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Ten Years Later

Part 6 out of 21

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purposes."

"You are, upon my honor, as mysterious in your words as in
your actions, monsieur," said Monk. "Just now I did not
perfectly understand you when you said that you were not
willing to throw upon me the responsibility of the work we
were accomplishing."

"I had reason to say so, my lord."

"And now you speak to me of the good cause. What do you mean
by the words `the good cause'? We are defending at this
moment, in England, five or six causes, which does not
prevent every one from considering his own not only as the
good cause, but as the best. What is yours, monsieur? Speak
boldly, that we may see if, upon this point, to which you
appear to attach a great importance, we are of the same
opinion."

Athos fixed upon Monk one of those penetrating looks which
seem to convey to him to whom they are directed a challenge
to conceal a single one of his thoughts; then, taking off
his hat, he began in a solemn voice, while his interlocutor,
with one hand upon his visage, allowed that long and nervous
hand to compress his mustache and beard, while his vague and
melancholy eye wandered about the recesses of the vaults.

CHAPTER 26

Heart and Mind

"My lord," said the Comte de la Fere, "you are a noble
Englishman, you are a loyal man; you are speaking to a noble
Frenchman, to a man of heart. The gold contained in these
two casks before us, I have told you was mine. I was wrong
-- it is the first lie I have pronounced in my life, a
temporary lie, it is true. This gold is the property of King
Charles II., exiled from his country, driven from his
palaces, the orphan at once of his father and his throne,
and deprived of everything, even of the melancholy happiness
of kissing on his knees the stone upon which the hands of
his murderers have written that simple epitaph which will
eternally cry out for vengeance upon them: -- `Here lies
Charles I.'"

Monk grew slightly pale, and an imperceptible shudder crept
over his skin and raised his gray mustache.

"I," continued Athos, "I, Comte de la Fere, the last, only
faithful friend the poor abandoned prince has left, I have
offered him to come hither to find the man upon whom now
depends the fate of royalty and of England; and I have come,
and placed myself under the eye of this man, and have placed
myself naked and unarmed in his hands, saying: -- `My lord,
here are the last resources of a prince whom God made your
master, whom his birth made your king; upon you, and you
alone, depend his life and his future. Will you employ this
money in consoling England for the evils it must have
suffered from anarchy; that is to say, will you aid, and if
not aid, will you allow King Charles II. to act? You are
master, you are king, all-powerful master and king, for
chance sometimes defeats the work of time and God. I am here
alone with you, my lord: if divided success alarms you, if
my complicity annoys you, you are armed, my lord, and here
is a grave ready dug; if, on the contrary, the enthusiasm of
your cause carries you away, if you are what you appear to
be, if your hand in what it undertakes obeys your mind, .and
your mind your heart, here are the means of ruining forever
the cause of your enemy, Charles Stuart. Kill, then, the man
you have before you, for that man will never return to him
who has sent him without bearing with him the deposit which
Charles I., his father, confided to him, and keep the gold
which may assist in carrying on the civil war. Alas! my
lord, it is the fate of this unfortunate prince. He must
either corrupt or kill, for everything resists him,
everything repulses him, everything is hostile to him; and
yet he is marked with the divine seal, and he must, not to
belie his blood, reascend the throne, or die upon the sacred
soil of his country.'

"My lord, you have heard me. To any other but the
illustrious man who listens to me, I would have said: `My
lord, you are poor; my lord, the king offers you this
million as an earnest of an immense bargain; take it, and
serve Charles II. as I served Charles I., and I feel assured
that God, who listens to us, who sees us, who alone reads in
your heart, shut from all human eyes, -- I am assured God
will give you a happy eternal life after a happy death.' But
to General Monk, to the illustrious man of whose standard I
believe I have taken measure, I say: `My lord, there is for
you in the history of peoples and kings a brilliant place,
an immortal, imperishable glory, if alone, without any other
interest but the good of your country and the interests of
justice, you become the supporter of your king. Many others
have been conquerors and glorious usurpers; you, my lord,
you will be content with being the most virtuous, the most
honest, and the most incorruptible of men: you will have
held a crown in your hand, and instead of placing it upon
your own brow, you will have deposited it upon the head of
him for whom it was made. Oh, my lord, act thus, and you
will leave to posterity the most enviable of names, in which
no human creature can rival you.'"

Athos stopped. During the whole time that the noble
gentleman was speaking, Monk had not given one sign of
either approbation or disapprobation; scarcely even, during
this vehement appeal, had his eyes been animated with that
fire which bespeaks intelligence. The Comte de la Fere
looked at him sorrowfully, and on seeing that melancholy
countenance, felt discouragement penetrate to his very
heart. At length Monk appeared to recover, and broke the
silence.

"Monsieur," said he, in a mild, calm tone, "in reply to you,
I will make use of your own words. To any other but yourself
I would reply by expulsion, imprisonment, or still worse,
for, in fact, you tempt me and you force me at the same
time. But you are one of those men, monsieur, to whom it is
impossible to refuse the attention and respect they merit;
you are a brave gentleman, monsieur -- I say so, and I am a
judge. You just now spoke of a deposit which the late king
transmitted through you to his son -- are you, then, one of
those Frenchmen who, as I have heard, endeavored to carry
off Charles I. from Whitehall?"

"Yes, my lord, it was I who was beneath the scaffold during
the execution; I, who had not been able to redeem it,
received upon my brow the blood of the martyred king. I
received, at the same time, the last word of Charles I., it
was to me he said, `Remember!' and in saying, `Remember!' he
alluded to the money at your feet, my lord."

"I have heard much of you, monsieur," said Monk, "but I am
happy to have, in the first place, appreciated you by my own
observations, and not by my remembrances. I will give you,
then, explanations that I have given to no other, and you
will appreciate what a distinction I make between you and
the persons who have hitherto been sent to me."

Athos bowed, and prepared to absorb greedily the words which
fell, one by one, from the mouth of Monk, -- those words
rare and precious as the dew in the desert.

"You spoke to me," said Monk, "of Charles II.; but pray,
monsieur, of what consequence to me is that phantom of a
king? I have grown old in a war and in a policy which are
nowadays so closely linked together, that every man of the
sword must fight in virtue of his rights or his ambition
with a personal interest, and not blindly behind an officer,
as in ordinary wars. For myself, I perhaps desire nothing,
but I fear much. In the war of to-day rests the liberty of
England, and, perhaps, that of every Englishman. How can you
expect that I, free in the position I have made for myself,
should go willingly and hold out my hands to the shackles of
a stranger? That is all Charles is to me. He has fought
battles here which he has lost, he is therefore a bad
captain; he has succeeded in no negotiation, he is therefore
a bad diplomatist; he has paraded his wants and his miseries
in all the courts of Europe, he has therefore a weak and
pusillanimous heart. Nothing noble, nothing great, nothing
strong has hitherto emanated from that genius which aspires
to govern one of the greatest kingdoms of the earth. I know
this Charles, then, under none but bad aspects, and you
would wish me, a man of good sense, to go and make myself
gratuitously the slave of a creature who is inferior to me
in military capacity, in politics, and in dignity! No,
monsieur. When some great and noble action shall have taught
me to value Charles, I shall perhaps recognize his rights to
a throne from which we have cast the father because he
wanted the virtues which his son has hitherto lacked, but,
in fact of rights, I only recognize my own; the revolution
made me a general, my sword will make me protector, if I
wish it. Let Charles show himself, let him present himself,
let him enter the competition open to genius, and, above
all, let him remember that he is of a race from whom more
will be expected than from any other. Therefore, monsieur,
say no more about him. I neither refuse nor accept: I
reserve myself -- I wait."

Athos knew Monk to be too well informed of all concerning
Charles to venture to urge the discussion further; it was
neither the time nor the place. "My lord," then said he, "I
have nothing to do but to thank you."

"And why, monsieur? Because you have formed a correct
opinion of me, or because I have acted according to your
judgment? Is that, in truth, worthy of thanks? This gold
which you are about to carry to Charles will serve me as a
test for him, by seeing the use he will make of it. I shall
have an opinion which now I have not."

"And yet does not your honor fear to compromise yourself by
allowing such a sum to be carried away for the service of
your enemy?"

"My enemy, say you? Eh, monsieur, I have no enemies. I am in
the service of the parliament, which orders me to fight
General Lambert and Charles Stuart -- its enemies, and not
mine. I fight them. If the parliament, on the contrary,
ordered me to unfurl my standards on the port of London, and
to assemble my soldiers on the banks to receive Charles II.
---- "

"You would obey?" cried Athos, joyfully.

"Pardon me," said Monk, smiling, "I was going -- I, a
gray-headed man -- in truth, how could I forget myself? was
going to speak like a foolish young man."

"Then you would not obey?" said Athos.

