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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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near leaping the wall, this cavalier, we say, crossed the Place Baudoyer,
passed like lightening before the crowd in the streets, riding against,
running over and knocking down all that came in his way, and, ten minutes
after, arrived at the gates of the superintendent, more out of breath
than his horse.  The Abbe Fouquet, at the clatter of hoofs on the
pavement, appeared at a window of the court, and before even the cavalier
had set foot to the ground, "Well!  Danicamp?" cried he, leaning half out
of the window.

"Well, it is all over," replied the cavalier.

"All over!" cried the abbe.  "Then they are saved?"

"No, monsieur," replied the cavalier, "they are hung."

"Hung!" repeated the abbe, turning pale.  A lateral door suddenly opened,
and Fouquet appeared in the chamber, pale, distracted, with lips half
opened, breathing a cry of grief and anger.  He stopped upon the
threshold to listen to what was addressed from the court to the window.

"Miserable wretches!" said the abbe, "you did not fight, then?"

"Like lions."

"Say like cowards."

"Monsieur!"

"A hundred men accustomed to war, sword in hand, are worth ten thousand
archers in a surprise.  Where is Menneville, that boaster, that braggart,
who was to come back either dead or a conqueror?"

"Well, monsieur, he kept his word.  He is dead!"

"Dead!  Who killed him?"

"A demon disguised as a man, a giant armed with ten flaming swords - a
madman, who at one blow extinguished the fire, put down the riot, and
caused a hundred musketeers to rise up out of the pavement of the Greve."

Fouquet raised his brow, streaming with sweat, murmuring, "Oh!  Lyodot
and D'Eymeris! dead! dead! dead! and I dishonored."

The abbe turned round, and perceiving his brother, despairing and livid,
"Come, come," said he, "it is a blow of fate, monsieur; we must not
lament thus.  Our attempt has failed because God - "

"Be silent, abbe! be silent!" cried Fouquet; "your excuses are
blasphemies.  Order that man up here, and let him relate the details of
this terrible event."

"But, brother - "

"Obey, monsieur!"

The abbe made a sign, and in half a minute the man's step was heard upon
the stairs.  At the same time Gourville appeared behind Fouquet, like the
guardian angel of the superintendent, pressing one finger on his lips to
enjoin observation even amidst the bursts of his grief.  The minister
resumed all the serenity that human strength left at the disposal of a
heart half broken with sorrow.  Danicamp appeared.  "Make your report,"
said Gourville.

"Monsieur," replied the messenger, "we received orders to carry off the
prisoners, and to cry '_Vive Colbert!_' whilst carrying them off."

"To burn them alive, was it not, abbe?" interrupted Gourville.

"Yes, yes, the order was given to Menneville.  Menneville knew what was
to be done, and Menneville is dead."

This news appeared rather to reassure Gourville than to sadden him.

"Yes, certainly to burn them alive," said the abbe, eagerly.

"Granted, monsieur, granted," said the man, looking into the eyes and the
faces of the two interlocutors, to ascertain what there was profitable or
disadvantageous to himself in telling the truth.

"Now, proceed," said Gourville.

"The prisoners," cried Danicamp, "were brought to the Greve, and the
people, in a fury, insisted upon their being burnt instead of being hung."

"And the people were right," said the abbe.  "Go on."

"But," resumed the man, "at the moment the archers were broken, at the
moment the fire was set to one of the houses of the Place destined to
serve as a funeral-pile for the guilty, this fury, this demon, this giant
of whom I told you, and who, we had been informed, was the proprietor of
the house in question, aided by a young man who accompanied him, threw
out of the window those who kept the fire, called to his assistance the
musketeers who were in the crowd, leaped himself from the window of the
first story into the Place, and plied his sword so desperately that the
victory was restored to the archers, the prisoners were retaken, and
Menneville killed.  When once recaptured, the condemned were executed in
three minutes."  Fouquet, in spite of his self-command, could not prevent
a deep groan escaping him.

"And this man, the proprietor of the house, what is his name?" said the
abbe.

"I cannot tell you, not having even been able to get sight of him; my
post had been appointed in the garden, and I remained at my post: only
the affair was related to me as I repeat it.  I was ordered, when once
the affair was at an end, to come at best speed and announce to you the
manner in which it finished.  According to this order, I set out, full
gallop, and here I am."

"Very well, monsieur, we have nothing else to ask of you," said the abbe,
more and more dejected, in proportion as the moment approached for
finding himself alone with his brother.

"Have you been paid?" asked Gourville.

"Partly, monsieur," replied Danicamp.

"Here are twenty pistols.  Begone, monsieur, and never forget to defend,
as this time has been done, the true interests of the king."

