List Of Contents | Contents of Louise de la Valliere, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

England arrives for her marriage, and throws the court of France into
complete disorder.  The jealousy of the Duke of Buckingham, who is in
love with her, nearly occasions a war on the streets of Le Havre,
thankfully prevented by Raoul's timely and tactful intervention.  After
the marriage, though, Monsieur Philip becomes horribly jealous of
Buckingham, and has him exiled.  Before leaving, however, the duke fights
a duel with M. de Wardes at Calais.  De Wardes is a malicious and
spiteful man, the sworn enemy of D'Artagnan, and, by the same token, that
of Athos, Aramis, Porthos, and Raoul as well.  Both men are seriously
wounded, and the duke is taken back to England to recover.  Raoul's
friend, the Comte de Guiche, is the next to succumb to Henrietta's
charms, and Monsieur obtains his exile as well, though De Guiche soon
effects a reconciliation.  But then the king's eye falls on Madame
Henrietta during the comte's absence, and this time Monsieur's jealousy
has no recourse.  Anne of Austria intervenes, and the king and his sister-
in-law decide to pick a young lady with whom the king can pretend to be
in love, the better to mask their own affair.  They unfortunately select
Louise de la Valliere, Raoul's fiancee.  While the court is in residence
at Fontainebleau, the king unwitting overhears Louise confessing her love
for him while chatting with her friends beneath the royal oak, and the
king promptly forgets his affection for Madame.  That same night,
Henrietta overhears, at the same oak, De Guiche confessing his love for
her to Raoul.  The two embark on their own affair.  A few days later,
during a rainstorm, Louis and Louise are trapped alone together, and the
whole court begins to talk of the scandal while their love affair
blossoms.  Aware of Louise's attachment, the king arranges for Raoul to
be sent to England for an indefinite period.

Meanwhile, the struggle for power continues between Fouquet and Colbert.
Although the Belle-Isle plot backfired, Colbert prompts the king to ask
Fouquet for more and more money, and without his two friends to raise it
for him, Fouquet is sorely pressed.  The situation gets so bad that his
new mistress, Madame de Belliere, must resort to selling all her jewels
and her gold and silver plate.  Aramis, while this is going on, has grown
friendly with the governor of the Bastile, M. de Baisemeaux, a fact that
Baisemeaux unwittingly reveals to D'Artagnan while inquiring of him as to
Aramis's whereabouts.  This further arouses the suspicions of the
musketeer, who was made to look ridiculous by Aramis.  He had ridden
overnight at an insane pace, but arrived a few minutes after Fouquet had
already presented Belle-Isle to the king.  Aramis learns from the
governor the location of a mysterious prisoner, who bears a remarkable
resemblance to Louis XIV - in fact, the two are identical.  He uses the
existence of this secret to persuade a dying Franciscan monk, the general
of the society of the Jesuits, to name him, Aramis, the new general of
the order.  On Aramis's advice, hoping to use Louise's influence with the
king to counteract Colbert's influence, Fouquet also writes a love letter
to La Valliere, unfortunately undated.  It never reaches its destination,
however, as the servant ordered to deliver it turns out to be an agent of

Porthos, in the meantime, has been recovering from his midnight ride from
Belle-Isle at Fouquet's residence at Saint-Mande.  Athos has retired,
once again to La Fere.  D'Artagnan, little amused by the court's
activities at Fontainebleau, and finding himself with nothing to do, has
returned to Paris, and we find him again in Planchet's grocery shop.

And so, the story continues in this, the third etext of The Vicomte de
Bragelonne.  Enjoy!

John Bursey
July, 2000

Louise de la Valliere
by Alexandre Dumas

Chapter I:

