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the captive prince. He endeavored to cheer him up in his

"Ah, my friend!" cried the duke, "you are so good; if I
could but go as you do, and eat pasties and drink Burgundy
at the house of Father Marteau's successor !"

"Tis true, my lord,**^ answered La Ramee, "that his pasties
are famous, and his wine magnificent."

"Good," said the duke to himself; "it seems that one of
master La Ramee's seven deadly sins is gluttony."

Then aloud:

"Well, my dear La Ramee! the day after to-morrow is a

"Yes, my lord ; Pentecost."

**Will you give me a lesson in gastronomy, the day after to-
morrow ?"

"WilUngly, nty lord."

"But tete-a-tete. The guards shall go to sup in the canteen
— ^we'll have supper here, under your direction."

"Humph!" said La Ramee.

The duke watched the countenance of La Ramee with an anx-
ious glance.

"Well, on condition that Grimaud should wait on us at table."
Nothing could be more agreeable to the duke; however, he
had presence of mind enough to exclaim:

"Send your Grimaud to the devil! he'll spoil my feast. I see
you distrust me."

"My lord, the day after to-morrow is Pentecost, and a ma-
gician has predicted that Pentecost would not pass without your
highness being out of Vincennes."

The duke shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, then," with a well-acted good humor, "I allow of
Grimaud, but no one else— you must manage it alL Order
whatever you like for supper — the only thing I specify is one
of those pies; and tell the confectioner that I will promise
him my custom if he excels this time in his pies — not only
now, but when I leave my prison."


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"Then you think you shall leave it?" said La Ramee.

"The devil!" replied the prince; "surely at the death of
Mazarin. I am fifteen years younger than he is. At Vin-
cennes, *tis true, one lives faster "

"My lord," replied La Ramee, "my lord "

"Or one dies sooner, so it comes to the same thing."

La Ramee was going out. He stopped, however, at the door
for an instant.

"Whom does your highness wish me to send to you?"

"Any one, except Grimaud."

"The officer of the guard, then? with his chess-board?"


Five minutes afterwards the officer entered, and the duke
seemed to be immersed in the sublime combinations of chess.

It was midnight before he went to sleep that evening,
and he awoke at daybreak. Wild dreams had disturbed his re-
pose. La Ramee found him so pale and fatigued, that he in-
quired whether he was ill.

"What is the matter with your highness?" he asked.

" Tis thy fault, thou simpleton," answered the duke. "With
your idle nonsense yesterday, about escaping, you worried me
so, that I dreamed that I was trying to escape, and broke my
neck in doing so."

La Ramee laughed.

"Come," he said, " 'tis a warning from Heaven. Never com-
mit such an imprudence as to try to escape, except in your
dreams. Listen! your supper is ordered."

"You told him it was for me?"

"Yes; and he said he would do his best to please your high-

"Good!" exclaimed the duke, rubbing his hands.

"Devil take it, my lord! what a gourmand you are becom-
ing. I haven't seen you with so cheerful a face these five

At this moment Grimaud entered, and signified to Las
Ramee that he had something to say to him.

The duke instantly recovered his composure.

"I forbade that man to come here," he said.

"Tis my fault," replied La Ramee; "but he must stay here
whilst I go and see M. de Chavigny, who has some orders ta
give me."

And La Ramee went out. Grimaud looked after him; and
when the door was closed he drew out of his pocket a pencil
and a sheet of paper.

"Write, my lord," he said, "All is ready for to-morrow
evening. Keep watch from seven till nine. Have two riding
horses quite ready. We shall descend by the first window in
the gallery."

"Sign, my lord. Now, my lord, give me, if you have not
lost it, the ball — that which contained the letter."


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The duke took it from under his pillow, and gave it to
Grimaud. Grimaud gave a grim smile.

**Now," said the duke, "tell me what this famous raised pie
is to contain."

"Two poignards,.a knotted rope, and a chokepear.**

"Yes, I understand, — ^we shall take to ourselves the poignards
and the rope," replied the duke.

"And make La Ramee eat the pear," answered Grimaud.

"My dear Grimaud, you speak seldom, but when you do,
one must do you justice— your words are of gold."



Whilst these projects were being formed by Beaufort and
Grimaud, the Count de La Fere and the Viscount de Bragel-
onne were entering Paris by the Rue du Faubourg Saint

They stopped at the Fox, in the Rue du Vieux Colombier,
a tavern known for many years by Athos, and asked for two

"You must dress yourself, Raoul," said Athos. "I am going
to present you to some one. I wish you to look well, so ar-
range your dress with care."

