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15. MEN OF THE ROBE AND MEN OF THE SWORD

On the day after these events had taken place, Athos not having
reappeared, M. de Treville was informed by d'Artagnan and Porthos
of the circumstance. As to Aramis, he had asked for leave of
absence for five days, and was gone, it was said, to Rouen on
family business.

M. de Treville was the father of his soldiers. The lowest or the
least known of them, as soon as he assumed the uniform of the
company, was as sure of his aid and support as if he had been his
own brother.

He repaired, then, instantly to the office of the LIEUTENANT-
CRIMINEL. The officer who commanded the post of the
Red Cross was sent for, and by successive inquiries they learned
that Athos was then lodged in the Fort l'Eveque.

Athos had passed through all the examinations we have seen
Bonacieux undergo.

We were present at the scene in which the two captives were
confronted with each other. Athos, who had till that time said
nothing for fear that d'Artagnan, interrupted in his turn, should
not have the time necessary, from this moment declared that his
name was Athos, and not d'Artagnan. He added that he did not
know either M. or Mme. Bonacieux; that he had never spoken to the
one or the other; that he had come, at about ten o'clock in the
evening, to pay a visit to his friend M. d'Artagnan, but that
till that hour he had been at M. de Treville's, where he had
dined. "Twenty witnesses," added he, "could attest the fact";
and he named several distinguished gentlemen, and among them was
M. le Duc de la Tremouille.

The second commissary was as much bewildered as the first had
been by the simple and firm declaration of the Musketeer, upon
whom he was anxious to take the revenge which men of the robe
like at all times to gain over men of the sword; but the name of
M. de Treville, and that of M. de la Tremouille, commanded a
little reflection.

Athos was then sent to the cardinal; but unfortunately the
cardinal was at the Louvre with the king.

It was precisely at this moment that M. de Treville, on leaving
the residence of the LIEUTENANT-CRIMINEL and the governor of the
Fort l'Eveque without being able to find Athos, arrived at the
palace.

As captain of the Musketeers, M. de Treville had the right of
entry at all times.

It is well known how violent the king's prejudices were against
the queen, and how carefully these prejudices were kept up by the
cardinal, who in affairs of intrigue mistrusted women infinitely
more than men. One of the grand causes of this prejudice was the
friendship of Anne of Austria for Mme. de Chevreuse. These two
women gave him more uneasiness than the war with Spain, the
quarrel with England, or the embarrassment of the finances. In
his eyes and to his conviction, Mme. de Chevreuse not only served
the queen in her political intrigues, but, what tormented him
still more, in her amorous intrigues.

At the first word the cardinal spoke of Mme. de Chevreuse--who,
though exiled to Tours and believed to be in that city, had come
to Paris, remained there five days, and outwitted the police--the
king flew into a furious passion. Capricious and unfaithful, the
king wished to be called Louis the Just and Louis the Chaste.
Posterity will find a difficulty in understanding this character,
which history explains only by facts and never by reason.

But when the cardinal added that not only Mme. de Chevreuse had
been in Paris, but still further, that the queen had renewed with
her one of those mysterious correspondences which at that time
was named a CABAL; when he affirmed that he, the cardinal, was
about to unravel the most closely twisted thread of this
intrigue; that at the moment of arresting in the very act, with
all the proofs about her, the queen's emissary to the exiled
duchess, a Musketeer had dared to interrupt the course of justice
violently, by falling sword in hand upon the honest men of the
law, charged with investigating impartially the whole affair in
order to place it before the eyes of the king--Louis XIII could
not contain himself, and he made a step toward the queen's
apartment with that pale and mute indignation which, when in
broke out, led this prince to the commission of the most pitiless
cruelty. And yet, in all this, the cardinal had not yet said a
word about the Duke of Buckingham.

At this instant M. de Treville entered, cool, polite, and in
irreproachable costume.

Informed of what had passed by the presence of the cardinal and
the alteration in the king's countenance, M. de Treville felt
himself something like Samson before the Philistines.

Louis XIII had already placed his hand on the knob of the door;
at the noise of M. de Treville's entrance he turned round. "You
arrive in good time, monsieur," said the king, who, when his
passions were raised to a certain point, could not dissemble; "I
have learned some fine things concerning your Musketeers."

"And I," said Treville, coldly, "I have some pretty things
to tell your Majesty concerning these gownsmen."

"What?" said the king, with hauteur.

"I have the honor to inform your Majesty," continued M. de
Treville, in the same tone, "that a party of PROCUREURS,
commissaries, and men of the police--very estimable people, but
very inveterate, as it appears, against the uniform--have taken
upon themselves to arrest in a house, to lead away through the
open street, and throw into the Fort l'Eveque, all upon an order
which they have refused to show me, one of my, or rather your
Musketeers, sire, of irreproachable conduct, of an almost
illustrious reputation, and whom your Majesty knows favorably,
Monsieur Athos."

