Make your own free website on Tripod.com

List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >


"Ah! for that! - no, monsieur.  I will wait till you change your opinion."

"I should wish to put the matter to a test, Raoul; I should like to see
if Mademoiselle de la Valliere will wait as you do."

"I hope so, monsieur."

"But, take care, Raoul! suppose she did not wait?  Ah, you are young, so
confiding, so loyal!  Women are changeable."

"You have never spoken ill to me of women, monsieur; you have never had
to complain of them; why should you doubt of Mademoiselle de la Valliere?"

"That is true," said Athos, casting down his eyes; "I have never spoken
ill to you of women; I have never had to complain of them; Mademoiselle
de la Valliere never gave birth to a suspicion; but when we are looking
forward, we must go even to exceptions, even to improbabilities!  _If_, I
say, Mademoiselle de la Valliere should not wait for you?"

"How, monsieur?"

"If she turned her eyes another way."

"If she looked favorably upon another, do you mean, monsieur?" said
Raoul, pale with agony.

"Exactly."

"Well, monsieur, I would kill him," said Raoul, simply, "and all the men
whom Mademoiselle de la Valliere should choose, until one of them had
killed me, or Mademoiselle de la Valliere had restored me her heart."

Athos started.  "I thought," resumed he, in an agitated voice, "that you
called my just now your god, your law in this world."

"Oh!" said Raoul, trembling, "you would forbid me the duel?"

"Suppose I _did_ forbid it, Raoul?"

"You would not forbid me to hope, monsieur; consequently you would not
forbid me to die."

Athos raised his eyes toward the vicomte.  He had pronounced these words
with the most melancholy look.  "Enough," said Athos, after a long
silence, "enough of this subject, upon which we both go too far.  Live as
well as you are able, Raoul, perform your duties, love Mademoiselle de la
Valliere; in a word, act like a man, since you have attained the age of a
man; only do not forget that I love you tenderly, and that you profess to
love me."

"Ah! monsieur le comte!" cried Raoul, pressing the hand of Athos to his
heart.

"Enough, dear boy, leave me; I want rest.  _A propos_, M. d'Artagnan has
returned from England with me; you owe him a visit."

"I will pay it, monsieur, with great pleasure.  I love Monsieur
d'Artagnan exceedingly."

"You are right in doing so; he is a worthy man and a brave cavalier."

"Who loves you dearly."

"I am sure of that.  Do you know his address?"

"At the Louvre, I suppose, or wherever the king is.  Does he not command
the musketeers?"

"No; at present M. d'Artagnan is absent on leave; he is resting for
awhile.  Do not, therefore, seek him at the posts of his service.  You
will hear of him at the house of a certain Planchet."

"His former lackey?"

"Exactly; turned grocer."

"I know; Rue des Lombards?"

"Somewhere thereabouts, or Rue des Arcis."

"I will find it, monsieur - I will find it."

"You will say a thousand kind things to him, on my part, and ask him to
come and dine with me before I set out for La Fere."

"Yes, monsieur."

"Good-might, Raoul!"

"Monsieur, I see you wear an order I never saw you wear before; accept my
compliments."

"The Fleece! - that is true.  A bauble, my boy, which no longer amuses an
old child like myself.  Good-night, Raoul!"


Chapter LII:
D'Artagnan's Lesson.

Raoul did not meet with D'Artagnan the next day, as he had hoped.  He
only met with Planchet, whose joy was great at seeing the young man
again, and who contrived to pay him two or three little soldierly
compliments, savoring very little of the grocer's shop.  But as Raoul was
returning the next day from Vincennes at the head of fifty dragoons
confided to him by Monsieur le Prince, he perceived, in La Place
Baudoyer, a man with his nose in the air, examining a house as we examine
a horse we have a fancy to buy.  This man, dressed in a citizen costume
buttoned up like a military _pourpoint_, a very small hat on his
head, but a long shagreen-mounted sword by his side, turned his head as
soon as he heard the steps of the horses, and left off looking at the
house to look at the dragoons.  It was simply M. d'Artagnan; D'Artagnan
on foot; D'Artagnan with his hands behind him, passing a little review
upon the dragoons, after having reviewed the buildings.  Not a man, not a
tag, not a horse's hoof escaped his inspection.  Raoul rode at the side
of his troop; D'Artagnan perceived him the last.  "Eh!" said he, "Eh!
_Mordioux!_"

"I was not mistaken!" cried Raoul, turning his horse towards him.

"Mistaken - no!  Good-day to you," replied the ex-musketeer; whilst Raoul
eagerly pressed the hand of his old friend.  "Take care, Raoul," said
D'Artagnan, "the second horse of the fifth rank will lose a shoe before
he gets to the Pont Marie; he has only two nails left in his off fore-
foot."

"Wait a minute, I will come back," said Raoul.

"Can you quit your detachment?"

"The cornet is there to take my place."

"Then you will come and dine with me?"

"Most willingly, Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"Be quick, then; leave your horse, or make them give me one."

