penetrated like a very wedge; and he soon perceived upon the ramparts, through the fire, the terrified flight of the besieged, pursued by the besiegers. At this moment the general, breathing feely and full of joy, heard a voice behind him, saying, "Monsieur, if you please, from M. Colbert." He broke the seal of the letter, which contained these words: "MONSIEUR D'ARTAGNAN: - The king commands me to inform you that he has nominated you marechal of France, as a reward for your magnificent services, and the honor you do to his arms. The king is highly pleased, monsieur, with the captures you have made; he commands you, in particular, to finish the siege you have commenced, with good fortune to you, and success for him." D'Artagnan was standing with a radiant countenance and sparkling eye. He looked up to watch the progress of his troops upon the walls, still enveloped in red and black volumes of smoke. "I have finished," replied he to the messenger; "the city will have surrendered in a quarter of an hour." He then resumed his reading: "The _coffret_, Monsieur d'Artagnan, is my own present. You will not be sorry to see that, whilst you warriors are drawing the sword to defend the king, I am moving the pacific arts to ornament a present worthy of you. I commend myself to your friendship, monsieur le marechal, and beg you to believe in mine. COLBERT" D'Artagnan, intoxicated with joy, made a sign to the messenger, who approached, with his _coffret_ in his hands. But at the moment the _marechal_ was going to look at it, a loud explosion resounded from the ramparts, and called his attention towards the city. "It is strange," said D'Artagnan, "that I don't yet see the king's flag on the walls, or hear the drums beat the _chamade_." He launched three hundred fresh men, under a high-spirited officer, and ordered another breach to be made. Then, more tranquilly, he turned towards the _coffret_, which Colbert's envoy held out to him. - It was his treasure - he had won it. D'Artagnan was holding out his hand to open the _coffret_, when a ball from the city crushed the _coffret_ in the arms of the officer, struck D'Artagnan full in the chest, and knocked him down upon a sloping heap of earth, whilst the _fleur-de-lised baton_, escaping from the broken box, came rolling under the powerless hand of the _marechal_. D'Artagnan endeavored to raise himself. It was thought he had been knocked down without being wounded. A terrible cry broke from the group of terrified officers; the _marechal_ was covered with blood; the pallor of death ascended slowly to his noble countenance. Leaning upon the arms held out on all sides to receive him, he was able once more to turn his eyes towards the place, and to distinguish the white flag at the crest of the principal bastion; his ears, already deaf to the sounds of life, caught feebly the rolling of the drum which announced the victory. Then, clasping in his nerveless hand the _baton_, ornamented with its _fleurs- de-lis_, he cast on it his eyes, which had no longer the power of looking upwards towards Heaven, and fell back, murmuring strange words, which appeared to the soldiers cabalistic - words which had formerly represented so many things on earth, and which none but the dying man any longer comprehended: "Athos - Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!" Of the four valiant men whose history we have related, there now remained but one. Heaven had taken to itself three noble souls. (14) End of The Man in the Iron Mask. This is the last text in the series. Footnotes 1. "He is patient because he is eternal." is how the Latin translates. It is from St. Augustine. This motto was sometimes applied to the Papacy, but not to the Jesuits. 2. In the five-volume edition, Volume 4 ends here. 3. It is possible that the preceding conversation is an obscure allegorical allusion to the Fronde, or perhaps an intimation that the Duc was the father of Mordaunt, from Twenty Years After, but a definite interpretation still eludes modern scholars. 4. The dictates of such a service would require Raoul to spend the rest of his life outside of France, hence Athos's and Grimaud's extreme reactions. 5. Dumas here, and later in the chapter, uses the name Roncherat. Roncherolles is the actual name of the man. 6. In some editions, "in spite of Milady" reads "in spite of malady". 7. "Pie" in this case refers to magpies, the prey for the falcons. 8. Anne of Austria did not die until 1666, and Dumas sets the current year as 1665. 9. Madame de Montespan would oust Louise from the king's affections by 1667. 10. De Guiche would not return to court until 1671. 11. Madame did die of poison in 1670, shortly after returning from the mission described later. The Chevalier de Lorraine had actually been ordered out of France in 1662. 12. This particular campaign did not actually occur until 1673. 13. Jean-Paul Oliva was the actual general of the Jesuits from 1664-1681. 14. In earlier editions, the last line reads, "Of the four valiant men whose history we have related, there now no longer remained but one single body; God had resumed the souls." Dumas made the revision in later editions.
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