"I hope, sir," replied the youth smiling, "that there's no
idea of a marriage for me; you know my engagement to

Athos, in his turn, smiled also.

"No, don't be alarmed — ^although it is to a lady that I am
going to present you — and I am anxious that you should love

"What age is she?*' inquired the Viscount de Bragelonne.

"My dear Raoul, learn once for all, that that is a question
which is never asked. When you can find out a woman's age by
her face it is useless to ask it; when you cannot do so it is in-

"Is she beautiful?"

"During sixteen years she was deemed not only the prettiest
but the most graceful woman in France."

This reply reassured the viscount. A woman who had been
a reigning beauty for sixteen years could not be the subject of
any scheme for him. He retired to his toilet. When he reap-
peared, Athos received him with the same parental smile as that
which he had often bestowed on d'Artagnan — ^but a more pro-
found tenderness for Raoul was now visibly impressed upon
bis face.


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Athos cast a glance at his feet, hands, and hair — ^those three
marks of race.

"Come," murmured Athos, "if she is not proud of him, she
will be hard to please."

It was three o'clock in the afternoon. The two travelers pro-
ceeded to the Rue St. Dominique, and stopped at the door of
a magnificent hotel, surmounted with the arms of De Lujmes.

** *Tis here," said Athos.

He entered the hotel, and ascended the front steps, and ad-
dressing the footman who waited there in a grand hvery, asked
if the Duchess de Chevreuse was visible, and if she could
receive the Count de la Fere?"

The servant returned with a message to say that though the
duchess had not the honor of knowing M. de la Fere, she would
receive him. He was accordingly announced.

Mdme. de Chevreuse, whose name appears so often in our
story— "The Three Musketeers"— without her actually having
appeared in any scene, was still a most beautiful woman. Al-
though about forty-four or forty-five years old, she scarcely
seemed thirty-eight. She was the same mad creature who
threw over her amours such an air of originality as to make
them almost a proverb in her family.

She was in a little boudoir looking upon a garden, and hung
with blue damask, adorned with red flowers, with a foliage of
gold; and reclined upon a sofa, her head supported on the
rich tapestry which covered it. She held a book in her hand,
and her arm was supported by a cushion.

As the footman announced the strangers, she raised herself
a little and peeped out, with some curiosity.

Athos appeared dressed in violet-colored velvet, trimmed with
the same color. His shoulder-knots were of burnished silver;
his mantle had no gold or embroidery on it, and a simple
plume of violet feathers adorned his hat; his boots were black
leather: and at his girdle hung that sword with a magnificent
hilt that Porthos had often admired. Splendid lace formed the
falling collar of his shirt, and lace fell also over the tops of his
boots. ,

In his whole person he bore such an impress of high con-
dition, that Mdme. de Chevreuse half rose from her seat when
she saw him, and made him a sign to sit down near her. He
obeyed, the servant disappeared, and the door was closed.

There was a momentary silence, during which these two per-
sons looked at each other attentively.

The duchess was the first to speak.

"Well, sir! I am waiting to hear what you wish to say to
me — ^with impatience."

"And I, madam," replied Athos, "am looking with admiration."

"Sir," said Mdme. de Chevreuse, "you must excuse me, but
I long to know to whom I am talking. You belong to the

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court, doubtless, yet I have never seen you at court Have you
been in the Bastille by any mischance?

"No, madam, I have not; but perhaps I am on the road to

"Ah I then tell me who you are, and get along with you,"
replied the duchess, with the gaiety which made her so charm-
ing, **for I am sufficiently in bad odor there already, without
compromising myself still more."

•*Who I am, madam ? My name has been mentioned to you —
the Count de la Fere — you do not know that name. I once
bore another which you knew; but you have certainly forgot-
ten it"

"TeU it me, sir."

"Formerly," said the count, "I was Athos."

Mdme. de Chevreuse looked astonished. The name was not
wholly forgotten, but mixed up and confused with some old

"This Athos was one of three young Musketeers, named
Porthos, and **

He stopped short.

"And Aramis," said the duchess, quickly.

"And Aramis ; you have not forgotten that name."

