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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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and Ireland, has been replaced upon the throne by a French grocer, who
lives in the Rue des Lombards, and is named Planchet.  And such is
grandeur!  'Vanity!' says the Scripture: vanity, all is vanity.'"

Athos could not help laughing at this whimsical outbreak of his friend.

"My dear D'Artagnan," said he, pressing his hand affectionately, "should
you not exercise a little more philosophy?  Is it not some further
satisfaction to you to have saved my life as you did by arriving so
fortunately with Monk, when those damned parliamentarians wanted to burn
me alive?"

"Well, but you, in some degree, deserved a little burning, my friend."

"How so?  What, for having saved King Charles's million?"

"What million?"

"Ah, that is true! you never knew that, my friend; but you must not be
angry, for it was my secret.  That word 'REMEMBER' which the king
pronounced upon the scaffold."

"And which means '_souviens-toi!_'"

"Exactly.  That was signified.  'Remember there is a million buried in
the vaults of Newcastle Abbey, and that that million belongs to my son.'"

"Ah! very well, I understand.  But what I understand likewise, and what
is very frightful, is, that every time his majesty Charles II. will think
of me, he will say to himself: 'There is the man who came very near to
making me lose my crown.  Fortunately I was generous, great, full of
presence of mind.'  That will be said by the young gentleman in a shabby
black doublet, who came to the chateau of Blois, hat in hand, to ask me
if I would give him access to the king of France."

"D'Artagnan!  D'Artagnan!" said Athos, laying his hand on the shoulder of
the musketeer, "you are unjust."

"I have a right to be so."

"No - for you are ignorant of the future."

D'Artagnan looked his friend full in the face, and began to laugh.  "In
truth, my dear Athos," said he, "you have some sayings so superb, that
they only belong to you and M. le Cardinal Mazarin."

Athos frowned slightly.

"I beg your pardon," continued D'Artagnan, laughing, "I beg your pardon
if I have offended you.  The future!  _Nein!_ what pretty words are words
that promise, and how well they fill the mouth in default of other
things!  _Mordioux!_  After having met with so many who promised, when
shall I find one who will give?  But, let that pass!" continued
D'Artagnan.  "What are you doing here, my dear Athos?  Are you the king's
treasurer?"

"How - why the king's treasurer?"

"Well, since the king possess a million, he must want a treasurer.  The
king of France, although he is not worth a sou, has still a
superintendent of finance, M. Fouquet.  It is true, that, in exchange, M.
Fouquet, they say, has a good number of millions of his own."

"Oh! our million was spent long ago," said Athos, laughing in his turn.

"I understand; it was frittered away in satin, precious stones, velvet,
and feathers of all sorts and colors.  All these princes and princesses
stood in great need of tailors and dressmakers.  Eh!  Athos, do you
remember what we fellows spent in equipping ourselves for the campaign of
La Rochelle, and to make our appearance on horseback?  Two or three
thousand livres, by my faith!  But a king's robe is the more ample; it
would require a million to purchase the stuff.  At least, Athos, if you
are not treasurer, you are on good footing at court."

"By the faith of a gentleman, I know nothing about it," said Athos,
simply.

"What! you know nothing about it?"

"No!  I have not seen the king since we left Dover."

"Then he has forgotten you, too!  _Mordioux!_  That is shameful!"

"His majesty has had so much business to transact."

"Oh!" cried D'Artagnan, with one of those intelligent grimaces which he
alone knew how to make, "that is enough to make me recover my love for
Monseigneur Giulio Mazarini.  What, Athos! the king has not seen you
since then?"

"No."

"And you are not furious?"

"I! why should I be?  Do you imagine, my dear D'Artagnan, that it was on
the king's account I acted as I have done?  I did not know the young
man.  I defended the father, who represented a principle - sacred in my
eyes, and I allowed myself to be drawn towards the son from sympathy for
this same principle.  Besides, he was a worthy knight, a noble creature,
that father; do you remember him?"

"Yes; that is true; he was a brave, an excellent man, who led a sad life,
but made a fine end."

"Well, my dear D'Artagnan, understand this; to that king, to that man of
heart, to that friend of my thoughts, if I durst venture to say so, I
swore at the last hour to preserve faithfully the secret of a deposit
which was to be transmitted to his son, to assist him in his hour of
need.  This young man came to me; he described his destitution; he was
ignorant that he was anything to me save a living memory of his father.
I have accomplished towards Charles II. what I promised Charles I.; that
is all!  Of what consequence is it to me, then, whether he be grateful or
not?  It is to myself I have rendered a service, by relieving myself of
this responsibility, and not to him."

