Part 12 out of 21
"She has been here little more than half an hour, and I had
no expectation she would come this evening."
"You love me just a little, then, marquise?"
"That is not the question now; it is of your danger; how are
your affairs going on?"
"I am going this evening to get my friends out of the
prisons of the Palais."
"How will you do that?"
"By buying and bribing the governor."
"He is a friend of mine; can I assist you, without injuring
"Oh! marquise, it would be a signal service; but how can you
be employed without your being compromised? Now, never shall
my life, my power, or even my liberty, be purchased at the
expense of a single tear from your eyes, or of one frown of
pain upon your brow."
"Monseigneur, no more such words, they bewilder me; I have
been culpable in trying to serve you, without calculating
the extent of what I was doing. I love you in reality, as a
tender friend; and as a friend, I am grateful for your
delicate attentions -- but, alas! -- alas! you will never
find a mistress in me."
"Marquise!" cried Fouquet, in a tone of despair; "why not?"
"Because you are too much beloved," said the young woman, in
a low voice; "because you are too much beloved by too many
people -- because the splendor of glory and fortune wound my
eyes, whilst the darkness of sorrow attracts them; because,
in short, I, who have repulsed you in your proud
magnificence; I who scarcely looked at you in your splendor,
I came, like a mad woman, to throw myself, as it were, into
your arms, when I saw a misfortune hovering over your head.
You understand me now, monseigneur? Become happy again, that
I may remain chaste in heart and in thought; your misfortune
entails my ruin."
"Oh! madame," said Fouquet, with an emotion he had never
before felt; "were I to fall to the lowest degree of human
misery, and hear from your mouth that word which you now
refuse me, that day, madame, you will be mistaken in your
noble egotism; that day you will fancy you are consoling the
most unfortunate of men, and you will have said, I love you,
to the most illustrious, the most delighted, the most
triumphant of the happy beings of this world."
He was still at her feet, kissing her hand, when Pellisson
entered precipitately, crying, in very ill-humor,
"Monseigneur! madame! for Heaven's sake! excuse me.
Monseigneur, you have been here half an hour. Oh! do not
both look at me so reproachfully. Madame, pray who is that
lady who left your house soon after monseigneur came in?"
"Madame Vanel," said Fouquet.
"Ha!" cried Pellisson, "I was sure of that."
"Well! what then?"
"Why, she got into her carriage, looking deadly pale."
"What consequence is that to me?"
"Yes, but what she said to her coachman is of consequence to
"Kind heaven!" cried the marquise, "what was that?"
"To M. Colbert's!" said Pellisson, in a hoarse voice.
"Bon Dieu! -- begone, begone, monseigneur!" replied the
marquise, pushing Fouquet out of the salon, whilst Pellisson
dragged him by the hand.
"Am I, then, indeed," said the superintendent, "become a
child, to be frightened by a shadow?"
"You are a giant," said the marquise, "whom a viper is
trying to bite in the heel."
Pellisson continued to drag Fouquet to the carriage. "To the
Palais at full speed!" cried Pellisson to the coachman. The
horses set off like lightning; no obstacle relaxed their
pace for an instant. Only, at the arcade Saint-Jean, as they
were coming out upon the Place de Greve, a long file of
horsemen, barring the narrow passage, stopped the carriage
of the superintendent. There was no means of forcing this
barrier; it was necessary to wait till the mounted archers
of the watch, for it was they who stopped the way, had
passed with the heavy carriage they were escorting, and
which ascended rapidly towards the Place Baudoyer. Fouquet
and Pellisson took no further account of this circumstance
beyond deploring the minute's delay they had thus to submit
to. They entered the habitation of the concierge du Palais
five minutes after. That officer was still walking about in
the front court. At the name of Fouquet, whispered in his
ear by Pellisson, the governor eagerly approached the
carriage, and, hat in his hand, was profuse in his
attentions. "What an honor for me, monseigneur," said he.
"One word, monsieur le gouverneur, will you take the trouble
to get into my carriage?" The officer placed himself
opposite Fouquet in the coach.
"Monsieur," said Fouquet, "I have a service to ask of you."
"A service that will be compromising for you, monsieur, but
which will assure to you forever my protection and my
"Were it to cast myself into the fire for you, monseigneur,
I would do it."
"That is well," said Fouquet; "what I require is much more
"That being so, monseigneur, what is it?"
"To conduct me to the chamber of Messieurs Lyodot and
"Will monseigneur have the kindness to say for what
"I will tell you in their presence, monsieur; at the same
time that I will give you ample means of palliating this
"Escape! Why, then, monseigneur does not know?"
"That Messieurs Lyodot and D'Eymeris are no longer here."
"Since when?" cried Fouquet, in great agitation.
"About a quarter of an hour."
"Whither have they gone, then?"
"To Vincennes -- to the donjon."
"Who took them from here?"
"An order from the king."
"Oh! woe! woe!" exclaimed Fouquet, striking his forehead.
"Woe!" and without saying a single word more to the
governor, he threw himself back in his carriage, despair in
his heart, and death on his countenance.
"Well!" said Pellisson, with great anxiety.
"Our friends are lost. Colbert is conveying them to the
donjon. They crossed our very path under the arcade
Pellisson, struck as by a thunderbolt, made no reply. With a
single reproach he would have killed his master. "Where is
monseigneur going?" said the footman.
"Hone -- to Paris. You, Pellisson, return to Saint-Mande,
and bring the Abbe Fouquet to me within an hour. Begone!"
Plan of Battle
The night was already far advanced when the Abbe Fouquet
joined his brother. Gourville had accompanied him. These
three men, pale with dread of future events, resembled less
three powers of the day than three conspirators, united by
one single thought of violence. Fouquet walked for a long
time, with his eyes fixed upon the floor, striking his hands
one against the other. At length, taking courage, in the
midst of a deep sigh: "Abbe," said he, "you were speaking to
me only to-day of certain people you maintain."
"Yes, monsieur," replied the abbe.
"Tell me precisely who are these people." The abbe
"Come! no fear, I am not threatening; no romancing, for I am
"Since you demand the truth, monseigneur, here it is: -- I
have a hundred and twenty friends or companions of pleasure,
who are sworn to me as the thief is to the gallows."
"And you think you can depend upon them?"
"And you will not compromise yourself?"
"I will not even make my appearance."
"And are they men of resolution?"
"They would burn Paris, if I promised them they should not
be burnt in turn."
"The thing I ask of you, abbe," said Fouquet, wiping the
sweat which fell from his brow, "is to throw your hundred
and twenty men upon the people I will point out to you, at a
certain moment given -- is it possible?"
"It will not be the first time such a thing has happened to
"That is well: but would these bandits attack an armed
"They are used to that."
"Then get your hundred and twenty men together, abbe."
"Directly. But where?"
"On the road to Vincennes, to-morrow, at two o'clock
"To carry off Lyodot and D'Eymeris? There will be blows to
"A number, no doubt; are you afraid?"
"Not for myself, but for you."
"Your men will know, then, what they have to do?"
"They are too intelligent not to guess it. Now, a minister
who gets up a riot against his king -- exposes himself ----
"Of what importance is that to you, I pray? Besides, if I
fall, you fall with me."
"It would then be more prudent, monsieur, not to stir in the
affair, and leave the king to take this little
"Think well of this, abbe, Lyodot and D'Eymeris at Vincennes
are a prelude of ruin for my house. I repeat it -- I
arrested, you will be imprisoned -- I imprisoned, you will
"Monsieur, I am at your orders; have you any to give me?"
"What I told you -- I wish that, to-morrow, the two
financiers of whom they mean to make victims, whilst there
remain so many criminals unpunished, should be snatched from
the fury of my enemies. Take your measures accordingly. Is
"It is possible."
"Describe your plan."
"It is of rich simplicity. The ordinary guard at executions
consists of twelve archers."
"There will be a hundred to-morrow."
"I reckon so. I even say more -- there will be two hundred."
"Then your hundred and twenty men will not be enough."
"Pardon me. In every crowd composed of a hundred thousand
spectators, there are ten thousand bandits or cut-purses --
only they dare not take the initiative."
"There will then be, to-morrow, on the Place de Greve, which
I choose as my battle-field, ten thousand auxiliaries to my
hundred and twenty men. The attack commenced by the latter,
the others will finish it."
"That all appears feasible. But what will be done with
regard to the prisoners upon the Place de Greve?"
