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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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same service, my brother, if occasion offers."

The king rang his bell violently, and his _valet de chambre_ appeared.
"Monsieur Colbert is just gone; he cannot be far off.  Let him be called
back!" exclaimed he.

The valet was about to execute the order, when the king stopped him.

"No," said he, "no; I see the whole scheme of that man.  Belle-Isle
belongs to M. Fouquet; Belle-Isle is being fortified: that is a
conspiracy on the part of M. Fouquet.  The discovery of that conspiracy
is the ruin of the superintendent, and that discovery is the result of
the correspondence with England: this is why Colbert wished to have that
correspondence.  Oh! but I cannot place all my dependence upon that man;
he has a good head, but I must have an arm!"  Louis, all at once, uttered
a joyful cry.  "I had," said he, "a lieutenant of musketeers!"

"Yes, sire - Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"He quitted the service for a time."

"Yes, sire."

"Let him be found, and be here to-morrow the first thing in the morning."

The _valet de chambre_ bowed and went out.

"Thirteen millions in my cellar," said the king; "Colbert carrying my
purse and D'Artagnan my sword - _I am king_."


Chapter LI:
A Passion.

The day of his arrival, on returning from the Palais Royal, Athos, as we
have seen, went straight to his hotel in the Rue Saint-Honore.  He there
found the Vicomte de Bragelonne waiting for him in his chamber, chatting
with Grimaud.  It was not an easy thing to talk with this old servant.
Two men only possessed the secret, Athos and D'Artagnan.  The first
succeeded, because Grimaud sought to make him speak himself; D'Artagnan,
on the contrary, because he knew how to make Grimaud talk.  Raoul was
occupied in making him describe the voyage to England, and Grimaud had
related it in all its details, with a limited number of gestures and
eight words, neither more nor less.  He had, at first, indicated by an
undulating movement of his hand, that his master and he had crossed the
sea.  "Upon some expedition?" Raoul had asked.

Grimaud by bending down his head had answered, "Yes."

"When monsieur le comte incurred much danger?" asked Raoul.

"Neither too much nor too little," was replied by a shrug of the
shoulders.

"But still, what sort of danger?" insisted Raoul.

Grimaud pointed to the sword; he pointed to the fire and to a musket that
was hanging on the wall.

"Monsieur le comte had an enemy there, then?" cried Raoul.

"Monk," replied Grimaud.

"It is strange," continued Raoul, "that monsieur le comte persists in
considering me a novice, and not allowing me to partake the honor and
danger of his adventure."

Grimaud smiled.  It was at this moment Athos came in.  The host was
lighting him up the stairs, and Grimaud, recognizing the step of his
master, hastened to meet him, which cut short the conversation.  But
Raoul was launched on the sea of interrogatories, and did not stop.
Taking both hands of the comte, with warm, but respectful tenderness, -
"How is it, monsieur," said he, "that you have set out upon a dangerous
voyage without bidding me adieu, without commanding the aid of my sword,
of myself, who ought to be your support, now I have the strength; whom
you have brought up like a man?  Ah! monsieur, can you expose me to the
cruel trial of never seeing you again?"

"Who told you, Raoul," said the comte, placing his cloak and hat in the
hands of Grimaud, who had unbuckled his sword, "who told you that my
voyage was a dangerous one?"

"I," said Grimaud.

"And why did you do so?" said Athos, sternly.

Grimaud was embarrassed; Raoul came to his assistance, by answering for
him.  "It is natural, monsieur, that our good Grimaud should tell me the
truth in what concerns you.  By whom should you be loved an supported, if
not by me?"

Athos did not reply.  He made a friendly motion to Grimaud, which sent
him out of the room; he then seated himself in a _fauteuil_, whilst Raoul
remained standing before him.

"But it is true," continued Raoul, "that your voyage was an expedition,
and that steel and fire threatened you?"

"Say no more about that, vicomte," said Athos, mildly.  "I set out
hastily, it is true: but the service of King Charles II. required a
prompt departure.  As to your anxiety, I thank you for it, and I know
that I can depend on you.  You have not wanted for anything, vicomte, in
my absence, have you?"

"No, monsieur, thank you."

"I left orders with Blaisois to pay you a hundred pistoles, if you should
stand in need of money."

"Monsieur, I have not seen Blaisois."

"You have been without money, then?"

"Monsieur, I had thirty pistoles left from the sale of the horses I took
in my last campaign, and M. le Prince had the kindness to allow me to win
two hundred pistoles at his play-table three months ago."

"Do you play?  I don't like that, Raoul."

"I never play, monsieur; it was M. le Prince who ordered me to hold his
cards at Chantilly - one night when a courier came to him from the king.
I won, and M. le Prince commanded me to take the stakes."

