List Of Contents | Contents of Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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observation.  They were desirous only of seeing whether Raoul and Porthos
would push the affair to the uttermost.  And this they speedily did, for
Raoul, presenting his pistol, threw himself on the leader, commanding the
coachmen to stop.  Porthos seized the coachman, and dragged him from his
seat.  Grimaud already had hold of the carriage door.  Raoul threw open
his arms, exclaiming, "M. le comte! M. le comte!"

"Ah! is it you, Raoul?" said Athos, intoxicated with joy.

"Not bad, indeed!" added D'Artagnan, with a burst of laughter, and they
both embraced the young man and Porthos, who had taken possession of them.

"My brave Porthos! best of friends," cried Athos, "it is still the same
old way with you."

"He is still only twenty," said D'Artagnan, "brave Porthos!"

"Confound it," answered Porthos, slightly confused, "we thought that you
were being arrested."

"While," rejoined Athos, "the matter in question was nothing but my
taking a drive in M. d'Artagnan's carriage."

"But we followed you from the Bastile," returned Raoul, with a tone of
suspicion and reproach.

"Where we had been to take supper with our friend M. Baisemeaux.  Do you
recollect Baisemeaux, Porthos?"

"Very well, indeed."

"And there we saw Aramis."

"In the Bastile?"

"At supper."

"Ah!" said Porthos, again breathing freely.

"He gave us a thousand messages to you."

"And where is M. le comte going?" asked Grimaud, already recompensed by a
smile from his master.

"We were going home to Blois."

"How can that be?"

"At once?" said Raoul.

"Yes, right forward."

"Without any luggage?"

"Oh!  Raoul would have been instructed to forward me mine, or to bring it
with him on his return, _if_ he returns."

"If nothing detains him longer in Paris," said D'Artagnan, with a glance
firm and cutting as steel, and as painful (for it reopened the poor young
fellow's wounds), "he will do well to follow you, Athos."

"There is nothing to keep me any longer in Paris," said Raoul.

"Then we will go immediately."

"And M. d'Artagnan?"

"Oh! as for me, I was only accompanying Athos as far as the barrier, and
I return with Porthos."

"Very good," said the latter.

"Come, my son," added the comte, gently passing his arm around Raoul's
neck to draw him into the carriage, and again embracing him.  "Grimaud,"
continued the comte, "you will return quietly to Paris with your horse
and M. du Vallon's, for Raoul and I will mount here and give up the
carriage to these two gentlemen to return to Paris in; and then, as soon
as you arrive, you will take my clothes and letters and forward the whole
to me at home."

"But," observed Raoul, who was anxious to make the comte converse, "when
you return to Paris, there will not be a single thing there for you 
which will be very inconvenient."

"I think it will be a very long time, Raoul, ere I return to Paris.  The
last sojourn we have made there has not been of a nature to encourage me
to repeat it."

Raoul hung down his head and said not a word more.  Athos descended from
the carriage and mounted the horse which had brought Porthos, and which
seemed no little pleased at the exchange.  Then they embraced, and
clasped each other's hands, and interchanged a thousand pledges of
eternal friendship.  Porthos promised to spend a month with Athos at the
first opportunity.  D'Artagnan engaged to take advantage of his first
leave of absence; and then, having embraced Raoul for the last time: "To
you, my boy," said he, "I will write."  Coming from D'Artagnan, who he
knew wrote very seldom, these words expressed everything.  Raoul was
moved even to tears.  He tore himself away from the musketeer and
departed.

D'Artagnan rejoined Porthos in the carriage: "Well," said he, "my dear
friend, what a day we have had!"

"Indeed we have," answered Porthos.

"You must be quite worn out."

"Not quite; however, I shall retire early to rest, so as to be ready for
to-morrow."

"And wherefore?"

"Why! to complete what I have begun."

"You make me shudder, my friend, you seem to me quite angry.  What the
devil _have_ you begun which is not finished?"

"Listen; Raoul has not fought, but _I_ must fight!"

"With whom? with the king?"

"How!" exclaimed Porthos, astounded, "with the king?"

"Yes, I say, you great baby, with the king."

"I assure you it is with M. Saint-Aignan."

"Look now, this is what I mean; you draw your sword against the king in
fighting with this gentleman."

"Ah!" said Porthos, staring; "are you sure of it?"

"Indeed I am."

"What in the world are we to do, then?"

"We must try and make a good supper, Porthos.  The captain of the
musketeers keeps a tolerable table.  There you will see the handsome
Saint-Aignan, and will drink his health."

"I?" cried Porthos, horrified.

"What!" said D'Artagnan, "you refuse to drink the king's health?"

"But, body alive!  I am not talking to you about the king at all; I am
speaking of M. de Saint-Aignan."

