The Vicomte de Bragelonne
Alexandre Dumas, Pere
Part 6 out of 13
his hand cordially. "And," continued he, bowing to Monk, "an enemy whom
I shall henceforth esteem at his proper value."
The eyes of the Puritan flashed, but only once, and his countenance, for
an instant, illuminated by that flash, resumed its somber impassibility.
"Then, Monsieur d'Artagnan," continued Charles, "this is what was about
to happen: M. le Comte de la Fere, who you know, I believe, has set out
"What, Athos!" exclaimed D'Artagnan.
"Yes, that was his _nom de guerre_, I believe. The Comte de la Fere had
then set out for Newcastle, and was going, perhaps, to bring the general
to hold a conference with me or with those of my party, when you
violently, as it appears, interfered with the negotiation."
"_Mordioux!_" replied D'Artagnan, "he entered the camp the very evening
in which I succeeded in getting into it with my fishermen - "
An almost imperceptible frown on the brow of Monk told D'Artagnan that he
had surmised rightly.
"Yes, yes," muttered he; "I thought I knew his person; I even fancied
I knew his voice. Unlucky wretch that I am! Oh! sire, pardon me! I
thought I had so successfully steered my bark."
"There is nothing ill in it, sir," said the king, "except that the
general accuses me of having laid a snare for him, which is not the
case. No, general, those are not the arms which I contemplated employing
with you, as you will soon see. In the meanwhile, when I give you my
word upon the honor of a gentleman, believe me, sir, believe me! Now,
Monsieur d'Artagnan, a word with you, if you please."
"I listen on my knees, sire."
"You are truly at my service, are you not?"
"Your majesty has seen that I am, too much so."
"That is well; from a man like you one word suffices. In addition to
that word you bring actions. General, have the goodness to follow me.
Come with us, M. d'Artagnan"
D'Artagnan, considerably surprised, prepared to obey. Charles II. went
out, Monk followed him, D'Artagnan followed Monk. Charles took the path
by which D'Artagnan had come to his abode; the fresh sea breezes soon
caressed the faces of the three nocturnal travelers, and, at fifty paces
from the little gate which Charles opened, they found themselves upon the
down in the face of the ocean, which, having ceased to rise, reposed upon
the shore like a wearied monster. Charles II. walked pensively along,
his head hanging down and his hand beneath his cloak. Monk followed him,
with crossed arms and an uneasy look. D'Artagnan came last, with his
hand on the hilt of his sword.
"Where is the boat in which you came, gentlemen?" said Charles to the
"Yonder, sire; I have seven men and an officer waiting me in that little
bark which is lighted by a fire."
"Yes, I see; the boat is drawn upon the sand; but you certainly did not
come from Newcastle in that frail bark?"
No, sire; I freighted a felucca, at my own expense, which is at anchor
within cannon-shot of the downs. It was in that felucca we made the
"Sir," said the king to Monk, "you are free."
However firm his will, Monk could not suppress an exclamation. The king
added an affirmative motion of his head, and continued: "We shall waken a
fisherman of the village, who will put his boat to sea immediately, and
will take you back to any place you may command him. M. d'Artagnan here
will escort your honor. I place M. d'Artagnan under the safeguard of
your loyalty, M. Monk."
Monk allowed a murmur of surprise to escape him, and D'Artagnan a
profound sigh. The king, without appearing to notice either, knocked
against the deal trellis which inclosed the cabin of the principal
fisherman inhabiting the down.
"Hey! Keyser!" cried he, "awake!"
"Who calls me?" asked the fisherman.
"I, Charles the king."
"Ah, my lord!" cried Keyser, rising ready dressed from the sail in which
he slept, as people sleep in a hammock. "What can I do to serve you?"
"Captain Keyser," said Charles, "you must set sail immediately. Here is
a traveler who wishes to freight your bark, and will pay you well; serve
him well." And the king drew back a few steps to allow Monk to speak to
"I wish to cross over into England," said Monk, who spoke Dutch enough to
make himself understood.
"This minute," said the _patron_, "this very minute, if you wish it."
"But will that be long?" said Monk.
"Not half an hour, your honor. My eldest son is at this moment preparing
the boat, as we were going out fishing at three o'clock in the morning."
"Well, is all arranged?" asked the king, drawing near.
"All but the price," said the fisherman; "yes, sire."
"That is my affair," said Charles, "the gentleman is my friend."
Monk started and looked at Charles on hearing this word.
"Very well, my lord," replied Keyser. And at that moment they heard
Keyser's son, signaling form the shore with the blast of a bull's horn.
"Now, gentlemen," said the king, "depart."
"Sire," said D'Artagnan, "will it please your majesty to grant me a few
minutes? I have engaged men, and I am going without them; I must give
"Whistle to them," said Charles, smiling.
D'Artagnan, accordingly, whistled, whilst the _patron_ Keyser replied to
his son; and four men, led by Menneville, attended the first summons.
"Here is some money in account," said D'Artagnan, putting into their
hands a purse containing two thousand five hundred livres in gold. "Go
and wait for me at Calais, you know where." And D'Artagnan heaved a
profound sigh, as he let the purse fall into the hands of Menneville.
"What, are you leaving us?" cried the men.
"For a short time," said D'Artagnan, "or for a long time, who knows? But
with 2,500 livres, and the 2,500 you have already received, you are paid
according to our agreement. We are quits, then, my friend."
"But the boat?"
"Do not trouble yourself about that."
"Our things are on board the felucca."
"Go and seek them, and then set off immediately."
D'Artagnan returned to Monk, saying, - "Monsieur, I await your orders,
for I understand we are to go together, unless my company be disagreeable
"On the contrary, monsieur," said Monk.
"Come, gentlemen, on board," cried Keyser's son.
Charles bowed to the general with grace and dignity, saying, - "You will
pardon me this unfortunate accident, and the violence to which you have
been subjected, when you are convinced that I was not the cause of them."
Monk bowed profoundly without replying. On his side, Charles affected
not to say a word to D'Artagnan in private, but aloud, - "Once more,
thanks, monsieur le chevalier," said he, "thanks for your services. They
will be repaid you by the Lord God, who, I hope, reserves trials and
troubles for me alone."
Monk followed Keyser and his son embarked with them. D'Artagnan came
after, muttering to himself, - "Poor Planchet! poor Planchet! I am very
much afraid we have made a bad speculation."
The Shares of Planchet and Company rise again to Par.
During the passage, Monk only spoke to D'Artagnan in cases of urgent
necessity. Thus, when the Frenchman hesitated to come and take his
meals, poor meals, composed of salt fish, biscuit, and Hollands gin, Monk
called him, saying, - "To table, monsieur, to table!"
This was all. D'Artagnan, from being himself on all great occasions,
extremely concise, did not draw from the general's conciseness a
favorable augury of the result of his mission. Now, as D'Artagnan had
plenty of time for reflection, he battered his brains during this time in
endeavoring to find out how Athos had seen King Charles, how he had
conspired his departure with him, and lastly, how he had entered Monk's
camp; and the poor lieutenant of musketeers plucked a hair from his
mustache every time that he reflected that the horseman who accompanied
Monk on the night of the famous abduction must have been Athos.
At length, after a passage of two nights and two days, the _patron_
Keyser touched at the point where Monk, who had given all the orders
during the voyage, had commanded they should land. It was exactly at the
mouth of the little river, near where Athos had chosen his abode.
Daylight was waning, a splendid sun, like a red steel buckler, was
plunging the lower extremity of its disc beneath the blue line of the
sea. The felucca was making fair way up the river, tolerably wide in
that part, but Monk, in his impatience, desired to be landed, and
Keyser's boat set him and D'Artagnan upon the muddy bank, amidst the
reeds. D'Artagnan, resigned to obedience, followed Monk exactly as a
chained bear follows his master; but the position humiliated him not a
little, and he grumbled to himself that the service of kings was a bitter
one, and that the best of them was good for nothing. Monk walked with
long and hasty strides; it might be thought that he did not yet feel
certain of having reached English land. They had already begun to
perceive distinctly a few of the cottages of the sailors and fishermen
spread over the little quay of this humble port, when, all at once,
D'Artagnan cried out, - "God pardon me, there is a house on fire!"
Monk raised his eyes, and perceived there was, in fact, a house which the
flames were beginning to devour. It had begun at a little shed belonging
to the house, the roof of which had caught. The fresh evening breeze
agitated the fire. The two travelers quickened their steps, hearing loud
cries, and seeing, as they drew nearer, soldiers with their glittering
arms pointed towards the house on fire. It was doubtless this menacing
occupation which had made them neglect to signal the felucca. Monk
stopped short for an instant, and, for the first time, formulated his
thoughts into words. "Eh! but," said he, "perhaps they are not my
soldiers but Lambert's."
These words contained at once a sorrow, and apprehension, and a reproach
perfectly intelligible to D'Artagnan. In fact, during the general's
absence, Lambert might have given battle, conquered, and dispersed the
parliament's army, and taken with his own the place of Monk's army,
deprived of its strongest support. At this doubt, which passed from the
mind of Monk to his own, D'Artagnan reasoned in this manner: - "One of
two things is going to happen; either Monk has spoken correctly, and
there are no longer any but Lambertists in the country - that is to say,
enemies, who would receive me wonderfully well, since it is to me they
owe their victory; or nothing is changed, and Monk, transported with joy
at finding his camp still in the same place, will not prove too severe in
his settlement with me." Whilst thinking thus, the two travelers
advanced, and began to mingle with a little knot of sailors, who looked
on with sorrow at the burning house, but did not dare to say anything on
account of the threats of the soldiers. Monk addressed one of these
sailors: - "What is going on here?" asked he.
"Sir," replied the man, not recognizing Monk as an officer, under the
thick cloak which enveloped him, "that house was inhabited by a foreign
gentleman, and this foreigner became suspected by the soldiers. They
wanted to get into his house under pretense of taking him to the camp;
but he, without being frightened by their number, threatened death to the
first who should cross the threshold of his door; and as there was one
who did venture, the Frenchman stretched him on the earth with a pistol-
"Ah! he is a Frenchman, is he?" said D'Artagnan, rubbing his hands.
