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to one who was said to be a model of courage, address and

Possessed by this idea, the Cardinal resolved to know all
about d'Artagnan immediately; of course he could not inquire
from d'Artagnan himself who he was; so, on reaching the
walls which surrounded the Palais Royal, the Cardinal knocked
at a little door, and after thanking d'Artagnan, and requesting
him to wait in the court-yard, he made a sign for Guitaut to fol-
low him in.

"My dear friend," said the Cardinal, leaning, as they walked


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through the gardens, on his arm, "you told me just now that
you have been twenty years in the Queen's service."

"Yes, 'tis true; I have," returned Guitaut.

"Now, my dear Guitaut, I have often remarked that in ad-
liition to your^ courage — ^which is indisputable, and to your
Jdelity — ^which is invincible, you possess an admirable memory,
ilence, I brought you here to ask," returned Mazarin, "if you
have taken any particular notice of our Lieutenant of Muske-

"D'Artagnan? I do not care to notice him particularly;
he's an old acquaintance, a Gascon. De Treville knows him,
and esteems him greatly, and de Treville, as you know, is one
of the Queen's greatest friends. As a soldier, the man ranks
well; he did his duty, and even more than his duty, at the
siege of Rochelle — ^as well as at Suze and Perpignan."

"But you know, Guitaut, we poor ministers often want men
with other qualities besides courage; we want men of talent.
Pray was not d'Artagnan, in the time of the Cardinal, mixed
up in some* intrigue from which he came out, according to re-
port, rather cleverly?"

"My lord, as to the report you allude to" — Guitaut perceived
that the Cardinal wished to make him speak out — "I know
nothing but what the public knows. Consult some politician
of the period of which you speak, and if you pay well for it,
you will certainly get to know all you want."

Mazarin, with a grimace which he always made when spoken
to about money— "People must be paid— one can't do otherwise,"
he said.

"There is one man who could inform you — if he would

"Birds that can sing and won't sing, must be made to sing,"
observed the Italian.

"Well, it is Count de Rochefort, but he has disappeared these
four or five years, and I have lost the run of him."

"/ know, Guitaut," said Mazarin.

"Well, then, how is it that your Eminence complained just
now of want of information on some points?"

"You think," resumed Mazarin, "that Rochefort "

"He was Cardinal Richelieu's familiar spirit, my lord. I warn
you however, his services will be expensive. The Cardinal
was lavish to his underlings."

"Yes, yes, Guitaut," said Mazarin; "Richelieu was a great
man, a very great man, but he had that defect Thanks, Gui-
taut; I shall benefit by your advice this very evening."

Here they separated, and bidding adieu to Guitaut in the
court of the Palais Royal, Mazarin approached an officer who
was walking up and down within that enclosure.

It was d'Artagnan, who was waiting for him.

"Come hither," said Mazarin, in his softest voice. "I have
arf order to ^ve you,"


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D'Artagnan bent low, and, following the Cardinal up the
secret staircase, soon found himself in the study whence he
had first set out.

The Cardinal seated himself before his bureau, and taking
a sheet of paper, wrote some lines upon it whilst d'Artagnan
remained standing imperturbable, and without showing either
impatience or curiosity. He was like a military automaton
acting (or, rather, obe)dng the will of others) upon springs.

The Cardinal folded and sealed his letter.

"M. d'Artagnan," he said, **you are to take this despatch to the
Bastille, and to bring back here the person whom it concerns.
You must take a carriage and an escort, and guard the prisoner

D'Artagnan took the letter, touched his hat with his hand,
turned round upon his heel like a drill-sergeant and, a moment
afterwards, was heard in his dry and monotonous tone, com-
manding, "Four men and an escort, a carriage and a horse."
Five minutes afterwards the wheels of the carriage and the
horses' shoes were heard resounding on the pavement of the



D'Artagnan arrived at the Bastille just as it was striking
half-past eight. His visit was announced to the governor,
who, on hearing that he came from the Cardinal, went to meet
him,^ and received him at the top of the great flight of steps
outside the door. The governor of the Bastille was Trem-
blay who received d'Artagnan with extreme politeness, and
invited him to sit down with him to supper, of which he was
himself about to partake.

"I should be cfelighted to do so," was the reply; "but if I
am not much mistaken, the words, *In haste,' are written on
the envelope of the letter which I brought."

