Part 4 out of 20
D'Artagnan, after asking the man the right way, continued
his route, agitated in spite of himself at the idea of
seeing once more that singular man whom he had so truly
loved and who had contributed so much by advice and example
to his education as a gentleman. He checked by degrees the
speed of his horse and went on, his head drooping as if in
Soon, as the road turned, the Chateau de la Valliere
appeared in view; then, a quarter of a mile beyond, a white
house, encircled in sycamores, was visible at the farther
end of a group of trees, which spring had powdered with a
snow of flowers.
On beholding this house, D'Artagnan, calm as he was in
general, felt an unusual disturbance within his heart -- so
powerful during the whole course of life are the
recollections of youth. He proceeded, nevertheless, and came
opposite to an iron gate, ornamented in the taste of the
Through the gate was seen kitchen-gardens, carefully
attended to, a spacious courtyard, in which neighed several
horses held by valets in various liveries, and a carriage,
drawn by two horses of the country.
"We are mistaken," said D'Artagnan. "This cannot be the
establishment of Athos. Good heavens! suppose he is dead and
that this property now belongs to some one who bears his
name. Alight, Planchet, and inquire, for I confess that I
have scarcely courage so to do."
"Thou must add," said D'Artagnan, "that a gentleman who is
passing by wishes to have the honor of paying his respects
to the Comte de la Fere, and if thou art satisfied with what
thou hearest, then mention my name!"
Planchet, leading his horse by the bridle, drew near to the
gate and rang the bell, and immediately a servant-man with
white hair and of erect stature, notwithstanding his age,
"Does Monsieur le Comte de la Fere live here?" asked
"Yes, monsieur, it is here he lives," the servant replied to
Planchet, who was not in livery.
"A nobleman retired from service, is he not?"
"And who had a lackey named Grimaud?" persisted Planchet,
who had prudently considered that he couldn't have too much
"Monsieur Grimaud is absent from the chateau for the time
being," said the servitor, who, little used as he was to
such inquiries, began to examine Planchet from head to foot.
"Then," cried Planchet joyously, "I see well that it is the
same Comte de la Fere whom we seek. Be good enough to open
to me, for I wish to announce to monsieur le comte that my
master, one of his friends, is here, and wishes to greet
"Why didn't you say so?" said the servitor, opening the
gate. "But where is your master?"
"He is following me."
The servitor opened the gate and walked before Planchet, who
made a sign to D'Artagnan. The latter, his heart palpitating
more than ever, entered the courtyard without dismounting.
Whilst Planchet was standing on the steps before the house
he heard a voice say:
"Well, where is this gentleman and why do they not bring him
This voice, the sound of which reached D'Artagnan,
reawakened in his heart a thousand sentiments, a thousand
recollections that he had forgotten. He vaulted hastily from
his horse, whilst Planchet, with a smile on his lips,
advanced toward the master of the house.
"But I know you, my lad," said Athos, appearing on the
"Oh, yes, monsieur le comte, you know me and I know you. I
am Planchet -- Planchet, whom you know well." But the honest
servant could say no more, so much was he overcome by this
"What, Planchet, is Monsieur d'Artagnan here?"
"Here I am, my friend, dear Athos!" cried D'Artagnan, in a
faltering voice and almost staggering from agitation.
At these words a visible emotion was expressed on the
beautiful countenance and calm features of Athos. He rushed
toward D'Artagnan with eyes fixed upon him and clasped him
in his arms. D'Artagnan, equally moved, pressed him also
closely to him, whilst tears stood in his eyes. Athos then
took him by the hand and led him into the drawing-room,
where there were several people. Every one arose.
"I present to you," he said, "Monsieur le Chevalier
D'Artagnan, lieutenant of his majesty's musketeers, a
devoted friend and one of the most excellent, brave
gentlemen that I have ever known."
D'Artagnan received the compliments of those who were
present in his own way, and whilst the conversation became
general he looked earnestly at Athos.
Strange! Athos was scarcely aged at all! His fine eyes, no
longer surrounded by that dark line which nights of
dissipation pencil too infallibly, seemed larger, more
liquid than ever. His face, a little elongated, had gained
in calm dignity what it had lost in feverish excitement. His
hand, always wonderfully beautiful and strong, was set off
by a ruffle of lace, like certain hands by Titian and
Vandyck. He was less stiff than formerly. His long, dark
hair, softly powdered here and there with silver tendrils,
fell elegantly over his shoulders in wavy curls; his voice
was still youthful, as if belonging to a Hercules of
twenty-five, and his magnificent teeth, which he had
preserved white and sound, gave an indescribable charm to
Meanwhile the guests, seeing that the two friends were
longing to be alone, prepared to depart, when a noise of
dogs barking resounded through the courtyard and many
persons said at the same moment:
"Ah! 'tis Raoul, who is come home."
Athos, as the name of Raoul was pronounced, looked
inquisitively at D'Artagnan, in order to see if any
curiosity was painted on his face. But D'Artagnan was still
in confusion and turned around almost mechanically when a
fine young man of fifteen years of age, dressed simply, but
in perfect taste, entered the room, raising, as he came, his
hat, adorned with a long plume of scarlet feathers.
Nevertheless, D'Artagnan was struck by the appearance of
this new personage. It seemed to explain to him the change
in Athos; a resemblance between the boy and the man
explained the mystery of this regenerated existence. He
remained listening and gazing.
"Here you are, home again, Raoul," said the comte.
"Yes, sir," replied the youth, with deep respect, "and I
have performed the commission that you gave me."
"But what's the matter, Raoul?" said Athos, very anxiously.
"You are pale and agitated."
"Sir," replied the young man, "it is on account of an
accident which has happened to our little neighbor."
"To Mademoiselle de la Valliere?" asked Athos, quickly.
"What is it?" cried many persons present.
"She was walking with her nurse Marceline, in the place
where the woodmen cut the wood, when, passing on horseback,
I stopped. She saw me also and in trying to jump from the
end of a pile of wood on which she had mounted, the poor
child fell and was not able to rise again. I fear that she
has badly sprained her ankle."
"Oh, heavens!" cried Athos. "And her mother, Madame de
Saint-Remy, have they yet told her of it?"
"No, sir, Madame de Saint-Remy is at Blois with the Duchess
of Orleans. I am afraid that what was first done was
unskillful, if not worse than useless. I am come, sir, to
ask your advice."
"Send directly to Blois, Raoul; or, rather, take horse and
ride immediately yourself."
"But where is Louise?" asked the comte.
"I have brought her here, sir, and I have deposited her in
charge of Charlotte, who, till better advice comes, has
bathed the foot in cold well-water."
The guests now all took leave of Athos, excepting the old
Duc de Barbe, who, as an old friend of the family of La
Valliere, went to see little Louise and offered to take her
to Blois in his carriage.
"You are right, sir," said Athos. "She will be the sooner
with her mother. As for you, Raoul, I am sure it is your
fault, some giddiness or folly."
"No, sir, I assure you," muttered Raoul, "it is not."
"Oh, no, no, I declare it is not!" cried the young girl,
while Raoul turned pale at the idea of his being perhaps the
cause of her disaster.
"Nevertheless, Raoul, you must go to Blois and you must make
your excuses and mine to Madame de Saint-Remy."
The youth looked pleased. He again took in his strong arms
the little girl, whose pretty golden head and smiling face
rested on his shoulder, and placed her gently in the
carriage; then jumping on his horse with the elegance of a
first-rate esquire, after bowing to Athos and D'Artagnan, he
went off close by the door of the carriage, on somebody
inside of which his eyes were riveted.
The Castle of Bragelonne.
Whilst this scene was going on, D'Artagnan remained with
open mouth and a confused gaze. Everything had turned out so
differently from what he expected that he was stupefied with
Athos, who had been observing him and guessing his thoughts,
took his arm and led him into the garden.
"Whilst supper is being prepared," he said, smiling, "you
will not, my friend, be sorry to have the mystery which so
puzzles you cleared up."
"True, monsieur le comte," replied D'Artagnan, who felt that
by degrees Athos was resuming that great influence which
aristocracy had over him.
"First and foremost, dear D'Artagnan, we have no title such
as count here. When I call you `chevalier,' it is in
presenting you to my guests, that they may know who you are.