"How good?" replied the fisherman.
"No, I don't mean that. - What then - my tongue slipped."
"What then, sir? - why, the other men became as enraged as so many lions:
they fired more than a hundred shots at the house; but the Frenchman was
sheltered by the wall, and every time they tried to enter by the door
they met with a shot from his lackey, whose aim is deadly, d'ye see?
Every time they threatened the window, they met with a pistol-shot from
the master. Look and count - there are seven men down."
"Ah! my brave countryman," cried D'Artagnan, "wait a little, wait a
little. I will be with you; and we will settle with this rabble."
"One instant, sir," said Monk, "wait."
"No; only the time to ask a question." Then, turning towards the sailor,
"My friend," asked he, with an emotion which, in spite of all his self-
command, he could not conceal, "whose soldiers are these, pray tell me?"
"Whose should they be but that madman, Monk's?"
"There has been no battle, then?"
"A battle, ah, yes! for what purpose? Lambert's army is melting away
like snow in April. All come to Monk, officers and soldiers. In a week
Lambert won't have fifty men left."
The fisherman was interrupted by a fresh discharge directed against the
house, and by another pistol-shot which replied to the discharge and
struck down the most daring of the aggressors. The rage of soldiers was
at its height. The fire still continued to increase, and a crest of
flame and smoke whirled and spread over the roof of the house.
D'Artagnan could no longer contain himself. "_Mordioux!_" said he to
Monk, glancing at him sideways: "you are a general, and allow your men to
burn houses and assassinate people, while you look on and warm your hands
at the blaze of the conflagration? _Mordioux!_ you are not a man."
"Patience, sir, patience!" said Monk, smiling.
"Patience! yes, until that brave gentleman is roasted - is that what you
mean?" And D'Artagnan rushed forward.
"Remain where you are, sir," said Monk, in a tone of command. And he
advanced towards the house, just as an officer had approached it, saying
to the besieged: "The house is burning, you will be roasted within an
hour! There is still time - come, tell us what you know of General Monk,
and we will spare your life. Reply, or by Saint Patrick - "
The besieged made no answer; he was no doubt reloading his pistol.
"A reinforcement is expected," continued the officer; "in a quarter of an
hour there will be a hundred men around your house."
"I reply to you," said the Frenchman. "Let your men be sent away; I will
come out freely and repair to the camp alone, or else I will be killed
"_Mille tonnerres!_" shouted D'Artagnan; "why, that's the voice of
Athos! _Ah canailles!_" and the sword of D'Artagnan flashed from its
sheath. Monk stopped him and advanced himself, exclaiming, in a sonorous
voice: "_Hola!_ what is going on here? Digby, whence this fire? why
"The general!" cried Digby, letting the point of his sword fall.
"The general!" repeated the soldiers.
"Well, what is there so astonishing in that?" said Monk, in a calm tone.
Then, silence being re-established, - "Now," said he, "who lit this fire?"
The soldiers hung their heads.
"What! do I ask a question, and nobody answers me?" said Monk. "What! do
I find a fault, and nobody repairs it? The fire is still burning, I
Immediately the twenty men rushed forward, seizing pails, buckets, jars,
barrels, and extinguishing the fire with as much ardor as they had, an
instant before, employed in promoting it. But already, and before all
the rest, D'Artagnan had applied a ladder to the house, crying, "Athos!
it is I, D'Artagnan! Do not kill me, my dearest friend!" And in a
moment the count was clasped in his arms.
In the meantime, Grimaud, preserving his calmness, dismantled the
fortification of the ground-floor, and after having opened the door,
stood, with his arms folded, quietly on the sill. Only, on hearing the
voice of D'Artagnan, he uttered an exclamation of surprise. The fire
being extinguished, the soldiers presented themselves, Digby at their
"General," said he, "excuse us; what we have done was for love of your
honor, whom we thought lost."
"You are mad, gentlemen. Lost! Is a man like me to be lost? Am I not
permitted to be absent, according to my pleasure, without giving formal
notice? Do you, by chance, take me for a citizen from the city? Is a
gentleman, my friend, my guest, to be besieged, entrapped, and threatened
with death, because he is suspected? What signifies the word,
suspected? Curse me if I don't have every one of you shot like dogs,
that the brave gentleman has left alive!
"General," said Digby, piteously, "there were twenty-eight of us, and
see, there are eight on the ground."
"I authorize M. le Comte de la Fere to send the twenty to join the
eight," said Monk, stretching out his hand to Athos. "Let them return to
camp. Mr. Digby, you will consider yourself under arrest for a month."
"General - "
"That is to teach you, sir, not to act, another time, without orders."
"I had those of the lieutenant, general."
"The lieutenant had no such orders to give you, and he shall be placed
under arrest, instead of you, if he has really commanded you to burn this
"He did not command that, general; he commanded us to bring him to the
camp; but the count was not willing to follow us."
"I was not willing that they should enter and plunder my house," said
Athos to Monk, with a significant look.
"And you were quite right. To the camp, I say." The soldiers departed
with dejected looks. "Now we are alone," said Monk to Athos, "have the
goodness to tell me, monsieur, why you persisted in remaining here,
whilst you had your felucca - "
"I waited for you, general," said Athos. "Had not your honor appointed
to meet me in a week?"
An eloquent look from D'Artagnan made it clear to Monk that these two
men, so brave and so loyal, had not acted in concert for his abduction.
He knew already it could not be so.
"Monsieur," said he to D'Artagnan, "you were perfectly right. Have the
kindness to allow me a moment's conversation with M. le Comte de la Fere?"
D'Artagnan took advantage of this to go and ask Grimaud how he was. Monk
requested Athos to conduct him to the chamber he lived in.
This chamber was still full of smoke and rubbish. More than fifty balls
had passed through the windows and mutilated the walls. They found a
table, inkstand, and materials for writing. Monk took up a pen, wrote a
single line, signed it, folded the paper, sealed the letter with the seal
of his ring, and handed over the missive to Athos, saying, "Monsieur,
carry, if you please, this letter to King Charles II., and set out
immediately, if nothing detains you here any longer."
"And the casks?" said Athos.
"The fisherman who brought me hither will assist you in transporting them
on board. Depart, if possible, within an hour."
"Yes, general," said Athos.
"Monsieur D'Artagnan!" cried Monk, from the window. D'Artagnan ran up
"Embrace your friend and bid him adieu, sir; he is returning to Holland."
"To Holland!" cried D'Artagnan; "and I?"
"You are at liberty to follow him, monsieur; but I request you to
remain," said Monk. "Will you refuse me?"
"Oh, no, general; I am at your orders."
D'Artagnan embraced Athos, and only had time to bid him adieu. Monk
watched them both. Then he took upon himself the preparations for the
departure, the transportation of the casks on board, and the embarking of
Athos; then, taking D'Artagnan by the arm, who was quite amazed and
agitated, he led him towards Newcastle. Whilst going along, the general
leaning on his arm, D'Artagnan could not help murmuring to himself, -
"Come, come, it seems to me that the shares of the firm of Planchet and
Company are rising."
Monk reveals Himself.
D'Artagnan, although he flattered himself with better success, had,
nevertheless, not too well comprehended his situation. It was a strange
and grave subject for him to reflect upon - this voyage of Athos into
England; this league of the king with Athos, and that extraordinary
combination of his design with that of the Comte de la Fere. The best
way was to let things follow their own train. An imprudence had been
committed, and, whilst having succeeded, as he had promised, D'Artagnan
found that he had gained no advantage by his success. Since everything
was lost, he could risk no more.
D'Artagnan followed Monk through his camp. The return of the general had
produced a marvelous effect, for his people had thought him lost. But
Monk, with his austere look and icy demeanor, appeared to ask of his
eager lieutenants and delighted soldiers the cause of all this joy.
Therefore, to the lieutenants who had come to meet him, and who expressed
the uneasiness with which they had learnt his departure, -
"Why is all this?" said he; "am I obliged to give you an account of
"But your honor, the sheep may well tremble without the shepherd."
"Tremble!" replied Monk, in his calm and powerful voice; "ah, monsieur,
what a word! Curse me, if my sheep have not both teeth and claws; I
renounce being their shepherd. Ah, you tremble, gentlemen, do you?"
"Yes, general, for you."
"Oh! pray meddle with your own concerns. If I have not the wit God gave
to Oliver Cromwell, I have that which He has sent to me: I am satisfied
with it, however little it may be."
The officer made no reply; and Monk, having imposed silence on his
people, all remained persuaded that he had accomplished some important
work or made some important trial. This was forming a very poor
conception of his patience and scrupulous genius. Monk, if he had the
good faith of the Puritans, his allies, must have returned fervent thanks
to the patron saint who had taken him from the box of M. d'Artagnan.
Whilst these things were going on, our musketeer could not help
constantly repeating, -
"God grant that M. Monk may not have as much pride as I have; for I
declare that if any one had put me into a coffer with that grating over
my mouth, and carried me packed up, like a calf, across the seas, I
should cherish such a memory of my piteous looks in that coffer, and such
an ugly animosity against him who had inclosed me in it, I should dread
so greatly to see a sarcastic smile blooming upon the face of the
malicious wretch, or in his attitude any grotesque imitation of my
position in the box, that, _Mordioux!_ I should plunge a good dagger
into his throat in compensation for the grating, and would nail him down
in a veritable bier, in remembrance of the false coffin in which I had
been left in to grow moldy for two days."
And D'Artagnan spoke honestly when he spoke thus; for the skin of our
Gascon was a very thin one. Monk, fortunately, entertained other ideas.
He never opened his mouth to his timid conqueror concerning the past; but
he admitted him very near to his person in his labors, took him with him
to several reconnoiterings, in such a way as to obtain that which he
evidently warmly desired, - a rehabilitation in the mind of D'Artagnan.
