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his arm/ to Mordaunt with that air of dignity and nobleness
of soul habitual to him; "here I am; take my hand, and jump
into our boat."

Mordaunt made a last effort, rose, seized the hand thus ex-
tended to him, and grasped it with the vehemence of despair.

"That's right," said Athos, "put your other hand here."

And he offered him his shoulders as another stay and sup-
port, so that his head almost touched that of Mordaunt; and
these two mortal enemies were in» as close an embrace as if
they had been brotiiers.

"Now, sir," said the count, "you are safe; calm yourself!"

"Ah! my mother!" cried Mordaunt, with an eye of fire and
a look of hatred impossible to describe, "I can only offer thee
one victim^ but it shall, at any rate, be the one whom thou
wouldst have chosen!"

And whilst d'Artagnan uttered a cry, whilst Porthos raised
the oar, and Aramis sought a place to strike, a frightful shake
given to the boat precipitated Athos into the sea, whilst Mor-
daunt, with a shout of triumph, grasped the neck of his victim^
and, in order to paralyze his movements, intertwined his legs
with his, like a serpent might have done around some object.
In an instant, without uttering an exclamation, without a cry
for help, Athos tried to sustain himself on the surface of the
waters; but the weight dragged him down; he disappeared by
degrees; soon nothing was to be seen except his long, floating
hair ; then everything disappeared, and the ^ bubbling of the
water, which, in its turn, was effaced, alone indicated the spot
where these two men "had sunk.

Mute with horror, the three friends had remained open-
mouthed, their eyes dilated, their arms extended like statues,
and motionless as they were, the beating of their hearts was
audible. Porthos was the first who came to himself — he tore
his hair.

"Oh!" he cried, "Athos! Athos! thou man of noble heart!
Woe is me! I have let thee perish!"

At this instant, in the midst of a vast circle, illumined by
the light of the moon, the same whirlpool which had been
made by the sinking men was again obvious; and first were
seen, rising above the waves, locks of hair; then a face, pale,
and with open eyes, yet, nevertheless, those of death; then a
body which, after having raised itself even to the waist above
the sea, turned gently on its back, according to the caprice
of the waves, and floated.

In the bosom of this corpse was plunged a poniard, the gold
hilt of which shone in the moonbeams.

"Mordaunt! Mordaunt!" cried the three friends; "'tis Mor-

"But Athos!" exclaimed d'Artagnan.

Suddenly the boat leaned on one side, beneath a new and


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unexpected weight, and Grimaud uttered a shout of joy; every-
one turned round, and beheld Athos, livid, his eyes dim, and
his hands trembling, supporting himself on the edge of the
boat. Eight vigorous arms bore him up immediately, and
laid him in the bark, where, directly, Athos was warmed, re-
animated, reviving with the caresses and cares of his friends*
who were intoxicated with joy.

"You are not hurt?" asked d'Artagnan.

]]No," replied Athos, "and he- "

**0h. he! Now we may say, thank God! he is really dead.
Look ! * and d'Artagnan, obliging Athos to look in the direc-
tion that he pointed, showed him the body of Mordaunt float-
ing on its back, and which, sometimes submerged, sometimes
rising, seemed still to pursue the four friends with a look full
of insult and mortal hatred.

At last he sank. Athos had followed him with a glance in
which the deepest melancholy and pity were expressed.

"Bravo, Athos!" cried Aramis, with an emotion very rare
in him.

**A capital blow you gave!" cried Porthos.

"I have a son," said Athos, **I wished to live."

**In short," said d'Artagnan, "this has been the will of God."

**It is not I who killed him," added Athos, in a soft, low
tone, **it is destiny."



A DEEP silence reigned for a long time in the canoe after the
fearful scene just described.

The moon, which had shone for a short time, disappeared
behind the clouds; every object was again plunged in that
obscurity so awful in deserts, and still more in that liquid
desert, the ocean, and nothing was heard, save the whistling of
the west wind driving along the tops of the crested billows.

Porthos was the first to speak.

"I have seen," he said, "many things, but' nothing that ever
agitated me so much as what I have just witnessed. Never-
theless, even in my present state of perturbation, I protest
I feel happy. I have a hundred pounds' weight less upon my
chest. I breathe more freely." In fact, Porthos breathed so
loud as to do credit to the powerful play of his lungs.

