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Chapter 53: King Louis XIV. (continued)
The king was hurt: he showed it by his reply. "Monsieur," said he, "orders have only been given to such as were judged faithful."
"And, therefore, I have been astonished, sire," retorted the musketeer, "that a captain like myself, who ranks with a marechal of France, should have found himself under the orders of five or six lieutenants or majors, good to make spies of, possibly, but not at all fit to conduct a warlike expedition. It was upon this subject I came to demand an explanation of your majesty, when I found the door closed against me, which, the final insult offered to a brave man, has led me to quit your majesty's service."
"Monsieur," replied the king, "you still believe that you are living in an age when kings were, as you complain of having been, under the orders and at the discretion of their inferiors. You seem to forget that a king owes an account of his actions to none but God."
"I forget nothing, sire," said the musketeer, wounded by this lesson. "Besides, I do not see in what an honest man, when he asks of his king how he has ill-served him, offends him."
"You have ill-served me, monsieur, by siding with my enemies against me."
"Who are your enemies, sire?"
"The men I sent you to fight."
"Two men the enemies of the whole of your majesty's army! That is incredible."
"You have no power to judge of my will."
"But I have to judge of my own friendships, sire."
"He who serves his friends does not serve his master."
"I so well understand this, sire, that I have respectfully offered your majesty my resignation."
"And I have accepted it, monsieur," said the king. "Before being separated from you I was willing to prove to you that I know how to keep my word."
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