List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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and he had commenced the first copy of a letter which showed, by the
numerous erasures, the trouble he had had in writing it.

"Come in, monsieur le chevalier," said he, turning around.  Then
perceiving the fisherman, "What do you mean, Parry?  Where is M. le
Chevalier d'Artagnan?" asked Charles.

"He is before you, sire," said M. d'Artagnan.

"What, in that costume?"

"Yes; look at me, sire; do you not remember having seen me at Blois, in
the ante-chamber of King Louis XIV.?"

"Yes, monsieur, and I remember I was much pleased with you."

D'Artagnan bowed.  "It was my duty to behave as I did, the moment I knew
that I had the honor of being near your majesty."

"You bring me news, do you say?"

"Yes, sire."

"From the king of France?"

"_Ma foi!_ no, sire," replied D'Artagnan.  "Your majesty must have seen
yonder that the king of France is only occupied with his own majesty."

Charles raised his eyes towards heaven.

"No, sire, no," continued D'Artagnan.  "I bring news entirely composed of
personal facts.  Nevertheless, I hope that your majesty will listen to
the facts and news with some favor."

"Speak, monsieur."

"If I am not mistaken, sire, your majesty spoke a great deal at Blois, of
the embarrassed state in which the affairs of England are."

Charles colored.  "Monsieur," said he, "it was to the king of France I
related - "

"Oh! your majesty is mistaken," said the musketeer, coolly; "I know how
to speak to kings in misfortune.  It is only when they are in misfortune
that they speak to me; once fortunate, they look upon me no more.  I
have, then, for your majesty, not only the greatest respect, but, still
more, the most absolute devotion; and that, believe me, with me, sire,
means something.  Now, hearing your majesty complain of fate, I found
that you were noble and generous, and bore misfortune well."

"In truth!" said Charles, much astonished, "I do not know which I ought
to prefer, your freedoms or your respects."

"You will choose presently, sire," said D'Artagnan.  "Then your majesty
complained to your brother, Louis XIV., of the difficulty you experienced
in returning to England and regaining your throne for want of men and
money."

Charles allowed a movement of impatience to escape him.

"And the principal object your majesty found in your way," continued
D'Artagnan, "was a certain general commanding the armies of the
parliament, and who was playing yonder the part of another Cromwell.  Did
not your majesty say so?"

"Yes; but I repeat to you, monsieur, those words were for the king's ears
alone."

"And you will see, sire, that it is very fortunate that they fell into
those of his lieutenant of musketeers.  That man so troublesome to your
majesty was one General Monk, I believe; did I not hear his name
correctly, sire?"

"Yes, monsieur, but once more, to what purpose are all these questions."

"Oh!  I know very well, sire, that etiquette will not allow kings to be
questioned.  I hope, however, presently you will pardon my want of
etiquette.  Your majesty added that, notwithstanding, if you could see
him, confer with him, and meet him face to face, you would triumph,
either by force or persuasion, over that obstacle - the only serious one,
the only insurmountable one, the only real one you met with on your road."

"All that is true, monsieur: my destiny, my future, my obscurity, or my
glory depend upon that man; but what do you draw from that?"

"One thing alone, that if this General Monk is troublesome to the point
your majesty describes, it would be expedient to get rid of him or make
an ally of him."

"Monsieur, a king who has neither army nor money, as you have heard my
conversation with my brother Louis, has no means of acting against a man
like Monk."

"Yes, sire, that was your opinion, I know very well: but, fortunately for
you, it was not mine."

"What do you mean by that?"

"That, without an army and without a million, I have done - I, myself 
what your majesty thought could alone be done with an army and a million."

"How!  What do you say?  What have you done?"

"What have I done?  Eh! well, sire, I went yonder to take this man who is
so troublesome to your majesty."

"In England?"

"Exactly, sire."

"You went to take Monk in England?"

"Should I by chance have done wrong, sire?"

"In truth, you are mad, monsieur!"

"Not the least in the world, sire."

"You have taken Monk?"

"Yes, sire."

"Where?"

"In the midst of his camp."

The king trembled with impatience.

"And having taken him on the causeway of Newcastle, I bring him to your
majesty," said D'Artagnan, simply.

"You bring him to me!" cried the king, almost indignant at what he
considered a mystification.

"Yes, sire," replied D'Artagnan, in the same tone, "I bring him to you;
he is down below yonder, in a large chest pierced with holes, so as to
allow him to breathe."

"Good God!"

