Part 12 out of 20
musketeer with admiration.
"And I?" asked Mazarin, after a moment's silence.
"How? and you, my lord?"
"If I wish to leave?"
"That would be much more difficult."
"Your eminence might be recognized."
"Even under this disguise?" asked Mazarin, raising a cloak
which covered an arm-chair, upon which lay a complete dress
for an officer, of pearl-gray and red, entirely embroidered
"If your eminence is disguised it will be almost easy."
"Ah!" said Mazarin, breathing more freely.
"But it will be necessary for your eminence to do what the
other day you declared you should have done in our place --
cry, `Down with Mazarin!'"
"I will: `Down with Mazarin'"
"In French, in good French, my lord, take care of your
accent; they killed six thousand Angevins in Sicily because
they pronounced Italian badly. Take care that the French do
not take their revenge on you for the Sicilian vespers."
"I will do my best."
"The streets are full of armed men," continued D'Artagnan.
"Are you sure that no one is aware of the queen's project?"
"This affair would give a fine opportunity for a traitor, my
lord; the chance of being attacked would be an excuse for
Mazarin shuddered, but he reflected that a man who had the
least intention to betray would not warn first.
"And therefore," added he, quietly, "I have not confidence
in every one; the proof of which is, that I have fixed upon
you to escort me."
"Shall you not go with the queen?"
"No," replied Mazarin.
"Then you will start after the queen?"
"No," said Mazarin again.
"Ah!" said D'Artagnan, who began to understand.
"Yes," continued the cardinal. "I have my plan. With the
queen I double her risk; after the queen her departure would
double mine; then, the court once safe, I might be
forgotten. The great are often ungrateful."
"Very true," said D'Artagnan, fixing his eyes, in spite of
himself, on the queen's diamond, which Mazarin wore on his
finger. Mazarin followed the direction of his eyes and
gently turned the hoop of the ring inside.
"I wish," he said, with his cunning smile, "to prevent them
from being ungrateful to me."
"It is but Christian charity," replied D'Artagnan, "not to
lead one's neighbors into temptation."
"It is exactly for that reason," said Mazarin, "that I wish
to start before them."
D'Artagnan smiled -- he was just the man to understand the
astute Italian. Mazarin saw the smile and profited by the
"You will begin, therefore, by taking me first out of Paris,
will you not, my dear M. d'Artagnan?"
"A difficult commission, my lord," replied D'Artagnan,
resuming his serious manner.
"But," said Mazarin, "you did not make so many difficulties
with regard to the king and queen."
"The king and the queen are my king and queen," replied the
musketeer, "my life is theirs and I must give it for them.
If they ask it what have I to say?"
"That is true," murmured Mazarin, in a low tone, "but as thy
life is not mine I suppose I must buy it, must I not?" and
sighing deeply he began to turn the hoop of his ring outside
again. D'Artagnan smiled. These two men met at one point and
that was, cunning; had they been actuated equally by
courage, the one would have done great things for the other.
"But, also," said Mazarin, "you must understand that if I
ask this service from you it is with the intention of being
"Is it still only an intention, your eminence?" asked
"Stay," said Mazarin, drawing the ring from his finger, "my
dear D'Artagnan, there is a diamond which belonged to you
formerly, it is but just it should return to you; take it, I
D'Artagnan spared Mazarin the trouble of insisting, and
after looking to see if the stone was the same and assuring
himself of the purity of its water, he took it and passed it
on his finger with indescribable pleasure.
"I valued it much," said Mazarin, giving a last look at it;
"nevertheless, I give it to you with great pleasure."
"And I, my lord," said D'Artagnan, "accept it as it is
given. Come, let us speak of your little affairs. You wish
to leave before everybody and at what hour?"
"At ten o'clock."
"And the queen, at what time is it her wish to start?"
"Then it is possible. I can get you out of Paris and leave
you beyond the barriere, and can return for her."
"Capital; but how will you get me out of Paris?"
"Oh! as to that, you must leave it to me."
"I give you absolute power, therefore; take as large an
escort as you like."
D'Artagnan shook his head.
"It seems to me, however," said Mazarin, "the safest
"Yes, for you, my lord, but not for the queen; you must
leave it to me and give me the entire direction of the
"Nevertheless ---- "
"Or find some one else," continued D'Artagnan, turning his
"Oh!" muttered Mazarin, "I do believe he is going off with
the diamond! M. d'Artagnan, my dear M. d'Artagnan," he
called out in a coaxing voice, "will you answer for
"I will answer for nothing. I will do my best."
"Well, then, let us go -- I must trust to you."
"It is very fortunate," said D'Artagnan to himself.
"You will be here at half-past nine."
"And I shall find your eminence ready?"
"Certainly, quite ready."
"Well, then, it is a settled thing; and now, my lord, will
you obtain for me an audience with the queen?"
"For what purpose?"
"I wish to receive her majesty's commands from her own
"She desired me to give them to you."
"She may have forgotten something."
"You really wish to see her?"
"It is indispensable, my lord."
Mazarin hesitated for one instant, but D'Artagnan was firm.
"Come, then," said the minister; "I will conduct you to her,
but remember, not one word of our conversation."
"What has passed between us concerns ourselves alone. my
lord," replied D'Artagnan.
"Swear to be mute."
"I never swear, my lord, I say yes or no; and, as I am a
gentleman, I keep my word."
"Come, then, I see that I must trust unreservedly to you."
"Believe me, my lord, it will be your best plan."
"Come," said Mazarin, conducting D'Artagnan into the queen's
oratory and desiring him to wait there. He did not wait
long, for in five minutes the queen entered in full gala
costume. Thus dressed she scarcely appeared thirty-five
years of age. She was still exceedingly handsome.
"It is you, Monsieur D'Artagnan," she said, smiling
graciously; "I thank you for having insisted on seeing me."
"I ought to ask your majesty's pardon, but I wished to
receive your commands from your own mouth."
"Do you accept the commission which I have intrusted to
"Very well, be here at midnight."
"I will not fail."
"Monsieur d'Artagnan," continued the queen, "I know your
disinterestedness too well to speak of my own gratitude at
such a moment, but I swear to you that I shall not forget
this second service as I forgot the first."
"Your majesty is free to forget or to remember, as it
pleases you; and I know not what you mean," said D'Artagnan,
"Go, sir," said the queen, with her most bewitching smile,
"go and return at midnight."
And D'Artagnan retired, but as he passed out he glanced at
the curtain through which the queen had entered and at the
bottom of the tapestry he remarked the tip of a velvet
"Good," thought he; "Mazarin has been listening to discover
whether I betrayed him. In truth, that Italian puppet does
not deserve the services of an honest man."
D'Artagnan was not less exact to his appointment and at
half-past nine o'clock he entered the ante-room.
He found the cardinal dressed as an officer, and he looked
very well in that costume, which, as we have already said,
he wore elegantly; only he was very pale and trembled
"Quite alone?" he asked.
"Yes, my lord."
"And that worthy Monsieur du Vallon, are we not to enjoy his
"Certainly, my lord; he is waiting in his carriage at the
gate of the garden of the Palais Royal."
"And we start in his carriage, then?"
"Yes, my lord."
"And with us no other escort but you two?"
"Is it not enough? One of us would suffice."
