Part 7 out of 21
united, with shouts of delirious joy, the five hundred
thousand inhabitants of the good city of London. At length,
at the moment when the people, after their triumphs and
festive repasts in the open streets, were looking about for
a master, it was affirmed that a vessel had left the Hague,
bearing Charles II. and his fortunes.
"Gentlemen," said Monk to his officers, "I am going to meet
the legitimate king. He who loves me will follow me." A
burst of acclamations welcomed these words, which D'Artagnan
did not hear without the greatest delight.
"Mordioux!" said he to Monk, "that is bold, monsieur."
"You will accompany me, will you not?" said Monk.
"Pardieu! general. But tell me, I beg, what you wrote by
Athos, that is to say, the Comte de la Fere -- you know --
the day of our arrival?"
"I have no secrets from you now," replied Monk. "I wrote
these words: `Sire, I expect your majesty in six weeks at
"Ah!" said D'Artagnan, "I no longer say it is bold; I say it
is well played; it is a fine stroke!"
"You are something of a judge in such matters," replied
And this was the only time the general had ever made an
allusion to his voyage to Holland.
Athos and D'Artagnan meet once more at the Hostelry of the Corne du Cerf
The king of England made his entree into Dover with great
pomp, as he afterwards did in London. He had sent for his
brothers; he had brought over his mother and sister. England
had been for so long a time given up to herself -- that is
to say, to tyranny, mediocrity, and nonsense -- that this
return of Charles II., whom the English only knew as the son
of the man whose head they had cut off, was a festival for
the three kingdoms. Consequently, all the good wishes, all
the acclamations which accompanied his return, struck the
young king so forcibly that he stooped and whispered in the
ear of James of York, his younger brother, "In truth, James,
it seems to have been our own fault that we were so long
absent from a country where we are so much beloved!" The
pageant was magnificent. Beautiful weather favored the
solemnity. Charles had regained all his youth, all his good
humor; he appeared to be transfigured; hearts seemed to
smile on him like the sun. Amongst this noisy crowd of
courtiers and worshippers, who did not appear to remember
they had conducted to the scaffold at Whitehall the father
of the new king, a man, in the garb of a lieutenant of
musketeers, looked, with a smile upon his thin, intellectual
lips, sometimes at the people vociferating their blessings,
and sometimes at the prince, who pretended emotion, and who
bowed most particularly to the women, whose bouquets fell
beneath his horse's feet.
"What a fine trade is that of king!" said this man, so
completely absorbed in contemplation that he stopped in the
middle of his road, leaving the cortege to file past. "Now,
there is, in good truth, a prince all bespangled over with
gold and diamonds, enamelled with flowers like a spring
meadow; he is about to plunge his empty hands into the
immense coffer in which his now faithful -- but so lately
unfaithful -- subjects have amassed one or two cartloads of
ingots of gold. They cast bouquets enough upon him to
smother him; and yet, if he had presented himself to them
two months ago, they would have sent as many bullets and
balls at him as they now throw flowers. Decidedly it is
worth something to be born in a certain sphere, with due
respect to the lowly, who pretend that it is of very little
advantage to them to be born lowly." The cortege continued
to file on, and, with the king, the acclamations began to
die away in the direction of the palace which, however, did
not prevent our officer from being pushed about.
"Mordioux!" continued the reasoner, "these people tread upon
my toes and look upon me as of very little consequence, or
rather of none at all, seeing that they are Englishmen and I
am a Frenchman. If all these people were asked, -- `Who is
M. d'Artagnan?' they would reply, `Nescio vos.' But let any
one say to them, `There is the king going by,' `There is M.
Monk going by,' they would run away, shouting, -- `Vive le
roi!' `Vive M. Monk!' till their lungs were exhausted. And
yet," continued he, surveying, with that look sometimes so
keen and sometimes so proud, the diminishing crowd, -- "and
yet, reflect a little, my good people, on what your king has
done, on what M. Monk has done, and then think what has been
done by this poor unknown, who is called M. d'Artagnan! It
is true you do not know him, since he is here unknown, and
that prevents your thinking about the matter! But, bah! what
matters it! All that does not prevent Charles II. from being
a great king, although he has been exiled twelve years, or
M. Monk from being a great captain, although he did make a
voyage to Holland in a box. Well, then, since it is admitted
that one is a great king and the other a great captain, --
`Hurrah for King Charles II.! -- Hurrah for General Monk!'"
And his voice mingled with the voices of the hundreds of
spectators, over which it sounded for a moment. Then, the
better to play the devoted man, he took off his hat and
waved it in the air. Some one seized his arm in the very
height of his expansive royalism. (In 1660 that was so
termed which we now call royalism.)
"Athos!" cried D'Artagnan, "you here!" And the two friends
seized each other's hands.
"You here! -- and being here," continued the musketeer, "you
are not in the midst of all these courtiers my dear comte!
What! you, the hero of the fete, you are not prancing on the
left hand of the king, as M. Monk is prancing on the right?
In truth, I cannot comprehend your character, nor that of
the prince who owes you so much!"
"Always scornful, my dear D'Artagnan!" said Athos. "Will you
never correct yourself of that vile habit?"
"But, you do not form part of the pageant?"
"I do not, because I was not willing to do so."
"And why were you not willing?"
"Because I am neither envoy nor ambassador, nor
representative of the king of France; and it does not become
me to exhibit myself thus near the person of another king
than the one God has given me for a master."
"Mordioux! you came very near to the person of the king, his
"That was another thing, my friend; he was about to die."
"And yet that which you did for him ---- "
"I did it because it was my duty to do it. But you know I
hate all ostentation. Let King Charles II., then, who no
longer stands in need of me, leave me to my rest, and in the
shadow; that is all I claim of him."
"What is the matter with you?" said Athos. "One would say
that this happy return of the king to London saddens you, my
friend; you who have done at least as much for his majesty
as I have."
"Have I not," replied D'Artagnan, with his Gascon laugh,
"have I not done much for his majesty, without any one
"Yes, yes, but the king is well aware of it my friend,"
"He is aware of it!" said the musketeer bitterly. "By my
faith! I did not suspect so, and I was even a moment ago
trying to forget it myself."
"But he, my friend, will not forget it, I will answer for
"You tell me that to console me a little, Athos."
"Mordioux! for all the expense I incurred. I have ruined
myself, my friend, ruined myself for the restoration of this
young prince who has just passed, cantering on his isabelle
"The king does not know you have ruined yourself, my friend,
but he knows he owes you much."
"And say, Athos, does that advance me in any respect? for,
to do you justice, you have labored nobly. But I -- I, who
in appearance marred your combinations, it was I who really
made them succeed. Follow my calculations; closely, you
might not have, by persuasions or mildness convinced General
Monk, whilst I so roughly treated this dear general, that I
furnished your prince with an opportunity of showing himself
generous: this generosity was inspired in him by the fact of
my fortunate mistake, and Charles is paid by the restoration
which Monk has brought about."
"All that, my dear friend, is strikingly true," replied
"Well, strikingly true as it may be, it is not less true, my
friend, that I shall return -- greatly beloved by M. Monk,
who calls me dear captain all day long, although I am
neither dear to him nor a captain; -- and much appreciated
by the king, who has already forgotten my name; -- it is not
less true, I say, that I shall return to my beautiful
country, cursed by the soldiers I had raised with the hopes
of large pay, cursed by the brave Planchet, of whom I
borrowed a part of his fortune."
"How is that? What the devil had Planchet to do in all
"Ah, yes, my friend, but this king, so spruce, so smiling,
so adored, M. Monk fancies he has recalled him, you fancy
you have supported him, I fancy I have brought him back, the
people fancy they have reconquered him, he himself fancies
he has negotiated his restoration; and yet nothing of all
this is true, for Charles II., king of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, has been replaced upon the throne by a French
grocer, who lives in the Rue des Lombards, and is named
Planchet. And such is grandeur! `Vanity!' says the
Scripture: `vanity, all is vanity.'"
Athos could not help laughing at this whimsical outbreak of
"My dear D'Artagnan," said he, pressing his hand
affectionately, "should you not exercise a little more
philosophy? Is it not some further satisfaction to you to
have saved my life as you did by arriving so fortunately
with Monk, when those damned parliamentarians wanted to burn
"Well, but you, in some degree, deserved a little burning,
"How so? What, for having saved King Charles's million?"
"Ah, that is true! you never knew that, my friend; but you
must not be angry, for it was not my secret. That word
`Remember' which the king pronounced upon the scaffold."
