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List Of Contents | Contents of Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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nothing but sing all day; to act such a part as that would be unworthy of
me.  I thrust aside the scruples which my friendship for you suggested.
I discovered the secret.  I have wounded your feelings, I know, and I
again entreat you to pardon me; but I had a duty to fulfil.  I have
discharged it.  You are now forewarned; the tempest will soon burst;
protect yourself accordingly."

"You naturally expect, however, that a result of some kind must follow,"
replied Bragelonne, with firmness; "for you do not suppose I shall
silently accept the shame thus thrust upon me, or the treachery which has
been practiced against me?"

"You will take whatever steps in the matter you please, Monsieur Raoul,
only do not betray the source whence you derived the truth.  That is all
I have to ask, - the only price I require for the service I have rendered
you."

"Fear nothing, Madame," said Bragelonne, with a bitter smile.

"I bribed the locksmith, in whom the lovers confided.  You can just as
well have done so as myself, can you not?"

"Yes, Madame.  Your royal highness, however, has no other advice or
caution to give me, except that of not betraying you?"

"None."

"I am about, therefore, to beg your royal highness to allow me to remain
here for one moment."

"Without me?"

"Oh! no, Madame.  It matters very little; for what I have to do can be
done in your presence.  I only ask one moment to write a line to some
one."

"It is dangerous, Monsieur de Bragelonne.  Take care."

"No one can possibly know that your royal highness has done me the honor
to conduct me here.  Besides, I shall sign the letter I am going to
write."

"Do as you please, then."

Raoul drew out his tablet, and wrote rapidly on one of the leaves the
following words:

"MONSIEUR LE COMTE, - Do not be surprised to find this paper signed by
me; the friend I shall very shortly send to call on you will have the
honor to explain the object of my visit.
"VICOMTE RAOUL DE BRAGELONNE."

He rolled up the paper, slipped it into the lock of the door which
communicated with the room set apart for the two lovers, and satisfied
himself that the missive was so apparent that Saint-Aignan could not but
see it as he entered; he rejoined the princess, who had already reached
the top of the staircase.  They then separated, Raoul pretending to thank
her highness; Henrietta pitying, or seeming to pity, with all her heart,
the wretched young man she had just condemned to such fearful torture.
"Oh!" she said, as she saw him disappear, pale as death, and his eyes
bursting with blood, "if I had foreseen this, I would have hid the truth
from that poor gentleman."


Chapter LIV:
Porthos's Plan of Action.

The great number of individuals we have introduced into this long story
is the reason why each of them has been forced to appear only in turn,
according to the exigencies of the recital.  The result is, that our
readers have had no opportunity of meeting our friend Porthos since his
return from Fontainebleau.  The honors which he had received from the
king had not changed the easy, affectionate character of that excellent-
hearted man; he may, perhaps, have held up his head a little higher than
usual, and a majesty of demeanor, as it were, may have betrayed itself
since the honor of dining at the king's table had been accorded him.  His
majesty's banqueting-room had produced a certain effect on Porthos.  Le
Seigneur de Bracieux et de Pierrefonds delighted to remember that, during
that memorable dinner, the numerous array of servants, and the large
number of officials in attendance on the guests, gave a certain tone and
effect to the repast, and seemed, as it were, to furnish the room.
Porthos undertook to confer upon Mouston a position of some kind or
other, in order to establish a sort of hierarchy among his other
domestics, and to create a military household, which was not unusual
among the great captains of the age, since, in the preceding century,
this luxury had been greatly encouraged by Messieurs de Treville, de
Schomberg, de la Vieuville, without alluding to M. de Richelieu, M. de
Conde, and de Bouillon-Turenne.  And, therefore, why should not he,
Porthos, the friend of the king, and of M. Fouquet, a baron, and
engineer, etc., why should not he, indeed, enjoy all the delightful
privileges which large possessions and unusual merit invariably confer?
Somewhat neglected by Aramis, who, we know, was greatly occupied with M.
Fouquet; neglected, also, on account of his being on duty, by D'Artagnan;
tired of Truchen and Planchet, Porthos was surprised to find himself
dreaming, without precisely knowing why; but if any one had said to him,
"Do you want anything, Porthos?" he would most certainly have replied,
"Yes."  After one of those dinners, during which Porthos attempted to
recall to his recollection all the details of the royal banquet, gently
joyful, thanks to the excellence of the wines; gently melancholy, thanks
to his ambitions ideas, Porthos was gradually falling off into a placid
doze, when his servant entered to announce that M. de Bragelonne wished
to speak to him.  Porthos passed into an adjoining room, where he found
his young friend in the disposition of mind we are already aware of.
Raoul advanced towards Porthos, and shook him by the hand; Porthos,
surprised at his seriousness of aspect, offered him a seat.  "Dear M. du
Vallon," said Raoul, "I have a service to ask of you."