"I do not say that either, monsieur. The welfare of my
country before everything. God, who has given me the power,
has, no doubt, willed that I should have that power for the
good of all, and He has given me, at the same time,
discernment. If the parliament were to order such a thing, I
should reflect."

The brow of Athos became clouded. "Then I may positively say
that your honor is not inclined to favor King Charles II.?"

"You continue to question me, monsieur le comte; allow me to
do so in turn, if you please."

"Do, monsieur; and may God inspire you with the idea of
replying to me as frankly as I shall reply to you."

"When you shall have taken this money back to your prince,
what advice will you give him?"

Athos fixed upon Monk a proud and resolute look.

"My lord," said he, "with this million, which others would
perhaps employ in negotiating, I would advise the king to
raise two regiments, to enter Scotland, which you have just
pacified: to give to the people the franchises which the
revolution promised them, and in which it has not, in all
cases, kept its word. I should advise him to command in
person this little army, which would, believe me, increase,
and to die, standard in hand, and sword in its sheath,
saying, `Englishmen! I am the third king of my race you have
killed; beware of the justice of God!'"

Monk hung down his head, and mused for an instant. "If he
succeeded," said he, "which is very improbable, but not
impossible -- for everything is possible in this world --
what would you advise him to do?"

"To think that by the will of God he lost his crown but by
the good will of men he recovered it."

An ironical smile passed over the lips of Monk.

"Unfortunately, monsieur," said he, "kings do not know how
to follow good advice."

"Ah, my lord, Charles II. is not a king," replied Athos,
smiling in his turn, but with a very different expression
from Monk.

"Let us terminate this, monsieur le comte, -- that is your
desire, is it not?"

Athos bowed.

"I shall give orders to have these two casks transported
whither you please. Where are you lodging, monsieur?"

"In a little hamlet at the mouth of the river, your honor."

"Oh, I know the hamlet; it consists of five or six houses,
does it not?"

"Exactly. Well, I inhabit the first, -- two net-makers
occupy it with me; it is their bark which brought me
ashore."

"But your own vessel, monsieur?"

"My vessel is at anchor, a quarter of a mile at sea, and
waits for me."

"You do not think, however, of setting out immediately?"

"My lord, I shall try once more to convince your honor."

"You will not succeed," replied Monk; "but it is of
consequence that you should depart from Newcastle without
leaving of your passage the least suspicion that might prove
injurious to me or you. To-morrow my officers think Lambert
will attack me. I, on the contrary, am convinced that he
will not stir; it is in my opinion impossible. Lambert leads
an army devoid of homogeneous principles, and there is no
possible army with such elements. I have taught my soldiers
to consider my authority subordinate to another, therefore
after me, round me, and beneath me they still look for
something. It would result that if I were dead, whatever
might happen, my army would not be demoralized all at once;
it results, that if I choose to absent myself, for instance,
as it does please me to do sometimes, there would not be in
the camp the shadow of uneasiness or disorder. I am the
magnet -- the sympathetic and natural strength of the
English. All those scattered irons that will be sent against
me I shall attract to myself. Lambert, at this moment,
commands eighteen thousand deserters, but I have never
mentioned that to my officers, you may easily suppose.
Nothing is more useful to an army than the expectation of a
coming battle; everybody is awake -- everybody is on guard.
I tell you this that you may live in perfect security. Do
not be in a hurry, then, to cross the seas; within a week
there will be something fresh, either a battle or an
accomodation. Then, as you have judged me to be a honorable
man, and confided your secret to me, I have to thank you for
this confidence, and I shall come and pay you a visit or
send for you. Do not go before I send you word. I repeat the
request."

"I promise you, general," cried Athos, with a joy so great,
that in spite of all his circumspection, he could not
prevent its sparkling in his eyes.

Monk surprised this flash, and immediately extinguished it
by one of those silent smiles which always caused his
interlocutors to know they had made no inroad on his mind.

"Then, my lord, it is a week that you desire me to wait?"

"A week? yes, monsieur."

"And during these days what shall I do?"

"If there should be a battle, keep at a distance from it, I
beseech you. I know the French delight in such amusements,
-- you might take a fancy to see how we fight, and you might
receive some chance shot. Our Scotchmen are very bad
marksmen, and I do not wish that a worthy gentleman like you
should return to France wounded. Nor should I like to be
obliged myself, to send to your prince his million left here
by you, for then it would be said, and with some reason,
that I paid the Pretender to enable him to make war against
the parliament. Go, then, monsieur, and let it be done as
has been agreed upon."

"Ah, my lord," said Athos, "what joy it would give me to be
the first that penetrated to the noble heart which beats
beneath that cloak!"

"You think, then, that I have secrets," said Monk, without
changing the half cheerful expression of his countenance.
"Why, monsieur, what secret can you expect to find in the
hollow head of a soldier? But it is getting late, and our
torch is almost out; let us call our man."

"Hola!" cried Monk in French, approaching the stairs; "hola!
fisherman!"

The fisherman, benumbed by the cold night air, replied in a
hoarse voice, asking what they wanted of him.

"Go to the post," said Monk, "and order a sergeant, in the
name of General Monk, to come here immediately."

This was a commission easily performed; for the sergeant,
uneasy at the general's being in that desolate abbey, had
drawn nearer by degrees, and was not much further off than
the fisherman. The general's order was therefore heard by
him, and he hastened to obey it.

"Get a horse and two men," said Monk.

"A horse and two men?" repeated the sergeant.

"Yes," replied Monk. "Have you any means of getting a horse
with a pack-saddle or two paniers?"

"No doubt, at a hundred paces off, in the Scotch camp."

"Very well."

"What shall I do with the horse, general?"

"Look here."

The sergeant descended the three steps which separated him
from Monk, and came into the vault.

"You see," said Monk, "that gentleman yonder?"

"Yes, general."

"And you see these two casks?"

"Perfectly."

"They are two casks, one containing powder, and the other
balls; I wish these casks to be transported to the little
hamlet at the mouth of the river, and which I intend to
occupy to-morrow with two hundred muskets. You understand
that the commission is a secret one, for it is a movement
that may decide the fate of the battle."

"Oh, general!" murmured the sergeant.

"Mind, then! Let these casks be fastened on to the horse,
and let them be escorted by two men and you to the residence
of this gentleman, who is my friend. But take care that
nobody knows it."

"I would go by the marsh if I knew the road," said the
sergeant.

"I know one myself," said Athos; "it is not wide, but it is
solid, having been made upon piles; and with care we shall
get over safely enough."

"Do everything this gentleman shall order you to do."

"Oh! oh! the casks are heavy," said the sergeant, trying to
lift one.

"They weigh four hundred pounds each, if they contain what
they ought to contain, do they not, monsieur?"

"Thereabouts," said Athos.

The sergeant went in search of the two men and the horse.
Monk, left alone with Athos, affected to speak to him on
nothing but indifferent subjects while examining the vault
in a cursory manner. Then, hearing the horse's steps, --

"I leave you with your men, monsieur," said he, "and return
to the camp. You are perfectly safe."

"I shall see you again, then, my lord?" asked Athos.

"That is agreed upon, monsieur, and with much pleasure."

Monk held out his hand to Athos.

"Ah! my lord, if you would!" murmured Athos.

"Hush! monsieur, it is agreed that we shall speak no more of
that." And bowing to Athos, he went up the stairs, meeting
about half-way his men, who were coming down. He had not
gone twenty paces, when a faint but prolonged whistle was
heard at a distance. Monk listened, but seeing nothing and
hearing nothing, he continued his route, Then he remembered
the fisherman, and looked about for him; but the fisherman
had disappeared. If he had, however, looked with more
attention, he might have seen that man, bent double, gliding
like a serpent along the stones and losing himself in the
mist that floated over the surface of the marsh. He might
have equally seen, had he attempted to pierce that mist, a
spectacle that might have attracted his attention; and that
was the rigging of the vessel, which had changed place, and
was now nearer the shore. But Monk saw nothing; and thinking
he had nothing to fear, he entered the deserted causeway
which led to his camp. It was then that the disappearance of
the fisherman appeared strange, and that a real suspicion
began to take possession of his mind. He had just placed at
the orders of Athos the only post that could protect him. He
had a mile of causeway to traverse before he could regain
his camp. The fog increased with such intensity that he
could scarcely distinguish objects at ten paces' distance.
Monk then thought he heard the sound of an oar over the
marsh on the right. "Who goes there?" said he.

But nobody answered; then he cocked his pistol, took his
sword in his hand, and quickened his pace without, however,
being willing to call anybody. Such a summons, for which
there was no absolute necessity, appeared unworthy of him.

CHAPTER 27

The Next Day

It was seven o'clock in the morning, the first rays of day
lightened the pools of the marsh, in which the sun was
reflected like a red ball, when Athos, awaking and opening
the window of his bed-chamber, which looked out upon the
banks of the river, perceived, at fifteen paces' distance
from him, the sergeant and the men who had accompanied him
the evening before, and who, after having deposited the
casks at his house, had returned to the camp by the causeway
on the right.

