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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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have died that allow myself to be governed by avarice."

The king began to laugh again, like the happiest cockney of his kingdom.

"You will come and see me again before you go, chevalier?" said he; "I
shall want to lay in a stock of gayety now my Frenchmen are leaving me."

"Ah! sire, it will not be with the gayety as with the duke's sword; I
will give it to your majesty gratis," replied D'Artagnan, whose feet
scarcely seemed to touch the ground.

"And you, comte," added Charles, turning towards Athos, "come again,
also; I have an important message to confide to you.  Your hand, duke."
Monk pressed the hand of the king.

"Adieu! gentlemen," said Charles, holding out each of his hands to the
two Frenchmen, who carried them to their lips.

"Well," said Athos, when they were out of the palace, "are you satisfied?"

"Hush!" said D'Artagnan, wild with joy, "I have not yet returned from the
treasurer's - a shutter may fall upon my head."


Chapter XXXIV:
Of the Embarrassment of Riches.

D'Artagnan lost no time, and as soon as the thing was suitable and
opportune, he paid a visit to the lord treasurer of his majesty.  He had
then the satisfaction to exchange a piece of paper, covered with very
ugly writing, for a prodigious number of crowns, recently stamped with
the _effigies_ of his very gracious majesty Charles II.

D'Artagnan easily controlled himself: and yet, on this occasion, he could
not help evincing a joy which the reader will perhaps comprehend, if he
deigns to have some indulgence for a man who, since his birth, had never
seen so many pieces and rolls of pieces juxta-placed in an order truly
agreeable to the eye.  The treasurer placed all the rolls in bags, and
closed each bag with a stamp sealed with the arms of England, a favor
which treasurers do not grant to everybody.  Then, impassible, and just
as polite as he ought to be towards a man honored with the friendship of
the king, he said to D'Artagnan:

"Take away your money, sir."  _Your money!_  These words made a thousand
chords vibrate in the heart of D'Artagnan, which he had never felt
before.  He had the bags packed in a small cart, and returned home
meditating deeply.  A man who possessed three hundred thousand livres can
no longer expect to wear a smooth brow; a wrinkle for every hundred
thousand livres is not too much.

D'Artagnan shut himself up, ate no dinner, closed his door to everybody,
and, with a lighted lamp, and a loaded pistol on the table, he watched
all night, ruminating upon the means of preventing these lovely crowns,
which from the coffers of the king had passed into his coffers, from
passing from his coffers into the pockets of any thief whatever.  The
best means discovered by the Gascon was to inclose his treasure, for the
present, under locks so solid that no wrist could break them, and so
complicated that no master-key could open them.  D'Artagnan remembered
that the English are masters in mechanics and conservative industry; and
he determined to go in the morning in search of a mechanic who would sell
him a strong box.  He did not go far; Master Will Jobson, dwelling in
Piccadilly, listened to his propositions, comprehended his wishes, and
promised to make him a safety lock that should relieve him from all
future fear.

"I will give you," said he, "a piece of mechanism entirely new.  At the
first serious attempt upon your lock, an invisible plate will open of
itself and vomit forth a pretty copper bullet the weight of a mark -
which will knock down the intruder, and not with a loud report.  What do
you think of it?"

"I think it very ingenuous," cried D'Artagnan; "the little copper bullet
pleases me mightily.  So now, sir mechanic, the terms?"

"A fortnight for the execution, and fifteen hundred livres payable on
delivery," replied the artisan.

D'Artagnan's brow darkened.  A fortnight was delay enough to allow the
thieves of London time to remove all occasion for the strong box.  As to
the fifteen hundred livres - that would be paying too dear for what a
little vigilance would procure him for nothing.

"I will think of it," said he; "thank you, sir."  And he returned home at
full speed; nobody had yet touched his treasure.  That same day Athos
paid a visit to his friend and found him so thoughtful that he could not
help expressing his surprise.

"How is this?" said he, "you are rich and not gay - you, who were so
anxious for wealth!"

"My friend, the pleasures to which we are not accustomed oppress us more
than the griefs with which we are familiar.  Give me your opinion, if you
please.  I can ask you, who have always had money: when we have money,
what do we do with it?"

"That depends."

"What have you done with yours, seeing that it has not made you a miser
or a prodigal?  For avarice dries up the heart, and prodigality drowns
it - is that not so?"

"Fabricius could not have spoken more justly.  But in truth, my money has
never been a burden to me."

"How so?  Do you place it out at interest?"

"No; you know I have a tolerably handsome house; and that house composes
the better part of my property."

"I know it does."