"And which means `souviens-toi!'"
"Exactly. That was signified. `Remember there is a million
buried in the vaults of Newcastle Abbey, and that that
million belongs to my son.'"
"Ah! very well, I understand. But what I understand
likewise, and what is very frightful, is, that every time
his majesty Charles II. will think of me, he will say to
himself: `There is the man who came very near making me lose
my crown. Fortunately I was generous, great, full of
presence of mind.' That will be said by the young gentleman
in a shabby black doublet, who came to the chateau of Blois,
hat in hand, to ask me if I would give him access to the
king of France."
"D'Artagnan! D'Artagnan!" said Athos, laying his hand on the
shoulder of the musketeer, "you are unjust."
"I have a right to be so."
"No -- for you are ignorant of the future."
D'Artagnan looked his friend full in the face, and began to
laugh. "In truth, my dear Athos," said he, "you have some
sayings so superb, that they only belong to you and M. le
Athos frowned slightly.
"I beg your pardon," continued D'Artagnan, laughing, "I beg
your pardon, if I have offended you. The future! Nein! what
pretty words are words that promise, and how well they fill
the mouth in default of other things! Mordioux! After having
met with so many who promised, when shall I find one who
will give? But, let that pass!" continued D'Artagnan. "What
are you doing here, my dear Athos? Are you the king's
"How -- why the king's treasurer?"
"Well, since the king possesses a million, he must want a
treasurer. The king of France, although he is not worth a
sou, has still a superintendent of finance, M. Fouquet. It
is true that, in exchange, M. Fouquet, they say, has a good
number of millions of his own."
"Oh! our million was spent long ago," said Athos, laughing
in his turn.
"I understand, it was frittered away in satin, precious
stones, velvet, and feathers of all sorts and colors. All
these princes and princesses stood in great need of tailors
and dressmakers. Eh! Athos, do you remember what we fellows
spent in equipping ourselves for the campaign of La
Rochelle, and to make our appearance on horseback? Two or
three thousand livres, by my faith! But a king's robe is
more ample; it would require a million to purchase the
stuff. At least, Athos, if you are not treasurer, you are on
a good footing at court."
"By the faith of a gentleman, I know nothing about it," said
"What! you know nothing about it?"
"No! I have not seen the king since we left Dover."
"Then he has forgotten you, too! Mordioux! That is
"His majesty has had so much business to transact."
"Oh!" cried D'Artagnan, with one of those intelligent
grimaces which he alone knew how to make, "that is enough to
make me recover my love for Monseigneur Giulio Mazarini.
What, Athos the king has not seen you since then?"
"And you are not furious?"
"I! Why should I be? Do you imagine, my dear D'Artagnan,
that it was on the king's account I acted as I have done? I
did not know the young man. I defended the father, who
represented a principle -- sacred in my eyes, and I allowed
myself to be drawn towards the son from sympathy for this
same principle. Besides, he was a worthy knight, a noble
creature, that father: do you remember him?"
"Yes; that is true; he was a brave, an excellent man, who
led a sad life, but made a fine end."
"Well, my dear D'Artagnan, understand this; to that king, to
that man of heart, to that friend of my thoughts, if I durst
venture to say so, I swore at the last hour to preserve
faithfully the secret of a deposit which was to be
transmitted to his son, to assist him in his hour of need.
This young man came to me; he described his destitution; he
was ignorant that he was anything to me save a living memory
of his father. I have accomplished towards Charles II. what
I promised Charles I.; that is all! Of what consequence is
it to me, then, whether he be grateful or not? It is to
myself I have rendered a service, by relieving myself of
this responsibility, and not to him."
"Well, I have always said," replied D'Artagnan, with a sigh,
"that disinterestedness was the finest thing in the world."
"Well, and you, my friend," resumed Athos, "are you not in
the same situation as myself? If I have properly understood
your words, you allowed yourself to be affected by the
misfortunes of this young man; that, on your part, was much
greater than it was upon mine, for I had a duty to fulfill,
whilst you were under no obligation to the son of the
martyr. You had not, on your part, to pay him the price of
that precious drop of blood which he let fall upon my brow,
through the floor of his scaffold. That which made you act
was heart alone -- the noble and good heart which you
possess beneath your apparent skepticism and sarcastic
irony; you have engaged the fortune of a servitor, and your
own, I suspect, my benevolent miser! and your sacrifice is
not acknowledged! Of what consequence is it? You wish to
repay Planchet his money. I can comprehend that, my friend:
for it is not becoming in a gentleman to borrow from his
inferior, without returning to him principal and interest.
Well, I will sell La Fere if necessary, and if not, some
little farm. You shall pay Planchet, and there will be
enough, believe me, of corn left in my granaries for us two
and Raoul. In this way, my friend, you will be under
obligations to nobody but yourself, and, if I know you well,
it will not be a small satisfaction to your mind to be able
to say, `I have made a king!' Am I right?"
"Athos! Athos!" murmured D'Artagnan, thoughtfully, "I have
told you more than once that the day on which you will
preach I shall attend the sermon; the day on which you will
tell me there is a hell -- Mordioux! I shall be afraid of
the gridiron and the pitchforks. You are better than I, or
rather, better than anybody, and I only acknowledge the
possession of one quality, and that is, of not being
jealous. Except that defect, damme, as the English say, if I
have not all the rest."
"I know no one equal to D'Artagnan," replied Athos; "but
here we are, having quietly reached the house I inhabit.
Will you come in, my friend?"
"Eh! why, this is the tavern of the Corne du Cerf, I think,"
"I confess I chose it on purpose. I like old acquaintances;
I like to sit down on that place, whereon I sank, overcome
by fatigue, overwhelmed with despair, when you returned on
the 31st of January."
"After having discovered the abode of the masked
executioner? Yes, that was a terrible day!"
"Come in, then," said Athos, interrupting him.
They entered the large apartment, formerly the common one.
The tavern, in general, and this room in particular, had
undergone great changes; the ancient host of the musketeers,
having become tolerably rich for an innkeeper, had closed
his shop, and made of this room of which we were speaking, a
store-room for colonial provisions. As for the rest of the
house, he let it ready furnished to strangers. It was with
unspeakable emotion D'Artagnan recognized all the furniture
of the chamber of the first story; the wainscoting, the
tapestries, and even that geographical chart which Porthos
had so fondly studied in his moments of leisure.
"It is eleven years ago," cried D'Artagnan. "Mordioux! it
appears to me a century!"
"And to me but a day," said Athos. "Imagine the joy I
experience, my friend, in seeing you there, in pressing your
hand, in casting from me sword and dagger, and tasting
without mistrust this glass of sherry. And, oh! what still
further joy it would be, if our two friends were there, at
the two corners of the tables, and Raoul, my beloved Raoul,
on the threshold, looking at us with his large eyes, at once
so brilliant and so soft!"
"Yes, yes," said D'Artagnan, much affected, "that is true. I
approve particularly of the first part of your thought; it
is very pleasant to smile there where we have so
legitimately shuddered in thinking that from one moment to
another M. Mordaunt might appear upon the landing."
At this moment the door opened, and D'Artagnan, brave as he
was, could not restrain a slight movement of fright. Athos
understood him, and, smiling, --
"It is our host," said he, "bringing me a letter."
"Yes, my lord," said the good man; "here is a letter for
"Thank you," said Athos, taking the letter without looking
at it. "Tell me, my dear host, if you do not remember this
The old man raised his head, and looked attentively at
"No," said he.
"It is," said Athos, "one of those friends of whom I have
spoken to you, and who lodged here with me eleven years
"Oh! but," said the old man, "so many strangers have lodged
"But we lodged here on the 30th of January, 1649," added
Athos, believing he should stimulate the lazy memory of the
host by this remark.
"That is very possible," replied he, smiling; "but it is so
long ago!" and he bowed, and went out.
"Thank you," said D'Artagnan -- "perform exploits,
accomplish revolutions, endeavor to engrave your name in
stone or bronze with strong swords! there is something more
rebellious, more hard, more forgetful than iron, bronze, or
stone, and that is, the brain of a lodging-house keeper who
has grown rich in the trade, -- he does not know me! Well, I
should have known him, though."
Athos, smiling at his friend's philosophy, unsealed his
"Ah!" said he, "a letter from Parry."
"Oh! oh!" said D'Artagnan; "read it, my friend, read it! No
doubt it contains news."
