The Three Musketeers
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The officer took the papers indicated, gave them to him who asked for them, bowed to the very ground, and left the room.
In these papers Bonancieux recognised his examinations at the Bastile. From time to time the man by the chimney-piece lifted his eyes from the papers, and plunged them, like two poniards, into the very heart of the poor mercer.
At the end of ten minutesТ reading, and ten secondsТ scrutiny of Bonancieux, he had made up his mind.
УThat head has never conspired,Ф murmured the cardinal; Уbut never mind, let us see.Ф Then he said slowly, УYou are accused of high treason.Ф
УThat is what they have already told me, my lord!Ф said Bonancieux, giving his interrogator the same title that he had heard the officer give him; Уbut I give you my oath, that I knew nothing about it.Ф
The cardinal suppressed a smile.
УYou have conspired with your wife, with Madame de Chevreuse, and with my Lord Duke of Buckingham.Ф
УI admit, my lord,Ф replied the mercer, УI have heard all those names mentioned by her.Ф
УAnd on what occasion?Ф
УShe said that the Cardinal de Richelieu had enticed the Duke of Buckingham to Paris, to destroy him and the queen.Ф
УShe said that, did she?Ф cried the cardinal, with great violence.
УYes, my lord; but I told her that she was wrong in saying such a thing, and that his eminence was incapableЦФ
УHold your tongueЧyou are a fool!Ф replied the cardinal.
УThat is exactly what my wife said to me, my lord.Ф
УDo you know who carried off your wife?Ф
УNo, my lord.Ф
УBut you had some suspicions?Ф
УYes, my lord; but as these suspicions appeared to displease the commissary, I have them no longer.Ф
УYour wife has escaped: did you know that?Ф
УNot at the time, my lord; I learned it, since I have been in prison, from the commissary, who is a most amiable man.Ф
The cardinal suppressed another smile.
УThen you do not know what has become of your wife since her escape?Ф
УNot positively, my lord; but she has probably returned to the Louvre.Ф
УAt one oТclock this morning she had not yet returned there.Ф
УAh! good God! but what can have become of her?Ф
УHave no fearЧit will soon be known; nothing escapes the cardinal; the cardinal knows everything.Ф
УIn that case, my lord, do you believe that the cardinal will tell me what has become of my wife?Ф
УPerhaps so; but it is necessary, first, that you should tell me all you know in relation to the connection of your wife with Madame de Chevreuse.Ф
УBut, my lord, I know nothing about it; I never saw her.Ф
УWhen you went to fetch your wife from the Louvre, did she return directly to your house?Ф
УScarcely ever. She had business to transact with the queenТs drapers, to whom I convoyed her.Ф
УAnd how many linen-drapers were there?Ф
УTwo, my lord.Ф
УWhere do they live?Ф
УOne in the Rue Vaugirard, and the other in the Rue de la Harpe.Ф
УDid you accompany your wife into these houses?Ф
УNever, my lord.I always waited for her at the door.Ф
УAnd what excuse did she make for entering alone?Ф
УNone: she told me to wait, and I waited.Ф
УYou are a most accommodating husband, my dear M. Bonancieux,Ф said the cardinal.
УHe has called me Сmy dear monsieur,ТФ said the mercer to himself. УСPon my faith, things are taking a good turn.Ф
УShould you know those doors again?Ф
УDo you know the numbers?Ф
УWhat are they?Ф
УNo. 25 in the Rue Vaugirard, and No. 75 in the Rue de la Harpe.Ф
УGood!Ф said the cardinal; and, taking a silver bell, he rang it.
УGo,Ф said he in a low voice, to the officer who enteredЧУgo and find Rochefort, and tell him to come here directly, if he is within.Ф
УThe count is already here,Ф said the officer, Уand requests an immediate audience of your eminence.Ф
УYour eminence!Ф muttered Bonancieux, who knew that such was the title ordinarily given to the cardinal; Уyour eminence!Ф
УLet him come in, then, let him come in!Ф said Richelieu eagerly.
The officer hurried out of the room with that rapidity with which the cardinal was generally obeyed by his followers.
УYour eminence!Ф again muttered Bonancieux, rolling his eyes in astonishment.
Two seconds had scarcely elapsed after the officer left the room before the door opened again, and another person entered.
УIt is he!Ф exclaimed Bonancieux.
УWho is he?Ф demanded the cardinal.
УHe who ran away with my wife.Ф
The cardinal rang a second time, and the officer reappeared.
УPut this man into the hands of the two guards, and let him wait till I send for him.Ф
УNo, my lord, no, it is not he!Ф exclaimed Bonancieux; Уno, I was mistaken; it is another person, not at all like him. The gentleman is an honest man.Ф
УTake away that simpleton!Ф said the cardinal.
The officer took him by the arm, and led him to the antechamber, where he was met by the two guards.
The person who had last entered impatiently followed Bonancieux with his eyes till he was gone, and, when the door was closed behind himЧ
УThey have met,Ф he said, eagerly approaching the cardinal.
УWho?Ф demanded the cardinal.
УThe queen and the duke!Ф cried the cardinal.