"This: they must be thrust into some house -- that will make
a siege necessary to get them out again. And stop! here is
another idea, more sublime still: certain houses have two
issues -- one upon the Place, and the other into the Rue de
la Mortellerie, or la Vennerie, or la Texeranderie. The
prisoners entering by one door will go out at another."
"Yes, but fix upon something positive."
"I am seeking to do so."
"And I," cried Fouquet, "I have found it. Listen to what has
occurred to me at this moment."
"I am listening."
Fouquet made a sign to Gourville, who appeared to
understand. "One of my friends lends me sometimes the keys
of a house which he rents, Rue Baudoyer, the spacious
gardens of which extend behind a certain house on the Place
"That is the place for us," said the abbe. "What house?"
"A cabaret, pretty well frequented, whose sign represents
the image of Notre Dame."
"I know it," said the abbe.
"This cabaret has windows opening upon the Place, a place of
exit into the court, which must abut upon the gardens of my
friend by a door of communication."
"Good!" said the abbe.
"Enter by the cabaret, take the prisoners in; defend the
door while you enable them to fly by the garden and the
"That is all plain. Monsieur, you would make an excellent
general, like monsieur le prince."
"Have you understood me?"
"How much will it amount to, to make your bandits all drunk
with wine, and to satisfy them with gold?"
"Oh, monsieur, what an expression! Oh! monsieur, if they
heard you: some of them are very susceptible."
"I mean to say they must be brought no longer to know the
heavens from the earth; for I shall to-morrow contend with
the king; and when I fight I mean to conquer -- please to
"It shall be done, monsieur. Give me your other ideas."
"That is your business."
"Then give me your purse."
"Gourville, count a hundred thousand livres for the abbe."
"Good! and spare nothing, did you not say?"
"That is well."
"Monseigneur," objected Gourville, "if this should be known,
we should lose our heads."
"Eh! Gourville," replied Fouquet, purple with anger, "you
excite my pity. Speak for yourself, if you please. My head
does not shake in that manner upon my shoulders. Now, abbe,
is everything arranged?"
"At two o'clock to-morrow."
"At twelve, because it will be necessary to prepare our
auxiliaries in a secret manner."
"That is true; do not spare the wine of the cabaretier."
"I will spare neither his wine nor his house," replied the
abbe, with a sneering laugh. "I have my plan, I tell you;
leave me to set it in operation, and you shall see."
"Where shall you be yourself?"
"And how shall I receive information?"
"By a courier whose horse shall be kept in the very garden
of your friend. A propos, the name of your friend?"
Fouquet looked again at Gourville. The latter came to the
succor of his master, saying, "Accompanying monsieur l'abbe
for several reasons, only the house is easily to be known,
the `Image-de-Notre-Dame' in the front, a garden, the only
one in the quarter, behind."
"Good, good! I will go and give notice to my soldiers."
"Accompany him, Gourville," said Fouquet, "and count him
down the money. One moment, abbe -- one moment, Gourville --
what name will be given to this carrying off?"
"A very natural one, monsieur -- the Riot."
"The riot on account of what? For, if ever the people of
Paris are disposed to pay their court to the king, it is
when he hangs financiers."
"I will manage that," said the abbe.
"Yes; but you may manage it badly, and people will guess."
"Not at all, -- not at all. I have another idea."
"What is that?"
"My men shall cry out, `Colbert, vive Colbert!' and shall
throw themselves upon the prisoners as if they would tear
them in pieces, and shall force them from the gibbets, as
too mild a punishment."
"Ah! that is an idea," said Gourville. "Peste! monsieur
l'abbe, what an imagination you have!"
"Monsieur, we are worthy of our family," replied the abbe,
"Strange fellow," murmured Fouquet. Then he added, "That is
ingenious. Carry it out, but shed no blood."
Gourville and the abbe set off together, with their heads
full of the meditated riot. The superintendent laid himself
down upon some cushions, half valiant with respect to the
sinister projects of the morrow, half dreaming of love.
The Cabaret of the Image-de-Notre-Dame
At two o'clock the next day fifty thousand spectators had
taken their position upon the Place, around the two gibbets
which had been elevated between the Quai de la Greve and the
Quai Pelletier; one close to the other, with their backs to
the embankment of the river. In the morning also, all the
sworn criers of the good city of Paris had traversed the
quarters of the city, particularly the halles and the
faubourgs, announcing with their hoarse and indefatigable
voices, the great justice done by the king upon two
speculators, two thieves, devourers of the people. And these
people, whose interests were so warmly looked after, in
order not to fail in respect for their king quitted shops,
stalls, and ateliers to go and evince a little gratitude to
Louis XIV., absolutely like invited guests, who feared to
commit an impoliteness in not repairing to the house of him
who had invited them. According to the tenor of the
sentence, which the criers read aloud and incorrectly, two
farmers of the revenues, monopolists of money, dilapidators
of the royal provisions, extortioners, and forgers, were
about to undergo capital punishment on the Place de Greve,
with their names blazoned over their heads, according to
their sentence. As to those names, the sentence made no
mention of them. The curiosity of the Parisians was at its
height, and, as we have said, an immense crowd waited with
feverish impatience the hour fixed for the execution. The
news had already spread that the prisoners, transferred to
the Chateau of Vincennes, would be conducted from that
prison to the Place de Greve. Consequently, the faubourg and
the Rue Saint Antoine were crowded, for the population of
Paris in those days of great executions was divided into two
categories: those who came to see the condemned pass --
these were of timid and mild hearts, but philosophically
curious -- and those who wished to see the condemned die --
these had hearts that hungered for sensation. On this day M.
d'Artagnan received his last instructions from the king, and
made his adieus to his friends, the number of whom was, at
the moment, reduced to Planchet, traced the plan of his day,
as every busy man whose moments are counted ought to do
because he appreciates their importance.
"My departure is to be," said he, "at break of day, three
o'clock in the morning; I have then fifteen hours before me.
Take from them the six hours of sleep which are
indispensable for me -- six; one hour for repasts -- seven;
one hour for a farewell visit to Athos -- eight; two hours
for chance circumstances ---total, ten. There are then five
hours left. One hour to get my money, -- that is, to have
payment refused by M. Fouquet; another hour to go and
receive my money of M. Colbert, together with his questions
and grimaces; one hour to look over my clothes and arms, and
get my boots cleaned. I have still two hours left. Mordioux!
how rich I am!" And so saying, D'Artagnan felt a strange
joy, a joy of youth, a perfume of those great and happy
years of former times mount into his brain and intoxicate
him. "During these two hours I will go," said the musketeer,
"and take my quarter's rent of the Image-de-Notre-Dame. That
will be pleasant. Three hundred and seventy-five livres.
Mordioux! but that is astonishing! If the poor man who has
but one livre in his pocket, found a livre and twelve
deniers, that would be justice, that would be excellent; but
never does such a godsend fall to the lot of the poor man.
The rich man, on the contrary, makes himself revenues with
his money, which he does not even touch. Here are three
hundred and seventy-five livres which fall to me from
heaven. I will go then to the Image-de-Notre-Dame, and drink
a glass of Spanish wine with my tenant, which he cannot fail
to offer me. But order must be observed, Monsieur
d'Artagnan, order must be observed! Let us organize our
time, then, and distribute the employment of it! Art. 1st,
Athos; Art. 2d, the Image-de-Notre-Dame; Art. 3d, M.
Fouquet, Art. 4th, M. Colbert; Art. 5th, supper; Art. 6th,
clothes, boots, horse, portmanteau; Art. 7th and last,
In consequence of this arrangement, D'Artagnan went straight
to the Comte de la Fere, to whom modestly and ingenuously he
related a part of his fortunate adventures. Athos had not
been without uneasiness on the subject of D'Artagnan's visit
to the king; but few words sufficed for an explanation of
that. Athos divined that Louis had charged D'Artagnan with
some important mission, and did not even make an effort to
draw the secret from him. He only recommended him to take
care of himself, and offered discreetly to accompany him if
that were desirable.
"But, my dear friend," said D'Artagnan, "I am going
"What! you come and bid me adieu, and are going nowhere?"
"Oh! yes, yes," replied D'Artagnan, coloring a little, "I am
going to make an acquisition."
"That is quite another thing. Then I change my formula.
Instead of `Do not get yourself killed,' I will say, -- `Do
not get yourself robbed.'"