"Really, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the cardinal,
"your coolness startles me."
"I should have thought, on the contrary, that it ought to
have inspired you with confidence."
"And Bernouin -- do I not take him with me?"
"There is no room for him, he will rejoin your eminence."
"Let us go," said Mazarin, "since everything must be done as
"My lord, there is time to draw back," said D'Artagnan, "and
your eminence is perfectly free."
"Not at all, not at all," said Mazarin; "let us be off."
And so they descended the private stair, Mazarin leaning on
the arm of D'Artagnan a hand the musketeer felt trembling.
At last, after crossing the courts of the Palais Royal,
where there still remained some of the conveyances of late
guests, they entered the garden and reached the little gate.
Mazarin attempted to open it by a key which he took from his
pocket, but with such shaking fingers that he could not find
"Give it to me," said D'Artagnan, who when the gate was open
deposited the key in his pocket, reckoning upon returning by
The steps were already down and the door open. Mousqueton
stood at the door and Porthos was inside the carriage.
"Mount, my lord," said D'Artagnan to Mazarin, who sprang
into the carriage without waiting for a second bidding.
D'Artagnan followed him, and Mousqueton, having closed the
door, mounted behind the carriage with many groans. He had
made some difficulties about going, under pretext that he
still suffered from his wound, but D'Artagnan had said to
"Remain if you like, my dear Monsieur Mouston, but I warn
you that Paris will be burnt down to-night;" upon which
Mousqueton had declared, without asking anything further,
that he was ready to follow his master and Monsieur
d'Artagnan to the end of the world.
The carriage started at a measured pace, without betraying
by the slightest sign that it contained people in a hurry.
The cardinal wiped his forehead with his handkerchief and
looked around him. On his left was Porthos, whilst
D'Artagnan was on his right; each guarded a door and served
as a rampart to him on either side. Before him, on the front
seat, lay two pairs of pistols -- one in front of Porthos
and the other of D'Artagnan. About a hundred paces from the
Palais Royal a patrol stopped the carriage.
"Who goes?" asked the captain.
"Mazarin!" replied D'Artagnan, bursting into a laugh. The
cardinal's hair stood on end. But the joke appeared an
excellent one to the citizens, who, seeing the conveyance
without escort and unarmed, would never have believed in the
possibility of so great an imprudence.
"A good journey to ye," they cried, allowing it to pass.
"Hem!" said D'Artagnan, "what does my lord think of that
"Man of talent!" cried Mazarin.
"In truth," said Porthos, "I understand; but now ---- "
About the middle of the Rue des Petits Champs they were
stopped by a second patrol.
"Who goes there?" inquired the captain of the patrol.
"Keep back, my lord," said D'Artagnan. And Mazarin buried
himself so far behind the two friends that he disappeared,
completely hidden between them.
"Who goes there?" cried the same voice, impatiently whilst
D'Artagnan perceived that they had rushed to the horses'
heads. But putting hid head out of the carriage:
"Eh! Planchet," said he.
The chief approached, and it was indeed Planchet; D'Artagnan
had recognized the voice of his old servant.
"How, sir!" said Planchet, "is it you?"
"Eh! mon Dieu! yes, my good friend, this worthy Porthos has
just received a sword wound and I am taking him to his
country house at Saint Cloud."
"Oh! really," said Planchet.
"Porthos," said D'Artagnan, "if you can still speak, say a
word, my dear Porthos, to this good Planchet."
"Planchet, my friend," said Porthos, in a melancholy voice,
"I am very ill; should you meet a doctor you will do me a
favor by sending him to me."
"Oh! good Heaven," said Planchet, "what a misfortune! and
how did it happen?"
"I will tell you all about it," replied Mousqueton.
Porthos uttered a deep groan.
"Make way for us, Planchet," said D'Artagnan in a whisper to
him, "or he will not arrive alive; the lungs are attacked,
Planchet shook his head with the air of a man who says, "In
that case things look ill." Then he exclaimed, turning to
"Let them pass; they are friends.
The carriage resumed its course, and Mazarin, who had held
his breath, ventured to breathe again.
"Bricconi!" muttered he.
A few steps in advance of the gate of Saint Honore they met
a third troop; this latter party was composed of ill-looking
fellows, who resembled bandits more than anything else; they
were the men of the beggar of Saint Eustache.
"Attention, Porthos!" cried D'Artagnan.
Porthos placed his hand on the pistols.
"What is it?" asked Mazarin.
"My lord, I think we are in bad company."
A man advanced to the door with a kind of scythe in his
hand. "Qui vive?" he asked.
"Eh, rascal!" said D'Artagnan, "do you not recognize his
highness the prince's carriage?"
"Prince or not," said the man, "open. We are here to guard
the gate, and no one whom we do not know shall pass."
"What is to be done?" said Porthos.
"Pardieu! pass," replied D'Artagnan.
"But how?" asked Mazarin.
"Through or over; coachman, gallop on."
The coachman raised his whip.
"Not a step further," said the man, who appeared to be the
captain, "or I will hamstring your horses."
"Peste!" said Porthos, "it would be a pity; animals which
cost me a hundred pistoles each."
"I will pay you two hundred for them," said Mazarin.
"Yes, but when once they are hamstrung, our necks will be
"If one of them comes to my side," asked Porthos, "must I
"Yes, by a blow of your fist, if you can; we will not fire
but at the last extremity."
"I can do it," said Porthos.
"Come and open, then!" cried D'Artagnan to the man with the
scythe, taking one of the pistols up by the muzzle and
preparing to strike with the handle. And as the man
approached, D'Artagnan, in order to have more freedom for
his actions, leaned half out of the door; his eyes were
fixed upon those of the mendicant, which were lighted up by
a lantern. Without doubt he recognized D'Artagnan, for he
became deadly pale; doubtless the musketeer knew him, for
his hair stood up on his head.
"Monsieur d'Artagnan!" he cried, falling back a step; "it is
Monsieur d'Artagnan! let him pass."
D'Artagnan was perhaps about to reply, when a blow, similar
to that of a mallet falling on the head of an ox, was heard.
The noise was caused by Porthos, who had just knocked down
D'Artagnan turned around and saw the unfortunate man upon
his back about four paces off.
"'Sdeath!" cried he to the coachman. "Spur your horses!
whip! get on!"
The coachman bestowed a heavy blow of the whip upon his
horses; the noble animals bounded forward; then cries of men
who were knocked down were heard; then a double concussion
was felt, and two of the wheels seemed to pass over a round
and flexible body. There was a moment's silence, then the
carriage cleared the gate.
"To Cours la Reine!" cried D'Artagnan to the coachman; then
turning to Mazarin he said, "Now, my lord, you can say five
paters and five aves, in thanks to Heaven for your
deliverance. You are safe -- you are free."
Mazarin replied only by a groan; he could not believe in
such a miracle. Five minutes later the carriage stopped,
having reached Cours la Reine.
"Is my lord pleased with his escort?" asked D'Artagnan.
"Enchanted, monsieur," said Mazarin, venturing his head out
of one of the windows; "and now do as much for the queen."
"It will not be so difficult," replied D'Artagnan, springing
to the ground. "Monsieur du Vallon, I commend his eminence
to your care."
