List Of Contents | Contents of Ten Years Later, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"He may possibly have changed his opinion."


"You are quite sure, then?"

"Quite sure."

"But in case you should have some doubt."


"I can only say that I do not positively assure you that he will come."

"Yet he told you - "

"He certainly did tell me; but you know that man proposes and God
disposes, - _verba volant, scripta manent_."

"Which is as much to say - "

"That what is spoken flies away, and what is written remains; and, as he
did not write to me, but contented himself by saying to me, 'I will
authorize you, yet without specifically instructing you,' you must feel
that it places me in a very embarrassing position."

"What do you authorize me to do, then?"

"Why, to let your rooms if you find a good tenant for them."


"Yes, you."

"Never will I do such a thing, monsieur.  If he has not written to you,
he has written to me."

"Ah! what does he say?  Let us see if his letter agrees with his words."

"These are almost his very words.  'To the landlord of the Beau Paon
Hotel, - You will have been informed of the meeting arranged to take
place in your inn between some people of importance; I shall be one of
those who will meet with the others at Fontainebleau.  Keep for me, then,
a small room for a friend who will arrive either before or after me - '
and you are the friend, I suppose," said the landlord, interrupting his
reading of the letter.  Malicorne bowed modestly.  The landlord continued:

"'And a large apartment for myself.  The large apartment is my own
affair, but I wish the price of the smaller room to be moderate, as it is
destined for a fellow who is deucedly poor.'  It is still you he is
speaking of, is he not?" said the host.

"Oh, certainly," said Malicorne.

"Then we are agreed; your friend will settle for his apartment, and you
for your own."

"May I be broken alive on the wheel," said Malicorne to himself, "if I
understand anything at all about it," and then he said aloud, "Well,
then, are you satisfied with the name?"

"With what name?"

"With the name at the end of the letter.  Does it give you the guarantee
you require?"

"I was going to ask you the name."

"What! was the letter not signed?"

"No," said the landlord, opening his eyes very wide, full of mystery and

"In that case," said Malicorne, imitating his gesture and his mysterious
look, "if he has not given you his name, you understand, he must have his
reasons for it."

"Oh, of course."

"And, therefore, I, his friend, his confidant, must not betray him."

"You are perfectly right, monsieur," said the landlord, "and I do not
insist upon it."

"I appreciate your delicacy.  As for myself, as my friend told you, my
room is a separate affair, so let us come to terms about it.  Short
accounts make long friends.  How much is it?"

"There is no hurry."

"Never mind, let us reckon it all up all the same.  Room, my own board, a
place in the stable for my horse, and his feed.  How much per day?"

"Four livres, monsieur."

"Which will make twelve livres for the three days I have been here?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"Here are your twelve livres, then."

"But why settle now?"

"Because," said Malicorne, lowering his voice, and resorting to his
former air of mystery, because he saw that the mysterious had succeeded,
"because if I had to set off suddenly, to decamp at any moment, my
account would be settled."

"You are right, monsieur."

"I may consider myself at home, then?"


"So far so well.  Adieu!"  And the landlord withdrew.  Malicorne, left
alone, reasoned with himself in the following manner: "No one but De
Guiche or Manicamp could have written to this fellow; De Guiche, because
he wishes to secure a lodging for himself beyond the precincts of the
court, in the event of his success or failure, as the case might be;
Manicamp, because De Guiche must have intrusted him with his commission.
And De Guiche or Manicamp will have argued in this manner.  The large
apartment would serve for the reception, in a befitting manner, of a lady
thickly veiled, reserving to the lady in question a double means of exit,
either in a street somewhat deserted, or closely adjoining the forest.
The smaller room might either shelter Manicamp for a time, who is De
Guiche's confidant, and would be the vigilant keeper of the door, or De
Guiche himself, acting, for greater safety, the part of a master and
confidant at the same time.  Yet," he continued, "how about this meeting
which is to take place, and which has actually taken place, in this
hotel?  No doubt they are persons who are going to be presented to the
king.  And the 'poor devil,' for whom the smaller room is destined, is a
trick, in order to better conceal De Guiche or Manicamp.  If this be the
case, as very likely it is, there is only half the mischief done, for
there is simply the length of a purse string between Manicamp and
Malicorne."  After he had thus reasoned the matter out, Malicorne slept
soundly, leaving the seven travelers to occupy, and in every sense of the
word to walk up and down, their several lodgings in the hotel.  Whenever
there was nothing at court to put him out, when he had wearied himself
with his excursions and investigations, tired of writing letters which he
could never find an opportunity of delivering to the people they were
intended for, he returned home to his comfortable little room, and
leaning upon the balcony, which was filled with nasturtiums and white
pinks, for whom Fontainebleau seemed to possess no attractions with all
its illuminations, amusements, and _fetes_.