Athos shook his head, and read:
Monsieur le Comte. -- The king has experienced much regret
at not seeing you to-day beside him, at his entrance. His
majesty commands me to say so, and to recall him to your
memory. His majesty will expect you this evening, at the
palace of St. James, between nine and ten o'clock.
"I am, respectfully, monsieur le comte, your honor's very
humble and very obedient servant, -- Parry."
"You see, my dear D'Artagnan," said Athos, "we must not
despair of the hearts of kings."
"Not despair! you are right to say so!" replied D'Artagnan.
"Oh! my dear, very dear friend," resumed Athos, whom the
almost imperceptible bitterness of D'Artagnan had not
escaped. "Pardon me! can I have unintentionally wounded my
"You are mad, Athos, and to prove it, I shall conduct you to
the palace; to the very gate, I mean; the walk will do me
"You shall go in with me, my friend; I will speak to his
"No, no!" replied D'Artagnan, with true pride, free from all
mixture; "if there is anything worse than begging yourself,
it is making others beg for you. Come, let us go, my friend,
the walk will be charming; on the way I shall show you the
house of M. Monk, who has detained me with him. A beautiful
house, by my faith. Being a general in England is better
than being a marechal in France, please to know."
Athos allowed himself to be led along, quite saddened by
D'Artagnan's forced attempts at gayety. The whole city was
in a state of joy; the two friends were jostled at every
moment by enthusiasts who required them, in their
intoxication, to cry out, "Long live good King Charles!"
D'Artagnan replied by a grunt, and Athos by a smile. They
arrived thus in front of Monk's house, before which, as we
have said, they had to pass on their way to St. James's.
Athos and D'Artagnan said but little on the road, for the
simple reason that they would have had so many things to
talk about if they had spoken. Athos thought that by
speaking he should evince satisfaction, and that might wound
D'Artagnan. The latter feared that in speaking he should
allow some little bitterness to steal into his words which
would render his company unpleasant to his friend. It was a
singular emulation of silence between contentment and
ill-humor. D'Artagnan gave way first to that itching at the
tip of his tongue which he so habitually experienced.
"Do you remember, Athos," said he, "the passage of the
`Memoires de D'Aubigny,' in which that devoted servant, a
Gascon like myself, poor as myself, and, I was going to add,
brave as myself, relates instances of the meanness of Henry
IV.? My father always told me, I remember, that D'Aubigny
was a liar. But, nevertheless, examine how all the princes,
the issue of the great Henry, keep up the character of the
"Nonsense!" said Athos, "the kings of France misers? You are
mad, my friend."
"Oh! you are so perfect yourself, you never agree to the
faults of others. But, in reality, Henry IV. was covetous,
Louis XIII., his son, was so likewise; we know something of
that, don't we? Gaston carried this vice to exaggeration,
and has made himself, in this respect, hated by all who
surround him. Henriette, poor woman, might well be
avaricious, she who did not eat every day, and could not
warm herself every winter; and that is an example she has
given to her son Charles II., grandson of the great Henry
IV., who is as covetous as his mother and his grandfather.
See if I have well traced the genealogy of the misers?"
"D'Artagnan, my friend," cried Athos, "you are very rude
towards that eagle race called the Bourbons."
"Eh! and I have forgotten the best instance of all -- the
other grandson of the Bearnais, Louis XIV., my ex-master.
Well, I hope he is miserly enough, he who would not lend a
million to his brother Charles! Good! I see you are
beginning to be angry. Here we are, by good luck, close to
my house, or rather to that of my friend, M. Monk."
"My dear D'Artagnan, you do not make me angry, you make me
sad; it is cruel, in fact, to see a man of your deserts out
of the position his services ought to have acquired; it
appears to me, my dear friend, that your name is as radiant
as the greatest names in war and diplomacy. Tell me if the
Luynes, the Ballegardes, and the Bassompierres have merited,
as we have, fortunes and honors? You are right, my friend, a
hundred times right."
D'Artagnan sighed, and preceded his friend under the porch
of the mansion Monk inhabited, at the extremity of the city.
"Permit me," said he, "to leave my purse at home; for if in
the crowd those clever pickpockets of London, who are much
boasted of, even in Paris, were to steal from me the
remainder of my poor crowns, I should not be able to return
to France. Now, content I left France, and wild with joy I
should return to it, seeing that all my prejudices of former
days against England have returned, accompanied by many
Athos made no reply.
"So then, my dear friend, one second, and I will follow
you," said D'Artagnan. "I know you are in a hurry to go
yonder to receive your reward, but, believe me, I am not
less eager to partake of your joy, although from a distance.
Wait for me." And D'Artagnan was already passing through the
vestibule, when a man, half servant, half soldier, who
filled in Monk's establishment the double functions of
porter and guard, stopped our musketeer, saying to him in
"I beg your pardon, my Lord d'Artagnan!"
"Well," replied the latter: "what is it? Is the general
going to dismiss me? I only needed to be expelled by him."
These words, spoken in French, made no impression upon the
person to whom they were addressed and who himself only
spoke an English mixed with the rudest Scotch. But Athos was
grieved at them, for he began to think D'Artagnan was not
The Englishman showed D'Artagnan a letter: "From the
general," said he.
"Aye! that's it, my dismissal!" replied the Gascon. "Must I
read it, Athos?"
"You must be deceived," said Athos, "or I know no more
honest people in the world but you and myself."
D'Artagnan shrugged his shoulders and unsealed the letter,
while the impassible Englishman held for him a large
lantern, by the light of which he was enabled to read it.
"Well, what is the matter?" said Athos, seeing the
countenance of the reader change.
"Read it yourself," said the musketeer.
Athos took the paper and read:
Monsieur d'Artagnan. -- The king regrets very much you did
not come to St. Paul's with his cortege. He missed you, as I
also have missed you, my dear captain. There is but one
means of repairing all this. His majesty expects me at nine
o'clock at the palace of St. James's: will you be there at
the same time with me? His gracious majesty appoints that
hour for an audience he grants you."
This letter was from Monk.
"Well?" cried Athos with a mild look of reproach when
D'Artagnan had read the letter addressed to him by Monk.
"Well!" said D'Artagnan, red with pleasure, and a little
with shame, at having so hastily accused the king and Monk.
"This is a politeness, -- which leads to nothing, it is
true, but yet it is a politeness."
"I had great difficulty in believing the young prince
ungrateful," said Athos.
"The fact is, that his present is still too near his past,"
replied D'Artagnan; "after all, everything to the present
moment proved me right."
"I acknowledge it, my dear friend, I acknowledge it. Ah!
there is your cheerful look returned. You cannot think how
delighted I am."
"Thus you see," said D'Artagnan, "Charles II. receives M.
Monk at nine o'clock; he will receive me at ten; it is a
grand audience, of the sort which at the Louvre are called
`distributions of court holy water.' Come, let us go and
place ourselves under the spout, my dear friend! Come
Athos replied nothing; and both directed their steps, at a
quick pace, towards the palace of St. James's, which the
crowd still surrounded, to catch, through the windows, the
shadows of the courtiers, and the reflection of the royal
person. Eight o'clock was striking when the two friends took
their places in the gallery filled with courtiers and
politicians. Every one looked at these simply-dressed men in
foreign costumes, at these two noble heads so full of
character and meaning. On their side, Athos and D'Artagnan,
having with two glances taken the measure of the whole
assembly, resumed their chat.
A great noise was suddenly heard at the extremity of the
gallery, -- it was General Monk, who entered, followed by
more than twenty officers, all eager for a smile, as only
the evening before he was master of all England, and a
glorious morrow was looked to, for the restorer of the
"Gentlemen," said Monk, turning round, "henceforward I beg
you to remember that I am no longer anything. Lately I
commanded the principal army of the republic; now that army
is the king's, into whose hands I am about to surrender, at
his command, my power of yesterday."
Great surprise was painted on all the countenances, and the
circle of adulators and suppliants which surrounded Monk an
instant before, was enlarged by degrees, and ended by being
lost in the large undulations of the crowd. Monk was going
into the ante-chamber as others did. D'Artagnan could not
help remarking this to the Comte de la Fere, who frowned on
beholding it. Suddenly the door of the royal apartment
opened, and the young king appeared, preceded by two
officers of his household.
"Good evening, gentlemen," said he. "Is General Monk here?"
"I am here, sire," replied the old general.
Charles stepped hastily towards him, and seized his hand
with the warmest demonstration of friendship. "General,"
said the king, aloud, "I have just signed your patent, --
you are Duke of Albemarle; and my intention is that no one
shall equal you in power and fortune in this kingdom, where
-- the noble Montrose excepted -- no one has equaled you in
loyalty, courage, and talent. Gentlemen, the duke is
commander of our armies of land and sea; pay him your
respects, if you please, in that character."
