List Of Contents | Contents of The Man in the Iron Mask, by Dumas, Pere
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countenance a contradiction, which gave rise to reflection, particularly
in one of the secretaries when he had heard what follows.  The third
surgeon was the brother of Sylvain de Saint-Cosme, the most learned of
them all.  He probed the wounds in his turn, and said nothing.  M. de
Bragelonne fixed his eyes steadily upon the skillful surgeon, and seemed
to interrogate his every movement.  The latter, upon being questioned by
monseigneur, replied that he saw plainly three mortal wounds out of
eight, but so strong was the constitution of the wounded, so rich was he
in youth, and so merciful was the goodness of God, that perhaps M. de
Bragelonne might recover, particularly if he did not move in the
slightest manner.  Frere Sylvain added, turning towards his assistants,
'Above everything, do not allow him to move, even a finger, or you will
kill him;' and we all left the tent in very low spirits.  That secretary
I have mentioned, on leaving the tent, thought he perceived a faint and
sad smile glide over the lips of M. de Bragelonne when the duke said to
him, in a cheerful, kind voice, 'We will save you, vicomte, we will save
you yet.'

"In the evening, when it was believed the wounded youth had taken some
repose, one of the assistants entered his tent, but rushed out again
immediately, uttering loud cries.  We all ran up in disorder, M. le duc
with us, and the assistant pointed to the body of M. de Bragelonne upon
the ground, at the foot of his bed, bathed in the remainder of his
blood.  It appeared that he had suffered some convulsion, some delirium,
and that he had fallen; that the fall had accelerated his end, according
to the prognosis of Frere Sylvain.  We raised the vicomte; he was cold
and dead.  He held a lock of fair hair in his right hand, and that hand
was tightly pressed upon his heart."

Then followed the details of the expedition, and of the victory obtained
over the Arabs.  D'Artagnan stopped at the account of the death of poor
Raoul.  "Oh!" murmured he, "unhappy boy! a suicide!"  And turning his
eyes towards the chamber of the chateau, in which Athos slept in eternal
sleep, "They kept their words with each other," said he, in a low voice;
"now I believe them to be happy; they must be reunited."  And he returned
through the parterre with slow and melancholy steps.  All the village -
all the neighborhood - were filled with grieving neighbors relating to
each other the double catastrophe, and making preparations for the

Chapter LX:
The Last Canto of the Poem.

On the morrow, all the _noblesse_ of the provinces, of the environs, and
wherever messengers had carried the news, might have been seen arriving
in detachments.  D'Artagnan had shut himself up, without being willing to
speak to anybody.  Two such heavy deaths falling upon the captain, so
closely after the death of Porthos, for a long time oppressed that spirit
which had hitherto been so indefatigable and invulnerable.  Except
Grimaud, who entered his chamber once, the musketeer saw neither servants
nor guests.  He supposed, from the noises in the house, and the continual
coming and going, that preparations were being made for the funeral of
the comte.  He wrote to the king to ask for an extension of his leave of
absence.  Grimaud, as we have said, had entered D'Artagnan's apartment,
had seated himself upon a joint-stool near the door, like a man who
meditates profoundly; then, rising, he made a sign to D'Artagnan to
follow him.  The latter obeyed in silence.  Grimaud descended to the
comte's bed-chamber, showed the captain with his finger the place of the
empty bed, and raised his eyes eloquently towards Heaven.

"Yes," replied D'Artagnan, "yes, good Grimaud - now with the son he loved
so much!"

Grimaud left the chamber, and led the way to the hall, where, according
to the custom of the province, the body was laid out, previously to being
put away forever.  D'Artagnan was struck at seeing two open coffins in
the hall.  In reply to the mute invitation of Grimaud, he approached, and
saw in one of them Athos, still handsome in death, and, in the other,
Raoul with his eyes closed, his cheeks pearly as those of the Palls of
Virgil, with a smile on his violet lips.  He shuddered at seeing the
father and son, those two departed souls, represented on earth by two
silent, melancholy bodies, incapable of touching each other, however
close they might be.

"Raoul here!" murmured he.  "Oh!  Grimaud, why did you not tell me this?"

Grimaud shook his head, and made no reply; but taking D'Artagnan by the
hand, he led him to the coffin, and showed him, under the thin winding-
sheet, the black wounds by which life had escaped.  The captain turned
away his eyes, and, judging it was useless to question Grimaud, who would
not answer, he recollected that M. de Beaufort's secretary had written
more than he, D'Artagnan, had had the courage to read.  Taking up the
recital of the affair which had cost Raoul his life, he found these
words, which ended the concluding paragraph of the letter:

"Monseigneur le duc has ordered that the body of monsieur le vicomte
should be embalmed, after the manner practiced by the Arabs when they
wish their dead to be carried to their native land; and monsieur le duc
has appointed relays, so that the same confidential servant who brought
up the young man might take back his remains to M. le Comte de la Fere."