"My friend, I will inform you if I set eyes on any property
that pleases me, and shall expect you will favor me with
"Yes, yes," said Athos, too delicate to permit himself even
the consolation of a smile. Raoul imitated the paternal
reserve. But D'Artagnan thought it would appear too
mysterious to leave his friends under a pretense, without
even telling them the route he was about to take.
"I have chosen Le Mans," said he to Athos. "Is it a good
"Excellent, my friend," replied the count, without making
him observe that Le Mans was in the same direction as La
Touraine, and that by waiting two days, at most, he might
travel with a friend. But D'Artagnan, more embarrassed than
the count, dug, at every explanation, deeper into the mud,
into which he sank by degrees. "I shall set out to-morrow at
daybreak," said he at last. "Till that time, will you come
with me, Raoul?"
"Yes, monsieur le chevalier," said the young man, "if
monsieur le comte does not want me."
"No, Raoul I am to have an audience to-day of Monsieur, the
king's brother; that is all I have to do."
Raoul asked Grimaud for his sword, which the old man brought
him immediately. "Now then," added D'Artagnan, opening his
arms to Athos, "adieu, my dear friend!" Athos held him in a
long embrace, and the musketeer, who knew his discretion so
well, murmured in his ear -- "An affair of state," to which
Athos only replied by a pressure of the hand, still more
significant. They then separated. Raoul took the arm of his
old friend, who led him along the Rue-Saint-Honore. "I am
conducting you to the abode of the god Plutus," said
D'Artagnan to the young man; "prepare yourself. The whole
day you will witness the piling up of crowns. Heavens! how I
"Oh! what numbers of people there are in the street!" said
"Is there a procession to-day?" asked D'Artagnan of a
"Monsieur, it is a hanging," replied the man.
"What! a hanging at the Greve?" said D'Artagnan.
"The devil take the rogue who gets himself hung the day I
want to go and take my rent!" cried D'Artagnan. "Raoul, did
you ever see anybody hung?"
"Never, monsieur -- thank God!"
"Oh! how young that sounds! If you were on guard in the
trenches, as I was, and a spy! But, pardon me, Raoul, I am
doting -- you are quite right, it is a hideous sight to see
a person hung! At what hour do they hang them, monsieur, if
"Monsieur," replied the stranger respectfully, delighted at
joining conversation with two men of the sword, "it will
take place about three o'clock."
"Aha! it is now only half-past one; let us step out, we
shall be there in time to touch my three hundred and
seventy-five livres, and get away before the arrival of the
"Malefactors, monsieur," continued the bourgeois; "there are
two of them."
"Monsieur, I return you many thanks," said D'Artagnan, who,
as he grew older, had become polite to a degree. Drawing
Raoul along, he directed his course rapidly in the direction
of La Greve. Without that great experience musketeers have
of a crowd, to which were joined an irresistible strength of
wrist, and an uncommon suppleness of shoulders, our two
travelers would not have arrived at their place of
destination. They followed the line of the Quai, which they
had gained on quitting the Rue Saint-Honore, where they left
Athos. D'Artagnan went first; his elbow, his wrist, his
shoulder formed three wedges which he knew how to insinuate
with skill into the groups, to make them split and separate
like firewood. He made use sometimes of the hilt of his
sword as an additional help: introducing it between ribs
that were too rebellious, making it take the part of a lever
or crowbar, to separate husband from wife, uncle from
nephew, and brother from brother. And all this was done so
naturally, and with such gracious smiles, that people must
have had ribs of bronze not to cry thank you when the wrist
made its play, or hearts of diamond not to be enchanted when
such a bland smile enlivened the lips of the musketeer.
Raoul, following his friend, cajoled the women who admired
his beauty, pushed back the men who felt the rigidity of his
muscles, and both opened, thanks to these maneuvers, the
compact and muddy tide of the populace. They arrived in
sight of the two gibbets, from which Raoul turned away his
eyes in disgust. As for D'Artagnan, he did not even see
them; his house with its gabled roof, its windows crowded
with the curious, attracted and even absorbed all the
attention he was capable of. He distinguished in the Place
and around the houses a good number of musketeers on leave,
who, some with women, others with friends, awaited the
crowning ceremony. What rejoiced him above all was to see
that his tenant, the cabaretier, was so busy he hardly knew
which way to turn. Three lads could not supply the drinkers.
They filled the shop, the chambers, and the court, even.
D'Artagnan called Raoul's attention to this concourse,
adding: "The fellow will have no excuse for not paying his
rent. Look at those drinkers, Raoul, one would say they were
jolly companions. Mordioux! why, there is no room anywhere!"
D'Artagnan, however, contrived to catch hold of the master
by the corner of his apron, and to make himself known to
"Ah, monsieur le chevalier," said the cabaretier, half
distracted, "one minute if you please. I have here a hundred
mad devils turning my cellar upside down."
"The cellar, if you like, but not the money-box."
"Oh, monsieur, your thirty-seven and a half pistoles are all
counted out ready for you, upstairs in my chamber, but there
are in that chamber thirty customers, who are sucking the
staves of a little barrel of Oporto which I tapped for them
this very morning. Give me a minute, -- only a minute."
"So be it; so be it."
"I will go," said Raoul, in a low voice, to D'Artagnan;
"this hilarity is vile!"
"Monsieur," replied D'Artagnan, sternly, "you will please to
remain where you are. The soldier ought to familiarize
himself with all kinds of spectacles. There are in the eye,
when it is young, fibers which we must learn how to harden;
and we are not truly generous and good save from the moment
when the eye has become hardened, and the heart remains
tender. Besides, my little Raoul, would you leave me alone
here? That would be very wrong of you. Look, there is yonder
in the lower court a tree, and under the shade of that tree
we shall breathe more freely than in this hot atmosphere of
From the spot on which they had placed themselves the two
new guests of the Image-de-Notre-Dame heard the
ever-increasing hubbub of the tide of people, and lost
neither a cry nor a gesture of the drinkers, at tables in
the cabaret, or disseminated in the chambers. If D'Artagnan
had wished to place himself as a vidette for an expedition,
he could not have succeeded better. The tree under which he
and Raoul were seated covered them with its already thick
foliage; it was a low, thick chestnut-tree, with inclined
branches, that cast their shade over a table so dilapidated
the drinkers had abandoned it. We said that from this post
D'Artagnan saw everything. He observed the goings and
comings of the waiters; the arrival of fresh drinkers; the
welcome, sometimes friendly, sometimes hostile, given to the
newcomers by others already installed. He observed all this
to amuse himself, for the thirty-seven and a half pistoles
were a long time coming. Raoul recalled his attention to it.
"Monsieur," said he, "you do not hurry your tenant, and the
condemned will soon be here. There will then be such a press
we shall not be able to get out."
"You are right," said the musketeer; "Hola! oh! somebody
there! Mordioux!" But it was in vain he cried and knocked
upon the wreck of the old table, which fell to pieces
beneath his fist; nobody came.
D'Artagnan was preparing to go and seek the cabaretier
himself, to force him to a definite explanation, when the
door of the court in which he was with Raoul, a door which
communicated with the garden situated at the back, opened,
and a man dressed as a cavalier, with his sword in the
sheath, but not at his belt, crossed the court without
closing the door; and having cast an oblique glance at
D'Artagnan and his companion, directed his course towards
the cabaret itself, looking about in all directions with his
eyes capable of piercing walls of consciences. "Humph!" said
D'Artagnan, "my tenants are communicating. That, no doubt,
now, is some amateur in hanging matters." At the same moment
the cries and disturbance in the upper chambers ceased.
Silence, under such circumstances, surprises more than a
twofold increase of noise. D'Artagnan wished to see what was
the cause of this sudden silence. He then perceived that
this man, dressed as a cavalier, had just entered the
principal chamber, and was haranguing the tipplers, who all
listened to him with the greatest attention. D'Artagnan
would perhaps have heard his speech but for the dominant
noise of the popular clamors, which made a formidable
accompaniment to the harangue of the orator. But it was soon
finished, and all the people the cabaret contained came out,
one after the other, in little groups, so that there only
remained six in the chamber; one of these six, the man with
the sword, took the cabaretier aside, engaging him in
discourse more or less serious, whilst the others lit a
great fire in the chimney-place -- a circumstance rendered
strange by the fine weather and the heat.
"It is very singular," said D'Artagnan to Raoul, "but I
think I know those faces yonder."
