Alexandre Dumas: The Man in the Iron Mask

Chapter 45: The Ancestors of Porthos.

When D'Artagnan left Aramis and Porthos, the latter returned to the principal fort, in order to converse with greater liberty. Porthos, still thoughtful, was a restraint on Aramis, whose mind had never felt itself more free.

"Dear Porthos," said he, suddenly, "I will explain D'Artagnan's idea to you."

"What idea, Aramis?"

"An idea to which we shall owe our liberty within twelve hours."

"Ah! indeed!" said Porthos, much astonished. "Let us hear it."

"Did you remark, in the scene our friend had with the officer, that certain orders constrained him with regard to us?"

"Yes, I did notice that."

"Well! D'Artagnan is going to give in his resignation to the king, and during the confusion that will result from his absence, we will get away, or rather you will get away, Porthos, if there is possibility of flight for only one."

Here Porthos shook his head and replied: "We will escape together, Aramis, or we will stay together."

"Thine is a right, a generous heart," said Aramis, "only your melancholy uneasiness affects me."

"I am not uneasy," said Porthos.

"Then you are angry with me."

"I am not angry with you."

"Then why, my friend, do you put on such a dismal countenance?"

"I will tell you; I am making my will." And while saying these words, the good Porthos looked sadly in the face of Aramis.

"Your will!" cried the bishop. "What, then! do you think yourself lost?"

"I feel fatigued. It is the first time, and there is a custom in our family."

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