List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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largest - that of the drum-major of the Swiss guard - was two inches too
short, and a half foot too narrow in the chest."


"It is exactly as I tell you, D'Artagnan; but he is a great man, or at
the very least a great tailor, is this M. Moliere.  He was not at all put
at fault by the circumstance."

"What did he do, then?"

"Oh! it is a very simple matter.  I'faith, 'tis an unheard-of thing that
people should have been so stupid as not to have discovered this method
from the first.  What annoyance and humiliation they would have spared

"Not to mention of the costumes, my dear Porthos."

"Yes, thirty dresses."

"Well, my dear Porthos, come, tell me M. Moliere's plan."

"Moliere?  You call him so, do you?  I shall make a point of recollecting
his name."

"Yes; or Poquelin, if you prefer that."

"No; I like Moliere best.  When I wish to recollect his name, I shall
think of _voliere_ [an aviary]; and as I have one at Pierrefonds - "

"Capital!" returned D'Artagnan.  "And M. Moliere's plan?"

"'Tis this: instead of pulling me to pieces, as all these rascals do - of
making me bend my back, and double my joints - all of them low and
dishonorable practices - "  D'Artagnan made a sign of approbation with
his head.  "'Monsieur,' he said to me," continued Porthos, "'a gentleman
ought to measure himself.  Do me the pleasure to draw near this glass;'
and I drew near the glass.  I must own I did not exactly understand what
this good M. Voliere wanted with me."


"Ah! yes, Moliere - Moliere.  And as the fear of being measured still
possessed me, 'Take care,' said I to him, 'what you are going to do with
me; I am very ticklish, I warn you.'  But he, with his soft voice (for he
is a courteous fellow, we must admit, my friend), he with his soft voice,
'Monsieur,' said he, 'that your dress may fit you well, it must be made
according to your figure.  Your figure is exactly reflected in this
mirror.  We shall take the measure of this reflection.'"

"In fact," said D'Artagnan, "you saw yourself in the glass; but where did
they find one in which you could see your whole figure?"

"My good friend, it is the very glass in which the king is used to look
to see himself."

"Yes; but the king is a foot and a half shorter than you are."

"Ah! well, I know not how that may be; it is, no doubt, a cunning way of
flattering the king; but the looking-glass was too large for me.  'Tis
true that its height was made up of three Venetian plates of glass,
placed one above another, and its breadth of three similar parallelograms
in juxtaposition."

"Oh, Porthos! what excellent words you have command of.  Where in the
word did you acquire such a voluminous vocabulary?"

"At Belle-Isle.  Aramis and I had to use such words in our strategic
studies and castramentative experiments."

D'Artagnan recoiled, as though the sesquipedalian syllables had knocked
the breath out of his body.

"Ah! very good.  Let us return to the looking-glass, my friend."

"Then, this good M. Voliere - "


"Yes - Moliere - you are right.  You will see now, my dear friend, that I
shall recollect his name quite well.  This excellent M. Moliere set to
work tracing out lines on the mirror, with a piece of Spanish chalk,
following in all the make of my arms and my shoulders, all the while
expounding this maxim, which I thought admirable: 'It is advisable that a
dress should not incommode its wearer.'"

"In reality," said D'Artagnan, "that is an excellent maxim, which is,
unfortunately, seldom carried out in practice."

"That is why I found it all the more astonishing, when he expatiated upon

"Ah! he expatiated?"


"Let me hear his theory."

"'Seeing that,' he continued, 'one may, in awkward circumstances, or in a
troublesome position, have one's doublet on one's shoulder, and not
desire to take one's doublet off - '"

"True," said D'Artagnan.

"'And so,' continued M. Voliere - "


"Moliere, yes.  'And so,' went on M. Moliere, 'you want to draw your
sword, monsieur, and you have your doublet on your back.  What do you do?'

"'I take it off,' I answered.

"'Well, no,' he replied.

"'How no?'

"'I say that the dress should be so well made, that it will in no way
encumber you, even in drawing your sword.'

"'Ah, ah!'

"'Throw yourself on guard,' pursued he.

"I did it with such wondrous firmness, that two panes of glass burst out
of the window.

"''Tis nothing, nothing,' said he.  'Keep your position.'

"I raised my left arm in the air, the forearm gracefully bent, the ruffle
drooping, and my wrist curved, while my right arm, half extended,
securely covered my wrist with the elbow, and my breast with the wrist."

"Yes," said D'Artagnan, "'tis the true guard - the academic guard."

"You have said the very word, dear friend.  In the meanwhile, Voliere - "


"Hold!  I should certainly, after all, prefer to call him - what did you
say his other name was?"


"I prefer to call him Poquelin."