"Don't you think you can smell the smoke here?" said Raoul
"I rather think I can smell a conspiracy," replied
He had not finished speaking, when four of these men came
down into the court, and without the appearance of any bad
design, mounted guard at the door of communication, casting,
at intervals, glances at D'Artagnan, which signified many
"Mordioux!" said D'Artagnan, in a low voice, "there is
something going on. Are you curious, Raoul?"
"According to the subject, chevalier."
"Well, I am as curious as an old woman. Come a little more
in front; we shall get a better view of the place. I would
lay a wager that view will be something curious."
"But you know, monsieur le chevalier, that I am not willing
to become a passive and indifferent spectator of the death
of the two poor devils."
"And I, then -- do you think I am a savage? We will go in
again, when it is time to do so. Come along!" And they made
their way towards the front of the house, and placed
themselves near the window which, still more strangely than
the rest, remained unoccupied. The two last drinkers,
instead of looking out at this window, kept up the fire. On
seeing D'Artagnan and his friend enter: -- "Ah! ah! a
reinforcement," murmured they.
D'Artagnan jogged Raoul's elbow. "Yes, my braves, a
reinforcement," said he; "cordieu! there is a famous fire.
Whom are you going to cook?"
The two men uttered a shout of jovial laughter, and, instead
of answering, threw on more wood. D'Artagnan could not take
his eyes off them.
"I suppose," said one of the fire-makers, "they sent you to
tell us the time -- did not they?"
"Without doubt they have," said D'Artagnan, anxious to know
what was going on; "why should I be here else, if it were
not for that?"
"Then place yourself at the window, if you please, and
observe." D'Artagnan smiled in his mustache, made a sign to
Raoul, and placed himself at the window.
The spectacle which the Greve now presented was a frightful
one. The heads, leveled by the perspective, extended afar,
thick and agitated as the ears of corn in a vast plain. From
time to time a fresh report, or a distant rumor, made the
heads oscillate and thousands of eyes flash. Now and then
there were great movements. All those ears of corn bent, and
became waves more agitated than those of the ocean, which
rolled from the extremities to the center, and beat, like
the tides, against the hedge of archers who surrounded the
gibbets. Then the handles of the halberds were let fall upon
the heads and shoulders of the rash invaders; at times,
also, it was the steel as well as the wood, and, in that
case, a large empty circle was formed around the guard; a
space conquered upon the extremities, which underwent, in
their turn the oppression of the sudden movement, which
drove them against the parapets of the Seine. From the
window, that commanded a view of the whole Place, D'Artagnan
saw, with interior satisfaction, that such of the musketeers
and guards as found themselves involved in the crowd, were
able, with blows of their fists and the hilts of their
swords, to keep room. He even remarked that they had
succeeded, by that esprit de corps which doubles the
strength of the soldier, in getting together in one group to
the amount of about fifty men; and that, with the exception
of a dozen stragglers whom he still saw rolling here and
there, the nucleus was complete, and within reach of his
voice. But it was not the musketeers and guards only that
drew the attention of D'Artagnan. Around the gibbets, and
particularly at the entrances to the arcade of Saint Jean,
moved a noisy mass, a busy mass; daring faces, resolute
demeanors were to be seen here and there, mingled with silly
faces and indifferent demeanors; signals were exchanged,
hands given and taken. D'Artagnan remarked among the groups,
and those groups the most animated, the face of the cavalier
whom he had seen enter by the door of communication from his
garden, and who had gone upstairs to harangue the drinkers.
That man was organizing troops and giving orders.
"Mordioux!" said D'Artagnan to himself, "I was not deceived;
I know that man, -- it is Menneville. What the devil is he
A distant murmur, which became more distinct by degrees,
stopped this reflection, and drew his attention another way.
This murmur was occasioned by the arrival of the culprits; a
strong picket of archers preceded them, and appeared at the
angle of the arcade. The entire crowd now joined as if in
one cry; all the cries united formed one immense howl.
D'Artagnan saw Raoul was becoming pale, and he slapped him
roughly on the shoulder. The fire-keepers turned round on
hearing the great cry, and asked what was going on. "The
condemned are arrived," said D'Artagnan. "That's well,"
replied they, again replenishing the fire. D'Artagnan looked
at them with much uneasiness; it was evident that these men
who were making such a fire for no apparent purpose had some
strange intentions. The condemned appeared upon the Place.
They were walking, the executioner before them, whilst fifty
archers formed a hedge on their right and their left. Both
were dressed in black; they appeared pale, but firm. They
looked impatiently over the people's heads, standing on
tip-toe at every step. D'Artagnan remarked this. "Mordioux!"
cried he, "they are in a great hurry to get a sight of the
gibbet!" Raoul drew back, without, however, having the power
to leave the window. Terror even has its attractions.
"To the death! to the death!" cried fifty thousand voices.
"Yes; to the death!" howled a hundred frantic others, as if
the great mass had given them the reply.
"To the halter! to the halter!" cried the great whole; "Vive
"Well," said D'Artagnan, "this is droll; I should have
thought it was M. Colbert who had caused them to be hung."
There was, at this moment, a great rolling movement in the
crowd, which stopped for a moment the march of the
condemned. The people of a bold and resolute mien, whom
D'Artagnan had observed, by dint of pressing, pushing, and
lifting themselves up, had succeeded in almost touching the
hedge of archers. The cortege resumed its march. All at
once, to cries of "Vive Colbert!" those men, of whom
D'Artagnan never lost sight, fell upon the escort, which in
vain endeavored to stand against them. Behind these men was
the crowd. Then commenced, amidst a frightful tumult, as
frightful a confusion. This time there was something more
than cries of expectation or cries of joy, there were cries
of pain. Halberds struck men down, swords ran them through,
muskets were discharged at them. The confusion became then
so great that D'Artagnan could no longer distinguish
anything. Then, from this chaos, suddenly surged something
like a visible intention, like a will pronounced. The
condemned had been torn from the hands of the guards, and
were being dragged towards the house of
L'Image-de-Notre-Dame. Those who dragged them shouted, "Vive
Colbert!" The people hesitated, not knowing which they ought
to fall upon, the archers or the aggressors. What stopped
the people was, that those who cried "Vive Colbert!" began
to cry, at the same time, "No halter! no halter! to the
fire! to the fire! burn the thieves! burn the extortioners!"
This cry, shouted with an ensemble, obtained enthusiastic
success. The populace had come to witness an execution, and
here was an opportunity offered them of performing one
themselves. It was this that must be most agreeable to the
populace: therefore, they ranged, themselves immediately on
the party of the aggressors against the archers, crying with
the minority, which had become, thanks to them, the most
compact majority: "Yes, yes: to the fire with the thieves!
"Mordioux!" exclaimed D'Artagnan, "this begins to look
One of the men who remained near the chimney approached the
window, a firebrand in his hand. "Ah, ah!" said he, "it gets
warm." Then, turning to his companion: "There is the
signal," added he; and he immediately applied the burning
brand to the wainscoting. Now, this cabaret of the
Image-de-Notre-Dame was not a very newly-built house, and
therefore did not require much entreating to take fire. In a
second the boards began to crackle, and the flames arose
sparkling to the ceiling. A howling from without replied to
the shouts of the incendiaries. D'Artagnan, who had not seen
what passed, from being engaged at the window, felt, at the
same time, the smoke which choked him and the fire that
scorched him. "Hola!" cried he, turning round, "is the fire
here? Are you drunk or mad, my masters?"
The two men looked at each other with an air of
astonishment. "In what?" asked they of D'Artagnan; "was it
not a thing agreed upon?"
"A thing agreed upon that you should burn my house!"
vociferated D'Artagnan, snatching the brand from the hand of
the incendiary, and striking him with it across the face.
The second wanted to assist his comrade, but Raoul, seizing
him by the middle, threw him out of the window, whilst
D'Artagnan pushed his man down the stairs. Raoul, first
disengaged, tore the burning wainscoting down, and threw it
flaming into the chamber. At a glance D'Artagnan saw there
was nothing to be feared from the fire, and sprang to the
window. The disorder was at its height. The air was filled
with simultaneous cries of "To the fire!" "To the death!"
"To the halter!" "To the stake!" "Vive Colbert!" "Vive le
roi!" The group which had forced the culprits from the hands
of the archers had drawn close to the house, which appeared
to be the goal towards which they dragged them. Menneville
was at the head of this group, shouting louder than all the
others, "To the fire! to the fire! Vive Colbert!" D'Artagnan
began to comprehend what was meant. They wanted to burn the
condemned, and his house was to serve as a funeral pile.
