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List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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the post three years, and must have received in that time one hundred and
fifty thousand francs."

"You forget one circumstance, dear M. d'Artagnan."

"What is that?"

"That while you received your appointment as captain from the king
himself, I received mine as governor from Messieurs Tremblay and
Louviere."

"Quite right, and Tremblay was not a man to let you have the post for
nothing."

"Nor Louviere either: the result was, that I gave seventy-five thousand
francs to Tremblay as his share."

"Very agreeable that! and to Louviere?"

"The very same."

"Money down?"

"No: that would have been impossible.  The king did not wish, or rather
M. Mazarin did not wish, to have the appearance of removing those two
gentlemen, who had sprung from the barricades; he permitted them,
therefore, to make certain extravagant conditions for their retirement."

"What were those conditions?"

"Tremble... three years' income for the good-will."

"The deuce! so that the one hundred and fifty thousand francs have passed
into their hands."

"Precisely so."

"And beyond that?"

"A sum of one hundred and fifty thousand francs, or fifteen thousand
pistoles, whichever you please, in three payments."

"Exorbitant."

"Yes, but that is not all."

"What besides?"

"In default of the fulfillment by me of any one of those conditions,
those gentlemen enter upon their functions again.  The king has been
induced to sign that."

"It is monstrous, incredible!"

"Such is the fact, however."

"I do indeed pity you, Baisemeaux.  But why, in the name of fortune, did
M. Mazarin grant you this pretended favor?  It would have been far better
to have refused you altogether."

"Certainly, but he was strongly persuaded to do so by my protector."

"Who is he?"

"One of your own friends, indeed; M. d'Herblay."

"M. d'Herblay!  Aramis!"

"Just so; he has been very kind towards me."

"Kind! to make you enter into such a bargain!"

"Listen!  I wished to leave the cardinal's service.  M. d'Herblay spoke
on my behalf to Louviere and Tremblay - they objected; I wished to have
the appointment very much, for I knew what it could be made to produce;
in my distress I confided in M. d'Herblay, and he offered to become my
surety for the different payments."

"You astound me!  Aramis became your surety?"

"Like a man of honor; he procured the signature; Tremblay and Louviere
resigned their appointments; I have paid every year twenty-five thousand
francs to these two gentlemen; on the thirty-first of May, every year, M.
d'Herblay himself comes to the Bastile, and brings me five thousand
pistoles to distribute between my crocodiles."

"You owe Aramis one hundred and fifty thousand francs, then?"

"That is the very thing which is the cause of my despair, for I only owe
him one hundred thousand."

"I don't quite understand you."

"He came and settled with the vampires only two years.  To-day, however,
is the thirty-first of May, and he has not been yet, and to-morrow, at
midday, the payment falls due; if, therefore, I don't pay to-morrow,
those gentlemen can, by the terms of the contract, break off the bargain;
I shall be stripped of everything; I shall have worked for three years,
and given two hundred and fifty thousand francs for nothing, absolutely
for nothing at all, dear M. d'Artagnan."

"This is very strange," murmured D'Artagnan.

"You can now imagine that I may well have wrinkles on my forehead, can
you not?"

"Yes, indeed!"

"And you can imagine, too, that notwithstanding I may be as round as a
cheese, with a complexion like an apple, and my eyes like coals on fire,
I may almost be afraid that I shall not have a cheese or an apple left me
to eat, and that my eyes will be left me only to weep with."

"It is really a very grievous affair."

"I have come to you, M. d'Artagnan, for you are the only man who can get
me out of my trouble."

"In what way?"

"You are acquainted with the Abbe d'Herblay, and you know that he is a
somewhat mysterious gentleman."

"Yes."

"Well, you can, perhaps, give me the address of his presbytery, for I
have been to Noisy-le-Sec, and he is no longer there."

"I should think not, indeed.  He is Bishop of Vannes."

"What!  Vannes in Bretagne?"

"Yes."

The little man began to tear his hair, saying, "How can I get to Vannes
from here by midday to-morrow?  I am a lost man."

"Your despair quite distresses me."

"Vannes, Vannes!" cried Baisemeaux.

"But listen; a bishop is not always a resident.  M. d'Herblay may not
possibly be so far away as you fear."

"Pray tell me his address."

"I really don't know it."

"In that case I am lost.  I will go and throw myself at the king's feet."

"But, Baisemeaux, I can hardly believe what you tell me; besides, since
the Bastile is capable of producing fifty thousand francs a year, why
have you not tried to screw one hundred thousand out of it?"

"Because I am an honest man, M. d'Artagnan, and because my prisoners are
fed like ambassadors."