"You are right," said du Tremblay. "Halloa, major, tell
them to order number 256 to come down stairs."

A bell sounded.

"I must leave you," said du Tremblay; "I am sent for to
sign the release of the prisoner. I shall be happy to meet you
again, sir."

"May the devil annihilate me if I return your wish!" mur-
mured d'Artagnan, but sweetly smiling as he thought out the
imprecation ; "I declare I feel quite ill, after being only five min-
utes in the court-yard. Go to — go to ! I should rather die upon
straw, than hoard up five thousand a year by being governor
of the Bastille."

He had scarcely finished this soliloquy before the prisoner ar-


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rived. On seeing him d*Artagnan could hardly suppress a start
of surprise. The prisoner did not seem, however, to recog-
nize the Musketeer as he stepped into the vehicle.

"Gentlemen," thus d'Artagnan addressed the four Muske-
teers, "I am ordered to exercise the greatest possible care in
guarding the prisoner; and, since there are no locks to the car-
riage, I shall sit beside him. M. de Lillibonne, lead my horse
by the bridle, if you please." As he spoke, he dismounted,
gave the bridle of his horse to the Musketeer, and placing
himself by the side of the prisoner, said, in a voice perfectly
composed, "To the Palais Royal, at a full trot."

The carriage drove on, and d'Artagnan, availing himself of the
darkness in the archway under which they were passing, threw
himself into the arms of the prisoner.

"Roche fort !'* he exclaimed; "you — is it you; you, indeed?
I am not mistaken?"

"D'Artagnan !" cried Rochefort. ,

**Ah! my poor friend!" resumed d'Artagnan, "not having
seen you for four or five years, I concluded that you were dead."

"I'faith," said Rochefort, "there's no great difference, I think,
between a dead man and one who has been buried alive; now
I have been buried alive, or very nearly so."

"And for what crime are you imprisoned m the Bastille?"

"You will not believe me: it was for theft in the night. I
was with some young larks who snatched cloaks on the New
Bridge, and brought the watch down on us all. I and another
were on the statute of Henry Fourth when the archers hauled
us off."

"I see that it was a mere pretext, but you will soon know
the true charge, for I am taking you before the Premier. I
had no idea I was sent for you."

"No idea — ^when you are the favorite's favorite!"
, "Not a bit of it, my poor friend," replied the officer. "No,
I am as poor a Gascon as when you came athwart me at Meung,
two-and-twenty years ago — heigho! Just lieutenant, for my
captaincy was not confirmed."

"What meanness! I infer that Mazarin has not changed."

"The same, except that he has married the Queen."

** Resist Bucldngham, and yield to Mazarin."

"Just like the women," replied d'Artagnan, coolly.

"Like women — ^but not like queens."

"Good heavens, in love, queens are doubly women."

"Of course the Duke of Beaufort is still imprisoned, or he
would have released me."

"My boy, it is more likely that you will liberate him."

"Any war on with Spain?"

"Not with Spain but with Paris. You may hear the guns
of the citizens amusing themselves."

"Pooh! do you think they could do an3rthing?"

"They mig^ht do w^lj if they had a g^ood leadef."


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"Oh, that I were free!"

"Don't be downcast Since Mazarin has sent for you, it is
because he wants you. I congratulate you! Many a long year
has passed since anyone wanted to employ me; so you see
in what a situation I am."

"Make your complaints known; that's my advice."

"Listen, Rochefort; let's make a compact We are friends,
are we not?"

"Egad! I bear the traces of our friendship— three cuts from
your sword."

"Well, if you should be restored to favor, don't forget me."

"On the honor of a Rochefort; but you must do the like
for me.

"Apropos, are we to speak about your friends as well —
Athos, Porthos, and Aramis? or have you forgotten them?"


"What's become of them?"

"I don't know, we separated, as you know. They are alive,
and that's all I can say about them. From time to time I hear
of them indirectly, but in what part of the world they are,
devil take me if I know. No, on my honor, I have not a friend
in the world but you, Rochefort."

"And the illustrious— what's the name of the lad whom I
made a sergeant in the Piedmont regiment?"


"The illustrious Planchet What's become of him?"

