List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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business, my dear governor," said Aramis.

"Alas!" replied Baisemeaux.

"You have to ask me for my receipt for one hundred and fifty thousand
livres," said the bishop.

"And to pay over the first third of the sum," added the poor governor,
with a sigh, taking three steps towards his iron strong-box.

"Here is the receipt," said Aramis.

"And here is the money," returned Baisemeaux, with a threefold sigh.

"The order instructed me only to give a receipt; it said nothing about
receiving the money," rejoined Aramis.  "Adieu, monsieur le governeur!"

And he departed, leaving Baisemeaux almost more than stifled with joy and
surprise at this regal present so liberally bestowed by the confessor
extraordinary to the Bastile.

Chapter II:
How Mouston Had Become Fatter without Giving Porthos Notice Thereof, and
of the Troubles Which Consequently Befell that Worthy Gentleman.

Since the departure of Athos for Blois, Porthos and D'Artagnan were
seldom together.  One was occupied with harassing duties for the king,
the other had been making many purchases of furniture which he intended
to forward to his estate, and by aid of which he hoped to establish in
his various residences something of the courtly luxury he had witnessed
in all its dazzling brightness in his majesty's society.  D'Artagnan,
ever faithful, one morning during an interval of service thought about
Porthos, and being uneasy at not having heard anything of him for a
fortnight, directed his steps towards his hotel, and pounced upon him
just as he was getting up.  The worthy baron had a pensive - nay, more
than pensive - melancholy air.  He was sitting on his bed, only half-
dressed, and with legs dangling over the edge, contemplating a host of
garments, which with their fringes, lace, embroidery, and slashes of ill-
assorted hues, were strewed all over the floor.  Porthos, sad and
reflective as La Fontaine's hare, did not observe D'Artagnan's entrance,
which was, moreover, screened at this moment by M. Mouston, whose
personal corpulency, quite enough at any time to hide one man from
another, was effectually doubled by a scarlet coat which the intendant
was holding up for his master's inspection, by the sleeves, that he might
the better see it all over.  D'Artagnan stopped at the threshold and
looked in at the pensive Porthos and then, as the sight of the
innumerable garments strewing the floor caused mighty sighs to heave the
bosom of that excellent gentleman, D'Artagnan thought it time to put an
end to these dismal reflections, and coughed by way of announcing himself.

"Ah!" exclaimed Porthos, whose countenance brightened with joy; "ah! ah!
Here is D'Artagnan.  I shall then get hold of an idea!"

At these words Mouston, doubting what was going on behind him, got out of
the way, smiling kindly at the friend of his master, who thus found
himself freed from the material obstacle which had prevented his reaching
D'Artagnan.  Porthos made his sturdy knees crack again in rising, and
crossing the room in two strides, found himself face to face with his
friend, whom he folded to his breast with a force of affection that
seemed to increase with every day.  "Ah!" he repeated, "you are always
welcome, dear friend; but just now you are more welcome than ever."

"But you seem to have the megrims here!" exclaimed D'Artagnan.

Porthos replied by a look expressive of dejection.  "Well, then, tell me
all about it, Porthos, my friend, unless it is a secret."

"In the first place," returned Porthos, "you know I have no secrets from
you.  This, then, is what saddens me."

"Wait a minute, Porthos; let me first get rid of all this litter of satin
and velvet!"

"Oh, never mind," said Porthos, contemptuously; "it is all trash."

"Trash, Porthos!  Cloth at twenty-five livres an ell! gorgeous satin!
regal velvet!"

"Then you think these clothes are - "

"Splendid, Porthos, splendid!  I'll wager that you alone in France have
so many; and suppose you never had any more made, and were to live to be
a hundred years of age, which wouldn't astonish me in the very least, you
could still wear a new dress the day of your death, without being obliged
to see the nose of a single tailor from now till then."

Porthos shook his head.

"Come, my friend," said D'Artagnan, "this unnatural melancholy in you
frightens me.  My dear Porthos, pray get it out, then.  And the sooner
the better."

"Yes, my friend, so I will: if, indeed, it is possible."

"Perhaps you have received bad news from Bracieux?"

"No: they have felled the wood, and it has yielded a third more than the

"Then there has been a falling-off in the pools of Pierrefonds?"

"No, my friend: they have been fished, and there is enough left to stock
all the pools in the neighborhood."

"Perhaps your estate at Vallon has been destroyed by an earthquake?"

"No, my friend; on the contrary, the ground was struck with lightning a
hundred paces from the chateau, and a fountain sprung up in a place
entirely destitute of water."

"What in the world _is_ the matter, then?"

"The fact is, I have received an invitation for the _fete_ at Vaux," said
Porthos, with a lugubrious expression.

"Well! do you complain of that?  The king has caused a hundred mortal
heart-burnings among the courtiers by refusing invitations.  And so, my
dear friend, you are really going to Vaux?"

"Indeed I am!"

"You will see a magnificent sight."

"Alas!  I doubt it, though."

"Everything that is grand in France will be brought together there!"

"Ah!" cried Porthos, tearing out a lock of hair in his despair.

"Eh! good heavens, are you ill?" cried D'Artagnan.

"I am as firm as the Pont-Neuf!  It isn't that."

"But what is it, then?"

"'Tis that I have no clothes!"

D'Artagnan stood petrified.  "No clothes!  Porthos, no clothes!" he
cried, "when I see at least fifty suits on the floor."

"Fifty, truly; but not one which fits me!"

"What? not one that fits you?  But are you not measured, then, when you
give an order?"

"To be sure he is," answered Mouston; "but unfortunately _I_ have gotten

"What! _you_ stouter!"

"So much so that I am now bigger than the baron.  Would you believe it,

"_Parbleu!_ it seems to me that is quite evident."

"Do you see, stupid?" said Porthos, "that is quite evident!"

"Be still, my dear Porthos," resumed D'Artagnan, becoming slightly
impatient, "I don't understand why your clothes should not fit you,
because Mouston has grown stouter."

"I am going to explain it," said Porthos.  "You remember having related
to me the story of the Roman general Antony, who had always seven wild
boars kept roasting, each cooked up to a different point; so that he
might be able to have his dinner at any time of the day he chose to ask
for it.  Well, then, I resolved, as at any time I might be invited to
court to spend a week, I resolved to have always seven suits ready for
the occasion."

"Capitally reasoned, Porthos - only a man must have a fortune like yours
to gratify such whims.  Without counting the time lost in being measured,
the fashions are always changing."

"That is exactly the point," said Porthos, "in regard to which I
flattered myself I had hit on a very ingenious device."

"Tell me what it is; for I don't doubt your genius."

"You remember what Mouston once was, then?"

"Yes; when he used to call himself Mousqueton."

"And you remember, too, the period when he began to grow fatter?"

"No, not exactly.  I beg your pardon, my good Mouston."

"Oh! you are not in fault, monsieur," said Mouston, graciously.  "You
were in Paris, and as for us, we were at Pierrefonds."

"Well, well, my dear Porthos; there was a time when Mouston began to grow
fat.  Is that what you wished to say?"

"Yes, my friend; and I greatly rejoice over the period."

"Indeed, I believe you do," exclaimed D'Artagnan.

"You understand," continued Porthos, "what a world of trouble it spared
for me."

"No, I don't - by any means."

"Look here, my friend.  In the first place, as you have said, to be
measured is a loss of time, even though it occur only once a fortnight.
And then, one may be travelling; and then you wish to have seven suits
always with you.  In short, I have a horror of letting any one take my
measure.  Confound it! either one is a nobleman or not.  To be
scrutinized and scanned by a fellow who completely analyzes you, by inch
and line - 'tis degrading!  Here, they find you too hollow; there, too
prominent.  They recognize your strong and weak points.  See, now, when
we leave the measurer's hands, we are like those strongholds whose angles
and different thicknesses have been ascertained by a spy."

"In truth, my dear Porthos, you possess ideas entirely original."

"Ah! you see when a man is an engineer - "

"And has fortified Belle-Isle - 'tis natural, my friend."

"Well, I had an idea, which would doubtless have proved a good one, but
for Mouston's carelessness."

D'Artagnan glanced at Mouston, who replied by a slight movement of his
body, as if to say, "You will see whether I am at all to blame in all

"I congratulated myself, then," resumed Porthos, "at seeing Mouston get
fat; and I did all I could, by means of substantial feeding, to make him
stout - always in the hope that he would come to equal myself in girth,
and could then be measured in my stead."

"Ah!" cried D'Artagnan.  "I see - that spared you both time and

"Consider my joy when, after a year and a half's judicious feeding - for
I used to feed him up myself - the fellow - "

"Oh!  I lent a good hand myself, monsieur," said Mouston, humbly.

"That's true.  Consider my joy when, one morning, I perceived Mouston was
obliged to squeeze in, as I once did myself, to get through the little
secret door that those fools of architects had made in the chamber of the
late Madame du Vallon, in the chateau of Pierrefonds.  And, by the way,
about that door, my friend, I should like to ask you, who know
everything, why these wretches of architects, who ought to have the

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