Short summary - The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later - Alexandre Dumas

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later
Alexandre Dumas

... May 1660. The beginning of the independent reign of the young Louis XIV. The incognito living in exile, the heir to the English throne, Charles II, meets with his cousin, the King of France, and asks for his support in restoring the throne. The powerful Cardinal Mazarin refuses to finance the plan to Louis. King Charles turns for help to Count de La Ferou - Athos, one of those who proved loyalty to the executed Charles I, being next to him until the last minute, standing at the foot of his scaffold. Before his death, Charles I told Athos that a million gold was buried in the dungeon of Newcastle Castle - to his son "for a rainy day"; these funds are just enough for the business, now conceived by the heir to the British crown. Simultaneously with Athos, which he does not know, the retired Lieutenant d'Artagnan is sent to England. Confusing cards to each other, together they help Charles II to ascend the throne. The king showered favors on the aging heroes.
Louis XIV urgently summons d'Artagnan to Paris. Shortly before that Mazarin dies, bequeathed to the king, in addition to a significant sum of money, his devoted secretary de Colbert, appointed by Louis to the post of intendant of finance - the third place in the state after the king himself, superintendent and royal attorney Fouquet. Colbert begins his service with the death penalty for the abuse of two friends of Fouquet and with a denunciation to the king that Fouquet is spending money from the treasury, fortifying Bel-Ile, a fortress on the coast. The war with England is not part of the king's calculations; therefore, this is unnecessary waste! The King sends d'Artagnan to inspect Belle-Ile. To the amazement of d'Artagnan, these works are directed by Aramis (now Bishop of Vannes) and Porthos. Having sent Porthos with a letter to Fouquet, Aramis hurries after him. “I have no doubt that d'Artagnan was sent to Belle-Ile by the king,” says Aramis Fouquet. "I have no doubt that this is Colbert's machinations." - "What am I to tell the king?" - confused Fouquet. "Nothing. Give him Belle-Ile. "
Fouquet follows the wise advice of His Eminence, in addition donating more than a million and a half livres for the wedding of Prince Philip, Duke of Orleans. In addition, Fouquet shows the king the fortification plans of Bel-Ile - the very ones for which the brave d'Artagnan traveled to Brittany. Arriving at the Louvre, he is wounded: "My king does not trust me?" - “On the contrary. I appoint you the captain of the Musketeers! "...
The son of Athos, the Viscount Raoul de Bragelon, in a suite of courtiers, meets Princess Henriette, sister of the King of England and daughter-in-law of the King of France, in Le Havre. The flirtatious princess ignites the flame of love in the hearts of the Duke of Buckingham and the Comte de Guiche accompanying her. It soon ceases to be a secret for the court. If it is not difficult to remove Buckingham to England (Queen Mother Anne of Austria asks him for this by right of his late father's beloved), things are much more complicated with the subjects of Louis XIV. The Viscount de Bragelon involuntarily overhears the conversation between de Guiche and the Viscount de Vard, who speaks too frivolously not only about the princess, but also about d'Artagnan. “In the heart of Guiche you instill a passion for the bride of his master,” Raoul remarks to de Wardes. "You want to set me up against a close friend of my father." In the quarrel between Raoul and de Ward, Buckingham will intervene, leaving France, where duels are prohibited: he is at the service of de Ward! In a duel on the seashore, both were seriously wounded. Buckingham returns to London, de Ward heals his wounds far from Paris, restraining his impatience to return there as soon as possible.
He inflicted another wound on Raoul. Having hurt the honor of d'Artagnan, de Vard insulted Raoul and Athos along the way: “No one knows from which parents the Viscount de Bragelon was born, adopted by the Comte de La Ferre. As for the Chevalier d'Artagnan - he once ruined a noble lady whom my father loved. " “This lady, commonly referred to as Milady,” replies the furious Athos, “attempted three times on the life of d'Artagnan and put a knife in the hand of Buckingham's killer! She was a criminal ... ”
In addition to all these upheavals, Raoul is saddened that the king advised Athos to postpone his wedding day to Louise de Lavalier, the maid of honor of Princess Henrietta. Fatally, this decision coincides with a conversation between the king and the princess, complaining to His Majesty about the jealous spouse. To put an end to gossip, the king has only one way: to take the princess under his protection. Suddenly - as happens only with royalty - between him and his daughter-in-law flashes more than a kindred feeling ... But even in this case, a decent cover is needed. It twists itself: let the court think that the king postponed the marriage of the Viscount de Bragelon, having views of Louise.
