The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 556 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.
circle was formed around the guard; a space conquered upon the extremities, which underwent, in their turn the oppression of the sudden movement, which drove them against the parapets of the Seine.  From the window, that commanded a view of the whole Place, D’Artagnan saw, with interior satisfaction, that such of the musketeers and guards as found themselves involved in the crowd, were able, with blows of their fists and the hilts of theirs swords, to keep room.  He even remarked that they had succeeded, by that esprit de corps which doubles the strength of the soldier, in getting together in one group to the amount of about fifty men; and that, with the exception of a dozen stragglers whom he still saw rolling here and there, the nucleus was complete, and within reach of his voice.  But it was not the musketeers and guards that drew the attention of D’Artagnan.  Around the gibbets, and particularly at the entrances to the arcade of Saint-Jean, moved a noisy mass, a busy mass; daring faces, resolute demeanors were to be seen here and there, mingled with silly faces and indifferent demeanors; signals were exchanged, hands given and taken.  D’Artagnan remarked among the groups, and those groups the most animated, the face of the cavalier whom he had seen enter by the door of communication from his garden, and who had gone upstairs to harangue the drinkers.  That man was organizing troops and giving orders.

Mordioux!” said D’Artagnan to himself, “I was not deceived; I know that man, — it is Menneville.  What the devil is he doing here?”

A distant murmur, which became more distinct by degrees, stopped this reflection, and drew his attention another way.  This murmur was occasioned by the arrival of the culprits; a strong picket of archers preceded them, and appeared at the angle of the arcade.  The entire crowd now joined as if in one cry; all the cries united formed one immense howl.  D’Artagnan saw Raoul was becoming pale, and he slapped him roughly on the shoulder.  The fire-keepers turned round on hearing the great cry, and asked what was going on.  “The condemned are arrived,” said D’Artagnan.  “That’s well,” replied they, again replenishing the fire.  D’Artagnan looked at them with much uneasiness; it was evident that these men who were making such a fire for no apparent purpose had some strange intentions.  The condemned appeared upon the Place.  They were walking, the executioner before them, whilst fifty archers formed a hedge on their right and their left.  Both were dressed in black; they appeared pale, but firm.  They looked impatiently over the people’s heads, standing on tip-toe at every step.  D’Artagnan remarked this. “Mordioux!” cried he, “they are in a great hurry to get a sight of the gibbet!” Raoul drew back, without, however, having the power to leave the window.  Terror even has its attractions.

“To the death! to the death!” cried fifty thousand voices.

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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.