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85. The Oubliettes of Cardinal Mazarin.
At first, on arriving at the door through which Mazarin had passed, D'Artagnan tried in vain to open it, but on the powerful shoulder of Porthos being applied to one of the panels, which gave way, D'Artagnan introduced the point of his sword between the bolt and the staple of the lock. The bolt gave way and the door opened.
"As I told you, everything can be attained, Porthos, women and doors, by proceeding with gentleness."
"You're a great moralist, and that's the fact," said Porthos.
They entered; behind a glass window, by the light of the cardinal's lantern, which had been placed on the floor in the midst of the gallery, they saw the orange and pomegranate trees of the Castle of Rueil, in long lines, forming one great alley and two smaller side alleys.
"No cardinal!" said D'Artagnan, "but only his lantern; where the devil, then, is he?"
Exploring, however, one of the side wings of the gallery, after making a sign to Porthos to explore the other, he saw, all at once, at his left, a tub containing an orange tree, which had been pushed out of its place and in its place an open aperture.
Ten men would have found difficulty in moving that tub, but by some mechanical contrivance it had turned with the flagstone on which it rested.
D'Artagnan, as we have said, perceived a hole in that place and in this hole the steps of a winding staircase.
He called Porthos to look at it.
"Were our object money only," he said, "we should be rich directly."
"Don't you understand, Porthos? At the bottom of that staircase lies, probably, the cardinal's treasury of which folk tell such wonders, and we should only have to descend, empty a chest, shut the cardinal up in it, double lock it, go away, carrying off as much gold as we could, put back this orange-tree over the place, and no one in the world would ever ask us where our fortune came from -- not even the cardinal."
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