"I shouldn't wonder if he is not at the head of the mob at
this very moment. He married a woman who keeps a grocer's
store in the Rue des Lombards; for he's a lad that was always
fond of sweetmeats; he's now a citizen of Paris. You'll see
that that queer fellow will be sheriff before I shall be cap-

"Come, dear d'Artagnan, look up a little — courage. It is
when one is lowest on the wheel of fortune, that the wheel
turns round and raises us. This evening your destiny begins to

"Amen!" exclaimed d'Artagnan, stopping the carriage.

He got out and remounted his steed, not wishing to arrive
at the gate of the Palais Royal in the same carriage with the

In a few minutes the party entered the court-yard, and
d'Artagnan led the prisoner up the great staircase, and across
the corridor and ante-chamber.^

"Tell M. d'Artagnan to wait outside— I don't require him
yet," said the Cardinal.

Rochefort, rendered suspicious and cautious by these words,
entered the apartment, where he found Mazarin sitting at the
table, dressed in his ordinary garb, and as one of the prelates
of the Church, his costume being similar to that of the priests,
excepting that his scarf and stockings were violet


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As the door was closed, Rochefort cast a glance towards
Mazarin, which was answered by one, equally furtive, from
the minister.

There was little change in the Cardinal; still dressed with
sedulous care, his hair well arranged and well curled, his person
perfumed — he looked, owing to his extreme taste in dress,
only half his age. But Rochefort, who had passed five years in
prison, had become old in the lapse of years; the dark locks of
this estimable friend of the defunct ^ Cardinal de Richelieu
were now white; the deep bronze of his complexion had been
succeeded by a mortal paleness, which betokened debility. As
he gazed at him, Mazarin shook his head slightly, as much as to
say, "This is a man who does not appear to me fit for much."

After a pause, which appeared an age to Rochefort, Mazarin,
however, took from a bundle of papers a letter, and, showing
it to the count, he said:

"I find here a letter in which you sue for liberty, M. de
Rochefort. Did you not once refuse to undertake a journey
to Brussels for the Queen r'*

**Ah! ah I" exclaimed Rochefort. "There is the true reason!
Idiot as I am, though I have been trying to find it out for five
years, I never found it out."

"Well, the Queen saw in your refusal nothing, but a distinct
refusal; she had also much to complain of you during the
lifetime of the Cardinal! — ^yes, — ^her majesty the Queen "

Rochefort smi4ed contemptuously.

" Since I was a faithful servant, my lord, to Cardinal Riche- '
lieu during his life, it stands to reason that now, after his death,
I should serve you well, in defiance of the whole world."

**With regard to myself, M. de Rochefort," replied Maz-
arin, "I am not like Richelieu, all-powerful. I am but a min-
ister, who wants no servants, being myself nothing but a servant
of the Queen's. Now, the Queen is of a sensitive nature ; hear-
ing of your refusal to obey her, she looked uppn it as a declara-
tion of war; and as she considers you as a man of superior tal-
ent, and therefore dangerous, she desired me to make sure of
you — ^that is the reason of your being shut up in the Bastille —
but your release can be managed. I want friends. When I
say I want, I mean the Queen wants them. I do nothing with-
out her commands; pray, understand that — ^not like Richelieu,
who went on just as he pleased — so I shall never be a great
man, as he was, but, to compensate for that, I shall be a good
man, M. de Rochefort, and I hope to prove it to you."

Rochefort knew well the tones of that soft voice, in which
there was sometimes the hissing voice of a viper.

*T am disposed to believe your Eminence," he replied; "but
have the kindness not to forget that I have been five years in
the Bastille, and that no way of viewing things is so false as
through the grating of a prison."

**Ah, M. de Rochefort! have I not told you already that I


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had nothing to do with that? The Queen — cannot you make al-
lowances for the pettishness of a queen and pnncess? As
for me, I play my game fair and above board, as I always do.
Let us come to some conclusion. Are you one of us, M. de
Rochefort? Men of loyalty are scarce."

"I think so, forsooth," said Rochefort; "and when you find
any of them you pack them off to the Bastille. However, there
are plenty of them in the world, but you don't look in the right
direction for them, my lord."

"Indeed! explain to me. Ah! my dear M. de Rochefort, how
much you must have learned during your intimacy with the
late Cardinal! Ah! he was a great man!"

"Like master, like man ; the great duke was able to find trusty
servants — dozens and dozens of them."

"He! the point aimed at by every poignard! Richelieu, who
passed his life in warding off blows which were forever aimed
at him !"

