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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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gentleman, my friend, my guest, to be besieged, entrapped, and threatened
with death, because he is suspected?  What signifies the word,
suspected?  Curse me if I don't have every one of you shot like dogs,
that the brave gentleman has left alive!

"General," said Digby, piteously, "there were twenty-eight of us, and
see, there are eight on the ground."

"I authorize M. le Comte de la Fere to send the twenty to join the
eight," said Monk, stretching out his hand to Athos.  "Let them return to
camp.  Mr. Digby, you will consider yourself under arrest for a month."

"General - "

"That is to teach you, sir, not to act, another time, without orders."

"I had those of the lieutenant, general."

"The lieutenant had no such orders to give you, and he shall be placed
under arrest, instead of you, if he has really commanded you to burn this
gentleman."

"He did not command that, general; he commanded us to bring him to the
camp; but the count was not willing to follow us."

"I was not willing that they should enter and plunder my house," said
Athos to Monk, with a significant look.

"And you were quite right.  To the camp, I say."  The soldiers departed
with dejected looks.  "Now we are alone," said Monk to Athos, "have the
goodness to tell me, monsieur, why you persisted in remaining here,
whilst you had your felucca - "

"I waited for you, general," said Athos.  "Had not your honor appointed
to meet me in a week?"

An eloquent look from D'Artagnan made it clear to Monk that these two
men, so brave and so loyal, had not acted in concert for his abduction.
He knew already it could not be so.

"Monsieur," said he to D'Artagnan, "you were perfectly right.  Have the
kindness to allow me a moment's conversation with M. le Comte de la Fere?"

D'Artagnan took advantage of this to go and ask Grimaud how he was.  Monk
requested Athos to conduct him to the chamber he lived in.

This chamber was still full of smoke and rubbish.  More than fifty balls
had passed through the windows and mutilated the walls.  They found a
table, inkstand, and materials for writing.  Monk took up a pen, wrote a
single line, signed it, folded the paper, sealed the letter with the seal
of his ring, and handed over the missive to Athos, saying, "Monsieur,
carry, if you please, this letter to King Charles II., and set out
immediately, if nothing detains you here any longer."

"And the casks?" said Athos.

"The fisherman who brought me hither will assist you in transporting them
on board.  Depart, if possible, within an hour."

"Yes, general," said Athos.

"Monsieur D'Artagnan!" cried Monk, from the window.  D'Artagnan ran up
precipitately.

"Embrace your friend and bid him adieu, sir; he is returning to Holland."

"To Holland!" cried D'Artagnan; "and I?"

"You are at liberty to follow him, monsieur; but I request you to
remain," said Monk.  "Will you refuse me?"

"Oh, no, general; I am at your orders."

D'Artagnan embraced Athos, and only had time to bid him adieu.  Monk
watched them both.  Then he took upon himself the preparations for the
departure, the transportation of the casks on board, and the embarking of
Athos; then, taking D'Artagnan by the arm, who was quite amazed and
agitated, he led him towards Newcastle.  Whilst going along, the general
leaning on his arm, D'Artagnan could not help murmuring to himself, -
"Come, come, it seems to me that the shares of the firm of Planchet and
Company are rising."


Chapter XXXI:
Monk reveals Himself.

D'Artagnan, although he flattered himself with better success, had,
nevertheless, not too well comprehended his situation.  It was a strange
and grave subject for him to reflect upon - this voyage of Athos into
England; this league of the king with Athos, and that extraordinary
combination of his design with that of the Comte de la Fere.  The best
way was to let things follow their own train.  An imprudence had been
committed, and, whilst having succeeded, as he had promised, D'Artagnan
found that he had gained no advantage by his success.  Since everything
was lost, he could risk no more.

D'Artagnan followed Monk through his camp.  The return of the general had
produced a marvelous effect, for his people had thought him lost.  But
Monk, with his austere look and icy demeanor, appeared to ask of his
eager lieutenants and delighted soldiers the cause of all this joy.
Therefore, to the lieutenants who had come to meet him, and who expressed
the uneasiness with which they had learnt his departure, -

"Why is all this?" said he; "am I obliged to give you an account of
myself?"

"But your honor, the sheep may well tremble without the shepherd."

"Tremble!" replied Monk, in his calm and powerful voice; "ah, monsieur,
what a word!  Curse me, if my sheep have not both teeth and claws; I
renounce being their shepherd.  Ah, you tremble, gentlemen, do you?"

"Yes, general, for you."

