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him if he thus entrenched his amusements, — he then asked with
whom he played.

"My lord — either with the officers of the guard, with the
other prisoners, or with me."

"Humph!" said the Cardinal,* beginning to feel more comforta-
ble. "You mean to say, then, my dear M. la Ramee ^

"That unless M. de Beaufort can contrive to metamorphose
himself into a little bird, I answer for him."

"Take care — you assert a great deal," said Mazarin. "M. de
Beaufort told the guards who took him to Vincennes, that he
had often thought what he should do in case he were put into
prison, and that he had found out forty ways of escaping."

"My lord — if among those forty there had been one good
way, he would have been out long ago."

"Come, come; not such a fool as I fancied!** thought Maz-
arin. "But when you leave him, for instance?"

'*0h! when I leave him! I have, in my stead, a bold fellow


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who aspires to be His Majesty's special guard. I promise you,
he keeps a good watch over the prisoner. During the three
weeks that he has been with me, I have only had to reproach
him with one thing — ^being too severe with the prisoners."

"And who is this Cerberus?"

"A certain Master Grimaud, my lord."

"And what was he before he went to Vincennes?"

"He was in the country, as I was told by the person who
recommended him to me."

"And who recommended this man to you?"

"The steward of the Due de Grammont."

"He is not a gossip, I hope?"

"Lord a-mercy, my lord! I thought for a long time that he
was dumb; he answers only by signs. It seems his former
master accustomed him to that. The fact is, I fancy he got into
some trouble in the country from his stupidity, and that he
wouldn't be sorry in the royal livery to find impunity."

"Well, my dear M. la Ramee," replied the Cardinal, "let him
prove a firm and faithful keeper, and we will shut our eyes upon
his rural misdeeds, and put on his back a uniform to make him
respectable, and in the pockets of that uniform some pistoles
to drink to the king's health."

Mazarin was large in his promises— quite different to the
taciturn Grimaud, so be-praised by La Ramee ; for he said noth-
ing, and did much.

It was now nine o'clock. The Cardinal, therefore, got up,
perfumed himself, dressed, and went to the Queen to tell her
what had detained him. The Queen, who was scarcely more
afraid of Beaufort than the Cardinal himself, and who was
almost as superstitious as he was. made him repeat word for
word all La Ramee's praises of nis deputy. Then, when the
Cardinal had ended, —

"Alas! sir! why have we not a Grimaud near every prince?"

"Patience!" replied Mazarin, with his Italian smile; "that
may happen one day; but in the meantime — ^I shall take pre-

And he wrote to d'Artagnan to hasten his return.

The captive, who was the source of so much alarm to the
Cardinal, and whose prospective escape disturbed the repose
of the whole court, was wholly unconscious of the terrors which
he caused.

He had found himself so strictly guarded, that he soon per-
ceived the fruitlessness of any attempt at escape. His ven-
geance, therefore, consisted in uttering curses on the head of
Mazarin; he even tried to make some verses on him, but soon
gave up the attempt.

After having failed in poetry, M. de Beaufort tried drawing.
He drew caricatures with a piece of charcoal, of the Cardinal;
and as his talents did not enable him to produce a very good
likeness, he wrote under the picture, that there might be no


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doubt of the original — "Portrait of the Illustrious Coxcomb
Mazarin." M. de Chavigny, the governor of Vincennes, of
course, thought proper to threaten his prisoner that if he did
not give up drawing such pictures, he should be obliged to de-
prive him of all means of amusing himself in that manner.
To this M. de Beaufort replied, that since every opportunity of
distinguishing himself in arms was taken from him, he wished
to make himself celebrated in the fine arts; since he could
not be a Bayard, he would become a Raphael, or a Michael
Angelo. Nevertheless, one day when M. de Beaufort was
walking in the meadow, his fire was put out, his coal taken
away, and all means of drawing completely destroyed.

The poor duke swore, fell into a rage, yelled, and declared
that they wished to starve him to death; but he refused to
promise that he would not make any more drawings, and re-
mained without any fire in the room all the winter.