But to you, D'Artagnan, I am, I hope, still dear Athos, your
comrade, your friend. Do you intend to stand on ceremony
because you are less attached to me than you were?"
"Oh! God forbid!"
"Then let us be as we used to be; let us be open with each
other. You are surprised at what you see here?"
"But above all things, I am a marvel to you?"
"I confess it."
"I am still young, am I not? Should you not have known me
again, in spite of my eight-and-forty years of age?"
"On the contrary, I do not find you the same person at all."
"I understand," cried Athos, with a gentle blush.
"Everything, D'Artagnan, even folly, has its limit."
"Then your means, it appears, are improved; you have a
capital house -- your own, I presume? You have a park, and
"Yes, I inherited this little property when I quitted the
army, as I told you. The park is twenty acres -- twenty,
comprising kitchen-gardens and a common. I have two horses,
-- I do not count my servant's bobtailed nag. My sporting
dogs consist of two pointers, two harriers and two setters.
But then all this extravagance is not for myself," added
"Yes, I see, for the young man Raoul," said D'Artagnan.
"You guess aright, my friend; this youth is an orphan,
deserted by his mother, who left him in the house of a poor
country priest. I have brought him up. It is Raoul who has
worked in me the change you see; I was dried up like a
miserable tree, isolated, attached to nothing on earth; it
was only a deep affection that could make me take root again
and drag me back to life. This child has caused me to
recover what I had lost. I had no longer any wish to live
for myself, I have lived for him. I have corrected the vices
that I had; I have assumed the virtues that I had not.
Precept something, but example more. I may be mistaken, but
I believe that Raoul will be as accomplished a gentleman as
our degenerate age could display."
The remembrance of Milady recurred to D'Artagnan.
"And you are happy?" he said to his friend.
"As happy as it is allowed to one of God's creatures to be
on this earth; but say out all you think, D'Artagnan, for
you have not yet done so."
"You are too bad, Athos; one can hide nothing from you,"
answered D'Artagnan. "I wished to ask you if you ever feel
any emotions of terror resembling ---- "
"Remorse! I finish your phrase. Yes and no. I do not feel
remorse, because that woman, I profoundly hold, deserved her
punishment. Had she one redeeming trait? I doubt it. I do
not feel remorse, because had we allowed her to live she
would have persisted in her work of destruction. But I do
not mean, my friend that we were right in what we did.
Perhaps all blood demands some expiation. Hers had been
accomplished; it remains, possibly, for us to accomplish
"I have sometimes thought as you do, Athos."
"She had a son, that unhappy woman?"
"Have you ever heard of him?"
"He must be about twenty-three years of age," said Athos, in
a low tone. "I often think of that young man, D'Artagnan."
"Strange! for I had forgotten him," said the lieutenant.
Athos smiled; the smile was melancholy.
"And Lord de Winter -- do you know anything about him?"
"I know that he is in high favor with Charles I."
"The fortunes of that monarch now are at low water. He shed
the blood of Strafford; that confirms what I said just now
-- blood will have blood. And the queen?"
"Madame Henrietta of England, daughter of Henry IV."
"She is at the Louvre, as you know."
"Yes, and I hear in bitter poverty. Her daughter, during the
severest cold, was obliged for want of fire to remain in
bed. Do you grasp that?" said Athos, shrugging his
shoulders; "the daughter of Henry IV. shivering for want of
a fagot! Why did she not ask from any one of us a home
instead of from Mazarin? She should have wanted nothing."
"Have you ever seen the queen of England?" inquired
"No; but my mother, as a child, saw her. Did I ever tell you
that my mother was lady of honor to Marie de Medici "
"Never. You know, Athos, you never spoke much of such
"Ah, mon Dieu, yes, you are right," Athos replied; "but then
there must be some occasion for speaking."
"Porthos wouldn't have waited for it so patiently," said
D'Artagnan, with a smile.
"Every one according to his nature, my dear D'Artagnan.
Porthos, in spite of a touch of vanity, has many excellent
qualities. Have you seen him?"
"I left him five days ago," said D'Artagnan, and he
portrayed with Gascon wit and sprightliness the magnificence
of Porthos in his Chateau of Pierrefonds; nor did he neglect
to launch a few arrows of wit at the excellent Monsieur
"I sometimes wonder," replied Athos, smiling at that gayety
which recalled the good old days, "that we could form an
association of men who would be, after twenty years of
separation, still so closely bound together. Friendship
throws out deep roots in honest hearts, D'Artagnan. Believe
me, it is only the evil-minded who deny friendship; they
cannot understand it. And Aramis?"
"I have seen him also," said D'Artagnan; "but he seemed to
"Ah, you have seen Aramis?" said Athos, turning on
D'Artagnan a searching look. "Why, it is a veritable
pilgrimage, my dear friend, that you are making to the
Temple of Friendship, as the poets would say."
"Why, yes," replied D'Artagnan, with embarrassment.
"Aramis, you know," continued Athos, "is naturally cold, and
then he is always involved in intrigues with women."
"I believe he is at this moment in a very complicated one,"
Athos made no reply.
"He is not curious," thought D'Artagnan.
Athos not only failed to reply, he even changed the subject
"You see," said he, calling D'Artagnan's attention to the
fact that they had come back to the chateau after an hour's
walk, "we have made a tour of my domains."
"All is charming and everything savors of nobility," replied
At this instant they heard the sound of horses' feet.
"'Tis Raoul who has come back," said Athos; "and we can now
hear how the poor child is."
In fact, the young man appeared at the gate, covered with
dust, entered the courtyard, leaped from his horse, which he
consigned to the charge of a groom, and then went to greet
the count and D'Artagnan.
"Monsieur," said Athos, placing his hand on D'Artagnan's
shoulder, "monsieur is the Chevalier D'Artagnan of whom you
have often heard me speak, Raoul."
"Monsieur," said the young man, saluting again and more
profoundly, "monsieur le comte has pronounced your name
before me as an example whenever he wished to speak of an
intrepid and generous gentleman."
That little compliment could not fail to move D'Artagnan. He
extended a hand to Raoul and said:
"My young friend, all the praises that are given me should
be passed on to the count here; for he has educated me in
everything and it is not his fault that his pupil profited
so little from his instructions. But he will make it up in
you I am sure. I like your manner, Raoul, and your
politeness has touched me."
Athos was more delighted than can be told. He looked at
D'Artagnan with an expression of gratitude and then bestowed
on Raoul one of those strange smiles, of which children are
so proud when they receive them.
"Now," said D'Artagnan to himself, noticing that silent play
of countenance, "I am sure of it."
"I hope the accident has been of no consequence?"
"They don't yet know, sir, on account of the swelling; but
the doctor is afraid some tendon has been injured."
At this moment a little boy, half peasant, half foot-boy,
came to announce supper.
Athos led his guest into a dining-room of moderate size, the
windows of which opened on one side on a garden, on the
other on a hot-house full of magnificent flowers.
D'Artagnan glanced at the dinner service. The plate was
magnificent, old, and appertaining to the family. D'Artagnan
stopped to look at a sideboard on which was a superb ewer of
"That workmanship is divine!" he exclaimed.
"Yes, a chef d'oeuvre of the great Florentine sculptor,
Benvenuto Cellini," replied Athos.
"What battle does it represent?"
"That of Marignan, just at the point where one of my
forefathers is offering his sword to Francis I., who has
broken his. It was on that occasion that my ancestor,
Enguerrand de la Fere, was made a knight of the Order of St.
Michael; besides which, the king, fifteen years afterward,
gave him also this ewer and a sword which you may have seen
formerly in my house, also a lovely specimen of workmanship.
Men were giants in those times," said Athos; "now we are
pigmies in comparison. Let us sit down to supper. Call
Charles," he added, addressing the boy who waited.
"My good Charles, I particularly recommend to your care
Planchet, the laquais of Monsieur D'Artagnan. He likes good
wine; now you have the key of the cellar. He has slept a
long time on a hard bed, so he won't object to a soft one;
take every care of him, I beg of you." Charles bowed and
"You think of everything," said D'Artagnan; "and I thank you
for Planchet, my dear Athos."