Whilst every one was pressing round the general, who
received all this homage without losing his impassibility
for an instant, D'Artagnan said to Athos: "When one thinks
that this duchy, this commander of the land and sea forces,
all these grandeurs, in a word, have been shut up in a box
six feet long and three feet wide ---- "
"My friend," replied Athos, "much more imposing grandeurs
are confined in boxes still smaller, -- and remain there
All at once Monk perceived the two gentlemen, who held
themselves aside until the crowd had diminished; he made
himself a passage towards them, so that he surprised them in
the midst of their philosophical reflections. "Were you
speaking of me?" said he, with a smile.
"My lord," replied Athos, "we were speaking likewise of
Monk reflected for a moment, and then replied gayly:
"Gentlemen, let us speak a little of the king likewise, if
you please; for you have, I believe, an audience of his
"At nine o'clock," said Athos.
"At ten o'clock," said D'Artagnan.
"Let us go into this closet at once," replied Monk, making a
sign to his two companions to precede him; but to that
neither would consent.
The king, during this discussion so characteristic of the
French, had returned to the center of the gallery.
"Oh! my Frenchmen!" said he, in that tone of careless gayety
which, in spite of so much grief and so many crosses, he had
never lost. "My Frenchmen! my consolation!" Athos and
"Duke, conduct these gentlemen into my study. I am at your
service, messieurs," added he in French. And he promptly
expedited his court, to return to his Frenchmen, as he
called them. "Monsieur d'Artagnan," said he, as he entered
his closet, "I am glad to see you again."
"Sire, my joy is at its height, at having the honor to
salute your majesty in your own palace of St. James's."
"Monsieur, you have been willing to render me a great
service, and I owe you my gratitude for it. If I did not
fear to intrude upon the rights of our commanding general, I
would offer you some post worthy of you near our person."
"Sire," replied D'Artagnan, "I have quitted the service of
the king of France, making a promise to my prince not to
serve any other king."
"Humph!" said Charles, "I am sorry to hear that; I should
like to do much for you; I like you very much."
"Sire ---- "
"But let us see," said Charles with a smile, "if we cannot
make you break your word. Duke, assist me. If you were
offered, that is to say, if I offered you the chief command
of my musketeers?" D'Artagnan bowed lower than before.
"I should have the regret to refuse what your gracious
majesty would offer me," said he; "a gentleman has but his
word, and that word, as I have had the honor to tell your
majesty, is engaged to the king of France."
"We shall say no more about it, then," said the king,
turning towards Athos, and leaving D'Artagnan plunged in the
deepest pangs of disappointment.
"Ah! I said so!" muttered the musketeer. "Words! words!
Court holy water! Kings have always a marvellous talent for
offering us that which they know we will not accept, and in
appearing generous without risk. So be it! -- triple fool
that I was to have hoped for a moment!"
During this time Charles took the hand of Athos. "Comte,"
said he, "you have been to me a second father; the services
you have rendered me are above all price. I have,
nevertheless, thought of a recompense. You were created by
my father a Knight of the Garter ---that is an order which
all the kings of Europe cannot bear; by the queen regent,
Knight of the Holy Ghost -- which is an order not less
illustrious; I join to it that of the Golden Fleece sent me
by the king of France, to whom the king of Spain, his
father-in-law, gave two on the occasion of his marriage; but
in return, I have a service to ask of you."
"Sire," said Athos. with confusion, "the Golden Fleece for
me! when the king of France is the only person in my country
who enjoys that distinction?"
I wish you to be in your country and all others the equal of
all those whom sovereigns have honored with their favor,"
said Charles, drawing the chain from his neck; "and I am
sure, comte, my father smiles on me from his grave."
"It is unaccountably strange," said D'Artagnan to himself,
whilst his friend, on his knees, received the eminent order
which the king conferred on him -- "it is almost incredible
that I have always seen showers of prosperity fall upon all
who surrounded me, and that not a drop ever reached me! If I
were a jealous man it would be enough to make one tear one's
hair, parole d'honneur!"
Athos rose from his knees, and Charles embraced him
tenderly. "General!" said he to Monk -- then stopping with a
smile, "pardon me, duke, I mean. No wonder if I make a
mistake; the word duke is too short for me, I always seek
some title to lengthen it. I should wish to see you so near
my throne, that I might say to you as to Louis XIV., my
brother! Oh! I have it, and you will be almost my brother,
for I make you viceroy of Ireland and of Scotland. my dear
duke. So, after that fashion, henceforward I shall not make
The duke seized the hand of the king, but without
enthusiasm, without joy, as he did everything. His heart,
however, had been moved by this last favor. Charles, by
skillfully husbanding his generosity, had given the duke
time to wish, although he might not have wished for so much
as was given him.
"Mordioux!" grumbled D'Artagnan, "there is the shower
beginning again! Oh! it is enough to turn one's brain!" and
he turned away with an air so sorrowful and so comically
piteous, that the king, who caught it, could not restrain a
smile. Monk was preparing to leave the room, to take leave
"What! my trusty and well-beloved!" said the king to the
duke, "are you going?"
"With your majesty's permission, for in truth I am weary.
The emotions of the day have worn me out; I stand in need of
"But," said the king, "you are not going without M.
d'Artagnan, I hope."
"Why not, sire?" said the old warrior.
"Well! you know very well why," said the king.
Monk looked at Charles with astonishment.
"Oh! it may be possible; but if you forget, you, M.
d'Artagnan, do not."
Astonishment was painted on the face of the musketeer.
"Well, then, duke," said the king, "do you not lodge with M.
"I had the honor of offering M. d'Artagnan a lodging; yes,
"That idea is your own, and yours solely?"
"Mine and mine only; yes, sire."
"Well! but it could not be otherwise -- the prisoner always
lodges with his conqueror."
Monk colored in his turn. "Ah! that is true," said he, "I am
M. d'Artagnan's prisoner."
"Without doubt, duke, since you are not yet ransomed, but
have no care of that; it was I who took you out of M.
d'Artagnan's hands, and it is I who will pay your ransom."
The eyes of D'Artagnan regained their gayety and their
brilliancy. The Gascon began to understand. Charles advanced
"The general," said he, "is not rich, and cannot pay you
what he is worth. I am richer, certainly, but now that he is
a duke, and if not a king, almost a king, he is worth a sum
I could not perhaps pay. Come, M. d'Artagnan, be moderate
with me; how much do I owe you?"
D'Artagnan, delighted at the turn things were taking, but
not for a moment losing his self-possession, replied, --
"Sire, your majesty has no occasion to be alarmed. When I
had the good fortune to take his grace, M. Monk was only a
general; it is therefore only a general's ransom that is due
to me. But if the general will have the kindness to deliver
me his sword, I shall consider myself paid; for there is
nothing in the world but the general's sword which is worth
so much as himself."
"Odds fish! as my father said," cried Charles. "That is a
gallant proposal, and a gallant man, is he not, duke?"
"Upon my honor, yes, sire," and he drew his sword.
"Monsieur," said he to D'Artagnan, "here is what you demand.
Many may have handled a better blade; but however modest
mine may be, I have never surrendered it to any one."
D'Artagnan received with pride the sword which had just made
"Oh! oh!" cried Charles II.; "what, a sword that has
restored me to my throne -- to go out of the kingdom -- and
not, one day, to figure among the crown jewels. No, on my
soul! that shall not be! Captain d'Artagnan, I will give you
two hundred thousand crowns for your sword! If that is too
little, say so."
"It is too little, sire," replied D'Artagnan, with
inimitable seriousness. "In the first place, I do not at all
wish to sell it; but your majesty desires me to do so, and
that is an order. I obey, then, but the respect I owe to the
illustrious warrior who hears me commands me to estimate at
a third more the reward of my victory. I ask then three
hundred thousand crowns for the sword, or I shall give it to
your majesty for nothing." And taking it by the point he
presented it to the king. Charles broke into hilarious
"A gallant man, and a merry companion! Odds fish! is he not,
duke? is he not, comte? He pleases me! I like him! Here,
Chevalier d'Artagnan, take this." And going to the table, he
took a pen and wrote an order upon his treasurer for three
hundred thousand crowns.
D'Artagnan took it, and turning gravely towards Monk: "I
have still asked too little, I know," said he, "but believe
me, your grace, I would rather have died than allow myself
to be governed by avarice."