De Bragelon goes to Calais with letters to Charles II from his sister and Fouquet. Before leaving, at an audience with Princess Henrietta, he laments: for a month now, since the king postponed his wedding, he is burning with love. "How? Already a month? " - the princess is surprised. So the king lied to her! This means that he has been in love with her maid of honor for a month! ..
Meanwhile, one favorable glance of the young king was enough for a love to be born in Louise's soul, incomparable with the sympathy that she had hitherto felt for her fiancé. She confesses to the king in this feeling that gripped her. The king is flattered and ready to reciprocate her. As luck would have it, it was at this moment that Aramis, wishing to strengthen Fouquet's influence on the king, gives him the idea to write a love letter to Louise and make her a rich gift: in politics, all means are good. “I want to see on the throne a king who will be loyal to Mr. Fouquet, who in turn will be loyal to me. I have the power to do what I said. As for your beloved, Monsieur Fouquet, Madame de Bellère, I can explain everything to her, and she will not doubt you ... ”
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Aramis really has power above money and position at court. D'Artagnan learns about his secret financial relationship with the commandant of the Bastille Bezmo, that Bezmo was actually bought by Aramis, that in the Bastille there is a certain mysterious prisoner named Marchiali, imprisoned by Cardinal Mazarin, held much better, but also stricter than other prisoners. Who is he? And what connects him with Aramis? ..
In Fontainebleau, not far from the residence of the king, seven important persons stay in the hotel - each with a retinue. The last to stay at the Red Peacock are Aramis and the old Franciscan monk. All these people, including the ex-Musketeer Bishop of Vannes, are members of the Jesuit Order. A monk is a general of the order, called upon to appoint, on the eve of his death, his successor. Each of the candidates must tell him in private a secret, on which depends not only the future of the order, but also the fate of Europe. The choice falls on Aramis: he owns a truly great and terrible secret. D'Artagnan witnessed the monk's funeral. The presence of Aramis at the burial inflames his curiosity even more ...
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Aramis is annoyed. D'Artagnan intervened in his affairs in Belle-Ile, and now he also introduces to His Majesty the excellent engineer and cartographer Porthos, who, under the patronage of the captain of the musketeers, receives a high title! D'Artagnan and for the Bishop of Vannes contrives to put in a word to the king. “You will become a cardinal,” Louis XIV promises Aramis. "And thank Mr. Fouquet for the diligence."
Aramis's plans change dramatically: it is necessary to return Fouquet's letter to Louise de Lavaliere. But Louise claims that she did not receive the letter. So the letter was stolen by someone? And for what purpose? Isn't there a new political intrigue behind this?
The duel between de Guiche and de Vard, who returned to Paris, adds fuel to the fire of the king's inflamed passion for Louise. De Ward informed Raoul that His Majesty's radiant gaze was now turned not to the princess, but to her maid of honor. Not only two ladies are offended, but also the young Viscount de Bragelon. The opponents in the duel seriously wounded each other. The king learns that the fight was due to Louise. This is a scandal! The Queen Mother, Princess Henrietta and the young queen are doubly indignant: "Madame de Lavaliere must be removed from the capital." The king takes Louise's sweeping away for a chill: "Does she really still love de Bragelon ?!" In despair, Louise flees the palace and hides in a Carmelite monastery. D'Artagnan finds an opportunity to inform his master about this: the subjects should not suffer because of the whims of their master. The King begs Louise for forgiveness. In the palace, in strict secrecy, chambers are arranged for secret meetings of Louis XIV and Madame de Lavaliere.
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De Bragelon in London receives two letters at once. The first is from de Guiche: "I am wounded, ill, come back soon." The second is anonymous: "The castle of your love is under siege." In addition, Charles II was informed by his sister: "It is necessary to immediately send de Bragelon to Paris."
De Guiche tries to reassure his friend: there is all sorts of gossip, but, believe me, in reality we are talking about innocent things. D'Artagnan, in response to de Bragelon's questions about what was happening in Paris in his absence, is indignant: "Do you really want me to disgust you with your sweetheart and teach you to curse women who are the happiness of our life?" Louise's friend Ora Montale sends Raoul for all the information to their mistress, Princess Henrietta. The princess takes him to Louise's chambers and shows him a secret staircase, a trap door to his bride's bedroom and her portrait, painted by order of the king.
Raoul intends to fight in a duel with the Marquis Saint-Aignan, who is involved in this story. Saint-Aignan turns to the king's favor in fear - His Majesty promises to make things easy. Alas, everything turns out to be not so simple. Athos comes to the king: “Your honor is the honor of the nobility! Why did you have to remove the viscount to London? " - "You forget: before you is your king!" - “And you forget that building your happiness on someone else's, broken by you, is a mortal sin! ..” Athos breaks his sword on his knee and puts it at the feet of the king, choking with anger and shame. Not two people - two epochs of France sharply collide this evening in the Louvre ...