"Athos," said the king, mechanically; "yes, certainly I know that
name."

"Let your Majesty remember," said Treville, "that Monsieur Athos
is the Musketeer who, in the annoying duel which you are
acquainted with, had the misfortune to wound Monsieur de Cahusac
so seriously. A PROPOS, monseigneur," continued Treville.
Addressing the cardinal, "Monsieur de Cahusac is quite recovered,
is he not?"

"Thank you," said the cardinal, biting his lips with anger.

"Athos, then, went to pay a visit to one of his friends absent at
the time," continued Treville, "to a young Bearnais, a cadet in
his Majesty's Guards, the company of Monsieur Dessessart, but
scarcely had he arrived at his friend's and taken up a book,
while waiting his return, when a mixed crowd of bailiffs and
soldiers came and laid siege to the house, broke open several
doors--"

The cardinal made the king a sign, which signified, "That was on
account of the affair about which I spoke to you."

"We all know that," interrupted the king; "for all that was done
for our service."

"Then," said Treville, "it was also for your Majesty's service
that one of my Musketeers, who was innocent, has been seized,
that he has been placed between two guards like a malefactor, and
that this gallant man, who has ten times shed his blood in your
Majesty's service and is ready to shed it again, has been paraded
through the midst of an insolent populace?"

"Bah!" said the king, who began to be shaken, "was it so
managed?"

"Monsieur de Treville," said the cardinal, with the greatest
phlegm, "does not tell your Majesty that this innocent Musketeer,
this gallant man, had only an hour before attacked, sword in
hand, four commissaries of inquiry, who were delegated by myself
to examine into an affair of the highest importance."

"I defy your Eminence to prove it," cried Treville, with his
Gascon freedom and military frankness; "for one hour before,
Monsieur Athos, who, I will confide it to your Majesty, is really
a man of the highest quality, did me the honor after having dined
with me to be conversing in the saloon of my hotel, with the Duc
de la Tremouille and the Comte de Chalus, who happened to be
there."

The king looked at the cardinal.

"A written examination attests it," said the cardinal, replying
aloud to the mute interrogation of his Majesty; "and the ill-
treated people have drawn up the following, which I have the
honor to present to your Majesty."

"And is the written report of the gownsmen to be placed in
comparison with the word of honor of a swordsman?" replied
Treville haughtily.

"Come, come, Treville, hold your tongue," said the king.

"If his Eminence entertains any suspicion against one of my
Musketeers," said Treville, "the justice of Monsieur the Cardinal
is so well known that I demand an inquiry."

"In the house in which the judicial inquiry was made," continued
the impassive cardinal, "there lodges, I believe, a young
Bearnais, a friend of the Musketeer."

"Your Eminence means Monsieur d'Artagnan."

"I mean a young man whom you patronize, Monsieur de Treville."

"Yes, your Eminence, it is the same."

"Do you not suspect this young man of having given bad counsel?"

"To Athos, to a man double his age?" interrupted Treville. "No,
monseigneur. Besides, d'Artagnan passed the evening with me."

"Well," said the cardinal, "everybody seems to have passed the
evening with you."

"Does your Eminence doubt my word?" said Treville, with a brow
flushed with anger.

"No, God forbid," said the cardinal; "only, at what hour was he with you?"

"Oh, as to that I can speak positively, your Eminence; for as he
came in I remarked that it was but half past nine by the clock,
although I had believed it to be later."

"At what hour did he leave your hotel?"

"At half past ten--an hour after the event."

"Well," replied the cardinal, who could not for an instant
suspect the loyalty of Treville, and who felt that the victory
was escaping him, "well, but Athos WAS taken in the house in the
Rue des Fossoyeurs."

"Is one friend forbidden to visit another, or a Musketeer of my
company to fraternize with a Guard of Dessessart's company?"

"Yes, when the house where he fraternizes is suspected."

"That house is suspected, Treville," said the king; "perhaps you
did not know it?"

"Indeed, sire, I did not. The house may be suspected; but I deny
that it is so in the part of it inhabited my Monsieur d'Artagnan,
for I can affirm, sire, if I can believe what he says, that there
does not exist a more devoted servant of your Majesty, or a more
profound admirer of Monsieur the Cardinal."

"Was it not this d'Artagnan who wounded Jussac one day, in that
unfortunate encounter which took place near the Convent of the
Carmes-Dechausses?" asked the king, looking at the cardinal, who
colored with vexation.

"And the next day, Bernajoux. Yes, sire, yes, it is the same; and
your Majesty has a good memory."

"Come, how shall we decide?" said the king.