Raoul stared on hearing this name and looked at the count to
be quite sure that it was he whom the lieutenant thus
"That name sounds strange to you," said Athos, smiling; "it
was my nom de guerre when Monsieur D'Artagnan, two other
gallant friends and myself performed some feats of arms at
the siege of La Rochelle, under the deceased cardinal and
Monsieur de Bassompierre. My friend is still so kind as to
address me by that old and well beloved appellation, which
makes my heart glad when I hear it."
"'Tis an illustrious name," said the lieutenant, "and had
one day triumphal honors paid to it."
"What do you mean, sir?" inquired Raoul.
"You have not forgotten St. Gervais, Athos, and the napkin
which was converted into a banner?" and he then related to
Raoul the story of the bastion, and Raoul fancied he was
listening to one of those deeds of arms belonging to days of
chivalry, so gloriously recounted by Tasso and Ariosto.
"D'Artagnan does not tell you, Raoul," said Athos, in his
turn, "that he was reckoned one of the finest swordsmen of
his time -- a knuckle of iron, a wrist of steel, a sure eye
and a glance of fire; that's what his adversary met with. He
was eighteen, only three years older than you are, Raoul,
when I saw him set to work, pitted against tried men."
"And did Monsieur D'Artagnan come off the conqueror?" asked
the young man, with glistening eye.
"I killed one man, if I recollect rightly," replied
D'Artagnan, with a look of inquiry directed to Athos;
"another I disarmed or wounded, I don't remember which."
"Wounded!" said Athos; "it was a phenomenon of skill."
The young man would willingly have prolonged this
conversation far into the night, but Athos pointed out to
him that his guest must need repose. D'Artagnan would fain
have declared that he was not fatigued, but Athos insisted
on his retiring to his chamber, conducted thither by Raoul.
Athos as a Diplomatist.
D'Artagnan retired to bed -- not to sleep, but to think over
all he had heard that evening. Being naturally goodhearted,
and having had once a liking for Athos, which had grown into
a sincere friendship, he was delighted at thus meeting a man
full of intelligence and moral strength, instead of a
drunkard. He admitted without annoyance the continued
superiority of Athos over himself, devoid as he was of that
jealousy which might have saddened a less generous
disposition; he was delighted also that the high qualities
of Athos appeared to promise favorably for his mission.
Nevertheless, it seemed to him that Athos was not in all
respects sincere and frank. Who was the youth he had adopted
and who bore so striking a resemblance to him? What could
explain Athos's having re-entered the world and the extreme
sobriety he had observed at table? The absence of Grimaud,
whose name had never once been uttered by Athos, gave
D'Artagnan uneasiness. It was evident either that he no
longer possessed the confidence of his friend, or that Athos
was bound by some invisible chain, or that he had been
forewarned of the lieutenant's visit.
He could not help thinking of M. Rochefort, whom he had seen
in Notre Dame; could De Rochefort have forestalled him with
Athos? Again, the moderate fortune which Athos possessed,
concealed as it was, so skillfully, seemed to show a regard
for appearances and to betray a latent ambition which might
be easily aroused. The clear and vigorous intellect of Athos
would render him more open to conviction than a less able
man would be. He would enter into the minister's schemes
with the more ardor, because his natural activity would be
doubled by necessity.
Resolved to seek an explanation on all these points on the
following day, D'Artagnan, in spite of his fatigue, prepared
for an attack and determined that it should take place after
breakfast. He determined to cultivate the good-will of the
youth Raoul and, either whilst fencing with him or when out
shooting, to extract from his simplicity some information
which would connect the Athos of old times with the Athos of
the present. But D'Artagnan at the same time, being a man of
extreme caution, was quite aware what injury he should do
himself, if by any indiscretion or awkwardness he should
betray has manoeuvering to the experienced eye of Athos.
Besides, to tell truth, whilst D'Artagnan was quite disposed
to adopt a subtle course against the cunning of Aramis or
the vanity of Porthos, he was ashamed to equivocate with
Athos, true-hearted, open Athos. It seemed to him that if
Porthos and Aramis deemed him superior to them in the arts
of diplomacy, they would like him all the better for it; but
that Athos, on the contrary, would despise him.
"Ah! why is not Grimaud, the taciturn Grimaud, here?"
thought D'Artagnan, "there are so many things his silence
would have told me; with Grimaud silence was another form of
There reigned a perfect stillness in the house. D'Artagnan
had heard the door shut and the shutters barred; the dogs
became in their turn silent. At last a nightingale, lost in
a thicket of shrubs, in the midst of its most melodious
cadences had fluted low and lower into stillness and fallen
asleep. Not a sound was heard in the castle, except of a
footstep up and down, in the chamber above -- as he
supposed, the bedroom of Athos.
"He is walking about and thinking," thought D'Artagnan; "but
of what? It is impossible to know; everything else might be
guessed, but not that."
At length Athos went to bed, apparently, for the noise
Silence and fatigue together overcame D'Artagnan and sleep
overtook him also. He was not, however, a good sleeper.
Scarcely had dawn gilded his window curtains when he sprang
out of bed and opened the windows. Somebody, he perceived,
was in the courtyard, moving stealthily. True to his custom
of never passing anything over that it was within his power
to know, D'Artagnan looked out of the window and perceived
the close red coat and brown hair of Raoul.
The young man was opening the door of the stable. He then,
with noiseless haste, took out the horse that he had ridden
on the previous evening, saddled and bridled it himself and
led the animal into the alley to the right of the
kitchen-garden, opened a side door which conducted him to a
bridle road, shut it after him, and D'Artagnan saw him pass
by like a dart, bending, as he went, beneath the pendent
flowery branches of maple and acacia. The road, as
D'Artagnan had observed, was the way to Blois.
"So!" thought the Gascon "here's a young blade who has
already his love affair, who doesn't at all agree with Athos
in his hatred to the fair sex. He's not going to hunt, for
he has neither dogs nor arms; he's not going on a message,
for he goes secretly. Why does he go in secret? Is he afraid
of me or of his father? for I am sure the count is his
father. By Jove! I shall know about that soon, for I shall
soon speak out to Athos."
Day was now advanced; all the noises that had ceased the
night before reawakened, one after the other. The bird on
the branch, the dog in his kennel, the sheep in the field,
the boats moored in the Loire, even, became alive and vocal.
The latter, leaving the shore, abandoned themselves gaily to
the current. The Gascon gave a last twirl to his mustache, a
last turn to his hair, brushed, from habit, the brim of his
hat with the sleeve of his doublet, and went downstairs.
Scarcely had he descended the last step of the threshold
when he saw Athos bent down toward the ground, as if he were
looking for a crown-piece in the dust.
"Good-morning, my dear host," cried D'Artagnan.
"Good-day to you; have you slept well?"
"Excellently, Athos, but what are you looking for? You are
perhaps a tulip fancier?"
"My dear friend, if I am, you must not laugh at me for being
so. In the country people alter; one gets to like, without
knowing it, all those beautiful objects that God causes to
spring from the earth, which are despised in cities. I was
looking anxiously for some iris roots I planted here, close
to this reservoir, and which some one has trampled upon this
morning. These gardeners are the most careless people in the
world; in bringing the horse out to the water they've
allowed him to walk over the border."
D'Artagnan began to smile.
"Ah! you think so, do you?"
And he took his friend along the alley, where a number of
tracks like those which had trampled down the flowerbeds,
"Here are the horse's hoofs again, it seems, Athos," he said
"Yes, indeed, the marks are recent."
"Quite so," replied the lieutenant.
"Who went out this morning?" Athos asked, uneasily. "Has any
horse got loose?"
"Not likely," answered the Gascon; "these marks are
"Where is Raoul?" asked Athos; "how is it that I have not
"Hush!" exclaimed D'Artagnan, putting his finger on his
lips; and he related what he had seen, watching Athos all
"Ah, he's gone to Blois; the poor boy ---- "
"Ah, to inquire after the little La Valliere; she has
sprained her foot, you know."
"You think he has?"
"I am sure of it," said Athos; "don't you see that Raoul is
"Indeed! with whom -- with a child seven years old?"
"Dear friend, at Raoul's age the heart is so expansive that
it must encircle one object or another, fancied or real.
