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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Go and seek them, and then set off immediately."

"Yes, captain."

D'Artagnan returned to Monk, saying, - "Monsieur, I await your orders,
for I understand we are to go together, unless my company be disagreeable
to you."

"On the contrary, monsieur," said Monk.

"Come, gentlemen, on board," cried Keyser's son.

Charles bowed to the general with grace and dignity, saying, - "You will
pardon me this unfortunate accident, and the violence to which you have
been subjected, when you are convinced that I was not the cause of them."

Monk bowed profoundly without replying.  On his side, Charles affected
not to say a word to D'Artagnan in private, but aloud, - "Once more,
thanks, monsieur le chevalier," said he, "thanks for your services.  They
will be repaid you by the Lord God, who, I hope, reserves trials and
troubles for me alone."

Monk followed Keyser and his son embarked with them.  D'Artagnan came
after, muttering to himself, - "Poor Planchet! poor Planchet!  I am very
much afraid we have made a bad speculation."


Chapter XXX:
The Shares of Planchet and Company rise again to Par.


During the passage, Monk only spoke to D'Artagnan in cases of urgent
necessity.  Thus, when the Frenchman hesitated to come and take his
meals, poor meals, composed of salt fish, biscuit, and Hollands gin, Monk
called him, saying, - "To table, monsieur, to table!"

This was all.  D'Artagnan, from being himself on all great occasions,
extremely concise, did not draw from the general's conciseness a
favorable augury of the result of his mission.  Now, as D'Artagnan had
plenty of time for reflection, he battered his brains during this time in
endeavoring to find out how Athos had seen King Charles, how he had
conspired his departure with him, and lastly, how he had entered Monk's
camp; and the poor lieutenant of musketeers plucked a hair from his
mustache every time that he reflected that the horseman who accompanied
Monk on the night of the famous abduction must have been Athos.

At length, after a passage of two nights and two days, the _patron_
Keyser touched at the point where Monk, who had given all the orders
during the voyage, had commanded they should land.  It was exactly at the
mouth of the little river, near where Athos had chosen his abode.

Daylight was waning, a splendid sun, like a red steel buckler, was
plunging the lower extremity of its disc beneath the blue line of the
sea.  The felucca was making fair way up the river, tolerably wide in
that part, but Monk, in his impatience, desired to be landed, and
Keyser's boat set him and D'Artagnan upon the muddy bank, amidst the
reeds.  D'Artagnan, resigned to obedience, followed Monk exactly as a
chained bear follows his master; but the position humiliated him not a
little, and he grumbled to himself that the service of kings was a bitter
one, and that the best of them was good for nothing.  Monk walked with
long and hasty strides; it might be thought that he did not yet feel
certain of having reached English land.  They had already begun to
perceive distinctly a few of the cottages of the sailors and fishermen
spread over the little quay of this humble port, when, all at once,
D'Artagnan cried out, - "God pardon me, there is a house on fire!"

Monk raised his eyes, and perceived there was, in fact, a house which the
flames were beginning to devour.  It had begun at a little shed belonging
to the house, the roof of which had caught.  The fresh evening breeze
agitated the fire.  The two travelers quickened their steps, hearing loud
cries, and seeing, as they drew nearer, soldiers with their glittering
arms pointed towards the house on fire.  It was doubtless this menacing
occupation which had made them neglect to signal the felucca.  Monk
stopped short for an instant, and, for the first time, formulated his
thoughts into words.  "Eh! but," said he, "perhaps they are not my
soldiers but Lambert's."

These words contained at once a sorrow, and apprehension, and a reproach
perfectly intelligible to D'Artagnan.  In fact, during the general's
absence, Lambert might have given battle, conquered, and dispersed the
parliament's army, and taken with his own the place of Monk's army,
deprived of its strongest support.  At this doubt, which passed from the
mind of Monk to his own, D'Artagnan reasoned in this manner: - "One of
two things is going to happen; either Monk has spoken correctly, and
there are no longer any but Lambertists in the country - that is to say,
enemies, who would receive me wonderfully well, since it is to me they
owe their victory; or nothing is changed, and Monk, transported with joy
at finding his camp still in the same place, will not prove too severe in
his settlement with me."  Whilst thinking thus, the two travelers
advanced, and began to mingle with a little knot of sailors, who looked
on with sorrow at the burning house, but did not dare to say anything on
account of the threats of the soldiers.  Monk addressed one of these
sailors: - "What is going on here?" asked he.

