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The Three Musketeers

Twenty Years Later

The Vicomte De Bragelonne

The Vicomte De Bragelonne 804 at Prostate Health

"I have finished," replied he to the messenger; "the city will have surrendered in a quarter of an hour." He then resumed his reading: "The _coffret_, Monsieur dArtagnan, is my own present. You will not be sorry to see that while you warriors are drawing the sword to defend the king, I am animating the pacific arts to ornament the recompenses worthy of you. I commend myself to your friendship, Monsieur le Maréchal, and beg you to believe in all mine.--COLBERT." DArtagnan, intoxicated with joy, made a sign to the messenger, who approached, with his _coffret_ in his hands. But at the moment the maréchal was going to look at it a loud explosion resounded from the ramparts, and called his attention toward the city. "It is strange," said DArtagnan, "that I dont yet see the kings flag upon the walls, or hear the drums beat the _chamade_." He launched three hundred fresh men, under a high-spirited officer, and ordered another breach to be beaten. Then, being more tranquil, he turned toward the _coffret_, which Colberts envoy held out to him. It was his treasure--he had won it. DArtagnan was holding out his hand to open the _coffret_, when a ball from the city crushed the _coffret_ in the arms of the officer, struck DArtagnan full in the chest, and knocked him down upon a sloping heap of earth, while the fleur-de-lised bâton, escaping from the broken sides of the box, came rolling under the powerless hand of the maréchal. DArtagnan endeavored to raise himself up. It was thought he had been knocked down without being wounded. A terrible cry broke from the group of his terrified officers: the maréchal was covered with blood; the paleness of death ascended slowly to his noble countenance. Leaning upon the arms which were held out on all sides to receive him, he was able once more to turn his eyes toward the place, and to distinguish the white flag at the crest of the principal bastion: his ears, already deaf to the sounds of life, caught feebly the rolling of the drum which announced the victory. Then, clasping in his nerveless hand the bâton, ornamented with its fleurs-de-lis, he cast down upon it his eyes, which had no longer the power of looking upward toward heaven, and fell back, murmuring these strange words, which appeared to the soldiers cabalistic words--words which had formerly represented so many things upon earth, and which none but the dying man longer comprehended:
"Athos--Porthos, farewell till we meet again! Aramis, adieu forever!"
Of the four valiant men whose history we have related, there now no longer remained but one single body: God had resumed the souls.

The Vicomte De Bragelonne page 803

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