"No," she said : "poor Aramis ; a charming man, elegant, dis-
creet, and a writer of poetry verses. I am afraid he has turned
out ill," she added.

"He has; he is."

"Ah, what a misfortune!" exclaimed the duchess, playing
carelessly with her fan. "Indeed, sir, I thank you; you have
recalled one of the most agreeable recollections of my youth."

"Will you permit me, then, to recall another to you? Aramis
was intimate with a young needlewoman from Tours, a cousin
of his, named Marie Michon."

"Ah, I knew her!** cried the duchess. "It was to her he
wrote from the siege of Rochelle, to warn her of a plot against
the Duke of Buckingham."

"Exactly so ; will you allow me to speak to you of her ?"

"If," replied the duchess, with a meaning look, "you do not
say too much against her."

"You encourage me, madam. I shall continue," said Athos;
and he began his narrative.

He alluded to events long gone by; a sorcerer rather than
mere man. These disclosures were succeeded by an exclama-
tion of joy from Mdme. de Qievreuse.

"He is here! my son! the son of Marie Michon! But I must
see him instantly."

"Take care, madam," said Athos, "for he knows neither his
father nor his mother."

"You have kept the secret! you have brought him to see me, .
thinking to make me happy. Oh, thanks! thanks! sir," cried


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Mdme. de Chevreuse, seizing his hand, and trying to put it to
her lips, "you have a noble heart."

"I bring him to you, madam," said Athos, withdrawing his
hand, "hoping that, in your turn, jrou will do something for him ;
till now I have watched over his education, and I have made
him, I hope, an accomplished gentleman; but I am now obliged
to return to the dangerous and wandering life of party faction.
To-morrow I plunge into an adventurous affair in which I
may be killed. Then it will devolve on you to push him on
in that world where he is called on to occupy a place.

"Be assured," cried the duchess, "I shall do what I can. I
have but little influence now, but all that I have shall be his.
As to his little fortune "

**As to that, madam, I have made over to him the estate of
Bragelonne, my inheritance, which will give him ten thousand
francs a year, and the title of viscount; — and now I will call

Athos moved towards the door; the duchess held him back,
s **Is he handsome?" she asked.

Athos smiled.

**He resembles his mother."

And he opened the door, and desired the young man to come

The duchess could not forbear uttering a cry of joy on see-
ing so handsome a young cavalier, who surpassed all that her
pride had been able to conceive.

"Come here," said Athos. "The duchess permits you to kiss
her hand."

The youth approached with his charming smile, and his head
bare, and, kneeling down, kissed the hand of the Duchess de

"Sir," he said, turning to Athos, "was it not in compassion
to my timidity that you told me that this lady was the
Duchess de Chevreuse, and is she not the Queen?"

"No," said the duchess, extending her hand to him; **no;
unhappily I am not the Queen, for, if I were, I should do for
you at once all that you deserve: but let us see; whatever I
may be," she added, her eyers glistening with delight, "let us see
what profession you wish to follow." >

Athos, standing, looked at them both with indescribable

"Madam," answered the youth in his sweet voice, "it seems
to me that there is only one career for a' gentleman — ^that
of the army. I have been brought up by my lord with the
intention, I believe, of making me a soldier; and he gave me
reason to hope that, at Paris, he would present to me some
one who would recommend me to the favor of the prince."

"Yes, I understand it well. The Prince de Marsillac, my
old friend, — shall recommend your young friend to Madame


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de Longueville, who will give him a letter to her brother, the
prince, who loves her too tenderly not to dp what she wishes

"Well, that will do charmingly," said the count; **but may
I beg that the greatest haste may be made, for I have reasons
to wish the viscount not to sleep longer than to-morrow night
in Paris."

"Do you wish it known that you are interested about him?"

"Better for him, in future, that he should be supposed never
to have seen me."

"Oh, sirT' cried Raoul.

"You know, Bragelonne," said Athos, "I never act without

"Well, Coimt, I am going instantly," interrupted the duchess,
"to send for the Prince de Marsillac, who is, happily, in Paris
just now. What are you going to do this evening?"

"We intend to visit the Abbe Scarron, for whom I have
a letter of introduction, and at whose house I expect to meet
some of my friends."

"'Tis well; I shall go there also, for a few minutes," said
the duchess; "do hot quit his parlor until you have seen me."

Athos bowed, and took his departure.



