Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

the temple.  And the number of pictures, the quantity of china, vases of
flowers, carpets, and window-panes that fell down were really wonderful."

"Indeed!"

"Without reckoning that on the other side of the partition was a small
table laden with porcelain - "

"Which you knocked over?"

"Which I dashed to the other side of the room," said Porthos,
laughing.

"Upon my word, it is, as you say, astonishing," replied D'Artagnan,
beginning to laugh also; whereupon Porthos laughed louder than ever.

"I broke," said Porthos, in a voice half-choked from his increasing
mirth, "more than three thousand francs worth of china - ha, ha, ha!"

"Good!" said D'Artagnan.

"I smashed more than four thousand francs worth of glass! - ho, ho, ho!"

"Excellent."

"Without counting a luster, which fell on my head and was broken into a
thousand pieces - ha, ha, ha!"

"Upon your head?" said D'Artagnan, holding his sides.

"On top."

"But your head was broken, I suppose?"

"No, since I tell you, on the contrary, my dear fellow, that it was the
luster which was broken, like glass, which, in point of fact, it was."

"Ah! the luster was glass, you say."

"Venetian glass! a perfect curiosity, quite matchless, indeed, and
weighed two hundred pounds."

"And it fell upon your head!"

"Upon my head.  Just imagine, a globe of crystal, gilded all over, the
lower part beautifully encrusted, perfumes burning at the top, with jets
from which flame issued when they were lighted."

"I quite understand, but they were not lighted at the time, I suppose?"

"Happily not, or I should have been grilled prematurely."

"And you were only knocked down flat, instead?"

"Not at all."

"How, 'not at all?'"

"Why, the luster fell on my skull.  It appears that we have upon the top
of our heads an exceedingly thick crust."

"Who told you that, Porthos?"

"The doctor.  A sort of dome which would bear Notre-Dame."

"Bah!"

"Yes, it seems that our skulls are made in that manner."

"Speak for yourself, my dear fellow, it is your own skull that is made in
that manner, and not the skulls of other people."

"Well, that may be so," said Porthos, conceitedly, "so much, however, was
that the case, in my instance, that no sooner did the luster fall upon
the dome which we have at the top of our head, than there was a report
like a cannon, the crystal was broken to pieces, and I fell, covered from
head to foot."

"With blood, poor Porthos!"

"Not at all; with perfumes, which smelt like rich creams; it was
delicious, but the odor was too strong, and I felt quite giddy from it;
perhaps you have experienced it sometimes yourself, D'Artagnan?"

"Yes, in inhaling the scent of the lily of the valley; so that, my poor
friend, you were knocked over by the shock and overpowered by the
perfumes?"

"Yes; but what is very remarkable, for the doctor told me he had never
seen anything like it - "

"You had a bump on your head I suppose?" interrupted D'Artagnan.

"I had five."

"Why five?"

"I will tell you; the luster had, at its lower extremity, five gilt
ornaments; excessively sharp."

"Oh!"

"Well, these five ornaments penetrated my hair, which, as you see, I wear
very thick."

"Fortunately so."

"And they made a mark on my skin.  But just notice the singularity of it,
these things seem really only to happen to me!  Instead of making
indentations, they made bumps.  The doctor could never succeed in
explaining that to me satisfactorily."

"Well, then, I will explain it to you."

"You will do me a great service if you will," said Porthos, winking his
eyes, which, with him, was sign of the profoundest attention.

"Since you have been employing your brain in studies of an exalted
character, in important calculations, and so on, the head has gained a
certain advantage, so that your head is now too full of science."

"Do you think so?"

"I am sure of it.  The result is, that, instead of allowing any foreign
matter to penetrate the interior of the head, your bony box or skull,
which is already too full, avails itself of the openings which are made
in allowing this excess to escape."

"Ah!" said Porthos, to whom this explanation appeared clearer than that
of the doctor.

"The five protuberances, caused by the five ornaments of the luster, must
certainly have been scientific globules, brought to the surface by the
force of circumstances."

"In fact," said Porthos, "the real truth is, that I felt far worse
outside my head than inside.  I will even confess, that when I put my hat
upon my head, clapping it on my head with that graceful energy which we
gentlemen of the sword possess, if my fist was not very gently applied, I
experienced the most painful sensations."

"I quite believe you, Porthos."

"Therefore, my friend," said the giant, "M. Fouquet decided, seeing how
slightly built the house was, to give me another lodging, and so they
brought me here."

"It is the private park, I think, is it not?"

"Yes."

"Where the rendezvous are made; that park, indeed, which is so celebrated
in some of those mysterious stories about the superintendent?"

