Page:The Vicomte de Bragelonne 2.djvu/495

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THE VICOMTE DE BRA.GELONNE. 483 "Mordioux!" cried D'Artagnan. "I am tricked. Ah! blockhead, brute, triple fool that I am! But let them laugh who laugh last. Oh, duped, duped, like a monkey cheated with an empty nutshell!" And with a hearty blow bestowed upon the nose of the still grinning valet de cliam- bre, he made all haste out of the episcopal palace. Furet, however good a trotter, was not equal to present circum- stances. D'Artagnan, therefore, took the post, and chose a horse, which he made to understand, with good spurs and a light hand, that stags are not the most agile creatures in uature. CHAPTER LXXIV. IN WHICH D'ARTAGNAN MAKES ALL SPEED, PORTHOS SNORES, AND ARAMIS COUNSELS. From thirty to thirty-five hours after the events we have just related, as M. Fouquet, according to his custom, hav- ing interdicted his door, was working in the cabinet of his house at St. Mande, with which we are already acquainted, a carriage, drawn by four horses streaming with sweat, en- tered the court at full gallop. This carriage was probably expected; for three or four lackeys hastened to the door, which they opened. While M. Fouquet rose from his bureau and ran to the window, a man got painfully out of the carriage, descending with difficulty the three steps of the door, leaning upon the shoulders of his lackeys. He had scarcely uttered his name, when the valet upon whom he was not leaning sprang up the perron, and disappeared in the vestibule. This man went to inform his master; but he had no occasion to knock at the door; Fouquet was standing on the threshold. "Monseigneur, the Bishop of Vannes," said he. "Very well!" replied his master. Then, leaning over the baluster of the staircase, of which Aramis was beginning to ascend the first steps: "You, dear friend!" said he; "you, so soon!" "Yes; I, myself, monsieur; but bruised, battered, as you see." "Oh! my poor dear friend," said Fouquet, presenting him his arm, upon which Aramis leaned, while the servants drew back with respect.