"Halt, there!" cried he, sword in hand, and one foot upon
the window. "Menneville, what do you want to do?"
"Monsieur d'Artagnan," cried the latter; "give way, give
"To the fire! to the fire with the thieves! Vive Colbert!"
These cries exasperated D'Artagnan. "Mordioux!" said he.
"What! burn the poor devils who are only condemned to be
hung? that is infamous!"
Before the door, however, the mass of anxious spectators,
rolled back against the walls, had become more thick, and
closed up the way. Menneville and his men, who were dragging
along the culprits, were within ten paces of the door.
Menneville made a last effort. "Passage! passage!" cried he,
pistol in hand.
"Burn them! burn them!" repeated the crowd. "The
Image-de-Notre-Dame is on fire! Burn the thieves! burn the
monopolists in the Image-de-Notre-Dame!"
There now remained no doubt, it was plainly D'Artagnan's
house that was their object. D'Artagnan remembered the old
cry, always so effective from his mouth:
"A moi! mousquetaires!" shouted he, with the voice of a
giant, with one of those voices which dominate over cannon,
the sea, the tempest. "A moi! mousquetaires!" And suspending
himself by the arm from the balcony, he allowed himself to
drop amidst the crowd, which began to draw back from a house
that rained men. Raoul was on the ground as soon as he, both
sword in hand. All the musketeers on the Place heard that
challenging cry -- all turned round at that cry, and
recognized D'Artagnan. "To the captain, to the captain!"
cried they, in their turn. And the crowd opened before them
as though before the prow of a vessel. At that moment
D'Artagnan and Menneville found themselves face to face.
"Passage, passage!" cried Menneville, seeing that he was
within an arm's length of the door.
"No one passes here," said D'Artagnan.
"Take that, then!" said Menneville, firing his pistol,
almost within arm's length. But before the cock fell,
D'Artagnan had struck up Menneville's arm with the hilt of
his sword and passed the blade through his body.
"I told you plainly to keep yourself quiet," said D'Artagnan
to Menneville, who rolled at his feet.
"Passage! passage!" cried the companions of Menneville, at
first terrified, but soon recovering, when they found they
had only to do with two men. But those two men were
hundred-armed giants, the swords flew about in their hands
like the burning glaive of the archangel. They pierce with
its point, strike with the flat, cut with the edge, every
stroke brings down a man. "For the king!" cried D'Artagnan,
to every man he struck at, that is to say, to every man that
fell. This cry became the charging word for the musketeers,
who guided by it, joined D'Artagnan. During this time the
archers, recovering from the panic they had undergone,
charge the aggressors in the rear, and regular as mill
strokes, overturn or knock down all that oppose them. The
crowd, which sees swords gleaming, and drops of blood flying
in the air -- the crowd falls back and crushes itself. At
length cries for mercy and of despair resound; that is, the
farewell of the vanquished. The two condemned are again in
the hands of the archers. D'Artagnan approaches them, seeing
them pale and sinking: "Console yourselves, poor men," said
he, "you will not undergo the frightful torture with which
these wretches threatened you. The king has condemned you to
be hung: you shall only be hung. Go on, hang them, and it
will be over."
There is no longer anything going on at the
Image-de-Notre-Dame. The fire has been extinguished with two
tuns of wine in default of water. The conspirators have fled
by the garden. The archers were dragging the culprits to the
gibbets. From this moment the affair did not occupy much
time. The executioner, heedless about operating according to
the rules of art, made such haste that he dispatched the
condemned in a couple of minutes. In the meantime the people
gathered around D'Artagnan, -- they felicitated, they
cheered him. He wiped his brow, streaming with sweat, and
his sword, streaming with blood. He shrugged his shoulders
at seeing Menneville writhing at his feet in the last
convulsions. And, while Raoul turned away his eyes in
compassion, he pointed to the musketeers the gibbets laden
with their melancholy fruit. "Poor devils!" said he, "I hope
they died blessing me, for I saved them with great
difficulty." These words caught the ear of Menneville at the
moment when he himself was breathing his last sigh. A dark,
ironical smile flitted across his lips, he wished to reply,
but the effort hastened the snapping of the chord of life --
"Oh! all this is very frightful!" murmured Raoul: "let us
begone, monsieur le chevalier."
"You are not wounded?" asked D'Artagnan.
"Not at all, thank you."
"That's well! Thou art a brave fellow, mordioux! The head of
the father, and the arm of Porthos. Ah! if he had been here,
good Porthos, you would have seen something worth looking
at." Then as if by way of remembrance --
"But where the devil can that brave Porthos be?" murmured
"Come, chevalier, pray come away," urged Raoul.
"One minute, my friend, let me take my thirty-seven and a
half pistoles and I am at your service. The house is a good
property," added D'Artagnan, as he entered the
Image-de-Notre-Dame, "but decidedly, even if it were less
profitable, I should prefer its being in another quarter."
How M. d'Eymeris's Diamond passed
into the Hands of M. D'Artagnan.
Whilst this violent, noisy, and bloody scene was passing on
the Greve, several men, barricaded behind the gate of
communication with the garden, replaced their swords in
their sheaths, assisted one among them to mount a ready
saddled horse which was waiting in the garden, and like a
flock of startled birds, fled in all directions, some
climbing the walls, others rushing out at the gates with all
the fury of a panic. He who mounted the horse, and gave him
the spur so sharply that the animal was near leaping the
wall, this cavalier, we say, crossed the Place Baudoyer,
passed like lightning before the crowd in the streets,
riding against, running over and knocking down all that came
in his way, and, ten minutes after, arrived at the gates of
the superintendent, more out of breath than his horse. The
Abbe Fouquet, at the clatter of the hoofs on the pavement,
appeared at a window of the court, and before even the
cavalier had set foot to the ground, "Well! Danecamp?" cried
he, leaning half out of the window.
"Well, it is all over," replied the cavalier.
"All over!" cried the abbe. "Then they are saved?"
"No, monsieur," replied the cavalier, "they are hung."
"Hung!" repeated the abbe, turning pale. A lateral door
suddenly opened, and Fouquet appeared in the chamber, pale,
distracted, with lips half opened, breathing a cry of grief
and anger. He stopped upon the threshold to listen to what
was addressed from the court to the window.
"Miserable wretches!" said the abbe. "you did not fight,
"Say like cowards."
"A hundred men accustomed to war, sword in hand, are worth
ten thousand archers in a surprise. Where is Menneville,
that boaster, that braggart, who was to come back either
dead or a conqueror?"
"Well, monsieur, he has kept his word. He is dead!"
"Dead! Who killed him?"
"A demon disguised as a man, a giant armed with ten flaming
swords -- a madman, who at one blow extinguished the fire,
put down the riot, and caused a hundred musketeers to rise
up out of the pavement of the Greve."
Fouquet raised his brow, streaming with sweat, murmuring,
"Oh! Lyodot and D'Eymeris! dead! dead! dead! and I
The abbe turned round, and perceiving his brother,
despairing and livid, "Come, come," said he, "it is a blow
of fate, monsieur; we must not lament thus. Our attempt has
failed, because God ---- "
"Be silent, abbe! be silent!" cried Fouquet; "your excuses
are blasphemies. Order that man up here, and let him relate
the details of this terrible event."
"But, brother ---- "
The abbe made a sign, and in half a minute the man's step
was heard upon the stairs. At the same time Gourville
appeared behind Fouquet, like the guardian angel of the
superintendent, pressing one finger on his lips to enjoin
observation even amidst the bursts of his grief. The
minister resumed all the serenity that human strength left
at the disposal of a heart half broken with sorrow. Danecamp
appeared. "Make your report," said Gourville.
"Monsieur," replied the messenger, "we received orders to
carry off the prisoners, and to cry `Vive Colbert!' whilst
carrying them off."
"To burn them alive, was it not, abbe?" interrupted
"Yes, yes, the order was given to Menneville. Menneville
knew what was to be done, and Menneville is dead."
This news appeared rather to reassure Gourville than to
"Yes, certainly to burn them alive," said the abbe, eagerly.
"Granted, monsieur, granted," said the man, looking into the
eyes and the faces of the two interlocutors, to ascertain
what there was profitable or disadvantageous to himself in
telling the truth.
"Now, proceed," said Gourville.
"The prisoners," cried Danecamp, "were brought to the Greve,
and the people, in a fury, insisted upon their being burnt
instead of being hung."
"And the people were right," said the abbe. "Go on."