"But when I repeat that it is the same thing?"

"Ah, well, well!" said Porthos, overcome.

"You understand, don't you?"

"No," answered Porthos, "but 'tis all the same."


Chapter LXVII:
M. de Baisemeaux's "Society."

The reader has not forgotten that, on quitting the Bastile, D'Artagnan
and the Comte de la Fere had left Aramis in close confabulation with
Baisemeaux.  When once these two guests had departed, Baisemeaux did not
in the least perceive that the conversation suffered by their absence.
He used to think that wine after supper, and that of the Bastile in
particular, was excellent, and that it was a stimulation quite sufficient
to make any honest man talkative.  But he little knew his Greatness, who
was never more impenetrable that at dessert.  His Greatness, however,
perfectly understood M. de Baisemeaux, when he reckoned on making the
governor discourse by the means which the latter regarded as
efficacious.  The conversation, therefore, without flagging in
appearance, flagged in reality; for Baisemeaux not only had it nearly all
to himself, but further, kept speaking only of that singular event, the
incarceration of Athos, followed by so prompt an order to set him again
at liberty.  Nor, moreover, had Baisemeaux failed to observe that the two
orders of arrest and of liberation, were both in the king's hand.  But
then, the king would not take the trouble to write similar orders except
under pressing circumstances.  All this was very interesting, and, above
all, very puzzling to Baisemeaux; but as, on the other hand, all this was
very clear to Aramis, the latter did not attach to the occurrence the
same importance as did the worthy governor.  Besides, Aramis rarely put
himself out of the way for anything, and he had not yet told M. de
Baisemeaux for what reason he had now done so.  And so at the very climax
of Baisemeaux's dissertation, Aramis suddenly interrupted him.

"Tell me, my dear Baisemeaux," said he, "have you never had any other
diversions at the Bastile than those at which I assisted during the two
or three visits I have had the honor to pay you?"

This address was so unexpected that the governor, like a vane which
suddenly receives an impulsion opposed to that of the wind, was quite
dumbfounded at it.  "Diversions!" said he; "but I take them continually,
monseigneur."

"Oh, to be sure!  And these diversions?"

"Are of every kind."

"Visits, no doubt?"

"No, not visits.  Visits are not frequent at the Bastile."

"What, are visits rare, then?"

"Very much so."

"Even on the part of your society?"

"What do you term my society - the prisoners?"

"Oh, no! - your prisoners, indeed!  I know well it is you who visit them,
and not they you.  By your society, I mean, my dear Baisemeaux, the
society of which you are a member."

Baisemeaux looked fixedly at Aramis, and then, as if the idea which had
flashed across his mind were impossible, "Oh," he said, "I have very
little society at present.  If I must own it to you, dear M. d'Herblay,
the fact is, to stay at the Bastile appears, for the most part,
distressing and distasteful to persons of the gay world.  As for the
ladies, it is never without a certain dread, which costs me infinite
trouble to allay, that they succeed in reaching my quarters.  And,
indeed, how should they avoid trembling a little, poor things, when they
see those gloomy dungeons, and reflect that they are inhabited by
prisoners who - "  And in proportion as the eyes of Baisemeaux
concentrated their gaze on the face of Aramis, the worthy governor's
tongue faltered more and more until it ended by stopping altogether.

"No, you don't understand me, my dear M. Baisemeaux; you don't understand
me.  I do not at all mean to speak of society in general, but of a
particular society - of _the_ society, in a word - to which you are
affiliated."

Baisemeaux nearly dropped the glass of muscat which he was in the act of
raising to his lips.  "Affiliated," cried he, "affiliated!"

"Yes, affiliated, undoubtedly," repeated Aramis, with the greatest self-
possession.  "Are you not a member of a secret society, my dear M.
Baisemeaux?"

"Secret?"

"Secret or mysterious."

"Oh, M. d'Herblay!"

"Consider, now, don't deny it."

"But believe me."

"I believe what I know."

"I swear to you."

"Listen to me, my dear M. Baisemeaux; I say yes, you say no; one of us
two necessarily says what is true, and the other, it inevitably follows,
what is false."

"Well, and then?"

"Well, we shall come to an understanding presently."

"Let us see," said Baisemeaux; "let us see."

"Now drink your glass of muscat, dear Monsieur de Baisemeaux," said
Aramis.  "What the devil! you look quite scared."

"No, no; not the least in the world; oh, no."

"Drink then."  Baisemeaux drank, but he swallowed the wrong way.

"Well," resumed Aramis, "if, I say, you are not a member of a secret or
mysterious society, which you like to call it - the epithet is of no
consequence - if, I say, you are not a member of a society similar to
that I wish to designate, well, then, you will not understand a word of

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