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Duchess de Chevreuse appears at the same hour to Aramis as a shadow of the past time. She saw Aramis at the funeral of a Franciscan monk, she is a secret agent of the Jesuit order, she returned to Paris to restore her wasted fortune. She has letters from Mazarin, from which it follows that Fouquet once borrowed thirteen million from the treasury (exactly the money that Colbert, according to the bequest of the cardinal, handed over to the king; but only Fouquet knows about this - and he is not able to deflect the accusation). The Duchess offers Aramis to buy the letters from her - but gets a firm refusal.
Aramis hastens to inform Fouquet about this visit. Fouquet is crushed by the message of Aramis: it was this morning that he managed to sell to the husband of his mistress, Mr. Vanel, one of the places occupied at the court, in his current position, the most important - the position of the prosecutor. Aramis and Fouquet beg Vanel to replay the case - he persists. They offer him twice as much. A mottled sheet of paper falls out of Vanel's wallet. This is a draft of his deal with Fouquet, written by Colbert's hand - Fouquet's death sentence and at the same time a decree on Colbert's occupation of the No. 1 post in France ...
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The Duchess de Chevreuse visits Colbert, who buys out Mazarin's letters from her, and then enters the queen mother's chambers ... The Duchess is the keeper of her secrets, the secret of the second heir to King Louis XIII, the second dauphin, the twin brother of the now reigning Louis XIV - the unfortunate prisoner of the Bastille. "What can I pay for the years of your exile, your heartache?" - Asks the crying Anna of Austria. “Visit my estate. True, it has fallen into decay, funds are needed to restore it. " - "You don't have to worry about this ..."
D'Artagnan puts an ultimatum before the king: either his resignation - or a pardon for the impudent Athos and guarantees of the inviolability of Aramis and Porthos. Reluctantly, the king gives the floor to the captain of the musketeers. Athos retires. Raoul, after a sincere conversation with Louise and her confession of eternal love for the king, goes on an African campaign.
The royal entourage visit Fouquet at his castle in Vaud. Aramis, using the services of the commandant of the Bastille, kidnaps a prisoner named Marchiali from prison, and in his place, with the help of Porthos, is the king of France, stolen from chambers in the castle of Fouquet. Fouquet, dedicated by Aramis to what he did last night, exclaims: “It doesn't change anything! The king is made by the retinue! D'Artagnan already guesses about everything! Run to Belle-Ile! " As soon as Aramis and Porthos leave the castle, Fouquet develops a violent activity to free the king. Anyone who ruled France for less than a day is exiled forever to a prison on the island of St. Margaret.
Instead of gratitude to Fouquet for his deliverance, the king burns with anger towards an imaginary rival in love (the missing letter is to blame). Colbert portrays Fouquet in the eyes of the king as a vile embezzler. D'Artagnan is ordered to arrest Fouquet. He is forced to submit; but upon learning that, in pursuance of another order, the Musketeers staged a pogrom in the house of Fouquet, where the king was staying, and thereby covered themselves with shame, exclaims: "Your Majesty has branded his faithful servants with dishonor!" Once again he asks for resignation, but in response he receives a new order from the king: to overtake the fugitives in Bel-Ile and take them into custody. “You have restrained me, sire,” admits d'Artagnan with a sigh. “By doing so, you belittled me in my own eyes. But what is there to talk about it! My honor is a thing of the past. You are the master, I am your slave ... ”
Everything comes to an end; he is also in the history of the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan.
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Porthos dies in Belle-Ile, crushed by the rubble of a cave into which he lured almost a hundred soldiers sent by the king, and blew up a powder store. Aramis managed to escape; a few years later he will return to his homeland from Spain under the name of the Duke d'Alamese. Colbert, to whom Aramis introduces his successor in the rank of general of the Jesuits, will become the first minister. Fouquet save lives by replacing the scaffold with a link. Returned by the king from exile and de Guiche. Retired Athos at the hour of death is his son, ascending into the starry sky: then the news of the death of Raoul in the war.
Louise will often come to two tombs, crying about irrevocable happiness. D'Artagnan, who once met her in the family crypt of La Ferov, will be killed on the battlefield by a cannonball in a campaign against Holland. The hero's weakening hand will for the first time grip the marshal's rod, sent to him on the eve of the battle by de Colbert.