On the day after these events had taken place, Athos not having reappeared, M.
de Treville was informed by d'Artagnan and Porthos of the circumstance. As t_ramis, he had asked for leave of absence for five days, and was gone, it wa_aid, to Rouen on family business.
M. de Treville was the father of his soldiers. The lowest or the least know_f them, as soon as he assumed the uniform of the company, was as sure of hi_id and support as if he had been his own brother.
He repaired, then, instantly to the office of the LIEUTENANT-CRIMINEL. Th_fficer who commanded the post of the Red Cross was sent for, and b_uccessive inquiries they learned that Athos was then lodged in the For_'Eveque.
Athos had passed through all the examinations we have seen Bonacieux undergo.
We were present at the scene in which the two captives were confronted wit_ach other. Athos, who had till that time said nothing for fear tha_'Artagnan, interrupted in his turn, should not have the time necessary, fro_his moment declared that his name was Athos, and not d'Artagnan. He adde_hat he did not know either M. or Mme. Bonacieux; that he had never spoken t_he one or the other; that he had come, at about ten o'clock in the evening, to pay a visit to his friend M. d'Artagnan, but that till that hour he ha_een at M. de Treville's, where he had dined. "Twenty witnesses," added he,
"could attest the fact"; and he named several distinguished gentlemen, an_mong them was M. le Duc de la Tremouille.
The second commissary was as much bewildered as the first had been by th_imple and firm declaration of the Musketeer, upon whom he was anxious to tak_he revenge which men of the robe like at all times to gain over men of th_word; but the name of M. de Treville, and that of M. de la Tremouille, commanded a little reflection.
Athos was then sent to the cardinal; but unfortunately the cardinal was at th_ouvre with the king.
It was precisely at this moment that M. de Treville, on leaving the residenc_f the LIEUTENANT-CRIMINEL and the governor of the Fort l'Eveque without bein_ble to find Athos, arrived at the palace.
As captain of the Musketeers, M. de Treville had the right of entry at al_imes.
It is well known how violent the king's prejudices were against the queen, an_ow carefully these prejudices were kept up by the cardinal, who in affairs o_ntrigue mistrusted women infinitely more than men. One of the grand causes o_his prejudice was the friendship of Anne of Austria for Mme. de Chevreuse.
These two women gave him more uneasiness than the war with Spain, the quarre_ith England, or the embarrassment of the finances. In his eyes and to hi_onviction, Mme. de Chevreuse not only served the queen in her politica_ntrigues, but, what tormented him still more, in her amorous intrigues.
At the first word the cardinal spoke of Mme. de Chevreuse—who, though exile_o Tours and believed to be in that city, had come to Paris, remained ther_ive days, and outwitted the police—the king flew into a furious passion.
Capricious and unfaithful, the king wished to be called Louis the Just an_ouis the Chaste. Posterity will find a difficulty in understanding thi_haracter, which history explains only by facts and never by reason.
But when the cardinal added that not only Mme. de Chevreuse had been in Paris, but still further, that the queen had renewed with her one of those mysteriou_orrespondences which at that time was named a CABAL; when he affirmed tha_e, the cardinal, was about to unravel the most closely twisted thread of thi_ntrigue; that at the moment of arresting in the very act, with all the proof_bout her, the queen's emissary to the exiled duchess, a Musketeer had dare_o interrupt the course of justice violently, by falling sword in hand upo_he honest men of the law, charged with investigating impartially the whol_ffair in order to place it before the eyes of the king—Louis XIII could no_ontain himself, and he made a step toward the queen's apartment with tha_ale and mute indignation which, when in broke out, led this prince to th_ommission of the most pitiless cruelty. And yet, in all this, the cardina_ad not yet said a word about the Duke of Buckingham.
At this instant M. de Treville entered, cool, polite, and in irreproachabl_ostume.
Informed of what had passed by the presence of the cardinal and the alteratio_n the king's countenance, M. de Treville felt himself something like Samso_efore the Philistines.
Louis XIII had already placed his hand on the knob of the door; at the nois_f M. de Treville's entrance he turned round. "You arrive in good time, monsieur," said the king, who, when his passions were raised to a certai_oint, could not dissemble; "I have learned some fine things concerning you_usketeers."
"And I," said Treville, coldly, "I have some pretty things to tell you_ajesty concerning these gownsmen."
"What?" said the king, with hauteur.
"I have the honor to inform your Majesty," continued M. de Treville, in th_ame tone, "that a party of PROCUREURS, commissaries, and men of th_olice—very estimable people, but very inveterate, as it appears, against th_niform—have taken upon themselves to arrest in a house, to lead away throug_he open street, and throw into the Fort l'Eveque, all upon an order whic_hey have refused to show me, one of my, or rather your Musketeers, sire, o_rreproachable conduct, of an almost illustrious reputation, and whom you_ajesty knows favorably, Monsieur Athos."
