List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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tremble, and taking his hand, "Dear count," said he, "tell Madame I am
too unhappy not to merit pardon; tell her also that I have loved in the
course of my life, and that the horror of the treachery that has been
practiced on me renders me inexorable towards all other treachery that
may be committed around me.  This is why, mademoiselle," said he,
smiling to Montalais, "I never would divulge the secret of the visits of
my friend to your apartment.  Obtain from Madame - from Madame, who is so
clement and so generous, - obtain her pardon for you whom she has just
surprised also.  You are both free, love each other, be happy!"

The princess felt for a moment a despair that cannot be described; it was
repugnant to her, notwithstanding the exquisite delicacy which Raoul had
exhibited, to feel herself at the mercy of one who had discovered such an
indiscretion.  It was equally repugnant to her to accept the evasion
offered by this delicate deception.  Agitated, nervous, she struggled
against the double stings of these two troubles.  Raoul comprehended her
position, and came once more to her aid.  Bending his knee before her:
"Madame!" said he, in a low voice, "in two days I shall be far from
Paris; in a fortnight I shall be far from France, where I shall never be
seen again."

"Are you going away, then?" said she, with great delight.

"With M. de Beaufort."

"Into Africa!" cried De Guiche, in his turn.  "You, Raoul - oh! my friend
- into Africa, where everybody dies!"

And forgetting everything, forgetting that that forgetfulness itself
compromised the princess more eloquently than his presence, "Ingrate!"
said he, "and you have not even consulted me!"  And he embraced him;
during which time Montalais had led away Madame, and disappeared herself.

Raoul passed his hand over his brow, and said, with a smile, "I have been
dreaming!"  Then warmly to Guiche, who by degrees absorbed him, "My
friend," said he, "I conceal nothing from you, who are the elected of my
heart.  I am going to seek death in yonder country; your secret will not
remain in my breast more than a year."

"Oh, Raoul! a man!"

"Do you know what is my thought, count?  This is it - I shall live more
vividly, being buried beneath the earth, than I have lived for this month
past.  We are Christians, my friend, and if such sufferings were to
continue, I would not be answerable for the safety of my soul."

De Guiche was anxious to raise objections.

"Not one word more on my account," said Raoul; "but advice to you, dear
friend; what I am going to say to you is of much greater importance."

"What is that?"

"Without doubt you risk much more than I do, because you love."


"It is a joy so sweet to me to be able to speak to you thus!  Well, then,
De Guiche, beware of Montalais."

"What! of that kind friend?"

"She was the friend of - her you know of.  She ruined her by pride."

"You are mistaken."

"And now, when she has ruined her, she would ravish from her the only
thing that renders that woman excusable in my eyes."

"What is that?"

"Her love."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean that there is a plot formed against her who is the mistress of
the king - a plot formed in the very house of Madame."

"Can you think so?"

"I am certain of it."

"By Montalais?"

"Take her as the least dangerous of the enemies I dread for - the other!"

"Explain yourself clearly, my friend; and if I can understand you - "

"In two words.  Madame has been long jealous of the king."

"I know she has - "

"Oh! fear nothing - you are beloved - you are beloved, count; do you feel
the value of these three words?  They signify that you can raise your
head, that you can sleep tranquilly, that you can thank God every minute
of you life.  You are beloved; that signifies that you may hear
everything, even the counsel of a friend who wishes to preserve your
happiness.  You are beloved, De Guiche, you are beloved!  You do not
endure those atrocious nights, those nights without end, which, with arid
eye and fainting heart, others pass through who are destined to die.  You
will live long, if you act like the miser who, bit by bit, crumb by
crumb, collects and heaps up diamonds and gold.  You are beloved! - allow
me to tell you what you must do that you may be beloved forever."

De Guiche contemplated for some time this unfortunate young man, half mad
with despair, till there passed through his heart something like remorse
at his own happiness.  Raoul suppressed his feverish excitement, to
assume the voice and countenance of an impassible man.

"They will make her, whose name I should wish still to be able to
pronounce - they will make her suffer.  Swear to me that you will not
second them in anything - but that you will defend her when possible, as
I would have done myself."

"I swear I will," replied De Guiche.

"And," continued Raoul, "some day, when you shall have rendered her a
great service - some day when she shall thank you, promise me to say
these words to her - 'I have done you this kindness, madame, at the warm
request of M. de Bragelonne, whom you so deeply injured.'"

"I swear I will," murmured De Guiche.