There stood, in the Rue des Tournelles, a house known by
all the sedan-chairmen and footmen of Paris, and yet, neverthe-
less, this house was neither that of a great lord nor of a rich
man. There was neither dining, nor playing of cards, nor
dancing in that house. Nevertheless, it was the rendezvous of
all the great world, and all Paris went there. It was the abode
of little Scarron.

There, in the home of that witty abbe, there was incessant
laughter^ there all the news of the day had their source, and
were so quickly transformed, misrepresented, and converted,
some into epigrams, some into falsehoods, that everyone was
anxious to pass an hour with little Scarron, listening to what
he said, and reporting it to others.

At seven o'clock Athos and Raoul directed their steps to the
Rue des Tournelles; it was stopped up by porters, horses,
and footmen. Athos forced his way through and entered, fol-
lowed by the young man. The first person that struck him on
his entrance was Aramis, planted near a great chair on cas-
tors, very large, covered with a canopy of tapestry, under
v'bich there moved, enveloped in a quilt of brocade, a little facc^


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rather young, rather merry, but somewhat pallidj—whilst its
eyes never ceased to express a sentiment at <5nce lively, intel-
lectual and amiable. This was the Abbe Scarron, always laugh-
ing, joking, complimenting — ^yet suffering — ^and scratclung him-
self with a little switch.

Around this kind of rolling tent pressed a crowd of gentle-
men and women. The door opened and Mdme. de Chevreuse was
announced. Everyone rose. Scarron turned his chair towards
the door; Raoul blushed; Athos made a sign to Aramis, who
went to hide himself in the inclosure of a window.

In the midst of all the compliments that awaited her on her
entrance, the duchess seemed to be looking for some one; at
last she found out Raoul, and her eyes sparkled j she perceived
Athos, and became thoughtful; she saw Aramis and gave a
start of surprise behind her fan. He had drawn near to the
Coadjutor, who, smiling all the while,^ had contrived to drop
some words into his ear. Raoul, following the advice of Athos,
went towards them. Athos had now joined the other two, and
they were in deep consultation as the youth approached them.

" Tis a rouleau by M. Voiture that M. FAbbe is repeating to
me." said Athos in a loud voice, "and I confess I think it in-

Raoul stayed only a few minutes near them, and then min-
gled in the group around Mdme. de Chevreuse.

"Well, then," asked Athos, in a low tone, as soon as the
three friends were unobserved, "to-morrow?"

"Yes, to-morrow," said Aramis quickly, "at six o'clock, at
St. Mande."

"Who told you?"

"The Count de Rochefort."

"Tell the Count de la Fere to come to me," said Mdme.
de Chevreuse, "I want to speak to him."

"And I," said the Coadjutor, "want it to be thought that I
do not speak to him. I admire, I love him— for I know his
former adventures— but I shall not speak to him until the
day after to-morrow."

"And what then?" asked Mdme. de Chevreuse.

"You shall know to-morrow evening," replied the Coadjutor,

Athos then drew near her.

"Count," said the duchess, giving him a letter, "here is what
I promised you: our young friend will be extremely well re-

"Madam, he is very happy in owing any obligation to you."

Mdme. de Chevreuse rose to depart.

"Viscount," said Athos to Raoul, "follow the duchess; beg
her to do you the favor to take her arm in going downstairs,
and thank her as you descend."

The invalid disappeared soon afterwards, and went into his
sleeping-room; and one by one the lights were extinguished.


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Contrary to the custom of a man so firm and decided, there
was this morning in his personal appearance something slow
and irresolute. He was evidently occupying himself in prepara-
tions for the departure of Raoul; after employing nearly an
hour in these cares, he opened the door of the room in which
the viscount slept, and entered.

The sun, already high, penetrated into the room through the
window, the curtains of which Raoul had neglected to close on
the previous evening. He was still sleeping, his head grace-
fully reposing on his arm.

Athos approached and hung over the youth in an attitude full
of tender melancholy; he remembered that the first part of his
life had been embittered by a woman, and he thought with alarm
of the influence which love might possess over so fine, and at
the same time, so vigorous an organization as that of Raoul.

In recalling all that he had suffered, he foresaw all that Raoul
would suffer ; and the expression of the deep and tender com-
passion which throbbed in his heart was pictured in the moist
eye with which he gazed on the young man.