"But he did ward them off," said de Rochefort, "and the
reason was, that though he had bitter enemies, he possessed
also true friends. I have known persons," he continued, — for he
thought he might avail himself of the opportunity of speaking
of d'Artagnan — ^"who, by their sagacity and address, have de-
ceived the penetration of Cardinal Richelieu; who, by their
valor, have got the better of his guards and his spies; persons
without money, without support, without credit, yet who have
preserved to the crowned head its crown, and made the Car-
dinal sue for pardon.

"One is d'Artagnan, a Gascon, who saved his Queen, and
made Richelieu confess, that in point of talent, address, and
political skill, he was to him only a tyro."

"Tell me how it all happened."

"No, my lord, the secret is not mine; it is a secret which con-
cerns the Queen. In what he did, this man had three col-
leagues, three brave men, such men as you are wishing for just

"You pique my curiosity, my dear Rochefort; pray tell me the
whole story."

"That is impossible, but I will tell you a true story, my
lord. Once upon a time there lived a Queen — a powerful mon-
arch — ^who reigned over one of the greatest kingdoms of the
universe; and a minister; and this minister wished much to
injure the Queen whom once he loved too well. There came
to the court an ambassador so brave, and magnificent, and
elegant, that every woman lost her heart to^ him ; and the Queen
had even the indiscretion to give him certain ornaments so rare
that they could never be replaced by any like them.

"As these ornaments belonged to the King, the minister per-
suaded his majesty to insist upon the Queen's appearing in them
as part of her jewels, at a ball. There is no occasion to tell
you, my lord, that the minister knew for a fact that these orna-


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ments had been sent after the ambassador, who was far away,
beyond seas. This great Queen was ruined, you see, lowered
beneath her meanest subject, since her fall was from the height
of her grandeur."

"That's true," commented the listener.

"But, my lord, four men made up their minds to save her.
They were not princes or dukes, nch or powerful — ^but four
swordsmen, who had stout hearts, strong arms, and keen blades.
Off they went! The minister heard of their start, and set men
along the highway to stay them from reaching their mark. Stay
them — stay the whirlwind! Still, three of them were disabled
by the numerous enemies ; but one reached the seaport, killing or
wounding all that opposed him, crossed the sea, and brought
back to the sovereign the ornaments which she wore on the
designated day, on her shoulder, which all but destroyed the
minister. What do you say to this, my lord? magnificent I
but I could tell a dozen more of their exploits."

"And was this d'Artagnan one of the Four?*' queried the
Italian, who had been thinking.

"Rather! he led the enterprise."

"And who were the others?"

"I leave it to M. d'Artagnan to name them, my lord.**

"You doubt me, but I really want you — and him-^nd all
such valuable aids. Come, you shall be my confidential agent,
and in the first place go to watch over the Duke de Beaufort
in Vincennes."

"The prison? that is only from one to another. Nay, my
lord, — I am for fresh air. Employ me in any other way;
employ me even actively — but let it be on the high roads."

"My dear M. de Rochefort," Mazarin replied, in a tone of
raillery, "you think yourself still a young man—your spirit
is still juvenile, but your strength fails you. Believe me, you
ought now to take rest."

"I see, my lord, that I am to be taken back to the Bas-

•You are sharp."

"I shall return thither, my lord, but you are wrong not to
employ me/'

"You? the friend of my greatest foes? don't suppose that
you are the only person who can serve me, M. de Rochefort. I
shall find many as able men as you are."

"I wish you may, my lord," replied de- Rochefort.

He was then reconducted by the little staircase, instead of
passing through the ante-chamber where d'Artagnan was wait-
ing. In the court-yard the carriage and the four Musketeers
were ready, but he looked around in vain for his friend.

"Ah!" he muttered to himself, "this materially changes mat-
ters, and if there be as thick a crowd in the street as when we
came along, we will try to show old Mazzy that we are still
good for something better than to look after prisoners."


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Thereupon he skipped into the carriage as nimbly as if he
were but twenty-five.



When left alone with Bernouin, Mazarin was, for some
minutes, lost in thought. He had gained much information,
but not enough. ■

"My lord, have you any commands?" asked Bernouin.

"Yes, yes," replied Mazarin. "Light me; I am going to the

Bernouin took up the candlestick and led the way.