Things went on in this manner until the seventh day, a day of which we
have given such full details, with its night also, in the preceding
chapters.  On that night Malicorne was enjoying the fresh air, seated at
his window, toward one o'clock in the morning, when Manicamp appeared on
horseback, with a thoughtful and listless air.

"Good!" said Malicorne to himself, recognizing him at the first glance;
"there's my friend, who is come to take possession of his apartment, that
is to say, of my room."  And he called to Manicamp, who looked up and
immediately recognized Malicorne.

"Ah! by Jove!" said the former, his countenance clearing up, "glad to see
you, Malicorne.  I have been wandering about Fontainebleau, looking for
three things I cannot find: De Guiche, a room, and a stable."

"Of M. de Guiche I cannot give you either good or bad news, for I have
not seen him; but as far as concerns your room and a stable, that's
another matter, for they have been retained here for you."

"Retained - and by whom?"

"By yourself, I presume."

"By _me?_"

"Do you mean to say you did not take lodgings here?"

"By no means," said Manicamp.

At this moment the landlord appeared on the threshold of the door.

"I want a room," said Manicamp.

"Did you engage one, monsieur?"


"Then I have no rooms to let."

"In that case, I have engaged a room," said Manicamp.

"A room simply, or lodgings?"

"Anything you please."

"By letter?" inquired the landlord.

Malicorne nodded affirmatively to Manicamp.

"Of course by letter," said Manicamp.  "Did you not receive a letter from

"What was the date of the letter?" inquired the host, in whom Manicamp's
hesitation had aroused some suspicion.

Manicamp rubbed his ear, and looked up at Malicorne's window; but
Malicorne had left his window and was coming down the stairs to his
friend's assistance.  At the very same moment, a traveler, wrapped in a
large Spanish cloak, appeared at the porch, near enough to hear the

"I ask you what was the date of the letter you wrote to me to retain
apartments here?" repeated the landlord, pressing the question.

"Last Wednesday was the date," said the mysterious stranger, in a soft
and polished tone of voice, touching the landlord on the shoulder.

Manicamp drew back, and it was now Malicorne's turn, who appeared on the
threshold, to scratch his ear.  The landlord saluted the new arrival as a
man who recognizes his true guest.

"Monsieur," he said to him, with civility, "your apartment is ready for
you, and the stables too, only - "  He looked round him and inquired,
"Your horses?"

"My horses may or may not arrive.  That, however, matters but little to
you, provided you are paid for what has been engaged."  The landlord
bowed lower still.

"You have," continued the unknown traveler, "kept for me in addition, the
small room I asked for?"

"Oh!" said Malicorne, endeavoring to hide himself.

"Your friend has occupied it during the last week," said the landlord,
pointing to Malicorne, who was trying to make himself as small as
possible.  The traveler, drawing his cloak round him so as to cover the
lower part of his face, cast a rapid glance at Malicorne, and said, "This
gentleman is no friend of mine."

The landlord started violently.

"I am not acquainted with this gentleman," continued the traveler.

"What!" exclaimed the host, turning to Malicorne, "are you not this
gentleman's friend, then?"

"What does it matter whether I am or not, provided you are paid?" said
Malicorne, parodying the stranger's remark in a very majestic manner.

"It matters so far as this," said the landlord, who began to perceive
that one person had been taken for another, "that I beg you, monsieur, to
leave the rooms, which had been engaged beforehand, and by some one else
instead of you."

"Still," said Malicorne, "this gentleman cannot require at the same time
a room on the first floor and an apartment on the second.  If this
gentleman will take the room, I will take the apartment: if he prefers
the apartment, I will be satisfied with the room."

"I am exceedingly distressed, monsieur," said the traveler in his soft
voice, "but I need both the room and the apartment."

"At least, tell me for whom?" inquired Malicorne.

"The apartment I require for myself."

"Very well; but the room?"

"Look," said the traveler, pointing towards a sort of procession which
was approaching.

Malicorne looked in the direction indicated, and observed borne upon a

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