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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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lord, that when putting into Ostend to sell the few mackerel we had
caught, I saw the ex-king walking on the downs waiting for his horses,
which were to take him to the Hague.  He is a rather tall, pale man, with
black hair, and somewhat hard-featured.  He looks ill, and I don't think
the air of Holland agrees with him."

Monk followed with the greatest attention the rapid, heightened, and
diffuse conversation of the fisherman, in a language which was not his
own, but which, as we have said, he spoke with great facility.  The
fisherman, on his part, employed sometimes a French word, sometimes an
English word, and sometimes a word which appeared not to belong to any
language, but was, in truth, pure Gascon.  Fortunately his eyes spoke for
him, and that so eloquently, that it was possible to lose a word from his
mouth, but not a single intention from his eyes.  The general appeared
more and more satisfied with his examination.  "You must have heard that
this ex-king, as you call him, was going to the Hague for some purpose?"

"Oh, yes," said the fisherman, "I heard that."

"And what was his purpose?"

"Always the same," said the fisherman.  "Must he not always entertain the
fixed idea of returning to England?"

"That is true," said Monk, pensively.

"Without reckoning," added the fisherman, "that the stadtholder - you
know, my lord, William II.? - "

"Well?"

"He will assist him with all his power."

"Ah! did you hear that said?"

"No, but I think so."

"You are quite a politician, apparently," said Monk.

"Why, we sailors, my lord, who are accustomed to study the water and the
air - that is to say, the two most changeable things in the world - are
seldom deceived as to the rest."

"Now, then," said Monk, changing the conversation, "I am told you are
going to provision us."

"I shall do my best, my lord."

"How much do you ask for your fish in the first place?"

"Not such a fool as to name a price, my lord."

"Why not?"

"Because my fish is yours."

"By what right?"

"By that of the strongest."

"But my intention is to pay you for it."

"That is very generous of you, my lord."

"And the worth of it - "

"My lord, I fix no price."

"What do you ask, then?"

"I only ask to be permitted to go away."

"Where? - to General Lambert's camp?"

"I!" cried the fisherman; "what should I go to Newcastle for, now I have
no longer any fish?"

"At all events, listen to me."

"I do, my lord."

"I shall give you some advice."

"How, my lord! - pay me and give me good advice likewise!  You overwhelm
me, my lord."

Monk looked more earnestly than ever at the fisherman, about whom he
still appeared to entertain some suspicion.  "Yes, I shall pay you, and
give you a piece of advice; for the two things are connected.  If you
return, then, to General Lambert - "

The fisherman made a movement of his head and shoulders, which signified,
"If he persists in it, I won't contradict him."

"Do not cross the marsh," continued Monk: "you will have money in your
pocket, and there are in the marsh some Scottish ambuscaders I have
placed there.  Those people are very intractable; they understand but
very little of the language which you speak, although it appears to me to
be composed of three languages.  They might take from you what I have
given you, and, on your return to your country, you would not fail to say
that General Monk has two hands, the one Scottish, and the other English;
and that he takes back with the Scottish hand what he has given with the
English hand."

"Oh! general, I shall go where you like, be sure of that," said the
fisherman, with a fear too expressive not to be exaggerated.  "I only
wish to remain here, if you will allow me to remain."

"I readily believe you," said Monk, with an imperceptible smile, "but I
cannot, nevertheless, keep you in my tent."

"I have no such wish, my lord, and desire only that your lordship should
point out where you will have me posted.  Do not trouble yourself about
us - with us a night soon passes away."

"You shall be conducted to your bark."

"As your lordship pleases.  Only, if your lordship would allow me to be
taken back by a carpenter, I should be extremely grateful."

"Why so?"

"Because the gentlemen of your army, in dragging my boat up the river
with a cable pulled by their horses, have battered it a little upon the
rocks of the shore, so that I have at least two feet of water in my hold,
my lord."

"The greater reason why you should watch your boat, I think."

"My lord, I am quite at your orders," said the fisherman; "I shall empty
my baskets where you wish; then you will pay me, if you please to do so;
and you will send me away, if it appears right to you.  You see I am very
easily managed and pleased, my lord."

"Come, come, you are a very good sort of fellow," said Monk, whose
scrutinizing glance had not been able to find a single shade in the clear
eye of the fisherman.  "Holloa, Digby!"  An aid-de-camp appeared.  "You
will conduct this good fellow and his companions to the little tents of
the canteens, in front of the marshes, so that they will be near their
bark, and yet will not sleep on board to-night.  What is the matter,
Spithead?"

