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       Vingt ans après. English, p.1

           Alexandre Dumas
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Vingt ans après. English


  Produced by An Anonymous Volunteer, and David Widger.

  *TWENTY YEARS AFTER*

  _By_

  *Alexandre Dumas, Pere*

  _Second Volume of the d'Artagnan Series_

  1910

  CONTENTS

  1. The Shade of Cardinal Richelieu. 2. A Nightly Patrol. 3. Dead Animosities. 4. Anne of Austria at the Age of Forty-six. 5. The Gascon and the Italian. 6. D'Artagnan in his Fortieth Year. 7. Touches upon the Strange Effects a Half-pistole may have. 8. D'Artagnan, Going to a Distance to discover Aramis. 9. The Abbe D'Herblay. 10. Monsieur Porthos du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds. 11. Wealth does not necessarily produce Happiness. 12. Porthos was Discontented with his Condition. 13. Two Angelic Faces. 14. The Castle of Bragelonne. 15. Athos as a Diplomatist. 16. The Duc de Beaufort. 17. Duc de Beaufort amused his Leisure Hours in the Donjon of Vincennes. 18. Grimaud begins his Functions. 19. Pates made by the Successor of Father Marteau are described. 20. One of Marie Michon's Adventures. 21. The Abbe Scarron. 22. Saint Denis. 23. One of the Forty Methods of Escape of the Duc de Beaufort. 24. The timely Arrival of D'Artagnan in Paris. 25. An Adventure on the High Road. 26. The Rencontre. 27. The four old Friends prepare to meet again. 28. The Place Royale. 29. The Ferry across the Oise. 30. Skirmishing. 31. The Monk. 32. The Absolution. 33. Grimaud Speaks. 34. On the Eve of Battle. 35. A Dinner in the Old Style. 36. A Letter from Charles the First. 37. Cromwell's Letter. 38. Henrietta Maria and Mazarin. 39. How, sometimes, the Unhappy mistake Chance for Providence. 40. Uncle and Nephew. 41. Paternal Affection. 42. Another Queen in Want of Help. 43. In which it is proved that first Impulses are oftentimes the best. 44. Te Deum for the Victory of Lens. 45. The Beggar of St. Eustache. 46. The Tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie. 47. The Riot. 48. The Riot becomes a Revolution. 49. Misfortune refreshes the Memory. 50. The Interview. 51. The Flight. 52. The Carriage of Monsieur le Coadjuteur. 53. How D'Artagnan and Porthos earned by selling Straw. 54. In which we hear Tidings of Aramis. 55. The Scotchman. 56. The Avenger. 57. Oliver Cromwell. 58. Jesus Seigneur. 59. Noble Natures never lose Courage, nor good Stomachs their Appetites. 60. Respect to Fallen Majesty. 61. D'Artagnan hits on a Plan. 62. London. 63. The Trial. 64. Whitehall. 65. The Workmen. 66. Remember! 67. The Man in the Mask. 68. Cromwell's House. 69. Conversational. 70. The Skiff "Lightning." 71. Port Wine. 72. End of the Port Wine Mystery. 73. Fatality. 74. How Mousqueton had a Narrow Escape of being eaten. 75. The Return. 76. The Ambassadors. 77. The three Lieutenants of the Generalissimo. 78. The Battle of Charenton. 79. The Road to Picardy. 80. The Gratitude of Anne of Austria. 81. Cardinal Mazarin as King. 82. Precautions. 83. Strength and Sagacity. 84. Strength and Sagacity--Continued. 85. The Oubliettes of Cardinal Mazarin. 86. Conferences. 87. Thinking that Porthos will be at last a Baron, and D'Artagnan a Captain. 88. Shows how with Threat and Pen more is effected than by the Sword. 89. Difficult for Kings to return to the Capitals of their Kingdoms. 90. Conclusion.

  1. The Shade of Cardinal Richelieu.

  In a splendid chamber of the Palais Royal, formerly styled the PalaisCardinal, a man was sitting in deep reverie, his head supported on hishands, leaning over a gilt and inlaid table which was covered withletters and papers. Behind this figure glowed a vast fireplace alivewith leaping flames; great logs of oak blazed and crackled on thepolished brass andirons whose flicker shone upon the superb habilimentsof the lonely tenant of the room, which was illumined grandly by twincandelabra rich with wax-lights.

