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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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cherries.  All ready, my master."

"You are a capital fellow, Planchet; come on, then, let us sup, and I
will go to bed."

During supper D'Artagnan observed that Planchet kept rubbing his
forehead, as if to facilitate the issue of some idea closely pent within
his brain.  He looked with an air of kindness at this worthy companion of
former adventures and misadventures, and, clinking glass against glass,
"Come, Planchet," said he, "let us see what it is that gives you so much
trouble to bring forth.  _Mordioux!_  Speak freely, and quickly."

"Well, this is it," replied Planchet: "you appear to me to be going on
some expedition or another."

"I don't say that I am not."

"Then you have some new idea?"

"That is possible, too, Planchet."

"Then there will be fresh capital to be ventured?  I will lay down fifty
thousand livres upon the idea you are about to carry out."  And so
saying, Planchet rubbed his hands one against the other with a rapidity
evincing great delight.

"Planchet," said D'Artagnan, "there is but one misfortune in it."

"And what is that?"

"That the idea is not mine.  I can risk nothing upon it."

These words drew a deep sigh from the heart of Planchet.  That Avarice is
an ardent counselor; she carries away her man, as Satan did Jesus, to the
mountain, and when once she has shown to an unfortunate all the kingdoms
of the earth, she is able to repose herself, knowing full well that she
has left her companion, Envy, to gnaw at his heart.  Planchet had tasted
of riches easily acquired, and was never afterwards likely to stop in his
desires; but, as he had a good heart in spite of his covetousness, as he
adored D'Artagnan, he could not refrain from making him a thousand
recommendations, each more affectionate than the others.  He would not
have been sorry, nevertheless, to have caught a little hint of the secret
his master concealed so well; tricks, turns, counsels, and traps were all
useless, D'Artagnan let nothing confidential escape him.  The evening
passed thus.  After supper the portmanteau occupied D'Artagnan, he took a
turn to the stable, patted his horse, and examined his shoes and legs;
then, having counted over his money, he went to bed, sleeping as if only
twenty, because he had neither inquietude nor remorse; he closed his eyes
five minutes after he had blown out his lamp.  Many events might,
however, have kept him awake.  Thought boiled in his brain, conjectures
abounded, and D'Artagnan was a great drawer of horoscopes; but, with that
imperturbable phlegm which does more than genius for the fortune and
happiness of men of action, he put off reflection till the next day, for
fear, he said, not to be fresh when he wanted to be so.

The day came.  The Rue des Lombards had its share of the caresses of
Aurora with the rosy fingers, and D'Artagnan arose like Aurora.  He did
not awaken anybody, he placed his portmanteau under his arm, descended
the stairs without making one of them creak, and without disturbing one
of the sonorous snorings in every story from the garret to the cellar,
then, having saddled his horse, shut the stable and house doors, he set
off, at a foot-pace, on his expedition to Bretagne.  He had done quite
right not to trouble himself with all the political and diplomatic
affairs which solicited his attention; for, in the morning, in freshness
and mild twilight, his ideas developed themselves in purity and
abundance.  In the first place, he passed before the house of Fouquet,
and threw in a large gaping box the fortunate order which, the evening
before, he had had so much trouble to recover from the hooked fingers of
the intendant.  Placed in an envelope, and addressed to Fouquet, it had
not even been divined by Planchet, who in divination was equal to Calchas
or the Pythian Apollo.  D'Artagnan thus sent back the order to Fouquet,
without compromising himself, and without having thenceforward any
reproaches to make himself.  When he had effected this proper
restitution, "Now," he said to himself, "let us inhale much maternal air,
much freedom from cares, much health, let us allow the horse Zephyr,
whose flanks puff as if he had to respire an atmosphere, to breathe, and
let us be very ingenious in our little calculations.  It is time," said
D'Artagnan, "to form a plan of the campaign, and, according to the method
of M. Turenne, who has a large head full of all sorts of good counsels,
before the plan of the campaign it is advisable to draw a striking
portrait of the generals to whom we are opposed.  In the first place, M.
Fouquet presents himself.  What is M. Fouquet?  M. Fouquet," replied
D'Artagnan to himself, "is a handsome man, very much beloved by the
women, a generous man very much beloved by the poets; a man of wit, much
execrated by pretenders.  Well, now I am neither woman, poet, nor
pretender: I neither love not hate monsieur le surintendant.  I find
myself, therefore, in the same position in which M. Turenne found himself
when opposed to the Prince de Conde at Jargeau, Gien and the Faubourg
Saint-Antoine.  He did not execrate monsieur le prince, it is true, but
he obeyed the king.  Monsieur le prince is an agreeable man, but the king
is king.  Turenne heaved a deep sigh, called Conde 'My cousin,' and swept
away his army.  Now what does the king wish?  That does not concern me.
Now, what does M. Colbert wish?  Oh, that's another thing.  M. Colbert
wishes all that M. Fouquet does not wish.  Then what does M. Fouquet
wish?  Oh, that is serious.  M. Fouquet wishes precisely for all the king
wishes."

