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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Ah, ah! but has Aramis a diocese?"

"Yes, monsieur.  Why not?"

"Is he a bishop, then?"

"Why, where can you come from," said Bazin, rather irreverently, "that
you don't know that?"

"My dear Bazin, we pagans, we men of the sword, know very well when a man
is made a colonel, or maitre-de-camp, or marshal of France; but if he be
made a bishop, arch-bishop, or pope - devil take me if the news reaches
us before the three quarters of the earth have had the advantage of it!"

"Hush! hush!" said Bazin, opening his eyes: "do not spoil these poor
children, in whom I am endeavoring to inculcate such good principles."
In fact, the children had surrounded D'Artagnan, whose horse, long sword,
spurs, and martial air they very much admired.  But above all, they
admired his strong voice; so that, when he uttered his oath, the whole
school cried out, "The devil take me!" with fearful bursts of laughter,
shouts, and bounds, which delighted the musketeer, and bewildered the old
pedagogue.

"There!" said he, "hold your tongues, you brats!  You have come, M.
d'Artagnan, and all my good principles fly away.  With you, as usual,
comes disorder.  Babel is revived.  Ah!  Good Lord!  Ah! the wild little
wretches!"  And the worthy Bazin distributed right and left blows which
increased the cries of his scholars by changing the nature of them.

"At least," said he, "you will no longer decoy any one here."

"Do you think so?" said D'Artagnan, with a smile which made a shudder
creep over the shoulders of Bazin.

"He is capable of it," murmured he.

"Where is your master's diocese?"

"Monseigneur Rene is bishop of Vannes."

"Who had him nominated?"

"Why, monsieur le surintendant, our neighbor."

"What!  Monsieur Fouquet?"

"To be sure he did."

"Is Aramis on good terms with him, then?"

"Monseigneur preached every Sunday at the house of monsieur le
surintendant at Vaux; then they hunted together."

"Ah!"

"And monseigneur composed his homilies - no, I mean his sermons - with
monsieur le surintendant."

"Bah! he preached in verse, then, this worthy bishop?"

"Monsieur, for the love of heaven, do not jest with sacred things."

"There, Bazin, there!  So, then, Aramis is at Vannes?"

"At Vannes, in Bretagne."

"You are a deceitful old hunks, Bazin; that is not true."

"See, monsieur, if you please; the apartments of the presbytery are
empty."

"He is right there," said D'Artagnan, looking attentively at the house,
the aspect of which announced solitude.

"But monseigneur must have written you an account of his promotion."

"When did it take place?"

"A month back."

"Oh! then there is no time lost.  Aramis cannot yet have wanted me.  But
how is it, Bazin, you do not follow your master?"

"Monsieur, I cannot; I have occupations."

"Your alphabet?"

"And my penitents."

"What, do you confess, then?  Are you a priest?"

"The same as one.  I have such a call."

"But the orders?"

"Oh," said Bazin, without hesitation, "now that monseigneur is a bishop,
I shall soon have my orders, or at least my dispensations."  And he
rubbed his hands.

"Decidedly," said D'Artagnan to himself, "there will be no means of
uprooting these people.  Get me some supper, Bazin."

"With pleasure, monsieur."

"A fowl, a _bouillon,_ and a bottle of wine."

"This is Saturday night, monsieur - it is a day of abstinence."

"I have a dispensation," said D'Artagnan.

Bazin looked at him suspiciously.

"Ah, ah, master hypocrite!" said the musketeer, "for whom do you take
me?  If you, who are the valet, hope for dispensation to commit a crime,
shall not I, the friend of your bishop, have dispensation for eating meat
at the call of my stomach?  Make yourself agreeable with me, Bazin, or by
heavens!  I will complain to the king, and you shall never confess.  Now
you know that the nomination of bishops rests with the king, - I have the
king, I am the stronger."

Bazin smiled hypocritically.  "Ah, but we have monsieur le surintendant,"
said he.

"And you laugh at the king, then?"

Bazin made no reply; his smile was sufficiently eloquent.

"My supper," said D'Artagnan, "it is getting towards seven o'clock."

Bazin turned round and ordered the eldest of the pupils to inform the
cook.  In the meantime, D'Artagnan surveyed the presbytery.

"Phew!" said he, disdainfully, "monseigneur lodged his grandeur very
meanly here."

"We have the Chateau de Vaux," said Bazin.

"Which is perhaps equal to the Louvre?" said D'Artagnan, jeeringly.

"Which is better," replied Bazin, with the greatest coolness imaginable.

"Ah, ah!" said D'Artagnan.

He would perhaps have prolonged the discussion, and maintained the
superiority of the Louvre, but the lieutenant perceived that his horse
remained fastened to the bars of a gate.