The king began to laugh again, like the happiest cockney of
"You will come and see me again before you go, chevalier?"
said he; "I shall want to lay in a stock of gayety now my
Frenchmen are leaving me."
"Ah! sire, it will not be with the gayety as with the duke's
sword; I will give it to your majesty gratis," replied
D'Artagnan, whose feet scarcely seemed to touch the ground.
"And you, comte," added Charles, turning towards Athos,
"come again, also, I have an important message to confide to
you. Your hand, duke." Monk pressed the hand of the king.
"Adieu! gentlemen," said Charles, holding out each of his
hands to the two Frenchmen, who carried them to their lips.
"Well," said Athos, when they were out of the palace, "are
"Hush!" said D'Artagnan, wild with joy, "I have not yet
returned from the treasurer's -- a shutter may fall upon my
Of the Embarrassment of Riches
D'Artagnan lost no time, and as soon as the thing was
suitable and opportune, he paid a visit to the lord
treasurer of his majesty. He had then the satisfaction to
exchange a piece of paper, covered with very ugly writing,
for a prodigious number of crowns, recently stamped with the
effigies of his very gracious majesty Charles II.
D'Artagnan easily controlled himself: and yet, on this
occasion, he could not help evincing a joy which the reader
will perhaps comprehend, if he deigns to have some
indulgence for a man who, since his birth, had never seen so
many pieces and rolls of pieces juxtaplaced in an order
truly agreeable to the eye. The treasurer placed all the
rolls in bags, and closed each bag with a stamp sealed with
the arms of England, a favor which treasurers do not grant
to everybody. Then impassible, and just as polite as he
ought to be towards a man honored with the friendship of the
king, he said to D'Artagnan:
"Take away your money, sir." Your money! These words made a
thousand chords vibrate in the heart of D'Artagnan, which he
had never felt before. He had the bags packed in a small
cart, and returned home meditating deeply. A man who
possesses three hundred thousand crowns can no longer expect
to wear a smooth brow; a wrinkle for every hundred thousand
livres is not too much.
D'Artagnan shut himself up, ate no dinner, closed his door
to everybody, and, with a lighted lamp, and a loaded pistol
on the table, he watched all night, ruminating upon the
means of preventing these lovely crowns, which from the
coffers of the king had passed into his coffers, from
passing from his coffers into the pockets of any thief
whatever. The best means discovered by the Gascon was to
inclose his treasure, for the present, under locks so solid
that no wrist could break them, and so complicated that no
master-key could open them. D'Artagnan remembered that the
English are masters in mechanics and conservative industry;
and he determined to go in the morning in search of a
mechanic who would sell him a strong box. He did not go far;
Master Will Jobson, dwelling in Piccadilly, listened to his
propositions, comprehended his wishes, and promised to make
him a safety lock that should relieve him from all future
"I will give you," said he, "a piece of mechanism entirely
new. At the first serious attempt upon your lock, an
invisible plate will open of itself and vomit forth a pretty
copper bullet of the weight of a mark -- which will knock
down the intruder, and not without a loud report. What do
you think of it?"
"I think it very ingenious," cried D'Artagnan, "the little
copper bullet pleases me mightily. So now, sir mechanic, the
"A fortnight for the execution, and fifteen hundred crowns
payable on delivery," replied the artisan.
D'Artagnan's brow darkened. A fortnight was delay enough to
allow the thieves of London time to remove all occasion for
the strong box. As to the fifteen hundred crowns -- that
would be paying too dear for what a little vigilance would
procure him for nothing.
"I will think of it," said he, "thank you, sir." And he
returned home at full speed; nobody had yet touched his
treasure. That same day Athos paid a visit to his friend and
found him so thoughtful that he could not help expressing
"How is this?" said he, "you are rich and not gay -- you,
who were so anxious for wealth!"
"My friend, the pleasures to which we are not accustomed
oppress us more than the griefs with which we are familiar.
Give me your opinion, if you please. I can ask you, who have
always had money: when we have money, what do we do with
"What have you done with yours, seeing that it has not made
you a miser or a prodigal? For avarice dries up the heart,
and prodigality drowns it -- is not that so?"
"Fabricius could not have spoken more justly. But in truth,
my money has never been a burden to me."
"How so? Do you place it out at interest?"
"No; you know I have a tolerably handsome house; and that
house composes the better part of my property."
"I know it does."
"So that you can be as rich as I am, and, indeed more rich,
whenever you like, by the same means."
"But your rents, -- do you lay them by?"
"What do you think of a chest concealed in a wall?"
"I never made use of such a thing."
"Then you must have some confidant, some safe man of
business who pays you interest at a fair rate."
"Not at all."
"Good heavens! what do you do with it, then?"
"I spend all I have, and I only have what I spend, my dear
"Ah that may be. But you are something of a prince, fifteen
or sixteen thousand livres melt away between your fingers;
and then you have expenses and appearances ---- "
"Well, I don't see why you should be less of a noble than I
am, my friend; your money would be quite sufficient."
"Three hundred thousand crowns! Two-thirds too much!"
"I beg your pardon -- did you not tell me? -- I thought I
heard you say -- I fancied you had a partner ---- "
"Ah! Mordioux! that's true," cried D'Artagnan, coloring;
"there is Planchet. I had forgotten Planchet, upon my life!
Well! there are my three hundred thousand crowns broken
into. That's a pity! it was a round sum, and sounded well.
That is true, Athos; I am no longer rich. What a memory you
"Tolerably good; yes, thank God!"
"The worthy Planchet!" grumbled D'Artagnan; "his was not a
bad dream! What a speculation! Peste! Well! what is said is
"How much are you to give him?"
"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, "he is not a bad fellow; I shall
arrange matters with him. I have had a great deal of
trouble, you see, and expenses; all that must be taken into
"My dear friend, I can depend upon you, and have no fear for
the worthy Planchet; his interests are better in your hands
than in his own. But now that you have nothing more to do
here, we shall depart, if you please. You can go and thank
his majesty, ask if he has any commands, and in six days we
may be able to get sight of the towers of Notre Dame."
"My friend, I am most anxious to be off, and will go at once
and pay my respects to the king."
"I," said Athos, "am going to call upon some friends in the
city, and shall then be at your service."
"Will you lend me Grimaud?"
"With all my heart. What do you want to do with him?"
"Something very simple, and which will not fatigue him; I
shall only beg him to take charge of my pistols, which lie
there on the table near that coffer."
"Very well!" replied Athos, imperturbably.
"And he will not stir, will he?"
"Not more than the pistols themselves."
"Then I shall go and take leave of his majesty. Au revoir!"
D'Artagnan arrived at St. James's, where Charles II. who was
busy writing, kept him in the ante-chamber a full hour.
Whilst walking about in the gallery, from the door to the
window, from the window to the door, he thought he saw a
cloak like Athos's cross the vestibule; but at the moment he
was going to ascertain if it were he, the usher summoned him
to his majesty's presence. Charles II. rubbed his hands
while receiving the thanks of our friend.
"Chevalier," said he, "you are wrong to express gratitude to
me; I have not paid you a quarter of the value of the
history of the box into which you put the brave general --
the excellent Duke of Albemarle, I mean." And the king
D'Artagnan did not think it proper to interrupt his majesty,
and bowed with much modesty.
"A propos," continued Charles, "do you think my dear Monk
has really pardoned you?"
"Pardoned me! yes, I hope so, sire!"
"Eh! -- but it was a cruel trick! Odds fish! to pack up the
first personage of the English revolution like a herring. In
your place I would not trust him, chevalier."
"But, sire ---- "
"Yes, I know very well that Monk calls you his friend, but
he has too penetrating an eye not to have a memory, and too
lofty a brow not to be very proud, you know grande
"I shall certainly learn Latin," said D'Artagnan to himself.
"But stop," cried the merry monarch, "I must manage your
reconciliation; I know how to set about it; so ---- "
D'Artagnan bit his mustache. "Will your majesty permit me to
tell you the truth?"
"Speak, chevalier, speak."
"Well, sire, you alarm me greatly. If your majesty
undertakes the affair, as you seem inclined to do, I am a
lost man; the duke will have me assassinated."
The king burst into a fresh roar of laughter, which changed
D'Artagnan's alarm into downright terror.
"Sire, I beg you to allow me to settle this matter myself,
and if your majesty has no further need of my services ----
"No, chevalier. What, do you want to leave us?" replied
Charles, with a hilarity that grew more and more alarming.