Why had these men come back after having returned to the
camp? That was the question which first presented itself to
Athos. The sergeant, with his head raised, appeared to be
watching the moment when the gentleman should appear, to
address him. Athos, surprised to see these men, whom he had
seen depart the night before, could not refrain from
expressing his astonishment to them.

"There is nothing surprising in that, monsieur," said the
sergeant; "for yesterday the general commanded me to watch
over your safety, and I thought it right to obey that
order."

"Is the general at the camp?" asked Athos.

"No doubt he is, monsieur; as when he left you he was going
back."

"Well, wait for me a moment; I am going thither to render an
account of the fidelity with which you fulfilled your duty,
and to get my sword, which I left upon the table in the
tent."

"That happens very well," said the sergeant, "for we were
about to request you to do so."

Athos fancied he could detect an air of equivocal bonhomie
upon the countenance of the sergeant; but the adventure of
the vault might have excited the curiosity of the man, and
it was not surprising that he allowed some of the feelings
which agitated his mind to appear in his face. Athos closed
the doors carefully, confiding the keys to Grimaud, who had
chosen his domicile beneath the shed itself, which led to
the cellar where the casks had been deposited. The sergeant
escorted the Comte de la Fere to the camp. There a fresh
guard awaited him, and relieved the four men who had
conducted Athos.

This fresh guard was commanded by the aid-de-camp Digby,
who, on their way, fixed upon Athos looks so little
encouraging, that the Frenchman asked himself whence arose,
with regard to him, this vigilance and this severity, when
the evening before he had been left perfectly free. He
nevertheless continued his way to the headquarters, keeping
to himself the observations which men and things forced him
to make. He found in the general's tent, to which he had
been introduced the evening before, three superior officers:
these were Monk's lieutenant and two colonels. Athos
perceived his sword; it was still on the table where he left
it. Neither of the officers had seen Athos, consequently
neither of them knew him. Monk's lieutenant asked, at the
appearance of Athos, if that were the same gentleman with
whom the General had left the tent.

"Yes, your honor," said the sergeant; "it is the same."

"But," said Athos haughtily, "I do not deny it, I think; and
now, gentlemen, in turn, permit me to ask you to what
purpose these questions are asked, and particularly some
explanation upon the tone in which you ask them?"

"Monsieur," said the lieutenant, "if we address these
questions to you, it is because we have a right to do so,
and if we make them in a particular tone, it is because that
tone, believe me, agrees with the circumstances."

"Gentlemen," said Athos, "you do not know who I am; but I
must tell you I acknowledge no one here but General Monk as
my equal. Where is he? Let me be conducted to him, and if he
has any questions to put to me, I will answer him and to his
satisfaction, I hope. I repeat, gentlemen, where is the
general?"

"Eh! good God! you know better than we do where he is," said
the lieutenant.

"I?"

"Yes, you."

"Monsieur," said Athos, "I do not understand you."

"You will understand me -- and, in the first place, do not
speak so loud."

Athos smiled disdainfully.

"We don't ask you to smile," said one of the colonels
warmly; "we require you to answer."

"And I, gentlemen, declare to you that I will not reply
until I am in the presence of the general."

"But," replied the same colonel who had already spoken, "you
know very well that is impossible."

"This is the second time I have received this strange reply
to the wish I express," said Athos. "Is the general absent?"

This question was made with such apparent good faith, and
the gentleman wore an air of such natural surprise, that the
three officers exchanged a meaning look. The lieutenant, by
a tacit convention with the other two, was spokesman."

"Monsieur, the general left you last night on the borders of
the monastery."

"Yes, monsieur."

"And you went ---- "

"It is not for me to answer you, but for those who have
accompanied me. They were your soldiers, ask them."

"But if we please to question you?"

"Then it will please me to reply, monsieur, that I do not
recognize any one here, that I know no one here but the
general, and that it is to him alone I will reply."

"So be it, monsieur; but as we are the masters, we
constitute ourselves a council of war, and when you are
before judges you must reply."

The countenance of Athos expressed nothing but astonishment
and disdain, instead of the terror the officers expected to
read in it at this threat.

"Scotch or English judges upon me, a subject of the king of
France; upon me, placed under the safeguard of British
honor! You are mad, gentlemen!" said Athos, shrugging his
shoulders.

The officers looked at each other. "Then, monsieur," said
one of them, "do you pretend not to know where the general
is?"

"To that, monsieur, I have already replied."

"Yes, but you have already replied an incredible thing."

"It is true, nevertheless, gentlemen. Men of my rank are not
generally liars. I am a gentleman, I have told you, and when
I have at my side the sword which, by an excess of delicacy,
I left last night upon the table whereon it still lies,
believe me, no man says that to me which I am unwilling to
hear. I am at this moment disarmed; if you pretend to be my
judges, try me; if you are but my executioners, kill me."

"But, monsieur ---- " asked the lieutenant, in a more
courteous voice, struck with the lofty coolness of Athos.

"Sir, I came to speak confidentially with your general about
affairs of importance. It was not an ordinary welcome that
he gave me. The accounts your soldiers can give you may
convince you of that. If, then, the general received me in
that manner, he knew my titles to his esteem. Now, you do
not suspect, I should think that I should reveal my secrets
to you, and still less his."

"But these casks, what do they contain?"

"Have you not put that question to your soldiers? What was
their reply?"

"That they contained powder and ball."

"From whom had they that information? They must have told
you that."

"From the general; but we are not dupes."

"Beware, gentlemen, it is not to me you are now giving the
lie, it is to your leader."

The officers again looked at each other. Athos continued:
"Before your soldiers the general told me to wait a week,
and at the expiration of that week he would give me the
answer he had to make me. Have I fled away? No, I wait."

"He told you to wait a week!" cried the lieutenant.

"He told me that so clearly, sir, that I have a sloop at the
mouth of the river, which I could with ease have joined
yesterday, and embarked. Now, if I have remained, it was
only in compliance with the desire of your general, his
honor having requested me not to depart without a last
audience, which fixed at a week hence. I repeat to you,
then, I am waiting."

The lieutenant turned towards the other officers, and said,
in a low voice: "If this gentleman speaks truth, there may
still be some hope. The general may be carrying out some
negotiations so secret, that he thought it imprudent to
inform even us. Then the time limited for his absence would
be a week." Then, turning towards Athos: "Monsieur," said
he, "your declaration is of the most serious importance; are
you willing to repeat it under the seal of an oath?"

"Sir," replied Athos, "I have always lived in a world where
my simple word was regarded as the most sacred of oaths."

"This time, however, monsieur, the circumstance is more
grave than any you may have been placed in. The safety of
the whole army is at stake. Reflect, the general has
disappeared, and our search for him has been vain. Is this
disappearance natural? Has a crime been committed? Are we
not bound to carry our investigations to extremity? Have we
any right to wait with patience? At this moment, everything,
monsieur, depends upon the words you are about to
pronounce."

"Thus questioned, gentlemen, I no longer hesitate," said
Athos. "Yes, I came hither to converse confidentially with
General Monk, and ask him for an answer regarding certain
interests; yes, the general being, doubtless, unable to
pronounce before the expected battle, begged me to remain a
week in the house I inhabit, promising me that in a week I
should see him again. Yes, all this is true, and I swear it
by the God who is the absolute master of my life and yours."
Athos pronounced these words with so much grandeur and
solemnity, that the three officers were almost convinced.
Nevertheless, one of the colonels made a last attempt.

"Monsieur," said he, "although we may be now persuaded of
the truth of what you say, there is yet a strange mystery in
all this. The general is too prudent a man to have thus
abandoned his army on the eve of a battle without having at
least given notice of it to one of us. As for myself, I
cannot believe but that some strange event has been the
cause of this disappearance. Yesterday some foreign
fishermen came to sell their fish here; they were lodged
yonder among the Scots; that is to say, on the road the
general took with this gentleman, to go to the abbey, and to
return from it. It was one of those fishermen that
accompanied the general with a light. And this morning, bark
and fishermen have all disappeared, carried away by the
night's tide."

"For my part," said the lieutenant, "I see nothing in that
that is not quite natural, for these people were not
prisoners."

"No, but I repeat it was one of them who lighted the general
and this gentleman to the abbey, and Digby assures us that
the general had strong suspicions concerning those people.
Now, who can say whether these people were not connected
with this gentleman; and that, the blow being struck, the
gentleman, who is evidently brave, did not remain to
reassure us by his presence, and to prevent our researches
being made in a right direction?"

This speech made an impression upon the other two officers.