"Be quite at ease," said Porthos, holding out his hand,
which D'Artagnan took and shook in his.
"Oh!" cried Porthos, as if in pain.
D'Artagnan looked with surprise at his friend.
"What is the matter, then?" he asked.
"I think I have sprained my wrist,' said Porthos.
"The devil! why, you strike like a blind or a deaf man."
"It was necessary; my man was going to fire a pistol at me;
but you -- how did you get rid of yours?"
"Oh, mine," replied D'Artagnan, "was not a man."
"What was it then?"
"It was an apparition."
"And ---- "
"I charmed it away."
Without further explanation D'Artagnan took the pistols
which were upon the front seat, placed them in his belt,
wrapped himself in his cloak, and not wishing to enter by
the same gate as that through which they had left, he took
his way toward the Richelieu gate.
The Carriage of Monsieur le Coadjuteur.
Instead of returning, then, by the Saint Honore gate,
D'Artagnan, who had time before him, walked around and
re-entered by the Porte Richelieu. He was approached to be
examined, and when it was discovered by his plumed hat and
his laced coat, that he was an officer of the musketeers, he
was surrounded, with the intention of making him cry, "Down
with Mazarin!" The demonstration did not fail to make him
uneasy at first; but when he discovered what it meant, he
shouted it in such a voice that even the most exacting were
satisfied. He walked down the Rue Richelieu, meditating how
he should carry off the queen in her turn, for to take her
in a carriage bearing the arms of France was not to be
thought of, when he perceived an equipage standing at the
door of the hotel belonging to Madame de Guemenee.
He was struck by a sudden idea.
"Ah, pardieu!" he exclaimed; "that would be fair play."
And approaching the carriage, he examined the arms on the
panels and the livery of the coachman on his box. This
scrutiny was so much the more easy, the coachman being sound
"It is, in truth, monsieur le coadjuteur's carriage," said
D'Artagnan; "upon my honor I begin to think that Heaven
He mounted noiselessly into the chariot and pulled the silk
cord which was attached to the coachman's little finger.
"To the Palais Royal," he called out.
The coachman awoke with a start and drove off in the
direction he was desired, never doubting but that the order
had come from his master. The porter at the palace was about
to close the gates, but seeing such a handsome equipage he
fancied that it was some visit of importance and the
carriage was allowed to pass and to stop beneath the porch.
It was then only the coachman perceived the grooms were not
behind the vehicle; he fancied monsieur le coadjuteur had
sent them back, and without dropping the reins he sprang
from his box to open the door. D'Artagnan, in his turn,
sprang to the ground, and just at the moment when the
coachman, alarmed at not seeing his master, fell back a
step, he seized him by his collar with the left, whilst with
the right hand he placed the muzzle of a pistol at his
"Pronounce one single word," muttered D'Artagnan, "and you
are a dead man."
The coachman perceived at once, by the expression of the man
who thus addressed him, that he had fallen into a trap, and
he remained with his mouth wide open and his eyes
Two musketeers were pacing the court, to whom D'Artagnan
called by their names.
"Monsieur de Belliere," said he to one of them, "do me the
favor to take the reins from the hands of this worthy man,
mount upon the box and drive to the door of the private
stair, and wait for me there; it is an affair of importance
on the service of the king."
The musketeer, who knew that his lieutenant was incapable of
jesting with regard to the service, obeyed without a word,
although he thought the order strange. Then turning toward
the second musketeer, D'Artagnan said:
"Monsieur du Verger, help me to place this man in a place of
The musketeer, thinking that his lieutenant had just
arrested some prince in disguise, bowed, and drawing his
sword, signified that he was ready. D'Artagnan mounted the
staircase, followed by his prisoner, who in his turn was
followed by the soldier, and entered Mazarin's ante-room.
Bernouin was waiting there, impatient for news of his
"Well, sir?" he said.
"Everything goes on capitally, my dear Monsieur Bernouin,
but here is a man whom I must beg you to put in a safe
"Where, then, sir?"
"Where you like, provided that the place which you shall
choose has iron shutters secured by padlocks and a door that
can be locked."
"We have that, sir," replied Bernouin; and the poor coachman
was conducted to a closet, the windows of which were barred
and which looked very much like a prison.
"And now, my good friend," said D'Artagnan to him, "I must
invite you to deprive yourself, for my sake, of your hat and
The coachman, as we can well understand, made no resistance;
in fact, he was so astonished at what had happened to him
that he stammered and reeled like a drunken man; D'Artagnan
deposited his clothes under the arm of one of the valets.
"And now, Monsieur du Verger," he said, "shut yourself up
with this man until Monsieur Bernouin returns to open the
door. The duty will be tolerably long and not very amusing,
I know; but," added he, seriously, "you understand, it is on
the king's service."
"At your command, lieutenant," replied the musketeer, who
saw the business was a serious one.
"By-the-bye," continued D'Artagnan, "should this man attempt
to fly or to call out, pass your sword through his body."
The musketeer signified by a nod that these commands should
be obeyed to the letter, and D'Artagnan went out, followed
by Bernouin. Midnight struck.
"Lead me into the queen's oratory," said D'Artagnan,
"announce to her I am here, and put this parcel, with a
well-loaded musket, under the seat of the carriage which is
waiting at the foot of the private stair."
Bernouin conducted D'Artagnan to the oratory, where he sat
down pensively. Everything had gone on as usual at the
Palais Royal. As we said before, by ten o'clock almost all
the guests had dispersed; those who were to fly with the
court had the word of command and they were each severally
desired to be from twelve o'clock to one at Cours la Reine.
At ten o'clock Anne of Austria had entered the king's room.
Monsieur had just retired, and the youthful Louis, remaining
the last, was amusing himself by placing some lead soldiers
in a line of battle, a game which delighted him much. Two
royal pages were playing with him.
"Laporte," said the queen, "it is time for his majesty to go
The king asked to remain up, having, he said, no wish to
sleep; but the queen was firm.
"Are you not going to-morrow morning at six o'clock, Louis,
to bathe at Conflans? I think you wished to do so of your
"You are right, madame," said the king, "and I am ready to
retire to my room when you have kissed me. Laporte, give the
light to Monsieur the Chevalier de Coislin."
The queen touched with her lips the white, smooth brow the
royal child presented to her with a gravity which already
partook of etiquette.
"Go to sleep soon, Louis," said the queen, "for you must be
awakened very early."
"I will do my best to obey you, madame," said the youthful
king, "but I have no inclination to sleep."
"Laporte," said Anne of Austria, in an undertone, "find some
very dull book to read to his majesty, but do not undress
The king went out, accompanied by the Chevalier de Coislin,
bearing the candlestick, and then the queen returned to her
own apartment. Her ladies -- that is to say Madame de Bregy,
Mademoiselle de Beaumont, Madame de Motteville, and
Socratine, her sister, so called on account of her sense --
had just brought into her dressing-room the remains of the
dinner, on which, according to her usual custom, she supped.
The queen then gave her orders, spoke of a banquet which the
Marquis de Villequier was to give to her on the day after
the morrow, indicated the persons she would admit to the
honor of partaking of it, announced another visit on the
following day to Val-de-Grace, where she intended to pay her
devotions, and gave her commands to her senior valet to
accompany her. When the ladies had finished their supper the
queen feigned extreme fatigue and passed into her bedroom.