"I prefer coming back on foot with you."

Raoul hastened to give notice to the cornet, who took his post; he then
dismounted, gave his horse to one of the dragoons, and with great delight
seized the arm of M. d'Artagnan, who had watched him during all these
little evolutions with the satisfaction of a connoisseur.

"What, do you come from Vincennes?" said he.

"Yes, monsieur le chevalier."

"And the cardinal?"

"Is very ill; it is even reported he is dead."

"Are you on good terms with M. Fouquet?" asked D'Artagnan, with a
disdainful movement of the shoulders, proving that the death of Mazarin
did not affect him beyond measure.

"With M. Fouquet?" said Raoul; "I do not know him."

"So much the worse! so much the worse! for a new king always seeks to get
good men in his employment."

"Oh! the king means no harm," replied the young man.

"I say nothing about the crown," cried D'Artagnan; "I am speaking of the
king - the king, that is M. Fouquet, if the cardinal is dead.  You must
contrive to stand well with M. Fouquet, if you do not wish to molder away
all your life as I have moldered.  It is true you have, fortunately,
other protectors."

"M. le Prince, for instance."

"Worn out! worn out!"

"M. le Comte de la Fere?"

"Athos!  Oh! that's different; yes, Athos - and if you have any wish to
make your way in England, you cannot apply to a better person; I can even
say, without too much vanity, that I myself have some credit at the court
of Charles II.  There is a king - God speed him!"

"Ah!" cried Raoul, with the natural curiosity of well-born young people,
while listening to experience and courage.

"Yes, a king who amuses himself, it is true, but who has had a sword in
his hand, and can appreciate useful men.  Athos is on good terms with
Charles II.  Take service there, and leave these scoundrels of
contractors and farmers-general, who steal as well with French hands as
others have done with Italian hands; leave the little snivelling king,
who is going to give us another reign of Francis II.  Do you know
anything of history, Raoul?"

"Yes, monsieur le chevalier."

"Do you know, then, that Francis II. had always the earache?"

"No, I did not know that."

"That Charles IV. had always the headache?"

"Indeed!"

"And Henry III. had always the stomach-ache?"

Raoul began to laugh.

"Well, my dear friend, Louis XIV. always has the heart-ache; it is
deplorable to see a king sighing from morning till night without saying
once in the course of the day, _ventre-saint-gris!  corboef!_ or anything
to rouse one."

"Was that the reason why you quitted the service, monsieur le chevalier?"

"Yes."

"But you yourself, M. d'Artagnan, are throwing the handle after the axe;
you will not make a fortune."

"Who?  I?" replied D'Artagnan, in a careless tone; "I am settled - I had
some family property."

Raoul looked at him.  The poverty of D'Artagnan was proverbial.  A
Gascon, he exceeded in ill-luck all the gasconnades of France and
Navarre; Raoul had a hundred times heard Job and D'Artagnan named
together, as the twins Romulus and Remus.  D'Artagnan caught Raoul's look
of astonishment.

"And has not your father told you I have been in England?"

"Yes, monsieur le chevalier."

"And that I there met with a very lucky chance?"

"No, monsieur, I did not know that."

"Yes, a very worthy friend of mine, a great nobleman, the viceroy of
Scotland and Ireland, has endowed me with an inheritance."

"An inheritance?"

"And a good one, too."

"Then you are rich?"

"Bah!"

"Receive my sincere congratulation."

"Thank you!  Look, that is my house."

"Place de Greve?"

"Yes; don't you like this quarter?"

"On the contrary, the look-out over the water is pleasant.  Oh! what a
pretty old house!"

"The sign Notre Dame; it is an old _cabaret_, which I have transformed
into a private house in two days."

"But the _cabaret_ is still open?"

"_Pardieu!_"

"And where do you lodge, then?"

"I?  I lodge with Planchet."

"You said, just now, 'This is my house.'"

"I said so, because, in fact, it is my house.  I have bought it."

"Ah!" said Raoul.

"At ten years' purchase, my dear Raoul; a superb affair; I bought the
house for thirty thousand livres; it has a garden which opens to the Rue
de la Mortillerie; the _cabaret_ lets for a thousand livres, with the
first story; the garret, or second floor, for five hundred livres."

"Indeed!"

"Yes, indeed."

"Five hundred livres for a garret?  Why, it is not habitable."

"Therefore no one inhabits it; only, you see, this garret has two windows
which look out upon the Place."

"Yes, monsieur."

"Well, then, every time anybody is broken on the wheel or hung,
quartered, or burnt, these two windows let for twenty pistoles."

"Oh!" said Raoul, with horror.

"It is disgusting, is it not?" said D'Artagnan.

"Oh!" repeated Raoul.

"It is disgusting, but so it is.  These Parisian cockneys are sometimes
real anthropophagi.  I cannot conceive how men, Christians, can make such

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >



Other sites:

db3nf.com screen-capture.net floresca.net simonova.net flora-source.com flora-source.com sourcecentral.com sourcecentral.com geocities.com