"If your majesty has no more commands for me."
Charles became more serious.
"One single thing. See my sister, the Lady Henrietta. Do you
"No, sire, but -- an old soldier like me is not an agreeable
spectacle for a young and gay princess."
"Ah! but my sister must know you; she must in case of need
have you to depend upon."
"Sire, every one that is dear to your majesty will be sacred
"Very well! -- Parry! Come here, Parry!"
The side door opened and Parry entered, his face beaming
with pleasure as soon as he saw D'Artagnan.
"What is Rochester doing?" said the king.
"He is on the canal with the ladies," replied Parry.
"He is there also."
"That is well. You will conduct the chevalier to Villiers;
that is the Duke of Buckingham, chevalier; and beg the duke
to introduce M. d'Artagnan to the Princess Henrietta."
Parry bowed and smiled to D'Artagnan.
"Chevalier," continued the king, "this is your parting
audience; you can afterwards set out as soon as you please."
"Sire, I thank you."
"But be sure you make your peace with Monk!"
"Oh, sire ---- "
"You know there is one of my vessels at your disposal?"
"Sire, you overpower me; I cannot think of putting your
majesty's officers to inconvenience on my account."
The king slapped D'Artagnan upon the shoulder.
"Nobody will be inconvenienced on your account, chevalier,
but for that of an ambassador I am about sending to France,
and to whom you will willingly serve as a companion, I
fancy, for you know him."
D'Artagnan appeared astonished.
"He is a certain Comte de la Fere, -- whom you call Athos,"
added the king, terminating the conversation, as he had
begun it, by a joyous burst of laughter. "Adieu, chevalier,
adieu. Love me as I love you." And thereupon making a sign
to Parry to ask if there were any one waiting for him in the
adjoining closet, the king disappeared into that closet,
leaving the chevalier perfectly astonished by this singular
audience. The old man took his arm in a friendly way, and
led him towards the garden.
On the Canal
Upon the green waters of the canal bordered with marble,
upon which time had already scattered black spots and tufts
of mossy grass, there glided majestically a long, flat bark
adorned with the arms of England, surmounted by a dais, and
carpeted with long damasked stuffs, which trailed their
fringes in the water. Eight rowers, leaning lazily to their
oars, made it move upon the canal with the graceful slowness
of the swans, which, disturbed in their ancient possessions
by the approach of the bark, looked from a distance at this
splendid and noisy pageant. We say noisy -- for the bark
contained four guitar and lute players, two singers, and
several courtiers, all sparkling with gold and precious
stones, and showing their white teeth in emulation of each
other, to please the Lady Henrietta Stuart, grand-daughter
of Henry IV., daughter of Charles I., and sister of Charles
II., who occupied the seat of honor under the dais of the
bark. We know this young princess, we have seen her at the
Louvre with her mother, wanting wood, wanting bread, and fed
by the coadjuteur and the parliament. She had, therefore,
like her brothers, passed through an uneasy youth; then, all
at once, she had just awakened from a long and horrible
dream, seated on the steps of a throne, surrounded by
courtiers and flatterers. Like Mary Stuart on leaving
prison, she aspired not only to life and liberty, but to
power and wealth.
The Lady Henrietta, in growing, had attained remarkable
beauty, which the recent restoration had rendered
celebrated. Misfortune had taken from her the luster of
pride, but prosperity had restored it to her. She was
resplendent, then, in her joy and her happiness, -- like
those hot-house flowers which, forgotten during a frosty
autumn night, have hung their heads, but which on the
morrow, warmed once more by the atmosphere in which they
were born, rise again with greater splendor than ever.
Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, son of him who played so
conspicuous a part in the early chapters of this history, --
Villiers of Buckingham, a handsome cavalier, melancholy with
women, a jester with men, -- and Wilmot, Lord Rochester, a
jester with both sexes, were standing at this moment before
the Lady Henrietta, disputing the privilege of making her
smile. As to that young and beautiful princess, reclining
upon a cushion of velvet bordered with gold, her hands
hanging listlessly so as to dip in the water, she listened
carelessly to the musicians without hearing them, and heard
the two courtiers without appearing to listen to them.
This Lady Henrietta -- this charming creature -- this woman
who joined the graces of France to the beauties of England,
not having yet loved, was cruel in her coquetry. The smile,
then, -- that innocent favor of young girls, -- did not even
lighten her countenance; and if, at times, she did raise her
eyes, it was to fasten them upon one or other of the
cavaliers with such a fixity, that their gallantry, bold as
it generally was, took the alarm, and became timid.
In the meanwhile the boat continued its course, the
musicians made a great noise, and the courtiers began, like
them, to be out of breath. Besides, the excursion became
doubtless monotonous to the princess, for all at once,
shaking her head with an air of impatience, -- "Come,
gentlemen, -- enough of this; -- let us land."
"Ah, madam," said Buckingham, "we are very unfortunate! We
have not succeeded in making the excursion agreeable to your
"My mother expects me," replied the princess; "and I must
frankly admit, gentlemen, I am bored." And whilst uttering
this cruel word, Henrietta endeavored to console by a look
each of the two young men, who appeared terrified at such
frankness. The look produced its effect -- the two faces
brightened; but immediately, as if the royal coquette
thought she had done too much for simple mortals, she made a
movement, turned her back on both her adorers, and appeared
plunged in a reverie in which it was evident they had no
Buckingham bit his lips with anger, for he was truly in love
with Lady Henrietta, and, in that case, took everything in a
serious light. Rochester bit his lips likewise; but his wit
always dominated over his heart, it was purely and simply to
repress a malicious smile. The princess was then allowing
the eyes she turned from the young nobles to wander over the
green and flowery turf of the park, when she perceived Parry
and D'Artagnan at a distance.
"Who is coming yonder?" said she.
The two young men turned round with the rapidity of
"Parry," replied Buckingham, "nobody but Parry."
"I beg your pardon," said Rochester, "but I think he has a
"Yes," said the princess, at first with languor, but then,
-- "What mean those words, `Nobody but Parry;' say, my
"Because, madam," replied Buckingham, piqued, "because the
faithful Parry, the wandering Parry, the eternal Parry, is
not, I believe, of much consequence."
"You are mistaken, duke. Parry -- the wandering Parry, as
you call him -- has always wandered in the service of my
family, and the sight of that old man always gives me
The Lady Henrietta followed the usual progress of pretty
women, particularly coquettish women; she passed from
caprice to contradiction; -- the gallant had undergone the
caprice, the courtier must bend beneath the contradictory
humor. Buckingham bowed, but made no reply.
"It is true, madam," said Rochester, bowing in his turn,
"that Parry is the model of servants; but, madam, he is no
longer young, and we laugh only when we see cheerful
objects. Is an old man a gay object?"
"Enough, my lord," said the princess, coolly; "the subject
of conversation is unpleasant to me."
Then, as if speaking to herself, "It is really
unaccountable," said she, "how little regard my brother's
friends have for his servants."
"Ah, madam," cried Buckingham, "your royal highness pierces
my heart with a dagger forged by your own hands."
"What is the meaning of that speech, which is turned so like
a French madrigal, duke? I do not understand it."
"It means, madam, that you yourself, so good, so charming,
so sensible, you have laughed sometimes -- smiled, I should
say -- at the idle prattle of that good Parry, for whom your
royal highness to-day entertains such a marvelous
"Well, my lord, if I have forgotten myself so far," said
Henrietta, "you do wrong to remind me of it." And she made a
sign of impatience. "The good Parry wants to speak to me, I
believe: please order them to row to the shore, my Lord
Rochester hastened to repeat the princess's command; and a
moment later the boat touched the bank.
"Let us land, gentlemen," said Henrietta, taking the arm
which Rochester offered her, although Buckingham was nearer
to her, and had presented his. Then Rochester, with an
ill-dissembled pride, which pierced the heart of the unhappy
Buckingham through and through, led the princess across the
little bridge which the rowers had cast from the royal boat
to the shore.
"Which way will your royal highness go?" asked Rochester.
"You see, my lord, towards that good Parry, who is
wandering, as my lord of Buckingham says, and seeking me
with eyes weakened by the tears he has shed over our
"Good heavens!" said Rochester, "how sad your royal highness
is to-day; in truth we seem ridiculous fools to you, madam."
"Speak for yourself, my lord," interrupted Buckingham with
vexation; "for my part, I displease her royal highness to
such a degree, that I appear absolutely nothing to her."
