List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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falls heavily, and the lightning is terrific."

As they were passing over the ramparts to a gallery of which D'Artagnan
had the key, they saw M. de Saint-Mars directing his steps towards the
chamber inhabited by the prisoner.  Upon a sign from D'Artagnan, they
concealed themselves in an angle of the staircase.

"What is it?" said Athos.

"You will see.  Look.  The prisoner is returning from chapel."

And they saw, by the red flashes of lightning against the violet fog
which the wind stamped upon the bank-ward sky, they saw pass gravely, at
six paces behind the governor, a man clothed in black and masked by a
vizor of polished steel, soldered to a helmet of the same nature, which
altogether enveloped the whole of his head.  The fire of the heavens cast
red reflections on the polished surface, and these reflections, flying
off capriciously, seemed to be angry looks launched by the unfortunate,
instead of imprecations.  In the middle of the gallery, the prisoner
stopped for a moment, to contemplate the infinite horizon, to respire the
sulphurous perfumes of the tempest, to drink in thirstily the hot rain,
and to breathe a sigh resembling a smothered groan.

"Come on, monsieur," said Saint-Mars, sharply, to the prisoner, for he
already became uneasy at seeing him look so long beyond the walls.
"Monsieur, come on!"

"Say monseigneur!" cried Athos, from his corner, with a voice so solemn
and terrible, that the governor trembled from head to foot.  Athos
insisted upon respect being paid to fallen majesty.  The prisoner turned

"Who spoke?" asked Saint-Mars.

"It was I," replied D'Artagnan, showing himself promptly.  "You know that
is the order."

"Call me neither monsieur nor monseigneur," said the prisoner in his
turn, in a voice that penetrated to the very soul of Raoul; "call me
ACCURSED!"  He passed on, and the iron door croaked after him.

"There goes a truly unfortunate man!" murmured the musketeer in a hollow
whisper, pointing out to Raoul the chamber inhabited by the prince.

Chapter XXXIII:

Scarcely had D'Artagnan re-entered his apartment with his two friends,
when one of the soldiers of the fort came to inform him that the governor
was seeking him.  The bark which Raoul had perceived at sea, and which
appeared so eager to gain the port, came to Sainte-Marguerite with an
important dispatch for the captain of the musketeers.  On opening it,
D'Artagnan recognized the writing of the king: "I should think," said
Louis XIV., "you will have completed the execution of my orders, Monsieur
d'Artagnan; return, then, immediately to Paris, and join me at the

"There is the end of my exile!" cried the musketeer with joy; "God be
praised, I am no longer a jailer!"  And he showed the letter to Athos.

"So, then, you must leave us?" replied the latter, in a melancholy tone.

"Yes, but to meet again, dear friend, seeing that Raoul is old enough now
to go alone with M. de Beaufort, and will prefer his father going back in
company with M. d'Artagnan, to forcing him to travel two hundred leagues
solitarily to reach home at La Fere; will you not, Raoul?"

"Certainly," stammered the latter, with an expression of tender regret.

"No, no, my friend," interrupted Athos, "I will never quit Raoul till the
day his vessel disappears on the horizon.  As long as he remains in
France he shall not be separated from me."

"As you please, dear friend; but we will, at least, leave Sainte-
Marguerite together; take advantage of the bark that will convey me back
to Antibes."

"With all my heart; we cannot too soon be at a distance from this fort,
and from the spectacle that shocked us so just now."

The three friends quitted the little isle, after paying their respects to
the governor, and by the last flashes of the departing tempest they took
their farewell of the white walls of the fort.  D'Artagnan parted from
his friend that same night, after having seen fire set to the carriage
upon the shore by the orders of Saint-Mars, according to the advice the
captain had given him.  Before getting on horseback, and after leaving
the arms of Athos: "My friends," said he, "you bear too much resemblance
to two soldiers who are abandoning their post.  Something warns me that
Raoul will require being supported by you in his rank.  Will you allow me
to ask permission to go over into Africa with a hundred good muskets?
The king will not refuse me, and I will take you with me."

"Monsieur d'Artagnan," replied Raoul, pressing his hand with emotion,
"thanks for that offer, which would give us more than we wish, either
monsieur le comte or I.  I, who am young, stand in need of labor of mind
and fatigue of body; monsieur le comte wants the profoundest repose.  You
are his best friend.  I recommend him to your care.  In watching over
him, you are holding both our souls in your hands."