The latter conducted himself like a past-master in the art of flattery:
he admired all Monk's tactics, and the ordering of his camp; he joked
very pleasantly upon the circumvallations of Lambert's camp, who had, he
said, very uselessly given himself the trouble to inclose a camp for
twenty thousand men, whilst an acre of ground would have been quite
sufficient for the corporal and fifty guards who would perhaps remain
faithful to him.
Monk, immediately after his arrival, had accepted the proposition made by
Lambert the evening before, for an interview, and which Monk's
lieutenants had refused under the pretext that the general was
indisposed. This interview was neither long nor interesting: Lambert
demanded a profession of faith from his rival. The latter declared he
had no other opinion than that of the majority. Lambert asked if it
would not be more expedient to terminate the quarrel by an alliance than
by a battle. Monk hereupon demanded a week for consideration. Now,
Lambert could not refuse this: and Lambert, nevertheless, had come saying
that he should devour Monk's army. Therefore, at the end of the
interview, which Lambert's party watched with impatience, nothing was
decided - neither treaty nor battle - the rebel army, as M. d'Artagnan
had foreseen, began to prefer the good cause to the bad one, and the
parliament, rumpish as it was, to the pompous nothings of Lambert's
They remembered, likewise, the good feasts of London - the profusion of
ale and sherry with which the citizens of London paid their friends the
soldiers; - they looked with terror at the black war bread, at the
troubled waters of the Tweed, - too salt for the glass, not enough so for
the pot; and they said to themselves, "Are not the roast meats kept warm
for Monk in London?" From that time nothing was heard of but desertion
in Lambert's army. The soldiers allowed themselves to be drawn away by
the force of principles, which are, like discipline, the obligatory tie
in everybody constituted for any purpose. Monk defended the parliament -
Lambert attacked it. Monk had no more inclination to support parliament
than Lambert, but he had it inscribed on his standards, so that all those
of the contrary party were reduced to write upon theirs, "Rebellion,"
which sounded ill to puritan ears. They flocked, then, from Lambert to
Monk, as sinners flock from Baal to God.
Monk made his calculations; at a thousand desertions a day Lambert had
men enough to last twenty days; but there is in sinking things such a
growth of weight and swiftness, which combine with each other, that a
hundred left the first day, five hundred the second, a thousand the
third. Monk thought he had obtained his rate. But from one thousand the
deserters increased to two thousand, then to four thousand, and, a week
after, Lambert, perceiving that he had no longer the possibility of
accepting battle, if it were offered to him, took the wise resolution of
decamping during the night, returning to London, and being beforehand
with Monk in constructing a power with the wreck of the military party.
But Monk, free and without uneasiness, marched towards London as a
conqueror, augmenting his army with all the floating parties on the way.
He encamped at Barnet, that is to say, within four leagues of the
capital, cherished by the parliament, which thought it beheld in him a
protector, and awaited by the people, who were anxious to see him reveal
himself, that they might judge him. D'Artagnan himself had not been able
to fathom his tactics; he observed - he admired. Monk could not enter
London with a settled determination without bringing about civil war. He
temporized for a short time.
Suddenly, when least expected, Monk drove the military party out of
London, and installed himself in the city amidst the citizens, by order
of the parliament; then, at the moment when the citizens were crying out
against Monk - at the moment when the soldiers themselves were accusing
their leader - Monk, finding himself certain of a majority, declared to
the Rump Parliament that it must abdicate - be dissolved - and yield its
place to a government which would not be a joke. Monk pronounced this
declaration, supported by fifty thousand swords, to which, that same
evening, were united, with shouts of delirious joy, the five thousand
inhabitants of the good city of London. At length, at the moment when
the people, after their triumphs and festive repasts in the open streets,
were looking about for a master, it was affirmed that a vessel had left
the Hague, bearing King Charles II. and his fortunes.
"Gentlemen," said Monk to his officers, "I am going to meet the
legitimate king. He who loves me will follow me." A burst of
acclamations welcomed these words, which D'Artagnan did not hear without
the greatest delight.
"_Mordioux!_" said he to Monk, "that is bold, monsieur."
"You will accompany me, will you not?" said Monk.
"_Pardieu!_ general. But tell me, I beg, what you wrote by Athos, that
is to say, the Comte de la Fere - you know - the day of our arrival?"
"I have no secrets from you now," replied Monk. "I wrote these words:
'Sire, I expect your majesty in six weeks at Dover.'"
"Ah!" said D'Artagnan, "I no longer say it is bold; I say it is well
played; it is a fine stroke!"
"You are something of a judge in such matters," replied Monk.
And this was the only time the general had ever made an allusion to his
voyage to Holland.
Athos and D'Artagnan meet once more at the Hostelry of the Corne du Cerf.
The king of England made his _entree_ into Dover with great pomp, as he
afterwards did in London. He had sent for his brothers; he had brought
over his mother and sister. England had been for so long a time given up
to herself - that is to say, to tyranny, mediocrity and nonsense - that
this return of Charles II., whom the English only knew as the son of the
man whose head they had cut off, was a festival for three kingdoms.
Consequently, all the good wishes, all the acclamations which accompanied
his return, struck the young king so forcibly that he stooped and
whispered in the ear of James of York, his younger brother, "In truth,
James, it seems to have been our own fault that we were so long absent
from a country where we are so much beloved!" The pageant was
magnificent. Beautiful weather favored the solemnity. Charles had
regained all his youth, all his good humor; he appeared to be
transfigured; hearts seemed to smile on him like the sun. Amongst this
noisy crowd of courtiers and worshipers, who did not appear to remember
they had conducted to the scaffold at Whitehall the father of the new
king, a man, in the garb of a lieutenant of musketeers, looked, with a
smile upon his thin, intellectual lips, sometimes at the people
vociferating their blessings, and sometimes at the prince, who pretended
emotion, and who bowed most particularly to the women, whose _bouquets_
fell beneath his horse's feet.
"What a fine trade is that of king!" said this man, so completely
absorbed in contemplation that he stopped in the middle of the road,
leaving the _cortege_ to file past. "Now, there is, in good truth, a
prince all bespangled over with gold and diamonds, enamelled with flowers
like a spring meadow; he is about to plunge his empty hands into the
immense coffer in which his now faithful - but so lately unfaithful –
subjects have amassed one or two cartloads of ingots of gold. They cast
_bouquets_ enough upon him to smother him; and yet, if he had presented
himself to them two months ago, they would have sent as many bullets and
balls at him as they now throw flowers. Decidedly it is worth something
to be born in a certain sphere, with due respect to the lowly, who
pretend that it is of very little advantage to them to be born lowly."
The _cortege_ continued to file on, and, with the king, the acclamations
began to die away in the direction of the palace, which, however, did not
prevent our officer from being pushed about.
"_Mordioux!_" continued the reasoner, "these people tread upon my toes
and look upon _me_ as of very little consequence, or rather of none at
all, seeing that they are Englishmen and I am a Frenchman. If all these
people were asked, - 'Who is M. d'Artagnan?' they would reply, '_Nescio
vos_.' But let any one say to them, 'There is the king going by,' 'There
is M. Monk going by,' they would run away, shouting, - '_Vive le roi!_'
'_Vive M. Monk!_' till their lungs were exhausted. And yet," continued
he, surveying, with that look sometimes so keen and sometimes so proud,
the diminishing crowd, - "and yet, reflect a little, my good people, on
what your king has done, on what M. Monk has done, and then think what
has been done by this poor unknown, who is called M. d'Artagnan! It is
true you do not know him, since he is here unknown, and that prevents
your thinking about the matter! But, bah! what matters it! All that
does not prevent Charles II. from being a great king, although he has
been exiled twelve years, or M. Monk from being a great captain, although
he did make a voyage to Holland in a box. Well, then, since it is
admitted that one is a great king and the other a great captain, -
'_Hurrah for King Charles II.!_ - _Hurrah for General Monk!_'" And his
voice mingled with the voices of the hundreds of spectators, over which
it sounded for a moment. Then, the better to play the devoted man, he
took off his hat and waved it in the air. Some one seized his arm in the
very height of his expansive loyalism. (In 1660 that was so termed which
we now call royalism.)
"Athos!" cried D'Artagnan, "you here!" And the two friends seized each
"You here! - and being here," continued the musketeer, "you are not in the
midst of all these courtiers, my dear comte! What! you, the hero of the
_fete_, you are not prancing on the left hand of the king, as M. Monk is
prancing on the right? In truth, I cannot comprehend your character, nor
that of the prince who owes you so much!"
"Always scornful, my dear D'Artagnan!" said Athos. "Will you never
correct yourself of that vile habit?"
"But you do not form part of the pageant?"
"I do not, because I was not willing to do so."
"And why were you not willing?"
"Because I am neither envoy nor ambassador, nor representative of the
king of France; and it does not become me to exhibit myself thus near the
person of another king than the one God has given me for a master."
"_Mordioux!_ you came very near to the person of the king, his father."
"That was another thing, my friend; he was about to die."
"And yet that which you did for him - "
"I did it because it was my duty to do it. But you know I hate all
ostentation. Let King Charles II., then, who no longer stands in need of
me, leave me to my rest, and the shadow; that is all I claim of him."
"What is the matter with you?" said Athos. "One would say that this
happy return of the king to London saddens you, my friend; you who have
done at least as much for his majesty as I have."
"Have I not," replied D'Artagnan, with his Gascon laugh, "have I not done
much for his majesty, without any one suspecting it?"
"Yes, yes, but the king is well aware of it, my friend," cried Athos.
"He is aware of it!" said the musketeer bitterly. "By my faith! I did
not suspect so, and I was even a moment ago trying to forget it myself."
"But he, my friend, will not forget it, I will answer for him."
"You tell me that to console me a little, Athos."
"_Mordioux!_ for all the expense I incurred. I have ruined myself, my
friend, ruined myself for the restoration of this young prince who has
just passed, cantering on his _isabelle_ colored horse."
"The king does not know you have ruined yourself, my friend; but he knows
he owes you much."
