List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Do, monsieur; and may God inspire you with the idea of replying to me as
frankly as I shall reply to you."

"When you shall have taken this money back to your prince, what advice
will you give him?"

Athos fixed upon Monk a proud and resolute look.

"My lord," said he, "with this million, which others would perhaps employ
in negotiating, I would advise the king to rise two regiments, to enter
Scotland, which you have just pacified: to give to the people the
franchises which the revolution promised them, and in which it has not,
in all cases, kept its word.  I should advise him to command in person
this little army, which would, believe me, increase, and to die, standard
in hand, and sword in sheath, saying, 'Englishmen!  I am the third king
of my race you have killed; beware of the justice of God!'"

Monk hung down his head, and mused for an instant.  "If he succeeded,"
said he, "which is very improbable, but not impossible - for everything
is possible in this world - what would you advise him to do?"

"To think that by the will of God he lost his crown, by the good will of
men he recovered it."

An ironical smile passed over the lips of Monk.

"Unfortunately, monsieur," said he, "kings do not know how to follow good

"Ah, my lord, Charles II. is not a king," replied Athos, smiling in his
turn, but with a very different expression from Monk.

"Let us terminate this, monsieur le comte, - that is your desire, is it

Athos bowed.

"I shall give orders to have these two casks transported whither you
please.  Where are you lodging, monsieur?"

"In a little hamlet at the mouth of the river, your honor."

"Oh, I know the hamlet; it consists of five or six houses, does it not?"

"Exactly.  Well, I inhabit the first, - two net-makers occupy it with me;
it is their bark which brought me ashore."

"But your own vessel, monsieur?"

"My vessel is at anchor, a quarter of a mile at sea, and waits for me."

"You do not think, however, of setting out immediately?"

"My lord, I shall try once more to convince your honor."

"You will not succeed," replied Monk; "but it is of consequence that you
should depart from Newcastle without leaving of your passage the least
suspicion that might prove injurious to me or you.  To-morrow my officers
think Lambert will attack me.  I, on the contrary, am convinced he will
not stir; it is in my opinion impossible.  Lambert leads an army devoid
of homogeneous principles, and there is no possible army with such
elements.  I have taught my soldiers to consider my authority subordinate
to another, therefore, after me, round me, and beneath me, they still
look for something.  It would result that if I were dead, whatever might
happen, my army would not be demoralized all at once; it results, that if
I choose to absent myself, for instance, as it does please me to do
sometimes, there would not be in the camp the shadow of uneasiness or
disorder.  I am the magnet - the sympathetic and natural strength of the
English.  All those scattered irons that will be sent against me I shall
attract to myself.  Lambert, at this moment, commands eighteen thousand
deserters; but I have never mentioned that to my officers, you may easily
suppose.  Nothing is more useful to an army than the expectation of a
coming battle; everybody is awake - everybody is on guard.  I tell you
this that you may live in perfect security.  Do not be in a hurry, then,
to cross the seas; within a week there will be something fresh, either a
battle or an accommodation.  Then, as you have judged me to be an
honorable man, and confided your secret to me, I have to thank you for
this confidence, and I shall come and pay you a visit or send for you.
Do not go before I send word.  I repeat the request."

"I promise you, general," cried Athos, with a joy so great, that in spite
of all his circumspection, he could not prevent its sparkling in his eyes.

Monk surprised this flash, and immediately extinguished it by one of
those silent smiles which always caused his interlocutors to know they
had made no inroad on his mind.

"Then, my lord, it is a week that you desire me to wait?"

"A week? yes, monsieur."

"And during those days what shall I do?"

"If there should be a battle, keep at a distance from it, I beseech you.
I know the French delight in such amusements; - you might take a fancy to
see how we fight, and you might receive some chance shot.  Our Scotsmen
are very bad marksmen, and I do not wish that a worthy gentleman like you
should return to France wounded.  Nor should I like to be obliged,
myself, to send to your prince his million left here by you; for then it
would be said, and with some reason, that I paid the Pretender to enable
him to make war against the parliament.  Go, then, monsieur, and let it
be done as has been agreed upon."

"Ah, my lord," said Athos, "what joy it would give me to be the first
that penetrated to the noble heart which beats beneath that cloak!"

"You think, then, that I have secrets," said Monk, without changing the
half cheerful expression of his countenance.  "Why, monsieur, what secret
can you expect to find in the hollow head of a soldier?  But it is
getting late, and our torch is almost out; let us call our man."