Madame de Motteville, who was on especial duty that evening,
followed to aid and undress her. The queen then began to
read, and after conversing with her affectionately for a few
minutes, dismissed her.
It was at this moment D'Artagnan entered the courtyard of
the palace, in the coadjutor's carriage, and a few seconds
later the carriages of the ladies-in-waiting drove out and
the gates were shut after them.
A few minutes after twelve o'clock Bernouin knocked at the
queen's bedroom door, having come by the cardinal's secret
corridor. Anne of Austria opened the door to him herself.
She was dressed, that is to say, in dishabille, wrapped in a
long, warm dressing-gown.
"It is you, Bernouin," she said. "Is Monsieur d'Artagnan
"Yes, madame, in your oratory. He is waiting till your
majesty is ready."
"I am. Go and tell Laporte to wake and dress the king, and
then pass on to the Marechal de Villeroy and summon him to
Bernouin bowed and retired.
The queen entered her oratory, which was lighted by a single
lamp of Venetian crystal, She saw D'Artagnan, who stood
"Is it you?" she said.
"Are you ready?"
"And his eminence, the cardinal?"
"Has got off without any accident. He is awaiting your
majesty at Cours la Reine."
"But in what carriage do we start?"
"I have provided for everything; a carriage below is waiting
for your majesty."
"Let us go to the king."
D'Artagnan bowed and followed the queen. The young Louis was
already dressed, with the exception of his shoes and
doublet; he had allowed himself to be dressed, in great
astonishment, overwhelming Laporte with questions, who
replied only in these words, "Sire, it is by the queen's
The bedclothes were thrown back, exposing the king's bed
linen, which was so worn that here and there holes could be
seen. It was one of the results of Mazarin's niggardliness.
The queen entered and D'Artagnan remained at the door. As
soon as the child perceived the queen he escaped from
Laporte and ran to meet her. Anne then motioned to
D'Artagnan to approach, and he obeyed.
"My son," said Anne of Austria, pointing to the musketeer,
calm, standing uncovered, "here is Monsieur d'Artagnan, who
is as brave as one of those ancient heroes of whom you like
so much to hear from my women. Remember his name well and
look at him well, that his face may not be forgotten, for
this evening he is going to render us a great service."
The young king looked at the officer with his large-formed
eye, and repeated:
"That is it, my son."
The young king slowly raised his little hand and held it out
to the musketeer; the latter bent on his knee and kissed it.
"Monsieur d'Artagnan," repeated Louis; "very well, madame."
At this moment they were startled by a noise as if a tumult
"What is that?" exclaimed the queen.
"Oh, oh!" replied D'Artagnan, straining both at the same
time his quick ear and his intelligent glance, "it is the
murmur of the populace in revolution."
"We must fly," said the queen.
"Your majesty has given me the control of this business; we
had better wait and see what they want."
"I will answer for everything."
Nothing is so catching as confidence. The queen, full of
energy and courage, was quickly alive to these two virtues
"Do as you like," she said, "I rely upon you."
"Will your majesty permit me to give orders in your name
throughout this business?"
"What do the people want this time?" demanded the king.
"We are about to ascertain, sire," replied D'Artagnan, as he
rapidly left the room.
The tumult continued to increase and seemed to surround the
Palais Royal entirely. Cries were heard from the interior,
of which they could not comprehend the sense. It was evident
that there was clamor and sedition.
The king, half dressed, the queen and Laporte remained each
in the same state and almost in the same place, where they
were listening and waiting. Comminges, who was on guard that
night at the Palais Royal, ran in. He had about two hundred
men in the courtyards and stables, and he placed them at the
"Well," asked Anne of Austria, when D'Artagnan reappeared,
"what does it mean?"
"It means, madame, that the report has spread that the queen
has left the Palais Royal, carrying off the king, and the
people ask to have proof to the contrary, or threaten to
demolish the Palais Royal."
"Oh, this time it is too much!" exclaimed the queen, "and I
will prove to them I have not left."
D'Artagnan saw from the expression of the queen's face that
she was about to issue some violent command. He approached
her and said in a low voice:
"Has your majesty still confidence in me?"
This voice startled her. "Yes, sir," she replied, "every
"Will the queen deign to follow my advice?"
"Let your majesty dismiss M. de Comminges and desire him to
shut himself up with his men in the guardhouse and in the
Comminges glanced at D'Artagnan with the envious look with
which every courtier sees a new favorite spring up.
"You hear, Comminges?" said the queen.
D'Artagnan went up to him; with his usual quickness he
caught the anxious glance.
"Monsieur de Comminges," he said, "pardon me; we both are
servants of the queen, are we not? It is my turn to be of
use to her; do not envy me this happiness."
Comminges bowed and left.
"Come," said D'Artagnan to himself, "I have got one more
"And now," said the queen, addressing D'Artagnan, "what is
to be done? for you hear that, instead of becoming calmer,
the noise increases."
"Madame," said D'Artagnan, "the people want to see the king
and they must see him."
"What! must see him! Where -- on the balcony?"
"Not at all, madame, but here, sleeping in his bed."
"Oh, your majesty," exclaimed Laporte, "Monsieur d'Artagnan
The queen became thoughtful and smiled, like a woman to whom
duplicity is no stranger.
"Without doubt," she murmured.
"Monsieur Laporte," said D'Artagnan, "go and announce to the
people through the grating that they are going to be
satisfied and that in five minutes they shall not only see
the king, but they shall see him in bed; add that the king
sleeps and that the queen begs that they will keep silence,
so as not to awaken him."
"But not every one; a deputation of two or four people."
"Every one, madame."
"But reflect, they will keep us here till daybreak.
"It shall take but a quarter of an hour, I answer for
everything, madame; believe me, I know the people; they are
like a great child, who only wants humoring. Before the
sleeping king they will be mute, gentle and timid as lambs."
"Go, Laporte," said the queen.
The young king approached his mother and said, "Why do as
these people ask?"
"It must be so, my son," said Anne of Austria.
"But if they say, `it must be' to me, am I no longer king?"
The queen remained silent.
"Sire," said D'Artagnan, "will your majesty permit me to ask
you a question?"
Louis XIV. turned around, astonished that any one should
dare to address him. But the queen pressed the child's hand.
"Yes, sir." he said.
"Does your majesty remember, when playing in the park of
Fontainebleau, or in the palace courts at Versailles, ever
to have seen the sky grow suddenly dark and heard the sound
"Well, then, this noise of thunder, however much your
majesty may have wished to continue playing, has said, `go
in, sire. You must do so.'"
"Certainly, sir; but they tell me that the noise of thunder
is the voice of God."
"Well then, sire," continued D'Artagnan, "listen to the
noise of the people; you will perceive that it resembles
that of thunder."
In truth at that moment a terrible murmur was wafted to them
by the night breeze; then all at once it ceased.
"Hold, sire," said D'Artagnan, "they have just told the
people that you are asleep; you see, you still are king."
The queen looked with surprise at this strange man, whose
brilliant courage made him the equal of the bravest, and who
was, by his fine and quick intelligence, the equal of the
"Well, Laporte?" asked the queen.