 "That is all.  Adieu!  I set out to-morrow, or the day after, for
Toulon.  If you have a few hours to spare, give them to me."

"All! all!" cried the young man.

"Thank you!"

"And what are you going to do now?"

"I am going to meet M. le comte at Planchet's residence, where we hope to
find M. d'Artagnan."

"M. d'Artagnan?"

"Yes, I wish to embrace him before my departure.  He is a brave man, who
loves me dearly.  Farewell, my friend; you are expected, no doubt; you
will find me, when you wish, at the lodgings of the comte.  Farewell!"

The two young men embraced.  Those who chanced to see them both thus,
would not have hesitated to say, pointing to Raoul, "That is the happy

Chapter XXIX:
Planchet's Inventory.

Athos, during the visit made to the Luxembourg by Raoul, had gone to
Planchet's residence to inquire after D'Artagnan.  The comte, on arriving
at the Rue des Lombards, found the shop of the grocer in great confusion;
but it was not the encumberment of a lucky sale, or that of an arrival of
goods.  Planchet was not enthroned, as usual, on sacks and barrels.  No.
A young man with a pen behind his ear, and another with an account-book
in his hand, were setting down a number of figures, whilst a third
counted and weighed.  An inventory was being taken.  Athos, who had no
knowledge of commercial matters, felt himself a little embarrassed by
material obstacles and the majesty of those who were thus employed.  He
saw several customers sent away, and asked himself whether he, who came
to buy nothing, would not be more properly deemed importunate.  He
therefore asked very politely if he could see M. Planchet.  The reply,
quite carelessly given, was that M. Planchet was packing his trunks.
These words surprised Athos.  "What! his trunks?" said he; "is M.
Planchet going away?"

"Yes, monsieur, directly."

"Then, if you please, inform him that M. le Comte de la Fere desires to
speak to him for a moment."

At the mention of the comte's name, one of the young men, no doubt
accustomed to hear it pronounced with respect, immediately went to inform
Planchet.  It was at this moment that Raoul, after his painful scene with
Montalais and De Guiche, arrived at the grocer's house.  Planchet left
his job directly he received the comte's message.

"Ah! monsieur le comte!" exclaimed he, "how glad I am to see you!  What
good star brings you here?"

"My dear Planchet," said Athos, pressing the hand of his son, whose sad
look he silently observed, - "we are come to learn of you - But in what
confusion do I find you!  You are as white as a miller; where have you
been rummaging?"

"Ah, _diable!_ take care, monsieur; don't come near me till I have well
shaken myself."

"What for?  Flour or dust only whiten."

"No, no; what you see on my arms is arsenic."


"Yes; I am taking my precautions against rats."

"Ay, I suppose in an establishment like this, rats play a conspicuous

"It is not with this establishment I concern myself, monsieur le comte.
The rats have robbed me of more here than they will ever rob me of again."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, you may have observed, monsieur, my inventory is being taken."

"Are you leaving trade, then?"

"Eh! _mon Dieu!_ yes.  I have disposed of my business to one of my young

"Bah! you are rich, then, I suppose?"

"Monsieur, I have taken a dislike to the city; I don't know whether it is
because I am growing old, and as M. d'Artagnan one day said, when we grow
old we more often think of the adventures of our youth; but for some time
past I have felt myself attracted towards the country and gardening.  I
was a countryman formerly."  And Planchet marked this confession with a
rather pretentious laugh for a man making profession of humility.

Athos made a gesture of approval, and then added: "You are going to buy
an estate, then?"

"I have bought one, monsieur."

"Ah! that is still better."

"A little house at Fontainebleau, with something like twenty acres of
land round it."

"Very well, Planchet!  Accept my compliments on your acquisition."

"But, monsieur, we are not comfortable here; the cursed dust makes you
cough.  _Corbleu!_  I do not wish to poison the most worthy gentleman in
the kingdom."

Athos did not smile at this little pleasantry which Planchet had aimed at
him, in order to try his strength in mundane facetiousness.

"Yes," said Athos, "let us have a little talk by ourselves - in your own
room, for example.  You have a room, have you not?"

"Certainly, monsieur le comte."

"Upstairs, perhaps?"  And Athos, seeing Planchet a little embarrassed,
wished to relieve him by going first.

"It is - but - " said Planchet, hesitating.

Athos was mistaken in the cause of this hesitation, and, attributing it
to a fear the grocer might have of offering humble hospitality, "Never
mind, never mind," said he, still going up, "the dwelling of a tradesman

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