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"Now, madam, nothing remains to me except to proffer my
respectful homage," said Chatillon, who felt confused and
ashamed beneath the stern gaze of Athos.

"One moment, yes," answered the Queen. "One moment,
I beg, for here are the Chevalier d'Herblay and Count de la Fere
— ^just arrived from London — ^and they can give you, as eye-
witnesses, such details as you can convey to the Queen, my
royal sister. Speak, gentlemen, speak — I am listening — con-
ceal nothing — gloss over nothing. ^ Since his majesty still lives;
since the honor of the throne is in safety, everything else is a
matter of indifference to me."



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER, 315

Athos turned pale, and laid his hand on his heart.

"Well!" exclaimed the Queen, who remarked this movement
and this paleness. ** Speak, sir! I beg you to do so."

"I beg you to excuse me, madam. I wish to add nothing
to the recital of these gentlemen until they perceive, them-
selves, that they have, perhaps, been mistaken."

"Mistaken!" cried the Queen, alinost suffocated by emotion;
"mistaken ! What has happened, then ! "

"Sir!" interposed de Flamareus to Athos, "if we are mistaken,
the error has originated with the Queen. I do not suppose
you will have the presumption to set it to rights; that would
be to accuse her majesty. Queen Anne, of falsehood."

Athos sighed deeply.

"Or rather, sir," said Aramis, with his irritating politeness,
"the error of that person with you when we met in the guard-
room, for if the Count de la Fere and I are not mistaken, when
we saw you there you had with you a third gentleman."

Chatillon and Flamareus started.

"Explain yourself. Count!" cried the Queen, whose anguish
became greater every moment. "On your brow I read despair;
your lips falter, ere you announce some terrible tidings; your
hands tremble. Oh, my God! my God! what has happened!"

"Lord!" ejaculated the young princess, falling on her knees,
"have mercy on us!"

A short altercation ensued in a low tone between the Duke
de Chatillon and Aramis during which Atho3, his hands on
his heart, his head bent low, approached the Queen, and in a
voice of deep sorrow, said:

"Madam! princes — ^who by nature are above other men —
receive from Heaven courage to support greater misfortunes
than those of lower rank, for their hearts are elevated as their
fortunes. We ought not, therefore, I think, to act towards
a Queen so illustrious as your majesty, as we should do toward
a woman of our lowlier condition. Queen, destined as you
are to endure every sorrow on this earth, hear the result of
our mission."

Athos, kneeling down before the Queen, trembling and very
cold, drew from his bosom, inclosed in the same case, the order
set in diamonds, which the Queen had given to Lord Winter,
and the wedding-ring which Charles I. before his death had
placed in the hands of Aramis. Since the moment that he had
first received these two things, Athos had never parted with
them.

He opened the case, and offered them to the Queen, with
silent and deep anguish.

The Queen stretched out her hand, seized the ring, pressed
it convulsively to her lips, and without being able to breathe
a sigh, to give vent to a sob, she extended her arms, became
deadly pale, and fell senseless in the arms of her attendants
and her daughter*



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316 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

Athos kissed the hem of the robe of the widowed Queen,
and rising, with a dignity that made a deep impression on those
around :

**I, the Count de la Fere, a gentleman who has never de-
ceived any human being, sWear before God, and before this
unhappy Queen, that all that was possible to save the King
of England was done whilst we were on English ground. Now,
Chevalier," he added, turning to Aramis, "let us go. We have
still a word to say to these gentlemen."

And turning to Chatillon, he said, "Sir, be so good as not to
go away without hearing something that I cannot say before
the Queen."

Chatillon bowed in token of assent, and they all went out,
stopping at the window of a gallery on the ground floor.

"Sir!" said Aramis, "you allowed yourself just now to treat
us in a most extraordinary manner."

"Sir!" cried de Chatillon.

"What have you done with M. de Bruy? Has he, perchance,
gone to change his face, which was too like that of M. de Maz-
arin? There are abundance of Italian masks at the Palais
Royal, from harlequin even to pantaloon.**

"Chevalier! Chevalier!" said Athos.

"Leave me alone," replied Aramis, impatiently. **I don't like
things that stop half way."

"Finish then, sir," answered de Chatillon, with as much
hauteur as Aramis.

"Gentlemen," resumed Aramis, "any one but the Count de la
Fere and myself would have had you arrested — for we have
friends in Paris — ^but we are contented with another course.
Come and talk with us for five minutes, sword in hand, upon
this deserted terrace."

"Willingly," replied de Chatillon.

