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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 556 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

“I am really in great pain.  But, for Heaven’s sake, think nothing about me.  Did M. du Vallon tell you nothing, when he delivered the letter to you?”

“No; I heard a great noise; I went to the window; I saw at the foot of the perron a sort of horseman of marble; I went down, he held the letter out to me, and his horse fell down dead.”

“But he?”

“He fell with the horse; he was lifted, and carried to an apartment.  Having read the letter, I went up to him, in hopes of obtaining more ample information; but he was asleep, and, after such a fashion, that it was impossible to wake him.  I took pity on him; I gave orders that his boots should be cut from off his legs, and that he should be left quite undisturbed.”

“So far well; now, this is the question in hand, monseigneur.  You have seen M. d’Artagnan in Paris, have you not?”

Certes, and think him a man of intelligence, and even a man of heart; although he did bring about the death of our dear friends, Lyodot and D’Eymeris.”

“Alas! yes, I heard of that.  At Tours I met the courier who was bringing the letter from Gourville, and the dispatches from Pelisson.  Have you seriously reflected on that event, monsieur?”

“Yes.”

“And in it you perceived a direct attack upon your sovereignty?”

“And do you believe it to be so?”

“Oh, yes, I think so.”

“Well, I must confess, that sad idea occurred to me likewise.”

“Do not blind yourself, monsieur, in the name of Heaven!  Listen attentively to me, — I return to D’Artagnan.”

“I am all attention.”

“Under what circumstances did you see him?”

“He came here for money.”

“With what kind of order?”

“With an order from the king.”

“Direct?”

“Signed by his majesty.”

“There, then!  Well, D’Artagnan has been to Belle-Isle; he was disguised; he came in the character of some sort of an intendant, charged by his master to purchase salt-mines.  Now, D’Artagnan has no other master but the king:  he came, then, sent by the king.  He saw Porthos.”

“Who is Porthos?”

“I beg your pardon, I made a mistake.  He saw M. du Vallon at Belle-Isle; and he knows, as well as you and I do, that Belle-Isle is fortified.”

“And you think that the king sent him there?” said Fouquet, pensively.

“I certainly do.”

“And D’Artagnan, in the hands of the king, is a dangerous instrument?”

“The most dangerous imaginable.”

“Then I formed a correct opinion of him at the first glance.”

“How so?”

“I wished to attach him to myself.”

“If you judged him to be the bravest, the most acute, and the most adroit man in France, you judged correctly.”

“He must be had then, at any price.”

“D’Artagnan?”

“Is that not your opinion?”

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