Page:Louise de la Valliere text.djvu/14

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4
LOUISE DE LA VALLIERE

"I am in despair," said Planchet, "to hear such a word as even."
"Well, and why not? Is it not a good French word, Monsieur Planchet?"
"Of course, Monsieur d'Artagnan."
"Well?"
"Well, then, the word distresses me beyond measure."
"Tell me why you are distressed, Planchet," said D'Artagnan.
"If you say that you are not even asleep, it is as much as to say that you have not even the consolation of being able to sleep; or, better still, it is precisely the same as telling me that you are getting bored to death."
"Planchet, you know I am never bored."
"Except to-day, and the day before yesterday."
"Bah!"
"Monsieur d'Artagnan, it is a week since you returned here from Fontainebleau; in other words, you have no longer your orders to issue, or your men to review and maneuver. You need the sound of guns, drums, and all that din and confusion; I, who have myself carried a musket, can easily believe that."
"Planchet," replied D'Artagnan, "I assure you I am not bored the least in the world."
"In that case, what are you doing, lying there as if you were dead?"
"My dear Planchet, there was, once upon a time, at the siege of Rochelle, when I was there, when you were there, when we both were there, a certain Arab who was celebrated for the manner in which he adjusted culverins. He was a clever fellow, although very singular with regard to his complexion, which was the same color as your olives. Well, this Arab, whenever he had done eating or working, used to sit down to rest himself, as I am resting myself now, and smoked I cannot tell you what sort of magical leaves in a large amber-mouthed tube; and if any officer, happening to pass, reproached him for being always asleep, he used quietly to reply: 'Better to sit down than to stand up, to lie down than to sit down, to be dead than to lie down.' He was a very melancholy Arab, and I remember him perfectly well, from his color and style of conversation. He used to cut off the heads of the Protestants with extreme satisfaction."

"Precisely; and then used to embalm them, when they were worth the trouble."