"Sir," said Athos, "permit me to tell you, that your
reasoning, though specious in appearance, nevertheless wants
consistency, as regards me. I have remained, you say, to
divert suspicion. Well! on the contrary, suspicions arise in
me as well as in you; and I say, it is impossible,
gentlemen, that the general, on the eve of a battle, should
leave his army without saying anything to at least one of
his officers. Yes, there is some strange event connected
with this; instead of being idle and waiting, you must
display all the activity and all the vigilance possible. I
am your prisoner, gentlemen, upon parole or otherwise. My
honor is concerned in ascertaining what has become of
General Monk, and to such a point, that if you were to say
to me, `Depart!' I should reply `No, I will remain!' And if
you were to ask my opinion, I should add: `Yes, the general
is the victim of some conspiracy, for, if he had intended to
leave the camp he would have told me so.' Seek then, search
the land, search the sea; the general has not gone of his
own good will."

The lieutenant made a sign to the other two officers.

"No, monsieur," said he, "no; in your turn you go too far.
The general has nothing to suffer from these events, and, no
doubt, has directed them. What Monk is now doing he has
often done before. We are wrong in alarming ourselves; his
absence will, doubtless, be of short duration; therefore,
let us beware, lest by a pusillanimity which the general
would consider a crime, of making his absence public, and by
that means demoralize the army. The general gives a striking
proof of his confidence in us; let us show ourselves worthy
of it. Gentlemen, let the most profound silence cover all
this with an impenetrable veil; we will detain this
gentleman, not from mistrust of him with regard to the
crime, but to assure more effectively the secret of the
general's absence by keeping among ourselves; therefore,
until fresh orders, the gentleman will remain at
headquarters."

"Gentlemen," said Athos, "you forget that last night the
general confided to me a deposit over which I am bound to
watch. Give me whatever guard you like, chain me if you
like, but leave me the house I inhabit for my prison. The
general, on his return, would reproach you, I swear on the
honor of a gentleman, for having displeased him in this."

"So be it, monsieur," said the lieutenant; "return to your
abode."

Then they placed over Athos a guard of fifty men, who
surrounded his house, without losing sight of him for a
minute.

The secret remained secure, but hours, days passed away
without the general's returning, or without anything being
heard of him.

CHAPTER 28

Smuggling

Two days after the events we have just related, and while
General Monk was expected every minute in the camp to which
he did not return, a little Dutch felucca, manned by eleven
men, cast anchor upon the coast of Scheveningen, nearly
within cannon-shot of the port. It was night, the darkness
was great, the tide rose in the darkness; it was a capital
time to land passengers and merchandise.

The road of Scheveningen forms a vast crescent; it is not
very deep and not very safe; therefore, nothing is seen
stationed there but large Flemish hoys, or some of those
Dutch barks which fishermen draw up on the sand on rollers,
as the ancients did, according to Virgil. When the tide is
rising, and advancing on land, it is not prudent to bring
the vessels too close inshore, for, if the wind is fresh,
the prows are buried in the sand; and the sand of that coast
is spongy; it receives easily, but does not yield so well.
It was on this account, no doubt, that a boat was detached
from the bark as soon as the latter had cast anchor, and
came with eight sailors, amidst whom was to be seen an
object of an oblong form, a sort of large pannier or bale.

The shore was deserted; the few fishermen inhabiting the
down were gone to bed. The only sentinel that guarded the
coast (a coast very badly guarded, seeing that a landing
from large ships was impossible), without having been able
to follow the example of the fishermen, who were gone to
bed, imitated them so far, that he slept at the back of his
watch-box as soundly as they slept in their beds. The only
noise to be heard, then, was the whistling of the night
breeze among the bushes and the brambles of the downs. But
the people who were approaching were doubtless mistrustful
people, for this real silence and apparent solitude did not
satisfy them. Their boat, therefore, scarcely as visible as
a dark speck upon the ocean, glided along noiselessly,
avoiding the use of their oars for fear of being heard, and
gained the nearest land.

Scarcely had it touched the ground when a single man jumped
out of the boat, after having given a brief order, in a
manner which denoted the habit of commanding. In consequence
of this order, several muskets immediately glittered in the
feeble light reflected from that mirror of the heavens, the
sea; and the oblong bale of which we spoke, containing no
doubt some contraband object, was transported to land, with
infinite precautions. Immediately after that, the man who
had landed first set off at a rapid pace diagonally towards
the village of Scheveningen, directing his course to the
nearest point of the wood. When there, he sought for that
house already described as the temporary residence -- and a
very humble residence -- of him who was styled by courtesy
king of England.

All were asleep there, as everywhere else, only a large dog,
of the race of those which the fishermen of Scheveningen
harness to little carts to carry fish to the Hague, began to
bark formidably as soon as the stranger's steps were audible
beneath the windows. But the watchfulness, instead of
alarming the newly-landed man, appeared, on the contrary, to
give him great joy, for his voice might perhaps have proved
insufficient to rouse the people of the house, whilst, with
an auxiliary of that sort, his voice became almost useless.
The stranger waited, then, till these reiterated and
sonorous barkings should, according to all probability, have
produced their effect, and then he ventured a summons. On
hearing his voice, the dog began to roar with such violence
that another voice was soon heard from the interior,
quieting the dog. With that the dog was quieted.

"What do you want?" asked that voice, at the same time weak,
broken, and civil.

"I want his majesty King Charles II., king of England," said
the stranger.

"What do you want with him?"

"I want to speak to him."

"Who are you?"

"Ah! Mordioux! you ask too much; I don't like talking
through doors."

"Only tell me your name."

"I don't like to declare my name in the open air, either;
besides, you may be sure I shall not eat your dog, and I
hope to God he will be as reserved with respect to me."

"You bring news, perhaps, monsieur, do you not?" replied the
voice, patient and querulous as that of an old man.

"I will answer for it, I bring you news you little expect.
Open the door, then, if you please, hein!"

"Monsieur," persisted the old man, "do you believe, upon
your soul and conscience, that your news is worth waking the
king?"

"For God's sake, my dear monsieur, draw your bolts; you will
not be sorry, I swear, for the trouble it will give you. I
am worth my weight in gold, parole d'honneur!"

"Monsieur, I cannot open the door till you have told me your
name."

"Must I, then?"

"It is by the order of my master, monsieur."

"Well, my name is -- but, I warn you, my name will tell you
absolutely nothing."

"Never mind, tell it, notwithstanding."

"Well, I am the Chevalier d'Artagnan."

The voice uttered an exclamation.

"Oh! good heavens!" said a voice on the other side of the
door. "Monsieur d'Artagnan. What happiness! I could not help
thinking I knew that voice."

"Humph!" said D'Artagnan. "My voice is known here! That's
flattering."

"Oh! yes, we know it," said the old man, drawing the bolts;
"and here is the proof." And at these words he let in
D'Artagnan, who, by the light of the lantern he carried in
his hand, recognized his obstinate interlocutor.

"Ah! Mordioux!" cried he: "why, it is Parry! I ought to have
known that."

"Parry, yes, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, it is I. What joy
to see you once again!"

"You are right there, what joy!" said D'Artagnan, pressing
the old man's hand. "There, now you'll go and inform the
king, will you not?"

"But the king is asleep, my dear monsieur."

"Mordioux! then wake him. He won't scold you for having
disturbed him, I will promise you."

"You come on the part of the count, do you not?"

"The Comte de la Fere?"

"From Athos?"

"Ma foi! no; I come on my own part. Come, Parry, quick! The
king -- I want the king."

Parry did not think it his duty to resist any longer; he
knew D'Artagnan of old; he knew that, although a Gascon, his
words never promised more than they could stand to. He
crossed a court and a little garden, appeased the dog, that
seemed most anxious to taste of the musketeer's flesh, and
went to knock at the window of a chamber forming the
ground-floor of a little pavilion. Immediately a little dog
inhabiting that chamber replied to the great dog inhabiting
the court.

"Poor king!" said D'Artagnan to himself, "these are his
body-guards. It is true he is not the worse guarded on that
account."

"What is wanted with me?" asked the king, from the back of
the chamber.

"Sire, it is M. le Chevalier d'Artagnan, who brings you some
news."

A noise was immediately heard in the chamber, a door was
opened, and a flood of light inundated the corridor and the
garden. The king was working by the light of a lamp. Papers
were lying about upon his desk, and he had commenced the
foul copy of a letter which showed, by the numerous
erasures, the trouble he had had in writing it.

"Come in, monsieur le chevalier," said he, turning around.
Then perceiving the fisherman, "What do you mean, Parry?
Where is M. le Chevalier d'Artagnan?" asked Charles.

"He is before you, sire," said M. d'Artagnan.

"What, in that costume?"

"Yes; look at me, sire; do you not remember having seen me
at Blois, in the ante-chambers of King Louis XIV.?"

"Yes, monsieur, and I remember I was much pleased with you."

D'Artagnan bowed. "It was my duty to behave as I did, the
moment I knew that I had the honor of being near your
majesty."

"You bring me news, do you say?"

"Yes, sire."

"From the king of France?"