"Madame," he replied, "Monsieur d'Artagnan's prediction has
been accomplished; they are calm, as if by enchantment. The
doors are about to be opened and in five minutes they will
"Laporte," said the queen, "suppose you put one of your sons
in the king's place; we might be off during the time."
"If your majesty desires it," said Laporte, "my sons, like
myself, are at the queen's service."
"Not at all," said D'Artagnan; "should one of them know his
majesty and discover but a substitute, all would be lost."
"You are right, sir, always right," said Anne of Austria.
"Laporte, place the king in bed."
Laporte placed the king, dressed as he was, in the bed and
then covered him as far as the shoulders with the sheet. The
queen bent over him and kissed his brow.
"Pretend to sleep, Louis," said she.
"Yes," said the king, "but I do not wish to be touched by
any of those men."
"Sire, I am here," said D'Artagnan, "and I give you my word,
that if a single man has the audacity, his life shall pay
"And now what is to be done?" asked the queen, "for I hear
"Monsieur Laporte, go to them and again recommend silence.
Madame, wait at the door, whilst I shall be at the head of
the king's bed, ready to die for him."
Laporte went out; the queen remained standing near the
hangings, whilst D'Artagnan glided behind the curtains.
Then the heavy and collected steps of a multitude of men
were heard, and the queen herself raised the tapestry
hangings and put her finger on her lips.
On seeing the queen, the men stopped short, respectfully.
"Enter, gentlemen, enter," said the queen.
There was then amongst that crowd a moment's hesitation,
which looked like shame. They had expected resistance, they
had expected to be thwarted, to have to force the gates, to
overturn the guards. The gates had opened of themselves, and
the king, ostensibly at least, had no other guard at his
bed-head but his mother. The foremost of them stammered and
attempted to fall back.
"Enter, gentlemen," said Laporte, "since the queen desires
you so to do."
Then one more bold than the rest ventured to pass the door
and to advance on tiptoe. This example was imitated by the
rest, until the room filled silently, as if these men had
been the humblest, most devoted courtiers. Far beyond the
door the heads of those who were not able to enter could be
seen, all craning to their utmost height to try and see.
D'Artagnan saw it all through an opening he had made in the
curtain, and in the very first man who entered he recognized
"Sir," said the queen to him, thinking he was the leader of
the band, "you wished to see the king and therefore I
determined to show him to you myself. Approach and look at
him and say if we have the appearance of people who wish to
"No, certainly," replied Planchet, rather astonished at the
unexpected honor conferred upon him.
"You will say, then, to my good and faithful Parisians,"
continued Anne, with a smile, the expression of which did
not deceive D'Artagnan, "that you have seen the king in bed,
asleep, and the queen also ready to retire."
"I shall tell them, madame, and those who accompany me will
say the same thing; but ---- "
"But what?" asked Anne of Austria.
"Will your majesty pardon me," said Planchet, "but is it
really the king who is lying there?"
Anne of Austria started. "If," she said, "there is one among
you who knows the king, let him approach and say whether it
is really his majesty lying there."
A man wrapped in a cloak, in the folds of which his face was
hidden, approached and leaned over the bed and looked.
For one second, D'Artagnan thought the man had some evil
design and he put his hand to his sword; but in the movement
made by the man in stooping a portion of his face was
uncovered and D'Artagnan recognized the coadjutor.
"It is certainly the king," said the man, rising again. "God
bless his majesty!"
"Yes," repeated the leader in a whisper, "God bless his
majesty!" and all these men, who had entered enraged, passed
from anger to pity and blessed the royal infant in their
"Now,', said Planchet, "let us thank the queen. My friends,
They all bowed, and retired by degrees as noiselessly as
they had entered. Planchet, who had been the first to enter,
was the last to leave. The queen stopped him.
"What is your name, my friend?" she said.
Planchet, much surprised at the inquiry, turned back.
"Yes," continued the queen, "I think myself as much honored
to have received you this evening as if you had been a
prince, and I wish to know your name."
"Yes," thought Planchet, "to treat me as a prince. No, thank
D'Artagnan trembled lest Planchet, seduced, like the crow in
the fable, should tell his name, and that the queen, knowing
his name, would discover that Planchet had belonged to him.
"Madame," replied Planchet, respectfully, "I am called
Dulaurier, at your service."
"Thank you, Monsieur Dulaurier," said the queen; "and what
is your business?"
"Madame, I am a clothier in the Rue Bourdonnais."
"That is all I wished to know," said the queen. "Much
obliged to you, Monsieur Dulaurier. You will hear again from
"Come, come," thought D'Artagnan, emerging from behind the
curtain, "decidedly Monsieur Planchet is no fool; it is
evident he has been brought up in a good school."
The different actors in this strange scene remained facing
one another, without uttering a single word; the queen
standing near the door, D'Artagnan half out of his hiding
place, the king raised on his elbow, ready to fall down on
his bed again at the slightest sound that would indicate the
return of the multitude, but instead of approaching, the
noise became more and more distant and very soon it died
The queen breathed more freely. D'Artagnan wiped his damp
forehead and the king slid off his bed, saying, "Let us go."
At this moment Laporte reappeared.
"Well?" asked the queen
"Well, madame," replied the valet, "I followed them as far
as the gates. They announced to all their comrades that they
had seen the king and that the queen had spoken to them;
and, in fact, they went away quite proud and happy."
"Oh, the miserable wretches!" murmured the queen, "they
shall pay dearly for their boldness, and it is I who promise
Then turning to D'Artagnan, she said:
"Sir, you have given me this evening the best advice I have
ever received. Continue, and say what we must do now."
"Monsieur Laporte," said D'Artagnan, "finish dressing his
"We may go, then?" asked the queen.
"Whenever your majesty pleases. You have only to descend by
the private stairs and you will find me at the door."
"Go, sir," said the queen; "I will follow you."
D'Artagnan went down and found the carriage at its post and
the musketeer on the box. D'Artagnan took out the parcel
which he had desired Bernouin to place under the seat. It
may be remembered that it was the hat and cloak belonging to
Monsieur de Gondy's coachman.
He placed the cloak on his shoulders and the hat on his
head, whilst the musketeer got off the box.
"Sir," said D'Artagnan, "you will go and release your
companion, who is guarding the coachman. You must mount your
horse and proceed to the Rue Tiquetonne, Hotel de la
Chevrette, whence you will take my horse and that of
Monsieur du Vallon, which you must saddle and equip as if
for war, and then you will leave Paris, bringing them with
you to Cours la Reine. If, when you arrive at Cours la
Reine, you find no one, you must go on to Saint Germain. On
the king's service."
The musketeer touched his cap and went away to execute the
orders thus received.
D'Artagnan mounted the box, having a pair of pistols in his
belt, a musket under his feet and a naked sword behind him.
The queen appeared, and was followed by the king and the
Duke d'Anjou, his brother.
"Monsieur the coadjutor's carriage!" she exclaimed, falling
"Yes, madame," said D'Artagnan; "but get in fearlessly, for
I myself will drive you."
The queen uttered a cry of surprise and entered the
carriage, and the king and monsieur took their places at her
"Come, Laporte," said the queen.
"How, madame!" said the valet, "in the same carriage as your
"It is not a matter of royal etiquette this evening, but of
the king's safety. Get in, Laporte."
"Pull down the blinds," said D'Artagnan.