"And say, Athos, does that advance me in any respect? for, to do you
justice, you have labored nobly. But I - I who in appearance marred your
combinations, it was I who really made them succeed. Follow my
calculations closely; you might not have, by persuasions or mildness,
convinced General Monk, whilst I so roughly treated this dear general,
that I furnished your prince with an opportunity of showing himself
generous: this generosity was inspired in him by the fact of my fortunate
mistake, and Charles is paid by the restoration which Monk has brought
"All that, my dear friend, is strikingly true," replied Athos.
"Well, strikingly true as it may be, it is not less true, my friend, that
I shall return - greatly beloved by M. Monk, who calls me _dear captain_
all day long, although I am neither dear to him nor a captain; - and much
appreciated by the king, who has already forgotten my name; - it is not
less true, I say, that I shall return to my beautiful country, cursed by
the soldiers I had raised with the hopes of large pay, cursed by the
brave Planchet, of who I have borrowed a part of his fortune."
"How is that? What the devil had Planchet to do in all this?"
"Ah, yes, my friend; but this king, so spruce, so smiling, so adored, M.
Monk fancies he has recalled him, you fancy you have supported him, I
fancy I have brought him back, the people fancy they have reconquered
him, he himself fancies he has negotiated his restoration; and yet
nothing of all this is true, for Charles II., king of England, Scotland,
and Ireland, has been replaced upon the throne by a French grocer, who
lives in the Rue des Lombards, and is named Planchet. And such is
grandeur! 'Vanity!' says the Scripture: vanity, all is vanity.'"
Athos could not help laughing at this whimsical outbreak of his friend.
"My dear D'Artagnan," said he, pressing his hand affectionately, "should
you not exercise a little more philosophy? Is it not some further
satisfaction to you to have saved my life as you did by arriving so
fortunately with Monk, when those damned parliamentarians wanted to burn
"Well, but you, in some degree, deserved a little burning, my friend."
"How so? What, for having saved King Charles's million?"
"Ah, that is true! you never knew that, my friend; but you must not be
angry, for it was my secret. That word 'REMEMBER' which the king
pronounced upon the scaffold."
"And which means '_souviens-toi!_'"
"Exactly. That was signified. 'Remember there is a million buried in
the vaults of Newcastle Abbey, and that that million belongs to my son.'"
"Ah! very well, I understand. But what I understand likewise, and what
is very frightful, is, that every time his majesty Charles II. will think
of me, he will say to himself: 'There is the man who came very near to
making me lose my crown. Fortunately I was generous, great, full of
presence of mind.' That will be said by the young gentleman in a shabby
black doublet, who came to the chateau of Blois, hat in hand, to ask me
if I would give him access to the king of France."
"D'Artagnan! D'Artagnan!" said Athos, laying his hand on the shoulder of
the musketeer, "you are unjust."
"I have a right to be so."
"No - for you are ignorant of the future."
D'Artagnan looked his friend full in the face, and began to laugh. "In
truth, my dear Athos," said he, "you have some sayings so superb, that
they only belong to you and M. le Cardinal Mazarin."
Athos frowned slightly.
"I beg your pardon," continued D'Artagnan, laughing, "I beg your pardon
if I have offended you. The future! _Nein!_ what pretty words are words
that promise, and how well they fill the mouth in default of other
things! _Mordioux!_ After having met with so many who promised, when
shall I find one who will give? But, let that pass!" continued
D'Artagnan. "What are you doing here, my dear Athos? Are you the king's
"How - why the king's treasurer?"
"Well, since the king possess a million, he must want a treasurer. The
king of France, although he is not worth a sou, has still a
superintendent of finance, M. Fouquet. It is true, that, in exchange, M.
Fouquet, they say, has a good number of millions of his own."
"Oh! our million was spent long ago," said Athos, laughing in his turn.
"I understand; it was frittered away in satin, precious stones, velvet,
and feathers of all sorts and colors. All these princes and princesses
stood in great need of tailors and dressmakers. Eh! Athos, do you
remember what we fellows spent in equipping ourselves for the campaign of
La Rochelle, and to make our appearance on horseback? Two or three
thousand livres, by my faith! But a king's robe is the more ample; it
would require a million to purchase the stuff. At least, Athos, if you
are not treasurer, you are on good footing at court."
"By the faith of a gentleman, I know nothing about it," said Athos,
"What! you know nothing about it?"
"No! I have not seen the king since we left Dover."
"Then he has forgotten you, too! _Mordioux!_ That is shameful!"
"His majesty has had so much business to transact."
"Oh!" cried D'Artagnan, with one of those intelligent grimaces which he
alone knew how to make, "that is enough to make me recover my love for
Monseigneur Giulio Mazarini. What, Athos! the king has not seen you
"And you are not furious?"
"I! why should I be? Do you imagine, my dear D'Artagnan, that it was on
the king's account I acted as I have done? I did not know the young
man. I defended the father, who represented a principle - sacred in my
eyes, and I allowed myself to be drawn towards the son from sympathy for
this same principle. Besides, he was a worthy knight, a noble creature,
that father; do you remember him?"
"Yes; that is true; he was a brave, an excellent man, who led a sad life,
but made a fine end."
"Well, my dear D'Artagnan, understand this; to that king, to that man of
heart, to that friend of my thoughts, if I durst venture to say so, I
swore at the last hour to preserve faithfully the secret of a deposit
which was to be transmitted to his son, to assist him in his hour of
need. This young man came to me; he described his destitution; he was
ignorant that he was anything to me save a living memory of his father.
I have accomplished towards Charles II. what I promised Charles I.; that
is all! Of what consequence is it to me, then, whether he be grateful or
not? It is to myself I have rendered a service, by relieving myself of
this responsibility, and not to him."
"Well, I have always said," replied D'Artagnan, with a sigh, "that
disinterestedness was the finest thing in the world."
"Well, and you, my friend," resumed Athos, "are you not in the same
situation as myself? If I have properly understood your words, you
allowed yourself to be affected by the misfortunes of this young man;
that, on your part, was much greater than it was upon mine, for I had a
duty to fulfill; whilst you were under no obligation to the son of the
martyr. You had not, on your part, to pay him the price of that precious
drop of blood which he let fall upon my brow, through the floor of the
scaffold. That which made you act was heart alone - the noble and good
heart which you possess beneath your apparent skepticism and sarcastic
irony; you have engaged the fortune of a servitor, and your own, I
suspect, my benevolent miser! and your sacrifice is not acknowledged! Of
what consequence is it? You wish to repay Planchet his money. I can
comprehend that, my friend: for it is not becoming in a gentleman to
borrow from his inferior, without returning to him principal and
interest. Well, I will sell La Fere if necessary, and if not, some
little farm. You shall pay Planchet, and there will be enough, believe
me, of corn left in my granaries for us two and Raoul. In this way, my
friend, you will be under obligations to nobody but yourself; and, if I
know you well, it will not be a small satisfaction to your mind to be
able to say, 'I have made a king!' Am I right?"
"Athos! Athos!" murmured D'Artagnan, thoughtfully, "I have told you more
than once that the day on which you will preach I shall attend the
sermon; the day on which you will tell me there is a hell - _Mordioux!_
I shall be afraid of the gridiron and the pitch-forks. You are better
than I, or rather, better than anybody, and I only acknowledge the
possession of one quality, and that is, of not being jealous. Except
that defect, damme, as the English say, if I have not all the rest."
"I know no one equal to D'Artagnan," replied Athos; "but here we are,
having quietly reached the house I inhabit. Will you come in, my friend?"
"Eh! why this is the tavern of the Corne du Cerf, I think," said
"I confess I chose it on purpose. I like old acquaintances; I like to
sit down on that place, whereon I sank, overcome by fatigue, overwhelmed
by despair, when you returned on the 31st of January."
"After having discovered the abode of the masked executioner? Yes, that
was a terrible day!"
"Come in, then," said Athos, interrupting him.
They entered the large apartment, formerly the common one. The tavern,
in general, and this room in particular, had undergone great changes; the
ancient host of the musketeers, having become tolerably rich for an
innkeeper, had closed his shop, and make of this room of which we were
speaking, a store-room for colonial provisions. As for the rest of the
house, he let it ready furnished to strangers. It was with unspeakable
emotion D'Artagnan recognized all the furniture of the chamber of the
first story; the wainscoting, the tapestries, and even that geographical
chart which Porthos had so fondly studied in his moments of leisure.
"It is eleven years ago," cried D'Artagnan. "_Mordioux!_ it appears to
me a century!"
"And to me but a day," said Athos. "Imagine the joy I experience, my
friend, in seeing you there, in pressing your hand, in casting from me
sword and dagger, and tasting without mistrust this glass of sherry.
And, oh! what still further joy it would be, if our two friends were
there, at the two corners of the table, and Raoul, my beloved Raoul, on
the threshold, looking at us with his large eyes, at once so brilliant
and so soft!"
"Yes, yes," said D'Artagnan, much affected, "that is true. I approve
particularly of the first part of your thought; it is very pleasant to
smile there where we have so legitimately shuddered in thinking that from
one moment to another M. Mordaunt might appear upon the landing."
At this moment the door opened, and D'Artagnan, brave as he was, could
not restrain a slight movement of fright. Athos understood him, and,
"It is our host," said he, "bringing me a letter."
"Yes, my lord," said the good man; "here is a letter for your honor."
"Thank you," said Athos, taking the letter without looking at it. "Tell
me, my dear host, if you do not remember this gentleman?"
The old man raised his head, and looked attentively at D'Artagnan.
"No," said he.
"It is," said Athos, "one of those friends of whom I have spoken to you,
and who lodged here with me eleven years ago."
"Oh! but," said the old man, "so many strangers have lodged here!"
"But we lodged here on the 30th of January, 1649," added Athos, believing
he should stimulate the lazy memory of the host by this remark.
"That is very possible," replied he, smiling; "but it is so long ago!"
and he bowed, and went out.
