Ten Years Later
The Consent of Athos.
Raoul quitted the Palais Royal full of ideas that admitted no delay in execution. He
mounted his horse in the courtyard, and followed the road to Blois, while the marriage
festivities of Monsieur and the princess of England were being celebrated with
exceeding animation by the courtiers, but to the despair of De Guiche and Buckingham.
Raoul lost no time on the road, and in sixteen hours he arrived at Blois. As he traveled
along, he marshaled his arguments in the most becoming manner. Fever is an
argument that cannot be answered, and Raoul had an attack. Athos was in his study,
making additions to his memoirs, when Raoul entered, accompanied by Grimaud. Keen-
sighted and penetrating, a mere glance at his son told him that something extraordinary
had befallen him.
"You seem to come on a matter of importance," said he to Raoul, after he had
embraced him, pointing to a seat.
"Yes, monsieur," replied the young man; "and I entreat you to give me the same kind
attention that has never yet failed me."
"I present the case to you, monsieur, free from all preface, for that would be unworthy of
you. Mademoiselle de la Valliere is in Paris as one of Madame's maids of honor. I have
pondered deeply on the matter; I love Mademoiselle de la Valliere above everything;
and it is not proper to leave her in a position where her reputation, her virtue even, may
be assailed. It is my wish, therefore, to marry her, monsieur, and I have come to solicit
your consent to my marriage."
While this communication was being made to him, Athos maintained the profoundest
silence and reserve. Raoul, who had begun his address with an assumption of self-
possession, finished it by allowing a manifest emotion to escape him at every word.
Athos fixed upon Bragelonne a searching look, overshadowed indeed by a slight
"You have reflected well upon it?" he inquired.
"I believe you are already acquainted with my views respecting this alliance?"
"Yes, monsieur," replied Raoul, in a low tone of voice; "but you added, that if I persisted