  Any one who happened at that moment to contemplate that red simar--thegorgeous robe of office--and the rich lace, or who gazed on that palebrow, bent in anxious meditation, might, in the solitude of thatapartment, combined with the silence of the ante-chambers and themeasured paces of the guards upon the landing-place, have fancied thatthe shade of Cardinal Richelieu lingered still in his accustomed haunt.

  It was, alas! the ghost of former greatness. France enfeebled, theauthority of her sovereign contemned, her nobles returning to theirformer turbulence and insolence, her enemies within her frontiers--allproved the great Richelieu no longer in existence.

  In truth, that the red simar which occupied the wonted place was his nolonger, was still more strikingly obvious from the isolation whichseemed, as we have observed, more appropriate to a phantom than a livingcreature--from the corridors deserted by courtiers, and courts crowdedwith guards--from that spirit of bitter ridicule, which, arising fromthe streets below, penetrated through the very casements of the room,which resounded with the murmurs of a whole city leagued against theminister; as well as from the distant and incessant sounds of gunsfiring--let off, happily, without other end or aim, except to show tothe guards, the Swiss troops and the military who surrounded the PalaisRoyal, that the people were possessed of arms.

  The shade of Richelieu was Mazarin. Now Mazarin was alone anddefenceless, as he well knew.

  "Foreigner!" he ejaculated, "Italian! that is their mean yet mightybyword of reproach--the watchword with which they assassinated, hanged,and made away with Concini; and if I gave them their way they wouldassassinate, hang, and make away with me in the same manner, althoughthey have nothing to complain of except a tax or two now and then.Idiots! ignorant of their real enemies, they do not perceive that it isnot the Italian who speaks French badly, but those who can say finethings to them in the purest Parisian accent, who are their real foes.

  "Yes, yes," Mazarin continued, whilst his wonted smile, full ofsubtlety, lent a strange expression to his pale lips; "yes, these noisesprove to me, indeed, that the destiny of favorites is precarious; but yeshall know I am no ordinary favorite. No! The Earl of Essex, 'tis true,wore a splendid ring, set with diamonds, given him by his royalmistress, whilst I--I have nothing but a simple circlet of gold, with acipher on it and a date; but that ring has been blessed in the chapel ofthe Palais Royal, * so they will never ruin me, as they long to do, andwhilst they shout, 'Down with Mazarin!' I, unknown, and unperceived bythem, incite them to cry out, 'Long live the Duke de Beaufort' one day;another, 'Long live the Prince de Conde;' and again, 'Long live theparliament!'" And at this word the smile on the cardinal's lips assumedan expression of hatred, of which his mild countenance seemed incapable."The parliament! We shall soon see how to dispose," he continued, "ofthe parliament! Both Orleans and Montargis are ours. It will be a workof time, but those who have begun by crying out: Down with Mazarin! willfinish by shouting out, Down with all the people I have mentioned, eachin his turn.

  _* It is said that Mazarin, who, though a cardinal, had not_ _taken such vows as to prevent it, was secretly married to_ _Anne of Austria.--La Porte's Memoirs._

  "Richelieu, whom they hated during his lifetime and whom they now praiseafter his death, was even less popular than I am. Often he was drivenaway, oftener still had he a dread of being sent away. The queen willnever banish me, and even were I obliged to yield to the populace shewould yield with me; if I fly, she will fly; and then we shall see howthe rebels will get on without either king or queen.

  "Oh, were I not a foreigner! were I but a Frenchman! were I but ofgentle birth!"

  The position of the cardinal was indeed critical, and recent events hadadded to his difficulties. Discontent had long pervaded the lower ranksof society in France. Crushed and impoverished by taxation--imposed byMazarin, whose avarice impelled him to grind them down to the verydust--the people, as the Adv
ocate-General Talon described it, hadnothing left to them except their souls; and as those could not be soldby auction, they began to murmur. Patience had in vain been recommendedto them by reports of brilliant victories gained by France; laurels,however, were not meat and drink, and the people had for some time beenin a state of discontent.

