List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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my chateau of Pierrefonds, and which are called - Bayard, Roland,
Charlemagne, Pepin, Dunois, La Hire, Ogier, Samson, Milo, Nimrod,
Urganda, Armida, Flastrade, Dalilah, Rebecca, Yolande, Finette, Grisette,
Lisette, and Musette.

"3. In sixty dogs, forming six packs, divided as follows: the first, for
the stag; the second, for the wolf; the third, for the wild boar; the
fourth, for the hare; and the two others, for setters and protection.

"4. In arms for war and the chase contained in my gallery of arms.

"5. My wines of Anjou, selected for Athos, who liked them formerly; my
wines of Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, and Spain, stocking eight cellars
and twelve vaults, in my various houses.

"6. My pictures and statues, which are said to be of great value, and
which are sufficiently numerous to fatigue the sight.

"7. My library, consisting of six thousand volumes, quite new, and have
never been opened.

"8. My silver plate, which is perhaps a little worn, but which ought to
weigh from a thousand to twelve hundred pounds, for I had great trouble
in lifting the coffer that contained it and could not carry it more than
six times round my chamber.

"9. All these objects, in addition to the table and house linen, are
divided in the residences I liked the best."

Here the reader stopped to take breath.  Every one sighed, coughed, and
redoubled his attention.  The procureur resumed:

"I have lived without having any children, and it is probable I never
shall have any, which to me is a cutting grief.  And yet I am mistaken,
for I have a son, in common with my other friends; that is, M. Raoul
Auguste Jules de Bragelonne, the true son of M. le Comte de la Fere.

"This young nobleman appears to me extremely worthy to succeed the
valiant gentleman of whom I am the friend and very humble servant."

Here a sharp sound interrupted the reader.  It was D'Artagnan's sword,
which, slipping from his baldric, had fallen on the sonorous flooring.
Every one turned his eyes that way, and saw that a large tear had rolled
from the thick lid of D'Artagnan, half-way down to his aquiline nose, the
luminous edge of which shone like a little crescent moon.

"This is why," continued the procureur, "I have left all my property,
movable, or immovable, comprised in the above enumerations, to M. le
Vicomte Raoul Auguste Jules de Bragelonne, son of M. le Comte de la Fere,
to console him for the grief he seems to suffer, and enable him to add
more luster to his already glorious name."

A vague murmur ran through the auditory.  The procureur continued,
seconded by the flashing eye of D'Artagnan, which, glancing over the
assembly, quickly restored the interrupted silence:

"On condition that M. le Vicomte de Bragelonne do give to M. le Chevalier
d'Artagnan, captain of the king's musketeers, whatever the said Chevalier
d'Artagnan may demand of my property.  On condition that M. le Vicomte de
Bragelonne do pay a good pension to M. le Chevalier d'Herblay, my friend,
if he should need it in exile.  I leave to my intendant Mousqueton all of
my clothes, of city, war, or chase, to the number of forty-seven suits,
in the assurance that he will wear them till they are worn out, for the
love of and in remembrance of his master.  Moreover, I bequeath to M. le
Vicomte de Bragelonne my old servant and faithful friend Mousqueton,
already named, providing that the said vicomte shall so act that
Mousqueton shall declare, when dying, he has never ceased to be happy."

On hearing these words, Mousqueton bowed, pale and trembling; his
shoulders shook convulsively; his countenance, compressed by a frightful
grief, appeared from between his icy hands, and the spectators saw him
stagger and hesitate, as if, though wishing to leave the hall, he did not
know the way.

"Mousqueton, my good friend," said D'Artagnan, "go and make your
preparations.  I will take you with me to Athos's house, whither I shall
go on leaving Pierrefonds."

Mousqueton made no reply.  He scarcely breathed, as if everything in that
hall would from that time be foreign.  He opened the door, and slowly

The procureur finished his reading, after which the greater part of those
who had come to hear the last will of Porthos dispersed by degrees, many
disappointed, but all penetrated with respect.  As for D'Artagnan, thus
left alone, after having received the formal compliments of the
procureur, he was lost in admiration of the wisdom of the testator, who
had so judiciously bestowed his wealth upon the most necessitous and the
most worthy, with a delicacy that neither nobleman nor courtier could
have displayed more kindly.  When Porthos enjoined Raoul de Bragelonne to
give D'Artagnan all that he would ask, he knew well, our worthy Porthos,
that D'Artagnan would ask or take nothing; and in case he did demand
anything, none but himself could say what.  Porthos left a pension to
Aramis, who, if he should be inclined to ask too much, was checked by the
example of D'Artagnan; and that word _exile_, thrown out by the testator,
without apparent intention, was it not the mildest, most exquisite
criticism upon that conduct of Aramis which had brought about the death
of Porthos?  But there was no mention of Athos in the testament of the
dead.  Could the latter for a moment suppose that the son would not offer
the best part to the father?  The rough mind of Porthos had fathomed all
these causes, seized all these shades more clearly than law, better than
custom, with more propriety than taste.

