A superstitious idea struck her: she realized that Heaven denied its aid, and she remained in the attitude in which she had fallen, with her head drooping and her hands clasped.

Then from the other bank the executioner was seen to raise both his arms slowly. A moonbeam fell on the blade of his broadsword. His two arms fell; they heard the hissing of the scimitar and the victim’s cry, then a truncated mass sank under the blow.

The executioner then took off his red cloak, spread it on the ground, laid the body in it, threw in the head, tied it by the four corners, lifted it on his shoulder, and got into the boat again.

In the middle of the stream he stopped the boat, and holding his burden over the water,

“Let the justice of God be done!” cried he, in a loud voice.

And he let the body drop into the depths of the waters, which closed over it.

Three days later the four musketeers were in Paris again. They had not exceeded their leave of absence, and that same evening went to pay their customary visit to M. de Trèville.

“Well, gentlemen,” asked the excellent captain, “have you enjoyed your excursion?”

“Prodigiously!” replied Athos for himself and his companions.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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