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List Of Contents | Contents of Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Ah!  I understand."

"And I understand you, too.  You fancy I am unhappy, Raoul?"

"Alas!"

"No; I am the happiest of men.  My body suffers, but not my mind or my
heart.  If you only knew - Oh!  I am, indeed, the very happiest of men."

"So much the better," said Raoul; "so much the better, provided it lasts."

"It is over.  I have had enough happiness to last me to my dying day,
Raoul."

"I have no doubt you have had; but she - "

"Listen; I love her, because - but you are not listening to me."

"I beg your pardon."

"Your mind is preoccupied."

"Yes, your health, in the first place - "

"It is not that, I know."

"My dear friend, you would be wrong.  I think, to ask me any questions 
_you_ of all persons in the world;" and he laid so much weight upon the
"you," that he completely enlightened his friend upon the nature of the
evil, and the difficulty of remedying it.

"You say that, Raoul, on account of what I wrote to you."

"Certainly.  We will talk over that matter a little, when you have
finished telling me of all your own pleasures and your pains."

"My dear friend, I am entirely at your service."

"Thank you; I have hurried, I have flown here; I came in half the time
the government couriers usually take.  Now, tell me, my dear friend, what
did you want?"

"Nothing whatever, but to make you come."

"Well, then, I am here."

"All is quite right, then."

"There must have been something else, I suppose?"

"No, indeed."

"De Guiche!"

"Upon my honor!"

"You cannot possibly have crushed all my hopes so violently, or have
exposed me to being disgraced by the king for my return, which is in
disobedience of his orders - you cannot, I say, have planted jealousy in
my heart, merely to say to me, 'It is all right, be perfectly easy.'"

"I do not say to you, Raoul, 'Be perfectly easy;' but pray understand me;
I never will, nor can I, indeed, tell you anything else."

"What sort of person do you take me for?"

"What do you mean?"

"If you know anything, why conceal it from me?  If you do not know
anything, why did you write so warningly?"

"True, true, I was very wrong, and I regret having done so, Raoul.  It
seems nothing to write to a friend and say 'Come;' but to have this
friend face to face, to feel him tremble, and breathlessly and anxiously
wait to hear what one hardly dare tell him, is very difficult."

"Dare!  I have courage enough, if you have not," exclaimed Raoul, in
despair.

"See how unjust you are, and how soon you forget you have to do with a
poor wounded fellow such as your unhappy friend is.  So, calm yourself,
Raoul.  I said to you, 'Come' - you are here, so ask me nothing further."

"Your object in telling me to come was your hope that I should see with
my own eyes, was it not?  Nay, do not hesitate, for I have seen all."

"Oh!" exclaimed De Guiche.

"Or at least I thought - "

"There, now, you see you are not sure.  But if you have any doubt, my
poor friend, what remains for me to do?"

"I saw Louise much agitated - Montalais in a state of bewilderment - the
king - "

"The king?"

"Yes.  You turn your head aside.  The danger is there, the evil is there;
tell me, is it not so, is it not the king?"

"I say nothing."

"Oh! you say a thousand times more than nothing.  Give me facts, for
pity's sake, give me proofs.  My friend, the only friend I have, speak 
tell me all.  My heart is crushed, wounded to death; I am dying from
despair."

"If that really be so, as I see it is, indeed, dear Raoul," replied De
Guiche, "you relieve me from my difficulty, and I will tell you all,
perfectly sure that I can tell you nothing but what is consoling,
compared to the despair from which I see you suffering."

"Go on, - go on; I am listening."

"Well, then, I can only tell you what you might learn from every one you
meet."

"From every one, do you say?  It is talked about, then!"

"Before you say people talk about it, learn what it is that people have
to talk about.  I assure you solemnly, that people only talk about what
may, in truth, be very innocent; perhaps a walk - "

"Ah! a walk with the king?"

"Yes, certainly, a walk with the king; and I believe the king has already
very frequently before taken walks with ladies, without on that account
- "

"You would not have written to me, shall I say again, if there had been
nothing unusual in this promenade."

"I know that while the storm lasted, it would have been far better if the
king had taken shelter somewhere else, than to have remained with his
head uncovered before La Valliere; but the king is so very courteous and
polite."

"Oh!  De Guiche, De Guiche, you are killing me!"

"Do not let us talk any more, then."

"Nay, let us continue.  This walk was followed by others, I suppose?"

"No - I mean yes: there was the adventure of the oak, I think.  But I
know nothing about the matter at all."  Raoul rose; De Guiche endeavored
to imitate him, notwithstanding his weakness.  "Well, I will not add
another word: I have said either too much or not enough.  Let others give
you further information if they will, or if they can; my duty was to warn
you, and _that_ I have done.  Watch over your own affairs now, yourself."