"Duke," said Flamareus, "you forget that to-morrow you
are to command an expedition of the greatest importance, pro-
jected by the prince, assented to by the Queen. Until to-morrow
evening you are not at your own disposal."

"Let it be then, the day after to-morrow," said Aramis.

"To-morrow, rather," said de Chatillon, "and if you will take
the trouble of coming so far as the gates of Charenton."

"Well, then, to-morrow. Pray, are you going to rejoin your
Cardinal? Swear first, on your honor, not to inform hira of
our return."

De Chatillon looked at him. There was so much irony in
his speech, that the duke had great difficulty in bridling his
anger; but, at a word from Flamareus, he restrained himself,
and contented himself with saying :

"You promise me, sir — ^that's agreed — that I shall find you
to-morrow at Charenton?"

**Oh, sir, don*t be afraid!" replied Aramis; and the two
gentlemen shortly afterwards left th^ Louvre,



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 317

•For what reason is all this fume and fury?" asked Athos.
•*What have they done to you?"

"They did— did you not see their laugh when we swore that
we had done our duty in England. Now, if they believed us,
they laughed in order to insult us; if they did not believe us,
they insulted us still more. However, I'm glad not to fight
them until to-morrow. I hope to have something better to
do to-night than to draw my sword."

"What have you to do?"

**Egad! to take Mazarin."

Athos curled his lip with disdain.

** These undertakings do not suit me, as you know, Aramis."

-Why?"

** Because they are taking people unawares."

"Really Athos, you would make a singular general. You
would fight only by broad daylight; warn your foe before an
attack; and never attempt anything by night, lest you should
be accused of taking advantage of the darkness.

Athos smiled.

"Say, at once, you disapprove of my proposal."

"I think you ought to do nothing, since you exacted a
promise from these gentlemen not to let Mazarin know that
we were in France."

"I have entered into no engagement, and consider myself
quite free. Come, come."

"Where?"

"Either to seek the Duke de Beaufort, or the Duke de Bouil-
lon, and to tell them about this."

"Yes, but on one condition, that we begin by the Coadjutor.
He is a priest, learned in cases of conscience, and we will tell
him ours."

It was then agreed that they were to go first to M. de Bouil-
lon, as his house came first ; but first of all Athos begged that he
might go to the Hotel du Grand Charlemagne, to see Raoul.

They re-entered the boat which had brought them to the
Louvre, and w^t thence to the Markets; and finding there
Grimaud and Blaisois, they proceeded to the Rue Guenegand.

But Raoul was not at home. He had received a message
from the prince, to whom he had hastened with Olivain the
instant he had received it.



CHAPTER LXXIII.

THE THREE LIEUTENANTS.

At ten o'clock the next day the friends met again.
There were still no tidings of d'Artagnan or Porthos, whom
they had expected. Raoul was gone to St. Cloud, in conse-



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318 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

quence of a message from the Prince de Conde, and had not
returned; and Aramis had not been able to see Mdme. de
Longueville, who was installed at the Hotel de Ville, where
she played the part of Queen, not having quite courage enough
as Aramis remarked, to take up her abode at the Palais Royal
or Tuileries.

"Well, then," said Athos, **now, then, what shall we do this
evening?"

"You forget, my friend, that we have work cut out for us
in the direction of Charenton; I hope to see de Chatillon,
whom IVe hated a long time, there."

"Why have you hated him?"

"Because he is the brother of Coligny."

"Ah, true! he who presumed to be a rival of yours, for
which he was severely punished; that ought to satisfy you."

"Yes, but it does not; I am rancorous, the only point which
shows me to be a churchman. Do you understand? Let us go,
then, Aramis."

"If we go, there is no time to lose; the drum has beat; I saw
cannon on the road; I saw the citizens in order of battle on
the place of the Hotel de Ville; certainly the fight will be in
the direction of Charenton, as the Duke de Chatillon said."

"Poor creatures!" said Athos, "who are going to be killed,
in order that M. de Bouillon should have his estate at Sedan re-
stored to him, that the reversion of the Admiralty should be
given to the Duke de Beaufort, and that the Coadjutor should
be made a Cardinal."

"Come! come, dear Athos, you will not be so philosophical
if your Raoul should happen to be in all this confusion."

"Perhaps you speak the truth, Aramis."

"Well, let us go, then, where the fighting is, for that is the
most likely place to meet with d'Artagnan, Porthos, and Raoul.
Stop, there are a fine body of citizens passing; quite attrac-
tive, by Jupiter! and their captain! see! in the true military,
style."

