULSES ARE BEST.

The three gentlemen took the road to Picardy— a road well
known to them, and recalling to Athos and Aramis some of
the most picturesque adventures of their youth.

At last, after traveling two days and one night, they arrived
at Boulogne towards the evening, favored by magnificent
weather.

"Gentlemen,*' said 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 en-
tirely 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'Epee
du Grand Henri for instance, refresh yourselves, and in two
hours be upon the jetty— our boat is waiting for us."

The matter being thus decided, the two friends found, about
two hundred paces further, the tavern indicated to them. The
horses were fed, but not unsaddled ;, the grooms up— for it
was already late — and their two masters, impatient to return,
appointed a place of meeting with them on the jetty, and de-
sited them on no account to exchange a word with anyone. It



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER, 167

IS needless to say that this caution concerned Blaisois alone;
it was long since it had become a useless one to Grimaud.

Athos and Aramis walked down towards the port. From
their dress, covered with dust, and from a certain easy man-
ner by which a man accustomed to travel is always recog-
nized, the two friends excited the attention of a few walkers.
There was more especially one upon whom their arrival had
produced a decided impression. This man, whom they had ob-
served from the first for the same reason as they had them-
selves been remarked by others, walked in a melancholy 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 smack fastened to a stake, and ready rigged as if wait-
ing to start.

"That is doubtless our boat," said Athos.

"Yes," replied Aramis, "and the sloop sailing about there
must be that which is to take us to our destination; now,"
continued he, "if only 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 Winter; but as his face be-
trayed no emotion at the mention of this name, it might have
been by chance that he had stopped.

"Gentlemen," said the man, who was young and pale, bow-
ing with much ease and politeness, "pardon my curiosity, but
I see you come from Paris, or at least that you are strangers
in Boulogne."

**We came from Paris, yes," replied Athos with the same
courtesy; "what have we at your service?"

"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; and that, by means of in-
trigues and promises, he makes the other half retain 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 questioner?" asked Aramis.

"I think he is either a clown who is dull, or a spy wishing
for information."

"But if he be a spy **

"What do you thmk a spy would be about here? We are



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168 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

not living in the time of Cardinal Richelieu, who would have
closed the ports on a bare suspicion."

"It matters not; you were wrong to reply to him as you
did," continued Aramis, following with his eyes the man
disappearing behind the cliffs.

"And you," said Athos, "you forget that you committed a
very different kind of imprudence in pronouncing Lord Win-
ter'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 that such a quarrel might possibly prevent my
reaching it. Besides, let me own something to you. I am anx-
ious 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 re-
semblance in that young man?"

"In beauty, or on the contrary?" asked Aramis, laughing.

"In ugliness, and as far as a man can resemble a woman!"

"Ah! egad!" cried Aramis, "you have made me think. No,
in truth, you are no visionary, my dear friend, and now that I
think of it— you — ^yes, i'faith, quite right— that delicate and com-
pressed mouth, those eyes which seem always at the command
of the intellect, and never of the heart! Yes, it is one of My
lady's spawn!"

"You laugh, Aramis."

**From habit, that is all; for I swear to you, I should like
no better than yourself to meet that viper in my path."

"Ah! here is Winter coming," said Athos.

"Good, one thing now is only wanting, and that 18 that our
grooms should keep us waiting."

•*No," said Athos, **I see them about twenty paces behind
my lord. I recognize Grimaud by his long legs and stiff gait;.
Tony carries our muskets."

"Then we shall embark to-night?" asked Aramis, glancing
towards the west, where the sun had left but one golden cloud,
which, dipping into the ocean, appeared by degrees to be ex-
tinguished.

"Probably so," said Athos.

"The deuce!" resumed Aramis; "I have little fancy for the
sea by day, but still less at night; the sounds of the winds and
waves, the frightful motion of the vessel — I confess that I
prefer to be in the convent of Noisy."

Athos smiled sadly, for it was ^Trident that he was thinking



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 169

of other things as he listened to his friend, and he moved
toward Winter.

"What ails our friend?" said Aramis. "He resembles one
of Dante's damned souls whose neck Satan has dislocated, and
who always look at their heels. What the devil makes him
stare thus behind him?"

When Winter perceived them, 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 Winter, ** nothing; and yet in passing the
heights it seemed to me " and he again turned around.

Athos glanced at Aramis.