During all these long and noisy debates between the opposite ambitions of
politics and love, one of our characters, perhaps the one least deserving
of neglect, was, however, very much neglected, very much forgotten, and
exceedingly unhappy.  In fact, D'Artagnan - D'Artagnan, we say, for we
must call him by his name, to remind our readers of his existence -
D'Artagnan, we repeat, had absolutely nothing whatever to do, amidst
these brilliant butterflies of fashion.  After following the king during
two whole days at Fontainebleau, and critically observing the various
pastoral fancies and heroi-comic transformations of his sovereign, the
musketeer felt that he needed something more than this to satisfy the
cravings of his nature.  At every moment assailed by people asking him,
"How do you think this costume suits me, Monsieur d'Artagnan?" he would
reply to them in quiet, sarcastic tones, "Why, I think you are quite as
well-dressed as the best-dressed monkey to be found in the fair at Saint-
Laurent."  It was just such a compliment D'Artagnan would choose where he
did not feel disposed to pay any other: and, whether agreeable or not,
the inquirer was obliged to be satisfied with it.  Whenever any one asked
him, "How do you intend to dress yourself this evening?" he replied, "I
shall undress myself;" at which the ladies all laughed, and a few of them
blushed.  But after a couple of days passed in this manner, the
musketeer, perceiving that nothing serious was likely to arise which
would concern him, and that the king had completely, or, at least,
appeared to have completely forgotten Paris, Saint-Mande, and Belle-Isle
- that M. Colbert's mind was occupied with illuminations and fireworks -
that for the next month, at least, the ladies had plenty of glances to
bestow, and also to receive in exchange - D'Artagnan asked the king for
leave of absence for a matter of private business.  At the moment
D'Artagnan made his request, his majesty was on the point of going to
bed, quite exhausted from dancing.

"You wish to leave me, Monsieur d'Artagnan?" inquired the king, with an
air of astonishment; for Louis XIV. could never understand why any one
who had the distinguished honor of being near him could wish to leave him.

"Sire," said D'Artagnan, "I leave you simply because I am not of the
slightest service to you in anything.  Ah! if I could only hold the
balancing-pole while you were dancing, it would be a very different

"But, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the king, gravely, "people dance
without balancing-poles."

"Ah! indeed," said the musketeer, continuing his imperceptible tone of
irony, "I had no idea such a thing was possible."

"You have not seen me dance, then?" inquired the king.

"Yes; but I always thought dancers went from easy to difficult acrobatic
feats.  I was mistaken; all the more greater reason, therefore, that I
should leave for a time.  Sire, I repeat, you have no present occasion
for my services; besides, if your majesty should have any need of me, you
would know where to find me."

"Very well," said the king, and he granted him leave of absence.

We shall not look for D'Artagnan, therefore, at Fontainebleau, for to do
so would be useless; but, with the permission of our readers, follow him
to the Rue des Lombards, where he was located at the sign of the Pilon
d'Or, in the house of our old friend Planchet.  It was about eight
o'clock in the evening, and the weather was exceedingly warm; there was
only one window open, and that one belonging to a room on the
_entresol_.  A perfume of spices, mingled with another perfume less
exotic, but more penetrating, namely, that which arose from the street,
ascended to salute the nostrils of the musketeer.  D'Artagnan, reclining
in an immense straight-backed chair, with his legs not stretched out, but
simply placed upon a stool, formed an angle of the most obtuse form that
could possibly be seen.  Both his arms were crossed over his head, his
head reclining upon his left shoulder, like Alexander the Great.  His
eyes, usually so quick and intelligent in their expression, were now half-
closed, and seemed fastened, as it were, upon a small corner of blue sky
that was visible behind the opening of the chimneys; there was just
enough blue, and no more, to fill one of the sacks of lentils, or
haricots, which formed the principal furniture of the shop on the ground
floor.  Thus extended at his ease, and sheltered in his place of
observation behind the window, D'Artagnan seemed as if he had ceased to
be a soldier, as if he were no longer an officer belonging to the palace,
but was, on the contrary, a quiet, easy-going citizen in a state of
stagnation between his dinner and supper, or between his supper and his
bed; one of those strong, ossified brains, which have no more room for a
single idea, so fiercely does animal matter keep watch at the doors of
intelligence, narrowly inspecting the contraband trade which might result
from the introduction into the brain of a symptom of thought.  We have
already said night was closing in, the shops were being lighted, while
the windows of the upper apartments were being closed, and the rhythmic
steps of a patrol of soldiers forming the night watch could be heard
retreating.  D'Artagnan continued, however, to think of nothing, except
the blue corner of the sky.  A few paces from him, completely in the
shade, lying on his stomach, upon a sack of Indian corn, was Planchet,
with both his arms under his chin, and his eyes fixed on D'Artagnan, who
was either thinking, dreaming, or sleeping, with his eyes open.  Planchet
had been watching him for a tolerably long time, and, by way of
interruption, he began by exclaiming, "Hum! hum!"  But D'Artagnan did not
stir.  Planchet then saw that it was necessary to have recourse to more
effectual means still: after a prolonged reflection on the subject, the
most ingenious means that suggested itself to him under the present
circumstances, was to let himself roll off the sack on to the floor,
murmuring, at the same time, against himself, the word "stupid."  But,
notwithstanding the noise produced by Planchet's fall, D'Artagnan, who
had in the course of his existence heard many other, and very different

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: