List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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one of the bravest of soldiers.  I lose a friend.  You lose M. de
Bragelonne.  He has died gloriously, so gloriously that I have not the
strength to weep as I could wish.  Receive my sad compliments, my dear
comte.  Heaven distributes trials according to the greatness of our
hearts.  This is an immense one, but not above your courage.  Your good

The letter contained a relation written by one of the prince's
secretaries.  It was the most touching recital, and the most true, of
that dismal episode which unraveled two existences.  D'Artagnan,
accustomed to battle emotions, and with a heart armed against tenderness,
could not help starting on reading the name of Raoul, the name of that
beloved boy who had become a shade now - like his father.

"In the morning," said the prince's secretary, "monseigneur commanded the
attack.  Normandy and Picardy had taken positions in the rocks dominated
by the heights of the mountain, upon the declivity of which were raised
the bastions of Gigelli.

"The cannon opened the action; the regiments marched full of resolution;
the pikemen with pikes elevated, the musket-bearers with their weapons
ready.  The prince followed attentively the march and movements of the
troops, so as to be able to sustain them with a strong reserve.  With
monseigneur were the oldest captains and his aides-de-camp.  M. le
Vicomte de Bragelonne had received orders not to leave his highness.  In
the meantime the enemy's cannon, which at first thundered with little
success against the masses, began to regulate their fire, and the balls,
better directed, killed several men near the prince.  The regiments
formed in column, and, advancing against the ramparts, were rather
roughly handled.  There was a sort of hesitation in our troops, who found
themselves ill-seconded by the artillery.  In fact, the batteries which
had been established the evening before had but a weak and uncertain aim,
on account of their position.  The upward direction of the aim lessened
the justness of the shots as well as their range.

"Monseigneur, comprehending the bad effect of this position on the siege
artillery, commanded the frigates moored in the little road to commence a
regular fire against the place.  M. de Bragelonne offered himself at once
to carry this order.  But monseigneur refused to acquiesce in the
vicomte's request.  Monseigneur was right, for he loved and wished to
spare the young nobleman.  He was quite right, and the event took upon
itself to justify his foresight and refusal; for scarcely had the
sergeant charged with the message solicited by M. de Bragelonne gained
the seashore, when two shots from long carbines issued from the enemy's
ranks and laid him low.  The sergeant fell, dyeing the sand with his
blood; observing which, M. de Bragelonne smiled at monseigneur, who said
to him, 'You see, vicomte, I have saved your life.  Report that, some
day, to M. le Comte de la Fere, in order that, learning it from you, he
may thank me.'  The young nobleman smiled sadly, and replied to the duke,
'It is true, monseigneur, that but for your kindness I should have been
killed, where the poor sergeant has fallen, and should be at rest.'  M.
de Bragelonne made this reply in such a tone that monseigneur answered
him warmly, '_Vrai Dieu!_  Young man, one would say that your mouth
waters for death; but, by the soul of Henry IV., I have promised your
father to bring you back alive; and, please the Lord, I mean to keep my

"Monseigneur de Bragelonne colored, and replied, in a lower voice,
'Monseigneur, pardon me, I beseech you.  I have always had a desire to
meet good opportunities; and it is so delightful to distinguish ourselves
before our general, particularly when that general is M. le Duc de

"Monseigneur was a little softened by this; and, turning to the officers
who surrounded him, gave different orders.  The grenadiers of the two
regiments got near enough to the ditches and intrenchments to launch
their grenades, which had but small effect.  In the meanwhile, M.
d'Estrees, who commanded the fleet, having seen the attempt of the
sergeant to approach the vessels, understood that he must act without
orders, and opened fire.  Then the Arabs, finding themselves seriously
injured by the balls from the fleet, and beholding the destruction and
the ruin of their walls, uttered the most fearful cries.  Their horsemen
descended the mountain at a gallop, bent over their saddles, and rushed
full tilt upon the columns of infantry, which, crossing their pikes,
stopped this mad assault.  Repulsed by the firm attitude of the
battalion, the Arabs threw themselves with fury towards the _etat-major_,
which was not on its guard at that moment.

"The danger was great; monseigneur drew his sword; his secretaries and
people imitated him; the officers of the suite engaged in combat with the
furious Arabs.  It was then M. de Bragelonne was able to satisfy the
inclination he had so clearly shown from the commencement of the action.
He fought near the prince with the valor of a Roman, and killed three
Arabs with his small sword.  But it was evident that his bravery did not
arise from that sentiment of pride so natural to all who fight.  It was
impetuous, affected, even forced; he sought to glut, intoxicate himself
with strife and carnage.  He excited himself to such a degree that
monseigneur called to him to stop.  He must have heard the voice of
monseigneur, because we who were close to him heard it.  He did not,
however, stop, but continued his course to the intrenchments.  As M. de
Bragelonne was a well-disciplined officer, this disobedience to the
orders of monseigneur very much surprised everybody, and M. de Beaufort
redoubled his earnestness, crying, 'Stop, Bragelonne!  Where are you
going?  Stop,' repeated monseigneur, 'I command you!'

"We all, imitating the gesture of M. le duc, we all raised our hands.  We
expected that the cavalier would turn bridle; but M. de Bragelonne
continued to ride towards the palisades.

"'Stop, Bragelonne!' repeated the prince, in a very loud voice, 'stop! in
the name of your father!'

"At these words M. de Bragelonne turned round; his countenance expressed
a lively grief, but he did not stop; we then concluded that his horse
must have run away with him.  When M. le duc saw cause to conclude that
the vicomte was no longer master of his horse, and had watched him
precede the first grenadiers, his highness cried, 'Musketeers, kill his
horse!  A hundred pistoles for the man who kills his horse!'  But who
could expect to hit the beast without at least wounding his rider?  No
one dared the attempt.  At length one presented himself; he was a sharp-
shooter of the regiment of Picardy, named Luzerne, who took aim at the
animal, fired, and hit him in the quarters, for we saw the blood redden
the hair of the horse.  Instead of falling, the cursed jennet was
irritated, and carried him on more furiously than ever.  Every Picard
who saw this unfortunate young man rushing on to meet certain death,
shouted in the loudest manner, 'Throw yourself off, monsieur le vicomte!
- off! - off! throw yourself off!'  M. de Bragelonne was an officer much
beloved in the army.  Already had the vicomte arrived within pistol-shot
of the ramparts, when a discharge was poured upon him that enshrouded him
in fire and smoke.  We lost sight of him; the smoke dispersed; he was on
foot, upright; his horse was killed.

"The vicomte was summoned to surrender by the Arabs, but he made them a
negative sign with his head, and continued to march towards the
palisades.  This was a mortal imprudence.  Nevertheless the entire army
was pleased that he would not retreat, since ill-chance had led him so
near.  He marched a few paces further, and the two regiments clapped
their hands.  It was at this moment the second discharge shook the walls,
and the Vicomte de Bragelonne again disappeared in the smoke; but this
time the smoke dispersed in vain; we no longer saw him standing.  He was
down, with his head lower than his legs, among the bushes, and the Arabs
began to think of leaving their intrenchments to come and cut off his
head or take his body - as is the custom with the infidels.  But
Monseigneur le Duc de Beaufort had followed all this with his eyes, and
the sad spectacle drew from him many painful sighs.  He then cried aloud,
seeing the Arabs running like white phantoms among the mastic-trees,
'Grenadiers! lancers! will you let them take that noble body?'

"Saying these words and waving his sword, he himself rode towards the
enemy.  The regiments, rushing in his steps, ran in their turn, uttering
cries as terrible as those of the Arabs were wild.

"The combat commenced over the body of M. de Bragelonne, and with such
inveteracy was it fought that a hundred and sixty Arabs were left upon
the field, by the side of at least fifty of our troops.  It was a
lieutenant from Normandy who took the body of the vicomte on his
shoulders and carried it back to the lines.  The advantage was, however,
pursued, the regiments took the reserve with them, and the enemy's
palisades were utterly destroyed.  At three o'clock the fire of the Arabs
ceased; the hand-to-hand fight lasted two hours; it was a massacre.  At
five o'clock we were victorious at all points; the enemy had abandoned
his positions, and M. le duc ordered the white flag to be planted on the
summit of the little mountain.  It was then we had time to think of M. de
Bragelonne, who had eight large wounds in his body, through which almost
all his blood had welled away.  Still, however, he had breathed, which
afforded inexpressible joy to monseigneur, who insisted on being present
at the first dressing of the wounds and the consultation of the
surgeons.  There were two among them who declared M. de Bragelonne would
live.  Monseigneur threw his arms around their necks, and promised them a
thousand louis each if they could save him.

"The vicomte heard these transports of joy, and whether he was in
despair, or whether he suffered much from his wounds, he expressed by his

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