"But," resumed the man, "at the moment the archers were
broken, at the moment the fire was set to one of the houses
of the Place destined to serve as a funeral-pile for the
guilty, this fury, this demon, this giant of whom I told
you, and who we had been informed, was the proprietor of the
house in question, aided by a young man who accompanied him,
threw out of the window those who kept up the fire, called
to his assistance the musketeers who were in the crowd,
leapt himself from the window of the first story into the
Place, and plied his sword so desperately that the victory
was restored to the archers, the prisoners were retaken, and
Menneville killed. When once recaptured, the condemned were
executed in three minutes." Fouquet, in spite of his
self-command, could not prevent a deep groan escaping him.
"And this man, the proprietor of the house, what is his
name?" said the abbe.
"I cannot tell you, not having even been able to get sight
of him; my post had been appointed in the garden, and I
remained at my post: only the affair was related to me as I
repeat it. I was ordered, when once the affair was at an
end, to come at best speed arid announce to you the manner
in which it finished. According to this order, I set out,
full gallop, and here I am."
"Very well, monsieur, we have nothing else to ask of you,"
said the abbe, more and more dejected, in proportion as the
moment approached for finding himself alone with his
"Have you been paid?" asked Gourville.
"Partly, monsieur," replied Danecamp.
"Here are twenty pistoles. Begone, monsieur, and never
forget to defend, as this time has been done, the true
interests of the king."
"Yes, monsieur," said the man, bowing and pocketing the
money. After which he went out. Scarcely had the door closed
after him when Fouquet, who had remained motionless,
advanced with a rapid step and stood between the abbe and
Gourville. Both of them at the same time opened their mouths
to speak to him. "No excuses," said he, "no recriminations
against anybody. If I had not been a false friend I should
not have confided to any one the care of delivering Lyodot
and D'Eymeris. I alone am guilty; to me alone are reproaches
and remorse due. Leave me, abbe."
"And yet, monsieur, you will not prevent me," replied the
latter, "from endeavoring to find out the miserable fellow
who has intervened to the advantage of M. Colbert in this so
well-arranged affair; for, if it is good policy to love our
friends dearly, I do not believe that is bad which consists
in obstinately pursuing our enemies."
"A truce to policy, abbe; begone, I beg of you, and do not
let me hear any more of you till I send for you; what we
most need is circumspection and silence. You have a terrible
example before you, gentlemen: no reprisals, I forbid them."
"There are no orders," grumbled the abbe, "which will
prevent me from avenging a family affront upon the guilty
"And I," cried Fouquet, in that imperative tone to which one
feels there is nothing to reply, "if you entertain one
thought, one single thought, which is not the absolute
expression of my will, I will have you cast into the Bastile
two hours after that thought has manifested itself. Regulate
your conduct accordingly, abbe."
The abbe colored and bowed. Fouquet made a sign to Gourville
to follow him, and was already directing his steps towards
his cabinet, when the usher announced with a loud voice:
"Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."
"Who is he?" said Fouquet, negligently, to Gourville.
"An ex-lieutenant of his majesty's musketeers," replied
Gourville, in the same tone. Fouquet did not even take the
trouble to reflect, and resumed his walk. "I beg your
pardon, monseigneur!" said Gourville, "but I have
remembered, this brave man has quitted the king's service,
and probably comes to receive an installment of some pension
"Devil take him!" said Fouquet, "why does he choose his
opportunity so ill?"
"Permit me then, monseigneur, to announce your refusal to
him; for he is one of my acquaintance, and is a man whom, in
our present circumstances, it would be better to have as a
friend than an enemy."
"Answer him as you please," said Fouquet.
"Eh! good Lord!" said the abbe, still full of malice, like
an egotistical man; "tell him there is no money,
particularly for musketeers."
But scarcely had the abbe uttered this imprudent speech,
when the partly open door was thrown back, and D'Artagnan
"Eh! Monsieur Fouquet," said he, "I was well aware there was
no money for musketeers here. Therefore I did not come to
obtain any, but to have it refused. That being done, receive
my thanks. I give you good-day, and will go and seek it at
M. Colbert's." And he went out, making an easy bow.
"Gourville," said Fouquet, "run after that man and bring him
back." Gourville obeyed, and overtook D'Artagnan on the
D'Artagnan, hearing steps behind him, turned round and
perceived Gourville. "Mordioux! my dear monsieur," said he,
"these are sad lessons which you gentlemen of finance teach
us; I come to M. Fouquet to receive a sum accorded by his
majesty, and I am received like a mendicant who comes to ask
charity, or a thief who comes to steal a piece of plate."
"But you pronounced the name of M. Colbert, my dear M.
d'Artagnan; you said you were going to M. Colbert's?"
"I certainly am going there, were it only to ask
satisfaction of the people who try to burn houses, crying
Gourville pricked up his ears. "Oh, oh!" said he, "you
allude to what has just happened at the Greve?"
"And in what did that which has taken place concern you?"
"What! do you ask me whether it concerns me or does not
concern me, if M. Colbert pleases to make a funeral-pile of
"So ho, your house -- was it your house they wanted to
"Pardieu! was it!"
"Is the cabaret of the Image-de-Notre-Dame yours, then?"
"It has been this week."
"Well, then, are you the brave captain, are you the valiant
blade who dispersed those who wished to burn the condemned?"
"My dear Monsieur Gourville, put yourself in my place. I was
an agent of the public force and a landlord, too. As a
captain, it is my duty to have the orders of the king
accomplished. As a proprietor, it is to my interest my house
should not be burnt. I have at the same time attended to the
laws of interest and duty in replacing Messieurs Lyodot and
D'Eymeris in the hands of the archers."
"Then it was you who threw the man out of the window?"
"It was I, myself," replied D'Artagnan, modestly
"And you who killed Menneville?"
"I had that misfortune," said D'Artagnan, bowing like a man
who is being congratulated.
"It was you, then, in short, who caused the two condemned
persons to be hung?"
"Instead of being burnt, yes, monsieur, and I am proud of
it. I saved the poor devils from horrible tortures.
Understand, my dear Monsieur de Gourville, that they wanted
to burn them alive. It exceeds imagination!"
"Go, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, go," said Gourville,
anxious to spare Fouquet the sight of the man who had just
caused him such profound grief.
"No," said Fouquet, who had heard all from the door of the
ante-chamber; "not so; on the contrary, Monsieur d'Artagnan,
D'Artagnan wiped from the hilt of his sword a last bloody
trace, which had escaped his notice, and returned. He then
found himself face to face with these three men, whose
countenances wore very different expressions. With the abbe
it was anger, with Gourville stupor, with Fouquet it was
"I beg your pardon, monsieur le ministre," said D'Artagnan,
"but my time is short; I have to go to the office of the
intendant, to have an explanation with Monsieur Colbert, and
to receive my quarter's pension."
"But, monsieur," said Fouquet, "there is money here."
D'Artagnan looked at the superintendent with astonishment.
"You have been answered inconsiderately, monsieur, I know,
because I heard it," said the minister; "a man of your merit
ought to be known by everybody." D'Artagnan bowed. "Have you
an order?" added Fouquet.
"Give it me, I will pay you myself; come with me." He made a
sign to Gourville and the abbe, who remained in the chamber
where they were. He led D'Artagnan into his cabinet. As soon
as the door was shut, -- "How much is due to you, monsieur?"
"Why, something like five thousand livres, monseigneur."
"For arrears of pay?"
"For a quarter's pay."
"A quarter consisting of five thousand livres!" said
Fouquet, fixing upon the musketeer a searching look. Does
the king, then, give you twenty thousand livres a year?"
"Yes, monseigneur, twenty thousand livres a year. Do you
think it is too much?"
"I?" cried Fouquet, and he smiled bitterly. "If I had any
knowledge of mankind, if I were -- instead of being a
frivolous, inconsequent, and vain spirit -- of a prudent and
reflective spirit; if, in a word, I had, as certain persons
have known how, regulated my life, you would not receive
twenty thousand livres a year, but a hundred thousand, and
you would not belong to the king, but to me."
D'Artagnan colored slightly. There is sometimes in the
manner in which a eulogium is given, in the voice, in the
affectionate tone, a poison so sweet, that the strongest
mind is intoxicated by it. The superintendent terminated his
speech by opening a drawer, and taking from it four rouleaux
which he placed before D'Artagnan. The Gascon opened one.
"Gold!" said he.
"It will be less burdensome, monsieur."
"But then, monsieur, these make twenty thousand livres."