  Had this been all, it might not, perhaps, have greatly signified; forwhen the lower classes alone complained, the court of France, separatedas it was from the poor by the intervening classes of the gentry and thebourgeoisie, seldom listened to their voice; but unluckily, Mazarin hadhad the imprudence to attack the magistrates and had sold no less thantwelve appointments in the Court of Requests, at a high price; and asthe officers of that court paid very dearly for their places, and as theaddition of twelve new colleagues would necessarily lower the value ofeach place, the old functionaries formed a union amongst themselves,and, enraged, swore on the Bible not to allow of this addition to theirnumber, but to resist all the persecutions which might ensue; and shouldany one of them chance to forfeit his post by this resistance, tocombine to indemnify him for his loss.

  Now the following occurrences had taken place between the two contendingparties.

  On the seventh of January between seven and eight hundred tradesmen hadassembled in Paris to discuss a new tax which was to be levied on houseproperty. They deputed ten of their number to wait upon the Duke ofOrleans, who, according to his custom, affected popularity. The dukereceived them and they informed him that they were resolved not to paythis tax, even if they were obliged to defend themselves against itscollectors by force of arms. They were listened to with great politenessby the duke, who held out hopes of easier measures, promised to speak intheir behalf to the queen, and dismissed them with the ordinaryexpression of royalty, "We will see what we can do."

  Two days afterward these same magistrates appeared before the cardinaland their spokesman addressed Mazarin with so much fearlessness anddetermination that the minister was astounded and sent the deputationaway with the same answer as it had received from the Duke ofOrleans--that he would see what could be done; and in accordance withthat intention a council of state was assembled and the superintendentof finance was summoned.

  This man, named Emery, was the object of popular detestation, in thefirst place because he was superintendent of finance, and everysuperintendent of finance deserved to be hated; in the second place,because he rather deserved the odium which he had incurred.

  He was the son of a banker at Lyons named Particelli, who, afterbecoming a bankrupt, chose to change his name to Emery; and CardinalRichelieu having discovered in him great financial aptitude, hadintroduced him with a strong recommendation to Louis XIII. under hisassumed name, in order that he might be appointed to the post hesubsequently held.

  "You surprise me!" exclaimed the monarch. "I am rejoiced to hear youspeak of Monsieur d'Emery as calculated for a post which requires a manof probity. I was really afraid that you were going to force thatvillain Particelli upon me."

  "Sire," replied Richelieu, "rest assured that Particelli, the man towhom your majesty refers, has been hanged."

  "Ah; so much the better!" exclaimed the king. "It is not for nothingthat I am styled Louis the Just," and he signed Emery's appointment.

  This was the same Emery who became eventually superintendent of finance.

  He was sent for by the ministers and he came before them pale andtrembling, declaring that his son had very nearly been assassinated theday before, near the palace. The mob had insulted him on account of theostentatious luxury of his wife, whose house was hung with red velvetedged with gold fringe. This lady was the daughter of Nicholas de Camus,who arrived in Paris with twenty francs in his pocket, became secretaryof state, and accumulated wealth enough to divide nine millions offrancs among his children and to keep an income of forty thousand forhimself.

  The fact was that Emery's son had run a great chance of beingsuffocated, one of the rioters having proposed to squeeze him until hegave up all the gold he had swallowed. Nothing, therefore, was settledthat day, as Emery's head was not steady enough for business after suchan occurrence.

  On the next day Mathieu Mole, the chief president, whose courage at thiscrisis, says the Cardinal de Retz, was equal to that of the Duc deBeaufort and the Prince de Conde--in other words, of the two men whowere considered the bravest in France--had been attacked in his turn.The people threatened to hold him responsible for the evils that hungover them. But the chief president had replied with his habitualcoolness, without betraying either disturbance or surprise, that shouldthe agitators refuse obedience to the king's wishes he would havegallows erected in the public squares and proceed at once to hang themost active among them. To which the others had responded that theywould be glad to see the gallows erected; they would serve for thehanging of those detestable judges who purchased favor at court at theprice of the people's misery.

  Nor was this all. On the eleventh the queen in going to mass at NotreDame, as she always did on Saturdays, was followed by more than twohundred women demanding justice. These poor creatures had no badintentions. They wished only to be allowed to fall on their knees beforetheir sovereign, and that they might move her to compassion; but theywere prevented by the royal guard and the queen proceeded on her way,haughtily disdainful of their entreaties.