"Well, I have always said," replied D'Artagnan, with a sigh, "that
disinterestedness was the finest thing in the world."

"Well, and you, my friend," resumed Athos, "are you not in the same
situation as myself?  If I have properly understood your words, you
allowed yourself to be affected by the misfortunes of this young man;
that, on your part, was much greater than it was upon mine, for I had a
duty to fulfill; whilst you were under no obligation to the son of the
martyr.  You had not, on your part, to pay him the price of that precious
drop of blood which he let fall upon my brow, through the floor of the
scaffold.  That which made you act was heart alone - the noble and good
heart which you possess beneath your apparent skepticism and sarcastic
irony; you have engaged the fortune of a servitor, and your own, I
suspect, my benevolent miser! and your sacrifice is not acknowledged!  Of
what consequence is it?  You wish to repay Planchet his money.  I can
comprehend that, my friend: for it is not becoming in a gentleman to
borrow from his inferior, without returning to him principal and
interest.  Well, I will sell La Fere if necessary, and if not, some
little farm.  You shall pay Planchet, and there will be enough, believe
me, of corn left in my granaries for us two and Raoul.  In this way, my
friend, you will be under obligations to nobody but yourself; and, if I
know you well, it will not be a small satisfaction to your mind to be
able to say, 'I have made a king!'  Am I right?"

"Athos!  Athos!" murmured D'Artagnan, thoughtfully, "I have told you more
than once that the day on which you will preach I shall attend the
sermon; the day on which you will tell me there is a hell - _Mordioux!_
I shall be afraid of the gridiron and the pitch-forks.  You are better
than I, or rather, better than anybody, and I only acknowledge the
possession of one quality, and that is, of not being jealous.  Except
that defect, damme, as the English say, if I have not all the rest."

"I know no one equal to D'Artagnan," replied Athos; "but here we are,
having quietly reached the house I inhabit.  Will you come in, my friend?"

"Eh! why this is the tavern of the Corne du Cerf, I think," said
D'Artagnan.

"I confess I chose it on purpose.  I like old acquaintances; I like to
sit down on that place, whereon I sank, overcome by fatigue, overwhelmed
by despair, when you returned on the 31st of January."

"After having discovered the abode of the masked executioner?  Yes, that
was a terrible day!"

"Come in, then," said Athos, interrupting him.

They entered the large apartment, formerly the common one.  The tavern,
in general, and this room in particular, had undergone great changes; the
ancient host of the musketeers, having become tolerably rich for an
innkeeper, had closed his shop, and make of this room of which we were
speaking, a store-room for colonial provisions.  As for the rest of the
house, he let it ready furnished to strangers.  It was with unspeakable
emotion D'Artagnan recognized all the furniture of the chamber of the
first story; the wainscoting, the tapestries, and even that geographical
chart which Porthos had so fondly studied in his moments of leisure.

"It is eleven years ago," cried D'Artagnan.  "_Mordioux!_ it appears to
me a century!"

"And to me but a day," said Athos.  "Imagine the joy I experience, my
friend, in seeing you there, in pressing your hand, in casting from me
sword and dagger, and tasting without mistrust this glass of sherry.
And, oh! what still further joy it would be, if our two friends were
there, at the two corners of the table, and Raoul, my beloved Raoul, on
the threshold, looking at us with his large eyes, at once so brilliant
and so soft!"

"Yes, yes," said D'Artagnan, much affected, "that is true.  I approve
particularly of the first part of your thought; it is very pleasant to
smile there where we have so legitimately shuddered in thinking that from
one moment to another M. Mordaunt might appear upon the landing."

At this moment the door opened, and D'Artagnan, brave as he was, could
not restrain a slight movement of fright.  Athos understood him, and,
smiling, -

"It is our host," said he, "bringing me a letter."

"Yes, my lord," said the good man; "here is a letter for your honor."

"Thank you," said Athos, taking the letter without looking at it.  "Tell
me, my dear host, if you do not remember this gentleman?"

The old man raised his head, and looked attentively at D'Artagnan.

"No," said he.

"It is," said Athos, "one of those friends of whom I have spoken to you,
and who lodged here with me eleven years ago."

"Oh! but," said the old man, "so many strangers have lodged here!"

"But we lodged here on the 30th of January, 1649," added Athos, believing
he should stimulate the lazy memory of the host by this remark.

"That is very possible," replied he, smiling; "but it is so long ago!"
and he bowed, and went out.

"Thank you," said D'Artagnan - "perform exploits, accomplish revolutions,

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