УAt the Louvre!Ф
УAre you sure?Ф
УWho told you of it?Ф
УMadame de Lannoy, who is entirely devoted to your eminence, as you well know!Ф
УWhy did she not tell you sooner?Ф
УEither by chance, or by mistrust, the queen made Madame de Surgis sleep in her room, and kept it throughout the day.Ф
УVery well; we have been beaten; let us try to have our revenge.Ф
УBe assured that I will assist your eminence with all my soul.Ф
УHow did this happen?Ф
УAt half-past twelve the queen was with her women.Ф
УIn her bed-chamber, where a pocket-handkerchief was brought her from her seamstress.Ф
УThe queen immediately showed great emotion; and grew pale, under her rouge.Ф
УWell! what then?Ф
УNevertheless, she arose; and, in an agitated voice said, Сladies, wait ten minutes for me; I will return.Т Then, opening the door of her alcove, she went out.Ф
УWhy did not Madame de Lannoy come and tell you directly?Ф
УThere was no certainty about the matter; besides, the queen had said, Сladies, wait for me.Т And Madame de Lannoy dared not disobey her majesty.Ф
УAnd how long did the queen remain absent from her room?Ф
УThree-quarters of an hour.Ф
УDid none of her women accompany her?Ф
УOnly Donna Estefana.Ф
УAnd she returned?Ф
УYes, but only to take a small rosewood casket, bearing her initials, with which she went out again directly.Ф
УAnd when she came back, finally, did she bring the casket with her?Ф
УDoes Madame de Lannoy know what the casket contained?Ф
УYes! the diamond studs which his majesty presented to the queen.Ф
УAnd she came back without the casket?Ф
УThen the opinion of Madame de Lannoy is, that she gave this casket to Buckingham?Ф
УShe is sure of it.Ф
УDuring the day, Madame de Lannoy, in her office of tirewoman to the queen, looked for this casket, appeared uneasy at not finding it, and ended by inquiring for it of the queen.Ф
УAnd then the queenЦФ
УThe queen blushed deeply, and answered that, having the evening before broken one of the studs, she had sent it to her jewellerТs to be repaired.Ф
УYou must go there, and ascertain whether that is true, or not.Ф
УI have been.Ф
УWell, and the goldsmithЦ?Ф
УThe goldsmith has heard nothing about it.Ф
УGood! good! Rochefort, all is not lost, and perhapsЧperhaps all is for the best!Ф
УThe fact is, that I have no doubt but what the genius of your eminenceЦФ
УMay repair the errors of my agent! Is that what you mean?Ф
УIt was just what I was about to say, if your eminence had permitted me to finish the sentence.Ф
УNow, do you know where the Duchesse de Chevreuse and the Duke of Buckingham concealed themselves?Ф
УNo, my lord; my agents have no positive information upon that point.Ф
УI know it myself, though.Ф
УYou! my lord?Ф
УYes, or at least I have no doubt of it. They lived, the one in the Rue Vaugirard, at No. 25, and the other in the Rue de la Harpe, No. 75.Ф
УWould your eminence wish me to arrest them both?Ф
УIt is too late; they will be gone.Ф
УNever mind; there is no harm in trying!Ф
УTake ten of my guards, and ransack the two houses.Ф
УIt shall be done, my lord!Ф
So saying, Rochefort rushed from the room.
When the cardinal was left alone, he remained a moment in thought, and then rang a third time.
The officer who had come before appeared again.
УBring in the prisoner,Ф said the cardinal.
УMaster Bonancieux was again brought in, and, at a sign from the cardinal, the officer withdrew.
УYou have deceived me,Ф said the cardinal, with great severity.
УI!Ф cried Bonancieux; УI deceive your eminence!Ф
УWhen your wife went to the Rue Vaugirard, and the Rue de la Harpe, she did not go to linen-drapers.Ф
УGood God! To whom did she go, then?Ф
УShe went to see the Duchesse de Chevreuse, and the Duke of Buckingham.Ф
УYes!Ф said Bonancieux, with a flash of recollection; Уyes, exactly so; your eminence is right. I often told my wife that it was astonishing that linen-drapers should live in such houses; in houses which had no signs; and every time I said so, my wife began to laugh. Ah! my lord!Ф he continued, throwing himself at the feet of his eminence, Уit is plain that you are the cardinal, the great cardinalЧthe man of genius, whom all the world reveres!Ф
The cardinal, small as was the triumph to be achieved over a being so vulgar as was Bonancieux, did not the less enjoy it for a moment. Then, as if a new idea struck him, he smiled, and, stretching out his hand to the mercerЧ
УRise, my friend,Ф said he, Уyou are a worthy fellow.Ф
УThe cardinal has taken my hand! I have touched the hand of the great man!Ф exclaimed Bonancieux; Уthe great man has called me his friend!Ф
УYes, my friend, yes,Ф said the cardinal, in that paternal tone which he was sometimes able to assume, but which only deceived those who did not know him; Уand as you have been unjustly suspected, we must make you some amends. Here, take this bag of a hundred pistoles, and forgive me.Ф
УI forgive you, my lord!Ф said Bonancieux, hesitating to take the bag, from a fear that this supposed gift was only a jest. УBut you were quite at liberty to have me arrested; you are quite at liberty to send me to the torture; you are quite at liberty to hang me; you are the master, and I should not have the smallest word to say against it. Forgive you, my lord! But you cannot mean that!Ф
УAh! my dear M. Bonancieux, you are very generous; I see it, and I thank you. But you must take this bag, and then you will go away not very discontentedЧwill you?Ф
УI go away perfectly enchanted, my lord!Ф
УAdieu, then; or, rather, au revoir hair; for I hope that we shall see each other again.Ф
УAs often as my lord may please; I am at your eminenceТs command.Ф
УIt shall be often, depend upon it; for I have found your conversation quite charming.Ф
УOh! my lord!Ф
УFarewell, till our next meeting, M. BonancieuxЧtill our next meeting.Ф
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