Well, his love is half real, half fanciful. She is the
prettiest little creature in the world, with flaxen hair,
blue eyes, -- at once saucy and languishing."
"But what say you to Raoul's fancy?"
"Nothing -- I laugh at Raoul; but this first desire of the
heart is imperious. I remember, just at his age, how deep in
love I was with a Grecian statue which our good king, then
Henry IV., gave my father, insomuch that I was mad with
grief when they told me that the story of Pygmalion was
nothing but a fable."
"It is mere want of occupation. You do not make Raoul work,
so he takes his own way of employing himself."
"Exactly; therefore I think of sending him away from here."
"You will be wise to do so."
"No doubt of it; but it will break his heart. So long as
three or four years ago he used to adorn and adore his
little idol, whom he will some day fall in love with in
right earnest if he remains here. The parents of little La
Valliere have for a long time perceived and been amused at
it; now they begin to look concerned."
"Nonsense! However, Raoul must be diverted from this fancy.
Send him away or you will never make a man of him."
"I think I shall send him to Paris."
"So!" thought D'Artagnan, and it seemed to him that the
moment for attack had arrived.
"Suppose," he said, "we roughly chalk out a career for this
young man. I wish to consult you about some thing."
"Do you think it is time for us to enter the service?"
"But are you not still in the service -- you, D'Artagnan?"
"I mean active service. Our former life, has it still no
attractions for you? would you not be happy to begin anew in
my society and in that of Porthos, the exploits of our
"Do you propose to me to do so, D'Artagnan?"
"Decidedly and honestly."
"On whose side?" asked Athos, fixing his clear, benevolent
glance on the countenance of the Gascon.
"Ah, devil take it, you speak in earnest ---- "
"And must have a definite answer. Listen, D'Artagnan. There
is but one person, or rather, one cause, to whom a man like
me can be useful -- that of the king."
"Exactly," answered the musketeer.
"Yes, but let us understand each other," returned Athos,
seriously. "If by the cause of the king you mean that of
Monsieur de Mazarin, we do not understand each other."
"I don't say exactly," answered the Gascon, confused.
"Come, D'Artagnan, don't let us play a sidelong game; your
hesitation, your evasion, tells me at once on whose side you
are; for that party no one dares openly to recruit, and when
people recruit for it, it is with averted eyes and humble
"Ah! my dear Athos!"
"You know that I am not alluding to you; you are the pearl
of brave, bold men. I speak of that spiteful and intriguing
Italian -- of the pedant who has tried to put on his own
head a crown which he stole from under a pillow -- of the
scoundrel who calls his party the party of the king -- who
wants to send the princes of the blood to prison, not daring
to kill them, as our great cardinal -- our cardinal did --
of the miser, who weighs his gold pieces and keeps the
clipped ones for fear, though he is rich, of losing them at
play next morning -- of the impudent fellow who insults the
queen, as they say -- so much the worse for her -- and who
is going in three months to make war upon us, in order that
he may retain his pensions; is that the master whom you
propose to me? I thank you, D'Artagnan."
"You are more impetuous than you were," returned D'Artagnan.
"Age has warmed, not chilled your blood. Who informed you
this was the master I propose to you? Devil take it," he
muttered to himself, "don't let me betray my secrets to a
man not inclined to entertain them."
"Well, then," said Athos, "what are your schemes? what do
"Zounds! nothing more than natural. You live on your estate,
happy in golden mediocrity. Porthos has, perhaps, sixty
thousand francs income. Aramis has always fifty duchesses
quarreling over the priest, as they quarreled formerly over
the musketeer; but I -- what have I in the world? I have
worn my cuirass these twenty years, kept down in this
inferior rank, without going forward or backward, hardly
half living. In fact, I am dead. Well! when there is some
idea of being resuscitated, you say he's a scoundrel, an
impudent fellow, a miser, a bad master! By Jove! I am of
your opinion, but find me a better one or give me the means
Athos was for a few moments thoughtful.
"Good! D'Artagnan is for Mazarin," he said to himself.
From that moment he grew very guarded.
On his side D'Artagnan became more cautious also.
"You spoke to me," Athos resumed, "of Porthos; have you
persuaded him to seek his fortune? But he has wealth, I
"Doubtless he has. But such is man, we always want something
more than we already have."
"What does Porthos wish for?"
"To be a baron."
"Ah, true! I forgot," said Athos, laughing.
"'Tis true!" thought the Gascon, "where has he heard it?
Does he correspond with Aramis? Ah! if I knew that he did I
should know all."
The conversation was interrupted by the entrance of Raoul.
"Is our little neighbor worse?" asked D'Artagnan, seeing a
look of vexation on the face of the youth.
"Ah, sir!" replied Raoul, "her fall is a very serious one,
and without any ostensible injury, the physician fears she
will be lame for life."
"This is terrible," said Athos.
"And what makes me all the more wretched, sir, is, that I
was the cause of this misfortune."
"How so?" asked Athos.
"It was to run to meet me that she leaped from that pile of
"There's only one remedy, dear Raoul -- that is, to marry
her as a compensation " remarked D'Artagnan.
"Ah, sir!" answered Raoul, "you joke about a real
misfortune; that is cruel, indeed."
The good understanding between the two friends was not in
the least altered by the morning's skirmish. They
breakfasted with a good appetite, looking now and then at
poor Raoul, who with moist eyes and a full heart, scarcely
ate at all.
After breakfast two letters arrived for Athos, who read them
with profound attention, whilst D'Artagnan could not
restrain himself from jumping up several times on seeing him
read these epistles, in one of which, there being at the
time a very strong light, he perceived the fine writing of
Aramis. The other was in a feminine hand, long, and crossed.
"Come," said D'Artagnan to Raoul, seeing that Athos wished
to be alone, "come, let us take a turn in the fencing
gallery; that will amuse you."
And they both went into a low room where there were foils,
gloves, masks, breastplates, and all the accessories for a
In a quarter of an hour Athos joined them and at the same
moment Charles brought in a letter for D'Artagnan, which a
messenger had just desired might be instantly delivered.
It was now Athos's turn to take a sly look.
D'Artagnan read the letter with apparent calmness and said,
shaking his head:
"See, dear friend, what it is to belong to the army. Faith,
you are indeed right not to return to it. Monsieur de
Treville is ill, so my company can't do without me; there!
my leave is at an end!"
"Do you return to Paris?" asked Athos, quickly.
"Egad! yes; but why don't you come there also?"
Athos colored a little and answered:
"Should I go, I shall be delighted to see you there."
"Halloo, Planchet!" cried the Gascon from the door, "we must
set out in ten minutes; give the horses some hay.
Then turning to Athos he added:
"I seem to miss something here. I am really sorry to go away
without having seen Grimaud."
"Grimaud!" replied Athos. "I'm surprised you have never so
much as asked after him. I have lent him to a friend ---- "
"Who will understand the signs he makes?" returned
"I hope so."
The friends embraced cordially; D'Artagnan pressed Raoul's
"Will you not come with me?" he said; "I shall pass by
Raoul turned toward Athos, who showed him by a secret sign
that he did not wish him to go.
"No, monsieur," replied the young man; "I will remain with
monsieur le comte."
"Adieu, then, to both, my good friends," said D'Artagnan;
"may God preserve you! as we used to say when we said
good-bye to each other in the late cardinal's time."
Athos waved his hand, Raoul bowed, and D'Artagnan and
Planchet set out.
The count followed them with his eyes, his hands resting on
the shoulders of the youth, whose height was almost equal to
his own; but as soon as they were out of sight he said:
"Raoul, we set out to-night for Paris."
"Eh?" cried the young man, turning pale.
"You may go and offer your adieux and mine to Madame de
Saint-Remy. I shall wait for you here till seven."
The young man bent low, with an expression of sorrow and
gratitude mingled, and retired in order to saddle his horse.
As to D'Artagnan, scarcely, on his side, was he out of sight
when he drew from his pocket a letter, which he read over
"Return immediately to Paris. -- J. M ---- ."
"The epistle is laconic," said D'Artagnan; "and if there had
not been a postscript, probably I should not have understood
it; but happily there is a postscript."