There was a secret communication between the Cardinal's
apartments and those of the Queen; and through this corridor
Mazarin passed whenever he wished to visit Anne of Aus-

Anne was reclining in a large easy chair, her head supported
by her hand, her elbow resting on a table near her. She asked,
v/ith some impatience, what important business had brought the
Cardinal there that evening.

Mazarin sank into a chair, with the deepest melancholy painted
on his countenance.

"It is Hkely," he replied, "that we shall soon be obliged to
separate, unless you love me well enough to follow me into

"Why," cried the Queen; "how is that?"

"Because the whole world conspires to break our bonds.
Now as you are one of the whole world, I mean to say that
you also desert me."

"Cardinal !"

"Heavens ! did I not see you the other day smile on the Duke
of Orleans? or rather at what he said — 'Mazarin is a stum-
bling block. Send him away and all will be well* "

"What do you wish me to do?"

"Oh, madam — ^you are the Queen !"

"Queen forsooth, when I am at the mercy of every scribbler
in the Palais Royal, who covers waste paper with nonsense,
or of every country squire in the kingdom."

"Nevertheless, you have still the power of banishing from
your presence those whom you do not like."

"That is to say, whom you do not like," returned the Queen.

"I ! — ^persons whom / do not like!"

"Yes, indeed. Who ordered M. de Beaufort to be arrested?"
"f "An incendiary; the burden of whose song was his inten-
tion to assassinate me. My enemies, madam, ought to be yours,
and your friends my friends."


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"My friends, sir!" The Queen shook her head. '*Alasl 1
have none. In vain do I look about me for friends.*'

I^Do you know M. de Rochefort?" said Mazarin.

"One of my bitterest enemies — ^the faithful friend of Car-
dinal Richelieu."

"I know that, and we sent him to the Bastille," said Maz-

"Is he at liberty?" asked the Queen.

**No; still there— but I only speak of him in order that I may
introduce the name of another man. Do you know M. d'Artag-
nan?" he added, looking steadfastly at the Queen.

Anne of Austria received the blow with a beating heart

"Has the Gascon been indiscreet?" she murmured; then said
aloud :

"D'Artagnan! stop an instant; that name is certainly famil-
iar to me. lyArtagnan! there was a Musketeer who was in
love with one of my women, poor young creature! she was
poisoned on my account."

"That's all you know of him?" asked Mazarin.

The Queen looked at him, surprised.

**You seem, sir," she remarked, "to be making me undergo a
course of interrogations."

"Which you answer according to your own fancy," replied

"Tell me your wishes, and I will comply with them."

The Queen spoke with some impatience.

"Endeavor to remember the names of those faithful servants
who crossed the Channel, in spite of Richelieu — ^tracing the roads
along which they passed by their blood— *to bring back to your
majesty certain jewels given by her to Buckingham."

Anne arose, full of majesty, and, as if touched by a spring,
started up, and looking at the Cardinal with the haughty dig-
nity which, in the days of her youth, had made her so power fid,
"You insult me, sir," she said.

"I wish," continued Mazarin, finishing, as it were, the speech
which tihis sudden movement of the Queen had cut short; "I
wish, in fact, that you should now do for your husband what
you formerly did for your lover."

"Again that accusation?" cried the Queen. "However, I swear
I am not guilty; I swear it by "

The Queen looked around her for some sacred object by
which she could swear; and taking out of a cupboard, hidden in
the tapestry, a small coffer of rosewood, set in silver, and lay-
ing it on the altar—

I swear," she said, "by these sacred relics that Buckingham
was not my lover."

**What relics are those by which you swear?" asked Mazarin,
smiling. '*l am incredulous."

The Queen untied from around her throat a small golden
key which hung there, and presented it to the Cardinal


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"Open,** she said, "sir, and look for yourself."

Mazarin opened the coffer; a knife covered with rust, and
two letters, one of which was stained with blood, alone met his

**What are these things?" he asked.

"What are these things?" replied Anne, with queen-like dig-
nity and extending towards the open coffer an arm, despite the
lapse of years, still beautiful. "These two letters are the only
letters that I ever wrote to him. That knife is the knife with
which Felton stabbed him. Read the letters and see if I have
lied or spoken the truth."

But Mazarin, notwithstanding said permission, instead of
reading the letters, took the knife which the dying Buckingham
had snatched out of the wound, and sent by Laporte to the
Queen. The blade was red, for the blood had bepome rust;
after a momentary examination, during which the Queen became
as white as the cloth which covered the altar on which she was

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