This monologue ended, D'Artagnan began to laugh, whilst making his whip
whistle in the air.  He was already on the high road, frightening the
birds in the hedges, listening to the livres chinking and dancing in his
leather pocket, at every step; and, let us confess it, every time that
D'Artagnan found himself in such conditions, tenderness was not his
dominant vice.  "Come," said he, "I cannot think the expedition a very
dangerous one; and it will fall out with my voyage as with that piece M.
Monk took me to see in London, which was called, I think, 'Much Ado about
Nothing.'"


Chapter LXVI:
The Journey.

It was perhaps the fiftieth time since the day on which we open this
history, that this man, with a heart of bronze and muscles of steel, had
left house and friends, everything, in short, to go in search of fortune
and death.  The one - that is to say, death - had constantly retreated
before him, as if afraid of him; the other - that is to say, fortune -
for only a month past had really made an alliance with him.  Although
he was not a great philosopher, after the fashion of either Epicurus or
Socrates, he was a powerful spirit, having knowledge of life, and endowed
with thought.  No one is as brave, as adventurous, or as skillful as
D'Artagnan, without at the same time being inclined to be a _dreamer_.
He had picked up, here and there, some scraps of M. de la Rochefoucault,
worthy of being translated into Latin by MM. de Port Royal; and he had
made a collection, _en passant_, in the society of Athos and Aramis, of
many morsels of Seneca and Cicero, translated by them, and applied to the
uses of common life.  That contempt of riches which our Gascon had
observed as an article of faith during the thirty-five first years of his
life, had for a long time been considered by him as the first article of
the code of bravery.  "Article first," said he, "A man is brave because
he has nothing.  A man has nothing because he despises riches."
Therefore, with these principles, which, as we have said, had regulated
the thirty-five first years of his life, D'Artagnan was no sooner
possessed of riches, than he felt it necessary to ask himself if, in
spite of his riches, he were still brave.  To this, for any other but
D'Artagnan, the events of the Place de Greve might have served as a
reply.  Many consciences would have been satisfied with them, but
D'Artagnan was brave enough to ask himself sincerely and conscientiously
if he were brave.  Therefore to this: -

"But it appears to me that I drew promptly enough, and cut and thrust
pretty freely on the Place de Greve, to be satisfied of my bravery,"
D'Artagnan had himself replied.  "Gently, captain, that is not an
answer.  I was brave that day, because they were burning my house, and
there are a hundred, and even a thousand, to speak against one, that if
those gentlemen of the riots had not formed that unlucky idea, their plan
of attack would have succeeded, or, at least, it would not have been I
who would have opposed myself to it.  Now, what will be brought against
me?  I have no house to be burnt in Bretagne; I have no treasure there
that can be taken from me. - No; but I have my skin; that precious skin
of M. d'Artagnan, which to him is worth more than all the houses and all
the treasures of the world.  That skin to which I cling above everything,
because it is, everything considered, the binding of a body which
encloses a heart very warm and ready to fight, and, consequently, to
live.  Then, I do desire to live: and, in reality, I live much better,
more completely, since I have become rich.  Who the devil ever said that
money spoiled life?  Upon my soul, it is no such thing, on the contrary,
it seems as if I absorbed a double quantity of air and sun.  _Mordioux!_
what will it be then, if I double that fortune; and if, instead of the
switch I now hold in my hand, I should ever carry the baton of a
marechal?  Then I really don't know if there will be, from that moment,
enough of air and sun for me.  In fact, this is not a dream, who the
devil would oppose it, if the king made me a marechal, as his father,
King Louis XIII., made a duke and constable of Albert de Luynes?  Am I
not as brave, and much more intelligent, than that imbecile De Vitry?
Ah! that's exactly what will prevent my advancement: I have too much
wit.  Luckily, if there is any justice in this world, fortune owes me
many compensations.  She owes me certainly a recompense for all I did for
Anne of Austria, and an indemnification for all she has not done for me.

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