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Chapter 48: The Grotto.
In spite of the sort of divination which was the remarkable side of the character of Aramis, the event, subject to the risks of things over which uncertainty presides, did not fall out exactly as the bishop of Vannes had foreseen. Biscarrat, better mounted than his companions, arrived first at the opening of the grotto, and comprehended that fox and hounds were one and all engulfed in it. Only, struck by that superstitious terror which every dark and subterraneous way naturally impresses upon the mind of man, he stopped at the outside of the grotto, and waited till his companions should have assembled round him.
"Well!" asked the young men, coming up, out of breath, and unable to understand the meaning of this inaction.
"Well! I cannot hear the dogs; they and the fox must all be lost in this infernal cavern."
"They were too close up," said one of the guards, "to have lost scent all at once. Besides, we should hear them from one side or another. They must, as Biscarrat says, be in this grotto."
"But then," said one of the young men, "why don't they give tongue?"
"It is strange!" muttered another.
"Well, but," said a fourth, "let us go into this grotto. Does it happen to be forbidden we should enter it?"
"No," replied Biscarrat. "Only, as it looks as dark as a wolf's mouth, we might break our necks in it."
"Witness the dogs," said a guard, "who seem to have broken theirs."
"What the devil can have become of them?" asked the young men in chorus. And every master called his dog by his name, whistled to him in his favorite mode, without a single one replying to either call or whistle.
"It is perhaps an enchanted grotto," said Biscarrat; "let us see." And, jumping from his horse, he made a step into the grotto.
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