"The devil!" said he.  "Get my horse looked after; your master the bishop
has none like him in his stables."

Bazin cast a sidelong glance at the horse, and replied, "Monsieur le
surintendant gave him four from his own stables; and each of the four is
worth four of yours."

The blood mounted to the face of D'Artagnan.  His hand itched and his eye
glanced over the head of Bazin, to select the place upon which he should
discharge his anger.  But it passed away; reflection came, and D'Artagnan
contented himself with saying, -

"The devil! the devil!  I have done well to quit the service of the
king.  Tell me, worthy Master Bazin," added he, "how many musketeers does
monsieur le surintendant retain in his service?"

"He could have all there are in the kingdom with his money," replied
Bazin, closing his book, and dismissing the boys with some kindly blows
of his cane.

"The devil! the devil!" repeated D'Artagnan, once more, as if to annoy
the pedagogue.  But as supper was now announced, he followed the cook,
who introduced him into the refectory, where it awaited him.  D'Artagnan
placed himself at the table, and began a hearty attack upon his fowl.

"It appears to me," said D'Artagnan, biting with all his might at the
tough fowl they had served up to him, and which they had evidently
forgotten to fatten, - "it appears that I have done wrong in not seeking
service with that master yonder.  A powerful noble this intendant,
seemingly!  In good truth, we poor fellows know nothing at the court, and
the rays of the sun prevent our seeing the large stars, which are also
suns, at a little greater distance from our earth, - that is all."

As D'Artagnan delighted, both from pleasure and system, in making people
talk about things which interested him, he fenced in his best style with
Master Bazin, but it was pure loss of time; beyond the tiresome and
hyperbolical praises of monsieur le surintendant of the finances, Bazin,
who, on his side, was on his guard, afforded nothing but platitudes to
the curiosity of D'Artagnan, so that our musketeer, in a tolerably bad
humor, desired to go to bed as soon as he had supped.  D'Artagnan was
introduced by Bazin into a mean chamber, in which there was a poor bed;
but D'Artagnan was not fastidious in that respect.  He had been told that
Aramis had taken away the key of his own private apartment, and as he
knew Aramis was a very particular man, and had generally many things to
conceal in his apartment, he had not been surprised.  He, therefore,
although it seemed comparatively even harder, attacked the bed as bravely
as he had done the fowl; and, as he had as good an inclination to sleep
as he had had to eat, he took scarcely longer time to be snoring
harmoniously than he had employed in picking the last bones of the bird.

Since he was no longer in the service of any one, D'Artagnan had promised
himself to indulge in sleeping as soundly as he had formerly slept
lightly; but with whatever good faith D'Artagnan had made himself this
promise, and whatever desire he might have to keep it religiously, he was
awakened in the middle of the night by a loud noise of carriages, and
servants on horseback.  A sudden illumination flashed over the walls of
his chamber; he jumped out of bed and ran to the window in his shirt.
"Can the king be coming this way?" he thought, rubbing his eyes; "in
truth, such a suite can only be attached to royalty."

"_Vive le monsieur le surintendant!_" cried, or rather vociferated, from
a window on the ground-floor, a voice which he recognized as Bazin's, who
at the same time waved a handkerchief with one hand, and held a large
candle in the other.  D'Artagnan then saw something like a brilliant
human form leaning out of the principal carriage; at the same time loud
bursts of laughter, caused, no doubt, by the strange figure of Bazin, and
issuing from the same carriage, left, as it were, a train of joy upon the
passage of the rapid _cortege_.

"I might easily see it was not the king," said D'Artagnan; "people don't
laugh so heartily when the king passes.  _Hola_, Bazin!" cried he to his
neighbor, three-quarters of whose body still hung out of the window, to
follow the carriage with his eyes as long as he could.  "What is all that
about?"

"It is M. Fouquet," said Bazin, in a patronizing tone.

"And all those people?"

"That is the court of M. Fouquet."

"Oh, oh!" said D'Artagnan; "what would M. de Mazarin say to that if he
heard it?"  And he returned to his bed, asking himself how Aramis always
contrived to be protected by the most powerful personages in the
kingdom.  "Is it that he has more luck than I, or that I am a greater
fool than he?  Bah!"  That was the concluding word by the aid of which
D'Artagnan, having become wise, now terminated every thought and every
period of his style.  Formerly he said, "_Mordioux!_" which was a prick
of the spur, but now he had become older, and he murmured that
philosophical "_Bah!_" which served as a bridle to all the passions.


Chapter XVIII:
In which D'Artagnan seeks Porthos, and only finds Mousqueton.

When D'Artagnan had perfectly convinced himself that the absence of the
Vicar-General d'Herblay was real, and that his friend was not to be found
at Melun or in its vicinity, he left Bazin without regret, cast an ill-

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