Neither Rochester nor the princess made any reply; Henrietta
only urged her companion more quickly on. Buckingham
remained behind, and took advantage of this isolation to
give himself up to his anger; he bit his handkerchief so
furiously that it was soon in shreds.
"Parry my good Parry," said the princess, with her gentle
voice, "come hither. I see you are seeking me, and I am
waiting for you."
"Ah, madam," said Rochester, coming charitably to the help
of his companion, who had remained, as we have said, behind,
"if Parry cannot see your royal highness, the man who
follows him is a sufficient guide, even for a blind man, for
he has eyes of flame. That man is a double-lamped lantern."
"Lighting a very handsome martial countenance," said the
princess, determined to be as ill-natured as possible.
Rochester bowed. "One of those vigorous soldiers' heads seen
nowhere but in France," added the princess, with the
perseverance of a woman sure of impunity.
Rochester and Buckingham looked at each other, as much as to
say, -- "What can be the matter with her?"
"See, my lord of Buckingham, what Parry wants," said
The young man, who considered this order as a favor, resumed
his courage, and hastened to meet Parry, who, followed by
D'Artagnan, advanced slowly on account of his age.
D'Artagnan walked slowly but nobly, as D'Artagnan, doubled
by the third of a million, ought to walk, that is to say,
without conceit or swagger, but without timidity. When
Buckingham, very eager to comply with the desire of the
princess, who had seated herself on a marble bench, as if
fatigued with the few steps she had gone, -- when
Buckingham, we say, was at a distance of only a few paces
from Parry, the latter recognized him.
"Ah I my lord!" cried he, quite out of breath, "will your
grace obey the king?"
"In what, Mr. Parry?" said the young man, with a kind of
coolness tempered by a desire to make himself agreeable to
"Well, his majesty begs your grace to present this gentleman
to her royal highness the Princess Henrietta."
"In the first place, what is the gentleman's name?" said the
D'Artagnan, as we know, was easily affronted, and the Duke
of Buckingham's tone displeased him. He surveyed the
courtier from head to foot, and two flashes beamed from
beneath his bent brows. But, after a struggle, -- "Monsieur
le Chevalier d'Artagnan, my lord," replied he, quietly.
"Pardon me, sir, that name teaches me your name but nothing
"You mean ---- "
"I mean I do not know you."
"I am more fortunate than you, sir," replied D'Artagnan,
"for I have had the honor of knowing your family, and
particularly my lord Duke of Buckingham, your illustrious
"My father?" said Buckingham. "Well, I think I now remember.
Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan, do you say?"
D'Artagnan bowed. "In person," said he.
"Pardon me, but are you one of those Frenchmen who had
secret relations with my father?"
"Exactly, my lord duke, I am one of those Frenchmen."
"Then, sir, permit me to say that it was strange my father
never heard of you during his lifetime."
"No, monsieur, but he heard of me at the moment of his
death: it was I who sent to him, through the hands of the
valet de chambre of Anne of Austria, notice of the dangers
which threatened him; unfortunately, it came too late."
"Never mind, monsieur," said Buckingham. "I understand now,
that, having had the intention of rendering a service to the
father, you have come to claim the protection of the son."
"In the first place, my lord," replied D'Artagnan,
phlegmatically, "I claim the protection of no man. His
majesty Charles II., to whom I have had the honor of
rendering some services -- I may tell you, my lord, my life
has been passed in such occupations -- King Charles II.,
then, who wishes to honor me with some kindness, desires me
to be presented to her royal highness the Princess
Henrietta, his sister, to whom I shall, perhaps, have the
good fortune to be of service hereafter. Now, the king knew
that you at this moment were with her royal highness, and
sent me to you. There is no other mystery, I ask absolutely
nothing of you; and if you will not present me to her royal
highness, I shall be compelled to do without you, and
"At least, sir," said Buckingham, determined to have the
last word, "you will not refuse me an explanation provoked
"I never refuse, my lord," said D'Artagnan.
"As you have had relations with my father, you must be
acquainted with some private details?"
"These relations are already far removed from us, my lord --
for you were not then born -- and for some unfortunate
diamond studs, which I received from his hands and carried
back to France, it is really not worth while awakening so
"Ah! sir," said Buckingham, warmly, going up to D'Artagnan,
and holding out his hand to him, "it is you, then -- you
whom my father sought everywhere and who had a right to
expect so much from us."
"To expect, my lord, in truth, that is my forte; all my life
I have expected."
At this moment, the princess, who was tired of not seeing
the stranger approach her, arose and came towards them.
"At least, sir," said Buckingham, "you shall not wait for
the presentation you claim of me."
Then turning toward the princess and bowing: "Madam," said
the young man, "the king, your brother, desires me to have
the honor of presenting to your royal highness, Monsieur le
"In order that your royal highness may have, in case of
need, a firm support and a sure friend," added Parry.
"You have still something to say, Parry," replied Henrietta,
smiling upon D'Artagnan, while addressing the old servant.
"Yes, madam, the king desires you to preserve religiously in
your memory the name and merit of M. d'Artagnan, to whom his
majesty owes, he says, the recovery of his kingdom."
Buckingham, the princess, and Rochester looked at each
"That," said D'Artagnan, "is another little secret, of
which, in all probability, I shall not boast to his
majesty's son, as I have done to you with respect to the
"Madam," said Buckingham, "monsieur has just, for the second
time, recalled to my memory an event which excites my
curiosity to such a degree, that I shall venture to ask your
permission to take him to one side for a moment, to converse
"Do, my lord," said the princess, "but restore to the
sister, as quickly as possible, this friend so devoted to
the brother." And she took the arm of Rochester whilst
Buckingham took that of D'Artagnan.
"Oh! tell me, chevalier," said Buckingham, "all that affair
of the diamonds, which nobody knows in England, not even the
son of him who was the hero of it."
"My lord, one person alone had a right to relate all that
affair, as you call it, and that was your father; he thought
proper to be silent. I must beg you to allow me to be so
likewise." And D'Artagnan bowed like a man upon whom it was
evident no entreaties could prevail.
"Since it is so, sir," said Buckingham, "pardon my
indiscretion, I beg you; and if, at any time, I should go
into France ---- " and he turned round to take a last look
at the princess, who took but little notice of him, totally
occupied as she was, or appeared to be, with Rochester.
"Well?" said D'Artagnan.
"I was saying that if, any day, I were to go to France ----
"You will go, my lord," said D'Artagnan. "I shall answer for
"And how so?"
"Oh, I have strange powers of prediction; if I do predict
anything I am seldom mistaken. If, then, you do come to
"Well, then, monsieur, you, of whom kings ask that valuable
friendship which restores crowns to them, I will venture to
beg of you a little of that great interest you took in my
"My lord," replied D'Artagnan, "believe me, I shall deem
myself highly honored if, in France, you remember having
seen me here. And now permit ---- "
Then, turning towards the princess: "Madam," said he, "your
royal highness is a daughter of France; and in that quality
I hope to see you again in Paris. One of my happy days will
be that on which your royal highness shall give me any
command whatever, thus proving to me that you have not
forgotten the recommendations of your august brother." And
he bowed respectfully to the young princess, who gave him
her hand to kiss with a right royal grace.
"Ah! madam," said Buckingham, in a subdued voice, "what can
a man do to obtain a similar favor from your royal
"Dame! my lord " replied Henrietta, "ask Monsieur
d'Artagnan; he will tell you."
How D'Artagnan drew, as a Fairy would have done,
a Country-seat from a Deal Box
The king's words regarding the wounded pride of Monk had not
inspired D'Artagnan with a small portion of apprehension.
The lieutenant had had, all his life, the great art of
choosing his enemies; and when he had found them implacable
and invincible, it was when he had not been able, under any
pretense, to make them otherwise. But points of view change
greatly in the course of a life. It is a magic lantern, of
which the eye of man every year changes the aspects. It
results that from the last day of a year on which we saw
white, to the first day of the year on which we shall see
black, there is but the interval of a single night.