Spithead was the sergeant from whom Monk had borrowed a piece of tobacco
for his supper.  Spithead having entered the general's tent without being
sent for, had drawn this question from Monk.

"My lord," said he, "a French gentleman has just presented himself at the
outposts and wishes to speak to your honor."

All this was said, be it understood, in English; but, notwithstanding,
it produced a slight emotion in the fisherman, which Monk, occupied with
his sergeant, did not remark.

"Who is the gentleman?" asked Monk.

"My lord," replied Spithead, "he told it me; but those devils of French
names are so difficult to pronounce for a Scottish throat, that I could
not retain it.  I believe, however, from what the guards say, that it is
the same gentleman who presented himself yesterday at the halt, and whom
your honor would not receive."

"That is true; I was holding a council of officers."

"Will your honor give any orders respecting this gentleman?"

"Yes, let him be brought here."

"Must we take any precautions?"

"Such as what?"

"Blinding his eyes, for instance?"

"To what purpose?  He can only see what I desire should be seen; that is
to say, that I have around me eleven thousand brave men, who ask no
better than to have their throats cut in honor of the parliament of
Scotland and England."

"And this man, my lord?" said Spithead, pointing to the fisherman, who,
during this conversation, had remained standing and motionless, like a
man who sees but does not understand.

"Ah, that is true," said Monk.  Then turning towards the fisherman, - "I
shall see you again, my brave fellow," said he; "I have selected a
lodging for you.  Digby, take him to it.  Fear nothing; your money shall
be sent to you presently."

"Thank you, my lord," said the fisherman, and after having bowed, he left
the tent, accompanied by Digby.  Before he had gone a hundred paces he
found his companions, who were whispering with a volubility which did not
appear exempt from uneasiness, but he made them a sign which seemed to
reassure them.  "_Hola_, you fellows!" said the _patron_, "come this
way.  His lordship, General Monk, has the generosity to pay us for our
fish, and the goodness to give us hospitality for to-night."

The fishermen gathered round their leader, and, conducted by Digby, the
little troop proceeded towards the canteens, the post, as may be
remembered, which had been assigned them.  As they went along in the
dark, the fishermen passed close to the guards who were conducting the
French gentleman to General Monk.  This gentleman was on horseback and
enveloped in a large cloak, which prevented the _patron_ from seeing him,
however great his curiosity might be.  As to the gentleman, ignorant that
he was elbowing compatriots, he did not pay any attention to the little
troop.

The aid-de-camp settled his guests in a tolerably comfortable tent, from
which was dislodged an Irish canteen woman, who went, with her six
children, to sleep where she could.  A large fire was burning in front of
this tent, and threw its purple light over the grassy pools of the marsh,
rippled by a fresh breeze.  The arrangements made, the aid-de-camp wished
the fishermen good-night, calling to their notice that they might see
from the door of the tent the masts of their bark, which was tossing
gently on the Tweed, a proof that it had not yet sunk.  The sight of this
appeared to delight the leader of the fishermen infinitely.


Chapter XXIV:
The Treasure.

The French gentleman whom Spithead had announced to Monk, and who,
closely wrapped in his cloak, had passed by the fishermen who left the
general's tent five minutes before he entered it, - the French gentleman
went through the various posts without even casting his eyes around him,
for fear of appearing indiscreet.  As the order had been given, he was
conducted to the tent of the general.  The gentleman was left alone in
the sort of ante-chamber in front of the principal body of the tent,
where he awaited Monk, who only delayed till he had heard the report of
his people, and observed through the opening of the canvas the
countenance of the person who solicited an audience.

Without doubt, the report of those who had accompanied the French
gentleman established the discretion with which he had behaved, for the
first impression the stranger received of the welcome made him by the
general was more favorable than he could have expected at such a moment,
and on the part of so suspicious a man.  Nevertheless, according to his
custom, when Monk found himself in the presence of a stranger, he fixed
upon him his penetrating eyes, which scrutiny, the stranger, on his part,
sustained without embarrassment or notice.  At the end of a few seconds,
the general made a gesture with his hand and head in sign of attention.

"My lord," said the gentleman, in excellent English, "I have requested

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