"Question others!  Alas! you are no true friend to speak to me in that
manner," said the young man, in utter distress.  "The first man I meet
may be either evilly disposed or a fool, - if the former, he will tell me
a lie to make me suffer more than I do now; if the latter, he will do
worse still.  Ah!  De Guiche, De Guiche, before two hours are over, I
shall have been told ten falsehoods, and shall have as many duels on my
hands.  Save me, then; is it not best to know the worst always?"

"But I know nothing, I tell you; I was wounded, attacked by fever: out
of my senses; and I have only a very faint recollection of it all.  But
there is on reason why we should search very far, when the very man we
want is close at hand.  Is not D'Artagnan your friend?"

"Oh! true, true!"

"Got to him, then.  He will be able to throw sufficient light upon the
subject."  At this moment a lackey entered the room.  "What is it?" said
De Guiche.

"Some one is waiting for monseigneur in the Cabinet des Porcelaines."

"Very well.  Will you excuse me, my dear Raoul?  I am so proud since I have
been able to walk again."

"I would offer you my arm, De Guiche, if I did not guess that the person
in question is a lady."

"I believe so," said De Guiche, smiling as he quitted Raoul.

Raoul remained motionless, absorbed in grief, overwhelmed, like the miner
upon whom a vault has just fallen in, who, wounded, his life-blood
welling fast, his thoughts confused, endeavors to recover himself, to
save his life and to retain his reason.  A few minutes were all Raoul
needed to dissipate the bewildering sensations occasioned by these two
revelations.  He had already recovered the thread of his ideas, when,
suddenly, through the door, he fancied he recognized Montalais's voice in
the Cabinet des Porcelaines.  "She!" he cried.  "Yes, it is indeed her
voice!  She will be able to tell me the whole truth; but shall I question
her here?  She conceals herself even from me; she is coming, no doubt,
from Madame.  I will see her in her own apartment.  She will explain her
alarm, her flight, the strange manner in which I was driven out; she will
tell me all that - after M. d'Artagnan, who knows everything, shall have
given me a fresh strength and courage.  Madame, a coquette I fear, and
yet a coquette who is herself in love, has her moments of kindness; a
coquette who is as capricious and uncertain as life or death, but who
tells De Guiche that he is the happiest of men.  He at least is lying on
roses."  And so he hastily quitted the comte's apartments, reproaching
himself as he went for having talked of nothing but his own affairs to De
Guiche, and soon reached D'Artagnan's quarters.


Chapter LI:
Bragelonne Continues His Inquiries.

The captain, sitting buried in his leathern armchair, his spurs fixed in
the floor, his sword between his legs, was reading a number of letters,
as he twisted his mustache.  D'Artagnan uttered a welcome full of
pleasure when he perceived his friend's son.  "Raoul, my boy, " he said,
"by what lucky accident does it happen that the king has recalled you?"

These words did not sound agreeably in the young man's ears, who, as he
seated himself, replied, "Upon my word I cannot tell you; all that I know
is - I have come back."

"Hum!" said D'Artagnan, folding up his letters and directing a look full
of meaning at him; "what do you say, my boy? that the king has not
recalled you, and you have returned?  I do not understand that at all."

Raoul was already pale enough; and he now began to turn his hat round and
round in his hand.

"What the deuce is the matter that you look as you do, and what makes you
so dumb?" said the captain.  "Do people nowadays assume that sort of airs
in England?  I have been in England, and came here again as lively as a
chaffinch.  Will you not say something?"

"I have too much to say."

"Ah! how is your father?"

"Forgive me, my dear friend, I was going to ask you that."

D'Artagnan increased the sharpness of his penetrating gaze, which no
secret was capable of resisting.  "You are unhappy about something," he
said.

"I am, indeed; and you know the reason very well, Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"I?"

"Of course.  Nay, do not pretend to be astonished."

"I am not pretending to be astonished, my friend."

"Dear captain, I know very well that in all trials of _finesse_, as well
as in all trials of strength, I shall be beaten by you.  You can see that
at the present moment I am an idiot, an absolute noodle.  I have neither
head nor arm; do not despise, but help me.  In two words, I am the most
wretched of living beings."

"Oh, oh! why that?" inquired D'Artagnan, unbuckling his belt and thawing
the asperity of his smile.

"Because Mademoiselle de la Valliere is deceiving me."

"She is deceiving you," said D'Artagnan, not a muscle of whose face had

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