"Ma foi! no, sire," replied D'Artagnan. "Your majesty must
have seen yonder that the king of France is only occupied
with his own majesty."

Charles raised his eyes towards heaven.

"No, sire, no," continued D'Artagnan. "I bring news entirely
composed of personal facts. Nevertheless, I hope your
majesty will listen to the facts and news with some favor."

"Speak, monsieur."

"If I am not mistaken, sire, your majesty spoke a great
deal, at Blois, of the embarrassed state in which the
affairs of England are."

Charles colored. "Monsieur," said he, "it was to the king of
France I related ---- "

"Oh! your majesty is mistaken," said the musketeer, coolly;
"I know how to speak to kings in misfortune. It is only when
they are in misfortune that they speak to me; once
fortunate, they look upon me no more. I have, then, for your
majesty, not only the greatest respect, but, still more, the
most absolute devotion; and that, believe me, with me, sire,
means something. Now, hearing your majesty complain of fate,
I found that you were noble and generous, and bore
misfortune well."

"In truth," said Charles, much astonished, "I do not know
which I ought to prefer, your freedoms or your respects."

"You will choose presently, sire," said D'Artagnan. "Then
your majesty complained to your brother, Louis XIV., of the
difficulty you experienced in returning to England and
regaining your throne for want of men and money."

Charles allowed a movement of impatience to escape him.

"And the principal object your majesty found in your way,"
continued D'Artagnan, "was a certain general commanding the
armies of the parliament, and who was playing yonder the
part of another Cromwell. Did not your majesty say so?"

"Yes, but I repeat to you, monsieur, those words were for
the king's ears alone."

"And you will see, sire, that it is very fortunate that they
fell into those of his lieutenant of musketeers. That man so
troublesome to your majesty was one General Monk, I believe;
did I not hear his name correctly, sire?"

"Yes, monsieur, but once more, to what purpose are all these
questions?"

"Oh! I know very well, sire, that etiquette will not allow
kings to be questioned. I hope, however, presently you will
pardon my want of etiquette. Your majesty added that,
notwithstanding, if you could see him, confer with him, and
meet him face to face, you would triumph, either by force or
persuasion, over that obstacle -- the only serious one, the
only insurmountable one, the only real one you met with on
your road."

"All that is true, monsieur: my destiny, my future, my
obscurity, or my glory depend upon that man; but what do you
draw from that?"

"One thing alone, that if this General Monk is troublesome
to the point your majesty describes, it would be expedient
to get rid of him or to make an ally of him."

"Monsieur, a king who has neither army nor money, as you
have heard my conversation with my brother Louis, has no
means of acting against a man like Monk."

"Yes, sire, that was your opinion, I know very well; but,
fortunately, for you, it was not mine."

"What do you mean by that?"

"That, without an army and without a million, I have done --
I, myself -- what your majesty thought could alone be done
with an army and a million."

"How! What do you say? What have you done?"

"What have I done? Eh! well, sire, I went yonder to take
this man who is so troublesome to your majesty."

"In England?"

"Exactly, sire."

"You went to take Monk in England?"

"Should I by chance have done wrong, sire?"

"In truth, you are mad, monsieur!"

"Not the least in the world, sire."

"You have taken Monk?"

"Yes, sire."

"Where?"

"In the midst of his camp."

The king trembled with impatience.

"And having taken him on the causeway of Newcastle, I bring
him to your majesty," said D'Artagnan, simply.

"You bring him to me!" cried the king, almost indignant at
what he considered a mystification.

"Yes, sire," replied D'Artagnan, the same tone, "I bring him
to you; he is down below yonder, in a large chest pierced
with holes, so as to allow him to breathe."

"Good God!"

"Oh! don't be uneasy, sire, we have taken the greatest
possible care of him. He comes in good state, and in perfect
condition. Would your majesty please to see him, to talk
with him, or to have him thrown into the sea?"

"Oh, heavens!" repeated Charles, "oh, heavens! do you speak
the truth, monsieur? Are you not insulting me with some
unworthy joke? You have accomplished this unheard-of act of
audacity and genius -- impossible!"

"Will your majesty permit me to open the window?" said
D'Artagnan, opening it.

The king had not time to reply, yes on no. D'Artagnan gave a
shrill and prolonged whistle, which he repeated three times
through the silence of the night.

"There!" said he, "he will be brought to your majesty."

CHAPTER 29

In which D'Artagnan begins to fear he has placed his
Money and that of Planchet in the Sinking Fund

The king could not overcome his surprise, and looked
sometimes at the smiling face of the musketeer, and
sometimes at the dark window which opened into the night.
But before he had fixed his ideas, eight of D'Artagnan's
men, for two had remained to take care of the bark, brought
to the house, where Parry received him, that object of an
oblong form, which, for the moment inclosed the destinies of
England. Before he left Calais, D'Artagnan had had made in
that city a sort of coffin, large and deep enough for a man
to turn in it at his ease. The bottom and sides, properly
upholstered, formed a bed sufficiently soft to prevent the
rolling of the ship turning this kind of cage into a
rat-trap. The little grating, of which D'Artagnan had spoken
to the king, like the visor of a helmet, was placed opposite
to the man's face. It was so constructed that, at the least
cry, a sudden pressure would stifle that cry, and, if
necessary, him who had uttered that cry.

D'Artagnan was so well acquainted with his crew and his
prisoner, that during the whole voyage he had been in dread
of two things: either that the general would prefer death to
this sort of imprisonment, and would smother himself by
endeavoring to speak, or that his guards would allow
themselves to be tempted by the offers of the prisoner, and
put him, D'Artagnan, into the box instead of Monk.

D'Artagnan, therefore, had passed the two days and the two
nights of the voyage close to the coffin, alone with the
general, offering him wine and food, which the latter had
refused, and constantly endeavoring to reassure him upon the
destiny which awaited him at the end of this singular
captivity. Two pistols on the table and his naked sword made
D'Artagnan easy with regard to indiscretions from without.

When once at Scheveningen he had felt completely reassured.
His men greatly dreaded any conflict with the lords of the
soil. He had, besides, interested in his cause him who had
morally served him as lieutenant, and whom we have seen
reply to the name of Menneville. The latter, not being a
vulgar spirit, had more to risk than the others, because he
had more conscience. He believed in a future in the service
of D'Artagnan, and consequently would have allowed himself
to be cut to pieces, rather than violate the order given by
his leader. Thus it was that, once landed, it was to him
D'Artagnan had confided the care of the chest and the
general's breathing. It was he, too, he had ordered to have
the chest brought by the seven men as soon as he should hear
the triple whistle. We have seen that the lieutenant obeyed.
The coffer once in the house, D'Artagnan dismissed his men
with a gracious smile, saying, "Messieurs, you have rendered
a great service to King Charles II., who in less than six
weeks will be king of England. Your gratification will then
be doubled. Return to the boat and wait for me." Upon which
they departed with such shouts of joy as terrified even the
dog himself.

D'Artagnan had caused the coffer to be brought as far as the
king's ante-chamber. He then, with great care, closed the
door of this ante-chamber, after which he opened the coffer,
and said to the general:

"General, I have a thousand excuses to make to you; my
manner of acting has not been worthy of such a man as you, I
know very well; but I wished you to take me for the captain
of a bark. And then England is a very inconvenient country
for transports. I hope, therefore, you will take all that
into consideration. But now, general, you are at liberty to
get up and walk." This said, he cut the bonds which fastened
the arms and hands of the general. The latter got up, and
then sat down with the countenance of a man who expects
death. D'Artagnan opened the door of Charles's study, and
said, "Sire, here is your enemy, M. Monk; I promised myself
to perform this service for your majesty. It is done; now
order as you please. M. Monk," added he, turning towards the
prisoner, "you are in the presence of his majesty Charles
II., sovereign lord of Great Britain."

Monk raised towards the prince his coldly stoical look, and
replied: "I know no king of Great Britain; I recognize even
here no one worthy of bearing the name of gentleman: for it
is in the name of King Charles II. that an emissary, whom I
took for an honest man, came and laid an infamous snare for
me. I have fallen into that snare; so much the worse for me.
Now, you the tempter," said he to the king, "you the
executor," said he to D'Artagnan; "remember what I am about
to say to you; you have my body, you may kill it, and I
advise you to do so, for you shall never have my mind or my
will. And now, ask me not a single word, as from this moment
I will not open my mouth even to cry out. I have said."

And he pronounced these words with the savage, invincible
resolution of the most mortified Puritan. D'Artagnan looked
at his prisoner like a man, who knows the value of every
word, and who fixes that value according to the accent with
which it has been pronounced.

"The fact is," said he, in a whisper to the king, "the
general is an obstinate man; he would not take a mouthful of
bread, nor swallow a drop of wine, during the two days of
our voyage. But as from this moment it is your majesty who
must decide his fate, I wash my hands of him."