"For my part," observed Aramis, "I cannot say the same
as you do, Porthos. I am still terrified to such a degree that
I scarcely believe my eyes. I look around the canoe, expect-


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ing, every moment, to see that poor wretch holding in his hands
the poniard which was plunged into his heart."

"Oh, I am quite easy," replied Porthos. "The sword was
pointed at the sixth rib, and buried up to the hilt in his body. I
do not reproach you Athos, for what you have done; quite
the contrary; when one aims a blow, that is the way to strike.
So now, I breathe again, I am happy ! "

"Don't be in haste to celebrate a victory, Porthos," inter-
posed d'Artagnan; "never have we incurred a greater danger
than we are now encountering. A man may subdue a man;
he can't conquer an element. We are now on the sea, at night,
without any pilot, in a frail bark; should a blast of wind upset
the canoe, we are lost."

Mousqueton heaved a deep sigh.

"You are ungrateful, d'Artagnan," said Athos; "yes, un-
grateful to Providence — ^to whom we owe our safety in a
miraculous manner. Let us sail before the wind, and, unless it
changes, we shall be drifted either to Calais or Boulogne. Should
our bark be upset, we are five of us good swimmers, and able
enough to turn it over again; or, if not, to hold on by it.
Now we are on the very road which all the vessels between
Dover and Calais take, 'tis impossible but that we should meet
with a fisherman who will pick us up."

"But should we not find any fisherman, and should the wind
shift to the north?"

"Then," said Athos, "it would be quite another thing; and
we should never see land until we were on the other side of
the Atlantic."

"Which implies that we mav die of hunger," said Aramis.

" Tis more than probable,' answered the Count de la Fere.

Mousqueton sighed again, more deeply than before.

"What is the matter? what ails you?" asked Porthos.

"I am cold, sir," said Mousqueton.

"Impossible! your body is covered with a coating of fat,
which preserves it from the cold air."

"Ah! sir, 'tis that very coating of fat which alarms me."

"How is that, Mouston?"

"Alas! your honor! in the library of the Chateau of Bra-
cieux there's a number of books of travels. Amongst them
the voyages of Jean Mocquet in the time of Henry IV. In
these books, your honor, 'tis told how hungry voyagers, drifted
out to sea, have a bad habit of eating each other, and begin-
ning by "

"By the fattest anwng them!" cried d'Artagnan, unable, in
spite of the gravity of the occasion, to help latJghing.

"Yes, sir," answered Mousqueton; "but permit me to say, I
see nothing laughable in it. However," he added, turning to
Porthos, "I should not regret dying, sir, were I sure that by
doing so I might still be useful to you."

"Mouston," replied Porthos, much affected, "should we ever


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see my castle of Pierre fonds again, you shall have as your own,
and for your descendants, the vineyard which surmounts the

**And you shall call it, Mouston," added Aramis, "the^vine-
yard of self-sacrifice, to transmit to latest ages the recollection
of your devotion to your master."

One may readily conceive that during these jokes, which
were intended chiefly to divert Athos from the scene which
had just taken place, the servants, with the exception of Grim-
aud, were not at ease. Suddenly Mousqueton uttered a cry
of delight, in taking from beneath one of the benches a bottle
of wine; and, on looking more closely still in the same place,
he discovered a dozen of similar bottles, some bread, and a
piece of salted beef.

"Oh, sir!" he cried, passing the bottle to Porthos, "we are
saved; the craft is provisioned."

This intelligence restored everyone, save Athos, to gaiety.

** Zounds!" exclaimed Porthos, ** *tis astonishing how empty
violent agitation makes the stomach."

And he drank off one bottle at a draught, and ate a good
third of the bread and salted meat.

**Now," said Athos, "sleep, or try to sleep, my friends, I
will watch."

In a few moments, notwithstanding their wet clothes, the
icy blast that blew, and the previous scene, these hardy ad-
venturers, with their iron frames, fitted for every hardship,
threw themselves down, intending to profit by the advice of
Athos, who sat at the helm, pensive and wakeful, guiding the
little bark in the way it was to go, his eyes fixed on the
heavens, as if he sought to discern, not only the road to France,
but the benign aspect of protecting Providence. After some
bourse of repose, the sleepers were aroused by Athos.

Dawn had shed its light upon the blue ocean, and at the dis-
tance of a musket's shot from them was seen a dark mass,
above which was displayed a triangular sail; then masters and
servants joined in a fervent cry to the crew of that vessel, to
hear them, and to save.

"A sail!" all cried together.