"Oh! pray meddle with your own concerns.  If I have not the wit God gave
to Oliver Cromwell, I have that which He has sent to me: I am satisfied
with it, however little it may be."

The officer made no reply; and Monk, having imposed silence on his
people, all remained persuaded that he had accomplished some important
work or made some important trial.  This was forming a very poor
conception of his patience and scrupulous genius.  Monk, if he had the
good faith of the Puritans, his allies, must have returned fervent thanks
to the patron saint who had taken him from the box of M. d'Artagnan.
Whilst these things were going on, our musketeer could not help
constantly repeating, -

"God grant that M. Monk may not have as much pride as I have; for I
declare that if any one had put me into a coffer with that grating over
my mouth, and carried me packed up, like a calf, across the seas, I
should cherish such a memory of my piteous looks in that coffer, and such
an ugly animosity against him who had inclosed me in it, I should dread
so greatly to see a sarcastic smile blooming upon the face of the
malicious wretch, or in his attitude any grotesque imitation of my
position in the box, that, _Mordioux!_  I should plunge a good dagger
into his throat in compensation for the grating, and would nail him down
in a veritable bier, in remembrance of the false coffin in which I had
been left in to grow moldy for two days."

And D'Artagnan spoke honestly when he spoke thus; for the skin of our
Gascon was a very thin one.  Monk, fortunately, entertained other ideas.
He never opened his mouth to his timid conqueror concerning the past; but
he admitted him very near to his person in his labors, took him with him
to several reconnoiterings, in such a way as to obtain that which he
evidently warmly desired, - a rehabilitation in the mind of D'Artagnan.
The latter conducted himself like a past-master in the art of flattery:
he admired all Monk's tactics, and the ordering of his camp; he joked
very pleasantly upon the circumvallations of Lambert's camp, who had, he
said, very uselessly given himself the trouble to inclose a camp for
twenty thousand men, whilst an acre of ground would have been quite
sufficient for the corporal and fifty guards who would perhaps remain
faithful to him.

Monk, immediately after his arrival, had accepted the proposition made by
Lambert the evening before, for an interview, and which Monk's
lieutenants had refused under the pretext that the general was
indisposed.  This interview was neither long nor interesting: Lambert
demanded a profession of faith from his rival.  The latter declared he
had no other opinion than that of the majority.  Lambert asked if it
would not be more expedient to terminate the quarrel by an alliance than
by a battle.  Monk hereupon demanded a week for consideration.  Now,
Lambert could not refuse this: and Lambert, nevertheless, had come saying
that he should devour Monk's army.  Therefore, at the end of the
interview, which Lambert's party watched with impatience, nothing was
decided - neither treaty nor battle - the rebel army, as M. d'Artagnan
had foreseen, began to prefer the good cause to the bad one, and the
parliament, rumpish as it was, to the pompous nothings of Lambert's
designs.

They remembered, likewise, the good feasts of London - the profusion of
ale and sherry with which the citizens of London paid their friends the
soldiers; - they looked with terror at the black war bread, at the
troubled waters of the Tweed, - too salt for the glass, not enough so for
the pot; and they said to themselves, "Are not the roast meats kept warm
for Monk in London?"  From that time nothing was heard of but desertion
in Lambert's army.  The soldiers allowed themselves to be drawn away by
the force of principles, which are, like discipline, the obligatory tie
in everybody constituted for any purpose.  Monk defended the parliament -
Lambert attacked it.  Monk had no more inclination to support parliament
than Lambert, but he had it inscribed on his standards, so that all those
of the contrary party were reduced to write upon theirs, "Rebellion,"
which sounded ill to puritan ears.  They flocked, then, from Lambert to
Monk, as sinners flock from Baal to God.

Monk made his calculations; at a thousand desertions a day Lambert had
men enough to last twenty days; but there is in sinking things such a
growth of weight and swiftness, which combine with each other, that a
hundred left the first day, five hundred the second, a thousand the
third.  Monk thought he had obtained his rate.  But from one thousand the
deserters increased to two thousand, then to four thousand, and, a week
after, Lambert, perceiving that he had no longer the possibility of
accepting battle, if it were offered to him, took the wise resolution of
decamping during the night, returning to London, and being beforehand
with Monk in constructing a power with the wreck of the military party.

But Monk, free and without uneasiness, marched towards London as a
conqueror, augmenting his army with all the floating parties on the way.
He encamped at Barnet, that is to say, within four leagues of the

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