  At length parliament was convoked; the authority of the king was to bemaintained.

  One day--it was the morning of the day my story begins--the king, LouisXIV., then ten years of age, went in state, under pretext of returningthanks for his recovery from the small-pox, to Notre Dame. He took theopportunity of calling out his guard, the Swiss troops and themusketeers, and he had planted them round the Palais Royal, on thequays, and on the Pont Neuf. After mass the young monarch drove to theParliament House, where, upon the throne, he hastily confirmed not onlysuch edicts as he had already passed, but issued new ones, each one,according to Cardinal de Retz, more ruinous than the others--aproceeding which drew forth a strong remonstrance from the chiefpresident, Mole--whilst President Blancmesnil and Councillor Brousselraised their voices in indignation against fresh taxes.

  The king returned amidst the silence of a vast multitude to the PalaisRoyal. All minds were uneasy, most were foreboding, many of the peopleused threatening language.

  At first, indeed, they were doubtful whether the king's visit to theparliament had been in order to lighten or increase their burdens; butscarcely was it known that the taxes were to be still further increased,when cries of "Down with Mazarin!" "Long live Broussel!" "Long liveBlancmesnil!" resounded through the city. For the people had learnedthat Broussel and Blancmesnil had made speeches in their behalf, and,although the eloquence of these deputies had been without avail, it hadnone the less won for them the people's good-will. All attempts todisperse the groups collected in the streets, or silence theirexclamations, were in vain. Orders had just been given to the royalguards and the Swiss guards, not only to stand firm, but to send outpatrols to the streets of Saint Denis and Saint Martin, where the peoplethronged and where they were the most vociferous, when the mayor ofParis was announced at the Palais Royal.

  He was shown in directly; he came to say that if these offensiveprecautions were not discontinued, in two hours Paris would be underarms.

  Deliberations were being held when a lieutenant in the guards, namedComminges, made his appearance, with his clothes all torn, his facestreaming with blood. The queen on seeing him uttered a cry of surpriseand asked him what was going on.

  As the mayor had foreseen, the sight of the guards had exasperated themob. The tocsin was sounded. Comminges had arrested one of theringleaders and had ordered him to be hanged near the cross of DuTrahoir; but in attempting to execute this command the soldiery wereattacked in the market-place with stones and halberds; the delinquenthad escaped to the Rue des Lombards and rushed into a house. They brokeopen the doors and searched the dwelling, but in vain. Comminges,wounded by a stone which had struck him on the forehead, ha
d left apicket in the street and returned to the Palais Royal, followed by amenacing crowd, to tell his story.

  This account confirmed that of the mayor. The authorities were not in acondition to cope with serious revolt. Mazarin endeavored to circulateamong the people a report that troops had only been stationed on thequays and on the Pont Neuf, on account of the ceremonial of the day, andthat they would soon withdraw. In fact, about four o'clock they were allconcentrated about the Palais Royal, the courts and ground floors ofwhich were filled with musketeers and Swiss guards, and there awaitedthe outcome of all this disturbance.

  Such was the state of affairs at the very moment we introduced ourreaders to the study of Cardinal Mazarin--once that of CardinalRichelieu. We have seen in what state of mind he listened to the murmursfrom below, which even reached him in his seclusion, and to the guns,the firing of which resounded through that room. All at once he raisedhis head; his brow slightly contracted like that of a man who has formeda resolution; he fixed his eyes upon an enormous clock that was about tostrike ten, and taking up a whistle of silver gilt that stood upon thetable near him, he shrilled it twice.

  A door hidden in the tapestry opened noiselessly and a man in blacksilently advanced and stood behind the chair on which Mazarin sat.

  "Bernouin," said the cardinal, not turning round, for having whistled,he knew that it was his valet-de-chambre who was behind him; "whatmusketeers are now within the palace?"

  "The Black Musketeers, my lord."

  "What company?"

  "Treville's company."

  "Is there any officer belonging to this company in the ante-chamber?"

  "Lieutenant d'Artagnan."

  "A man on whom we can depend, I hope."

  "Yes, my lord."

  "Give me a uniform of one of these musketeers and help me to put it on."

  The valet went out as silently as he had entered and appeared in a fewminutes bringing the dress demanded.

