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immediately his face was covered with blood."

"And he said nothing as he died?"

"Yes; he said, 'Oh!'"



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TWENTY YEARS AFTER. 36S

"I suppose,*' answered d'Artagnan, laughing, "if he only
said that it did not enlighten you much."

"Well, sir!" cried the Queen.

"Madam, the passage is quite clear, and your majesty can
continue your road."

In fact, the procession arrived in safety at Notre Dame, at
the front gate of which all the clergy, with the Coadjutor at.
their head, awaited the King, the Queen and the Minister, for
whose happy return they chanted a Te Deum.



CONCLUSION.

On going home, the two friends found a letter from Athos,
who desired them to meet him at the Grand Charlemagne on
the following day.

Both of the friends went to bed early, but neither of them
slept. When one arrives at the summit of one's wishes, success
has usually the power of driving away sleep on the first night
after the fulfilment of long-cherished hopes.

The next night, at the appointed hour, they went to see
Athos, and found him and Aramis in traveling costume.

"What!" cried Porthos, "are we all going away then? I
have also made my preparations this morning."

"Oh, heavens! yes," said Aramis. "There's nothing to do
in Paris now there's no Fronde. The Duchess de Longueville
has invited me to pass some days in Normandy, and has de-
puted me, while her son is being baptized, to go and prepare
her residence at Rouen; after which, if nothing new occurs, I
shall go and bury myself in my convent at Noisy-le-Sec."

"And I," said Athos, "am returning to Bragelonne. You
know, dear d'Artagnan, I am nothing more than a good, hon-
est, country squire. Raoul has no other fortune but what I
posses^, poor boy! and I must take care of it for him, since I
only lend him my name."

"And Raoul — what shall you do with him?"

"I leave him with you, my friend. War in Flanders has
broken out ; you shall take him with you there. I am afraid
that remaining at Blois would be dangerous to his youthful
mind. Take him, and teach him to be as brave and loyal as
you are yourself."

"Then, replied d'Artagnan, "though I $hall not have you,
Athos, at all events I shall have that dear, fair-haired head
by me; and though he is but a boy, yet, since your soul lives
again in him, dear Athos, so I shall alwavs fancy that you are
near me, sustaining and encouraging me.'

The four friends embraced with tears in their eyes.

Then they departed without knowing whether they should
ever see each other again.



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366 TWENTY YEARS AFTER.

D'Artagnan returned to the Rue Tiquetonne with Porthos,
still possessed by the wish to find out who the man was whom
he had killed. On arriving they found the baron's equip-
age all ready, and Mousqueton in his saddle.

"Come, d'Artagnan," said Porthos, "bid good-bye to your
sword, and go with me to Pierrcfonds, Bracieux, or to du Val-
lon. We will grow old together and talk of our companions."

"No!" replied d'Artagnan, "deuce take it, the campaign is
going to begin; I wish to be there; I expect to get something
by it."

"What do you expect to get?"

"Why, I expect to J)e a Marshal of France!"

"Ha, ha!" cried Porthos, who was not completely taken in
by d'Artagnan's fanciful flights.

"Come, my brother, go with me," added d'Artagnan, "and
I will make you a duke!"

"No," answered Porthos, "Houston has no desire to fight;
besides, they have made a triumphal entrance for me into
my barony, which will kill my neighbor with envy."

"To thiat I can say nothing," • returned d'Artagnan, who
knew the vanitv of the new baron. "Here, then, to our next
merry meeting.

"Adieu, dear captain," said Porthos, "I shall be always happy
to welcome you to my barony."

"True, — ^when the campaign is over," replied the Gascon.

"The equipage of his honor is waiting," said Mousqueton.

The two friends, after a cordial pressure of the hand, there-
upon separated. D'Artagnan was standing at the door, look-
ing after Porthos, with a mournful gaze, when the baron, af-
ter walking scarcely more than twenty paces, returned, stood
still, struck his forehead with his finger, and exclaimed:

"I recollect!"

"What?" inquired d*Artagnan.

"Who the beggar that I killed was."

"Ah! indeed! and who was he?"

" Twas that low fellow, Bonacieux."

And Porthos, enchanted at having relieved his mind, re-
joined Mousqueton, and they disappeared round an angle of
the street. D'Artagnan stood for an instant, mute, pensive, and
motionless; then, as he went in, he saw the fair Madeleine,
his hostess, standing on the threshold.

"Madeleine," said the Gascon, "give me your apartment on
the first floor ; now that I am a captain in the Royal Musketeers,
I must make an appearance; nevertheless, still keep my room
on the fifth story for me; one never knows what may happen."

But we shall know what happens by reading the conclu-
sion to this work, entitled "Bragelonne, or the Son of Athos."

THE END.



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