"Is that a practice in the household, Raoul?" asked Athos with a frown.

"Yes, monsieur; every week M. le Prince affords, upon one occasion or
another, a similar advantage to one of his gentlemen.  There are fifty
gentlemen in his highness's household; it was my turn."

"Very well!  You went into Spain, then?"

"Yes, monsieur, I made a very delightful and interesting journey."

"You have been back a month, have you not?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"And in the course of that month?"

"In that month - "

"What have you done?"

"My duty, monsieur."

"Have you not been home, to La Fere?"

Raoul colored.  Athos looked at him with a fixed but tranquil expression.

"You would be wrong not to believe me," said Raoul.  "I feel that I
colored, and in spite of myself.  The question you did me the honor to
ask me is of a nature to raise in me much emotion.  I color, then,
because I am agitated, not because I meditate a falsehood."

"I know, Raoul, you never lie."

"No, monsieur."

"Besides, my young friend, you would be wrong; what I wanted to say - "

"I know quite well, monsieur.  You would ask me if I have not been to
Blois?"

"Exactly so."

"I have not been there; I have not even seen the person to whom you
allude."

Raoul's voice trembled as he pronounced these words.  Athos, a sovereign
judge in all matters of delicacy, immediately added, "Raoul, you answer
me with a painful feeling; you are unhappy."

"Very, monsieur; you have forbidden me to go to Blois, or to see
Mademoiselle de la Valliere again."  Here the young man stopped.  That
dear name, so delightful to pronounce, made his heart bleed, although so
sweet upon his lips.

"And I have acted rightly, Raoul." Athos hastened to reply.  "I am
neither an unjust nor a barbarous father; I respect true love; but I look
forward for you to a future - an immense future.  A new reign is about to
break upon us like a fresh dawn.  War calls upon a young king full of
chivalric spirit.  What is wanting to assist this heroic ardor is a
battalion of young and free lieutenants who would rush to the fight with
enthusiasm, and fall, crying: '_Vive le Roi!_' instead of 'Adieu, my dear
wife.'  You understand that, Raoul.  However brutal my reasoning may
appear, I conjure you, then, to believe me, and to turn away your
thoughts from those early days of youth in which you took up this habit
of love - days of effeminate carelessness, which soften the heart and
render it incapable of consuming those strong bitter draughts called
glory and adversity.  Therefore,  Raoul, I repeat to you, you should see
in my counsel only the desire of being useful to you, only the ambition
of seeing you prosper.  I believe you capable of becoming a remarkable
man.  March alone, and you will march better, and more quickly."

"You have commanded, monsieur," replied Raoul, "and I obey."

"Commanded!" cried Athos.  "Is it thus you reply to me?  I have commanded
you!  Oh! you distort my words as you misconceive my intentions.  I do
not command you; I request you."

"No, monsieur, you have commanded," said Raoul, persistently; "had you
requested me, your request is even more effective than your order.  I
have not seen Mademoiselle de la Valliere again."

"But you are unhappy! you are unhappy!" insisted Athos.

Raoul made no reply.

"I find you pale; I find you dull.  The sentiment is strong, then?"

"It is a passion," replied Raoul.

"No - a habit."

"Monsieur, you know I have traveled much, that I have passed two years
far away from her.  A habit would yield to an absence of two years, I
believe; whereas, on my return, I loved not more, that was impossible,
but as much.  Mademoiselle de la Valliere is for me the one lady above
all others; but you are for me a god upon earth - to you I sacrifice
everything."

"You are wrong," said Athos; "I have no longer any right over you.  Age
has emancipated you; you no longer even stand in need of my consent.
Besides, I will not refuse my consent after what you have told me.  Marry
Mademoiselle de la Valliere, if you like."

Raoul was startled, but suddenly: "You are very kind, monsieur," said he;
"and your concession excites my warmest gratitude, but I will not accept
it."

"Then you now refuse?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"I will not oppose you in anything, Raoul."

"But you have at the bottom of your heart an idea against this marriage:
it is not your choice."

"That is true."

"That is sufficient to make me resist: I will wait."

"Beware, Raoul!  What you are now saying is serious."

"I know it is, monsieur; as I said, I will wait."

"Until I die?" said Athos, much agitated.

"Oh! monsieur," cried Raoul, with tears in his eyes, "is it possible that
you should wound my heart thus?  I have never given you cause of
complaint!"

"Dear boy, that is true," murmured Athos, pressing his lips violently
together to conceal the emotion of which he was no longer master.  "No, I
will no longer afflict you; only I do not comprehend what you mean by
waiting.  Will you wait till you love no longer?"

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