And he read that welcome postscript, which made him forget
the abruptness of the letter.
"P. S. -- Go to the king's treasurer, at Blois; tell him
your name and show him this letter; you will receive two
"Assuredly," said D'Artagnan, "I admire this piece of prose.
The cardinal writes better than I thought. Come, Planchet,
let us pay a visit to the king's treasurer and then set
"Toward Paris, sir?"
And they set out at as hard a canter as their horses could
The Duc de Beaufort.
The circumstances that had hastened the return of D'Artagnan
to Paris were as follows:
One evening, when Mazarin, according to custom, went to
visit the queen, in passing the guard-chamber he heard loud
voices; wishing to know on what topic the soldiers were
conversing, he approached with his wonted wolf-like step,
pushed open the door and put his head close to the chink.
There was a dispute among the guards.
"I tell you," one of them was saying, "that if Coysel
predicted that, 'tis as good as true; I know nothing about
it, but I have heard say that he's not only an astrologer,
but a magician."
"Deuce take it, friend, if he's one of thy friends thou wilt
ruin him in saying so."
"Because he may be tried for it."
"Ah! absurd! they don't burn sorcerers nowadays."
"No? 'Tis not a long time since the late cardinal burnt
Urban Grandier, though."
"My friend, Urban Grandier wasn't a sorcerer, he was a
learned man. He didn't predict the future, he knew the past
-- often a more dangerous thing."
Mazarin nodded an assent, but wishing to know what this
prediction was, about which they disputed, he remained in
the same place.
"I don't say," resumed the guard, "that Coysel is not a
sorcerer, but I say that if his prophecy gets wind, it's a
sure way to prevent it's coming true."
"Why, in this way: if Coysel says loud enough for the
cardinal to hear him, on such or such a day such a prisoner
will escape, 'tis plain that the cardinal will take measures
of precaution and that the prisoner will not escape."
"Good Lord!" said another guard, who might have been thought
asleep on a bench, but who had lost not a syllable of the
conversation, "do you suppose that men can escape their
destiny? If it is written yonder, in Heaven, that the Duc de
Beaufort is to escape, he will escape; and all the
precautions of the cardinal will not prevent it."
Mazarin started. He was an Italian and therefore
superstitious. He walked straight into the midst of the
guards, who on seeing him were silent.
"What were you saying?" he asked with his flattering manner;
"that Monsieur de Beaufort had escaped, were you not?"
"Oh, no, my lord!" said the incredulous soldier. "He's well
guarded now; we only said he would escape."
"Who said so?"
"Repeat your story, Saint Laurent," replied the man, turning
to the originator of the tale.
"My lord," said the guard, "I have simply mentioned the
prophecy I heard from a man named Coysel, who believes that,
be he ever so closely watched and guarded, the Duke of
Beaufort will escape before Whitsuntide."
"Coysel is a madman!" returned the cardinal.
"No," replied the soldier, tenacious in his credulity; "he
has foretold many things which have come to pass; for
instance, that the queen would have a son; that Monsieur
Coligny would be killed in a duel with the Duc de Guise; and
finally, that the coadjutor would be made cardinal. Well!
the queen has not only one son, but two; then, Monsieur de
Coligny was killed, and ---- "
"Yes," said Mazarin, "but the coadjutor is not yet made
"No, my lord, but he will be," answered the guard.
Mazarin made a grimace, as if he meant to say, "But he does
not wear the cardinal's cap;" then he added:
"So, my friend, it's your opinion that Monsieur de Beaufort
"That's my idea, my lord; and if your eminence were to offer
to make me at this moment governor of the castle of
Vincennes, I should refuse it. After Whitsuntide it would be
There is nothing so convincing as a firm conviction. It has
its own effect upon the most incredulous; and far from being
incredulous, Mazarin was superstitious. He went away
thoughtful and anxious and returned to his own room, where
he summoned Bernouin and desired him to fetch thither in the
morning the special guard he had placed over Monsieur de
Beaufort and to awaken him whenever he should arrive.
The guard had, in fact, touched the cardinal in the
tenderest point. During the whole five years in which the
Duc de Beaufort had been in prison not a day had passed in
which the cardinal had not felt a secret dread of his
escape. It was not possible, as he knew well, to confine for
the whole of his life the grandson of Henry IV., especially
when this young prince was scarcely thirty years of age. But
however and whensoever he did escape, what hatred he must
cherish against him to whom he owed his long imprisonment;
who had taken him, rich, brave, glorious, beloved by women,
feared by men, to cut off his life's best, happiest years;
for it is not life, it is merely existence, in prison!
Meantime, Mazarin redoubled his surveillance over the duke.
But like the miser in the fable, he could not sleep for
thinking of his treasure. Often he awoke in the night,
suddenly, dreaming that he had been robbed of Monsieur de
Beaufort. Then he inquired about him and had the vexation of
hearing that the prisoner played, drank, sang, but that
whilst playing, drinking, singing, he often stopped short to
vow that Mazarin should pay dear for all the amusements he
had forced him to enter into at Vincennes.
So much did this one idea haunt the cardinal even in his
sleep, that when at seven in the morning Bernouin came to
arouse him, his first words were: "Well, what's the matter?
Has Monsieur de Beaufort escaped from Vincennes?"
"I do not think so, my lord," said Bernouin; "but you will
hear about him, for La Ramee is here and awaits the commands
of your eminence."
"Tell him to come in," said Mazarin, arranging his pillows,
so that he might receive the visitor sitting up in bed.
The officer entered, a large fat man, with an open
physiognomy. His air of perfect serenity made Mazarin
"Approach, sir," said the cardinal.
The officer obeyed.
"Do you know what they are saying here?"
"No, your eminence."
"Well, they say that Monsieur de Beaufort is going to escape
from Vincennes, if he has not done so already."
The officer's face expressed complete stupefaction. He
opened at once his little eyes and his great mouth, to
inhale better the joke his eminence deigned to address to
him, and ended by a burst of laughter, so violent that his
great limbs shook in hilarity as they would have done in an
"Escape! my lord -- escape! Your eminence does not then know
where Monsieur de Beaufort is?"
"Yes, I do, sir; in the donjon of Vincennes."
"Yes, sir; in a room, the walls of which are seven feet
thick, with grated windows, each bar as thick as my arm."
"Sir," replied Mazarin, "with perseverance one may penetrate
through a wall; with a watch-spring one may saw through an
"Then my lord does not know that there are eight guards
about him, four in his chamber, four in the antechamber, and
that they never leave him."
"But he leaves his room, he plays at tennis at the Mall?"
"Sir, those amusements are allowed; but if your eminence
wishes it, we will discontinue the permission."
"No, no!" cried Mazarin, fearing that should his prisoner
ever leave his prison he would be the more exasperated
against him if he thus retrenched his amusement. He then
asked with whom he played.
"My lord, either with the officers of the guard, with the
other prisoners, or with me."
"But does he not approach the walls while playing?"
"Your eminence doesn't know those walls; they are sixty feet
high and I doubt if Monsieur de Beaufort is sufficiently
weary of life to risk his neck by jumping off."
"Hum!" said the cardinal, beginning to feel more
comfortable. "You mean to say, then, my dear Monsieur la
Ramee ---- "
"That unless Monsieur de Beaufort can contrive to
metamorphose himself into a little bird, I will continue
answerable for him."
"Take care! you assert a great deal," said Mazarin.
"Monsieur de Beaufort told the guards who took him to
Vincennes that he had often thought what he should do in
case he were put into prison, and that he had found out
forty ways of escaping."
"My lord, if among these forty there had been one good way
he would have been out long ago."
"Come, come; not such a fool as I fancied!" thought Mazarin.
"Besides, my lord must remember that Monsieur de Chavigny is
governor of Vincennes," continued La Ramee, "and that
Monsieur de Chavigny is not friendly to Monsieur de
"Yes, but Monsieur de Chavigny is sometimes absent."
"When he is absent I am there."
"But when you leave him, for instance?"
"Oh! when I leave him, I place in my stead a bold fellow who
aspires to be his majesty's special guard. I promise you he
keeps a good watch over the prisoner. During the three weeks
that he has been with me, I have only had to reproach him
with one thing -- being too severe with the prisoners."