His next act was to purchase a dog from one of his keepers.
With this animal, which he called Pistache, he was often shut
up for hours alone, superintending, as everyone supposed, its
education. At last, when Pistache was sufficiently well trained,
M. de Beaufort invited the governors and officers of Vincennes
to attend a performance of the intelligent canine in his cell.
But as the creature displayed capers which, as interpreted by
his master were pantomimic satires against the Cardinal, they
did not please, and three days afterwards, he was found

Then the duke said openly that his dog had been killed by a
drug with which they meant to poison him; and one day after
dinner, he went to bed, calling out that he had pains in his
stomach, and that Mazarin had poisoned him.

This fresh impertinence reached the ears of the Cardinal,
and alarmed him much. The donjon of Vincennes was consid-
ered very unhealthy, and Mdme. de Rambouillet had said that
the room in which the Marshal Omano and the Grand Prior
de Vondme had died was worth its weight in arsenic — ^a bon-
mot which had great success. So the prisoner was henceforth
to eat nothing that was not previously tasted, and La Ramee
was, in consequence, placed near him as a taster.

Every kind of revenge was practiced upon the duke by the
governor, in return for the insults of the innocent Pistache.

At last his patience was exhausted. He assembled his keep-
ers, and, notwithstanding his well-known difficulty of utter-
ance, addressed them as follows:

** Gentlemen! will you permit a grandson of Henry IV. to be
overwhelmed with insults and ignominy? As my grandfather
used to say — ^I once reigned in Paris; do you know that? I had
the King and Monsieur the whole of one day in my care.
The Queen at that time liked me, and called me the most honest
man m the kingdom. Gentlemen and citizens, set me free;
I shall go to the Louvre, and strangle Mazarin. You shall b^


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my bodyguard. I will make you all captains, with good pen-
sions !— on — ^march forward ! "

But, eloquent as he might be, the eloquence of the grand-
son of Henry IV. did not touch those hearts of stone ; not one
nian stirred, so Beaufort was obliged to be satisfied with call-
ing them rascals, and cruel foes.

La Ramee, the duke's dinner guest, by compulsion — ^his eter-
nal keeper — ^the shadow of his person ; but La Ramee — gay,
frank, convivial, fond of play, a great hand at tennis — had but
one defect in the duke's eyes — he was incorruptible.

One may be a jailer or a keeper, and at the same time a good
father and husband. La Ramee adored his "\yife and children,
whom now he could only catch a glimpse of frbm the top of the
wall, when, in order to please him, they used to walk on the op-
posite side of the moat. Twas too brief an enjo)rment, and La
Ramee felt that the gaiety of heart which he had regarded as
the cause of that health (of which it was, perhaps, rather the
result) would not long survive such a mode of life.

He accepted, therefore, with delight, an offer made to him by
his friend, the steward of the Due de Grammont, to give him
a substitute ; he also spoke of it to M. de Chavigny,^ who prom-
ised that he would not oppose it in any way — that is, if he ap-
proved of the person proposed.

We consider it as useless to draw a physical or moral por-
trait of Grimaud: if — as we hope — our readers have not wholly
forgotten **The Three Musketeers," they must have preserved a
clear idea of that estimable individual — ^who is wholly un-
changed—except that he is twenty years older, an advance in
life that has made him only more silent; although, since the
alteration that had been working in himself, Athos had given
Grimaud permission to speak.

But Grimaud had for twelve or fifteen years preserved an
habitual silence, and a habit of fifteen or twenty years' dura-
tion becomes a second nature.



Grimaud thereupon presented himself with his smooth ex-
terior at the donjon of Vincennes. Now Chavigny piqued him-
self on his infallible penetration; for that which almost proved
that he was the son of Richelieu was everlasting pretension;
he examined attentively the countenance of the applicant for
the place, and fancied that the contracted eyebrows, thin lips,
hooked nose, and prominent cheek-bones of Grimaud, were
favorable signs. He addressed about twelve words to him;
Grimaud answered in four,


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"There's a promising fellow, and I have found out his
merits," said M. de Chavigny. "Go," he added, "and make your-
self agreeable to M. la Ramee, and tell him that you suit me in
all respects."

Grimaud had every quality which could attract a man on
duty who wishes to have a deputy. So, after a thousand ques-
tions which met with only a word in reply, La Ram6e, fascinated
by his sobriety in speech, rubbed his hands, and engaged

"My orders?" asked Grimaud.

"They are these: never to leave the prisoner alone; to keep
away from him every pointed or cutting instrument — and to
prevent his conversing any length of time with the keepers."