"Porthos had indeed a heart," said D'Artagnan to himself with a sigh.  As
he made this reflection, he fancied he hard a groan in the room above
him; and he thought immediately of poor Mousqueton, whom he felt it was a
pleasing duty to divert from his grief.  For this purpose he left the
hall hastily to seek the worthy intendant, as he had not returned.  He
ascended the staircase leading to the first story, and perceived, in
Porthos's own chamber, a heap of clothes of all colors and materials,
upon which Mousqueton had laid himself down after heaping them all on the
floor together.  It was the legacy of the faithful friend.  Those clothes
were truly his own; they had been given to him; the hand of Mousqueton
was stretched over these relics, which he was kissing with his lips, with
all his face, and covered with his body.  D'Artagnan approached to
console the poor fellow.

"My God!" said he, "he does not stir - he has fainted!"

But D'Artagnan was mistaken.  Mousqueton was dead!  Dead, like the dog
who, having lost his master, crawls back to die upon his cloak.

Chapter LVI:
The Old Age of Athos.

While these affairs were separating forever the four musketeers, formerly
bound together in a manner that seemed indissoluble, Athos, left alone
after the departure of Raoul, began to pay his tribute to that foretaste
of death which is called the absence of those we love.  Back in his house
at Blois, no longer having even Grimaud to receive a poor smile as he
passed through the parterre, Athos daily felt the decline of vigor of a
nature which for so long a time had seemed impregnable.  Age, which had
been kept back by the presence of the beloved object, arrived with that
_cortege_ of pains and inconveniences, which grows by geometrical
accretion.  Athos had no longer his son to induce him to walk firmly,
with head erect, as a good example; he had no longer, in those brilliant
eyes of the young man, an ever-ardent focus at which to kindle anew the
fire of his looks.  And then, must it be said, that nature, exquisite in
tenderness and reserve, no longer finding anything to understand its
feelings, gave itself up to grief with all the warmth of common natures
when they yield to joy.  The Comte de la Fere, who had remained a young
man to his sixty-second year; the warrior who had preserved his strength
in spite of fatigue; his freshness of mind in spite of misfortune, his
mild serenity of soul and body in spite of Milady, in spite of Mazarin,
in spite of La Valliere; Athos had become an old man in a week, from the
moment at which he lost the comfort of his later youth.  Still handsome,
though bent, noble, but sad, he sought, since his solitude, the deeper
glades where sunshine scarcely penetrated.  He discontinued all the
mighty exercises he had enjoyed through life, when Raoul was no longer
with him.  The servants, accustomed to see him stirring with the dawn at
all seasons, were astonished to hear seven o'clock strike before their
master quitted his bed.  Athos remained in bed with a book under his
pillow - but he did not sleep, neither did he read.  Remaining in bed
that he might no longer have to carry his body, he allowed his soul and
spirit to wander from their envelope and return to his son, or to God. (6)

His people were sometimes terrified to see him, for hours together,
absorbed in silent reverie, mute and insensible; he no longer heard the
timid step of the servant who came to the door of his chamber to watch
the sleeping or waking of his master.  It often occurred that he forgot
the day had half passed away, that the hours for the two first meals were
gone by.  Then he was awakened.  He rose, descended to his shady walk,
then came out a little into the sun, as though to partake of its warmth
for a minute in memory of his absent child.  And then the dismal
monotonous walk recommenced, until, exhausted, he regained the chamber
and his bed, his domicile by choice.  For several days the comte did not
speak a single word.  He refused to receive the visits that were paid
him, and during the night he was seen to relight his lamp and pass long
hours in writing, or examining parchments.

Athos wrote one of these letters to Vannes, another to Fontainebleau;
they remained without answers.  We know why: Aramis had quitted France,
and D'Artagnan was traveling from Nantes to Paris, from Paris to
Pierrefonds.  His _valet de chambre_ observed that he shortened his walk
every day by several turns.  The great alley of limes soon became too
long for feet that used to traverse it formerly a hundred times a day.

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