"And who is this Cerberus?"
"A certain Monsieur Grimaud, my lord."
"And what was he before he went to Vincennes?"
"He was in the country, as I was told by the person who
recommended him to me."
"And who recommended this man to you?"
"The steward of the Duc de Grammont."
"He is not a gossip, I hope?"
"Lord a mercy, my lord! I thought for a long time that he
was dumb; he answers only by signs. It seems his former
master accustomed him to that."
"Well, dear Monsieur la Ramee," replied the cardinal "let
him prove a true and thankful keeper and we will shut our
eyes upon his rural misdeeds and put on his back a uniform
to make him respectable, and in the pockets of that uniform
some pistoles to drink to the king's health."
Mazarin was large in promises, -- quite unlike the virtuous
Monsieur Grimaud so bepraised by La Ramee; for he said
nothing and did much.
It was now nine o'clock. The cardinal, therefore, got up,
perfumed himself, dressed, and went to the queen to tell her
what had detained him. The queen, who was scarcely less
afraid of Monsieur de Beaufort than the cardinal himself,
and who was almost as superstitious as he was, made him
repeat word for word all La Ramee's praises of his deputy.
Then, when the cardinal had ended:
"Alas, sir! why have we not a Grimaud near every prince?"
"Patience!" replied Mazarin, with his Italian smile; "that
may happen one day; but in the meantime ---- "
"Well, in the meantime?"
"I shall still take precautions."
And he wrote to D'Artagnan to hasten his return.
Describes how the Duc de Beaufort amused his Leisure Hours
in the Donjon of Vincennes.
The captive who was the source of so much alarm to the
cardinal and whose means of escape disturbed the repose of
the whole court, was wholly unconscious of the terror he
caused at the Palais Royal.
He had found himself so strictly guarded that he soon
perceived the fruitlessness of any attempt at escape. His
vengeance, therefore, consisted in coining curses on the
head of Mazarin; he even tried to make some verses on him,
but soon gave up the attempt, for Monsieur de Beaufort had
not only not received from Heaven the gift of versifying, he
had the greatest difficulty in expressing himself in prose.
The duke was the grandson of Henry VI. and Gabrielle
d'Estrees -- as good-natured, as brave, as proud, and above
all, as Gascon as his ancestor, but less elaborately
educated. After having been for some time after the death of
Louis XIII. the favorite, the confidant, the first man, in
short, at the court, he had been obliged to yield his place
to Mazarin and so became the second in influence and favor;
and eventually, as he was stupid enough to be vexed at this
change of position, the queen had had him arrested and sent
to Vincennes in charge of Guitant, who made his appearance
in these pages in the beginning of this history and whom we
shall see again. It is understood, of course, that when we
say "the queen," Mazarin is meant.
During the five years of this seclusion, which would have
improved and matured the intellect of any other man, M. de
Beaufort, had he not affected to brave the cardinal, despise
princes, and walk alone without adherents or disciples,
would either have regained his liberty or made partisans.
But these considerations never occurred to the duke and
every day the cardinal received fresh accounts of him which
were as unpleasant as possible to the minister.
After having failed in poetry, Monsieur de Beaufort tried
drawing. He drew portraits, with a piece of coal, of the
cardinal; and as his talents did not enable him to produce a
very good likeness, he wrote under the picture that there
might be little doubt regarding the original: "Portrait of
the Illustrious Coxcomb, Mazarin." Monsieur de Chavigny, the
governor of Vincennes, waited upon the duke to request that
he would amuse himself in some other way, or that at all
events, if he drew likenesses, he would not put mottoes
underneath them. The next day the prisoner's room was full
of pictures and mottoes. Monsieur de Beaufort, in common
with many other prisoners, was bent upon doing things that
were prohibited; and the only resource the governor had was,
one day when the duke was playing at tennis, to efface all
these drawings, consisting chiefly of profiles. M. de
Beaufort did not venture to draw the cardinal's fat face.
The duke thanked Monsieur de Chavigny for having, as he
said, cleaned his drawing-paper for him; he then divided the
walls of his room into compartments and dedicated each of
these compartments to some incident in Mazarin's life. In
one was depicted the "Illustrious Coxcomb" receiving a
shower of blows from Cardinal Bentivoglio, whose servant he
had been; another, the "Illustrious Mazarin" acting the part
of Ignatius Loyola in a tragedy of that name; a third, the
"Illustrious Mazarin" stealing the portfolio of prime
minister from Monsieur de Chavigny, who had expected to have
it; a fourth, the "Illustrious Coxcomb Mazarin" refusing to
give Laporte, the young king's valet, clean sheets, and
saving that "it was quite enough for the king of France to
have clean sheets every three months."
The governor, of course, thought proper to threaten his
prisoner that if he did not give up drawing such pictures he
should be obliged to deprive him of all the means of amusing
himself in that manner. To this Monsieur de Beaufort replied
that since every opportunity of distinguishing himself in
arms was taken from him, he wished to make himself
celebrated in the arts; since he could not be a Bayard, he
would become a Raphael or a Michael Angelo. Nevertheless,
one day when Monsieur de Beaufort was walking in the meadow
his fire was put out, his charcoal all removed, taken away;
and thus his means of drawing utterly destroyed.
The poor duke swore, fell into a rage, yelled, and declared
that they wished to starve him to death as they had starved
the Marechal Ornano and the Grand Prior of Vendome; but he
refused to promise that he would not make any more drawings
and remained without any fire in the room all the winter.
His next act was to purchase a dog from one of his keepers.
With this animal, which he called Pistache, he was often
shut up for hours alone, superintending, as every one
supposed, its education. At last, when Pistache was
sufficiently well trained, Monsieur de Beaufort invited the
governor and officers of Vincennes to attend a
representation which he was going to have in his apartment
The party assembled, the room was lighted with waxlights,
and the prisoner, with a bit of plaster he had taken out of
the wall of his room, had traced a long white line,
representing a cord, on the floor. Pistache, on a signal
from his master, placed himself on this line, raised himself
on his hind paws, and holding in his front paws a wand with
which clothes used to be beaten, he began to dance upon the
line with as many contortions as a rope-dancer. Having been
several times up and down it, he gave the wand back to his
master and began without hesitation to perform the same
evolutions over again.
The intelligent creature was received with loud applause.
The first part of the entertainment being concluded Pistache
was desired to say what o'clock it was; he was shown
Monsieur de Chavigny's watch; it was then half-past six; the
dog raised and dropped his paw six times; the seventh he let
it remain upraised. Nothing could be better done; a sun-dial
could not have shown the hour with greater precision.
Then the question was put to him who was the best jailer in
all the prisons in France.
The dog performed three evolutions around the circle and
laid himself, with the deepest respect, at the feet of
Monsieur de Chavigny, who at first seemed inclined to like
the joke and laughed long and loud, but a frown succeeded,
and he bit his lips with vexation.
Then the duke put to Pistache this difficult question, who
was the greatest thief in the world?
Pistache went again around the circle, but stopped at no
one, and at last went to the door and began to scratch and
"See, gentlemen," said M. de Beaufort, "this wonderful
animal, not finding here what I ask for, seeks it out of
doors; you shall, however, have his answer. Pistache, my
friend, come here. Is not the greatest thief in the world,
Monsieur (the king's secretary) Le Camus, who came to Paris
with twenty francs in his pocket and who now possesses ten
The dog shook his head.
"Then is it not," resumed the duke, "the Superintendent
Emery, who gave his son, when he was married, three hundred
thousand francs and a house, compared to which the Tuileries
are a heap of ruins and the Louvre a paltry building?"
The dog again shook his head as if to say "no."
"Then," said the prisoner, "let's think who it can be. Can
it be, can it possibly be, the `Illustrious Coxcomb, Mazarin
de Piscina,' hey?"
Pistache made violent signs that it was, by raising and
lowering his head eight or ten times successively.
"Gentlemen, you see," said the duke to those present, who
dared not even smile, "that it is the `Illustrious Coxcomb'
who is the greatest thief in the world; at least, according
"Let us go on to another of his exercises."
