The Three Musketeers HTML version
There was in all this, as may have been observed, one personage concerned, of whom,
notwithstanding his precarious position, we have appeared to take but very little notice.
This personage was M. Bonacieux, the respectable martyr of the political and amorous
intrigues which entangled themselves so nicely together at this gallant and chivalric
Fortunately, the reader may remember, or may not remember-- fortunately we have
promised not to lose sight of him.
The officers who arrested him conducted him straight to the Bastille, where he passed
trembling before a party of soldiers who were loading their muskets. Thence, introduced
into a half- subterranean gallery, he became, on the part of those who had brought him,
the object of the grossest insults and the harshest treatment. The officers perceived that
they had not to deal with a gentleman, and they treated him like a very peasant.
At the end of half an hour or thereabouts, a clerk came to put an end to his tortures, but
not to his anxiety, by giving the order to conduct M. Bonacieux to the Chamber of
Examination. Ordinarily, prisoners were interrogated in their cells; but they did not do so
with M. Bonacieux.
Two guards attended the mercer who made him traverse a court and enter a corridor in
which were three sentinels, opened a door and pushed him unceremoniously into a low
room, where the only furniture was a table, a chair, and a commissary. The commissary
was seated in the chair, and was writing at the table.
The two guards led the prisoner toward the table, and upon a sign from the commissary
drew back so far as to be unable to hear anything.
The commissary, who had till this time held his head down over his papers, looked up to
see what sort of person he had to do with. This commissary was a man of very repulsive
mien, with a pointed nose, with yellow and salient cheek bones, with eyes small but keen
and penetrating, and an expression of countenance resembling at once the polecat and the
fox. His head, supported by a long and flexible neck, issued from his large black robe,
balancing itself with a motion very much like that of the tortoise thrusting his head out of
his shell. He began by asking M. Bonacieux his name, age, condition, and abode.
The accused replied that his name was Jacques Michel Bonacieux, that he was fifty-one
years old, a retired mercer, and lived Rue des Fossoyeurs, No. 14.
The commissary then, instead of continuing to interrogate him, made him a long speech
upon the danger there is for an obscure citizen to meddle with public matters. He
complicated this exordium by an exposition in which he painted the power and the deeds