"Athos," said the king, mechanically; "yes, certainly I know that name."
"Let your Majesty remember," said Treville, "that Monsieur Athos is th_usketeer who, in the annoying duel which you are acquainted with, had th_isfortune to wound Monsieur de Cahusac so seriously. A PROPOS, monseigneur,"
continued Treville. Addressing the cardinal, "Monsieur de Cahusac is quit_ecovered, is he not?"
"Thank you," said the cardinal, biting his lips with anger.
"Athos, then, went to pay a visit to one of his friends absent at the time,"
continued Treville, "to a young Bearnais, a cadet in his Majesty's Guards, th_ompany of Monsieur Dessessart, but scarcely had he arrived at his friend'_nd taken up a book, while waiting his return, when a mixed crowd of bailiff_nd soldiers came and laid siege to the house, broke open several doors—"
The cardinal made the king a sign, which signified, "That was on account o_he affair about which I spoke to you."
"We all know that," interrupted the king; "for all that was done for ou_ervice."
"Then," said Treville, "it was also for your Majesty's service that one of m_usketeers, who was innocent, has been seized, that he has been placed betwee_wo guards like a malefactor, and that this gallant man, who has ten time_hed his blood in your Majesty's service and is ready to shed it again, ha_een paraded through the midst of an insolent populace?"
"Bah!" said the king, who began to be shaken, "was it so managed?"
"Monsieur de Treville," said the cardinal, with the greatest phlegm, "does no_ell your Majesty that this innocent Musketeer, this gallant man, had only a_our before attacked, sword in hand, four commissaries of inquiry, who wer_elegated by myself to examine into an affair of the highest importance."
"I defy your Eminence to prove it," cried Treville, with his Gascon freedo_nd military frankness; "for one hour before, Monsieur Athos, who, I wil_onfide it to your Majesty, is really a man of the highest quality, did me th_onor after having dined with me to be conversing in the saloon of my hotel, with the Duc de la Tremouille and the Comte de Chalus, who happened to b_here."
The king looked at the cardinal.
"A written examination attests it," said the cardinal, replying aloud to th_ute interrogation of his Majesty; "and the ill-treated people have drawn u_he following, which I have the honor to present to your Majesty."
"And is the written report of the gownsmen to be placed in comparison with th_ord of honor of a swordsman?" replied Treville haughtily.
"Come, come, Treville, hold your tongue," said the king.
"If his Eminence entertains any suspicion against one of my Musketeers," sai_reville, "the justice of Monsieur the Cardinal is so well known that I deman_n inquiry."
"In the house in which the judicial inquiry was made," continued the impassiv_ardinal, "there lodges, I believe, a young Bearnais, a friend of th_usketeer."
"Your Eminence means Monsieur d'Artagnan."
"I mean a young man whom you patronize, Monsieur de Treville."
"Yes, your Eminence, it is the same."
"Do you not suspect this young man of having given bad counsel?"
"To Athos, to a man double his age?" interrupted Treville. "No, monseigneur.
Besides, d'Artagnan passed the evening with me."
"Well," said the cardinal, "everybody seems to have passed the evening wit_ou."
"Does your Eminence doubt my word?" said Treville, with a brow flushed wit_nger.
"No, God forbid," said the cardinal; "only, at what hour was he with you?"
"Oh, as to that I can speak positively, your Eminence; for as he came in _emarked that it was but half past nine by the clock, although I had believe_t to be later."
"At what hour did he leave your hotel?"
"At half past ten—an hour after the event."
"Well," replied the cardinal, who could not for an instant suspect the loyalt_f Treville, and who felt that the victory was escaping him, "well, but Atho_AS taken in the house in the Rue des Fossoyeurs."
"Is one friend forbidden to visit another, or a Musketeer of my company t_raternize with a Guard of Dessessart's company?"
"Yes, when the house where he fraternizes is suspected."
"That house is suspected, Treville," said the king; "perhaps you did not kno_t?"
"Indeed, sire, I did not. The house may be suspected; but I deny that it is s_n the part of it inhabited my Monsieur d'Artagnan, for I can affirm, sire, i_ can believe what he says, that there does not exist a more devoted servan_f your Majesty, or a more profound admirer of Monsieur the Cardinal."
"Was it not this d'Artagnan who wounded Jussac one day, in that unfortunat_ncounter which took place near the Convent of the Carmes-Dechausses?" aske_he king, looking at the cardinal, who colored with vexation.
"And the next day, Bernajoux. Yes, sire, yes, it is the same; and your Majest_as a good memory."
"Come, how shall we decide?" said the king.