"But let us go," continued 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 now reached the ladder which led to the boat
W^inter made the grooms who carried the arms, and the por-
ters with the luggage, descend first, and was about to fol-
low them.

At this moment, Athos perceived a man walking on the sea
shore 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, tot make a short cut, 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 distanced the shore under the ef-
forts of four strong rowers.

But the young man had begun to follow or rather to ad-
vance before the boat. She was obliged to advance between the
point of the jetty, surmounted by a beacon just lighted, and
a rock which jutted out. They saw him in the distance climb-
ing the rock, in order to look down upon the boat as she passed.

"Ay, but, said Aramis, that young man is decidedly a spy."

'Which is the young man?" asked Winter, turning round.

"He who followed us, and spoke to us, awaits us there;
see!"

Winter turned, and followed the direction of Aramis's fingers.
The beacon bathed its light upon 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 Winter, seizing the arm of Athos;
**it is he! I thought I recognized him, and I was not mistaken."



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1^70 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

"Who — ^him?" asked Aramis.

**My lady's son," replied Athos.

'The monk!" exclaimed Grimaud.

The young man heard the words and bent so forward over
the rock that one might have supposed he was about to pre-
cipitate himself from it

**Yes, it is I, my uncle. I, the son of My lady; I, the monk;
I, the secretary and friend of Cromwell; and I know you,
both you and your companions/*

There were in that boat three men, unquestionably brave,
and whose courage no man would have dared to dispute;
nevertheless, at that voice, that accent, and those gestures,
they felt a shudder of terror run through their veins. As for
Grimaud, his hair stood on end, and drops of sweat ran from
his brow.

"Ah!" exclaimed Aramis, "that is the nephew, the monk,
and the son of My lady, as he says himself."

"Alas! yes," murmured Winter.

"Then wait," said Aramis; and with the terrible coolness
which on important occasions he showed, he took one of the
muskets from Tony, leveled and aimed it at the young man,
who stood, like the accusing angel, upon the rock.

**Firel" cried Grimaud, unconsciously.

Athos ^ threw himself on the gun muzzle, and arrested the
shot which was about to be fired.

"The devil take you," said Aramis, "I had him so fair at
the point of my gun, I should have sent a ball into his breast."

"It is enough to kill 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, **and I know you now."

His mocking laugl»and threatening words passed over their
heads, carried on 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 being is a fiend; and ask the
uncle whether I was wrong to rid him of his nephew."

Winter only replied by a groan.

"It was all over with him," continued Aramis; "ah, I much
fear that, with your wisdom, you have made me commit a
great folly."

At this moment they were hailed by a voice from the sloop,
and a few seconds later, men, servants, and baggage were on
deck. The captain had been only awaiting his passengers, and
hardly had they put foot on board ere her head was turned



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 171

toward Hastings where they were to disembark. At this in-
stant the three friends turned, in spite of themselves, a last
look at the rock, upon tiie menacing figure which pursued
them and stood out boldly. Then a voice reached them once
more, sending out this threat: "We'll meet again, in Eng-
land."



CHAPTER XLH.

THE TE DEUM FOR THE VICTGBY OP LENS.

The bustle observed by Henrietta Maria, for which she had
vainly sought to discover a reason, was occasioned by the battle
of Lens, announced by the prince's messenger, the Due de
Chatillon, who had taken such a noble part in the engagement;
he was, besides, charged to hang twenty-five flags, taken from
the Lorraine party, as well as from the Spaniards, within the
vaulted roof of Notre Dame Cathedral.

On the following Sunday a "Te Deum" would be sung at
Notre Dame in honor of the victory. n

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 made an abuse of, and it produced
a great effect. At eight o'clock in the morning, the Queen's
guards, commanded by Guitaut, under whom was his nephew
Comminges, marched,^ preceded by drums and trumpets, to
file off from the Palais Royal as far as Notre Dame, a man-
oeuvre 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 gumboil which he had managed to procure momen-
tarily, by introducing an infinite number of kernels into one
side of his mouth, and had procured a whole holiday from
Bazin. On leaving Bazin, Friquet started off to the Royal
Palace, 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 slates, and pass-
ing from that exercise to that of the trumpet, which he count-
erfeited 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 Barri^re des Sergens to
the place of Notre Dame; and Friquet found in it true enjoy-
ment; but when at last the regiment separated, penetrated to
the heart of the city, and placed itself at the extremity of the
Rue St. Christophe, near the Rue Cocatrix, in which Broussel
lived, then Friquet remembered that he had not had breakfast;



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172 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

and after thinking to which side he had best turn his steps in
order to accomplish this important act of the day, he reflected
deeply, and decided that it should be Counsellor Broussel who
should bear the cost of his repast

In consequence he took a start, arrived breathlessly at the
counsellor's door, and knocked violently.

