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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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speculation.

"That is true."

"As for myself," continued D'Artagnan, "if I inhabited that house, on
days of execution I would shut it up to the very keyholes; but I do not
inhabit it."

"And you let the garret for five hundred livres?"

"To the ferocious _cabaretier_, who sub-lets it.  I said, then, fifteen
hundred livres."

"The natural interest of money," said Raoul, - "five per cent."

"Exactly so.  I then have left the side of the house at the back, store-
rooms, and cellars, inundated every winter, two hundred livres; and the
garden, which is very fine, well planted, well shaded under the walls and
the portal of Saint-Gervais-Saint-Protais, thirteen hundred livres."

"Thirteen hundred livres! why, that is royal!"

"This is the whole history.  I strongly suspect some canon of the parish
(these canons are all rich as Croesus) - I suspect some canon of having
hired the garden to take his pleasure in.  The tenant has given the name
of M. Godard.  That is either a false name or a real name; if true, he is
a canon; if false, he is some unknown; but of what consequence is it to
me? he always pays in advance.  I had also an idea just now, when I met
you, of buying a house in the Place Baudoyer, the back premises of which
join my garden, and would make a magnificent property.  Your dragoons
interrupted my calculations.  But come, let us take the Rue de la
Vannerie: that will lead us straight to M. Planchet's."  D'Artagnan
mended his pace, and conducted Raoul to Planchet's dwelling, a chamber of
which the grocer had given up to his old master.  Planchet was out, but
the dinner was ready.  There was a remains of military regularity and
punctuality preserved in the grocer's household.  D'Artagnan returned to
the subject of Raoul's future.

"Your father brings you up rather strictly?" said he.

"Justly, monsieur le chevalier."

"Oh, yes, I know Athos is just; but close, perhaps?"

"A royal hand, Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"Well, never want, my boy!  If ever you stand in need of a few pistoles,
the old musketeer is at hand."

"My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan!"

"Do you play a little?"

"Never."

"Successful with the ladies, then? - Oh! my little Aramis!  That, my dear
friend, costs even more than play.  It is true we fight when we lose;
that is a compensation.  Bah! that little sniveller, the king, makes
winners give him his revenge.  What a reign! my poor Raoul, what a
reign!  When we think that, in my time, the musketeers were besieged in
their houses like Hector and Priam in the city of Troy; and the women
wept, and then the walls laughed, and then five hundred beggarly fellows
clapped their hands and cried, 'Kill! kill!' when not one musketeer was
hurt.  _Mordioux!_ you will never see anything like that."

"You are very hard upon the king, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan and yet you
scarcely know him."

"I!  Listen, Raoul.  Day by day, hour by hour, - take note of my words, -
I will predict what he will do.  The cardinal being dead, he will fret;
very well, that is the least silly thing he will do, particularly if he
does not shed a tear."

"And then?"

"Why, then he will get M. Fouquet to allow him a pension, and will go and
compose verses at Fontainebleau, upon some Mancini or other, whose eyes
the queen will scratch out.  She is a Spaniard, you see, - this queen of
ours; and she has, for mother-in-law, Madame Anne of Austria.  I know
something of the Spaniards of the house of Austria."

"And next?"

"Well, after having torn the silver lace from the uniforms of his Swiss,
because lace is too expensive, he will dismount his musketeers, because
oats and hay of a horse cost five sols a day."

"Oh! do not say that."

"Of what consequence is it to _me?_ I am no longer a musketeer, am I?
Let them be on horseback, let them be on foot, let them carry a larding-
pin, a spit, a sword, or nothing - what is it to _me?_"

"My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, I beseech you speak no more ill of the
king.  I am almost in his service, and my father would be very angry with
me for having heard, even from your mouth, words injurious to his
majesty."

"Your father, eh!  He is a knight in every bad cause.  _Pardieu!_ yes,
your father is a brave man, a Caesar, it is true - but a man without
perception."

"Now, my dear chevalier," exclaimed Raoul, laughing, "are you going to
speak ill of my father, of him you call the great Athos?  Truly you are
in a bad vein to-day; riches render you as sour as poverty renders other
people."

"_Pardieu!_ you are right.  I am a rascal and in my dotage; I am an
unhappy wretch grown old; a tent-cord untwisted, a pierced cuirass, a
boot without a sole, a spur without a rowel ; - but do me the pleasure to
add one thing."

"What is that, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

"Simply say: 'Mazarin was a pitiful wretch.'"

"Perhaps he is dead."

"More the reason - I say _was_; if I did not hope that he was dead, I
would entreat you to say: 'Mazarin is a pitiful wretch.'  Come, say so,
say so, for love of me."

"Well, I will."

"Say it!"