"Oh! don't be uneasy, sire, we have taken the greatest possible care of
him.  He comes in good state, and in perfect condition.  Would your
majesty please to see him, to talk with him, or to have him thrown into
the sea?"

"Oh, heavens!" repeated Charles, "oh, heavens! do you speak the truth,
monsieur?  Are you not insulting me with some unworthy joke?  You have
accomplished this unheard-of act of audacity and genius - impossible!"

"Will your majesty permit me to open the window?" said D'Artagnan,
opening it.

The king had not time to reply yes or no.  D'Artagnan gave a shrill and
prolonged whistle, which he repeated three times through the silence of
the night.

"There!" said he, "he will be brought to your majesty."


Chapter XXIX:
In which D'Artagnan begins to fear he has placed his Money and that of
Planchet in the Sinking Fund.

The king could not overcome his surprise, and looked sometimes at the
smiling face of the musketeer, and sometimes at the dark window which
opened into the night.  But before he had fixed his ideas, eight of
D'Artagnan's men, for two had remained to take care of the bark, brought
to the house, where Parry received him, that object of an oblong form,
which, for the moment, inclosed the destinies of England.  Before he left
Calais, D'Artagnan had had made in that city a sort of coffin, large and
deep enough for a man to turn in it at his ease.  The bottom and sides,
properly upholstered, formed a bed sufficiently soft to prevent the
rolling of the ship turning this kind of cage into a rat-trap.  The
little grating, of which D'Artagnan had spoken to the king, like the
visor of the helmet, was placed opposite to the man's face.  It was so
constructed that, at the least cry, a sudden pressure would stifle that
cry, and, if necessary, him who had uttered that cry.

D'Artagnan was so well acquainted with his crew and his prisoner, that
during the whole voyage he had been in dread of two things: either that
the general would prefer death to this sort of imprisonment, and would
smother himself by endeavoring to speak, or that his guards would allow
themselves to be tempted by the offers of the prisoner, and put him,
D'Artagnan, into the box instead of Monk.

D'Artagnan, therefore, had passed the two days and the two nights of the
voyage close to the coffin, alone with the general, offering him wine and
food, which the latter had refused, and constantly endeavoring to
reassure him upon the destiny which awaited him at the end of this
singular captivity.  Two pistols on the table and his naked sword made
D'Artagnan easy with regard to indiscretions from without.

When once at Scheveningen he had felt completely reassured.  His men
greatly dreaded any conflict with the lords of the soil.  He had,
besides, interested in his cause him who had morally served him as
lieutenant, and whom we have seen reply to the name of Menneville.  The
latter, not being a vulgar spirit, had more to risk than the others,
because he had more conscience.  He believed in a future in the service
of D'Artagnan, and consequently would have allowed himself to be cut to
pieces, rather than violate the order given by his leader.  Thus it was
that, once landed, it was to him that D'Artagnan had confided the care of
the chest and the general's breathing.  It was he, too, he had ordered to
have the chest brought by the seven men as soon as he should hear the
triple whistle.  We have seen that the lieutenant obeyed.  The coffer
once in the house, D'Artagnan dismissed his men with a gracious smile,
saying, "Messieurs, you have rendered a great service to King Charles
II., who in less than six weeks will be king of England.  Your
gratification will then be doubled.  Return to the boat and wait for
me."  Upon which they departed with such shouts of joy as terrified even
the dog himself.

D'Artagnan had caused the coffer to be brought as far as the king's ante-
chamber.  He then, with great care, closed the door of this ante-chamber,
after which he opened the coffer, and said to the general:

"General, I have a thousand excuses to make to you; my manner of acting
has not been worthy of such a man as you, I know very well; but I wished
you to take me for the captain of a bark.  And then England is a very
inconvenient country for transports.  I hope, therefore, you will take
all that into consideration.  But now, general, you are at liberty to get
up and walk."  This said, he cut the bonds which fastened the arms and
hands of the general.  The latter got up, and then sat down with the
countenance of a man who expects death.  D'Artagnan opened the door of
Charles's study, and said, "Sire, here is your enemy, M. Monk; I promised
myself to perform this service for your majesty.  It is done; now order
as you please.  M. Monk," added he, turning towards the prisoner, "you
are in the presence of his majesty Charles II., sovereign lord of Great
Britain."

Monk raised towards the prince his coldly stoical look, and replied: "I
know no king of Great Britain; I recognize even here no one worthy of
bearing the name of gentleman: for it is in the name of King Charles II.
that an emissary, whom I took for an honest man, came and laid an

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