Monk, erect, pale, and resigned, waited with his eyes fixed
and his arms folded. D'Artagnan turned towards him. "You
will please to understand perfectly," said he, "that your
speech, otherwise very fine, does not suit anybody, not even
yourself. His majesty wished to speak to you, you refused
him an interview; why, now that you are face to face, that
you are here by a force independent of your will, why do you
confine yourself to rigors which I consider useless and
absurd? Speak! what the devil! speak, if only to say `No.'"

Monk did not unclose his lips, Monk did not turn his eyes;
Monk stroked his mustache with a thoughtful air, which
announced that matters were going on badly.

During all this time Charles II. had fallen into a profound
reverie. For the first time he found himself face to face
with Monk; with the man he had so much desired to see; and,
with that peculiar glance which God has given to eagles and
kings, he had fathomed the abyss of his heart. He beheld
Monk, then, resolved positively to die rather than speak,
which was not to be wondered at in so considerable a man,
the wound in whose mind must at the moment have been cruel.
Charles II. formed, on the instant, one of those resolutions
upon which an ordinary man risks his life, a general his
fortune, and a king his kingdom. "Monsieur," said he to
Monk, "you are perfectly right upon certain points; I do
not, therefore, ask you to answer me, but to listen to me."

There was a moment's silence, during which the king looked
at Monk, who remained impassible.

"You have made me just now a painful reproach, monsieur,"
continued the king; "you said that one of my emissaries had
been to Newcastle to lay a snare for you, and that,
parenthetically, cannot be understood by M. d'Artagnan,
here, and to whom, before everything, I owe sincere thanks
for his generous, his heroic devotion."

D'Artagnan bowed with respect; Monk took no notice.

"For M. d'Artagnan -- and observe, M. Monk, I do not say
this to excuse myself -- for M. d'Artagnan," continued the
king, "went to England of his free will, without interest,
without orders, without hope, like a true gentleman as he
is, to render a service to an unfortunate king, and to add
to the illustrious actions of an existence, already so well
filled, one glorious deed more."

D'Artagnan colored a little, and coughed to keep his
countenance. Monk did not stir.

"You do not believe what I tell you, M. Monk," continued the
king. "I can understand that, -- such proofs of devotion are
so rare, that their reality may well be put in doubt."

"Monsieur would do wrong not to believe you, sire," cried
D'Artagnan: "for that which your majesty has said is the
exact truth, and the truth so exact that it seems, in going
to fetch the general, I have done something which sets
everything wrong. In truth, if it be so, I am in despair."

"Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the king, pressing the hand of
the musketeer, "you have obliged me as much as if you had
promoted the success of my cause, for you have revealed to
me an unknown friend, to whom I shall ever be grateful, and
whom I shall always love." And the king pressed his hand
cordially. "And," continued he, bowing to Monk, "an enemy
whom I shall henceforth esteem at his proper value."

The eyes of the Puritan flashed, but only once, and his
countenance, for an instant, illuminated by that flash,
resumed its somber impassibility.

"Then, Monsieur d'Artagnan," continued Charles, "this is
what was about to happen: M. le Comte de la Fere, whom you
know, I believe, has set out for Newcastle."

"What, Athos!" exclaimed D'Artagnan.

"Yes, that was his nom de guerre, I believe. The Comte de la
Fere had then set out for Newcastle, and was going, perhaps,
to bring the general to hold a conference with me or with
those of my party, when you violently, as it appears,
interfered with the negotiation."

"Mordioux!" replied D'Artagnan, "he entered the camp the
very evening in which I succeeded in getting into it with my
fishermen ---- "

An almost imperceptible frown on the brow of Monk told
D'Artagnan that he had surmised rightly.

"Yes, yes," muttered he; "I thought I knew his person; I
even fancied I knew his voice. Unlucky wretch that I am! Oh!
sire, pardon me! I thought I had so successfully steered my
bark."

"There is nothing ill in it, sir," said the king, "except
that the general accuses me of having laid a snare for him,
which is not the case. No, general, those are not the arms
which I contemplated employing with you as you will soon
see. In the meanwhile, when I give you my word upon the
honor of a gentleman, believe me, sir, believe me! Now,
Monsieur d'Artagnan, a word with you, if you please."

"I listen on my knees, sire."

"You are truly at my service, are you not?"

"Your majesty has seen I am, too much so."

"That is well; from a man like you one word suffices. In
addition to that word you bring actions. General, have the
goodness to follow me. Come with us, M. d'Artagnan."

D'Artagnan, considerably surprised, prepared to obey.
Charles II. went out, Monk followed him, D'Artagnan followed
Monk. Charles took the path by which D'Artagnan had come to
his abode; the fresh sea breezes soon caressed the faces of
the three nocturnal travelers, and, at fifty paces from the
little gate which Charles opened, they found themselves upon
the down in the face of the ocean, which, having ceased to
rise, reposed upon the shore like a wearied monster. Charles
II. walked pensively along, his head hanging down and his
hand beneath his cloak. Monk followed him, with crossed arms
and an uneasy look. D'Artagnan came last, with his hand on
the hilt of his sword.

"Where is the boat in which you came, gentlemen?" said
Charles to the musketeer.

"Yonder, sire, I have seven men and an officer waiting me in
that little bark which is lighted by a fire."

"Yes, I see; the boat is drawn upon the sand, but you
certainly did not come from Newcastle in that frail bark?"

"No, sire; I freighted a felucca, at my own expense, which
is at anchor within cannon-shot of the downs. It was in that
felucca we made the voyage."

"Sir," said the king to Monk, "you are free."

However firm of his will, Monk could not suppress an
exclamation. The king added an affirmative motion of his
head, and continued: "We shall waken a fisherman of the
village, who will put his boat to sea immediately, and will
take you back to any place you may command him. M.
d'Artagnan here will escort your honor. I place M.
d'Artagnan under the safeguard of your loyalty, M. Monk."

Monk allowed a murmur of surprise to escape him, and
D'Artagnan a profound sigh. The king, without appearing to
notice either, knocked against the deal trellis which
inclosed the cabin of the principal fisherman inhabiting the
down.

"Hey! Keyser!" cried he, "awake!"

"Who calls me?" asked the fisherman.

"I, Charles the king."

"Ah, my lord!" cried Keyser, rising ready dressed from the
sail in which he slept, as people sleep in a hammock. "What
can I do to serve you?"

"Captain Keyser," said Charles, "you must set sail
immediately. Here is a traveler who wishes to freight your
bark, and will pay you well; serve him well." And the king
drew back a few steps to allow Monk to speak to the
fisherman.

"I wish to cross over into England," said Monk, who spoke
Dutch enough to make himself understood.

"This minute," said the patron, "this very minute, if you
wish it."

"But will that be long?" said Monk.

"Not half an hour, your honor. My eldest son is at this
moment preparing the boat, as we were going out fishing at
three o'clock in the morning."

"Well, is all arranged?" asked the king, drawing near.

"All but the price," said the fisherman; "yes, sire."

"That is my affair," said Charles, "the gentleman is my
friend."

Monk started and looked at Charles on hearing this word.

"Very well, my lord," replied Keyser. And at that moment
they heard Keyser's eldest son, signaling from the shore
with the blast of a bull's horn.

"Now, gentlemen," said the king, "depart."

"Sire," said D'Artagnan, "will it please your majesty to
grant me a few minutes? I have engaged men, and I am going
without them; I must give them notice."

"Whistle to them," said Charles, smiling.

D'Artagnan, accordingly, whistled, whilst the patron Keyser
replied to his son; and four men, led by Menneville,
attended the first summons.

"Here is some money in account," said D'Artagnan, putting
into their hands a purse containing two thousand five
hundred livres in gold. "Go and wait for me at Calais, you
know where." And D'Artagnan heaved a profound sigh, as he
let the purse fall into the hands of Menneville.

"What, are you leaving us?" cried the men.

"For a short time," said D'Artagnan, "or for a long time,
who knows? But with 2,500 livres, and the 2,500 you have
already received, you are paid according to our agreement.
We are quits, then, my friend."

"But the boat?"

"Do not trouble yourself about that."

"Our things are on board the felucca."

"Go and seek them, and then set off immediately."

"Yes, captain."

D'Artagnan returned to Monk, saying, -- "Monsieur, I await
your orders, for I understand we are to go together, unless
my company be disagreeable to you."

"On the contrary, monsieur," said Monk.

"Come, gentlemen, on board," cried Keyser's son.

Charles bowed to the general with grace and dignity, saying,
-- "You will pardon me this unfortunate accident, and the
violence to which you have been subjected, when you are
convinced that I was not the cause of them."

Monk bowed profoundly without replying. On his side, Charles
affected not to say a word to D'Artagnan in private, but
aloud, -- "Once more, thanks, monsieur le chevalier," said
he, "thanks for your services. They will be repaid you by
the Lord God, who, I hope, reserves trials and troubles for
me alone."