"That concerns your Majesty more than me," said the cardinal. "I
should affirm the culpability."

"And I deny it," said Treville. "But his Majesty has judges, and
these judges will decide."

"That is best," said the king. "Send the case before the judges;
it is their business to judge, and they shall judge."

"Only," replied Treville, "it is a sad thing that in the
unfortunate times in which we live, the purest life, the most
incontestable virtue, cannot exempt a man from infamy and
persecution. The army, I will answer for it, will be but little
pleased at being exposed to rigorous treatment on account of
police affairs."

The expression was imprudent; but M. de Treville launched it with
knowledge of his cause. He was desirous of an explosion, because
in that case the mine throws forth fire, and fire enlightens.

"Police affairs!" cried the king, taking up Treville's words,
"police affairs! And what do you know about them, Monsieur?
Meddle with your Musketeers, and do not annoy me in this way. It
appears, according to your account, that if by mischance a
Musketeer is arrested, France is in danger. What a noise about a
Musketeer! I would arrest ten of them, VENTREBLEU, a hundred,
even, all the company, and I would not allow a whisper."

"From the moment they are suspected by your Majesty," said
Treville, "the Musketeers are guilty; therefore, you see me
prepared to surrender my sword--for after having accused my
soldiers, there can be no doubt that Monsieur the Cardinal will
end by accusing me. It is best to constitute myself at once a
prisoner with Athos, who is already arrested, and with
d'Artagnan, who most probably will be."

"Gascon-headed man, will you have done?" said the king.

"Sire," replied Treville, without lowering his voice in the
least, "either order my Musketeer to be restored to me, or let
him be tried."

"He shall be tried," said the cardinal.

"Well, so much the better; for in that case I shall demand of his
Majesty permission to plead for him."

The king feared an outbreak.

"If his Eminence," said he, "did not have personal motives--"

The cardinal saw what the king was about to say and interrupted
him:

"Pardon me," said he; "but the instant your Majesty considers me
a prejudiced judge, I withdraw."

"Come," said the king, "will you swear, by my father, that Athos
was at your residence during the event and that he took no part
in it?"

"By your glorious father, and by yourself, whom I love and
venerate above all the world, I swear it."

"Be so kind as to reflect, sire," said the cardinal. "If we
release the prisoner thus, we shall never know the truth."

"Athos may always be found," replied Treville, "ready to answer,
when it shall please the gownsmen to interrogate him. He will
not desert, Monsieur the Cardinal, be assured of that; I will
answer for him."

"No, he will not desert," said the king; "he can always be found,
as Treville says. Besides," added he, lowering his voice and
looking with a suppliant air at the cardinal, "let us give them
apparent security; that is policy."

This policy of Louis XIII made Richelieu smile.

"Order it as you please, sire; you possess the right of pardon."

"The right of pardoning only applies to the guilty," said
Treville, who was determined to have the last word, "and my
Musketeer is innocent. It is not mercy, then, that you are about
to accord, sire, it is justice."

"And he is in the Fort l'Eveque?" said the king.

"Yes, sire, in solitary confinement, in a dungeon, like the
lowest criminal."

"The devil!" murmured the king; "what must be done?"

"Sign an order for his release, and all will be said," replied
the cardinal. "I believe with your Majesty that Monsieur de
Treville's guarantee is more than sufficient."

Treville bowed very respectfully, with a joy that was not unmixed
with fear; he would have preferred an obstinate resistance on the
part of the cardinal to this sudden yielding.

The king signed the order for release, and Treville carried it
away without delay. As he was about to leave the presence, the
cardinal have him a friendly smile, and said, "A perfect harmony
reigns, sire, between the leaders and the soldiers of your
Musketeers, which must be profitable for the service and
honorable to all."

"He will play me some dog's trick or other, and that
immediately," said Treville. "One has never the last word with
such a man. But let us be quick--the king may change his mind in
an hour; and at all events it is more difficult to replace a man
in the Fort l'Eveque or the Bastille who has got out, than to
keep a prisoner there who is in."

M. de Treville made his entrance triumphantly into the Fort
l'Eveque, whence he delivered the Musketeer, whose peaceful
indifference had not for a moment abandoned him.

The first time he saw d'Artagnan, "You have come off well," said
he to him; "there is your Jussac thrust paid for. There still
remains that of Bernajoux, but you must not be too confident."

As to the rest, M. de Treville had good reason to mistrust the
cardinal and to think that all was not over, for scarcely had the
captain of the Musketeers closed the door after him, than his
Eminence said to the king, "Now that we are at length by
ourselves, we will, if your Majesty pleases, converse seriously.
Sire, Buckingham has been in Paris five days, and only left this
morning."





The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Category:
General Fiction

Romance Literatures
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