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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Well, I swear to you my friend, that I played my part so well that
_everybody_ was deceived."

"Indeed! so well, that I have not discovered and joined you?"

"Yes; but _how_ did you discover and join me?"

"Stop a bit.  I was going to tell you how.  Do you imagine Mouston - "

"Ah! it was that fellow, Mouston," said Porthos, gathering up those two
triumphant arches which served him for eyebrows.

"But stop, I tell you - it was no fault of Mouston's because he was
ignorant of where you were."

"I know he was; and that is why I am in such haste to understand - "

"Oh! how impatient you are, Porthos."

"When I do not comprehend, I am terrible."

"Well, you will understand.  Aramis wrote to you at Pierrefonds, did he
not?"

"Yes."

"And he told you to come before the equinox."

"That is true."

"Well! that is it," said D'Artagnan, hoping that this reason would
mystify Porthos.  Porthos appeared to give himself up to a violent mental
labor.

"Yes, yes," said he, "I understand.  As Aramis told me to come before the
equinox, you have understood that that was to join him.  You then
inquired where Aramis was, saying to yourself, 'Where Aramis is, there
Porthos will be.'  You have learnt that Aramis was in Bretagne, and you
said to yourself, 'Porthos is in Bretagne.'"

"Exactly.  In good truth, Porthos, I cannot tell why you have not turned
conjuror.  So you understand that, arriving at Roche-Bernard, I heard of
the splendid fortifications going on at Belle-Isle.  The account raised
my curiosity, I embarked in a fishing boat, without dreaming that you
were here: I came, and I saw a monstrous fine fellow lifting a stone Ajax
could not have stirred.  I cried out, 'Nobody but the Baron de Bracieux
could have performed such a feat of strength.'  You heard me, you turned
round, you recognized me, we embraced; and, _ma foi!_ if you like, my
dear friend, we will embrace again."

"Ah! now all is explained," said Porthos; and he embraced D'Artagnan with
so much friendship as to deprive the musketeer of his breath for five
minutes.

"Why, you are stronger than ever," said D'Artagnan, "and still, happily,
in your arms."  Porthos saluted D'Artagnan with a gracious smile.  During
the five minutes D'Artagnan was recovering his breath, he reflected that
he had a very difficult part to play.  It was necessary that he always
should question and never reply.  By the time his respiration returned,
he had fixed his plans for the campaign.


Chapter LXX:
Wherein the Ideas of D'Artagnan, at first strangely clouded, begin to
clear up a little.

D'Artagnan immediately took the offensive.  "Now that I have told you
all, dear friend, or rather you have guessed all, tell me what you are
doing here, covered with dust and mud?"

Porthos wiped his brow, and looked around him with pride.  "Why, it
appears," said he, "that you may see what I am doing here."

"No doubt, no doubt, you lift great stones."

"Oh! to show these idle fellows what a _man_ is," said Porthos, with
contempt.  "But you understand - "

"Yes, that is not your place to lift stones, although there are many
whose place it is, who cannot lift them as you do.  It was that which
made me ask you, just now.  What are you doing here, baron?"

"I am studying topography, chevalier."

"You are studying topography?"

"Yes; but you - what are you doing in that common dress?"

D'Artagnan perceived he had committed a fault in giving expression to his
astonishment.  Porthos had taken advantage of it, to retort with a
question.  "Why," said he, "you know I am a bourgeois, in fact; my dress,
then, has nothing astonishing in it, since it conforms with my condition."

"Nonsense! you are a musketeer."

"You are wrong, my friend; I have given in my resignation."

"Bah!"

"Oh, _mon Dieu!_ yes."

"And you have abandoned the service?"

"I have quitted it."

"You have abandoned the king?"

"Quite."

Porthos raised his arms towards heaven, like a man who has heard
extraordinary news.  "Well, that _does_ confound me," said he.

"It is nevertheless true."

"And what led you to form such a resolution."

"The king displeased me.  Mazarin had disgusted me for a long time, as you
know; so I threw my cassock to the nettles."

"But Mazarin is dead."

"I know that well enough, _parbleu!_  Only, at the period of his death,
my resignation had been given in and accepted two months.  Then, feeling
myself free, I set off for Pierrefonds, to see my friend Porthos.  I had
heard talk of the happy division you had made of your time, and I wished,
for a fortnight, to divide mine after your fashion."

"My friend, you know that it is not for a fortnight my house is open to
you; it is for a year - for ten years - for life."

"Thank you, Porthos."

"Ah! but perhaps you want money - do you?" said Porthos, making something
like fifty louis chink in his pocket.  "In that case, you know - "

"No, thank you; I am not in want of anything.  I placed my savings with
Planchet, who pays me the interest of them."