"Yes, monsieur," said the man, bowing and pocketing the money.  After
which he went out.  Scarcely had the door closed after him when Fouquet,
who had remained motionless, advanced with a rapid step and stood between
the abbe and Gourville.  Both of them at the same time opened their
mouths to speak to him.  "No excuses," said he, "no recriminations
against anybody.  If I had not been a false friend I should not have
confided to any one the care of delivering Lyodot and D'Eymeris.  I alone
am guilty; to me alone are reproaches and remorse due.  Leave me, abbe."

"And yet, monsieur, you will not prevent me," replied the latter, "from
endeavoring to find out the miserable fellow who has intervened to the
advantage of M. Colbert in this so well-arranged affair; for, if it is
good policy to love our friends dearly, I do not believe that is bad
which consists in obstinately pursuing our enemies."

"A truce to policy, abbe; begone, I beg of you, and do not let me hear
any more of you till I send for you; what we most need is circumspection
and silence.  You have a terrible example before you, gentlemen: no
reprisals, I forbid them."

"There are no orders," grumbled the abbe, "which will prevent me from
avenging a family affront upon the guilty person."

"And I," cried Fouquet, in that imperative tone to which one feels there
is nothing to reply, "if you entertain one thought, one single thought,
which is not the absolute expression of my will, I will have you cast
into the Bastile two hours after that thought has manifested itself.
Regulate your conduct accordingly, abbe."

The abbe colored and bowed.  Fouquet made a sign to Gourville to follow
him, and was already directing his steps towards his cabinet, when the
usher announced with a loud voice: "Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."

"Who is he?" said Fouquet, negligently, to Gourville.

"An ex-lieutenant of his majesty's musketeers," replied Gourville, in the
same tone.  Fouquet did not even take the trouble to reflect, and resumed
his walk.  "I beg your pardon, monseigneur!" said Gourville, "but I have
remembered; this brave man has quitted the king's service, and probably
comes to receive an installment of some pension or other."

"Devil take him!" said Fouquet, "why does he choose his opportunity so
ill?"

"Permit me then, monseigneur, to announce your refusal to him; for he is
one of my acquaintance, and is a man whom, in our present circumstances,
it would be better to have as a friend than an enemy."

"Answer him as you please," said Fouquet.

"Eh! good Lord!" said the abbe, still full of malice, like an egotistical
man; "tell him there is no money, particularly for musketeers."

But scarcely had the abbe uttered this imprudent speech, when the partly
open door was thrown back, and D'Artagnan appeared.

"Eh!  Monsieur Fouquet," said he, "I was well aware there was no money
for musketeers here.  Therefore I did not come to obtain any, but to have
it refused.  That being done, receive my thanks.  I give you good-day,
and will go and seek it at M. Colbert's."  And he went out, making an
easy bow.

"Gourville," said Fouquet, "run after that man and bring him back."
Gourville obeyed, and overtook D'Artagnan on the stairs.

D'Artagnan, hearing steps behind him, turned round and perceived
Gourville.  "_Mordioux!_ my dear monsieur," said he, "there are sad
lessons which you gentlemen of finance teach us; I come to M. Fouquet to
receive a sum accorded by his majesty, and I am received like a mendicant
who comes to ask charity, or a thief who comes to steal a piece of plate."

"But you pronounced the name of M. Colbert, my dear M. d'Artagnan; you
said you were going to M. Colbert's?"

"I certainly am going there, were it only to ask satisfaction of the
people who try to burn houses, crying '_Vive Colbert!_'"

Gourville pricked up his ears.  "Oh, oh!" said he, "you allude to what
has just happened at the Greve?"

"Yes, certainly."

"And in what did that which has taken place concern you?"

"What! do you ask me whether it concerns me or does not concern me, if M.
Colbert pleases to make a funeral-pile of my house?"

"So, ho, _your_ house - was it your house they wanted to burn?"

"_Pardieu!_ was it!"

"Is the _cabaret_ of the Image-de-Notre-Dame yours, then?"

"It has been this week."

"Well, then, are you the brave captain, are you the valiant blade who
dispersed those who wished to burn the condemned?"

"My dear Monsieur Gourville, put yourself in my place.  I was an agent of
the public force and a landlord, too.  As a captain, it is my duty to
have the orders of the king accomplished.  As a proprietor, it is to my
interest my house should not be burnt.  I have at the same time attended
to the laws of interest and duty in replacing Messieurs Lyodot and
D'Eymeris in the hands of the archers."

"Then it was you who threw the man out of the window?"

"It was I, myself," replied D'Artagnan, modestly.

"And you who killed Menneville?"

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