"What, ho!'' said Grimaud. •

"What?" asked Athos.

'Tlanchet, sir."

"Lieutenant yesterday," said^ Aramis, "a captain to-day, a
colonel, doubtless, to-morrow; in a week the fellow will be a
field-marshal of France."

"Ask him some questions about the fight," said Athos.

Planchet, prouder than ever of his new duties, deigned to
explain to the two gentlemen that he was ordered to take up
his position on the Place Royale, where two hundred men
formed the rear of the army of Paris, and to march towards
Charenton, when necessary.

"The day will be wami," said Planchet, in a warlike tone.

But the friends, not caring to mix themselves up with the
citizens, set off towards Charenton, and passed the valley of
Fecamp, darkened by the presence of armed troops.



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 319

CHAPTER LXXIV.

THE BATTLE OF CHARENTON.

As Athos and Aramis proceeded, and passed different com-
panies on the road, they became aware that they were arriv-
ing near the field of battle.

"Ah! my friend!" cried Athos, suddenly, "where have you
brought us? I fancy I perceive around us faces of different
officers in the royal army; is it not Chatillon himself with his
brigadiers?"

"Good day, sirs," said the duke, advancing; "you are puz-
zled by what you see here, but one word will explain every-
thing. There is now a truce, and a conference. The prince,
M. de Retz, the Duke de Beaufort, the Duke de Bouillon, are
talking over public affairs. Now, one of two things must
happen; either matters will be arranged, or they will not be
arranged, in which last case I shall be relieved of my cora-
mand, and we shall still meet again."

"This conference has not then been preconcerted?"

"No; 'tis the result of certain propositions made yesterday
by Cardinal Mazarin to the Parisians."

"Where, then, are the plenipotentiaries?" asked Athos.

"At the house of de Chaulieu, who commands your troops
at Charenton. I say your troops, for I presume that you
gentlemen are Frondeurs?"

'*We are for the King, and the princes," said Athos.

"We must understand each other," said the duke; "the King
is with us, and his generals are, the Duke of Orleans and the
Prince de Conti, although, I must add, 'tis ahnost impossible
now to know what party one is on."

"Yes," answered Athos, "but his right place is in our ranks,
with the Prince de Conti, de Beaufort, d'Elbeuf, and de Bouil-
lon; but, my lord, supposing that the conferences are broken
off, are you going to try to take Charenton?"

"Such are my orders."

"My lord, since you command the cavalry «

"Pardon me, I am commander-in-chief."

"So much the better. There is a youth, of fifteen years of
age, the Viscount de Bragelonne, attached to the Prince de
Coiiti. Has he the honor of being known to you?" inquired
Athos, diffident in allowing the sceptical Aramis to perceive
how strong were his paternal feelings.

"Yes, surely, he came with the prince; a charming young
man; he is one of your friends, then?"

"Yes," answered Athos, slightly agitated; "so much so, that
I wish to sec him, if possible."



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320 TWENTY YEARS AFTER,

"Quite possible, sir; do me the favor to accompany me, and
I will conduct you to headquarters."

"Halloa, there!" cried Aramis, turning round, "what a noise
behind us!"

"A stout cavalier coming towards us," said Chatillon; **!
recognize the Coadjutor, by his Frondist hat"

"And I, the Duke de Beaufort, by his plume of white feath-
ers."

"They are coming full gallop; the prince is with them; ah I
he is leaving them-"

"They are beating the rally!" cried Chatillon; "we must find
out what's going on."

They saw the soldiers rimning to their arms; the trtmipets
sounded; the drum beat; the Duke de Beaufort drew his sword.
On his side, the prince sounded a call, and all the officers of
the royalist army, mingled momentarily with the Parisian troops,
ran to him.

"Gentlemen," cried Chatillon, "the truce is broken, that's evi-
dent; they are going to fight; go, then, Charenton, for I shall
begin in a short time; hark! there's a signal from the prince!"

The cornet of the troop had, in fact, just raised the stand-
ard of the prince.

"Farewell, till the next time!" cried Chatillon, and he set,
full gallop.

Aramis and Athos turned also, and went to salute the Coad-
jutor, and Beaufort. As to Bouillon, he had such a fit of gout
as obliged him to return to Paris in a litter ; but his place was
supplied by the Duke d'Elbeuf and his four sons, ranged around
him like a staff. Meantime, between Charenton and the royal
army, was left a long space, which seemed prepared to serve as
a last resting-place for the dead.