"I must go; my horse is all in a fret," said D'Artagnan, with whom the
most manifest sign of a lively emotion was the change of ideas in
conversation.  "Come, comte, how many days longer has Raoul to stay here?"

"Three days at most."

"And how long will it take you to reach home?"

"Oh! a considerable time," replied Athos.  "I shall not like the idea of
being separated too quickly from Raoul.  Time will travel too fast of
itself to require me to aid it by distance.  I shall only make half-

"And why so, my friend?  Nothing is more dull than traveling slowly; and
hostelry life does not become a man like you."

"My friend, I came hither on post-horses; but I wish to purchase two
animals of a superior kind.  Now, to take them home fresh, it would not
be prudent to make them travel more than seven or eight leagues a day."

"Where is Grimaud?"

"He arrived yesterday morning with Raoul's appointments; and I have left
him to sleep."

"That is, never to come back again," D'Artagnan suffered to escape him.
"Till we meet again, then, dear Athos - and if you are diligent, I shall
embrace you the sooner."  So saying, he put his foot in the stirrup,
which Raoul held.

"Farewell!" said the young man, embracing him.

"Farewell!" said D'Artagnan, as he got into his saddle.

His horse made a movement which divided the cavalier from his friends.
This scene had taken place in front of the house chosen by Athos, near
the gates of Antibes, whither D'Artagnan, after his supper, had ordered
his horses to be brought.  The road began to branch off there, white and
undulating in the vapors of the night.  The horse eagerly respired the
salt, sharp perfume of the marshes.  D'Artagnan put him to a trot; and
Athos and Raoul sadly turned towards the house.  All at once they heard
the rapid approach of a horse's steps, and first believed  it to be one
of those singular repercussions which deceive the ear at every turn in a
road.  But it was really the return of the horseman.  They uttered a cry
of joyous surprise; and the captain, springing to the ground like a young
man, seized within his arms the two beloved heads of Athos and Raoul.  He
held them long embraced thus, without speaking a word, or suffering the
sigh which was bursting his breast to escape him.  Then, as rapidly as he
had come back, he set off again, with a sharp application of his spurs to
the sides of his fiery horse.

"Alas!" said the comte, in a low voice, "alas! alas!"

"An evil omen!" on his side, said D'Artagnan to himself, making up for
lost time.  "I could not smile upon them.  An evil omen!"

The next day Grimaud was on foot again.  The service commanded by M. de
Beaufort was happily accomplished.  The flotilla, sent to Toulon by the
exertions of Raoul, had set out, dragging after it in little nutshells,
almost invisible, the wives and friends of the fishermen and smugglers
put in requisition for the service of the fleet.  The time, so short,
which remained for father and son to live together, appeared to go by
with double rapidity, like some swift stream that flows towards
eternity.  Athos and Raoul returned to Toulon, which began to be filled
with the noise of carriages, with the noise of arms, the noise of
neighing horses.  The trumpeters sounded their spirited marches; the
drummers signalized their strength; the streets were overflowing with
soldiers, servants, and tradespeople.  The Duc de Beaufort was
everywhere, superintending the embarkation with the zeal and interest of
a good captain.  He encouraged the humblest of his companions; he scolded
his lieutenants, even those of the highest rank.  Artillery, provisions,
baggage, he insisted upon seeing all himself.  He examined the equipment
of every soldier; assured himself of the health and soundness of every
horse.  It was plain that, light, boastful, egotistical, in his hotel,
the gentleman became the soldier again - the high noble, a captain - in
face of the responsibility he had accepted.  And yet, it must be admitted
that, whatever was the care with which he presided over the preparations
for departure, it was easy to perceive careless precipitation, and the
absence of all the precaution that make the French solider the first
soldier in the world, because, in that world, he is the one most
abandoned to his own physical and moral resources.  All things having
satisfied, or appearing to have satisfied, the admiral, he paid his
compliments to Raoul, and gave the last orders for sailing, which was
ordered the next morning at daybreak.  He invited the comte had his son
to dine with him; but they, under a pretext of service, kept themselves
apart.  Gaining their hostelry, situated under the trees of the great
Place, they took their repast in haste, and Athos led Raoul to the rocks
which dominate the city, vast gray mountains, whence the view is infinite
and embraces a liquid horizon which appears, so remote is it, on a level
with the rocks themselves.  The night was fine, as it always is in these
happy climes.  The moon, rising behind the rocks, unrolled a silver sheet
on the cerulean carpet of the sea.  In the roadsteads maneuvered silently
the vessels which had just taken their rank to facilitate the

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