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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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even for a blind man; for he has eyes of flame.  That man is a double-
lamped lantern."

"Lighting a very handsome martial countenance," said the princess,
determined to be as ill-natured as possible.  Rochester bowed.  "One of
those vigorous soldiers' heads seen nowhere but in France," added the
princess, with the perseverance of a woman sure of impunity.

Rochester and Buckingham looked at each other, as much as to say, - "What
can be the matter with her?"

"See, my lord of Buckingham, what Parry wants," said Henrietta.  "Go!"

The young man, who considered this order as a favor, resumed his courage,
and hastened to meet Parry, who, followed by D'Artagnan, advanced slowly
on account of his age.  D'Artagnan walked slowly but nobly, as
D'Artagnan, doubled by the third of a million, ought to walk, that is to
say, without conceit or swagger, but without timidity.  When Buckingham,
very eager to comply with the desire of the princess, who had seated
herself on a marble bench, as if fatigued with the few steps she had
gone, - when Buckingham, we say, was at a distance of only a few paces
from Parry, the latter recognized him.

"Ah! my lord!" cried he, quite out of breath, "will your grace obey the
king?"

"In what, Mr. Parry?" said the young man, with a kind of coolness
tempered by a desire to make himself agreeable to the princess.

"Well, his majesty begs your grace to present this gentleman to her royal
highness the Princess Henrietta."

"In the first place, what is the gentleman's name?" said the duke,
haughtily.

D'Artagnan, as we know, was easily affronted, and the Duke of
Buckingham's tone displeased him.  He surveyed the courtier from head to
foot, and two flashes beamed from beneath his bent brows.  But, after a
struggle, - "Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan, my lord," replied he,
quietly.

"Pardon me, sir, that teaches me your name, but nothing more."

"You mean - "

"I mean I do not know you."

"I am more fortunate than you, sir," replied D'Artagnan, "for I have had
the honor of knowing your family, and particularly my lord Duke of
Buckingham, your illustrious father."

"My father?" said Buckingham.  "Well, I think I now remember.  Monsieur
le Chevalier d'Artagnan, do you say?"

D'Artagnan bowed.  "In person," said he.

"Pardon me, but are you one of those Frenchmen who had secret relations
with my father?"

"Exactly, my lord duke, I am one of those Frenchmen."

"Then, sir, permit me to say that it was strange my father never heard of
you during his lifetime."

"No, monsieur, but he heard of me at the moment of his death: it was I
who sent to him, through the hands of the _valet de chambre_ of Anne of
Austria, notice of the dangers which threatened him; unfortunately, it
came too late."

"Never mind, monsieur," said Buckingham.  "I understand now, that, having
had the intention of rendering a service to the father, you have come to
claim the protection of the son."

"In the first place, my lord," replied D'Artagnan, phlegmatically, "I
claim the protection of no man.  His majesty, Charles II., to whom I have
had the honor of rendering some services - I may tell you, my lord, my
life has been passed in such occupations - King Charles II., then, who
wishes to honor me with some kindness, desires me to be presented to her
royal highness the Princess Henrietta, his sister, to whom I shall,
perhaps, have the good fortune to be of service hereafter.  Now, the king
knew that you at this moment were with her royal highness, and sent me to
you.  There is no other mystery, I ask absolutely nothing of you; and if
you will not present me to her royal highness, I shall be compelled to do
without you, and present myself."

"At least, sir," said Buckingham, determined to have the last word, "you
will not refuse me an explanation provoked by yourself."

"I never refuse, my lord," said D'Artagnan.

"As you have had relations with my father, you must be acquainted with
some private details?"

"These relations are already far removed from us, my lord - for you were
not then born - and for some unfortunate diamond studs, which I received
from his hands and carried back to France, it is really not worth while
awakening so many remembrances."

"Ah! sir," said Buckingham, warmly, going up to D'Artagnan, and holding
out his hand to him, "it is you, then - you whom my father sought
everywhere and who had a right to expect so much from us."

"To expect, my lord, in truth, that is my _forte_; all my life I have
expected."

At this moment, the princess, who was tired of not seeing the stranger
approach her, arose and came towards them.

"At least, sir," said Buckingham, "you shall not wait for the
presentation you claim of me."

Then turning towards the princess and bowing: "Madam," said the young
man, "the king, your brother, desires me to have the honor of presenting
to your royal highness, Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."

"In order that your royal highness may have, in case of need, a firm
support and a sure friend," added Parry.  D'Artagnan bowed.