"Thank you," said D'Artagnan - "perform exploits, accomplish revolutions,
endeavor to engrave your name in stone or bronze with strong swords!
there is something more rebellious, more hard, more forgetful than iron,
bronze, or stone, and that is, the brain of a lodging-house keeper who
has grown rich in the trade; - he does not know me! Well, I should have
known him, though."
Athos, smiling at his friend's philosophy, unsealed his letter.
"Ah!" said he, "a letter from Parry."
"Oh! oh!" said D'Artagnan; "read it, my friend, read it! No doubt it
Athos shook his head, and read:
"MONSIEUR LE COMTE. - The king has experienced much regret at not seeing
you to-day beside him, at his entrance. His majesty commands me to say
so, and to recall him to your memory. His majesty will expect you this
evening, at the palace of St. James, between nine and ten o'clock.
"I am, respectfully, monsieur le comte, your honor's very humble and very
obedient servant, - PARRY."
"You see, my dear D'Artagnan," said Athos, "we must not despair of the
hearts of kings."
"Not despair! you are right to say so!" replied D'Artagnan.
"Oh! my dear, very dear friend," resumed Athos, whom the almost
imperceptible bitterness of D'Artagnan had not escaped. "Pardon me! can
I have unintentionally wounded my best comrade?"
"You are mad, Athos, and to prove it, I shall conduct you to the palace;
to the very gate, I mean; the walk will do me good."
"You shall go in with me, my friend; I will speak to his majesty."
"No, no!" replied D'Artagnan, with true pride, free from all mixture; "if
there is anything worse than begging yourself, it is making others beg
for you. Come, let us go, my friend, the walk will be charming; on the
way I shall show you the house of M. Monk, who has detained me with him.
A beautiful house, by my faith. Being a general in England is better
than being a marechal in France, please to know."
Athos allowed himself to be led along, quite saddened by D'Artagnan's
forced attempts at gayety. The whole city was in a state of joy; the two
friends were jostled at every moment by enthusiasts who required them, in
their intoxication, to cry out, "Long live good King Charles!"
D'Artagnan replied by a grunt, and Athos by a smile. They arrived thus
in front of Monk's house, before which, as we have said, they had to pass
on their way to St. James's.
Athos and D'Artagnan said but little on the road, for the simple reason
that they would have had so many things to talk about if they had
spoken. Athos thought that by speaking he should evince satisfaction,
and that might wound D'Artagnan. The latter feared that in speaking he
should allow some little bitterness to steal into his words which would
render his company unpleasant to his friend. It was a singular emulation
of silence between contentment and ill-humor. D'Artagnan gave way first
to that itching at the tip of his tongue which he so habitually
"Do you remember, Athos," said he, "the passage of the 'Memoires de
D'Aubigny,' in which that devoted servant, a Gascon like myself, poor as
myself, and, I was going to add, brave as myself, relates instances of
the meanness of Henry IV.? My father always told me, I remember, that
D'Aubigny was a liar. But, nevertheless, examine how all the princes,
the issue of the great Henry, keep up the character of the race."
"Nonsense!" said Athos," the kings of France misers? You are mad, my
"Oh! you are so perfect yourself, you never agree to the faults of
others. But, in reality, Henry IV. was covetous, Louis XIII., his son,
was so likewise; we know something of that, don't we? Gaston carried
this vice to exaggeration, and has made himself, in this respect, hated
by all who surround him. Henriette, poor woman, might well be
avaricious, she who did not eat every day, and could not warm herself
every winter; and that is an example she has given to her son Charles
II., grandson of the great Henry IV., who is as covetous as his mother
and his grandfather. See if I have well traced the genealogy of the
"D'Artagnan, my friend," cried Athos, "you are very rude towards that
eagle race called the Bourbons."
"Eh! and I have forgotten the best instance of all - the other grandson
of the Bernais, Louis XIV., my ex-master. Well, I hope he is miserly
enough, he who would not lend a million to his brother Charles! Good! I
see you are beginning to be angry. Here we are, by good luck, close to
my house, or rather that of my friend, M. Monk."
"My dear D'Artagnan, you do not make me angry, you make me sad; it is
cruel, in fact, to see a man of your deserts out of the position his
services ought to have acquired; it appears to me, my dear friend, that
your name is as radiant as the greatest names in war and diplomacy. Tell
me if the Luynes, the Ballegardes, and the Bassompierres have merited, as
we have, fortunes and honors? You are right, my friend, a hundred times
D'Artagnan sighed, and preceded his friend under the porch of he mansion
Monk inhabited, at the extremity of the city. "Permit me," said he, "to
leave my purse at home; for if in the crowd those clever pickpockets of
London, who are much boasted of, even in Paris, were to steal from me the
remainder of my poor crowns, I should not be able to return to France.
Now, content I left France, and wild with joy I should return to it,
seeing that all my prejudices of former days against England have
returned, accompanied by many others."
Athos made no reply.
"So, then, my dear friend, one second, and I will follow you," said
D'Artagnan. "I know you are in a hurry to go yonder to receive your
reward, but, believe me, I am not less eager to partake of your joy,
although from a distance. Wait for me." And D'Artagnan was already
passing through the vestibule, when a man, half servant, half soldier,
who filled in Monk's establishment the double function of porter and
guard, stopped our musketeer, saying to him in English:
"I beg your pardon, my Lord d'Artagnan!"
"Well," replied the latter: "what is it? Is the general going to dismiss
me? I only needed to be expelled by him."
These words, spoken in French, made no impression upon the person to whom
they were addressed, and who himself only spoke an English mixed with the
rudest Scots. But Athos was grieved at them, for he began to think
D'Artagnan was not wrong.
The Englishman showed D'Artagnan a letter: "From the general," said he.
"Aye! that's it, my dismissal!" replied the Gascon. "Must I read it,
"You must be deceived," said Athos, "or I know no more honest people in
the world but you and myself."
D'Artagnan shrugged his shoulders and unsealed the letter, while the
impassible Englishman held for him a large lantern, by the light of which
he was enabled to read it.
"Well, what is the matter?" said Athos, seeing the countenance of the
"Read it yourself," said the musketeer.
Athos took the paper and read:
"MONSIEUR D'ARTAGNAN. - The king regrets very much you did not come to
St. Paul's with his _cortege_. He missed you, as I also have missed you,
my dear captain. There is but one means of repairing all this. His
majesty expects me at nine o'clock at the palace of St. James's: will you
be there at the same time with me? His gracious majesty appoints that
hour for an audience he grants you."
This letter was from Monk.
"Well?" cried Athos with a mild look of reproach, when D'Artagnan had
read the letter addressed to him by Monk.
"Well!" said D'Artagnan, red with pleasure, and a little with shame, at
having so hastily accused the king and Monk. "This is a politeness, -
which leads to nothing, it is true, but yet it is a politeness."
"I had great difficulty in believing the young prince ungrateful," said
"The fact is, that his present is still too near his past," replied
D'Artagnan; "after all, everything to the present moment proved me right."
"I acknowledge it, my dear friend, I acknowledge it. Ah! there is your
cheerful look returned. You cannot think how delighted I am."
"Thus you see," said D'Artagnan, "Charles II. receives M. Monk at nine
o'clock; he will receive me at ten; it is a grand audience, of the sort
which at the Louvre are called 'distributions of court holy water.'
Come, let us go and place ourselves under the spout, my dear friend!
Athos replied nothing; and both directed their steps, at a quick pace,
towards the palace of St. James's, which the crowd still surrounded, to
catch, through the windows, the shadows of the courtiers, and the
reflection of the royal person. Eight o'clock was striking when the two
friends took their places in the gallery filled with courtiers and
politicians. Every one looked at these simply-dressed men in foreign
costumes, at these two noble heads so full of character and meaning. On
their side, Athos and D'Artagnan, having with two glances taken the
measure of the whole assembly, resumed their chat.
A great noise was suddenly heard at the extremity of the gallery, - it
was General Monk, who entered, followed by more than twenty officers, all
eager for a smile, as only the evening before he was master of all
England, and a glorious to-morrow was looked to, for the restorer of the
"Gentlemen," said Monk, turning round, "henceforward I beg you to
remember that I am no longer anything. Lately I commanded the principal
army of the republic; now that army is the king's, into whose hands I am
about to surrender, at his command, my power of yesterday."
Great surprise was painted on all the countenances, and the circle of
adulators and suppliants which surrounded Monk an instant before, was
enlarged by degrees, and ended by being lost in the large undulations of
the crowd. Monk was going into the ante-chamber as others did.
D'Artagnan could not help remarking this to the Comte de la Fere, who
frowned on beholding it. Suddenly the door of the royal apartment
opened, and the young king appeared, preceded by two officers of his
"Good evening, gentlemen," said he. "Is General Monk here?"
"I am here, sire," replied the old general.
Charles stepped hastily towards him, and seized his hand with the warmest
demonstration of friendship. "General," said the king, aloud, "I have
just signed your patent, - you are Duke of Albemarle; and my intention
is that no one shall equal you in power and fortune in this kingdom,
where - the noble Montrose excepted - no one has equaled you in loyalty,
courage, and talent. Gentlemen, the duke is commander of our armies of
land and sea; pay him your respects, if you please, in that character."
Whilst every one was pressing round the general, who received all this
homage without losing his impassibility for an instant, D'Artagnan said
to Athos: "When one thinks that this duchy, this commander of the land
and sea forces, all these grandeurs, in a word, have been shut up in a
box six feet long and three feet wide - "
"My friend," replied Athos, "much more imposing grandeurs are confined in
boxes still smaller, - and remain there forever."
All at once Monk perceived the two gentlemen, who held themselves aside
until the crowd had diminished; he made himself a passage towards them,
so that he surprised them in the midst of their philosophical
reflections. "Were you speaking of me?" sad he, with a smile.
"My lord," replied Athos, "we were speaking likewise of God."
Monk reflected for a moment, and then replied gayly: "Gentlemen, let us
speak a little of the king likewise, if you please; for you have, I
believe, an audience of his majesty."
"At nine o'clock," said Athos.
"At ten o'clock," said D'Artagnan.