It was, in fact, a small craft from Dunkirk, sailing towards

A quarter of an hour afterwards, the boat of this craft took
them on board the little vessel. Grimaud offered twenty guineas
to the captain from his master, and, at nine o'clock in the
morning, having a fair wind, our Frenchmen set foot on their
native iand.

"Egad! how strong one feels here!" said Porthos, almost
burying his large feet in the sands. "Zounds! I could now
defy a whole nation !"

"Be quiet, Porthos," said d'Artagnan, "we are observed."

"We are admired, i* faith," answered Porthos.


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I* These people who are looking at us, are only merchants,"
said Athos, "and are looking more at the cargo than at us."

**I shall not trust to that," said the lieutenant, "and I shall
make for the sandhills as soon as possible."

The party followed him, and soon disappeared with him be-
hind the hillocks of sand unobserved. Here, after a short con-
ference, they proposed to separate.

"And why separate?" asked Athos.

"Because," answered the Gascon, **we were sent by Car-
dinal Mazarin to fight for Cromwell; instead of fighting for
Cromwell, we have served Charles I., not the same thing at
all. In returning with the Count de la Fere and M. d'Her-
blay, our crime would be confirmed. We have escaped Crom-
well, Mordaunt, and the sea, but we should not escape from

"You forget," replied Athos, "that we consider ourselves as
your prisoners, and not free from the engagement we entered

"Truly, Athos," interrupted d'Artagnan, "I am vexed that
such a man as you are should talk nonsense which school-
boys would be ashamed of. Chevalier," he continued, address-
ing Aramis, who, leaning proudly on his sword, seemed to
agree with his companion, "Chevalier, Porthos and I run no
risks; besides, should any ill-luck happen to two of us, will it
not be much better that the other two should be spared to
assist those who may be apprehended? Besides, who knows
whether, divided, we might not obtain a pardon— you from the
Queen, we from Mazarin — ^which, were we all four together,
would never be granted. Come, Athos and Aramis, go to the
right, Porthos, come with me to the left; these gentlemen
should file off towards Normandy, we will, by the nearest road,
reach Paris."

He then gave his friends minute directions as to their route.

"Ah! my dear friend," cried Athos, "how I should admire
the resources of your mind, did I not stop to adore those of
your heart"

And he gave him his hand.

"Is the fox a genius, Athos?" asked the Gascon. "No! he
knows how to crunch fowls, to dodge the huntsman, and to find
his way home by day or by night, that's all. Well, is all said?"


"Then let's count our money, and divide it. Ah! hurrah!
there's the sun! Good morrow, my friend, the sun, 'tis a long
time since I saw you ! "

"Come, come, d'Artagnan/' said Athos, "do not affect to be
strong-minded; there are tears in your eyes, let us always be
open to each other, and sincere."

"What!" cried the Gascon, "do you think, Athos, we can take
leave, calmlly, of two friends, at a time not free from danger
to you and Aramis?"


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"No," answered Athos; "embrace me, my son."

"Zounds!** said Porthos, sobbing, **! believe I'm blubbering;
but how foolish it is ! "

They then embraced. At that moment, their fraternal bond
of union was closer than ever, and, when they parted, each
to take the route agreed on, they turned back, to utter to each
other affectionate expressions which the echoes repeated.

At last they lost sight of each other, Porthos and d*Artag-
nan taking the road to Paris, followed by Mousqueton, who,
after having been too cold all night, found himself, at the end
of half an hour, too warm.



During the six months that Athos and Aramis had been ab-
sent from France, the Parisians, finding themselves, one morn-
ing, without either a Queen or a King, were greatly annoyed
at being thus deserted, and the absence of Mazarin, so much
desired, did not compensate for that of the two august fugitives.

Parliament, which, supported by the citizens, declared that
Cardinal Mazarin was the cause of all the discontents, de-
nounced him as the enemy, both to the King and the state, and
ordered him to retire from the court that very day, and from
France within a week afterwards, and enjoining, in case of
disobedience on his part, all the subjects of the iQng to pursue
and take him.

Mazarin being thus put out of the protection of the law,
preparations on both sides were commenced; the Queen, to
attack Paris; the citizens, to defend it. The latter were occu-
pied in breaking up the pavement, and stretching chains across
the street, when, headed by the Coadjutor, appeared the Prince
de Conti (the brother of the Prince de Conde) and the Duke
de Longueville, his brother-in-law. This unexpected band of
auxiliaries arrived at Paris on the tenth of January, and the
Prince of Conti was named, but not until a stormy discussion,
generalissimo of the army of the King, out of Paris.