"Your savings?"

"Yes, to be sure," said D'Artagnan: "why should I not put by my savings,
as well as another, Porthos?"

"Oh, there is no reason why; on the contrary, I always suspected you -
that is to say, Aramis always suspected you to have savings.  For my own
part, d'ye see, I take no concern about the management of my household;
but I presume the savings of a musketeer must be small."

"No doubt, relative to yourself, Porthos, who are a millionaire; but you
shall judge.  I had laid by twenty-five thousand livres."

"That's pretty well," said Porthos, with an affable air.

"And," continued D'Artagnan, "on the twenty-eighth of last month I added
to it two hundred thousand livres more."

Porthos opened his large eyes, which eloquently demanded of the
musketeer, "Where the devil did you steal such a sum as that, my dear
friend?"  "Two hundred thousand livres!" cried he, at length.

"Yes; which, with the twenty-five I had, and twenty thousand I have about
me, complete the sum of two hundred and forty-five thousand livres."

"But tell me, whence comes this fortune?"

"I will tell you all about it presently, dear friend; but as you have, in
the first place, many things to tell me yourself, let us have my recital
in its proper order."

"Bravo!" said Porthos; "then we are both rich.  But what can I have to
relate to you?"

"You have to relate to me how Aramis came to be named - "

"Ah! bishop of Vannes."

"That's it," said D'Artagnan, "bishop of Vannes.  Dear Aramis! do you
know how he succeeded so well?"

"Yes, yes; without reckoning that he does not mean to stop there."

"What! do you mean he will not be contented with violet stockings, and
that he wants a red hat?"

"Hush! that is _promised_ him."

"Bah! by the king?"

"By somebody more powerful than the king."

"Ah! the devil! Porthos: what incredible things you tell me, my friend!"

"Why incredible?  Is there not always somebody in France more powerful
than the king?"

"Oh, yes; in the time of King Louis XIII. it was Cardinal Richelieu; in
the time of the regency it was Cardinal Mazarin.  In the time of Louis
XIV. it is M - "

"Go on."

"It is M. Fouquet."

"Jove! you have hit it the first time."

"So, then, I suppose it is M. Fouquet who has promised Aramis the red
hat."

Porthos assumed an air of reserve.  "Dear friend," said he, "God preserve
me from meddling with the affairs of others, above all from revealing
secrets it may be to their interest to keep.  When you see Aramis, he
will tell you all he thinks he ought to tell you."

"You are right, Porthos; and you are quite a padlock for safety.  But, to
revert to yourself?"

"Yes," said Porthos.

"You said just now you came hither to study topography?"

"I did so."

"_Tudieu!_ my friend, what fine things you will do!"

"How do you mean?"

"Why, these fortifications are admirable."

"Is that your opinion?"

"Decidedly it is.  In truth, to anything but a regular siege, Belle-Isle
is absolutely impregnable."

Porthos rubbed his hands.  "That is my opinion," said he.

"But who the devil has fortified this paltry little place in this manner?"

Porthos drew himself up proudly: "Did I not tell you who?"

"No."

"Do you not suspect?"

"No; all I can say is that he is a man who has studied all the systems,
and who appears to me to have stopped at the best."

"Hush!" said Porthos; "consider my modesty, my dear D'Artagnan."

"In truth," replied the musketeer, "can it be you - who - oh!"

"Pray - my dear friend - "

"You who have imagined, traced, and combined between these bastions,
these redans, these curtains, these half-moons; and are preparing that
covered way?"

"I beg you - "

"You who have built that lunette with its retiring angles and its salient
edges?"

"My friend - "

"You who have given that inclination to the openings of your embrasures,
by means of which you so effectively protect the men who serve the guns?"

"Eh! _mon Dieu!_ yes."

"Oh!  Porthos, Porthos!  I must bow down before you - I must admire you!
But you have always concealed from us this superb, this incomparable
genius.  I hope, my dear friend, you will show me all this in detail."

"Nothing more easy.  Here lies my original sketch, my plan."

"Show it me."  Porthos led D'Artagnan towards the stone that served him
for a table, and upon which the plan was spread.  At the foot of the plan
was written, in the formidable writing of Porthos, writing of which we
have already had occasion to speak: -

"Instead of making use of the square or rectangle, as has been done to
this time, you will suppose your place inclosed in a regular hexagon,
this polygon having the advantage of offering more angles than the
quadrilateral one.  Every side of your hexagon, of which you will
determine the length in proportion to the dimensions taken upon the
place, will be divided into two parts, and upon the middle point you will
elevate a perpendicular towards the center of the polygon, which will
equal in length the sixth part of the side.  By the extremities of each

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