"Let us go into this closet at once," replied Monk, making a sign to his
two companions to precede him; but to that neither would consent.
The king, during this discussion so characteristic of the French, had
returned to the center of the gallery.
"Oh! my Frenchmen!" said he, in that tone of careless gayety which, in
spite of so much grief and so many crosses, he had never lost. "My
Frenchmen! my consolation!" Athos and D'Artagnan bowed.
"Duke, conduct these gentlemen into my study. I am at your service,
messieurs," added he in French. And he promptly expedited his court, to
return to his Frenchmen, as he called them. "Monsieur d'Artagnan," said
he, as he entered his closet, "I am glad to see you again."
"Sire, my joy is at its height, at having the honor to salute your
majesty in your own palace of St. James's."
"Monsieur, you have been willing to render me a great service, and I owe
you my gratitude for it. If I did not fear to intrude upon the rights of
our command general, I would offer you some post worthy of you near our
"Sire," replied D'Artagnan, "I have quitted the service of the king of
France, making a promise to my prince not to serve any other king."
"Humph!" said Charles, "I am sorry to hear that; I should like to do much
for you; I like you very much."
"Sire - "
"But, let us see," said Charles with a smile, "if we cannot make you
break your word. Duke, assist me. If you were offered, that is to say,
if I offered you the chief command of my musketeers?" D'Artagnan bowed
lower than before.
"I should have the regret to refuse what your gracious majesty would
offer me," said he; "a gentleman has but his word, and that word, as I
have had the honor to tell your majesty, is engaged to the king of
"We shall say no more about it, then," said the king, turning towards
Athos, and leaving D'Artagnan plunged in the deepest pangs of
"Ah! I said so!" muttered the musketeer. "Words! words! Court holy
water! Kings have always a marvelous talent for offering us that which
they know we will not accept, and in appearing generous without risk. So
be it! - triple fool that I was to have hoped for a moment!"
During this time, Charles took the hand of Athos. "Comte," said he, "you
have been to me a second father; the services you have rendered to me are
above all price. I have, nevertheless, thought of a recompense. You
were created by my father a Knight of the Garter - that is an order which
all the kings of Europe cannot bear; by the queen regent, Knight of the
Holy Ghost - which is an order not less illustrious; I join to it that of
the Golden Fleece sent me by the king of France, to whom the king of
Spain, his father-in-law, gave two on the occasion of his marriage; but
in return, I have a service to ask of you."
"Sire," said Athos, with confusion, "the Golden Fleece for me! when the
king of France is the only person in my country who enjoys that
"I wish you to be in your country and all others the equal of all those
whom sovereigns have honored with their favor," said Charles, drawing the
chain from his neck; "and I am sure, comte, my father smiles on me from
"It is unaccountably strange," said D'Artagnan to himself, whilst his
friend, on his knees, received the eminent order which the king conferred
on him - "it is almost incredible that I have always seen showers of
prosperity fall upon all who surrounded me, and that not a drop ever
reached me! If I were a jealous man, it would be enough to make one tear
one's hair, _parole d'honneur!_"
Athos rose from his knees, and Charles embraced him tenderly. "General!"
said he to Monk - then stopping, with a smile, "pardon me, duke, I mean.
No wonder if I make a mistake; the word duke is too short for me, I
always seek some title to lengthen it. I should wish to see you so near
my throne, that I might say to you, as to Louis XIV., my brother! Oh! I
have it; and you will almost be my brother, for I make you viceroy of
Ireland and Scotland, my dear duke. So, after that fashion, henceforward
I shall not make a mistake."
The duke seized the hand of the king, but without enthusiasm, without
joy, as he did everything. His heart, however, had been moved by this
last favor. Charles, by skillfully husbanding his generosity, had given
the duke time to wish, although he might not have wished for so much as
was given him.
"_Mordioux!_" grumbled D'Artagnan, "there is the shower beginning again!
Oh! it is enough to turn one's brain!" and he turned away with an air so
sorrowful and so comically piteous, that the king, who caught it, could
not restrain a smile. Monk was preparing to leave the room, to take
leave of Charles.
"What! my trusty and well-beloved!" said the king to the duke, "are you
"With your majesty's permission, for in truth I am weary. The emotions
of the day have worn me out; I stand in need of rest."
"But," said the king, "you are not going without M. d'Artagnan, I hope."
"Why not, sire?" said the old warrior.
"Well! you know very well why," said the king.
Monk looked at Charles with astonishment.
"Oh! it may be possible; but if you forget, you, M. d'Artagnan, do not."
Astonishment was painted on the face of the musketeer.
"Well, then, duke," said the king, "do you not lodge with M. d'Artagnan?"
"I had the honor of offering M. d'Artagnan a lodging; yes, sire."
"That idea is your own, and yours solely?"
"Mine and mine only; yes, sire."
"Well! but it could not be otherwise - the prisoner always lodges with
Monk colored in his turn. "Ah! that is true," said he; "I am M.
"Without doubt, duke, since you are not yet ransomed; but have no care of
that; it was I who took you out of M. d'Artagnan's hands, and it is I who
will pay your ransom."
The eyes of D'Artagnan regained their gayety and their brilliancy. The
Gascon began to understand. Charles advanced towards him.
"The general," said he, "is not rich, and cannot pay you what he is
worth. I am richer, certainly; but now that he is a duke, and if not a
king, almost a king, he is worth a sum I could not perhaps pay. Come, M.
d'Artagnan, be moderate with me; how much do I owe you?"
D'Artagnan, delighted at the turn things were taking, but not for a
moment losing his self-possession, replied, - "Sire, your majesty has no
occasion to be alarmed. When I had the good fortune to take his grace,
M. Monk was only a general; it is therefore only a general's ransom that
is due to me. But if the general will have the kindness to deliver me
his sword, I shall consider myself paid; for there is nothing in the
world but the general's sword which is worth as much as himself."
"Odds fish! as my father said," cried Charles. "That is a gallant
proposal, and a gallant man, is he not, duke?"
"Upon my honor, yes, sire," and he drew his sword. "Monsieur," said he
to D'Artagnan, "here is what you demand. Many have handled a better
blade; but however modest mine may be, I have never surrendered it to any
D'Artagnan received with pride the sword which had just made a king.
"Oh! oh!" cried Charles II.; "what a sword that has restored me to my
throne - to go out of the kingdom - and not, one day, to figure among the
crown jewels! No, on my soul! that shall not be! Captain d'Artagnan, I
will give you two hundred thousand livres for your sword! If that is too
little, say so."
"It is too little, sire," replied D'Artagnan, with inimitable
seriousness. "In the first place, I do not at all wish to sell it; but
your majesty desires me to do so, and that is an order. I obey, then,
but the respect I owe to the illustrious warrior who hears me, commands
me to estimate a third more the reward of my victory. I ask then three
hundred thousand livres for the sword, or I shall give it to your majesty
for nothing." And taking it by the point he presented it to the king.
Charles broke into hilarious laughter.
"A gallant man, and a merry companion! Odds fish! is he not, duke? is he
not, comte? He pleases me! I like him! Here, Chevalier d'Artagnan,
take this." And going to the table, he took a pen and wrote an order
upon his treasurer for three hundred thousand livres.
D'Artagnan took it, and turning gravely towards Monk: "I have still asked
too little, I know," said he, "but believe me, your grace, I would rather
have died that allow myself to be governed by avarice."
The king began to laugh again, like the happiest cockney of his kingdom.
"You will come and see me again before you go, chevalier?" said he; "I
shall want to lay in a stock of gayety now my Frenchmen are leaving me."
"Ah! sire, it will not be with the gayety as with the duke's sword; I
will give it to your majesty gratis," replied D'Artagnan, whose feet
scarcely seemed to touch the ground.
"And you, comte," added Charles, turning towards Athos, "come again,
also; I have an important message to confide to you. Your hand, duke."
Monk pressed the hand of the king.
"Adieu! gentlemen," said Charles, holding out each of his hands to the
two Frenchmen, who carried them to their lips.
"Well," said Athos, when they were out of the palace, "are you satisfied?"
"Hush!" said D'Artagnan, wild with joy, "I have not yet returned from the
treasurer's - a shutter may fall upon my head."
Of the Embarrassment of Riches.
D'Artagnan lost no time, and as soon as the thing was suitable and
opportune, he paid a visit to the lord treasurer of his majesty. He had
then the satisfaction to exchange a piece of paper, covered with very
ugly writing, for a prodigious number of crowns, recently stamped with
the _effigies_ of his very gracious majesty Charles II.
D'Artagnan easily controlled himself: and yet, on this occasion, he could
not help evincing a joy which the reader will perhaps comprehend, if he
deigns to have some indulgence for a man who, since his birth, had never
seen so many pieces and rolls of pieces juxta-placed in an order truly
agreeable to the eye. The treasurer placed all the rolls in bags, and
closed each bag with a stamp sealed with the arms of England, a favor
which treasurers do not grant to everybody. Then, impassible, and just
as polite as he ought to be towards a man honored with the friendship of
the king, he said to D'Artagnan:
"Take away your money, sir." _Your money!_ These words made a thousand
chords vibrate in the heart of D'Artagnan, which he had never felt
before. He had the bags packed in a small cart, and returned home
meditating deeply. A man who possessed three hundred thousand livres can
no longer expect to wear a smooth brow; a wrinkle for every hundred
thousand livres is not too much.
D'Artagnan shut himself up, ate no dinner, closed his door to everybody,
and, with a lighted lamp, and a loaded pistol on the table, he watched
all night, ruminating upon the means of preventing these lovely crowns,
which from the coffers of the king had passed into his coffers, from
passing from his coffers into the pockets of any thief whatever. The
best means discovered by the Gascon was to inclose his treasure, for the
present, under locks so solid that no wrist could break them, and so
complicated that no master-key could open them. D'Artagnan remembered
that the English are masters in mechanics and conservative industry; and
he determined to go in the morning in search of a mechanic who would sell
him a strong box. He did not go far; Master Will Jobson, dwelling in
Piccadilly, listened to his propositions, comprehended his wishes, and
promised to make him a safety lock that should relieve him from all
"I will give you," said he, "a piece of mechanism entirely new. At the
first serious attempt upon your lock, an invisible plate will open of
itself and vomit forth a pretty copper bullet the weight of a mark -
which will knock down the intruder, and not with a loud report. What do
you think of it?"