"Good," answered Grimaud; and he went straight to the

The duke was in the act of combing his beard which he
had allowed to grow as well as his hair, in order to reproach
Mazarin with his wretched appearance and condition. But hav-
ing, some days previously, seen from the top of the donjon,
Mdme. de Montbazon pass in her carriage, and still cherishing
an affection for that beautiful woman, he did not wish to be to
her what he wished to be to Mazarin; and, in the hope of see-
ing her again, had asked for a leaden comb, which was allowed
him. The comb was to be a leaden one, because his beard, like
that of most fair people, was rather red; he therefore dyed it
when he combed it out.

As Grimaud entered he saw this comb on the tea table; he
took it up, and, as he took it, he made a low bow.

The duke looked at this strange figure with surprise. The
figure put the comb in his pocket.

"Ho— hey! what's that?" cried the duke, "and who Is this

Grimaud did not answer, but bowed a second time.

"Are you dumb?" cried the duke.

Grimaud made a sign that he was not.

"What are you, then? Answer! I command!" said the duke.

"A keeper, replied Grimaud.

"Keeper!" reiterated the duke; "there was nothing wanting
in my collection except this gallows-bird. Hallo! La Ramee
— some one!"

La Ramee ran in haste to obey the call.

"Who is this wretch who takes my comb and puts it in his
pocket?" asked the duke.

"One of your guards, my prince— a man full of talent and
merit— whom you will like, as I and M. de Chavigny do, I am

"Why does he take my comb?"

"Why do you take my lord's comb?" asked La Ramee.

Grimaud drew the comb from his pocket, and passing his


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firigers over the large teeth, pronounced this one word—
"Pointed !**
"True/* said La Ramee.
"What does the animal say?" asked the duke.
"That the king has forbidden your lordship to have any pierc-
ing instrument."
"Are you mad, La Ramee? — ^you yourself gave me this comb."
"I was very wrong, my lord; for in giving it to you I acted
in opposition to my orders." The duke looked furiously at

"I perceive that that creature will become odious to me,"
he muttered.

Grimaud, nevertheless, was resolved, for. certain reasons, not
at once to come to a full rupture with the prisoner; he wanted
to inspire, not a sudden repugnance, but a good, sound, and
steady hatred; he retired, therefore, and gave place to four
guards who, having breakfasted, could attend on the prisoner.

A fresh practical joke had now occurred to the duke. He had
asked for craw-fish for his breakfast on the following morning :
he intended to pass the day in making a small gallows, and hang
one of the finest of these fishes in the middle of his room —
the red colors evidently conveying an illusion to the Cardinal —
so that he might have the pleasure of hanging Mazarin in
effigy, without being accused of having hung anything except
a craw-fish.

The day was employed in preparations for the execution.
Everyone grows childish in prison; but the character of M. de
Beaufort was particularly disposed to become so. In the course
of his morning's walk he collected two or three twigs and
found a small piece of broken glass, a discovery which delighted
him. When he came home he formed his handkerchief into
a running noose.

Nothing of all this escaped Grimaud, but La Ramee looked on
with the curiosity of a father who thinks that he may perhaps
get an idea of a new toy for his children; the guards regarded
it all with indifference. When everything was ready — the gal-
lows hung in the middle of the room — the loop made — ^and
when the duke had cast a glance upon the plate of craw-fish,
in order to collect the finest specimen among them, he looked
around for his piece of glass — it had disappeared.

"Who has taken my piece of glass?" asked the duke, frowning.

Grimaud made a sign to denote that he had done so.

"How! you, again! Why did you take it?"

"Yes— why?" asked La Ramee.

Grimaud, who held the piece of glass in his hand, said :


"True, my lord!" exclaimed La Ram6e. "Ah! deuce take it!
we have got a precious lad."

"M. Grimaud!" said the duke, "for your sake, I beg of you,
never come within the reach of my fist!"


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"Hush! hush!" cried La Ramee, "give me your gibbet, my
lord, I win shape it out for you with my knife."

And he took the gibbet and shaped it out as neatly as possible.

"That's it," said the duke; "now make me a little hole in the
floor whilst I go and fetch the culprit."

La Ramee knelt down and made a hole in the floor; mean-
while the duke hung the craw-fish up by a thread. Then he
put the gibbet in the middle of the room, bursting with laughter.

La Riunee laughed also, and the guards laughed in chorus;
Grimaud, however, did not even smile. He approached La
Ramee, and showing him the craw-fish, himg up by the thread,

"Cardinal l** he said.