"But will that not excite suspicion, sir?" asked the queen.
"Your majesty's mind may be quite at ease," replied the
officer; "I have my answer ready."
The blinds were pulled down and they started at a gallop by
the Rue Richelieu. On reaching the gate the captain of the
post advanced at the head of a dozen men, holding a lantern
in his hand.
D'Artagnan signed to them to draw near.
"Do you recognize the carriage?" he asked the sergeant.
"No," replied the latter.
"Look at the arms."
The sergeant put the lantern near the panel.
"They are those of monsieur le coadjuteur," he said.
"Hush; he is enjoying a ride with Madame de Guemenee."
The sergeant began to laugh.
"Open the gate," he cried. "I know who it is!" Then putting
his face to the lowered blinds, he said:
"I wish you joy, my lord!"
"Impudent fellow!" cried D'Artagnan, "you will get me turned
The gate groaned on its hinges, and D'Artagnan, seeing the
way clear, whipped his horses, who started at a canter, and
five minutes later they had rejoined the cardinal.
"Mousqueton!" exclaimed D'Artagnan, "draw up the blinds of
his majesty's carriage."
"It is he!" cried Porthos.
"Disguised as a coachman!" exclaimed Mazarin.
"And driving the coadjutor's carriage!" said the queen.
"Corpo di Dio! Monsieur d'Artagnan!" said Mazarin, "you are
worth your weight in gold."
How D'Artagnan and Porthos earned by selling Straw, the one
Two Hundred and Nineteen, and the other Two Hundred and
Fifteen Louis d'or.
Mazarin was desirous of setting out instantly for Saint
Germain, but the queen declared that she should wait for the
people whom she had appointed to meet her. However, she
offered the cardinal Laporte's place, which he accepted and
went from one carriage to the other.
It was not without foundation that a report of the king's
intention to leave Paris by night had been circulated. Ten
or twelve persons had been in the secret since six o'clock,
and howsoever great their prudence might be, they could not
issue the necessary orders for the departure without
suspicion being generated. Besides, each individual had one
or two others for whom he was interested; and as there could
be no doubt but that the queen was leaving Paris full of
terrible projects of vengeance, every one had warned parents
and friends of what was about to transpire; so that the news
of the approaching exit ran like a train of lighted
gunpowder along the streets.
The first carriage which arrived after that of the queen was
that of the Prince de Conde, with the princess and dowager
princess. Both these ladies had been awakened in the middle
of the night and did not know what it all was about. The
second contained the Duke and Duchess of Orleans, the tall
young Mademoiselle and the Abbe de la Riviere; and the
third, the Duke de Longueville and the Prince de Conti,
brother and brother-in-law of Conde. They all alighted and
hastened to pay their respects to the king and queen in
their coach. The queen fixed her eyes upon the carriage they
had left, and seeing that it was empty, she said:
"But where is Madame de Longueville?"
"Ah, yes, where is my sister?" asked the prince.
"Madame de Longueville is ill," said the duke, "and she
desired me to excuse her to your majesty."
Anne gave a quick glance to Mazarin, who answered by an
almost imperceptible shake of his head.
"What do you say of this?" asked the queen.
"I say that she is a hostage for the Parisians," answered
"Why is she not come?" asked the prince in a low voice,
addressing his brother.
"Silence," whispered the duke, "she has her reasons."
"She will ruin us!" returned the prince.
"She will save us," said Conti.
Carriages now arrived in crowds; those of the Marechal de
Villeroy, Guitant, Villequier and Comminges came into the
line. The two musketeers arrived in their turn, holding the
horses of D'Artagnan and Porthos in their hands. These two
instantly mounted, the coachman of the latter replacing
D'Artagnan on the coach-box of the royal coach. Mousqueton
took the place of the coachman, and drove standing, for
reasons known to himself, like Automedon of antiquity.
The queen, though occupied by a thousand details, tried to
catch the Gascon's eye; but he, with his wonted prudence,
had mingled with the crowd.
"Let us be the avant guard," said he to Porthos, "and find
good quarters at Saint Germain; nobody will think of us, and
for my part I am greatly fatigued."
"As for me," replied Porthos, "I am falling asleep, which is
strange, considering we have not had any fighting; truly the
Parisians are idiots."
"Or rather, we are very clever," said D'Artagnan.
"And how is your wrist?"
"Better; but do you think that we've got them this time?"
"You your command, and I my title?"
"I'faith! yes -- I should expect so; besides, if they
forget, I shall take the liberty of reminding them."
"The queen's voice! she is speaking," said Porthos; "I think
she wants to ride on horseback."
"Oh, she would like it, but ---- "
"The cardinal won't allow it. Gentlemen," he said,
addressing the two musketeers, "accompany the royal
carriage, we are going forward to look for lodgings."
D'Artagnan started off for Saint Germain, followed by
"We will go on, gentlemen," said the queen.
And the royal carriage drove on, followed by the other
coaches and about fifty horsemen.
They reached Saint German without any accident; on
descending, the queen found the prince awaiting her,
bare-headed, to offer her his hand.
"What an awakening for the Parisians!" said the queen,
"It is war," said the prince.
"Well, then, let it be war! Have we not on our side the
conqueror of Rocroy, of Nordlingen, of Lens?"
The prince bowed low.
It was then three o'clock in the morning. The queen walked
first, every one followed her. About two hundred persons had
accompanied her in her flight.
"Gentlemen," said the queen, laughing, "pray take up your
abode in the chateau; it is large, and there will be no want
of room for you all; but, as we never thought of coming
here, I am informed that there are, in all, only three beds
in the whole establishment, one for the king, one for me
"And one for the cardinal," muttered the prince.
"Am I -- am I, then, to sleep on the floor?" asked Gaston
d'Orleans, with a forced smile.
"No, my prince," replied Mazarin, "the third bed is intended
for your highness."
"But your eminence?" replied the prince.
"I," answered Mazarin, "I shall not sleep at all; I have
work to do."
Gaston desired that he should be shown into the room wherein
he was to sleep, without in the least concerning himself as
to where his wife and daughter were to repose.
"Well, for my part, I shall go to bed," said D'Artagnan;
Porthos followed the lieutenant with that profound
confidence he ever had in the wisdom of his friend. They
walked from one end of the chateau to the other, Porthos
looking with wondering eyes at D'Artagnan, who was counting
on his fingers.
"Four hundred, at a pistole each, four hundred pistoles."
"Yes," interposed Porthos, "four hundred pistoles; but who
is to make four hundred pistoles?"
"A pistole is not enough," said D'Artagnan, "'tis worth a
"What is worth a louis?"
"Four hundred, at a louis each, make four hundred louis."
"Four hundred?" said Porthos.
"Yes, there are two hundred of them, and each of them will
need two, which will make four hundred."
"But four hundred what?"
"Listen!" cried D'Artagnan.
But as there were all kinds of people about, who were in a
state of stupefaction at the unexpected arrival of the
court, he whispered in his friend's ear.
"I understand," answered Porthos, "I understand you
perfectly, on my honor; two hundred louis, each of us, would
be making a pretty thing of it; but what will people say?"
"Let them say what they will; besides, how will they know
that we are doing it?"
"But who will distribute these things?" asked Porthos.