His mother, the counsellor's old servant, opened it.

"What dost thou here, good-for-nothing?" she said, **and
why are you 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 M. Bazin's permission — ^you know, mother, M. Bazin,
the verger? — I came to speak to M. Broussel."

**And what have you to say, boy, to M. 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, en-
chanted 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 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 a hedge where the King passes?"

Friquet counterfeited surprise — and turning his new cap
round his fingers, said:

"It is not astonishing for you to know it, M. Broussel, who
know everything; — but me, by the holy truth, I do not know it,
and I thought I would give you good advice : — you must not be
angry with me for that, M. Broussel."

"On the contrary, my boy; on the contrary, I am pleased
with your zeal. Dame Nanette, see for those apricots which
Mdme. 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, M. 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 counsellor placed himself
at the window; the street was completely deserted: but in Uie
distance was heard, like the noise of the tide rushing in, the
deep hum of the populous waves which increased around Notre
Dame.

The noise redoubled, when d'Artagnan, with a company of
Musketeers, placed himself at the gates of Notre Dame to se-
cure the service of the church. He had told Porthos to profit
by this opportunity to see the ceremony; and Porthos, in fiill



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 173

dress, mounted his finest horse, doing the part of an honorary
Musketeer, as d'Artagnan had so often done formerly. The ser-
geant of this company, an old veteran of the Spanish wars,
had recognized Porthos, his old companion, and very soon
all those who served under him had been placed in posses-
sion of heroic deeds concerning this honor to the Musketeers
of Treville. Porthos had not only been well received by
the company, but he was looked upon with great admiration.

At ten o'clock the guns of the Louvre announced the de-
parture of the King, and at last the King appeared with the
Queen in a gilded chariot Ten other carriages followed, con-
taining the ladies of honor, the ofl&cers of the royal household,
and all the court.

Just as the court took place in the cathedral, a carriage,
bearing the arms of Comnunges, quitted the line of court car-
riages, and proceeded slowly to the end of the Rue St. Chris-
tophe, 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, with a judi-
cious admittance of the light, the policeman began to watch
the length of the Rue Cocatrix, as if he was waiting for some
one.

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, always
on the alert, could alone have discovered them, had gone to
devour his apricots under the entablature of a house in the
square of Notre Dame.

The ceremony ended, and the King remounted his carriage.
Hardly had the police-officer observed Comminges at the end
of the Rue Cocatrix, than 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 do you here, rascal?" asked Comminges.

*! want to go into Master BrousseFs house, captain," replied
Friquet, in that coaxing tone which boys 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 de-
scends to the first floor 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 oflScer learnt that Master Broussel was at
home and at dinner.

Broussel was seated at the table with his family, having his
wife opposite to him, bis two daughter^ hy his side, and his



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174 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

son Louvi^res, whom we have already seen when the accident
happened to the counsellor — 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
Mdme. de Longueville had sent to him.

At the 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 some uneasiness; Louvieres became very pale,
and waited impatiently for the oflftcer to explain himself.

"Sir,** said Comminges, "I am the bearer of an order from
the King."

"Very well, sir," replied Broussel; "what is the order?"
And he held out his hand.

"I am^ commissioned to sdze your person, sir," said Com-
minges, 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 terrible thing at that period to be
inM)risoned by the enmity of the King.

Impossible!" cried a shrill voice from the bottom 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.
But 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 Counsellor Broussel is arrested! 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 below 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, recotpmenced with all her strength to make a chorus.

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 coach, they could not understand
it; but Friquet sprang from the house 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 horses.
The two guards who had remained in the lane, mounted to
the aid of Comminges; those who were in the coach opened
the doors and presented arms.



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 17S

"Don't you see them?** cried Friquet, "don't you see?— there
they are!'*

The coachman turned round and gave Friquet a cut with
his whip, which made him scream with pain.

"Ah! devil's coachman!" cried Friquet, "you're meddling



Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 18 of 38)