Alexandre Dumas: The Man in the Iron Mask

Chapter 29: Planchet's Inventory. (continued)

"No, no; what you see on my arms is arsenic."


"Yes; I am taking my precautions against rats."

"Ay, I suppose in an establishment like this, rats play a conspicuous part."

"It is not with this establishment I concern myself, monsieur le comte. The rats have robbed me of more here than they will ever rob me of again."

"What do you mean?"

"Why, you may have observed, monsieur, my inventory is being taken."

"Are you leaving trade, then?"

"Eh! mon Dieu! yes. I have disposed of my business to one of my young men."

"Bah! you are rich, then, I suppose?"

"Monsieur, I have taken a dislike to the city; I don't know whether it is because I am growing old, and as M. d'Artagnan one day said, when we grow old we more often think of the adventures of our youth; but for some time past I have felt myself attracted towards the country and gardening. I was a countryman formerly." And Planchet marked this confession with a rather pretentious laugh for a man making profession of humility.

Athos made a gesture of approval, and then added: "You are going to buy an estate, then?"

"I have bought one, monsieur."

"Ah! that is still better."

"A little house at Fontainebleau, with something like twenty acres of land round it."

"Very well, Planchet! Accept my compliments on your acquisition."

"But, monsieur, we are not comfortable here; the cursed dust makes you cough. Corbleu! I do not wish to poison the most worthy gentleman in the kingdom."

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