"Gentlemen!" -- there was a profound silence in the room
when the duke again addressed them -- "do you not remember
that the Duc de Guise taught all the dogs in Paris to jump
for Mademoiselle de Pons, whom he styled `the fairest of the
fair?' Pistache is going to show you how superior he is to
all other dogs. Monsieur de Chavigny, be so good as to lend
me your cane."
Monsieur de Chavigny handed his cane to Monsieur de
Beaufort. Monsieur de Beaufort placed it horizontally at the
height of one foot.
"Now, Pistache, my good dog, jump the height of this cane
for Madame de Montbazon."
"But," interposed Monsieur de Chavigny, "it seems to me that
Pistache is only doing what other dogs have done when they
jumped for Mademoiselle de Pons."
"Stop," said the duke, "Pistache, jump for the queen." And
he raised his cane six inches higher.
The dog sprang, and in spite of the height jumped lightly
"And now," said the duke, raising it still six inches
higher, "jump for the king."
The dog obeyed and jumped quickly over the cane.
"Now, then," said the duke, and as he spoke, lowered the
cane almost level with the ground; "Pistache, my friend,
jump for the `Illustrious Coxcomb, Mazarin de Piscina.'"
The dog turned his back to the cane.
"What," asked the duke, "what do you mean?" and he gave him
the cane again, first making a semicircle from the head to
the tail of Pistache. "Jump then, Monsieur Pistache."
But Pistache, as at first, turned round on his legs and
stood with his back to the cane.
Monsieur de Beaufort made the experiment a third time, but
by this time Pistache's patience was exhausted; he threw
himself furiously upon the cane, wrested it from the hands
of the prince and broke it with his teeth.
Monsieur de Beaufort took the pieces out of his mouth and
presented them with great formality to Monsieur de Chavigny,
saying that for that evening the entertainment was ended,
but in three months it should be repeated, when Pistache
would have learned a few new tricks.
Three days afterward Pistache was found dead -- poisoned.
Then the duke said openly that his dog had been killed by a
drug with which they meant to poison him; and one day after
dinner he went to bed, calling out that he had pains in his
stomach and that Mazarin had poisoned him.
This fresh impertinence reached the ears of the cardinal and
alarmed him greatly. The donjon of Vincennes was considered
very unhealthy and Madame de Rambouillet had said that the
room in which the Marechal Ornano and the Grand Prior de
Vendome had died was worth its weight in arsenic -- a bon
mot which had great success. So it was ordered the prisoner
was henceforth to eat nothing that had not previously been
tasted, and La Ramee was in consequence placed near him as
Every kind of revenge was practiced upon the duke by the
governor in return for the insults of the innocent Pistache.
De Chavigny, who, according to report, was a son of
Richelieu's, and had been a creature of the late cardinal's,
understood tyranny. He took from the duke all the steel
knives and silver forks and replaced them with silver knives
and wooden forks, pretending that as he had been informed
that the duke was to pass all his life at Vincennes, he was
afraid of his prisoner attempting suicide. A fortnight
afterward the duke, going to the tennis court, found two
rows of trees about the size of his little finger planted by
the roadside; he asked what they were for and was told that
they were to shade him from the sun on some future day. One
morning the gardener went to him and told him, as if to
please him, that he was going to plant a bed of asparagus
for his especial use. Now, since, as every one knows,
asparagus takes four years in coming to perfection, this
civility infuriated Monsieur de Beaufort.
At last his patience was exhausted. He assembled his
keepers, and notwithstanding his well-known difficulty of
utterance, addressed them as follows:
"Gentlemen! will you permit a grandson of Henry IV. to be
overwhelmed with insults and ignominy?
"Odds fish! as my grandfather used to say, I once reigned in
Paris! do you know that? I had the king and Monsieur the
whole of one day in my care. The queen at that time liked me
and called me the most honest man in the kingdom. Gentlemen
and citizens, set me free; I shall go to the Louvre and
strangle Mazarin. You shall be my body-guard. I will make
you all captains, with good pensions! Odds fish! On! march
But eloquent as he might be, the eloquence of the grandson
of Henry IV. did not touch those hearts of stone; not one
man stirred, so Monsieur de Beaufort was obliged to be
satisfied with calling them all kinds of rascals underneath
Sometimes, when Monsieur de Chavigny paid him a visit, the
duke used to ask him what he should think if he saw an army
of Parisians, all fully armed, appear at Vincennes to
deliver him from prison.
"My lord," answered De Chavigny, with a low bow, "I have on
the ramparts twenty pieces of artillery and in my casemates
thirty thousand guns. I should bombard the troops till not
one grain of gunpowder was unexploded."
"Yes, but after you had fired off your thirty thousand guns
they would take the donjon; the donjon being taken, I should
be obliged to let them hang you -- at which I should be most
And in his turn the duke bowed low to Monsieur de Chavigny.
"For myself, on the other hand, my lord," returned the
governor, "when the first rebel should pass the threshold of
my postern doors I should be obliged to kill you with my own
hand, since you were confided peculiarly to my care and as I
am obliged to give you up, dead or alive."
And once more he bowed low before his highness.
These bitter-sweet pleasantries lasted ten minutes,
sometimes longer, but always finished thus:
Monsieur de Chavigny, turning toward the door, used to call
out: "Halloo! La Ramee!"
La Ramee came into the room.
"La Ramee, I recommend Monsieur le Duc to you, particularly;
treat him as a man of his rank and family ought to be
treated; that is, never leave him alone an instant."
La Ramee became, therefore, the duke's dinner guest by
compulsion -- an eternal keeper, the shadow of his person;
but La Ramee -- gay, frank, convivial, fond of play, a great
hand at tennis, had one defect in the duke's eyes -- his
Now, although La Ramee appreciated, as of a certain value,
the honor of being shut up with a prisoner of so great
importance, still the pleasure of living in intimacy with
the grandson of Henry IV. hardly compensated for the loss of
that which he had experienced in going from time to time to
visit his family.
One may be a jailer or a keeper and at the same time a good
father and husband. La Ramee adored his wife and children,
whom now he could only catch a glimpse of from the top of
the wall, when in order to please him they used to walk on
the opposite side of the moat. 'Twas too brief an enjoyment,
and La Ramee felt that the gayety of heart he had regarded
as the cause of health (of which it was perhaps rather the
result) would not long survive such a mode of life.
He accepted, therefore, with delight, an offer made to him
by his friend the steward of the Duc de Grammont, to give
him a substitute; he also spoke of it to Monsieur de
Chavigny, who promised that he would not oppose it in any
way -- that is, if he approved of the person proposed.
We consider it useless to draw a physical or moral portrait
of Grimaud; if, as we hope, our readers have not wholly
forgotten the first part of this work, they must have
preserved a clear idea of that estimable individual, who is
wholly unchanged, except that he is twenty years older, an
advance in life that has made him only more silent;
although, since the change that had been working in himself,
Athos had given Grimaud permission to speak.
But Grimaud had for twelve or fifteen years preserved
habitual silence, and a habit of fifteen or twenty years'
duration becomes second nature.
Grimaud begins his Functions.
Grimaud thereupon presented himself with his smooth exterior
at the donjon of Vincennes. Now Monsieur de Chavigny piqued
himself on his infallible penetration; for that which almost
proved that he was the son of Richelieu was his everlasting
pretension; he examined attentively the countenance of the
applicant for place and fancied that the contracted
eyebrows, thin lips, hooked nose, and prominent cheek-bones
of Grimaud were favorable signs. He addressed about twelve
words to him; Grimaud answered in four.
"Here's a promising fellow and it is I who have found out
his merits," said Monsieur de Chavigny. "Go," he added, "and
make yourself agreeable to Monsieur la Ramee, and tell him
that you suit me in all respects."
Grimaud had every quality that could attract a man on duty
who wishes to have a deputy. So, after a thousand questions
which met with only a word in reply, La Ramee, fascinated by
this sobriety in speech, rubbed his hands and engaged
"My orders?" asked Grimaud.
"They are these; never to leave the prisoner alone; to keep
away from him every pointed or cutting instrument, and to
prevent his conversing any length of time with the keepers."
"Those are all?" asked Grimaud.
"All now," replied La Ramee.
"Good," answered Grimaud; and he went right to the prisoner.