"Sir," replied  the man, not recognizing Monk as an officer, under the
thick cloak which enveloped him, "that house was inhabited by a foreign
gentleman, and this foreigner became suspected by the soldiers.  They
wanted to get into his house under pretense of taking him to the camp;
but he, without being frightened by their number, threatened death to the
first who should cross the threshold of his door; and as there was one
who did venture, the Frenchman stretched him on the earth with a pistol-
shot."

"Ah! he is a Frenchman, is he?" said D'Artagnan, rubbing his hands.
"Good!"

"How good?" replied the fisherman.

"No, I don't mean that. - What then - my tongue slipped."

"What then, sir? - why, the other men became as enraged as so many lions:
they fired more than a hundred shots at the house; but the Frenchman was
sheltered by the wall, and every time they tried to enter by the door
they met with a shot from his lackey, whose aim is deadly, d'ye see?
Every time they threatened the window, they met with a pistol-shot from
the master.  Look and count - there are seven men down."

"Ah! my brave countryman," cried D'Artagnan, "wait a little, wait a
little.  I will be with you; and we will settle with this rabble."

"One instant, sir," said Monk, "wait."

"Long?"

"No; only the time to ask a question."  Then, turning towards the sailor,
"My friend," asked he, with an emotion which, in spite of all his self-
command, he could not conceal, "whose soldiers are these, pray tell me?"

"Whose should they be but that madman, Monk's?"

"There has been no battle, then?"

"A battle, ah, yes! for what purpose?  Lambert's army is melting away
like snow in April.  All come to Monk, officers and soldiers.  In a week
Lambert won't have fifty men left."

The fisherman was interrupted by a fresh discharge directed against the
house, and by another pistol-shot which replied to the discharge and
struck down the most daring of the aggressors.  The rage of soldiers was
at its height.  The fire still continued to increase, and a crest of
flame and smoke whirled and spread over the roof of the house.
D'Artagnan could no longer contain himself.  "_Mordioux!_" said he to
Monk, glancing at him sideways: "you are a general, and allow your men to
burn houses and assassinate people, while you look on and warm your hands
at the blaze of the conflagration?  _Mordioux!_ you are not a man."

"Patience, sir, patience!" said Monk, smiling.

"Patience! yes, until that brave gentleman is roasted - is that what you
mean?"  And D'Artagnan rushed forward.

"Remain where you are, sir," said Monk, in a tone of command.  And he
advanced towards the house, just as an officer had approached it, saying
to the besieged: "The house is burning, you will be roasted within an
hour!  There is still time - come, tell us what you know of General Monk,
and we will spare your life.  Reply, or by Saint Patrick - "

The besieged made no answer; he was no doubt reloading his pistol.

"A reinforcement is expected," continued the officer; "in a quarter of an
hour there will be a hundred men around your house."

"I reply to you," said the Frenchman.  "Let your men be sent away; I will
come out freely and repair to the camp alone, or else I will be killed
here!"

"_Mille tonnerres!_" shouted D'Artagnan; "why, that's the voice of
Athos!  _Ah canailles!_" and the sword of D'Artagnan flashed from its
sheath.  Monk stopped him and advanced himself, exclaiming, in a sonorous
voice: "_Hola!_ what is going on here?  Digby, whence this fire? why
these cries?"

"The general!" cried Digby, letting the point of his sword fall.

"The general!" repeated the soldiers.

"Well, what is there so astonishing in that?" said Monk, in a calm tone.
Then, silence being re-established, - "Now," said he, "who lit this fire?"

The soldiers hung their heads.

"What! do I ask a question, and nobody answers me?" said Monk.  "What! do
I find a fault, and nobody repairs it?  The fire is still burning, I
believe."

Immediately the twenty men rushed forward, seizing pails, buckets, jars,
barrels, and extinguishing the fire with as much ardor as they had, an
instant before, employed in promoting it.  But already, and before all
the rest, D'Artagnan had applied a ladder to the house, crying, "Athos!
it is I, D'Artagnan!  Do not kill me, my dearest friend!"  And in a
moment the count was clasped in his arms.
In the meantime, Grimaud, preserving his calmness, dismantled the
fortification of the ground-floor, and after having opened the door,
stood, with his arms folded, quietly on the sill.  Only, on hearing the
voice of D'Artagnan, he uttered an exclamation of surprise.  The fire
being extinguished, the soldiers presented themselves, Digby at their
head.

"General," said he, "excuse us; what we have done was for love of your
honor, whom we thought lost."

"You are mad, gentlemen.  Lost!  Is a man like me to be lost?  Am I not
permitted to be absent, according to my pleasure, without giving formal
notice?  Do you, by chance, take me for a citizen from the city?  Is a

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