"You have still something to say, Parry," replied Henrietta, smiling upon
D'Artagnan, while addressing the old servant.

"Yes, madam, the king desires you to preserve religiously in your memory
the name and merit of M. d'Artagnan, to whom his majesty owes, he says,
the recovery of his kingdom."  Buckingham, the princess, and Rochester
looked at each other.

"That," said D'Artagnan, "is another little secret, of which, in all
probability, I shall not boast to his majesty's son, as I have done to
you with respect to the diamond studs."

"Madam," said Buckingham, "monsieur has just, for the second time,
recalled to my memory an event which excites my curiosity to such a
degree, that I shall venture to ask your permission to take him to one
side for a moment, to converse in private."

"Do, my lord," said the princess; "but restore to the sister, as quickly
as possible, this friend so devoted to the brother."  And she took the
arm of Rochester, whilst Buckingham took that of D'Artagnan.

"Oh! tell me, chevalier," said Buckingham, "all that affair of the
diamonds, which nobody knows in England, not even the son of him who was
the hero of it."

"My lord, one person alone had a right to relate all that affair, as you
call it, and that was your father; he thought it proper to be silent, I
must beg you to allow me to be so likewise."  And D'Artagnan bowed like a
man upon whom it was evident no entreaties could prevail.

"Since it is so, sir," said Buckingham, "pardon my indiscretion, I beg
you; and if, at any time, I should go into France - " and he turned round
to take a last look at the princess, who took but little notice of him,
totally occupied as she was, or appeared to be, with Rochester.
Buckingham sighed.

"Well?" said D'Artagnan.

"I was saying that if, any day, I were to go to France - "

"You will go, my lord," said D'Artagnan, "I shall answer for that."

"And how so?"

"Oh, I have strange powers of prediction; if I do predict anything I am
seldom mistaken.  If, then, you do come to France?"

"Well, then, monsieur, you, of whom kings ask that valuable friendship
which restores crowns to them, I will venture to beg of you a little of
that great interest you took in my father."

"My lord," replied D'Artagnan, "believe me, I shall deem myself highly
honored if, in France, you remember having seen me here.  And now
permit - "

Then, turning towards the princess: "Madam," said he, "your royal
highness is a daughter of France; and in that quality I hope to see you
again in Paris.  One of my happy days will be on that on which your royal
highness shall give me any command whatever, thus proving to me that you
have not forgotten the recommendations of your august brother."  And he
bowed respectfully to the young princess, who gave him her hand to kiss
with a right royal grace.

"Ah! madam," said Buckingham, in a subdued voice, "what can a man do to
obtain a similar favor from your royal highness?"

"_Dame!_ my lord," replied Henrietta, "ask Monsieur d'Artagnan; he will
tell you."


Chapter XXXVI:
How D'Artagnan drew, as a Fairy would have done, a Country-Seat from a
Deal Box.

The king's words regarding the wounded pride of Monk had inspired
D'Artagnan with no small portion of apprehension.  The lieutenant had
had, all his life, the great art of choosing his enemies; and when he had
found them implacable and invincible, it was when he had not been able,
under any pretense, to make them otherwise.  But points of view change
greatly in the course of a life.  It is a magic lantern, of which the eye
of man every year changes the aspects.  It results that from the last day
of a year on which we saw white, to the first day of the year on which we
shall see black, there is the interval of but a single night.

Now, D'Artagnan, when he left Calais with his ten scamps, would have
hesitated as little in attacking a Goliath, a Nebuchadnezzar, or a
Holofernes, as he would in crossing swords with a recruit or caviling
with a land-lady.  Then he resembled the sparrow-hawk, which, when
fasting, will attack a ram.  Hunger is blind.  But D'Artagnan satisfied -
D'Artagnan rich - D'Artagnan a conqueror - D'Artagnan proud of so
difficult a triumph - D'Artagnan had too much to lose not to reckon,
figure by figure, with probable misfortune.

His thoughts were employed, therefore, all the way on the road from his
presentation, with one thing, and that was, how he should conciliate a
man like Monk, a man whom Charles himself, king as he was, conciliated
with difficulty; for, scarcely established, the protected might again
stand in need of the protector, and would, consequently, not refuse him,
such being the case, the petty satisfaction of transporting M.
d'Artagnan, or of confining him in one of the Middlesex prisons, or
drowning him a little on his passage from Dover to Boulogne.  Such sorts
of satisfaction kings are accustomed to render to viceroys without
disagreeable consequences.

It would not be at all necessary for the king to be active in that

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