“Come on, then! do come on!” cried milady, striving to drag the young woman along by the arm. “Thanks to the garden, we yet can escape. I have the key. But let us make haste. In five minutes it will be too late!”

Madame Bonacieux tried to walk, took two steps, and sank on her knees.

Milady strove to lift her up and carry her, but could not succeed.

At this moment they heard the rolling of the carriage, which as soon as the musketeers were seen set off at a gallop. Then three or four shots were fired.

“For the last time, will you come?” cried milady.

“Oh, my God, my God ! You see my strength fails me. You see plainly I cannot walk. Escape yourself!”

“Escape myself, and leave you here! No, no, never!” cried milady.

All at once she stopped; a livid flash darted from her eyes. She ran to the table, poured into Madame Bonacieux’s glass the contents of a ring which she opened with singular quickness.

It was a grain of a reddish colour, which instantly melted.

Then taking the glass with a firm hand,

“Drink,” said she; “this wine will give you strength—drink!”

And she put the glass to the lips of the young woman, who drank mechanically.

“This is not the way I wanted to avenge myself,” said milady, setting the glass on the table with an infernal smile, “but, faith! one does what one can.” And she rushed out of the room.

Madame Bonacieux saw her go without being able to follow her. She was like those people who dream they are pursued, and who vainly struggle to walk.

A few moments passed. A frightful noise was heard at the gate. Every instant Madame Bonacieux expected to see milady, but she did not return.

At length she heard the grating of the hinges of the opening gates; the noise of boots and spurs resounded on the stairs. There was a great murmur of voices coming nearer and nearer; it seemed to her she heard her own name pronounced.

All at once she uttered a loud cry of joy, and darted toward the door. She had recognized D’Artagnan’s voice.

“D’Artagnan! D’Artagnan!” cried she, “is it you? This way! this way!”

“Constance! Constance!” replied the young man, “where are you? My God!”

At the same moment the door of the cell yielded to a shock, rather than opened. Several men rushed into the room. Madame Bonacieux had sunk into an armchair, without the power of moving.

D’Artagnan threw down a pistol, still smoking, which he held in his hand, and fell on his knees before his mistress. Athos replaced his in his belt. Porthos and Aramis, who held their drawn swords in their hands, returned them to their scabbards.

“O D’Artagnan! my beloved D’Artagnan! You have come, then, at last. You have not deceived me! It is indeed you!”

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.