"Isn't Mousqueton there?"
"But he wears my livery; my livery will be known," replied
"He can turn his coat inside out."
"You are always in the right, my dear friend," cried
Porthos; "but where the devil do you discover all the
notions you put into practice?"
D'Artagnan smiled. The two friends turned down the first
street they came to. Porthos knocked at the door of a house
to the right, whilst D'Artagnan knocked at the door of a
house to the left.
"Some straw," they said.
"Sir, we don't keep any," was the reply of the people who
opened the doors; "but please ask at the hay dealer's."
"Where is the hay dealer's?"
"At the last large door in the street."
"Are there any other people in Saint Germain who sell
"Yes; there's the landlord of the Lamb, and Gros-Louis the
farmer; they both live in the Rue des Ursulines."
D'Artagnan went instantly to the hay dealer and bargained
with him for a hundred and fifty trusses of straw, which he
obtained, at the rate of three pistoles each. He went
afterward to the innkeeper and bought from him two hundred
trusses at the same price. Finally, Farmer Louis sold them
eighty trusses, making in all four hundred and thirty.
There was no more to be had in Saint Germain. This foraging
did not occupy more than half an hour. Mousqueton, duly
instructed, was put at the head of this sudden and new
business. He was cautioned not to let a bit of straw out of
his hands under a louis the truss, and they intrusted to him
straw to the amount of four hundred and thirty louis.
D'Artagnan, taking with him three trusses of straw, returned
to the chateau, where everybody, freezing with cold and more
than half asleep, envied the king, the queen, and the Duke
of Orleans, on their camp beds. The lieutenant's entrance
produced a burst of laughter in the great drawing-room; but
he did not appear to notice that he was the object of
general attention, but began to arrange, with so much
cleverness, nicety and gayety, his straw bed, that the
mouths of all these poor creatures, who could not go to
sleep, began to water.
"Straw!" they all cried out, "straw! where is there any to
"I can show you," answered the Gascon.
And he conducted them to Mousqueton, who freely distributed
the trusses at the rate of a louis apiece. It was thought
rather dear, but people wanted to sleep, and who would not
give even two or three louis for a few hours of sound sleep?
D'Artagnan gave up his bed to any one who wanted it, making
it over about a dozen times; and since he was supposed to
have paid, like the others, a louis for his truss of straw,
he pocketed in that way thirty louis in less than half an
hour. At five o'clock in the morning the straw was worth
eighty francs a truss and there was no more to be had.
D'Artagnan had taken the precaution to set apart four
trusses for his own use. He put in his pocket the key of the
room where he had hidden them, and accompanied by Porthos
returned to settle with Mousqueton, who, naively, and like
the worthy steward that he was, handed them four hundred and
thirty louis and kept one hundred for himself.
Mousqueton, who knew nothing of what was going on in the
chateau, wondered that the idea had not occurred to him
sooner. D'Artagnan put the gold in his hat, and in going
back to the chateau settled the reckoning with Porthos, each
of them had cleared two hundred and fifteen louis.
Porthos, however, found that he had no straw left for
himself. He returned to Mousqueton, but the steward had sold
the last wisp. He then repaired to D'Artagnan, who, thanks
to his four trusses of straw, was in the act of making up
and tasting, by anticipation, the luxury of a bed so soft,
so well stuffed at the head, so well covered at the foot,
that it would have excited the envy of the king himself, if
his majesty had not been fast asleep in his own. D'Artagnan
could on no account consent to pull his bed to pieces again
for Porthos, but for a consideration of four louis that the
latter paid him for it, he consented that Porthos should
share his couch with him. He laid his sword at the head, his
pistols by his side, stretched his cloak over his feet,
placed his felt hat on the top of his cloak and extended
himself luxuriously on the straw, which rustled under him.
He was already enjoying the sweet dream engendered by the
possession of two hundred and nineteen louis, made in a
quarter of an hour, when a voice was heard at the door of
the hall, which made him stir.
"Monsieur d'Artagnan!" it cried.
"Here!" cried Porthos, "here!"
Porthos foresaw that if D'Artagnan was called away he should
remain the sole possessor of the bed. An officer approached.
"I am come to fetch you, Monsieur d'Artagnan."
"His eminence sent me."
"Tell my lord that I'm going to sleep, and I advise him, as
a friend, to do the same."
"His eminence is not gone to bed and will not go to bed, and
wants you instantly."
"The devil take Mazarin, who does not know when to sleep at
the proper time. What does he want with me? Is it to make me
a captain? In that case I will forgive him."
And the musketeer rose, grumbling, took his sword, hat,
pistols, and cloak, and followed the officer, whilst
Porthos, alone and sole possessor of the bed, endeavored to
follow the good example of falling asleep, which his
predecessor had set him.
"Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the cardinal, on perceiving him,
"I have not forgotten with what zeal you have served me. I
am going to prove to you that I have not."
"Good," thought the Gascon, "this is a promising beginning."
"Monsieur d'Artagnan," he resumed, "do you wish to become a
"Yes, my lord."
"And your friend still longs to be made a baron?"
"At this very moment, my lord, he no doubt dreams that he is
"Then," said Mazarin, taking from his portfolio the letter
which he had already shown D'Artagnan, "take this dispatch
and carry it to England."
D'Artagnan looked at the envelope; there was no address on
"Am I not to know to whom to present it?"
"You will know when you reach London; at London you may tear
off the outer envelope."
"And what are my instructions?"
"To obey in every particular the man to whom this letter is
addressed. You must set out for Boulogne. At the Royal Arms
of England you will find a young gentleman named Mordaunt."
"Yes, my lord; and what am I to do with this young
"Follow wherever he leads you."
D'Artagnan looked at the cardinal with a stupefied air.
"There are your instructions," said Mazarin; "go!"
"Go! 'tis easy to say so, but that requires money, and I
"Ah!" replied Mazarin, "so you have no money?"
"None, my lord."
"But the diamond I gave you yesterday?"
"I wish to keep it in remembrance of your eminence."
"'Tis very dear living in England, my lord, especially as
"Zounds!" replied Mazarin, "the people there are very
sedate, and their habits, since the revolution, simple; but
He opened a drawer and took out a purse.
"What do you say to a thousand crowns?"
D'Artagnan pouted out his lower lip in a most extraordinary
"I reply, my lord, 'tis but little, as certainly I shall not
"I suppose not. Monsieur du Vallon, that worthy gentleman,
for, with the exception of yourself, Monsieur d'Artagnan,
there's not a man in France that I esteem and love so much
as him ---- "
"Then, my lord," replied D'Artagnan, pointing to the purse
which Mazarin still held, "if you love and esteem him so
much, you -- understand me?"
"Be it so! on his account I add two hundred crowns."
"Scoundrel!" muttered D'Artagnan. "But on our return," he
said aloud, "may we, that is, my friend and I, depend on
having, he his barony, and I my promotion?"
"On the honor of Mazarin."
"I should like another sort of oath better," said D'Artagnan
to himself; then aloud, "May I not offer my duty to her
majesty the queen?"
"Her majesty is asleep and you must set off directly,"
replied Mazarin; "go, pray, sir ---- "
"One word more, my lord; if there's any fighting where I'm
going, must I fight?"
"You are to obey the commands of the personage to whom I
have addressed the inclosed letter."
