List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

capital, cherished by the parliament, which thought it beheld in him a
protector, and awaited by the people, who were anxious to see him reveal
himself, that they might judge him.  D'Artagnan himself had not been able
to fathom his tactics; he observed - he admired.  Monk could not enter
London with a settled determination without bringing about civil war.  He
temporized for a short time.

Suddenly, when least expected, Monk drove the military party out of
London, and installed himself in the city amidst the citizens, by order
of the parliament; then, at the moment when the citizens were crying out
against Monk - at the moment when the soldiers themselves were accusing
their leader - Monk, finding himself certain of a majority, declared to
the Rump Parliament that it must abdicate - be dissolved - and yield its
place to a government which would not be a joke.  Monk pronounced this
declaration, supported by fifty thousand swords, to which, that same
evening, were united, with shouts of delirious joy, the five thousand
inhabitants of the good city of London.  At length, at the moment when
the people, after their triumphs and festive repasts in the open streets,
were looking about for a master, it was affirmed that a vessel had left
the Hague, bearing King Charles II. and his fortunes.

"Gentlemen," said Monk to his officers, "I am going to meet the
legitimate king.  He who loves me will follow me."  A burst of
acclamations welcomed these words, which D'Artagnan did not hear without
the greatest delight.

"_Mordioux!_" said he to Monk, "that is bold, monsieur."

"You will accompany me, will you not?" said Monk.

"_Pardieu!_ general.  But tell me, I beg, what you wrote by Athos, that
is to say, the Comte de la Fere - you know - the day of our arrival?"

"I have no secrets from you now," replied Monk.  "I wrote these words:
'Sire, I expect your majesty in six weeks at Dover.'"

"Ah!" said D'Artagnan, "I no longer say it is bold; I say it is well
played; it is a fine stroke!"

"You are something of a judge in such matters," replied Monk.

And this was the only time the general had ever made an allusion to his
voyage to Holland.


Chapter XXXII:
Athos and D'Artagnan meet once more at the Hostelry of the Corne du Cerf.

The king of England made his _entree_ into Dover with great pomp, as he
afterwards did in London.  He had sent for his brothers; he had brought
over his mother and sister.  England had been for so long a time given up
to herself - that is to say, to tyranny, mediocrity and nonsense - that
this return of Charles II., whom the English only knew as the son of the
man whose head they had cut off, was a festival for three kingdoms.
Consequently, all the good wishes, all the acclamations which accompanied
his return, struck the young king so forcibly that he stooped and
whispered in the ear of James of York, his younger brother, "In truth,
James, it seems to have been our own fault that we were so long absent
from a country where we are so much beloved!"  The pageant was
magnificent.  Beautiful weather favored the solemnity.  Charles had
regained all his youth, all his good humor; he appeared to be
transfigured; hearts seemed to smile on him like the sun.  Amongst this
noisy crowd of courtiers and worshipers, who did not appear to remember
they had conducted to the scaffold at Whitehall the father of the new
king, a man, in the garb of a lieutenant of musketeers, looked, with a
smile upon his thin, intellectual lips, sometimes at the people
vociferating their blessings, and sometimes at the prince, who pretended
emotion, and who bowed most particularly to the women, whose _bouquets_
fell beneath his horse's feet.

"What a fine trade is that of king!" said this man, so completely
absorbed in contemplation that he stopped in the middle of the road,
leaving the _cortege_ to file past.  "Now, there is, in good truth, a
prince all bespangled over with gold and diamonds, enamelled with flowers
like a spring meadow; he is about to plunge his empty hands into the
immense coffer in which his now faithful - but so lately unfaithful 
subjects have amassed one or two cartloads of ingots of gold.  They cast
_bouquets_ enough upon him to smother him; and yet, if he had presented
himself to them two months ago, they would have sent as many bullets and
balls at him as they now throw flowers.  Decidedly it is worth something
to be born in a certain sphere, with due respect to the lowly, who
pretend that it is of very little advantage to them to be born lowly."
The _cortege_ continued to file on, and, with the king, the acclamations
began to die away in the direction of the palace, which, however, did not
prevent our officer from being pushed about.

