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Chapter 62 TWO VARIETIES OF DEMONS

  • "Ah," cried Milady and Rochefort together, "it is you!"
  • "Yes, it is I."
  • "And you come?" asked Milady.
  • "From La Rochelle; and you?"
  • "From England."
  • "Buckingham?"
  • "Dead or desperately wounded, as I left without having been able to hea_nything of him. A fanatic has just assassinated him."
  • "Ah," said Rochefort, with a smile; "this is a fortunate chance—one that wil_elight his Eminence! Have you informed him of it?"
  • "I wrote to him from Boulogne. But what brings you here?"
  • "His Eminence was uneasy, and sent me to find you."
  • "I only arrived yesterday."
  • "And what have you been doing since yesterday?"
  • "I have not lost my time."
  • "Oh, I don't doubt that."
  • "Do you know whom I have encountered here?"
  • "No."
  • "Guess."
  • "How can I?"
  • "That young woman whom the queen took out of prison."
  • "The mistress of that fellow d'Artagnan?"
  • "Yes; Madame Bonacieux, with whose retreat the cardinal was unacquainted."
  • "Well, well," said Rochefort, "here is a chance which may pair off with th_ther! Monsieur Cardinal is indeed a privileged man!"
  • "Imagine my astonishment," continued Milady, "when I found myself face to fac_ith this woman!"
  • "Does she know you?"
  • "No."
  • "Then she looks upon you as a stranger?"
  • Milady smiled. "I am her best friend."
  • "Upon my honor," said Rochefort, "it takes you, my dear countess, to perfor_uch miracles!"
  • "And it is well I can, Chevalier," said Milady, "for do you know what is goin_n here?"
  • "No."
  • "They will come for her tomorrow or the day after, with an order from th_ueen."
  • "Indeed! And who?"
  • "d'Artagnan and his friends."
  • "Indeed, they will go so far that we shall be obliged to send them to th_astille."
  • "Why is it not done already?"
  • "What would you? The cardinal has a weakness for these men which I canno_omprehend."
  • "Indeed!"
  • "Yes."
  • "Well, then, tell him this, Rochefort. Tell him that our conversation at th_nn of the Red Dovecot was overheard by these four men; tell him that afte_is departure one of them came up to me and took from me by violence the safe- conduct which he had given me; tell him they warned Lord de Winter of m_ourney to England; that this time they nearly foiled my mission as the_oiled the affair of the studs; tell him that among these four men two onl_re to be feared—d'Artagnan and Athos; tell him that the third, Aramis, is th_over of Madame de Chevreuse—he may be left alone, we know his secret, and i_ay be useful; as to the fourth, Porthos, he is a fool, a simpleton, _lustering booby, not worth troubling himself about."
  • "But these four men must be now at the siege of La Rochelle?"
  • "I thought so, too; but a letter which Madame Bonacieux has received fro_adame the Constable, and which she has had the imprudence to show me, lead_e to believe that these four men, on the contrary, are on the road hither t_ake her away."
  • "The devil! What's to be done?"
  • "What did the cardinal say about me?"
  • "I was to take your dispatches, written or verbal, and return by post; an_hen he shall know what you have done, he will advise what you have to do."
  • "I must, then, remain here?"
  • "Here, or in the neighborhood."
  • "You cannot take me with you?"
  • "No, the order is imperative. Near the camp you might be recognized; and you_resence, you must be aware, would compromise the cardinal."
  • "Then I must wait here, or in the neighborhood?"
  • "Only tell me beforehand where you will wait for intelligence from th_ardinal; let me know always where to find you."
  • "Observe, it is probable that I may not be able to remain here."
  • "Why?"
  • "You forget that my enemies may arrive at any minute."
  • "That's true; but is this little woman, then, to escape his Eminence?"
  • "Bah!" said Milady, with a smile that belonged only to herself; "you forge_hat I am her best friend."
  • "Ah, that's true! I may then tell the cardinal, with respect to this littl_oman—"
  • "That he may be at ease."
  • "Is that all?"
  • "He will know what that means."
  • "He will guess, at least. Now, then, what had I better do?"
  • "Return instantly. It appears to me that the news you bear is worth th_rouble of a little diligence."
  • "My chaise broke down coming into Lilliers."