At this moment Raoul awoke, without a cloud on his face,
without weariness or lassitude; his eyes were fixed on those of
Athos, and he, perhaps, comprehended all that passed in the
heart of the man who was awaiting his awakening as a lover
awaits the awakening of his mistress, for his glance, in return,
had all the tenderness of infinite love.

"You are there, sir," he said respectfully.

"Yes, Raoul," replied the count. "How do you feel?"

"Perfectly well; quite rested, sir."

"You are still growing," Athos continued, with that charming
and paternal interest felt by a grown man for a youth.

"Oh, sir! I beg your pardon," exclaimed Raoul, ashamed
of so much attention; "in an instant I shall be dressed."

Athos then called Olivain.

"Everything," said Olivain to Athos, "has been done accord-
. ing to your directions ; the horses are waiting.

"And I was asleep!" cried Raoul; "whilst you, sir, you had
the kindness to attend to all these details. Truly, sir, you
overwhelm me with benefits !"

"Therefore you love me, a little, I hope," replied Athos, in
a tone of emotion.

"Oh, sir ! God knows that I love and revere you."

"See that you forget nothing 1" said Athos, appearing to look
about him that he might hide his emotion.

"No, indeed, sir," answered Raoul.

The servant then approached Athos, and said hesitatingly:
"M. le Viscount has no sword."

"Tis well," said Athos. "I will take care of that."

They w^nt downstairs, Raoul looking every now and then
at the count to see if the moment of farewell was at hand, but


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Athos was silent. When they reached the steps, Raoul saw
three horses.

"Oh, sir! then you are going with me?"

"I shall conduct you part of the way,** said Athos.

They set out, passing over Point Neuf; they pursued their
way along the quay and went along by the walls of the Grand
Chatelet. They proceeded to the Rue St. Denis.

Along the road the count gave his son lessons in war and
the exercises of gentlemen, but with a delicacy which never
offended the susceptibilities of youth.

They arrived that very moment at the town gate, guarded by
two sentinels.

"Here comes a young gentleman," said one of them, "who
seems as if he were going to join the army."

"How do you find that out?" inquired Athos.

"By his manner, sir, and his age; he*s the second to-day."

•*Has a young man, such as I am, gone through this morn-
ing, then?" asked Raoul.

"Faith, yes, with a haughty presence and fine equipage, such
as the son of a noble house would have."

"He was to be my companion on the journey, sir," cried
Raoul. "Alas! he cannot make me forget what I lose!"

Thus talking, they traversed the streets, full of people on ac-
count of the fete, and arrived opposite the old cathedral where
the first mass was going on.



"Let us alight, Raoul," said Athos. "Olivain, take care of
our horses, and give me my sword."

The two gentlemen then went into the church. Athos gave
Raoul some of the holy water. A love as tender as that of a
lover for his mistress dwells, undoubtedly, in some paternal
hearts for a son.

"Come, Raoul," he said, "let us follow this man."

The verger opened the iron grating which guarded the royal
tombs, and stood on the topmost steps, whilst Athos and Raoul
descended. The depths of the sepulchral descent were dimly
lighted by a silver lamp, on the lowest steps ; and just below this
lamp there was laid, wrapt in a large mantle of violet velvet,
worked with fleur-de-lis of gold, a catafalque resting upon
trestles of oak.

The young man, prepared for the scene by the state of his
own feelings, which were mournful, and by the majesty of the
cathedral, which he had passed through, had descended in a slow
and solemn manner, and stood with his head uncovered before


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these mortal spoils of the last king, who was not to be placed
by the side of his forefathers until his successor should take
his place there; and who appeared to abide on that spot, that
he might thus address himian prjde, so sure to be exalted by the
glories of a throne; "Dust of the earth! I await theel"

There was a profound silence.

Then Athos raised his hand, and pointing to the coffin, —

"This temporary sepulchre is," he said, **that of a man of
feeble mind; yet whose reign was full of great events; because
over this king watched the spirit of another man, even as this
lamp keeps vigil over this coffin, and illumines it He whose
intellect wa^ thus supreme, was, Raoul, the actual sovereign;
the other, nothing but a phantom to whom he gave a soul; and
yet, so powerful is majesty amongst us, this man has not even
the honor of a tomb even at the feet of him in whose service
his life was worn away. Remember, Raoul, this! If Richelieu
made the king, by comparison, small, he made royalty great
The palace of the Louvre contains two things — ^theking, who
must die; royalty, which dieth not The minister, so feared, so

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 9 of 38)