Raoul followed the well-known road, so dear to his memory, which led from Blois to the residence of the Comte de la Fere.
The Comte de la Fere, still faithful to his principles of loyalty and royalty, one day developed before his son in the vaults of Saint Denis, -- the Comte de la Fere, in the name of his son, had always declined them.
The comte was seated at a table covered with papers and books; he was still the noble, handsome gentleman of former days, but time had given to this nobleness and beauty a more solemn and distinct character.
God knows, Planchet, that I should fly from a sight so sad if I did not wish to show my respect for the illustrious shadow of what was once the Comte de la Fere, whom we loved so much."
"Thou must add," said D'Artagnan, "that a gentleman who is passing by wishes to have the honor of paying his respects to the Comte de la Fere, and if thou art satisfied with what thou hearest, then mention my name!"
"Does Monsieur le Comte de la Fere live here?" asked Planchet.
But at the moment he was about to fly into a passion, so as to procure either a horse or an explanation, he was struck with the recollection that the Comte de la Fere lived in the neighborhood.
Grimaud, the comte's intendant, always pays me when he makes use of that carriage; and I should not wish the Comte de la Fere to have to reproach me with having imposed on one of his friends."
"As you please," said Aramis, "particularly as regards disobliging the Comte de la Fere; only I think I have a right to give you a louis for your idea."
In an instant D'Artagnan perceived that the best way in which he could act would be to go home and write Milady a long letter, in which he would confess to her that he and De Wardes were, up to the present moment absolutely the same, and that consequently he could not undertake, without committing suicide, to kill the Comte de Wardes.
"You cannot think so, dear love!" replied D'Artagnan; "but now, suppose this poor Comte de Wardes were less guilty than you think him?"
Seeing D'Artagnan about to leave her, Milady recalled his promise to avenge her on the Comte de Wardes.