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Chapter 54: M. Fouquet's Friends. (continued)
"Sire, a great misfortune has happened to me."
"Good heavens! what is that?"
"Sire, I have lost one of my friends, M. du Vallon, in the affair of Belle-Isle."
And, while speaking these words, D'Artagnan fixed his falcon eye upon Louis XIV., to catch the first feeling that would show itself.
"I knew it," replied the king, quietly.
"You knew it, and did not tell me!" cried the musketeer.
"To what good? Your grief, my friend, was so well worthy of respect. It was my duty to treat it gently. To have informed you of this misfortune, which I knew would pain you so greatly, D'Artagnan, would have been, in your eyes, to have triumphed over you. Yes, I knew that M. du Vallon had buried himself beneath the rocks of Locmaria; I knew that M. d'Herblay had taken one of my vessels with its crew, and had compelled it to convey him to Bayonne. But I was willing you should learn these matters in a direct manner, in order that you might be convinced my friends are with me respected and sacred; that always in me the man will sacrifice himself to subjects, whilst the king is so often found to sacrifice men to majesty and power."
"But, sire, how could you know?"
"How do you yourself know, D'Artagnan?"
"By this letter, sire, which M. d'Herblay, free and out of danger, writes me from Bayonne."
"Look here," said the king, drawing from a casket placed upon the table closet to the seat upon which D'Artagnan was leaning, "here is a letter copied exactly from that of M. d'Herblay. Here is the very letter, which Colbert placed in my hands a week before you received yours. I am well served, you may perceive."
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