A Terrible Vision

The cardinal leaned his elbow on his manuscript, his cheek on his hand, and looked at the young man for a moment. No one had a more searching eye than Cardinal Richelieu, and D’Artagnan felt this look run through his veins like a fever.

“Sit down there before me, Monsieur d’Artagnan; you are enough of a nobleman not to listen standing.”

And the cardinal pointed with his finger to a chair for the young man, who was so amazed at what was going on that he waited for a second sign from the cardinal before he obeyed.

“You are brave, Monsieur d’Artagnan,” continued his Eminence; “you are prudent, which is still better. I like men of head and heart. Don’t be afraid,” said he, smiling; “by men of heart I mean men of courage. But though you are young and have hardly entered on life, you have powerful enemies; if you do not take heed, they will destroy you!”

“Alas, monseigneur!” replied the young man, “very easily, no doubt; for they are strong and well supported, while I am alone.”

“Yes, that’s true. But alone as you are, you have already done much, and will do still more, I doubt not. And yet you need, I believe, to be guided in the adventurous career you have chosen, for, if I mistake not, you came to Paris with the ambitious idea of making your fortune.”

“I am at the age of extravagant hopes, monseigneur,” said D’Artagnan.

“There are no extravagant hopes save for fools, sir, and you are a man of brains. Now, what would you say to an ensign’s commission in my guards, and a company after the campaign?”

“Ah, monseigneur!”

“You accept, do you not?”

“Monseigneur,” replied D’Artagnan, with an embarrassed air.

“What! do you decline?” cried the cardinal, in astonishment.

“I am in his Majesty’s guards, monseigneur, and I have no reason to be dissatisfied.”

“But it seems to me that my guards are also his Majesty’s guards, and whoever serves in a French corps serves the king.”

“Monseigneur, your Eminence has misunderstood my words.”

“That is to say, you refuse to serve me, sir,” said the cardinal in a tone of vexation, through which, however, a sort of esteem manifested itself. “Remain free, then, and preserve your hatreds and your sympathies.”


“Well, well!” said the cardinal, “I am not angry with you, but you are aware it is enough to defend and reward our friends; we owe nothing to our enemies. And yet I will give you a piece of advice: take good care of yourself, Monsieur d’Artagnan, for from the moment I withdraw my hand from you I would not give an obole for your life.”

“I will try to do so, monseigneur,” replied the Gascon, with a noble confidence.

“Remember by-and-by, at some moment when mischance may happen to you,” said Richelieu pointedly, “that I came to seek you, and that I did all in my power to prevent this misfortune befalling you.”

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