“It is very singular,” said D’Artagnan to Raoul, “but I think I know those faces yonder.”
“Don’t you think you can smell the smoke here?” said Raoul.
“I rather think I can smell a conspiracy,” replied D’Artagnan.
He had not finished speaking, when four of these men came down into the court, and without the appearance of any bad design, mounted guard at the door of communication, casting, at intervals, glances at D’Artagnan, which signified many things.
“Mordioux!” said D’Artagnan, in a low voice,” there is something going on. Are you curious, Raoul?”
“According to the subject, chevalier.”
“Well, I am as curious as an old woman. Come a little more in front; we shall get a better view of the place. I would lay a wager that view will be something curious.”
“But you know, monsieur le chevalier, that I am not willing to become a passive and indifferent spectator of the death of the two poor devils.”
“And I, then — do you think I am a savage? We will go in again, when it is time to do so. Come along!” And they made their way towards the front of the house, and placed themselves near the window which, still more strangely than the rest, remained unoccupied. The two last drinkers, instead of looking out at this window, kept up the fire. On seeing D’Artagnan and his friend enter: — “Ah! ah! a reinforcement,” murmured they.
D’Artagnan jogged Raoul’s elbow. “Yes, my braves, a reinforcement,” said he; “cordieu! there is a famous fire. Whom are you going to cook?”
The two men uttered a shout of jovial laughter, and, instead of answering, threw on more wood. D’Artagnan could not take his eyes off them.
“I suppose,” said one of the fire-makers, “they sent you to tell us the time — did not they?”
“Without doubt they have,” said D’Artagnan, anxious to know what was going on; “why should I be here else, if it were not for that?”
“Then place yourself at the window, if you please, and observe.” D’Artagnan smiled in his mustache, made a sign to Raoul, and placed himself at the window.
The spectacle which the Greve now presented was a frightful one. The heads, leveled by the perspective, extended afar, thick and agitated as the ears of corn in a vast plain. From time to time a fresh report, or a distant rumor, made the heads oscillate and thousands of eyes flash. Now and then there were great movements. All those ears of corn bent, and became waves more agitated than those of the ocean, which rolled from the extremities to the center, and beat, like the tides, against the hedge of archers who surrounded the gibbets. Then the handles of the halberds were let fall upon the heads and shoulders of the rash invaders; at times, also, it was the steel as well as the wood, and, in that case, a large empty