"Gentlemen, cried the Coadjutor, tightening his sash, which
he wore after the fashion of the ancient military prelates, over
his Archiepiscopal simar, "there's the enemy approaching us,
we shall, I hope, save them the half of their journey."

And, without caring whether he were followed or not, he
set off; his regiment, which bore the name of the regiment of
Corinth, from the name of his Archbishopric, darled after him,
and began the fight. Beaufort sent his cavalry towards Etampes,
and M. de Chaulieu, who defended the place, was ready to
resist an assault, or, if the enemy were repulsed, to attempt a
sortie.

The battle soon became general, and the Coadjutor performed
miracles of valor. His proper vocation had always been the
sword, and he was delighted whenever he could draw it from
the scabbard, no matter for whom, or against whom.

Chaulieu, whose fire at one time repulsed the royal regiments,
thought that the momient was come to pursue it; but it was
reformed, and led again to the charge, by Chatillon, in person.
This charge was so fierce, so skilfully conducted, that Chaulieu



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 321

was almost surrounded. He commanded a retreat, which be-
gan, step by step, foot by foot; unhappily, in an instant, he
fell, mortally wounded. De Chatillon saw him fall, and an-
nounced it, in a loud voice, to his men, which raised their
spirits, and completely disheartened their enemies, so that every
man diought only of his personal safety, and tried to regain
the trenches, where the Coadjutor was trying to reform his
disorganized regiment.

Suddenly, a squadron of cavalry came to an encounter with
the royal troops who were entering into the intrenchments,
mixed with the fugitives. Athos and Aramis charged at the
head of their squadron; Aramis with his sword and pistol in
his hands; Athos, with his sword in the scabbard, his pistol
in his saddle-bags: calm and cool as if on parade, except that
his noble and beautiful cotmtenance became sad as he saw
slaughtered, so many men who were sacrificed on one side to
the obstinacy of royalty, on the other to the rancorous party
feeling of the princes; Aramis, on the contrary, struck right
and left, and was almost delirious with excitement His bright
eyes kindled, and his mouth, so finely formed, assumed a dark
smile; every blow he aimed was sure, and his pistol finished
the deed, and annihilated the wounded wretch who tried to
rise again.

On the opposite side, two cavaliers, one covered with a gilt
cuirass, the other wearing simply a buff doublet, from which
fell the sleeves of a vest of blue velvet, charged in front. The
cavalier in the gilt cuirass fell upon Aramis and hit him a blow
that Aramis parried with his wonted skill.

**Ah! 'tis you, M. Chatillon," cried the chevalier, "welcome
to you, I await you."

**I hope I have not made you wait too long, sir," said the
duke; "at all events, here I am."

"M. de Chatillon," cried Aramis, taking from his saddle
bags a second pistol, **I think if your pistols have been dis-
charged, you are a dead man."

"Thank God, sir, they are not!"

And the duke, pointing his pistol at Aramis, fired. But Ar-
amis instantly bent his head, and the ball passed without touch-
ing him.

Oh! you've missed me," cried Aramis; "but I swear to
Heaven, I will not miss you."

"If I give you time!" cried the duke, spurring on his horse,
and rushing upon him with drawn sword.

Aramis awaited him with a terrible smile which was pecu-
liar to him on such occasions: and Athos, who saw the duke
advancing toward Aramis with the rapidity of lightning, was
just going to cry out, "fire! fire! then!" when the shot was
fired, de Chatillon opened his arms and fell back on his horse.

The ball had penetrated into his chest through the crank
of his cuirass.



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322 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

''I am a dead man/ he said, and he fell from his horse to
the ground.

**I told you this; I am now grieved I have kept my word;
can I be of any use to you?"

Chatillon made a sign with his hand, and Aramis was about
to dismount, when he received a violent shock in the side,
'twas a thrust from a sword, but his cuirass turned aside
the blow.

He turned round and seized his new antagonist by the wrist,
when he started back, exclaiming, "Raoul!"

"Raoul?" cried Athos.

The young man recognized at the same time the voice of
his father and that of the Chevalier d'Herblay; several cheva-
liers in the Parisian forces rushed at that instant on Raoul,
but Aramis protected him with his sword.

"My prisoner!" he cried.

At this crisis of the battle, the Prince, who had seconded
de Chatillon in the second line, appeared in the midst of the
iight; his eagle eye made him known, and his blows proclaimed
the hero.