"Hung by his Highness, the Duke of Beaufort!" cried the
prisoner, laughing violently, "and hy Master Jacques Chrys-
ostom La Ramee, the King's commissioner."

La Ramee uttered a scream of horror, and rushed towards
the gibbet, which he broke at once, and threw the pieces out of
the window. He was going to tiirow the craw-fish out also,
when Grimaud snatched it from his hands.

"Good to eat !" he said ; and he put it into his pocket.

Ihis bit so enchanted the duke that, at the moment, he for-
gave Grimaud for his part in it ; but on reflection, he hated him
more and more, being convinced that he had some bad motive
for his conduct.

The prisoner happened to remark among the guards one
man, with a vefy good countenance, and he favored this man
the more, as Grimaud became more and more odious to him.

One morning he took this man on one side and had suc-
ceeded in speaking to him, when Grimaud entered, saw what was
going on, approached the duke respectfully, but took the guard
by the arm.

"Go away," he said.

The guard obeyed.

"You are insupportable," cried the duke: "I shall beat you."

Grimaud bowed.

"I shall break every bone in your body," cried the duke.

Grimaud bowed, and stepped back.

"Mr. Spy,** cried the duke, more and more enraged, "I
shall strangle you with my own hands."

And he extended his hands towards Grimaud, who merely
thrust the guard out, and shut the door behind him. At the
same time he felt the duke's arms on his shoulders, like two
iron claws; but instead either of calling out or defending him-
self, he placed his forefinger on his lips, and said in a low
tone: "Hush!" smiling as he uttered the words.

A gesture, a smile, and a word from Grimaud, all at once,
were so unusual, that his highness stopped short, astounded.

Grimaud took advantage of that instant to draw from his
vest a charming little note, with an aristocratic seal, and pre-
sented it to the duke without a word.


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The duke, more and more bewildered, let Grimaud loose,
tore open the note, passed his hands over his eyes, for he was
confused, and read:

"My dear Duke: You may entirely confide on the brave
lad who will give you this note; he has consented to enter into
the service of your keeper, and to shut himself up at Vincennes
with you, in order to prepare and assist your escape, which we
are contriving. The moment of your deliverance is at hand;
have patience and courage, and remember that in spite of
time and absence, all your friends continue to cherish for you
the sentiments that they have professed. Yours wholly, and
most aflfectionately, "Marie de Montbazon."

*T. S. I sign my full name, for I should be vain if I could
suppose that after five years of absence you would remember
my initials."

The poor duke became perfectly giddy. What for five years
he had been waiting, — a faithful servant — a friend — a helping
hand — seemed to have fallen from Heaven just when he ex-
pected it the least

"Oh, dearest Marie! she thinks of me, then, after five years
of separation! Heavens! there is constancy!" Then turning
to Grimaud, he said:

"And you, my brave fellow, consent to aid me?"

Grimaud nodded.

"What then shall we do? how proceed?"

"It is now eleven," answered Grimaud. "Let my lord at
two o'clock ask leave to make up a game at tennis, with La
Ramee, and let him knock two or three balls over the ram*

"And then?"

"Your highness will approach the walls and call out to a
man who works in the moat to pitch them back again."

"I understand," said the duke.

Grimaud made a sign that he was going away.

"Hold!" cried the duke, "will you not accept any money
from me?"

"I wish my lord would make me one promise."

"What? speak!"

"'Tis this— when we escape together, that I shall go and
be always first; for if my lord should be overtaken and caught
there's every chance of his being brought back to prison,
whereas, if I'm caught, the least that can befall me — is to be

"True; on my honor as a gentleman, it shall be as you

"Now," resumed Grimaud, "I've only one thing more to
ask, that your highness will continue to detest me."


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I shall try," said the duke.

At this moment La Ramee, after the interview which we
have described with the Cardinal, entered the room. The
duke had thrown himself — as he was wont to do in moments
of dullness and vexation— on his bed. La Ramee cast an in-
quiring look around him.

"Well, my lord," said La Ramee, with his rude laugh— ** you
still set yourself against this poor fellow?"

**So 'tis you. La Ramee; in faith 'tis time you came back
again. I threw myself on the bed, and turned my nose to
the wall that I mightn't break my promise and strangle Grimaud.
I feel bored beyond everything to-day."