"That concerns your Majesty more than me," said the cardinal. "I should affir_he culpability."
"And I deny it," said Treville. "But his Majesty has judges, and these judge_ill decide."
"That is best," said the king. "Send the case before the judges; it is thei_usiness to judge, and they shall judge."
"Only," replied Treville, "it is a sad thing that in the unfortunate times i_hich we live, the purest life, the most incontestable virtue, cannot exempt _an from infamy and persecution. The army, I will answer for it, will be bu_ittle pleased at being exposed to rigorous treatment on account of polic_ffairs."
The expression was imprudent; but M. de Treville launched it with knowledge o_is cause. He was desirous of an explosion, because in that case the min_hrows forth fire, and fire enlightens.
"Police affairs!" cried the king, taking up Treville's words, "police affairs!
And what do you know about them, Monsieur? Meddle with your Musketeers, and d_ot annoy me in this way. It appears, according to your account, that if b_ischance a Musketeer is arrested, France is in danger. What a noise about _usketeer! I would arrest ten of them, VENTREBLEU, a hundred, even, all th_ompany, and I would not allow a whisper."
"From the moment they are suspected by your Majesty," said Treville, "th_usketeers are guilty; therefore, you see me prepared to surrender m_word—for after having accused my soldiers, there can be no doubt tha_onsieur the Cardinal will end by accusing me. It is best to constitute mysel_t once a prisoner with Athos, who is already arrested, and with d'Artagnan, who most probably will be."
"Gascon-headed man, will you have done?" said the king.
"Sire," replied Treville, without lowering his voice in the least, "eithe_rder my Musketeer to be restored to me, or let him be tried."
"He shall be tried," said the cardinal.
"Well, so much the better; for in that case I shall demand of his Majest_ermission to plead for him."
The king feared an outbreak.
"If his Eminence," said he, "did not have personal motives—"
The cardinal saw what the king was about to say and interrupted him:
"Pardon me," said he; "but the instant your Majesty considers me a prejudice_udge, I withdraw."
"Come," said the king, "will you swear, by my father, that Athos was at you_esidence during the event and that he took no part in it?"
"By your glorious father, and by yourself, whom I love and venerate above al_he world, I swear it."
"Be so kind as to reflect, sire," said the cardinal. "If we release th_risoner thus, we shall never know the truth."
"Athos may always be found," replied Treville, "ready to answer, when it shal_lease the gownsmen to interrogate him. He will not desert, Monsieur th_ardinal, be assured of that; I will answer for him."
"No, he will not desert," said the king; "he can always be found, as Trevill_ays. Besides," added he, lowering his voice and looking with a suppliant ai_t the cardinal, "let us give them apparent security; that is policy."
This policy of Louis XIII made Richelieu smile.
"Order it as you please, sire; you possess the right of pardon."
"The right of pardoning only applies to the guilty," said Treville, who wa_etermined to have the last word, "and my Musketeer is innocent. It is no_ercy, then, that you are about to accord, sire, it is justice."
"And he is in the Fort l'Eveque?" said the king.
"Yes, sire, in solitary confinement, in a dungeon, like the lowest criminal."
"The devil!" murmured the king; "what must be done?"
"Sign an order for his release, and all will be said," replied the cardinal.
"I believe with your Majesty that Monsieur de Treville's guarantee is mor_han sufficient."
Treville bowed very respectfully, with a joy that was not unmixed with fear; he would have preferred an obstinate resistance on the part of the cardinal t_his sudden yielding.
The king signed the order for release, and Treville carried it away withou_elay. As he was about to leave the presence, the cardinal gave him a friendl_mile, and said, "A perfect harmony reigns, sire, between the leaders and th_oldiers of your Musketeers, which must be profitable for the service an_onorable to all."
"He will play me some dog's trick or other, and that immediately," sai_reville. "One has never the last word with such a man. But let us b_uick—the king may change his mind in an hour; and at all events it is mor_ifficult to replace a man in the Fort l'Eveque or the Bastille who has go_ut, than to keep a prisoner there who is in."
M. de Treville made his entrance triumphantly into the Fort l'Eveque, whenc_e delivered the Musketeer, whose peaceful indifference had not for a momen_bandoned him.
The first time he saw d'Artagnan, "You have come off well," said he to him;
"there is your Jussac thrust paid for. There still remains that of Bernajoux, but you must not be too confident."
As to the rest, M. de Treville had good reason to mistrust the cardinal and t_hink that all was not over, for scarcely had the captain of the Musketeer_losed the door after him, than his Eminence said to the king, "Now that w_re at length by ourselves, we will, if your Majesty pleases, convers_eriously. Sire, Buckingham has been in Paris five days, and only left thi_orning."