"And so," thought D'Artagnan, "I shall follow thy funeral, my dear boy -
I, already old - I, who am of no value on earth - and I shall scatter
dust upon that brow I kissed but two months since.  God has willed it to
be so.  Thou hast willed it to be so, thyself.  I have no longer the
right even to weep.  Thou hast chosen death; it seemed to thee a
preferable gift to life."

At length arrived the moment when the chill remains of these two
gentlemen were to be given back to mother earth.  There was such an
affluence of military and other people that up to the place of the
sepulture, which was a little chapel on the plain, the road from the city
was filled with horsemen and pedestrians in mourning.  Athos had chosen
for his resting-place the little inclosure of a chapel erected by himself
near the boundary of his estates.  He had had the stones, cut in 1550,
brought from an old Gothic manor-house in Berry, which had sheltered his
early youth.  The chapel, thus rebuilt, transported, was pleasing to the
eye beneath its leafy curtains of poplars and sycamores.  It was
ministered in every Sunday, by the cure of the neighboring bourg, to whom
Athos paid an allowance of two hundred francs for this service; and all
the vassals of his domain, with their families, came thither to hear
mass, without having any occasion to go to the city.

Behind the chapel extended, surrounded by two high hedges of hazel, elder
and white thorn, and a deep ditch, the little inclosure - uncultivated,
though gay in its sterility; because the mosses there grew thick, wild
heliotrope and ravenelles there mingled perfumes, while from beneath an
ancient chestnut issued a crystal spring, a prisoner in its marble
cistern, and on the thyme all around alighted thousands of bees from the
neighboring plants, whilst chaffinches and redthroats sang cheerfully
among the flower-spangled hedges.  It was to this place the somber
coffins were carried, attended by a silent and respectful crowd.  The
office of the dead being celebrated, the last adieux paid to the noble
departed, the assembly dispersed, talking, along the roads, of the
virtues and mild death of the father, of the hopes the son had given, and
of his melancholy end upon the arid coast of Africa.

Little by little, all noises were extinguished, like the lamps
illuminating the humble nave.  The minister bowed for the last time to
the altar and the still fresh graves; then, followed by his assistant, he
slowly took the road back to the presbytery.  D'Artagnan, left alone,
perceived that night was coming on.  He had forgotten the hour, thinking
only of the dead.  He arose from the oaken bench on which he was seated
in the chapel, and wished, as the priest had done, to go and bid a last
adieu to the double grave which contained his two lost friends.

A woman was praying, kneeling on the moist earth.  D'Artagnan stopped at
the door of the chapel, to avoid disturbing her, and also to endeavor to
find out who was the pious friend who performed this sacred duty with so
much zeal and perseverance.  The unknown had hidden her face in her
hands, which were white as alabaster.  From the noble simplicity of her
costume, she must be a woman of distinction.  Outside the inclosure were
several horses mounted by servants; a travelling carriage was in waiting
for this lady.  D'Artagnan in vain sought to make out what caused her
delay.  She continued praying, and frequently pressed her handkerchief to
her face, by which D'Artagnan perceived she was weeping.  He beheld her
strike her breast with the compunction of a Christian woman.  He heard
her several times exclaim as from a wounded heart: "Pardon! pardon!"  And
as she appeared to abandon herself entirely to her grief, as she threw
herself down, almost fainting, exhausted by complaints and prayers,
D'Artagnan, touched by this love for his so much regretted friends, made
a few steps towards the grave, in order to interrupt the melancholy
colloquy of the penitent with the dead.  But as soon as his step sounded
on the gravel, the unknown raised her head, revealing to D'Artagnan a
face aflood with tears, a well-known face.  It was Mademoiselle de la
Valliere!  "Monsieur d'Artagnan!" murmured she.

"You!" replied the captain, in a stern voice, "you here! - oh! madame, I
should better have liked to see you decked with flowers in the mansion of
the Comte de la Fere.  You would have wept less - and they too - and I!"

"Monsieur!" said she, sobbing.

"For it was you," added this pitiless friend of the dead, - "it was you
who sped these two men to the grave."

"Oh! spare me!"

"God forbid, madame, that I should offend a woman, or that I should make
her weep in vain; but I must say that the place of the murderer is not

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