"Mazarin was a pitiful wretch," said Raoul, smiling at the musketeer, who
roared with laughter, as in his best days.

"A moment," said the latter; "you have spoken my first proposition, here
is the conclusion of it, - repeat, Raoul, repeat: 'But I regret Mazarin.'"

"Chevalier!"

"You will not say it?  Well, then, I will say it twice for you."

"But you would regret Mazarin?"

And they were still laughing and discussing this profession of
principles, when one of the shop-boys entered.  "A letter, monsieur,"
said he, "for M. d'Artagnan."

"Thank you; give it me," cried the musketeer,

"The handwriting of monsieur le comte," said Raoul.

"Yes, yes."  And D'Artagnan broke the seal.

"Dear friend," said Athos, "a person has just been here to beg me to seek
for you, on the part of the king."

"Seek me!" said D'Artagnan, letting the paper fall upon the table.  Raoul
picked it up, and continued to read aloud: -

"Make haste.  His majesty is very anxious to speak to you, and expects
you at the Louvre."

"Expects me?" again repeated the musketeer.

"He, he, he!" laughed Raoul.

"Oh, oh!" replied D'Artagnan.  "What the devil can this mean?"


Chapter LIII:
The King.

The first moment of surprise over, D'Artagnan reperused Athos's note.
"It is strange," said he, "that the king should send for me."

"Why so?" said Raoul; "do you not think, monsieur, that the king must
regret such a servant as you?"

"Oh, oh!" cried the officer, laughing with all his might; "you are poking
fun at me, Master Raoul.  If the king had regretted me, he would not have
let me leave him.  No, no; I see in it something better, or worse, if you
like."

"Worse!  What can that be, monsieur le chevalier?"

"You are young, you are a boy, you are admirable.  Oh, how I should like
to be as you are!  To be but twenty-four, with an unfortunate brow, under
which the brain is void of everything but women, love, and good
intentions.  Oh, Raoul, as long as you have not received the smiles of
kings, the confidence of queens; as long as you have not had two
cardinals killed under you, the one a tiger, the other a fox; as long as
you have not - But what is the good of all this trifling?  We must part,
Raoul."

"How you say the word!  What a serious face!"

"Eh! but the occasion is worthy of it.  Listen to me.  I have a very good
recommendation to tender you."

"I am all attention, Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"You will go and inform your father of my departure."

"Your departure?"

"_Pardieu!_  You will tell him I am gone into England; and that I am
living in my little country-house."

"In England, you! - And the king's orders?"

"You get more and more silly: do you imagine that I am going to the
Louvre, to place myself at the disposal of that little crowned wolf-cub?"

"The king a wolf-cub?  Why, monsieur le chevalier, you are mad!"

"On the contrary, I never was so sane.  You do not know what he wants to
do with me, this worthy son of _Louis le Juste!_ - But, _mordioux!_ that
is policy.  He wishes to ensconce me snugly in the Bastile - purely and
simply, look you!"

"What for?" cried Raoul, terrified at what he heard.

"On account of what I told him one day at Blois.  I was warm; he
remembers it."

"You told him what?"

"That he was mean, cowardly, and silly."

"Good God!" cried Raoul, "is it possible that such words should have
issued from your mouth?"

"Perhaps I don't give the letter of my speech, but I give the sense of
it."

"But did not the king have you arrested immediately?"

"By whom?  It was I who commanded the musketeers; he must have commanded
me to convey myself to prison; I would never have consented: I would have
resisted myself.  And then I went into England - no more D'Artagnan.
Now, the cardinal is dead, or nearly so, they learn that I am in Paris,
and they lay their hands on me."

"The cardinal was your protector?"

"The cardinal knew me; he knew certain particularities of me; I also knew
some of his; we appreciated each other mutually.  And then, on rendering
his soul to the devil, he would recommend Anne of Austria to make me the
inhabitant of a safe place.  Go, then, and find your father, relate the
fact to him - and adieu!"

"My dear Monsieur d'Artagnan," said Raoul, very much agitated, after
having looked out the window, "you cannot even fly!"

"Why not?"

"Because there is below an officer of the Swiss guards waiting for you."

"Well?"

"Well, he will arrest you."

D'Artagnan broke into a Homeric laugh.

"Oh!  I know very well that you will resist, that you will fight, even; I
know very well that you will prove the conqueror; but that amounts to
rebellion, and you are an officer yourself, knowing what discipline is."

"Devil of a boy, how logical that is!" grumbled D'Artagnan.

"You approve of it, do you not?"

"Yes, instead of passing into the street, where that idiot is waiting for
me, I will slip quietly out at the back.  I have a horse in the stable,
and a good one.  I will ride him to death; my means permit me to do so,

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