"_Mordioux!_" continued the reasoner, "these people tread upon my toes
and look upon _me_ as of very little consequence, or rather of none at
all, seeing that they are Englishmen and I am a Frenchman.  If all these
people were asked, - 'Who is M. d'Artagnan?' they would reply, '_Nescio
vos_.'  But let any one say to them, 'There is the king going by,' 'There
is M. Monk going by,' they would run away, shouting, - '_Vive le roi!_'
'_Vive M. Monk!_' till their lungs were exhausted.  And yet," continued
he, surveying, with that look sometimes so keen and sometimes so proud,
the diminishing crowd, - "and yet, reflect a little, my good people, on
what your king has done, on what M. Monk has done, and then think what
has been done by this poor unknown, who is called M. d'Artagnan!  It is
true you do not know him, since he is here unknown, and that prevents
your thinking about the matter!  But, bah! what matters it!  All that
does not prevent Charles II. from being a great king, although he has
been exiled twelve years, or M. Monk from being a great captain, although
he did make a voyage to Holland in a box.  Well, then, since it is
admitted that one is a great king and the other a great captain, -
'_Hurrah for King Charles II.!_ - _Hurrah for General Monk!_'"  And his
voice mingled with the voices of the hundreds of spectators, over which
it sounded for a moment.  Then, the better to play the devoted man, he
took off his hat and waved it in the air.  Some one seized his arm in the
very height of his expansive loyalism.  (In 1660 that was so termed which
we now call royalism.)

"Athos!" cried D'Artagnan, "you here!"  And the two friends seized each
other's hands.

"You here! - and being here," continued the musketeer, "you are not in the
midst of all these courtiers, my dear comte!  What! you, the hero of the
_fete_, you are not prancing on the left hand of the king, as M. Monk is
prancing on the right?  In truth, I cannot comprehend your character, nor
that of the prince who owes you so much!"

"Always scornful, my dear D'Artagnan!" said Athos.  "Will you never
correct yourself of that vile habit?"

"But you do not form part of the pageant?"

"I do not, because I was not willing to do so."

"And why were you not willing?"

"Because I am neither envoy nor ambassador, nor representative of the
king of France; and it does not become me to exhibit myself thus near the
person of another king than the one God has given me for a master."

"_Mordioux!_ you came very near to the person of the king, his father."

"That was another thing, my friend; he was about to die."

"And yet that which you did for him - "

"I did it because it was my duty to do it.  But you know I hate all
ostentation.  Let King Charles II., then, who no longer stands in need of
me, leave me to my rest, and the shadow; that is all I claim of him."

D'Artagnan sighed.

"What is the matter with you?" said Athos.  "One would say that this
happy return of the king to London saddens you, my friend; you who have
done at least as much for his majesty as I have."

"Have I not," replied D'Artagnan, with his Gascon laugh, "have I not done
much for his majesty, without any one suspecting it?"

"Yes, yes, but the king is well aware of it, my friend," cried Athos.

"He is aware of it!" said the musketeer bitterly.  "By my faith!  I did
not suspect so, and I was even a moment ago trying to forget it myself."

"But he, my friend, will not forget it, I will answer for him."

"You tell me that to console me a little, Athos."

"For what?"

"_Mordioux!_ for all the expense I incurred.  I have ruined myself, my
friend, ruined myself for the restoration of this young prince who has
just passed, cantering on his _isabelle_ colored horse."

"The king does not know you have ruined yourself, my friend; but he knows
he owes you much."

"And say, Athos, does that advance me in any respect? for, to do you
justice, you have labored nobly.  But I - I who in appearance marred your
combinations, it was I who really made them succeed.  Follow my
calculations closely; you might not have, by persuasions or mildness,
convinced General Monk, whilst I so roughly treated this dear general,
that I furnished your prince with an opportunity of showing himself
generous: this generosity was inspired in him by the fact of my fortunate
mistake, and Charles is paid by the restoration which Monk has brought
about."

"All that, my dear friend, is strikingly true," replied Athos.

"Well, strikingly true as it may be, it is not less true, my friend, that
I shall return - greatly beloved by M. Monk, who calls me _dear captain_
all day long, although I am neither dear to him nor a captain; - and much
appreciated by the king, who has already forgotten my name; - it is not
less true, I say, that I shall return to my beautiful country, cursed by
the soldiers I had raised with the hopes of large pay, cursed by the
brave Planchet, of who I have borrowed a part of his fortune."

"How is that?  What the devil had Planchet to do in all this?"

"Ah, yes, my friend; but this king, so spruce, so smiling, so adored, M.
Monk fancies he has recalled him, you fancy you have supported him, I
fancy I have brought him back, the people fancy they have reconquered
him, he himself fancies he has negotiated his restoration; and yet
nothing of all this is true, for Charles II., king of England, Scotland,

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com