As for the Duke de Beaufort, he arrived from Vendome, ac-
cording to the annals of the day, bringing with him his high
bearing, and his long and beautiful hair, qualifications which
ensured him the sovereignty of the market-places and their

It was just at this epoch that the four friends had landed at
Dunkirk^ and begun their route towards Paris. On reaching
that capital, Athos and Aramis found it in arms. The sentinel
at the gate refused even to let thenn pass, and called his


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The sergeant, with that air of importance which such people
assume when they are clad with military dignity, said:

"Who are you, gentlemen? And where do you come from?"

"From London, going with a mission to the Queen of Eng-

"Where are your orders?"

"We have none; we quitted England ignorant of the state of
politics here, having left Paris before the departure of the

"Oh!" said the sergeant with a cunning smile, "you are Maz-
arinists, sent as spies."

"My dear friend," here Athos spoke, "be assured, if we were
Mazarinists, we should have all sorts of passports. In your
situation distrust those who are well provided with every

"Enter into the guard-room," said the sergeant; "we will lay
your case before the commandant of the post."

The guard-room was filled with citizens and common people,
some playing, some drinking, some talking. In a corner, almost
hidden from view, were three gentlemen, who had preceded
Athos and Aramis, and an officer was examining their passports.
The first impulse of these three gentlemen, and of those who
last entered, was to cast an inquiring glance to each other.
Those first arrived wore long cloaks, in the drapery of which
they were carefully enveloped; one of them, shorter than the
rest, remained pertinaciously in the background.

When the sergeant, on entering the room, announced that,
in all probability, he was bringing in two Mazarinists, it ap-
peared to be the unanimous opinion of the officers on guard
that they ought not to pass.

"Be it so," said Athos; "yet it is probable, on the contrary,
that we shall enter, because we seem to have to do with sen-
sible people. There seems to be only one thing to do, which
is, to send our names to the Queen of England, and, if she
answers for us, I presume we shall be allowed to enter."

On hearing these words, the shortest of the other three men
seemed more attentive than ever to what was going on, and
he wrapped his cloak around him more carefully than before.

"Merciful goodness!" whispered Aramis to Athos, "did you
see the face of the shortest of those three gentlemen?"


At this instant the sergeant, who had been for his orders,
returned, and, pointing to the three gentlemen in cloaks, said:

"The passports are right; let these three gentlemen pass."

The three gentlemen bowed, and hastened to take advantage
of this permission.

Aramis looked after them, and, as the last of them passed
close to him, he pressed the hand of Athos.

"What is the matter with you, my friend?" asked the latter.

"I have, doubtless, been dreaming; tell me, sir," he said to


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the sergeant, "do you know those three gentlemen just gone

**Only by their passports; they are three Frondists, who are
gone to rejoin the Duke de Longueville."

** 'Tis strange," said Aramis, almost involuntarily; "I fancied
that I recognized Mazarin himself."

The sergeant burst out into a fit of laughter.

**He!" he cried; "he venture himself amongst us to be hung!
Not so foolish as all that."

"Ah!" muttered Athos, "I may be mistaken; I haven't the
unerring eye of d'Artagnan."

"Who is speaking of d*Artagnan?" asked an officer, who
appeared at that moment upon the threshold of the room.

"What!" cried Aramis and Athos, "what! Planchet!"

"Planchet," added GrimaUd, "Planchet, in a gilt gorget, in-

"Ah, gentlemen!*' cried Planchet, "so you are back again
in Paris. Oh, how happy you make us ! no doubt you are come
to join the princes!"

"As you see, Planchet," said Aramis, whilst Athos smiled
at the importance now assumed by the old comrade of Mous-
queton in his new rank, in the City Militia.

"Ah! so!" said Aramis; "allow me to congratulate you, M.

"Oh, the chevalier!" returned Planchet, bowing.

"Lieutenant?" asked Aramis.

"Lieutenant, with a promise of becoming a captain."

" 'Tis capital; and pray how did you acquire all these honors?"

"In the first place, gentlemen, you know that I was the
means of M. de Rochefort's escape; so, I was very near being
hung by Mazarin, and that made me more popular &an ever."