On seeing him, the regiment of Corinth, which the Coad-
jutor had not been able to reorganize in spite of his efforts,
threw themselves into the midst of the Parisian forces, put them
into confusion, and re-entered Charenton, flying. The Coad-
jutor, dragged along with his fugitive forces, passed near the
group formed by Athos, ^ Raoul, and Aramis. Aramis could
not, in his jealousy, avoid* being pleased at the Coadjutor's mis-
fortune and was about to make some bon-mot, more witty
than correct, when Athos stopped him.

The three cavaliers continued their road on a full gallop.

"What were you doing in the battle, my friend?" inquired
Athos of the youth; "'twas not your right place, I think, as
you were not equipped for an engagement."

"I had no intention of fighting to-day, sir; I was charged,
indeed, with a mission for the Cardinal, and had set out for
Rueil, when seeing M. de Chatillon charge, a wish possessed me
to charge at his side. Two cavaliers from the Parisian troops
told me that you were there."

"What! you knew we were there, and yet wished to kill
your friend aiid the chevalier?"

"I did not recognize the chevalier in his armor, sir!" said
Raoul, blushing; "though I might have known him by his skill
and coolness in danger."

"Thank you for the compliment, my young friend," replied
Aramis, "we can see from whom you learnt lessons of courtesy;
you were going, then, to Rueil?"

**Yes; I have a despatch from the Prince to his Eminence."

"You must deliver it," said Athos.



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 323

"Give me the despatch, Raoull you are the chevalier's pris-
oner."

Raoul gave it up reluctantly; Araniis instantly seized and
read it.

"You," he said, "you, who are so trusting, read and reflect
that there is something in this letter important for us to see."

Athos took the letter, frowning, but an idea that he should
hear something in this letter about d'Axtagnan, conquered his
imwillingness to finish it.

"My lord, I shall send this evening to your Eminence in or-
der to reinforce the troops of M. Comminges, the ten men
demanded. They are good soldiers, fit to master the two
rough adversaries whose skill and resolution your Eminence
is fearful of."

"Oh!" cried Athos.

"Well," said Aramis, "what think you about these two ene-
mies, when it requires, besides Comminges' troop, ten good
soldiers to guard; are they not as like as two drops of water
to d'Artagnan and Porthos?"

"We'll search Paris all to-day," said Athos, "and if we have
no news this evening, we will return to the road to Picardy;
and I feel no doubt that, thanks to d'Artagnan's ready inven-
tion, we shall then find some clue which will solve our doubts."

CHAPTER LXXV.



THE ROAD TO PICARDY.

In leaving Paris, Athos and Aramis well knew that they
would be encountering great danger; but one can imagine
how such men look at a question of personal risk.

They quitted Paris, beholding it abandoned to extreme want
bordering on famine, agitated by fear, torn by faction. Paris-
ians and Frondeurs though they were, the two friends expected
to find the same misery, the same fears, the same intrigues in
the enemy's camp; but what was their surprise, after passing
St. Denis, to hear that, at St. Germain, people were sing-
ing and laughing, and leading a cheerful life. The two gentle-
men travelled by by-ways, in order not to encoimter Mazarin-
ists, who were scattered about the Isle of France, and also to
escape the Frondeurs, who were in possession of Normandy,
and who would not have failed to conduct them to the Duke
de Longueville, in order that he might tell whether they were
friends or enemies. Having escaped these dangers, they re-
turned by the main road to Boulogne, at Abbeville, and fol-
lowed it step by step, examining every track.

Nevertheless, they were still in a state of uncertainty. Several
inns were visited by them, several innkeepers questioned, with-



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324 TWENTY YEARS AFTER,

out a single clue being given, to guide their inquiries. When
at Montreuil, Athos felt, upon the table, that something rough
was touching his delicate fingers. He turned up the cloth, and
found these hieroglyphics carved upon the wood with a knife : —
"Port .... D'Art .... 2nd February."

"This is capital," said Athos to Aramis; "we were to have
slept here, but we cannot, we must push on." They rode for-
ward, and reached Abbeville. There the great number of inns
puzzled them; they could not go to all; how could they guess
in which he whom they were seeking had stayed.

"Trust me," said Aramis; "do not expect to find anything
in Abbeville. If we had only been looking for Porthos, Por-
thos would have fixed himself in one of the finest of the
hotels, and we could easily have traced him. But d'Artagnan
is devoid of such weaknesses. Porthos would have found it
very difficult even to make him see that he was dying of hun-
ger; he has gone on his road as inexorable as fate, and we
must seek him somewhere else."

They continued their route; it had now become a weary
and almost hopeless task; and had it not been for the three-
fold motives of honor, friendship, and gratitude, implanted
in their hearts, these two travelers would have given: up,



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