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 DArtagnan felt this look run through his veins like a fever.
Sit down there before me, Monsieur dArtagnan; 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 dArtagnan, continued his Eminence; you are prudent, which is still better. I like men of head and heart. Dont 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, thats 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 DArtagnan.
There are no extravagant hopes save for fools, sir, and you are a man of brains. Now, what would you say to an ensigns commission in my guards, and a company after the campaign?
You accept, do you not?
Monseigneur, replied DArtagnan, with an embarrassed air.
What! do you decline? cried the cardinal, in astonishment.
I am in his Majestys guards, monseigneur, and I have no reason to be dissatisfied.
But it seems to me that my guards are also his Majestys 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 dArtagnan, 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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