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

“That is very kind, sire; but I will not.”

“What do you say?” said the king, who did not at first comprehend the full meaning of this reply.

“I say, sire, that I will not expose myself to the chance of a fault.  If the devil had a trick to play on me, you understand, sire, as he knows the man with whom he has to deal, he would chose the moment when I should not be there.  My duty and the peace of my conscience before everything, sire.”

“But such duty will kill you, monsieur.”

“Eh! sire, I have performed it for thirty years, and in all France and Navarre there is not a man in better health than I am.  Moreover, I entreat you, sire, not to trouble yourself about me.  That would appear very strange to me, seeing that I am not accustomed to it.”

The king cut short the conversation by a fresh question.  “Shall you be here, then, to-morrow morning?”

“As at present? yes, sire.”

The king walked several times up and down his chamber; it was very plain that he burned with a desire to speak, but that he was restrained by some fear or other.  The lieutenant, standing motionless, hat in hand, watched him making these evolutions, and, whilst looking at him, grumbled to himself, biting his mustache: 

“He has not half a crown worth of resolution! Parole d’honneur! I would lay a wager he does not speak at all!”

The king continued to walk about, casting from time to time a side glance at the lieutenant.  “He is the very image of his father,” continued the latter, in is secret soliloquy, “he is at once proud, avaricious, and timid.  The devil take his master, say I.”

The king stopped.  “Lieutenant,” said he.

“I am here, sire.”

“Why did you cry out this evening, down below in the salons — ’The king’s service!  His majesty’s musketeers!’”

“Because you gave me the order, sire.”

“I?”

“Yourself.”

“Indeed, I did not say a word, monsieur.”

“Sire, an order is given by a sign, by a gesture, by a glance, as intelligibly, as freely, and as clearly as by word of mouth.  A servant who has nothing but ears is not half a good servant.”

“Your eyes are very penetrating, then, monsieur.”

“How is that, sire?”

“Because they see what is not.”

“My eyes are good, though, sire, although they have served their master long and much:  when they have anything to see, they seldom miss the opportunity.  Now, this evening, they saw that your majesty colored with endeavoring to conceal the inclination to yawn, that your majesty looked with eloquent supplications, first to his eminence, and then at her majesty, the queen-mother, and at length to the entrance door, and they so thoroughly remarked all I have said, that they saw your majesty’s lips articulate these words:  ‘Who will get me out of this?’”

“Monsieur!”

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