List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Yes, I fear that in my absence - _Parbleu!_  If I were near them, I
could answer for their silence."

"Was I not right in saying that the danger, if there was any danger,
would not come from his majesty, however disposed he may be to jest, but
from your companions, as you say?  To be laughed at by a king may be
tolerable, but by the horse-boys and scamps of the army!  Damn it!"

"Yes, I understand, that would be unbearable; that is why, my lord, I
came to say, - do you not think it would be better for me to set out for
France as soon as possible?"

"Certainly, if you think your presence - "

"Would impose silence upon those scoundrels?  Oh!  I am sure of that, my
lord."

"Your presence will not prevent the report from spreading, if the tale
has already transpired."

"Oh! it has not transpired, my lord, I will wager.  At all events, be
assured that I am determined upon one thing."

"What is that?"

"To blow out the brains of the first who shall have propagated that
report, and of the first who has heard it.  After which I shall return to
England to seek an asylum, and perhaps employment with your grace."

"Oh, come back! come back!"

"Unfortunately, my lord, I am acquainted with nobody here but your grace,
and if I should no longer find you, or if you should have forgotten me in
your greatness?"

"Listen to me, Monsieur d'Artagnan," replied Monk; "you are a superior
man, full of intelligence and courage; you deserve all the good fortune
this world can bring you; come with me into Scotland, and, I swear to
you, I shall arrange for you a fate which all may envy."

"Oh! my lord, that is impossible.  At present I have a sacred duty to
perform; I have to watch over your glory, I have to prevent a low jester
from tarnishing in the eyes of our contemporaries - who knows? in the
eyes of posterity - the splendor of your name."

"Of posterity, Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

"Doubtless.  It is necessary, as regards posterity, that all the details
of that history should remain a mystery; for, admit that this unfortunate
history of the deal box should spread, and it should be asserted that you
had not re-established the king loyally, and of your own free will, but
in consequence of a compromise entered into at Scheveningen between you
two.  It would be vain for me to declare how the thing came about, for
though I know I should not be believed, it would be said that I had
received my part of the cake, and was eating it."

Monk knitted his brow. - "Glory, honor, probity!" said he, "you are but
empty words."

"Mist!" replied D'Artagnan; "nothing but mist, through which nobody can
see clearly."

"Well, then, go to France, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan," said Monk; "go,
and to render England more attractive and agreeable to you, accept a
remembrance of me."

"What now?" thought D'Artagnan.

"I have on the banks of the Clyde," continued Monk, "a little house in a
grove, cottage as it is called here.  To this house are attached a
hundred acres of land.  Accept it as a souvenir."

"Oh, my lord! - "

"Faith! you will be there in your own home, and that will be the place of
refuge you spoke of just now."

"For me to be obliged to your lordship to such an extent!  Really, your
grace, I am ashamed."

"Not at all, not at all, monsieur," replied Monk, with an arch smile; "it
is I who shall be obliged to you.  And," pressing the hand of the
musketeer, "I shall go and draw up the deed of gift," - and he left the
room.

D'Artagnan looked at him as he went out with something of a pensive and
even an agitated air.

"After all," said he, "he is a brave man.  It is only a sad reflection
that it is from fear of me, and not affection that he acts thus.  Well, I
shall endeavor that affection may follow."  Then, after an instant's
deeper reflection, - "Bah!" said he, "to what purpose?  He is an
Englishman."  And he in turn went out, a little confused after the combat.

"So," said he, "I am a land-owner!  But how the devil am I to share the
cottage with Planchet?  Unless I give him the land, and I take the
chateau, or the he takes the house and I - nonsense!  M. Monk will never
allow me to share a house he has inhabited, with a grocer.  He is too
proud for that.  Besides, why should I say anything about it to him?  It
was not with the money of the company I have acquired that property, it
was with my mother-wit alone; it is all mine, then.  So, now I will go
and find Athos."  And he directed his steps towards the dwelling of the
Comte de la Fere.


Chapter XXXVII:
How D'Artagnan regulated the "Assets" of the Company before he
established its "Liabilities."

"Decidedly," said D'Artagnan to himself, "I have struck a good vein.
That star which shines once in the life of every man, which shone for Job
and Iris, the most unfortunate of the Jews and the poorest of the Greeks,
is come at last to shine on me.  I will commit no folly, I will take
advantage of it; it comes quite late enough to find me reasonable."