"I don't know; I have had no rendezvous or heard mysterious stories
myself, but they have authorized me to exercise my muscles, and I take
advantage of the permission by rooting up some of the trees."

"What for?"

"To keep my hand in, and also to take some birds' nests; I find it more
convenient than climbing."

"You are as pastoral as Tyrcis, my dear Porthos."

"Yes, I like the small eggs; I like them very much better than larger
ones.  You have no idea how delicate an _omelette_ is, if made of four or
five hundred eggs of linnets, chaffinches, starlings, blackbirds, and
thrushes."

"But five hundred eggs is perfectly monstrous!"

"A salad-bowl will hold them easily enough," said Porthos.

D'Artagnan looked at Porthos admiringly for full five minutes, as if he
had seen him for the first time, while Porthos spread his chest out
joyously and proudly.  They remained in this state several minutes,
Porthos smiling, and D'Artagnan looking at him.  D'Artagnan was evidently
trying to give the conversation a new turn.  "Do you amuse yourself much
here, Porthos?" he asked at last, very likely after he had found out what
he was searching for.

"Not always."

"I can imagine that; but when you get thoroughly bored, by and by, what
do you intend to do?"

"Oh!  I shall not be here for any length of time.  Aramis is waiting
until the last bump on my head disappears, in order to present me to the
king, who I am told cannot endure the sight of a bump."

"Aramis is still in Paris, then?"

"No."

"Whereabouts is he, then?"

"At Fontainebleau."

"Alone?"

"With M. Fouquet."

"Very good.  But do you happen to know one thing?"

"No, tell it me, and then I shall know."

"Well, then, I think Aramis is forgetting you."

"Do you really think so?"

"Yes; for at Fontainebleau yonder, you must know, they are laughing,
dancing, banqueting, and drawing the corks of M. de Mazarin's wine in
fine style.  Are you aware that they have a ballet every evening there?"

"The deuce they have!"

"I assure you that your dear Aramis is forgetting you."

"Well, that is not at all unlikely, and I have myself thought so
sometimes."

"Unless he is playing you a trick, the sly fellow!"

"Oh!"

"You know that Aramis is as sly as a fox."

"Yes, but to play _me_ a trick - "

"Listen: in the first place, he puts you under a sort of sequestration."

"He sequestrates me!  Do you mean to say I am sequestrated?"

"I think so."

"I wish you would have the goodness to prove that to me."

"Nothing easier.  Do you ever go out?"

"Never."

"Do you ever ride on horseback?"

"Never."

"Are your friends allowed to come and see you?"

"Never."

"Very well, then; never to go out, never to ride on horseback, never to
be allowed to see your friends, that is called being sequestrated."

"But why should Aramis sequestrate me?" inquired Porthos.

"Come," said D'Artagnan, "be frank, Porthos."

"As gold."

"It was Aramis who drew the plan of the fortifications at Belle-Isle, was
it not?"

Porthos colored as he said, "Yes; but that was all he did."

"Exactly, and my own opinion is that it was no very great affair after
all."

"That is mine, too."

"Very good; I am delighted we are of the same opinion."

"He never even came to Belle-Isle," said Porthos.

"There now, you see."

"It was I who went to Vannes, as you may have seen."

"Say rather, as I did see.  Well, that is precisely the state of the
case, my dear Porthos.  Aramis, who only drew the plans, wishes to pass
himself off as the engineer, whilst you, who, stone by stone, built the
wall, the citadel, and the bastions, he wishes to reduce to the rank of a
mere builder."

"By builder, you mean mason, perhaps?"

"Mason; the very word."

"Plasterer, in fact?"

"Hodman?"

"Exactly."

"Oh, oh! my dear Aramis, you seem to think you are only five and twenty
years of age still."

"Yes, and that is not all, for believes you are fifty."

"I should have amazingly liked to have seen him at work."

"Yes, indeed."

"A fellow who has got the gout?"

"Yes."

"Who has lost three of his teeth?"

"Four."

"While I, look at mine."  And Porthos, opening his large mouth very wide,
displayed two rows of teeth not quite as white as snow, but even, hard,
and sound as ivory.

"You can hardly believe, Porthos," said D'Artagnan, "what a fancy the
king has for good teeth.  Yours decide me; I will present you to the king
myself."

"You?"

"Why not?  Do you think I have less credit at court than Aramis?"

"Oh, no!"

"Do you think I have the slightest pretensions upon the fortifications at
Belle-Isle?"

"Certainly not."

"It is your own interest alone which would induce me to do it."

"I don't doubt it in the least."

"Well, I am the intimate friend of the king; and a proof of that is, that
whenever there is anything disagreeable to tell him, it is I who have to
do it."

"But, dear D'Artagnan, if you present me - "

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com