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31. The Monk.
Two men lay prone upon the ground, one bathed in blood and motionless, with his face toward the earth; this one was dead. The other leaned against a tree, supported there by the two valets, and was praying fervently, with clasped hands and eyes raised to Heaven. He had received a ball in his thigh, which had broken the bone. The young men first approached the dead man.
"He is a priest," said Bragelonne, "he has worn the tonsure. Oh, the scoundrels! to lift their hands against a minister of God."
"Come here, sir," said Urban, an old soldier who had served under the cardinal duke in all his campaigns; "come here, there is nothing to be done with him, whilst we may perhaps be able to save the other."
The wounded man smiled sadly. "Save me! Oh, no!" said he, "but help me to die, if you can."
"Are you a priest?" asked Raoul.
"I ask, as your unfortunate companion appeared to me to belong to the church."
"He is the curate of Bethune, sir, and was carrying the holy vessels belonging to his church, and the treasure of the chapter, to a safe place, the prince having abandoned our town yesterday; and as it was known that bands of the enemy were prowling about the country, no one dared to accompany the good man, so I offered to do so.
"And, sir," continued the wounded man, "I suffer much and would like, if possible, to be carried to some house."
"Where you can be relieved?" asked De Guiche.
"No, where I can confess."
"But perhaps you are not so dangerously wounded as you think," said Raoul.
"Sir," replied the wounded man, "believe me, there is no time to lose; the ball has broken the thigh bone and entered the intestines."
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