"I think it very ingenuous," cried D'Artagnan; "the little copper bullet
pleases me mightily. So now, sir mechanic, the terms?"
"A fortnight for the execution, and fifteen hundred livres payable on
delivery," replied the artisan.
D'Artagnan's brow darkened. A fortnight was delay enough to allow the
thieves of London time to remove all occasion for the strong box. As to
the fifteen hundred livres - that would be paying too dear for what a
little vigilance would procure him for nothing.
"I will think of it," said he; "thank you, sir." And he returned home at
full speed; nobody had yet touched his treasure. That same day Athos
paid a visit to his friend and found him so thoughtful that he could not
help expressing his surprise.
"How is this?" said he, "you are rich and not gay - you, who were so
anxious for wealth!"
"My friend, the pleasures to which we are not accustomed oppress us more
than the griefs with which we are familiar. Give me your opinion, if you
please. I can ask you, who have always had money: when we have money,
what do we do with it?"
"What have you done with yours, seeing that it has not made you a miser
or a prodigal? For avarice dries up the heart, and prodigality drowns
it - is that not so?"
"Fabricius could not have spoken more justly. But in truth, my money has
never been a burden to me."
"How so? Do you place it out at interest?"
"No; you know I have a tolerably handsome house; and that house composes
the better part of my property."
"I know it does."
"So that you can be as rich as I am, and, indeed, more rich, whenever you
like, by the same means."
"But your rents, - do you lay them by?"
"What do you think of a chest concealed in a wall?"
"I never made use of such a thing."
"Then you must have some confidant, some safe man of business who pays
you interest at a fair rate."
"Not at all."
"Good heavens! what do you do with it, then?"
"I spend all I have, and I only have what I spend, my dear D'Artagnan."
"Ah! that may be. But you are something of a prince; fifteen or sixteen
thousand livres melt away between your fingers; and then you have
expenses and appearances - "
"Well, I don't see why you should be less of a noble than I am, my
friend; your money would be quite sufficient."
"Three hundred thousand livres! Two-thirds too much!"
"I beg your pardon - did you not tell me? - I thought I heard you say - I
fancied you had a partner - "
"Ah! _Mordioux!_ that's true," cried D'Artagnan, coloring; "there is
Planchet. I had forgotten Planchet, upon my life! Well! there are my
three hundred thousand livres broken into. That's a pity! it was a round
sum, and sounded well. That is true, Athos; I am no longer rich. What a
memory you have!"
"Tolerably good; yes, thank God!"
"The worthy Planchet!" grumbled D'Artagnan; "his was not a bad dream!
What a speculation! _Peste!_ Well! what is said is said."
"How much are you to give him?"
"Oh!" said D'Artagnan, "he is not a bad fellow; I shall arrange matters
with him. I have had a great deal of trouble, you see, and expenses; all
that must be taken into account."
"My dear friend, I can depend on you, and have no fear for the worthy
Planchet; his interests are better in your hands than in his own. But
now that you have nothing more to do here, we shall depart, if you
please. You can go and thank his majesty, ask if he has any commands,
and in six days we may be able to get sight of the towers of Notre Dame."
"My friend, I am most anxious to be off, and will go at once and pay my
respects to the king."
"I," said Athos, "am going to call upon some friends in the city, and
shall then be at your service."
"Will you lend me Grimaud?"
"With all my heart. What do you want to do with him?"
"Something very simple, and which will not fatigue him; I shall only beg
him to take charge of my pistols, which lie there on the table near that
"Very well!" replied Athos, imperturbably.
"And he will not stir, will he?"
"Not more than the pistols themselves."
"Then I shall go and take leave of his majesty. _Au revoir!_"
D'Artagnan arrived at St. James's, where Charles II., who was busy
writing, kept him in the ante-chamber a full hour. Whilst walking about
in the gallery, from the door to the window, from the window to the door,
he thought he saw a cloak like Athos's cross the vestibule; but at the
moment he was going to ascertain if it were he, the usher summoned him to
his majesty's presence. Charles II. rubbed his hands while receiving the
thanks of our friend.
"Chevalier," said he, "you are wrong to express gratitude to me; I have
not paid you a quarter of the value of the history of the box into which
you put the brave general - the excellent Duke of Albemarle, I mean."
And the king laughed heartily.
D'Artagnan did not think it proper to interrupt his majesty, and he bowed
with much modesty.
"_A propos_," continued Charles, "do you think my dear Monk has really
"Pardoned me! yes, I hope so, sire!"
"Eh! - but it was a cruel trick! Odds fish! to pack up the first
personage of the English revolution like a herring. In your place I
would not trust him, chevalier."
"But, sire - "
"Yes, I know very well Monk calls you his friend, but he has too
penetrating an eye not to have a memory, and too lofty a brow not to be
very proud, you know, _grande supercilium_."
"I shall certainly learn Latin," said D'Artagnan to himself.
"But stop," cried the merry monarch, "I must manage your reconciliation;
I know how to set about it; so - "
D'Artagnan bit his mustache. "Will your majesty permit me to tell you
"Speak, chevalier, speak."
"Well, sire, you alarm me greatly. If your majesty undertakes the
affair, as you seem inclined to do, I am a lost man; the duke will have
The king burst into a fresh roar of laughter, which changed D'Artagnan's
alarm into downright terror.
"Sire, I beg you to allow me to settle this matter myself, and if your
majesty has no further need of my services - "
"No, chevalier. What, do you want to leave us?" replied Charles, with a
hilarity that grew more and more alarming.
"If your majesty has no more commands for me."
Charles became more serious.
"One single thing. See my sister, the Lady Henrietta. Do you know her?"
"No, sire, but - an old soldier like me is not an agreeable spectacle for
a young and gay princess."
"Ah! but my sister must know you; she must in case of need have you to
"Sire, every one that is dear to your majesty will be sacred to me."
"Very well! - Parry! Come here, Parry!"
The side door opened and Parry entered, his face beaming with pleasure as
soon as he saw D'Artagnan.
"What is Rochester doing?" said the king.
"He is on the canal with the ladies," replied Parry.
"He is there also."
"That is well. You will conduct the chevalier to Villiers; that is the
Duke of Buckingham, chevalier; and beg the duke to introduce M.
d'Artagnan to the Princess Henrietta."
Parry bowed and smiled to D'Artagnan.
"Chevalier," continued the king, "this is your parting audience; you can
afterwards set out as soon as you please."
"Sire, I thank you."
"But be sure you make your peace with Monk!"
"Oh, sire - "
"You know there is one of my vessels at your disposal?"
"Sire, you overpower me; I cannot think of putting your majesty's
officers to inconvenience on my account."
The king slapped D'Artagnan upon the shoulder.
"Nobody will be inconvenienced on your account, chevalier, but for that
of an ambassador I am about sending to France, and to whom you will
willingly serve as a companion, I fancy, for you know him."
D'Artagnan appeared astonished.
"He is a certain Comte de la Fere, - whom you call Athos," added the
king; terminating the conversation, as he had begun it, by a joyous burst
of laughter. "Adieu, chevalier, adieu. Love me as I love you." And
thereupon, making a sign to Parry to ask if there were any one waiting
for him in the adjoining closet, the king disappeared into that closet,
leaving the chevalier perfectly astonished by this singular audience.
The old man took his arm in a friendly way, and led him towards the
On the Canal.
Upon the green waters of the canal bordered with marble, upon which time
had already scattered black spots and tufts of mossy grass, there glided
majestically a long, flat bark adorned with the arms of England,
surmounted by a dais, and carpeted with long damasked stuffs, which
trailed their fringes in the water. Eight rowers, leaning lazily to
their oars, made it move upon the canal with the graceful slowness of the
swans, which, disturbed in their ancient possessions by the approach of
the bark, looked from a distance at this splendid and noisy pageant. We
say noisy - for the bark contained four guitar and lute players, two
singers, and several courtiers, all sparkling with gold and precious
stones, and showing their white teeth in emulation of each other, to
please the Lady Henrietta Stuart, grand-daughter of Henry IV., daughter
of Charles I., and sister of Charles II., who occupied the seat of honor
under the dais of the bark. We know this young princess, we have seen
her at the Louvre with her mother, wanting wood, wanting bread, and fed
by the _coadjuteur_ and the parliament. She had, therefore, like her
brothers, passed through an uneasy youth; then, all at once, she had just
awakened from a long and horrible dream, seated on the steps of a throne,
surrounded by courtiers and flatterers. Like Mary Stuart on leaving
prison, she aspired not only to life and liberty, but to power and wealth.
The Lady Henrietta, in growing, had attained remarkable beauty, which the
recent restoration had rendered celebrated. Misfortune had taken from
her the luster of pride, but prosperity had restored it to her. She was
resplendent, then, in her joy and her happiness, - like those hot-house
flowers which, forgotten during a frosty autumn night, have hung their
heads, but which on the morrow, warmed once more by the atmosphere in
which they were born, rise again with greater splendor than ever.
Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, son of him who played so conspicuous a part
in the early chapters of this history, - Villiers of Buckingham, a
handsome cavalier, melancholy with women, a jester with men, - and
Wilmot, Lord Rochester, a jester with both sexes, were standing at this
moment before the Lady Henrietta, disputing the privilege of making her
smile. As to that young and beautiful princess, reclining upon a cushion
of velvet bordered with gold, her hands hanging listlessly so as to dip
in the water, she listened carelessly to the musicians without hearing
them, and heard the two courtiers without appearing to listen to them.
This Lady Henrietta - this charming creature - this woman who joined the
graces of France to the beauties of England, not having yet loved, was
cruel in her coquetry. The smile, then, - that innocent favor of young
girls, - did not even lighten her countenance; and if, at times, she did
raise her eyes, it was to fasten them upon one or other of the cavaliers
with such a fixity, that their gallantry, bold as it generally was, took
the alarm, and became timid.