"'Tis well," said D'Artagnan, holding out his hand to
receive the money. "I offer my best respects and services to
you, my lord."
D'Artagnan then, returning to the officer, said:
"Sir, have the kindness also to awaken Monsieur du Vallon
and to say 'tis by his eminence's order, and that I shall
await him at the stables."
The officer went off with an eagerness that showed the
Gascon that he had some personal interest in the matter.
Porthos was snoring most musically when some one touched him
on the shoulder.
"I come from the cardinal," said the officer.
"Heigho!" said Porthos, opening his large eyes; "what have
you got to say?"
"That his eminence has ordered you to England and that
Monsieur d'Artagnan is waiting for you in the stables."
Porthos sighed heavily, arose, took his hat, his pistols,
and his cloak, and departed, casting a look of regret upon
the couch where he had hoped to sleep so well.
No sooner had he turned his back than the officer laid
himself down in it, and he had scarcely crossed the
threshold before his successor, in his turn, was snoring
immoderately. It was very natural, he being the only person
in the whole assemblage, except the king, the queen, and the
Duke of Orleans, who slept gratuitously.
In which we hear Tidings of Aramis.
D'Artagnan went straight to the stables; day was just
dawning. He found his horse and that of Porthos fastened to
the manger, but to an empty manger. He took pity on these
poor animals and went to a corner of the stable, where he
saw a little straw, but in doing so he struck his foot
against a human body, which uttered a cry and arose on its
knees, rubbing its eyes. It was Mousqueton, who, having no
straw to lie upon, had helped himself to that of the horses.
"Mousqueton," cried D'Artagnan, "let us be off! Let us set
Mousqueton, recognizing the voice of his master's friend, got
up suddenly, and in doing so let fall some louis which he
had appropriated to himself illegally during the night.
"Ho! ho!" exclaimed D'Artagnan, picking up a louis and
displaying it; "here's a louis that smells confoundedly of
Mousqueton blushed so confusedly that the Gascon began to
laugh at him and said:
"Porthos would be angry, my dear Monsieur Mousqueton, but I
pardon you, only let us remember that this gold must serve
us as a joke, so be gay -- come along."
Mousqueton instantly assumed a jovial countenance, saddled
the horses quickly and mounted his own without making faces
Whilst this went on, Porthos arrived with a very cross look
on his face, and was astonished to find the lieutenant
resigned and Mousqueton almost merry.
"Ah, that's it!" he cried, "you have your promotion and I my
"We are going to fetch our brevets," said D'Artagnan, "and
when we come back, Master Mazarin will sign them."
"And where are we going?" asked Porthos.
"To Paris first; I have affairs to settle."
And they both set out for Paris.
On arriving at its gates they were astounded to see the
threatening aspect of the capital. Around a broken-down
carriage the people were uttering imprecations, whilst the
persons who had attempted to escape were made prisoners --
that is to say, an old man and two women. On the other hand,
as the two friends approached to enter, they showed them
every kind of civility, thinking them deserters from the
royal party and wishing to bind them to their own.
"What is the king doing?" they asked.
"He is asleep."
"And the Spanish woman?"
"And the cursed Italian?"
"He is awake, so keep on the watch, as they are gone away;
it's for some purpose, rely on it. But as you are the
strongest, after all," continued D'Artagnan, "don't be
furious with old men and women, and keep your wrath for more
The people listened to these words and let go the ladies,
who thanked D'Artagnan with an eloquent look.
"Now! onward!" cried the Gascon.
And they continued their way, crossing the barricades,
getting the chains about their legs, pushed about,
questioning and questioned.
In the place of the Palais Royal D'Artagnan saw a sergeant,
who was drilling six or seven hundred citizens. It was
Planchet, who brought into play profitably the recollections
of the regiment of Piedmont.
In passing before D'Artagnan he recognized his former
"Good-day, Monsieur d'Artagnan," said Planchet proudly.
"Good-day, Monsieur Dulaurier," replied D'Artagnan.
Planchet stopped short, staring at D'Artagnan. The first
row, seeing their sergeant stop, stopped in their turn, and
so on to the very last.
"These citizens are dreadfully ridiculous," observed
D'Artagnan to Porthos and went on his way.
Five minutes afterward he entered the hotel of La Chevrette,
where pretty Madeleine, the hostess, came to him.
"My dear Mistress Turquaine," said the Gascon, "if you
happen to have any money, lock it up quickly; if you happen
to have any jewels, hide them directly; if you happen to
have any debtors, make them pay you, or any creditors, don't
"Why, prithee?" asked Madeleine.
"Because Paris is going to be reduced to dust and ashes like
Babylon, of which you have no doubt heard tell."
"And are you going to leave me at such a time?"
"This very instant."
"And where are you going?"
"Ah, if you could tell me that, you would be doing me a
"Ah, me! ah, me!
"Have you any letters for me?" inquired D'Artagnan, wishing
to signify to the hostess that her lamentations were
superfluous and that therefore she had better spare him
demonstrations of her grief.
"There's one just arrived," and she handed the letter to
"From Athos!" cried D'Artagnan, recognizing the handwriting.
"Ah!" said Porthos, "let us hear what he says."
D'Artagnan opened the letter and read as follows:
"Dear D'Artagnan, dear Du Vallon, my good friends, perhaps
this may be the last time that you will ever hear from me.
Aramis and I are very unhappy; but God, our courage, and the
remembrance of our friendship sustain us. Think often of
Raoul. I intrust to you certain papers which are at Blois;
and in two months and a half, if you do not hear of us, take
possession of them.
"Embrace, with all your heart, the vicomte, for your
"I believe, by Heaven," said D'Artagnan, "that I shall
embrace him, since he's upon our road; and if he is so
unfortunate as to lose our dear Athos, from that very day he
becomes my son."
"And I," said Porthos, "shall make him my sole heir."
"Let us see, what more does Athos say?"
"Should you meet on your journey a certain Monsieur
Mordaunt, distrust him, in a letter I cannot say more."
"Monsieur Mordaunt!" exclaimed the Gascon, surprised.
"Monsieur Mordaunt! 'tis well," said Porthos, "we shall
remember that; but see, there is a postscript from Aramis."
"So there is," said D'Artagnan, and he read:
"We conceal the place where we are, dear friends, knowing
your brotherly affection and that you would come and die
with us were we to reveal it."
"Confound it," interrupted Porthos, with an explosion of
passion which sent Mousqueton to the other end of the room;
"are they in danger of dying?"
"Athos bequeaths to you Raoul, and I bequeath to you my
revenge. If by any good luck you lay your hand on a certain
man named Mordaunt, tell Porthos to take him into a corner
and to wring his neck. I dare not say more in a letter.
"If that is all, it is easily done," said Porthos.
"On the contrary," observed D'Artagnan, with a vexed look;
"it would be impossible."
"It is precisely this Monsieur Mordaunt whom we are going to
join at Boulogne and with whom we cross to England."
"Well, suppose instead of joining this Monsieur Mordaunt we
were to go and join our friends?" said Porthos, with a
gesture fierce enough to have frightened an army.
"I did think of it, but this letter has neither date nor
"True," said Porthos. And he began to wander about the room
like a man beside himself, gesticulating and half drawing