The duke was in the act of combing his beard, which he had
allowed to grow, as well as his hair, in order to reproach
Mazarin with his wretched appearance and condition. But
having some days previously seen from the top of the donjon
Madame de Montbazon pass in her carriage, and still
cherishing an affection for that beautiful woman, he did not
wish to be to her what he wished to be to Mazarin, and in
the hope of seeing her again, had asked for a leaden comb,
which was allowed him. The comb was to be a leaden one,
because his beard, like that of most fair people, was rather
red; he therefore dyed it thus whilst combing it.
As Grimaud entered he saw this comb on the tea-table; he
took it up, and as he took it he made a low bow.
The duke looked at this strange figure with surprise. The
figure put the comb in its pocket.
"Ho! hey! what's that?" cried the duke. "Who is this
Grimaud did not answer, but bowed a second time.
"Art thou dumb?" cried the duke.
Grimaud made a sign that he was not.
"What art thou, then? Answer! I command thee!" said the
"A keeper," replied Grimaud.
"A keeper!" reiterated the duke; "there was nothing wanting
in my collection, except this gallows-bird. Halloo! La
Ramee! some one!"
La Ramee ran in haste to obey the call.
"Who is this wretch who takes my comb and puts it in his
pocket?" asked the duke.
"One of your guards, my prince; a man of talent and merit,
whom you will like, as I and Monsieur de Chavigny do, I am
"Why does he take my comb?"
"Why do you take my lord's comb?" asked La Ramee.
Grimaud drew the comb from his pocket and passing his
fingers over the largest teeth, pronounced this one word,
"True," said La Ramee.
"What does the animal say?" asked the duke.
"That the king has forbidden your lordship to have any
"Are you mad, La Ramee? You yourself gave me this comb."
"I was very wrong, my lord, for in giving it to you I acted
in opposition to my orders."
The duke looked furiously at Grimaud.
"I perceive that this creature will be my particular
aversion," he muttered.
Grimaud, nevertheless, was resolved for certain reasons not
at once to come to a full rupture with the prisoner; he
wanted to inspire, not a sudden repugnance, but a good,
sound, steady hatred; he retired, therefore, and gave place
to four guards, who, having breakfasted, could attend on the
A fresh practical joke now occurred to the duke. He had
asked for crawfish for his breakfast on the following
morning; he intended to pass the day in making a small
gallows and hang one of the finest of these fish in the
middle of his room -- the red color evidently conveying an
allusion to the cardinal -- so that he might have the
pleasure of hanging Mazarin in effigy without being accused
of having hung anything more significant than a crawfish.
The day was employed in preparations for the execution.
Every one grows childish in prison, but the character of
Monsieur de Beaufort was particularly disposed to become so.
In the course of his morning's walk he collected two or
three small branches from a tree and found a small piece of
broken glass, a discovery that quite delighted him. When he
came home he formed his handkerchief into a loop.
Nothing of all this escaped Grimaud, but La Ramee looked on
with the curiosity of a father who thinks that he may
perhaps get a cheap idea concerning a new toy for his
children. The guards looked on it with indifference. When
everything was ready, the gallows hung in the middle of the
room, the loop made, and when the duke had cast a glance
upon the plate of crawfish, in order to select the finest
specimen among them, he looked around for his piece of
glass; it had disappeared.
"Who has taken my piece of glass?" asked the duke, frowning.
Grimaud made a sign to denote that he had done so.
"What! thou again! Why didst thou take it?"
"Yes -- why?" asked La Ramee.
Grimaud, who held the piece of glass in his hand, said:
"True, my lord!" exclaimed La Ramee. "Ah! deuce take it! we
have a precious fellow here!"
"Monsieur Grimaud!" said the duke, "for your sake I beg of
you, never come within the reach of my fist!"
"Hush! hush!" cried La Ramee, "give me your gibbet, my lord.
I will shape it out for you with my knife."
And he took the gibbet and shaped it out as neatly as
"That's it," said the duke, "now make me a little hole in
the floor whilst I go and fetch the culprit."
La Ramee knelt down and made a hole in the floor; meanwhile
the duke hung the crawfish up by a thread. Then he placed
the gibbet in the middle of the room, bursting with
La Ramee laughed also and the guards laughed in chorus;
Grimaud, however, did not even smile. He approached La Ramee
and showing him the crawfish hung up by the thread:
"Cardinal," he said.
"Hung by order of his Highness the Duc de Beaufort!" cried
the prisoner, laughing violently, "and by Master Jacques
Chrysostom La Ramee, the king's commissioner."
La Ramee uttered a cry of horror and rushed toward the
gibbet, which he broke at once and threw the pieces out of
the window. He was going to throw the crawfish out also,
when Grimaud snatched it from his hands.
"Good to eat!" he said, and put it in his pocket.
This scene so enchanted the duke that at the moment he
forgave Grimaud for his part in it; but on reflection he
hated him more and more, being convinced he had some evil
motive for his conduct.
But the story of the crab made a great noise through the
interior of the donjon and even outside. Monsieur de
Chavigny, who at heart detested the cardinal, took pains to
tell the story to two or three friends, who put it into
The prisoner happened to remark among the guards one man
with a very good countenance; and he favored this man the
more as Grimaud became the more and more odious to him. One
morning he took this man on one side and had succeeded in
speaking to him, when Grimaud entered and seeing what was
going on approached the duke respectfully, but took the
guard by the arm.
"Go away," he said.
The guard obeyed.
"You are insupportable!" cried the duke; "I shall beat you."
"I will break every bone in your body!" cried the duke.
Grimaud bowed, but stepped back.
"Mr. Spy," cried the duke, more and more enraged, "I will
strangle you with my own hands."
And he extended his hands toward Grimaud, who merely thrust
the guard out and shut the door behind him. At the same time
he felt the duke's arms on his shoulders like two iron
claws; but instead either of calling out or defending
himself, he placed his forefinger on his lips and said in a
"Hush!" smiling as he uttered the word.
A gesture, a smile and a word from Grimaud, all at once,
were so unusual that his highness stopped short, astounded.
Grimaud took advantage of that instant to draw from his vest
a charming little note with an aristocratic seal, and
presented it to the duke without a word.
The duke, more and more bewildered, let Grimaud loose and
took the note.
"From Madame de Montbazon?" he cried.
Grimaud nodded assent.
The duke tore open the note, passed his hands over his eyes,
for he was dazzled and confused, and read:
"My Dear Duke, -- You may entirely confide in the brave lad
who will give you this note; he has consented to enter the
service of your keeper and to shut himself up at Vincennes
with you, in order to prepare and assist your escape, which
we are contriving. The moment of your deliverance is at
hand; have patience and courage and remember that in spite
of time and absence all your friends continue to cherish for
you the sentiments they have so long professed and truly
"Yours wholly and most affectionately
"Marie de Montbazon.
"P.S. -- I sign my full name, for I should be vain if I
could suppose that after five years of absence you would
remember my initials."
The poor duke became perfectly giddy. What for five years he
had been wanting -- a faithful servant, a friend, a helping
hand -- seemed to have fallen from Heaven just when he
expected it the least.
"Oh, dearest Marie! she thinks of me, then, after five years
of separation! Heavens! there is constancy!" Then turning to
Grimaud, he said:
"And thou, my brave fellow, thou consentest thus to aid me?"
Grimaud signified his assent.
"And you have come here with that purpose?"
Grimaud repeated the sign.
"And I was ready to strangle you!" cried the duke.
"Wait, then," said the duke, fumbling in his pocket. "Wait,"
he continued, renewing his fruitless search; "it shall not
be said that such devotion to a grandson of Henry IV. went
The duke's endeavors evinced the best intention in the
world, but one of the precautions taken at Vincennes was
that of allowing prisoners to keep no money. Whereupon
Grimaud, observing the duke's disappointment, drew from his
pocket a purse filled with gold and handed it to him.
"Here is what you are looking for," he said.
The duke opened the purse and wanted to empty it into
Grimaud's hands, but Grimaud shook his head.
"Thank you, monseigneur," he said, drawing back; "I am
The duke went from one surprise to another. He held out his
hand. Grimaud drew near and kissed it respectfully. The
grand manner of Athos had left its mark on Grimaud.