"Well, you're in a fair way to get out of your difficulties; give
yourself a good attack of indigestion with your excellent living, and
put yourself out of the way between this and midday to-morrow."

"How can you be hard-hearted enough to laugh?"

"Nay, you really afflict me.  Come, Baisemeaux, if you can pledge me your
word of honor, do so, that you will not open your lips to any one about
what I am going to say to you."

"Never, never!"

"You wish to put your hands on Aramis?"

"At any cost!"

"Well, go and see where M. Fouquet is."

"Why, what connection can there be - "

"How stupid you are!  Don't you know that Vannes is in the diocese of
Belle-Isle, or Belle-Isle in the diocese of Vannes?  Belle-Isle belongs
to M. Fouquet, and M. Fouquet nominated M. d'Herblay to that bishopric!"

"I see, I see; you restore me to life again."

"So much the better.  Go and tell M. Fouquet very simply that you wish to
speak to M. d'Herblay."

"Of course, of course," exclaimed Baisemeaux, delightedly.

"But," said D'Artagnan, checking him by a severe look, "your word of
honor?"

"I give you my sacred word of honor," replied the little man, about to
set off running.

"Where are you going?"

"To M. Fouquet's house."

"It is useless doing that; M. Fouquet is playing at cards with the king.
All you can do is to pay M. Fouquet a visit early to-morrow morning."

"I will do so.  Thank you."

"Good luck attend you," said D'Artagnan.

"Thank you."

"This is a strange affair," murmured D'Artagnan, as he slowly ascended
the staircase after he had left Baisemeaux.  "What possible interest can
Aramis have in obliging Baisemeaux in this manner?  Well, I suppose we
shall learn some day or another."


Chapter XXII:
The King's Card-Table.

Fouquet was present, as D'Artagnan had said, at the king's card-table.
It seemed as if Buckingham's departure had shed a balm on the lacerated
hearts of the previous evening.  Monsieur, radiant with delight, made a
thousand affectionate signs to his mother.  The Count de Guiche could not
separate himself from Buckingham, and while playing, conversed with him
upon the circumstance of his projected voyage.  Buckingham, thoughtful,
and kind in his manner, like a man who has adopted a resolution, listened
to the count, and from time to time cast a look full of regret and
hopeless affection at Madame.  The princess, in the midst of her elation
of spirits, divided her attention between the king, who was playing with
her, Monsieur, who quietly joked her about her enormous winnings, and De
Guiche, who exhibited an extravagant delight.  Of Buckingham she took but
little notice; for her, this fugitive, this exile, was now simply a
remembrance, no longer a man.  Light hearts are thus constituted; while
they themselves continue untouched, they roughly break off with every one
who may possibly interfere with their little calculations of self
comfort.  Madame had received Buckingham's smiles and attentions and
sighs while he was present; but what was the good of sighing, smiling,
and kneeling at a distance?  Can one tell in what direction the winds in
the Channel, which toss mighty vessels to and fro, carry such sighs as
these?  The duke could not fail to mark this change, and his heart was
cruelly hurt.  Of a sensitive character, proud and susceptible of deep
attachment, he cursed the day on which such a passion had entered his
heart.  The looks he cast, from time to time at Madame, became colder by
degrees at the chilling complexion of his thoughts.  He could hardly yet
despair, but he was strong enough to impose silence upon the tumultuous
outcries of his heart.  In exact proportion, however, as Madame suspected
this change of feeling, she redoubled her activity to regain the ray of
light she was about to lose; her timid and indecisive mind was displayed
in brilliant flashes of wit and humor.  At any cost she felt that she
must be remarked above everything and every one, even above the king
himself.  And she was so, for the queens, notwithstanding their dignity,
and the king, despite the respect which etiquette required, were all
eclipsed by her.  The queens, stately and ceremonious, were softened and
could not restrain their laughter.  Madame Henriette, the queen-mother,
was dazzled by the brilliancy which cast distinction upon her family,
thanks to the wit of the grand-daughter of Henry IV.  The king, jealous,
as a young man and as a monarch, of the superiority of those who
surrounded him, could not resist admitting himself vanquished by a
petulance so thoroughly French in its nature, whose energy more than ever
increased by English humor.  Like a child, he was captivated by her
radiant beauty, which her wit made still more dazzling.  Madame's eyes
flashed like lightning.  Wit and humor escaped from her scarlet lips like
persuasion from the lips of Nestor of old.  The whole court, subdued by
her enchanting grace, noticed for the first time that laughter could be
indulged in before the greatest monarch in the world, like people who
merited their appellation of the wittiest and most polished people in

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