"So, owing to your popularity "

"No; thanks to something better. You know, gentlemen,
that I served in the Piedmont regiment, and had tihe honor of
being a sergeant? Well, one day, when no one could drill a
mob of citizens, who began to march^ some with the right
foot, others with the left, I succeeded m making them all be-
gin with the same foot, and I was made a lieutenant on the

"So, I presume," said Athos, "that you have a large number
of the nobles with you?"

"Certainly. The Prince de Conti, the Duke de Longueville,
de Beaufort, de Bouillon, and I don't know who else, for my

"And Viscount Raoul de Bragelonne?" inquired Athos, in
a tremulous voice; "d'Artagnan told me that he had recom-
mended him to your care, in parting."

"Yes, Count; nor have I lost sight of him for an instant


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"Then," said Athos, in a tone of delight, "he is well? no
accident has happened to him?"

••None, sir."

-And he lives?*'

"Still, at the hotel of the Great Charlemagne."

"And passes his time?"

"Sometimes with the Queen of England, sometimes with
Mdme. de Chevreuse. He and Count de Guiche are • never

"Thanks, Planchet, thanks," cried Athos, extending his hand
to the lieutenant

"Oh, sir!" Planchet only touched the tips of the count's
fingers. "Oh, sir! and now, gentlemen, what do you intend
to do?"

"To re-enter Paris, if you will let us, my good Planchet."

"Let you, sir? I am nothing but your servant!*' Then, turn-
ing to his men, "Allow these gentlemen to pass," he said;
"they are friends of the Duke de Beaufort."

"Long live the duke!" cried all the sentinels.

"Farewell till we meet again," said Aramis, as they took
leave of Planchet; "if anything happens to us, we shall re-
fer to you."

"Sir,* answered Planchet, "I am in all things your servant."

"That fellow is no fool," said Aramis, as he got on his

"How should he be?" replied Athos, whilst mounting also,
"seeing that he has been so long used to brush his master's



The two friends rode rapidly down the Faubourg, but on
arriving at the bottom were surprised to find that the streets
of Paris had become rivers, and the open places lakes; after
the great rains which fell in the month of January, the Seine
had overflowed its banks, and the river had inundated half
the capital. The two gentlemen were obliged, therefore, to
get off their horses and take a boat, and in that manner they
approached the Louvre.

Night had closed in, and Paris, seen thus, by the light of
some lanterns, flickering on the pools of water, with boats
laden with patrols and glittering arms, and watchword passing
from post to post, Paris presented such an aspect as to seize
strongly on the senses of Aramis-na man most susceptible of
warlike impressions.

They reached the Queen's apartments, and were instantly


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admitted to the presence of Henrietta Maria, who uttqred a
cry of joy on hearing of their arrival.

**Let them come in!" exclaimed the poor Queen.

"Let them come in!" reiterated the young princess, who had
never left her mother's side, but essayed in vain to make her
forget, by her filial affection, the absence of her two sons and
her other daughter.

"Come in, gentlemen," repeated the princess, opening the
door herself.

The Queen was seated in a fauteuil, and before her were
standing two or three gentlemen, and, among them, the Duke
de Chatillon, the brother of the nobleman who was killed eight
or nine years previously in a duel, on account of Mdme. de
Longueville, on the Place Royale. Two of these gentlemen
had been noticed by Athos and Aramis in the guardhouse; and,
when the two friends were announced, they started and ex-
changed some words in a low tone.

"Well, sirs!" cried the Queen, on perceiving the two friends;
"you are come, faithful friends! but the royal couriers have
been more expeditious than you; and here are Messrs. de Fla-
mareus and de Chatillon, who bring me, from Queen Anne of
Austria, the most recent intelligence."

Aramis and Athos were astonished by the calmness, even
the gaiety, of the Queen's manner.

**Go on with your recital, sir," said the Queen, turning to
the Duke de Chatillon. "You said that his majesty. King
Charles, my august consort, had been condemned to death by
a majority of his subjects!"

"Yes, madam," Chatillon stammered.

Athos and Aramis seemed more and more astonished.

"And that, being conducted to the scaffold," resumed the
Queen, " — oh, my God! oh, my King! - and that being led to
the scaffold, he had been saved by an indignant people?"

"Just so, madam," replied Chatillon, in so low a voice that
though the two friends were listening eagerly, they could hardly
hear this affirmation.

The Queen clapped her hands in enthusiastic gratitude, whilst
her daughter threw her arms round her mother's neck, and
kissed her, her own eyes streaming with tears.

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 32 of 38)