  The cardinal, in deep thought and in silence, began to take off therobes of state he had assumed in order to be present at the sitting ofparliament, and to attire himself in the military coat, which he worewith a certain degree of easy grace, owing to his former campaigns inItaly. When he was completely dressed he said:

  "Send hither Monsieur d'Artagnan."

  The valet went out of the room, this time by the centre door, but stillas silently as before; one might have fancied him an apparition.

  When he was left alone the cardinal looked at himself in the glass witha feeling of self-satisfaction. Still young--for he was scarcelyforty-six years of age--he possessed great elegance of form and wasabove the middle height; his complexion was brilliant and beautiful; hisglance full of expression; his nose, though large, was wellproportioned; his forehead broad and majestic; his hair, of a chestnutcolor, was curled slightly; his beard, which was darker than his hair,was turned carefully with a curling iron, a practice that greatlyimproved it. After a short time the cardinal arranged his shoulder belt,then looked with great complacency at his hands, which were most elegantand of which he took the greatest care; and throwing on one side thelarge kid gloves tried on at first, as belonging to the uniform, he puton others of silk only. At this instant the door opened.

  "Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the valet-de-chambre.

  An officer, as he spoke, entered the apartment. He was a man betweenthirty-nine and forty years of age, of medium height but a very wellproportioned figure; with an intellectual and animated physiognomy; hisbeard black, and his hair turning gray, as often happens when peoplehave found life either too gay or too sad, more especially when theyhappen to be of swart complexion.

  D'Artagnan advanced a few steps into the apartment.

  How perfectly he remembered his former entrance into that very room!Seeing, however, no one there except a musketeer of his own troop, hefixed his eyes upon the supposed soldier, in whose dress, nevertheless,he recognized at the first glance the cardinal.

  The lieutenant remained standing in a dignified but respectful posture,such as became a man of good birth, who had in the course of his lifebeen frequently in the society of the highest nobles.

  The cardinal looked at him with a cunning rather than serious glance,yet he examined his countenance with attention and after a momentarysilence said:

  "You are Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

  "I am that individual," replied the officer.

  Mazarin gazed once more at a countenance full of intelligence, the playof which had been, nevertheless, subdued by age and experience; andD'Artagnan received the penetrating glance like one who had formerlysustained many a searching look, very different, indeed, from thosewhich were inquiringly directed on him at that instant.

  "Sir," resumed the cardinal, "you are to come with me, or rather, I amto go with you."

  "I am at your command, my lord," returned D'Artagnan.

  "I wish to visit in person the outposts which surround the Palais Royal;do you suppose that there is any danger in so doing?"

  "Danger, my lord!" exclaimed D'Artagnan with a look of astonishment,"what danger?"

  "I am told that there is a general insurrection."

  "The uniform of the king's musketeers carries a certain respect with it,and even if that were not the case I would engage with four of my men toput to flight a hundred of these clowns."

  "Did you witness the injury sustained by Comminges?"

  "Monsieur de Comminges is in the guards and not in the musketeers----"

  "Which means, I suppose, that the musketeers are better soldiers thanthe guards." The cardinal smiled as he spoke.

  "Every one likes his own uniform best, my lord."

  "Myself excepted," and again Mazarin smiled; "for you perceive that Ihave left off mine and put on yours."

  "Lord bless us! this is modesty indeed!" cried D'Artagnan. "Had I such auniform as your eminence possesses, I protest I should be mightilycontent, and I would take an oath never to wear any other costume----"

  "Yes, but for to-night's adventure I don't suppose my dress would havebeen a very safe one. Give me my felt hat, Bernouin."

  The valet instantly brought to his master a regimental hat with a widebrim. The cardinal put it on in military style.

  "Your horses are ready saddled in their stables, are they not?" he said,turning to D'Artagnan.

  "Yes, my lord."

  "Well, let us set out."

  "How many men does your eminence wish to escort you?"

  "You say that with four men you will undertake to disperse a hundred lowfellows; as it may happen that we shall have to encounter two hundred,take eight----"

  "As many as my lord wishes."

  "I will follow you. This way--light us downstairs Bernouin."

  The valet held a wax-light; the cardinal took a key from his bureau andopening the door of a secret stair descended into the court of thePalais Royal.

 

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