Now, D'Artagnan, when he left Calais with his ten scamps,
would have hesitated as little in attacking a Goliath, a
Nebuchadnezzar, or a Holofernes as he would in crossing
swords with a recruit or caviling with a landlady. Then he
resembled the sparrow-hawk which, when fasting, will attack
a ram. Hunger is blind. But D'Artagnan satisfied --
D'Artagnan rich -- D'Artagnan a conqueror -- D'Artagnan
proud of so difficult a triumph -- D'Artagnan had too much
to lose not to reckon, figure by figure, with probable
His thoughts were employed, therefore, all the way on the
road from his presentation, with one thing, and that was,
how he should conciliate a man like Monk, a man whom Charles
himself, kind as he was, conciliated with difficulty; for,
scarcely established, the protected might again stand in
need of the protector, and would, consequently, not refuse
him, such being the case, the petty satisfaction of
transporting M. d'Artagnan, or of confining him in one of
the Middlesex prisons, or drowning him a little on his
passage from Dover to Boulogne. Such sorts of satisfaction
kings are accustomed to render to viceroys without
It would not be at all necessary for the king to be active
in that contrepartie of the play in which Monk should take
his revenge. The part of the king would be confined to
simply pardoning the viceroy of Ireland all he should
undertake against D'Artagnan. Nothing more was necessary to
place the conscience of the Duke of Albemarle at rest than a
te absolvo said with a laugh, or the scrawl of "Charles the
King," traced at the foot of a parchment; and with these two
words pronounced, and these two words written, poor
D'Artagnan was forever crushed beneath the ruins of his
And then, a thing sufficiently disquieting for a man with
such foresight as our musketeer, he found himself alone; and
even the friendship of Athos could not restore his
confidence. Certainly if the affair had only concerned a
free distribution of sword-thrusts, the musketeer would have
counted upon his companion; but in delicate dealings with a
king, when the perhaps of an unlucky chance should arise in
justification of Monk or of Charles of England, D'Artagnan
knew Athos well enough to be sure he would give the best
possible coloring to the loyalty of the survivor, and would
content himself with shedding floods of tears on the tomb of
the dead, supposing the dead to be his friend, and
afterwards composing his epitaph in the most pompous
"Decidedly," thought the Gascon; and this thought was the
result of the reflections which he had just whispered to
himself and which we have repeated aloud -- "decidedly, I
must be reconciled with M. Monk, and acquire a proof of his
perfect indifference for the past. If, and God forbid it
should be so! he is still sulky and reserved in the
expression of this sentiment, I shall give my money to Athos
to take away with him, and remain in England just long
enough to unmask him, then, as I have a quick eye and a
light foot, I shall notice the first hostile sign; to decamp
or conceal myself at the residence of my lord of Buckingham,
who seems a good sort of devil at the bottom, and to whom,
in return for his hospitality, I shall relate all that
history of the diamonds, which can now compromise nobody but
an old queen, who need not be ashamed, after being the wife
of a miserly creature like Mazarin, of having formerly been
the mistress of a handsome nobleman like Buckingham.
Mordioux! that is the thing, and this Monk shall not get the
better of me. Eh? and besides I have an idea!"
We know that, in general, D'Artagnan was not wanting in
ideas; and during this soliloquy, D'Artagnan buttoned his
vest up to the chin, and nothing excited his imagination
like this preparation for a combat of any kind, called
accinction by the Romans. He was quite heated when he
reached the mansion of the Duke of Albemarle. He was
introduced to the viceroy with a promptitude which proved
that he was considered as one of the household. Monk was in
"My lord," said D'Artagnan, with that expression of
frankness which the Gascon knew so well how to assume, "my
lord, I have come to ask your grace's advice!"
Monk, as closely buttoned up morally as his antagonist was
physically, replied: "Ask, my friend;" and his countenance
presented an expression not less open than that of
"My lord, in the first place, promise me secrecy and
"I promise you all you wish. What is the matter? Speak!"
"It is, my lord, that I am not quite pleased with the king."
"Indeed! And on what account, my dear lieutenant?"
"Because his majesty gives way sometimes to jest very
compromising for his servants; and jesting, my lord, is a
weapon that seriously wounds men of the sword, as we are."
Monk did all in his power not to betray his thought, but
D'Artagnan watched him with too close an attention not to
detect an almost imperceptible flush upon his face. "Well,
now, for my part," said he, with the most natural air
possible, "I am not an enemy of jesting, my dear Monsieur
d'Artagnan; my soldiers will tell you that even many times
in camp, I listened very indifferently, and with a certain
pleasure, to the satirical songs which the army of Lambert
passed into mine, and which, certainly, would have caused
the ears of a general more susceptible than I am to tingle."
"Oh, my lord," said D'Artagnan, "I know you are a complete
man; I know you have been, for a long time placed above
human miseries; but there are jests and jests of a certain
kind, which have the power of irritating me beyond
"May I inquire what kind, my friend?"
"Such as are directed against my friends or against people I
respect, my lord!"
Monk made a slight movement, which D'Artagnan perceived.
"Eh! and in what," asked Monk, "in what can the stroke of a
pin which scratches another tickle your skin? Answer me
"My lord, I can explain it to you in one single sentence; it
Monk advanced a single step towards D'Artagnan. "Concerns
me?" said he.
"Yes, and this is what I cannot explain; but that arises,
perhaps, from my want of knowledge of his character. How can
the king have the heart to jest about a man who has rendered
him so many and such great services? How can one understand
that he should amuse himself in setting by the ears a lion
like you with a gnat like me?"
"I cannot conceive that in any way," said Monk.
"But so it is. The king, who owed me a reward, might have
rewarded me as a soldier, without contriving that history of
the ransom, which affects you, my lord."
"No," said Monk, laughing: "it does not affect me in any
way, I can assure you."
"Not as regards me, I can understand, you know me, my lord,
I am so discreet that the grave would appear a babbler
compared to me; but -- do you understand, my lord?"
"No," replied Monk, with persistent obstinacy.
"If another knew the secret which I know ---- "
"Eh! my lord, why, that unfortunate secret of Newcastle."
"Oh! the million of M. le Comte de la Fere?"
"No, my lord, no; the enterprise made upon you grace's
"It was well played, chevalier, that is all, and no more is
to be said about it: you are a soldier, both brave and
cunning, which proves that you unite the qualities of Fabius
and Hannibal. You employed your means, force and cunning:
there is nothing to be said against that: I ought to have
been on guard."
"Ah! yes; I know, my lord, and I expected nothing less from
your partiality; so that if it were only the abduction in
itself, Mordieux! that would be nothing; but there are ----
"The circumstances of that abduction."
"Oh! you know very well what I mean, my lord."
"No, curse me if I do."
"There is -- in truth, it is difficult to speak it."
"Well, there is that devil of a box!"
Monk colored visibly. "Well, I have forgotten it."
"Deal box," continued D'Artagnan, "with holes for the nose
and mouth. In truth, my lord, all the rest was well; but the
box, the box! that was really a coarse joke." Monk fidgeted
about in his chair. "And, notwithstanding my having done
that," resumed D'Artagnan, "I, a soldier of fortune, it was
quite simple, because by the side of that action, a little
inconsiderate I admit, which I committed, but which the
gravity of the case may excuse, I am circumspect and
"Oh!" said Monk, "believe me, I know you well, Monsieur
d'Artagnan, and I appreciate you."
D'Artagnan never took his eyes off Monk; studying all which
passed in the mind of the general, as he prosecuted his
idea. "But it does not concern me," resumed he.
"Well, then, whom does it concern?" said Monk, who began to
grow a little impatient.
"It relates to the king, who will never restrain his
"Well! and suppose he should say all he knows?" said Monk,
with a degree of hesitation.
"My lord," replied D'Artagnan, "do not dissemble, I implore
you, with a man who speaks so frankly as I do. You have a
right to feel your susceptibility excited, however benignant
it may be. What, the devil! it is not the place for a man
like you, a man who plays with crowns and scepters as a
Bohemian plays with his balls; it is not the place of a
serious man, I said, to be shut up in a box like some freak
of natural history; for you must understand it would make
all your enemies ready to burst with laughter, and you are
so great, so noble, so generous, that you must have many
enemies. This secret is enough to set half the human race
laughing, if you were represented in that box. It is not
decent to have the second personage in the kingdom laughed
Monk was quite out of countenance at the idea of seeing
himself represented in his box. Ridicule, as D'Artagnan had
judiciously foreseen, acted upon him in a manner which
neither the chances of war, the aspirations of ambition, nor
the fear of death had been able to do.
"Good," thought the Gascon, "he is frightened: I am safe."
"Oh! as to the king," said Monk, "fear nothing, my dear
Monsieur d'Artagnan; the king will not jest with Monk, I
The momentary flash of his eye was noticed by D'Artagnan.
Monk lowered his tone immediately: "The king," continued he,
"is of too noble a nature, the king's heart is too high to
allow him to wish ill to those who do him good."
"Oh! certainly," cried D'Artagnan. "I am entirely of your
grace's opinion with regard to his heart, but not as to his