Monk followed Keyser, and his son embarked with them.
D'Artagnan came after, muttering to himself, -- "Poor
Planchet! poor Planchet! I am very much afraid we have made
a bad speculation."

CHAPTER 30

The Shares of Planchet and Company rise again to Par

During the passage, Monk only spoke to D'Artagnan in cases
of urgent necessity. Thus, when the Frenchman hesitated to
come and take his meals, poor meals, composed of salt fish,
biscuit, and Hollands gin, Monk called him, saying, -- "To
table, monsieur, to table!"

This was all. D'Artagnan, from being himself on all great
occasions extremely concise, did not draw from the general's
conciseness a favorable augury of the result of his mission.
Now, as D'Artagnan had plenty of time for reflection, he
battered his brains during this time in endeavoring to find
out how Athos had seen King Charles, how he had conspired
his departure with him, and lastly, how he had entered
Monk's camp; and the poor lieutenant of musketeers plucked a
hair from his mustache every time he reflected that the
horseman who accompanied Monk on the night of the famous
abduction must have been Athos.

At length, after a passage of two nights and two days, the
patron Keyser touched at the point where Monk, who had given
all the orders during the voyage, had commanded they should
land. It was exactly at the mouth of the little river, near
which Athos had chosen his abode.

Daylight was waning, a splendid sun, like a red steel
buckler, was plunging the lower extremity of its disc
beneath the blue line of the sea. The felucca was making
fair way up the river, tolerably wide in that part, but
Monk, in his impatience, desired to be landed, and Keyser's
boat set him and D'Artagnan upon the muddy bank, amidst the
reeds. D'Artagnan, resigned to obedience, followed Monk
exactly as a chained bear follows his master; but the
position humiliated him not a little, and he grumbled to
himself that the service of kings was a bitter one, and that
the best of them was good for nothing. Monk walked with long
and hasty strides; it might be thought that he did not yet
feel certain of having reached English land. They had
already begun to perceive distinctly a few of the cottages
of the sailors and fishermen spread over the little quay of
this humble port, when, all at once, D'Artagnan cried out,
-- "God pardon me, there is a house on fire!"

Monk raised his eyes, and perceived there was, in fact, a
house which the flames were beginning to devour. It had
begun at a little shed belonging to the house, the roof of
which had caught. The fresh evening breeze agitated the
fire. The two travelers quickened their steps, hearing loud
cries, and seeing, as they drew nearer, soldiers with their
glittering arms pointing towards the house on fire. It was
doubtless this menacing occupation which had made them
neglect to signal the felucca. Monk stopped short for an
instant, and, for the first time, formulated his thoughts
into words. "Eh! but," said he, "perhaps they are not my
soldiers, but Lambert's."

These words contained at once a sorrow, an apprehension, and
a reproach perfectly intelligible to D'Artagnan. In fact,
during the general's absence, Lambert might have given
battle, conquered, and dispersed the parliament's army, and
taken with his own the place of Monk's army, deprived of its
strongest support. At this doubt, which passed from the mind
of Monk to his own, D'Artagnan reasoned in this manner: "One
of two things is going to happen; either Monk has spoken
correctly, and there are no longer any but Lambertists in
the country -- that is to say, enemies, who would receive me
wonderfully well, since it is to me they owe their victory;
or nothing is changed, and Monk, transported with joy at
finding his camp still in the same place, will not prove too
severe in his settlement with me." Whilst thinking thus, the
two travelers advanced, and began to mingle with a little
knot of sailors, who looked on with sorrow at the burning
house, but did not dare to say anything on account of the
threats of the soldiers.

Monk addressed one of these sailors: -- "What is going on
here?" asked he.

"Sir," replied the man, not recognizing Monk as an officer,
under the thick cloak which enveloped him, "that house was
inhabited by a foreigner, and this foreigner became
suspected by the soldiers. They wanted to get into his house
under pretense of taking him to the camp; but he, without
being frightened by their number, threatened death to the
first who should cross the threshold of his door, and as
there was one who did venture, the Frenchman stretched him
on the earth with a pistol-shot."

"Ah! he is a Frenchman, is he?" said D'Artagnan, rubbing his
hands. "Good!"

"How good?" replied the fisherman.

"No, I don't mean that. -- What then -- my tongue slipped."

"What then, sir -- why, the other men became as enraged as
so many lions: they fired more than a hundred shots at the
house; but the Frenchman was sheltered by the wall, and
every time they tried to enter by the door they met with a
shot from his lackey, whose aim is deadly, d'ye see? Every
time they threatened the window, they met with a pistol-shot
from the master. Look and count -- there are seven men down.

"Ah! my brave countryman," cried D'Artagnan, "wait a little,
wait a little. I will be with you, and we will settle with
this rabble."

"One instant, sir," said Monk, "wait."

"Long?"

"No; only the time to ask a question." Then, turning towards
the sailor, "My friend," asked he with an emotion which, in
spite of all his self-command, he could not conceal, "whose
soldiers are these, pray tell me?"

"Whose should they be but that madman, Monk's?"

"There has been no battle, then?"

"A battle, ah, yes! for what purpose? Lambert's army is
melting away like snow in April. All come to Monk, officers
and soldiers. In a week Lambert won't have fifty men left."

The fisherman was interrupted by a fresh discharge directed
against the house, and by another pistol-shot which replied
to the discharge and struck down the most daring of the
aggressors. The rage of the soldiers was at its height. The
fire still continued to increase, and a crest of flame and
smoke whirled and spread over the roof of the house.
D'Artagnan could no longer contain himself. "Mordioux!" said
he to Monk, glancing at him sideways: "you are a general,
and allow your men to burn houses and assassinate people,
while you look on and warm your hands at the blaze of the
conflagration? Mordioux! you are not a man."

"Patience, sir, patience!" said Monk, smiling.

"Patience! yes, until that brave gentleman is roasted -- is
that what you mean?" And D'Artagnan rushed forward.

"Remain where you are, sir," said Monk, in a tone of
command. And he advanced towards the house, just as an
officer had approached it, saying to the besieged: "The
house is burning, you will be roasted within an hour! There
is still time -- come, tell us what you know of General
Monk, and we will spare your life. Reply, or by Saint
Patrick ---- "

The besieged made no answer; he was no doubt reloading his
pistol.

"A reinforcement is expected," continued the officer; "in a
quarter of an hour there will be a hundred men around your
house."

"I reply to you," said the Frenchman. "Let your men be sent
away; I will come out freely and repair to the camp alone,
or else I will be killed here!"

"Mille tonnerres!" shouted D'Artagnan; "why that's the voice
of Athos! Ah, canailles!" and the sword of D'Artagnan
flashed from its sheath. Monk stopped him and advanced
himself, exclaiming, in a sonorous voice: "Hola! what is
going on here? Digby, whence this fire? why these cries?"

"The general!" cried Digby, letting the point of his sword
fall.

"The general!" repeated the soldiers.

"Well, what is there so astonishing in that?" said Monk, in
a calm tone. Then, silence being re-established -- "Now,"
said he, "who lit this fire?"

The soldiers hung their heads.

"What! do I ask a question, and nobody answers me?" said
Monk. "What! do I find a fault, and nobody repairs it? The
fire is still burning, I believe."

Immediately the twenty men rushed forward, seizing pails,
buckets, jars, barrels, and extinguishing the fire with as
much ardor as they had, an instant before employed in
promoting it. But already, and before all the rest,
D'Artagnan had applied a ladder to the house crying, "Athos!
it is I, D'Artagnan! Do not kill me my dearest friend!" And
in a moment the count was clasped in his arms.

In the meantime, Grimaud, preserving his calmness,
dismantled the fortification of the ground-floor, and after
having opened the door, stood with his arms folded quietly
on the sill. Only, on hearing the voice of D'Artagnan, he
uttered an exclamation of surprise. The fire being
extinguished, the soldiers presented themselves, Digby at
their head.

"General," said he, "excuse us; what we have done was for
love of your honor, whom we thought lost."

"You are mad, gentlemen. Lost! Is a man like me to be lost?
Am I not permitted to be absent, according to my pleasure,
without giving formal notice? Do you, by chance, take me for
a citizen from the city? Is a gentleman, my friend, my
guest, to be besieged, entrapped, and threatened with death,
because he is suspected? What signifies that word,
suspected? Curse me if I don't have every one of you shot
like dogs that the brave gentleman has left alive!"

"General," said Digby, piteously, "there were twenty-eight
of us, and see, there are eight on the ground."

"I authorize M. le Comte de la Fere to send the twenty to
join the eight," said Monk, stretching out his hand to
Athos. "Let them return to camp. Mr. Digby, you will
consider yourself under arrest for a month."

"General ---- "

"That is to teach you, sir, not to act, another time,
without orders."

"I had those of the lieutenant, general."

