Twenty Years After
The Contents Of The Pates
In Which The Contents Of The Pates Made By The Successor Of Father Marteau Are
In half an hour La Ramee returned, full of glee, like most men who have eaten, and more
especially drank to their heart's content. The pates were excellent, the wine delicious.
The weather was fine and the game at tennis took place in the open air.
At two o'clock the tennis balls began, according to Grimaud's directions, to take the
direction of the moat, much to the joy of La Ramee, who marked fifteen whenever the
duke sent a ball into the moat; and very soon balls were wanting, so many had gone over.
La Ramee then proposed to send some one to pick them up, but the duke remarked that it
would be losing time; and going near the rampart himself and looking over, he saw a man
working in one of the numerous little gardens cleared out by the peasants on the opposite
side of the moat.
"Hey, friend!" cried the duke.
The man raised his head and the duke was about to utter a cry of surprise. The peasant,
the gardener, was Rochefort, whom he believed to be in the Bastile.
"Well? Who's up there?" said the man.
"Be so good as to collect and throw us back our balls," said the duke.
The gardener nodded and began to fling up the balls, which were picked up by La Ramee
and the guard. One, however, fell at the duke's feet, and seeing that it was intended for
him, he put it into his pocket.
La Ramee was in ecstasies at having beaten a prince of the blood.
The duke went indoors and retired to bed, where he spent, indeed, the greater part of
every day, as they had taken his books away. La Ramee carried off all his clothes, in
order to be certain that the duke would not stir. However, the duke contrived to hide the
ball under his bolster and as soon as the door was closed he tore off the cover of the ball
with his teeth and found underneath the following letter:
My Lord, -- Your friends are watching over you and the hour of your deliverance is at
hand. Ask day after to-morrow to have a pie supplied you by the new confectioner
opposite the castle, and who is no other than Noirmont, your former maitre d'hotel. Do
not open the pie till you are alone. I hope you will be satisfied with its contents.
"Your highness's most devoted servant,