He supped that evening, in very good humor, with his friend Athos; he
said nothing to him about the expected donation, but he could not forbear
questioning his friend, while eating, about country produce, sowing, and
planting.  Athos replied complacently, as he always did.  His idea was
that D'Artagnan wished to become a land-owner, only he could not help
regretting, more than once, the absence of the lively humor and amusing
sallies of the cheerful companion of former days.  In fact, D'Artagnan
was so absorbed, that, with his knife, he took advantage of the grease
left at the bottom of his plate, to trace ciphers and make additions of
surprising rotundity.

The order, or rather license, for their embarkation, arrived at Athos's
lodgings that evening.  While this paper was remitted to the comte,
another messenger brought to D'Artagnan a little bundle of parchments,
adorned with all the seals employed in setting off property deeds in
England.  Athos surprised him turning over the leaves of these different
acts which established the transmission of property.  The prudent Monk 
others would say the generous Monk - had commuted the donation into a
sale, and acknowledged the receipt of the sum of fifteen thousand crowns
as the price of the property ceded.  The messenger was gone.  D'Artagnan
still continued reading, Athos watched him with a smile.  D'Artagnan,
surprising one of those smiles over his shoulder, put the bundle in its
wrapper.

"I beg your pardon," said Athos.

"Oh! not at all, my friend," replied the lieutenant, "I shall tell you - "

"No, don't tell me anything, I beg you; orders are things so sacred, that
to one's brother, one's father, the person charged with such orders
should never open his mouth.  Thus I, who speak to you, and love you more
tenderly than brother, father, or all the world - "

"Except your Raoul?"

"I shall love Raoul still better when he shall be a man, and I shall have
seen him develop himself in all the phases of his character and his
actions - as I have seen you, my friend."

"You said, then, that you had an order likewise, and that you would not
communicate it to me."

"Yes, my dear D'Artagnan."

The Gascon sighed.  "There was a time," said he, "when you would have
placed that order open upon the table, saying, 'D'Artagnan, read this
scrawl to Porthos, Aramis, and to me.'"

"That is true.  Oh! that was the time of youth, confidence, the generous
season when the blood commands, when it is warmed by feeling!"

"Well! Athos, will you allow me to tell you?"

"Speak, my friend!"

"That delightful time, that generous season, that ruling by warm blood,
were all very fine things, no doubt: but I do not regret them at all.  It
is absolutely like the period of studies.  I have constantly met with
fools who would boast of the days of pensums, ferules, and crusts of dry
bread.  It is singular, but I never loved all that; for my part, however
active and sober I might be (you know if I was so, Athos), however simple
I might appear in my clothes, I would not the less have preferred the
braveries and embroideries of Porthos to my little perforated cassock,
which gave passage to the wind in winter and the sun in summer.  I should
always, my friend, mistrust him who would pretend to prefer evil to
good.  Now, in times past all went wrong with me, and every month found a
fresh hole in my cassock and in my skin, a gold crown less in my poor
purse; of that execrable time of small beer and see-saw, I regret
absolutely nothing, nothing, nothing save our friendship; for within me I
have a heart, and it is a miracle that heart has not been dried up by the
wind of poverty which passed through all the holes of my cloak, or
pierced by the swords of all shapes which passed through the holes in my
poor flesh."

"Do not regret our friendship," said Athos, "that will only die with
ourselves.  Friendship is composed, above all things, of memories and
habits, and if you have just now made a little satire upon mine, because
I hesitate to tell you the nature of my mission into France - "

"Who!  I? - Oh! heavens! if you knew, my dear friend, how indifferent all
the missions of the world will henceforth become to me!"  And he laid his
hand upon the parchment in his vest pocket.

Athos rose from the table and called the host in order to pay the
reckoning.

"Since I have known you, my friend," said D'Artagnan, "I have never
discharged the reckoning.  Porthos often did, Aramis sometimes, and you,
you almost always drew out your purse with the dessert.  I am now rich,
and should like to try if it is heroic to pay."

"Do so," said Athos, returning his purse to his pocket.

The two friends then directed their steps towards the port, not, however,
without D'Artagnan's frequently turning round to watch the transportation
of his dear crowns.  Night had just spread her thick veil over the yellow
waters of the Thames; they heard those noises of casks and pulleys, the
preliminaries of preparing to sail which had so many times made the
hearts of the musketeers beat when the dangers of the sea were the least

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