"The lieutenant has no such orders to give you, and he shall
be placed under arrest, instead of you, if he has really
commanded you to burn this gentleman."

"He did not command that, general; he commanded us to bring
him to the camp; but the count was not willing to follow
us."

"I was not willing that they should enter and plunder my
house," said Athos to Monk, with a significant look.

"And you were quite right. To the camp, I say." The soldiers
departed with dejected looks. "Now we are alone," said Monk
to Athos, "have the goodness to tell me, monsieur, why you
persisted in remaining here, whilst you had your felucca
---- "

"I waited for you, general," said Athos. "Had not your honor
appointed to meet me in a week?"

An eloquent look from D'Artagnan made it clear to Monk that
these two men, so brave and so loyal, had not acted in
concert for his abduction. He knew already it could not be
so.

"Monsieur," said he to D'Artagnan, "you were perfectly
right. Have the kindness to allow me a moment's conversation
with M. le Comte de la Fere?"

D'Artagnan took advantage of this to go and ask Grimaud how
he was. Monk requested Athos to conduct him to the chamber
he lived in.

This chamber was still full of smoke and rubbish. More than
fifty balls had passed through the windows and mutilated the
walls. They found a table, inkstand, and materials for
writing. Monk took up a pen, wrote a single line, signed it,
folded the paper, sealed the letter with the seal of his
ring, and handed over the missive to Athos, saying,
"Monsieur, carry, if you please, this letter to King Charles
II., and set out immediately, if nothing detains you here
any longer."

"And the casks?" said Athos.

"The fisherman who brought me hither will assist you in
transporting them on board. Depart, if possible, within an
hour."

"Yes, general," said Athos.

"Monsieur d'Artagnan!" cried Monk, from the window.
D'Artagnan ran up precipitately

"Embrace your friend and bid him adieu, sir; he is returning
to Holland."

"To Holland!" cried D'Artagnan; "and I?"

"You are at liberty to follow him, monsieur, but I request
you to remain," said Monk. "Will you refuse me?"

"Oh, no, general; I am at your orders."

D'Artagnan embraced Athos, and only had time to bid him
adieu. Monk watched them both. Then he took upon himself the
preparations for the departure, the transportation of the
casks on board, and the embarking of Athos; then, taking
D'Artagnan by the arm, who was quite amazed and agitated, he
led him towards Newcastle. Whilst going along, the general
leaning on his arm, D'Artagnan could not help murmuring to
himself, -- "Come, come, it seems to me that the shares of
the firm of Planchet and Company are rising."

CHAPTER 31

Monk reveals himself

D'Artagnan, although he flattered himself with better
success, had, nevertheless, not too well comprehended his
situation. It was a strange and grave subject for him to
reflect upon -- this voyage of Athos into England; this
league of the king with Athos, and that extraordinary
combination of his design with that of the Comte de la Fere.
The best way was to let things follow their own train. An
imprudence had been committed, and, whilst having succeeded,
as he had promised, D'Artagnan found that he had gained no
advantage by his success. Since everything was lost, he
could risk no more.

D'Artagnan followed Monk through his camp. The return of the
general had produced a marvelous effect, for his people had
thought him lost. But Monk, with his austere look and icy
demeanor, appeared to ask of his eager lieutenants and
delighted soldiers the cause of all this joy. Therefore, to
the lieutenants who had come to meet him, and who expressed
the uneasiness with which they had learnt his departure, --

"Why is all this?" said he; "am I obliged to give you an
account of myself?"

"But, your honor, the sheep may well tremble without the
shepherd."

"Tremble!" replied Monk, in his calm and powerful voice;
"ah, monsieur, what a word! Curse me, if my sheep have not
both teeth and claws; I renounce being their shepherd. Ah,
you tremble, gentlemen, do you?"

"Yes, general, for you."

"Oh! pray meddle with your own concerns. If I have not the
wit God gave to Oliver Cromwell, I have that which He has
sent to me: I am satisfied with it, however little it may
be."

The officer made no reply; and Monk, having imposed silence
on his people, all remained persuaded that he had
accomplished some important work or made some important
trial. This was forming a very poor conception of his
patience and scrupulous genius. Monk, if he had the good
faith of the Puritans, his allies, must have returned
fervent thanks to the patron saint who had taken him from
the box of M. d'Artagnan. Whilst these things were going on,
our musketeer could not help constantly repeating, --

"God grant that M. Monk may not have as much pride as I
have; for I declare if any one had put me into a coffer with
that grating over my mouth, and carried me packed up, like a
calf, across the seas, I should cherish such a memory of my
piteous looks in that coffer, and such an ugly animosity
against him who had inclosed me in it, I should dread so
greatly to see a sarcastic smile blooming upon the face of
the malicious wretch, or in his attitude any grotesque
imitation of my position in the box, that, Mordioux! I
should plunge a good dagger into his throat in compensation
for the grating, and would nail him down in a veritable
bier, in remembrance of the false coffin in which I had been
left to grow moldy for two days."

And D'Artagnan spoke honestly when he spoke thus; for the
skin of our Gascon was a very thin one. Monk, fortunately,
entertained other ideas. He never opened his mouth to his
timid conqueror concerning the past; but he admitted him
very near to his person in his labors, took him with him to
several reconnoiterings, in such a way as to obtain that
which he evidently warmly desired, -- a rehabilitation in
the mind of D'Artagnan. The latter conducted himself like a
past-master in the art of flattery: he admired all Monk's
tactics, and the ordering of his camp, he joked very
pleasantly upon the circumvallations of Lambert's camp, who
had, he said, very uselessly given himself the trouble to
inclose a camp for twenty thousand men, whilst an acre of
ground would have been quite sufficient for the corporal and
fifty guards who would perhaps remain faithful to him.

Monk, immediately after his arrival, had accepted the
proposition made by Lambert the evening before, for an
interview, and which Monk's lieutenants had refused under
the pretext that the general was indisposed. This interview
was neither long nor interesting: Lambert demanded a
profession of faith from his rival. The latter declared he
had no other opinion than that of the majority. Lambert
asked if it would not be more expedient to terminate the
quarrel by an alliance than by a battle. Monk hereupon
demanded a week for consideration. Now, Lambert could not
refuse this: and Lambert, nevertheless, had come, saying
that he should devour Monk's army. Therefore, at the end of
the interview, which Lambert's party watched with
impatience, nothing was decided -- neither treaty nor battle
-- the rebel army, as M. d'Artagnan had foreseen, began to
prefer the good cause to the bad one, and the parliament,
rumpish as it was, to the pompous nothings of Lambert's
designs.

They remembered, likewise, the good feasts of London ---the
profusion of ale and sherry with which the citizens of
London paid their friends the soldiers; -- they looked with
terror at the black war bread, at the troubled waters of the
Tweed, -- too salt for the glass, not enough so for the pot;
and they said to themselves, "Are not the roast meats kept
warm for Monk in London?" From that time nothing was heard
of but desertion in Lambert's army. The soldiers allowed
themselves to be drawn away by the force of principles,
which are, like discipline, the obligatory tie in everybody
constituted for any purpose. Monk defended the parliament --
Lambert attacked it. Monk had no more inclination to support
parliament than Lambert, but he had it inscribed on his
standards, so that all those of the contrary party were
reduced to write upon theirs "Rebellion," which sounded ill
to puritan ears. They flocked, then, from Lambert to Monk,
as sinners flock from Baal to God.

Monk made his calculations, at a thousand desertions a day
Lambert had men enough to last twenty days; but there is in
sinking things such a growth of weight and swiftness, which
combine with each other, that a hundred left the first day,
five hundred the second, a thousand the third. Monk thought
he had obtained his rate. But from one thousand the
deserters increased to two thousand, then to four thousand,
and, a week after, Lambert, perceiving that he had no longer
the possibility of accepting battle, if it were offered to
him, took the wise resolution of decamping during the night,
returning to London, and being beforehand with Monk in
constructing a power with the wreck of the military party.

But Monk, free and without uneasiness, marched towards
London as a conqueror, augmenting his army with all the
floating parties on his way. He encamped at Barnet, that is
to say, within four leagues of the capital, cherished by the
parliament, which thought it beheld in him a protector, and
awaited by the people, who were anxious to see him reveal
himself, that they might judge him. D'Artagnan himself had
not been able to fathom his tactics; he observed -- he
admired. Monk could not enter London with a settled
determination without bringing about civil war. He
temporized for a short time.

Suddenly, when least expected, Monk drove the military party
out of London, and installed himself in the city amidst the
citizens, by order of the parliament; then, at the moment
when the citizens were crying out against Monk -- at the
moment when the soldiers themselves were accusing their
leader -- Monk, finding himself certain of a majority,
declared to the Rump Parliament that it must abdicate -- be
dissolved -- and yield its place to a government which would
not be a joke. Monk pronounced this declaration, supported
by fifty thousand swords, to which, that same evening, were

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