"No doubt they do."
"But only five are due to me."
"I wish to spare you the trouble of coming four times to my
"You overwhelm me, monsieur."
"I do only what I ought to do, monsieur le chevalier; and I
hope you will not bear me any malice on account of the rude
reception my brother gave you. He is of a sour, capricious
"Monsieur," said D'Artagnan, "believe me, nothing would
grieve me more than an excuse from you."
"Therefore I will make no more, and will content myself with
asking you a favor."
Fouquet drew from his finger a ring worth about a thousand
pistoles. "Monsieur," said he, "this stone was given me by a
friend of my childhood, by a man to whom you have rendered a
"A service -- I?" said the musketeer, "I have rendered a
service to one of your friends?"
"You cannot have forgotten it, monsieur, for it dates this
"And that friend's name was ---- "
"One of the condemned?"
"Yes, one of the victims. Well! Monsieur d'Artagnan, in
return for the service you have rendered him, I beg you to
accept this diamond. Do so for my sake."
"Monsieur! you ---- "
"Accept it, I say. To-day is with me a day of mourning;
hereafter you will, perhaps, learn why; to-day I have lost
one friend; well, I will try to get another."
"But, Monsieur Fouquet ---- "
"Adieu! Monsieur d'Artagnan, adieu!" cried Fouquet, with
much emotion; "or rather, au revoir." And the minister
quitted the cabinet, leaving in the hands of the musketeer
the ring and the twenty thousand livres.
"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, after a moment's dark reflection.
"How on earth am I to understand what this means? Mordioux!
I can understand this much, only: he is a gallant man! I
will go and explain matters to M. Colbert." And he went out.
Of the Notable Difference D'Artagnan finds between
Monsieur the Intendant and Monsieur the Superintendent
M. Colbert resided in the Rue Neuve des Petits-Champs in a
house which had belonged to Beautru. D'Artagnan's legs
cleared the distance in a short quarter of an hour. When he
arrived at the residence of the new favorite, the court was
full of archers and police, who came to congratulate him, or
to excuse themselves according to whether he should choose
to praise or blame. The sentiment of flattery is instinctive
with people of abject condition; they have the sense of it,
as the wild animal has that of hearing and smell. These
people, or their leader, understood that there was a
pleasure to offer to M. Colbert, in rendering him an account
of the fashion in which his name had been pronounced during
the rash enterprise of the morning. D'Artagnan made his
appearance just as the chief of the watch was giving his
report. He stood close to the door, behind the archers. That
officer took Colbert on one side, in spite of his resistance
and the contraction of his bushy eyebrows. "In case," said
he, "you really desired, monsieur, that the people should do
justice on the two traitors, it would have been wise to warn
us of it; for, indeed, monsieur, in spite of our regret at
displeasing you, or thwarting your views, we had our orders
"Triple fool!" replied Colbert, furiously shaking his hair,
thick and black as a mane, "what are you telling me? What!
that I could have had an idea of a riot! Are you mad or
"But, monsieur, they cried, `Vive Colbert!'" replied the
"A handful of conspirators ---- "
"No, no; a mass of people."
"Ah! indeed," said Colbert, expanding. "A mass of people
cried, `Vive Colbert!' Are you certain of what you say,
"We had nothing to do but open our ears, or rather to close
them, so terrible were the cries."
"And this was from the people, the real people?"
"Certainly, monsieur; only these real people beat us."
"Oh! very well," continued Colbert, thoughtfully. "Then you
suppose it was the people alone who wished to burn the
"Oh! yes, monsieur."
"That is quite another thing. You strongly resisted, then?"
"We had three of our men crushed to death, monsieur!"
"But you killed nobody yourselves?"
"Monsieur, a few of the rioters were left upon the square,
and one among them who was not a common man."
"Who was he?"
"A certain Menneville, upon whom the police have a long time
had an eye."
"Menneville!" cried Colbert, "what, he who killed Rue de la
Huchette, a worthy man who wanted a fat fowl?"
"Yes, monsieur; the same."
"And did this Menneville also cry, `Vive Colbert'?"
"Louder than all the rest, like a madman."
Colbert's brow grew dark and wrinkled. A kind of ambitious
glory which had lighted his face was extinguished, like the
light of glow-worms we crush beneath the grass. "Then you
say," resumed the deceived intendant, "that the initiative
came from the people? Menneville was my enemy, I would have
had him hung, and he knew it well. Menneville belonged to
the Abbe Fouquet -- the affair originated with Fouquet; does
not everybody know that the condemned were his friends from
"That is true," thought D'Artagnan, "and thus are all my
doubts cleared up. I repeat it, Monsieur Fouquet many be
called what they please, but he is a very gentlemanly man;"
"And," continued Colbert, "are you quite sure Menneville is
D'Artagnan thought the time was come for him to make his
appearance. "Perfectly, monsieur;" replied he, advancing
"Oh! is that you, monsieur?" said Colbert.
"In person," replied the musketeer with his deliberate tone;
"it appears that you had in Menneville a pretty enemy."
"It was not I, monsieur, who had an enemy," replied Colbert;
"it was the king."
"Double brute!" thought D'Artagnan, "to think to play the
great man and the hypocrite with me. Well," continued he to
Colbert, "I am very happy to have rendered so good a service
to the king; will you take upon you to tell his majesty,
"What commission is this you give me, and what do you charge
me to tell his majesty, monsieur? Be precise, if you
please," said Colbert, in a sharp voice, tuned beforehand to
"I give you no commission," replied D'Artagnan, with that
calmness which never abandons the banterer; "I thought it
would be easy for you to announce to his majesty that it was
I who, being there by chance, did justice upon Menneville
and restored things to order."
Colbert opened his eyes and interrogated the chief of the
watch with a look -- "Ah! it is very true," said the latter,
"that this gentleman saved us."
"Why did you not tell me monsieur, that you came to relate
me this?" said Colbert with envy, "everything is explained,
and more favorably for you than for anybody else."
"You are in error, monsieur l'intendant, I did not at all
come for the purpose of relating that to you."
"It is an exploit, nevertheless."
"Oh!" said the musketeer carelessly, "constant habit blunts
"To what do I owe the honor of your visit, then?"
"Simply to this: the king ordered me to come to you."
"Ah!" said Colbert, recovering himself when he saw
D'Artagnan draw a paper from his pocket; "it is to demand
some money of me?"
"Have the goodness to wait, if you please, monsieur, till I
have dispatched the report of the watch."
D'Artagnan turned upon his heel, insolently enough, and
finding himself face to face with Colbert, after his first
turn, he bowed to him as a harlequin would have done; then,
after a second evolution, he directed his steps towards the
door in quick time. Colbert was struck with this pointed
rudeness, to which he was not accustomed. In general, men of
the sword, when they came to his office, had such a want of
money, that though their feet seemed to take root in the
marble, they hardly lost their patience. Was D'Artagnan
going straight to the king? Would he go and describe his
rough reception, or recount his exploit? This was a matter
for grave consideration. At all events, the moment was badly
chosen to send D'Artagnan away, whether he came from the
king, or on his own account. The musketeer had rendered too
great a service, and that too recently, for it to be already
forgotten. Therefore Colbert thought it would be better to
shake off his arrogance and call D'Artagnan back. "Ho!
Monsieur d'Artagnan," cried Colbert, "what! are you leaving
D'Artagnan turned round: "Why not?" said he, quietly, "we
have no more to say to each other, have we?"
"You have, at least, money to receive, as you have an
"Who, I? Oh! not at all, my dear Monsieur Colbert."
"But, monsieur, you have an order. And, in the same manner
as you give a sword-thrust, when you are required, I, on my
part, pay when an order is presented to me. Present yours."
"It is useless, my dear Monsieur Colbert," said D'Artagnan,
who inwardly enjoyed this confusion in the ideas of Colbert;
"my order is paid."
"Paid, by whom?"
"By monsieur le surintendant."
Colbert grew pale.
"Explain yourself," said he, in a stifled voice -- "if you
are paid why do you show me that paper?"
"In consequence of the word of order of which you spoke to
me so ingeniously just now, dear M. Colbert; the king told
me to take a quarter of the pension he is pleased to make
"Of me?" said Colbert.
"Not exactly. The king said to me: `Go to M. Fouquet; the
superintendent will, perhaps, have no money, then you will
go and draw it of M. Colbert.'"