In the meanwhile the boat continued its course, the musicians made a
great noise, and the courtiers began, like them, to be out of breath.
Besides, the excursion became doubtless monotonous to the princess, for
all at once, shaking her head with an air of impatience, - "Come
gentlemen, - enough of this; - let us land."
"Ah, madam," said Buckingham, "we are very unfortunate! We have not
succeeded in making the excursion agreeable to your royal highness."
"My mother expects me," replied the princess; "and I must frankly admit,
gentlemen, I am bored." And whilst uttering this cruel word, Henrietta
endeavored to console by a look each of the two young men, who appeared
terrified at such frankness. The look produced its effect - the two
faces brightened; but immediately, as if the royal coquette thought she
had done too much for simple mortals, she made a movement, turned her
back on both her adorers, and appeared plunged in a reverie in which it
was evident they had no part.
Buckingham bit his lips with anger, for he was truly in love with the
Lady Henrietta, and, in that case, took everything in a serious light.
Rochester bit his lips likewise; but his wit always dominated over his
heart, it was purely and simply to repress a malicious smile. The
princess was then allowing the eyes she turned from the young nobles to
wander over the green and flowery turf of the park, when she perceived
Parry and D'Artagnan at a distance.
"Who is coming yonder?" said she.
The two young men turned round with the rapidity of lightning.
"Parry," replied Buckingham; "nobody but Parry."
"I beg your pardon," said Rochester, "but I think he has a companion."
"Yes," said the princess, at first with languor, but then, - "What mean
those words, 'Nobody but Parry;' say, my lord?"
"Because, madam," replied Buckingham, piqued, "because the faithful
Parry, the wandering Parry, the eternal Parry, is not, I believe, of much
"You are mistaken, duke. Parry - the wandering Parry, as you call him –
has always wandered in the service of my family, and the sight of that
old man always gives me satisfaction."
The Lady Henrietta followed the usual progress of pretty women,
particularly coquettish women; she passed from caprice to
contradiction; - the gallant had undergone the caprice, the courtier must
bend beneath the contradictory humor. Buckingham bowed, but made no
"It is true, madam," said Rochester, bowing in his turn, "that Parry is
the model of servants; but, madam, he is no longer young, and we laugh
only when we see cheerful objects. Is an old man a gay object?"
"Enough, my lord," said the princess, coolly; "the subject of
conversation is unpleasant to me."
Then, as if speaking to herself, "It is really unaccountable," said she,
"how little regard my brother's friends have for his servants."
"Ah, madam," cried Buckingham, "your royal highness pierces my heart with
a dagger forged by your own hands."
"What is the meaning of that speech, which is turned so like a French
madrigal, duke? I do not understand it."
"It means, madam, that you yourself, so good, so charming, so sensible,
you have laughed sometimes - smiled, I should say - at the idle prattle
of that good Parry, for whom your royal highness to-day entertains such a
"Well, my lord, if I have forgotten myself so far," said Henrietta, "you
do wrong to remind me of it." And she made a sign of impatience. "The
good Parry wants to speak to me, I believe: please order them to row to
the shore, my Lord Rochester."
Rochester hastened to repeat the princess's command; and a moment later
the boat touched the bank.
"Let us land, gentlemen," said Henrietta, taking the arm which Rochester
offered her, although Buckingham was nearer to her, and had presented
his. Then Rochester, with an ill-dissembled pride, which pierced the
heart of the unhappy Buckingham through and through, led the princess
across the little bridge which the rowers had cast from the royal boat to
"Which way will your highness go?" asked Rochester.
"You see, my lord, towards that good Parry, who is wandering, as my lord
of Buckingham says, and seeking me with eyes weakened by the tears he has
shed over our misfortunes."
"Good heavens!" said Rochester, "how sad your royal highness is to-day;
in truth we seem ridiculous fools to you, madam."
"Speak for yourself, my lord," interrupted Buckingham with vexation; "for
my part, I displease her royal highness to such a degree, that I appear
absolutely nothing to her."
Neither Rochester nor the princess made any reply; Henrietta only urged
her companion more quickly on. Buckingham remained behind, and took
advantage of this isolation to give himself up to his anger; he bit his
handkerchief so furiously that it was soon in shreds.
"Parry, my good Parry," said the princess, with her gentle voice, "come
hither. I see you are seeking me, and I am waiting for you."
"Ah, madam," said Rochester, coming charitably to the help of his
companion, who had remained, as we have said, behind, "if Parry cannot
see your royal highness, the man who follows him is a sufficient guide,
even for a blind man; for he has eyes of flame. That man is a double-
"Lighting a very handsome martial countenance," said the princess,
determined to be as ill-natured as possible. Rochester bowed. "One of
those vigorous soldiers' heads seen nowhere but in France," added the
princess, with the perseverance of a woman sure of impunity.
Rochester and Buckingham looked at each other, as much as to say, - "What
can be the matter with her?"
"See, my lord of Buckingham, what Parry wants," said Henrietta. "Go!"
The young man, who considered this order as a favor, resumed his courage,
and hastened to meet Parry, who, followed by D'Artagnan, advanced slowly
on account of his age. D'Artagnan walked slowly but nobly, as
D'Artagnan, doubled by the third of a million, ought to walk, that is to
say, without conceit or swagger, but without timidity. When Buckingham,
very eager to comply with the desire of the princess, who had seated
herself on a marble bench, as if fatigued with the few steps she had
gone, - when Buckingham, we say, was at a distance of only a few paces
from Parry, the latter recognized him.
"Ah! my lord!" cried he, quite out of breath, "will your grace obey the
"In what, Mr. Parry?" said the young man, with a kind of coolness
tempered by a desire to make himself agreeable to the princess.
"Well, his majesty begs your grace to present this gentleman to her royal
highness the Princess Henrietta."
"In the first place, what is the gentleman's name?" said the duke,
D'Artagnan, as we know, was easily affronted, and the Duke of
Buckingham's tone displeased him. He surveyed the courtier from head to
foot, and two flashes beamed from beneath his bent brows. But, after a
struggle, - "Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan, my lord," replied he,
"Pardon me, sir, that teaches me your name, but nothing more."
"You mean - "
"I mean I do not know you."
"I am more fortunate than you, sir," replied D'Artagnan, "for I have had
the honor of knowing your family, and particularly my lord Duke of
Buckingham, your illustrious father."
"My father?" said Buckingham. "Well, I think I now remember. Monsieur
le Chevalier d'Artagnan, do you say?"
D'Artagnan bowed. "In person," said he.
"Pardon me, but are you one of those Frenchmen who had secret relations
with my father?"
"Exactly, my lord duke, I am one of those Frenchmen."
"Then, sir, permit me to say that it was strange my father never heard of
you during his lifetime."
"No, monsieur, but he heard of me at the moment of his death: it was I
who sent to him, through the hands of the _valet de chambre_ of Anne of
Austria, notice of the dangers which threatened him; unfortunately, it
came too late."
"Never mind, monsieur," said Buckingham. "I understand now, that, having
had the intention of rendering a service to the father, you have come to
claim the protection of the son."
"In the first place, my lord," replied D'Artagnan, phlegmatically, "I
claim the protection of no man. His majesty, Charles II., to whom I have
had the honor of rendering some services - I may tell you, my lord, my
life has been passed in such occupations - King Charles II., then, who
wishes to honor me with some kindness, desires me to be presented to her
royal highness the Princess Henrietta, his sister, to whom I shall,
perhaps, have the good fortune to be of service hereafter. Now, the king
knew that you at this moment were with her royal highness, and sent me to
you. There is no other mystery, I ask absolutely nothing of you; and if
you will not present me to her royal highness, I shall be compelled to do
without you, and present myself."
"At least, sir," said Buckingham, determined to have the last word, "you
will not refuse me an explanation provoked by yourself."
"I never refuse, my lord," said D'Artagnan.
"As you have had relations with my father, you must be acquainted with
some private details?"
"These relations are already far removed from us, my lord - for you were
not then born - and for some unfortunate diamond studs, which I received
from his hands and carried back to France, it is really not worth while
awakening so many remembrances."
"Ah! sir," said Buckingham, warmly, going up to D'Artagnan, and holding
out his hand to him, "it is you, then - you whom my father sought
everywhere and who had a right to expect so much from us."
"To expect, my lord, in truth, that is my _forte_; all my life I have
At this moment, the princess, who was tired of not seeing the stranger
approach her, arose and came towards them.
"At least, sir," said Buckingham, "you shall not wait for the
presentation you claim of me."
Then turning towards the princess and bowing: "Madam," said the young
man, "the king, your brother, desires me to have the honor of presenting
to your royal highness, Monsieur le Chevalier d'Artagnan."
"In order that your royal highness may have, in case of need, a firm
support and a sure friend," added Parry. D'Artagnan bowed.
"You have still something to say, Parry," replied Henrietta, smiling upon
D'Artagnan, while addressing the old servant.
"Yes, madam, the king desires you to preserve religiously in your memory
the name and merit of M. d'Artagnan, to whom his majesty owes, he says,
the recovery of his kingdom." Buckingham, the princess, and Rochester
looked at each other.
"That," said D'Artagnan, "is another little secret, of which, in all
probability, I shall not boast to his majesty's son, as I have done to
you with respect to the diamond studs."
"Madam," said Buckingham, "monsieur has just, for the second time,
recalled to my memory an event which excites my curiosity to such a
degree, that I shall venture to ask your permission to take him to one
side for a moment, to converse in private."
"Do, my lord," said the princess; "but restore to the sister, as quickly
as possible, this friend so devoted to the brother." And she took the
arm of Rochester, whilst Buckingham took that of D'Artagnan.
"Oh! tell me, chevalier," said Buckingham, "all that affair of the
diamonds, which nobody knows in England, not even the son of him who was
the hero of it."
"My lord, one person alone had a right to relate all that affair, as you
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