"Then let us have a match in the tennis court!" exclaimed
La Ramee.

"I protest, my dear La Ramee," said the duke, "that you
are a charming person, and that I would stay forever at Vin-
cennes, to have the pleasure of your society."

"My lord," replied La Ramee, "I think if it depended on
the Cardinal, your wishes would be fulfilled; my lord, you are
a hobby nightmare."

The duke smiled with bitterness.

"Ah, La Ramee ! if you would but accept my offers ! I would
make your fortime. I shall no sooner be out of prison than
I shall be master of Paris."

"Pshaw! pshaw! I cannot hear such things said as that; I
see, my lord, I shall be obliged to fetch Grimaud."

"Rather than that let us go and have a game of tennis. La

"My lord — I beg your highnesses pardon — but I must beg
for half an hour's leave of absence. M. Mazarin is a prouder
man than your highness, though not of such high birth: he
forgot to ask me to breakfast."

"Well, shall I send for some breakfast here?"

"No, my lord ; I must tell you that the confectioner who lived
opposite the Castle — Father Marteau, as they called him— sold
his business a week ago to a confectioner from Paris, an
invalid, ordered country air for his health.

"This new-comer, your highness, when he saw me stop be-
fore his shop, where he has a display of things which would
make your mouth water, my lord, asked me to get him the cus-
tom of the prisoners in the donjon. 'I bought,' says he, 'the
business of my predecessor, on the strength of his assurance
that he supplied the Castle ; whereas, on my honor, M. de Chav-
igny, though I've been here a week, has not ordered so much
as a tartlet.' So, my lord, I am going to try his pasties j and, as
I am fasting, you understand, I would, with your highness's
leave " And La Ramee bent low.

"Go, then, my boy," said the duke; "but remember, I only
allow you half an hour."


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"May I promise your custom to the successor of Father Mar-
teau, my lord?"

"Yes — ^if he does not put mushrooms in his pies— thou
knowest that mushrooms from the Vincennes >\ood are fatal
to my family."

La Ramee went out, but in five minutes one of the officers
of the guard entered, in compliance with the strict orders of the
Cardinal, that the prisoner should never be left one moment



In half an hour La Ramee returned full of glee, like most
men who have eaten, and more especially drunk, to their heart's
content. The pasties were excellent, and the wine delicious.

The weather was fine, and the game at tennis took place in
the open air.

At two o'clock the tennis balls began, according to Grim-
aud's directions to take the direction of the moat, much to
the joy of La Ramee, who marked fifteen whenever the duke
sent a ball to the moat; and very soon balls were wanting, so
many had gone over. La Ramee then proposed to send some one
to pick them up. But the duke remarked that it would be losing
time; and going near the rampart himself and looking over he
saw a man working in one of the numerous little gardens
which were cleared out by the peasants on the opposite side of
the moat

"Hello, friend!" cried the duke.

The man raised his head and the duke was about to utter
a cry of surprise. The peasant, the gardner, was Rochef ort,
whom he believed to be in the Bastille.

''Well! whafs wanted up there?" said the man.

"Be so good as to send us back our balls," said the duke.

The gardener nodded and began to throw up the balls, which
were picked up by La Ramee and the guard. One however,
fell at the duke's feet ; and seeing that it was intended for him,
he put it into his pocket

La Ramee was in ecstasies at having beaten a prince of the

The duke went indoors, and retired to bed, where he spent,
indeed, the greater part of the day, as they had taken his books
away. La Ram)6e carried oflf all his clothes, in order to be
certain that the duke would not stir. However, the duke con-
trived to hide the ball under his bolster, and as soon as the
door was closed, he tore oflF the cover of the ball with his teetl^
and found underneath it the following letter:


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"My Lord: — ^Your friends watch over you, and the hour of
your deliverance draws near. Ask to-morrow to have a pic
made by the new confectioner opposite the Castle, and who is
no other than Noirmont, your former servant. Do not open
the pie till you are alone. I hope you will be satisfied with its

"Your highness's most devoted servant,

"In the Bastille, as elsewhere,

"De Rochefort."

The duke, who had latterly been allowed a fire, burned the let-
ter, but kept the ball, and went to bed, hiding the ball under his
bolster. Lia Ramee entered: he smiled kindly on the prisoner,
for he was an excellent man who had taken a great liking to

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 8 of 38)