The countenance of M. Colbert brightened for a moment; but
it was with his unfortunate physiognomy as with a stormy
sky, sometimes radiant, sometimes dark as night, according
as the lightning gleams or the cloud passes. "Eh! and was
there any money in the superintendent's coffers?" asked he.
"Why, yes, he could not be badly off for money," replied
D'Artagnan -- "it may be believed, since M. Fouquet, instead
of paying me a quarter or five thousand livres ---- "
"A quarter or five thousand livres!" cried Colbert, struck,
as Fouquet had been, with the generosity of the sum for a
soldier's pension, "why, that would be a pension of twenty
"Exactly, M. Colbert. Peste! you reckon like old Pythagoras;
yes, twenty thousand livres."
"Ten times the appointment of an intendant of the finances.
I beg to offer you my compliments," said Colbert, with a
"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, "the king apologized for giving me so
little; but he promised to make it more hereafter, when he
should be rich; but I must be gone, having much to do ---- "
"So, then, notwithstanding the expectation of the king, the
superintendent paid you, did he?"
"In the same manner as, in opposition to the king's
expectation, you refused to pay me."
"I did not refuse, monsieur, I only begged you to wait. And
you say that M. Fouquet paid you your five thousand livres?"
"Yes, as you might have done; but he did even better than
that, M. Colbert."
"And what did he do?"
"He politely counted me down the sum-total, saying, that for
the king, his coffers were always full."
"The sum-total! M. Fouquet has given you twenty thousand
livres instead of five thousand?"
"And what for?"
"In order to spare me three visits to the money-chest of the
superintendent, so that I have the twenty thousand livres in
my pocket in good new coin. You see, then, that I am able to
go away without standing in need of you, having come here
only for form's sake." And D'Artagnan slapped his hand upon
his pocket, with a laugh which disclosed to Colbert
thirty-two magnificent teeth, as white as teeth of
twenty-five years old and which seemed to say in their
language: "Serve up to us thirty-two little Colberts, and we
will chew them willingly." The serpent is as brave as the
lion, the hawk as courageous as the eagle, that cannot be
contested. It can only be said of animals that are decidedly
cowardly, and are so called, that they will be brave only
when they have to defend themselves. Colbert was not
frightened at the thirty-two teeth of D'Artagnan. He
recovered, and suddenly, -- "Monsieur," said he, "monsieur
le surintendant has done what he had no right to do."
"What do you mean by that?" replied D'Artagnan.
"I mean that your note -- will you let me see your note, if
"Very willingly; here it is."
Colbert seized the paper with an eagerness which the
musketeer did not remark without uneasiness, and
particularly without a certain degree of regret at having
trusted him with it. "Well, monsieur, the royal order says
this: -- `At sight, I command that there be paid to M.
d'Artagnan the sum of five thousand livres, forming a
quarter of the pension I have made him.'"
"So, in fact, it is written," said D'Artagnan, affecting
"Very well; the king only owed you five thousand livres; why
has more been given to you?"
"Because there was more; and M. Fouquet was willing to give
me more; that does not concern anybody."
"It is natural," said Colbert, with a proud ease, "that you
should be ignorant of the usages of state-finance; but,
monsieur, when you have a thousand livres to pay, what do
"I never have a thousand livres to pay," replied D'Artagnan.
"Once more," said Colbert, irritated -- "once more, if you
had any sum to pay, would you not pay what you ought?"
"That only proves one thing," said D'Artagnan; "and that is,
that you have your particular customs in finance, and M.
Fouquet has his own."
"Mine, monsieur, are the correct ones."
"I do not say they are not."
"And you have accepted what was not due to you."
D'Artagnan's eyes flashed. "What is not due to me yet, you
meant to say, M. Colbert; for if I had received what was not
due to me at all, I should have committed a theft."
Colbert made no reply to this subtlety. "You then owe
fifteen thousand livres to the public chest," said he,
carried away by his jealous ardor.
"Then you must give me credit for them," replied D'Artagnan,
with his imperceptible irony.
"Not at all, monsieur."
"Well! what will you do, then? You will not take my rouleaux
from me, will you?"
"You must return them to my chest."
"I! Oh! Monsieur Colbert, don't reckon upon that."
"The king wants his money, monsieur."
"And I, monsieur, I want the king's money."
"That may be but you must return this."
"Not a sou. I have always understood that in matters of
comptabilite, as you call it, a good cashier never gives
back or takes back."
"Then, monsieur, we shall see what the king will say about
it. I will show him this note, which proves that M. Fouquet
not only pays what he does not owe, but that he does not
even take care of vouchers for the sums that he has paid."
"Ah! now I understand why you have taken that paper, M.
Colbert did not perceive all that there was of a threatening
character in his name pronounced in a certain manner. "You
shall see hereafter what use I will make of it," said he,
holding up the paper in his fingers.
"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, snatching the paper from him with a
rapid movement; "I understand it perfectly well, M. Colbert;
I have no occasion to wait for that." And he crumpled up in
his pocket the paper he had so cleverly seized.
"Monsieur, monsieur!" cried Colbert, "this is violence!"
"Nonsense! You must not be particular about a soldier's
manners!" replied D'Artagnan. "I kiss your hands, my dear M.
Colbert." And he went out, laughing in the face of the
"That man, now," muttered he, "was about to grow quite
friendly; it is a great pity I was obliged to cut his
company so soon."
Philosophy of the Heart and Mind
For a man who had seen so many much more dangerous ones, the
position of D'Artagnan with respect to M. Colbert was only
comic. D'Artagnan, therefore, did not deny himself the
satisfaction of laughing at the expense of monsieur
l'intendant, from the Rue des Petits-Champs to the Rue des
Lombards. It was a great while since D'Artagnan had laughed
so long together. He was still laughing when Planchet
appeared, laughing likewise, at the door of his house; for
Planchet, since the return of his patron, since the entrance
of the English guineas, passed the greater part of his life
in doing what D'Artagnan had only done from Rue-Neuve des
Petits-Champs to the Rue des Lombards.
"You are home, then, my dear master?" said Planchet.
"No, my friend," replied the musketeer, "I am off and that
quickly. I will sup with you, go to bed, sleep five hours,
and at break of day leap into my saddle. Has my horse had an
"Eh! my dear master," replied Planchet, "you know very well
that your horse is the jewel of the family; that my lads are
caressing it all day, and cramming it with sugar, nuts, and
biscuits. You ask me if he has had an extra feed of oats;
you should ask if he has not had enough to burst him."
"Very well, Planchet, that is all right. Now, then, I pass
to what concerns me -- my supper?"
"Ready. A smoking roast joint, white wine, crayfish and
fresh-gathered cherries. All ready, my master."
"You are a capital fellow, Planchet; come on, then, let us
sup, and I will go to bed."
During supper D'Artagnan observed that Planchet kept rubbing
his forehead, as if to facilitate the issue of some idea
closely pent within his brain. He looked with an air of
kindness at this worthy companion of former adventures and
misadventures, and, clinking glass against glass, "Come,
Planchet," said he, "let us see what it is that gives you so
much trouble to bring forth. Mordioux! Speak freely, and
"Well, this is it," replied Planchet: "you appear to me to
be going on some expedition or other."
"I don't say that I am not."
"Then you have some new idea?"
"That is possible, too, Planchet."
"Then there will be fresh capital to be ventured? I will lay
down fifty thousand livres upon the idea you are about to
carry out." And so saying, Planchet rubbed his hands one
against the other with a rapidity evincing great delight.
"Planchet," said D'Artagnan, "there is but one misfortune in
"And what is that?"
"That the idea is not mine. I can risk nothing upon it."
These words drew a deep sigh from the heart of Planchet.
That Avarice is an ardent counselor; she carries away her
man, as Satan did Jesus, to the mountain, and when once she
has shown to an unfortunate all the kingdoms of the earth,
she is able to repose herself, knowing full well that she
has left her companion, Envy, to gnaw his heart. Planchet
had tasted of riches easily acquired, and was never
afterwards likely to stop in his desires; but, as he had a
good heart in spite of his covetousness, as he adored
D'Artagnan, he could not refrain from making him a thousand
recommendations, each more affectionate than the others. He
would not have been sorry, nevertheless, to have caught a
little hint of the secret his master concealed so well;
tricks, turns, counsels and traps were all useless,
D'Artagnan let nothing confidential escape him. The evening
passed thus. After supper the portmanteau occupied
D'Artagnan, he took a turn to the stable, patted his horse,
and examined his shoes and legs, then, having counted over