"Nothing could happen more fortunately, my young friend," replied
Porthos; "I have eight thousand livres sent me this morning from
Pierrefonds; and if you want any money - "

"No, I thank you; it is not money."

"So much the worse, then.  I have always heard it said that that is the
rarest service, but the easiest to render.  The remark struck me; I like
to cite remarks that strike me."

"Your heart is as good as your mind is sound and true."

"You are much too kind, I declare.  You will dine here, of course?"

"No; I am not hungry."

"Eh! not dine?  What a dreadful country England is!"

"Not too much so, indeed - but - "

"Well, if such excellent fish and meat were not to be procured there, it
would hardly be endurable."

"Yes, I came to - "

"I am listening.  Only just allow me to take a little sip.  One gets
thirsty in Paris;" and he ordered a bottle of champagne to be brought;
and, having first filled Raoul's glass, he filled his own, drank it down
at a gulp, and then resumed: "I needed that, in order to listen to you
with proper attention.  I am now entirely at your service.  What do you
wish to ask me, dear Raoul?  What do you want?"

"Give me your opinion on quarrels in general, my dear friend."

"My opinion!  Well - but - Explain your idea a little more coherently,"
replied Porthos, rubbing his forehead.

"I mean - you are generally good-humored, good-tempered, whenever any
misunderstanding arises between a friend of yours and a stranger, for
instance?"

"Oh! in the best of tempers."

"Very good; but what do you do, in such a case?"

"Whenever any friend of mine gets into a quarrel, I always act on one
principle."

"What is that?"

"That lost time is irreparable, and one never arranges an affair so well
as when everything has been done to embroil the disputants as much as
possible."

"Ah! indeed, is that the principle on which you proceed?"

"Precisely; so, as soon as a quarrel takes place, I bring the two parties
together."

"Exactly."

"You understand that by this means it is impossible for an affair not to
be arranged."

"I should have thought that, treated in this manner, an affair would, on
the contrary - "

"Oh! not the least in the world.  Just fancy, now, I have had in my life
something like a hundred and eighty to a hundred and ninety regular
duels, without reckoning hasty encounters, or chance meetings."

"It is a very handsome aggregate," said Raoul, unable to resist a smile.

"A mere nothing; but I am so gentle.  D'Artagnan reckons his duels by
hundreds.  It is very true he is a little too hard and sharp - I have
often told him so."

"And so," resumed Raoul, "you generally arrange the affairs of honor your
friends confide to you."

"There is not a single instance in which I have not finished by arranging
every one of them," said Porthos, with a gentleness and confidence that
surprised Raoul.

"But the way in which you settle them is at least honorable, I suppose?"

"Oh! rely upon that; and at this stage, I will explain my other principle
to you.  As soon as my friend has intrusted his quarrel to me, this is
what I do; I go to his adversary at once, armed with a politeness and
self-possession absolutely requisite under such circumstances."

"That is the way, then," said Raoul, bitterly, "that you arrange affairs
so safely."

"I believe you.  I go to the adversary, then, and say to him: 'It is
impossible, monsieur, that you are ignorant of the extent to which you
have insulted my friend.'"  Raoul frowned at this remark.

"It sometimes happens - very often, indeed," pursued Porthos - "that my
friend has not been insulted at all; he has even been the first to give
offense; you can imagine, therefore, whether my language is or is not
well chosen."  And Porthos burst into a peal of laughter.

"Decidedly," said Raoul to himself while the merry thunder of Porthos's
laughter was resounding in his ears, "I am very unfortunate.  De Guiche
treats me with coolness, D'Artagnan with ridicule, Porthos is too tame;
no one will settle this affair in the only way I wish it to be settled.
And I came to Porthos because I wanted to find a sword instead of cold
reasoning at my service.  My ill-luck dogs me."

Porthos, who had recovered himself, continued: "By one simple expression,
I leave my adversary without an excuse."

"That is as it may happen," said Raoul, absently.

"Not at all, it is quite certain.  I have not left him an excuse; and
then it is that I display all my courtesy, in order to attain the happy
issue of my project.  I advance, therefore, with an air of great
politeness, and taking my adversary by the hand, I say to him: 'Now that

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