"So that you can be as rich as I am, and, indeed, more rich, whenever you
like, by the same means."

"But your rents, - do you lay them by?"

"No."

"What do you think of a chest concealed in a wall?"

"I never made use of such a thing."

"Then you must have some confidant, some safe man of business who pays
you interest at a fair rate."

"Not at all."

"Good heavens! what do you do with it, then?"

"I spend all I have, and I only have what I spend, my dear D'Artagnan."

"Ah! that may be.  But you are something of a prince; fifteen or sixteen
thousand livres melt away between your fingers; and then you have
expenses and appearances - "

"Well, I don't see why you should be less of a noble than I am, my
friend; your money would be quite sufficient."

"Three hundred thousand livres!  Two-thirds too much!"

"I beg your pardon - did you not tell me? - I thought I heard you say - I
fancied you had a partner - "

"Ah!  _Mordioux!_ that's true," cried D'Artagnan, coloring; "there is
Planchet.  I had forgotten Planchet, upon my life!  Well! there are my
three hundred thousand livres broken into.  That's a pity! it was a round
sum, and sounded well.  That is true, Athos; I am no longer rich.  What a
memory you have!"

"Tolerably good; yes, thank God!"

"The worthy Planchet!" grumbled D'Artagnan; "his was not a bad dream!
What a speculation!  _Peste!_  Well! what is said is said."

"How much are you to give him?"

"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, "he is not a bad fellow; I shall arrange matters
with him.  I have had a great deal of trouble, you see, and expenses; all
that must be taken into account."

"My dear friend, I can depend on you, and have no fear for the worthy
Planchet; his interests are better in your hands than in his own.  But
now that you have nothing more to do here, we shall depart, if you
please.  You can go and thank his majesty, ask if he has any commands,
and in six days we may be able to get sight of the towers of Notre Dame."

"My friend, I am most anxious to be off, and will go at once and pay my
respects to the king."

"I," said Athos, "am going to call upon some friends in the city, and
shall then be at your service."

"Will you lend me Grimaud?"

"With all my heart.  What do you want to do with him?"

"Something very simple, and which will not fatigue him; I shall only beg
him to take charge of my pistols, which lie there on the table near that
coffer."

"Very well!" replied Athos, imperturbably.

"And he will not stir, will he?"

"Not more than the pistols themselves."

"Then I shall go and take leave of his majesty.  _Au revoir!_"

D'Artagnan arrived at St. James's, where Charles II., who was busy
writing, kept him in the ante-chamber a full hour.  Whilst walking about
in the gallery, from the door to the window, from the window to the door,
he thought he saw a cloak like Athos's cross the vestibule; but at the
moment he was going to ascertain if it were he, the usher summoned him to
his majesty's presence.  Charles II. rubbed his hands while receiving the
thanks of our friend.

"Chevalier," said he, "you are wrong to express gratitude to me; I have
not paid you a quarter of the value of the history of the box into which
you put the brave general - the excellent Duke of Albemarle, I mean."
And the king laughed heartily.

D'Artagnan did not think it proper to interrupt his majesty, and he bowed
with much modesty.

"_A propos_," continued Charles, "do you think my dear Monk has really
pardoned you?"

"Pardoned me! yes, I hope so, sire!"

"Eh! - but it was a cruel trick!  Odds fish! to pack up the first
personage of the English revolution like a herring.  In your place I
would not trust him, chevalier."

"But, sire - "

"Yes, I know very well Monk calls you his friend, but he has too
penetrating an eye not to have a memory, and too lofty a brow not to be
very proud, you know, _grande supercilium_."

"I shall certainly learn Latin," said D'Artagnan to himself.

"But stop," cried the merry monarch, "I must manage your reconciliation;
I know how to set about it; so - "

D'Artagnan bit his mustache.  "Will your majesty permit me to tell you
the truth?"

"Speak, chevalier, speak."

"Well, sire, you alarm me greatly.  If your majesty undertakes the
affair, as you seem inclined to do, I am a lost man; the duke will have
me assassinated."

The king burst into a fresh roar of laughter, which changed D'Artagnan's
alarm into downright terror.

"Sire, I beg you to allow me to settle this matter myself, and if your
majesty has no further need of my services - "

"No, chevalier.  What, do you want to leave us?" replied Charles, with a
hilarity that grew more and more alarming.

"If your majesty has no more commands for me."

Charles became more serious.

"One single thing.  See my sister, the Lady Henrietta.  Do you know her?"

"No, sire, but - an old soldier like me is not an agreeable spectacle for
a young and gay princess."

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