  • "Capital!"
  • "What, CAPITAL?"
  • "Yes, I want your chaise."
  • "And how shall I travel, then?"
  • "On horseback."
  • "You talk very comfortably,—a hundred and eighty leagues!"
  • "What's that?"
  • "One can do it! Afterward?"
  • "Afterward? Why, in passing through Lilliers you will send me your chaise, with an order to your servant to place himself at my disposal."
  • "Well."
  • "You have, no doubt, some order from the cardinal about you?"
  • "I have my FULL POWER."
  • "Show it to the abbess, and tell her that someone will come and fetch me, either today or tomorrow, and that I am to follow the person who present_imself in your name."
  • "Very well."
  • "Don't forget to treat me harshly in speaking of me to the abbess."
  • "To what purpose?"
  • "I am a victim of the cardinal. It is necessary to inspire confidence in tha_oor little Madame Bonacieux."
  • "That's true. Now, will you make me a report of all that has happened?"
  • "Why, I have related the events to you. You have a good memory; repeat what _ave told you. A paper may be lost."
  • "You are right; only let me know where to find you that I may not ru_eedlessly about the neighborhood."
  • "That's correct; wait!"
  • "Do you want a map?"
  • "Oh, I know this country marvelously!"
  • "You? When were you here?"
  • "I was brought up here."
  • "Truly?"
  • "It is worth something, you see, to have been brought up somewhere."
  • "You will wait for me, then?"
  • "Let me reflect a little! Ay, that will do—at Armentieres."
  • "Where is that Armentieres?"
  • "A little town on the Lys; I shall only have to cross the river, and I shal_e in a foreign country."
  • "Capital! but it is understood you will only cross the river in case o_anger."
  • "That is well understood."
  • "And in that case, how shall I know where you are?"
  • "You do not want your lackey?"
  • "Is he a sure man?"
  • "To the proof."
  • "Give him to me. Nobody knows him. I will leave him at the place I quit, an_e will conduct you to me."
  • "And you say you will wait for me at Armentieres?"
  • "At Armentieres."
  • "Write that name on a bit of paper, lest I should forget it. There is nothin_ompromising in the name of a town. Is it not so?"
  • "Eh, who knows? Never mind," said Milady, writing the name on half a sheet o_aper; "I will compromise myself."
  • "Well," said Rochefort, taking the paper from Milady, folding it, and placin_t in the lining of his hat, "you may be easy. I will do as children do, fo_ear of losing the paper—repeat the name along the route. Now, is that all?"
  • "I believe so."
  • "Let us see: Buckingham dead or grievously wounded; your conversation with th_ardinal overheard by the four Musketeers; Lord de Winter warned of you_rrival at Portsmouth; d'Artagnan and Athos to the Bastille; Aramis the love_f Madame de Chevreuse; Porthos an ass; Madame Bonacieux found again; to sen_ou the chaise as soon as possible; to place my lackey at your disposal; t_ake you out a victim of the cardinal in order that the abbess may entertai_o suspicion; Armentieres, on the banks of the Lys. Is that all, then?"
  • "In truth, my dear Chevalier, you are a miracle of memory. A PROPOS, add on_hing—"
  • "What?"
  • "I saw some very pretty woods which almost touch the convent garden. Say tha_ am permitted to walk in those woods. Who knows? Perhaps I shall stand i_eed of a back door for retreat."
  • "You think of everything."
  • "And you forget one thing."
  • "What?"
  • "To ask me if I want money."
  • "That's true. How much do you want?"
  • "All you have in gold."
  • "I have five hundred pistoles, or thereabouts."
  • "I have as much. With a thousand pistoles one may face everything. Empty you_ockets."
  • "There."
  • "Right. And you go—"
  • "In an hour—time to eat a morsel, during which I shall send for a post horse."
  • "Capital! Adieu, Chevalier."
  • "Adieu, Countess."
  • "Commend me to the cardinal."
  • "Commend me to Satan."
  • Milady and Rochefort exchanged a smile and separated. An hour afterwar_ochefort set out at a grand gallop; five hours after that he passed throug_rras.
  • Our readers already know how he was recognized by d'Artagnan, and how tha_ecognition by inspiring fear in the four Musketeers had given fresh activit_o their journey.