"_Hola!_" cried Monk in French, approaching the stairs; "_hola!_

The fisherman, benumbed by the cold night air, replied in a hoarse voice,
asking what they wanted of him.

"Go to the post," said Monk, "and order a sergeant, in the name of
General Monk, to come here immediately."

This was a commission easily performed; for the sergeant, uneasy at the
general's being in that desolate abbey, had drawn nearer by degrees, and
was not much further off than the fisherman.  The general's order was
therefore heard by him, and he hastened to obey it.

"Get a horse and two men," said Monk.

"A horse and two men?" repeated the sergeant.

"Yes," replied Monk.  "Have you got any means of getting a horse with a
pack-saddle or two panniers?"

"No doubt, at a hundred paces off, in the Scottish camp."

"Very well."

"What shall I do with the horse, general."

"Look here."

The sergeant descended the three steps which separated him from Monk, and
came into the vault.

"You see," said Monk, "that gentleman yonder?"

"Yes, general."

"And you see these two casks?"


"They are two casks, one containing powder, and the other balls; I wish
these casks to be transported to the little hamlet at the mouth of the
river, and which I intend to occupy to-morrow with two hundred muskets.
You understand that the commission is a secret one, for it is a movement
that may decide the fate of the battle."

"Oh, general!" murmured the sergeant.

"Mind, then!  Let these casks be fastened on to the horse, and let them
be escorted by two men and you to the residence of this gentleman, who is
my friend.  But take care that nobody knows it."

"I would go by the marsh if I knew the road," said the sergeant.

"I know one myself," said Athos; "it is not wide, but it is solid, having
been made upon piles; and with care we shall get over safely enough."

"Do everything this gentleman shall order you to do."

"Oh! oh! the casks are heavy," said the sergeant, trying to lift one.

"They weigh four hundred pounds each, if they contain what they ought to
contain, do they not, monsieur."

"Thereabouts," said Athos.

The sergeant went in search of the two men and the horse.  Monk, left
alone with Athos, affected to speak to him on nothing but indifferent
subjects while examining the vault in a cursory manner.  Then, hearing
the horse's steps, -

"I leave you with your men, monsieur," said he, "and return to the camp.
You are perfectly safe."

"I shall see you again, then, my lord?" asked Athos.

"That is agreed upon, monsieur, and with much pleasure."

Monk held out his hand to Athos.

"Ah! my lord, if you would!" murmured Athos.

"Hush! monsieur, it is agreed that we shall speak no more of that."  And
bowing to Athos, he went up the stairs, meeting about half-way his men,
who were coming down.  He had not gone twenty paces, when a faint but
prolonged whistle was heard at a distance.  Monk listened, but seeing
nothing and hearing nothing, he continued his route.  Then he remembered
the fisherman, and looked about for him; but the fisherman had
disappeared.  If he had, however, looked with more attention, he might
have seen that man, bent double, gliding like a serpent along the stones
and losing himself in the mist that floated over the surface of the
marsh.  He might equally have seen, had he attempted to pierce that mist,
a spectacle that might have attracted his attention; and that was the
rigging of the vessel, which had changed place, and was now nearer the
shore.  But Monk saw nothing; and thinking he had nothing to fear, he
entered the deserted causeway which led to his camp.  It was then that
the disappearance of the fisherman appeared strange, and that a real
suspicion began to take possession of his mind.  He had just placed at
the orders of Athos the only post that could protect him.  He had a mile
of causeway to traverse before he could regain his camp.  The fog
increased with such intensity that he could scarcely distinguish objects
at ten paces' distance.  Monk then thought he heard the sound of an oar
over the marsh on the right.  "Who goes there?" said he.

But nobody answered; then he cocked his pistol, took his sword in his
hand, and quickened his pace, without, however, being willing to call
anybody.  Such a summons, for which there was no absolute necessity,
appeared unworthy of him.

Chapter XXVII:
The Next Day.

It was seven o'clock in the morning, the first rays of day lightened the
pools of the marsh, in which the sun was reflected like a red ball, when
Athos, awakening and opening the window of his bed-chamber, which looked
out upon the banks of the river, perceived, at fifteen paces' distance
from him, the sergeant and the men who had accompanied him the evening
before, and who, after having deposited the casks at his house, had

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