"And how will you remember this name better than the other?"

"You understand, he calls himself Poquelin, does he not?"


"If I were to call to mind Madame Coquenard."


"And change _Coc_ into _Poc_, _nard_ into _lin_; and instead of Coquenard
I shall have Poquelin."

"'Tis wonderful," cried D'Artagnan, astounded.  "Go on, my friend, I am
listening to you with admiration."

"This Coquelin sketched my arm on the glass."

"I beg your pardon - Poquelin."

"What did I say, then?"

"You said Coquelin."

"Ah! true.  This Poquelin, then, sketched my arm on the glass; but he
took his time over it; he kept looking at me a good deal.  The fact is,
that I must have been looking particularly handsome."

"'Does it weary you?' he asked.

"'A little,' I replied, bending a little in my hands, 'but I could hold
out for an hour or so longer.'

"'No, no, I will not allow it; the willing fellows will make it a duty to
support your arms, as of old, men supported those of the prophet.'

"'Very good,' I answered.

"'That will not be humiliating to you?'

"'My friend,' said I, 'there is, I think, a great difference between
being supported and being measured.'"

"The distinction is full of the soundest sense," interrupted D'Artagnan.

"Then," continued Porthos, "he made a sign: two lads approached; one
supported my left arm, while the other, with infinite address, supported
my right."

"'Another, my man,' cried he.  A third approached.  'Support monsieur by
the waist,' said he.  The _garcon_ complied."

"So that you were at rest?" asked D'Artagnan.

"Perfectly; and Pocquenard drew me on the glass."

"Poquelin, my friend."

"Poquelin - you are right.  Stay, decidedly I prefer calling him Voliere."

"Yes; and then it was over, wasn't it?"

"During that time Voliere drew me as I appeared in the mirror."

"'Twas delicate in him."

"I much like the plan; it is respectful, and keeps every one in his

"And there it ended?"

"Without a soul having touched me, my friend."

"Except the three _garcons_ who supported you."

"Doubtless; but I have, I think, already explained to you the difference
there is between supporting and measuring."

"'Tis true," answered D'Artagnan; who said afterwards to himself,
"I'faith, I greatly deceive myself, or I have been the means of a good
windfall to that rascal Moliere, and we shall assuredly see the scene hit
off to the life in some comedy or other."  Porthos smiled.

"What are you laughing at?" asked D'Artagnan.

"Must I confess?  Well, I was laughing over my good fortune."

"Oh, that is true; I don't know a happier man than you.  But what is this
last piece of luck that has befallen you?'

"Well, my dear fellow, congratulate me."

"I desire nothing better."

"It seems that I am the first who has had his measure taken in that

"Are you so sure of it?'

"Nearly so.  Certain signs of intelligence which passed between Voliere
and the other _garcons_ showed me the fact."

"Well, my friend, that does not surprise me from Moliere," said

"Voliere, my friend."

"Oh, no, no, indeed!  I am very willing to leave you to go on saying
Voliere; but, as for me, I shall continued to say Moliere.  Well, this, I
was saying, does not surprise me, coming from Moliere, who is a very
ingenious fellow, and inspired you with this grand idea."

"It will be of great use to him by and by, I am sure."

"Won't it be of use to him, indeed?  I believe you, it will, and that in
the highest degree; - for you see my friend Moliere is of all known
tailors the man who best clothes our barons, comtes, and marquises -
according to their measure."

On this observation, neither the application nor depth of which we shall
discuss, D'Artagnan and Porthos quitted M. de Percerin's house and
rejoined their carriages, wherein we will leave them, in order to look
after Moliere and Aramis at Saint-Mande.

Chapter VI:
The Bee-Hive, the Bees, and the Honey.

The bishop of Vannes, much annoyed at having met D'Artagnan at M.
Percerin's, returned to Saint-Mande in no very good humor.  Moliere, on
the other hand, quite delighted at having made such a capital rough
sketch, and at knowing where to find his original again, whenever he
should desire to convert his sketch into a picture, Moliere arrived in
the merriest of moods.  All the first story of the left wing was occupied
by the most celebrated Epicureans in Paris, and those on the freest
footing in the house - every one in his compartment, like the bees in
their cells, employed in producing the honey intended for that royal cake
which M. Fouquet proposed to offer his majesty Louis XIV. during the
_fete_ at Vaux.  Pelisson, his head leaning on his hand, was engaged in
drawing out the plan of the prologue to the "Facheux," a comedy in three
acts, which was to be put on the stage by Poquelin de Moliere, as
D'Artagnan called him, or Coquelin de Voliere, as Porthos styled him.
Loret, with all the charming innocence of a gazetteer, - the gazetteers

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