The Man in the Iron Mask

  • Chapter I. The Prisoner.

  • Narrator

    Since Aramis’s singular transformation into a confessor of the order, Baisemeaux was no longer the same man.

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  • Up to that period, the place which Aramis had held in the worthy governor’s estimation was that of a prelate whom he respected and a friend to whom he owed a debt of gratitude; but now he felt himself an inferior, and that Aramis was his master.

  • He himself lighted a lantern, summoned a turnkey, and said, returning to Aramis,

  • Profile Picture of Baisemeaux in The Man in the Iron Mask

    Baisemeaux

    “I am at your orders, monseigneur.”

  • Narrator

    Aramis merely nodded his head, as much as to say, “Very good”; and signed to him with his hand to lead the way.

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  • Baisemeaux advanced, and Aramis followed him.

  • It was a calm and lovely starlit night; the steps of three men resounded on the flags of the terraces, and the clinking of the keys hanging from the jailer’s girdle made itself heard up to the stories of the towers, as if to remind the prisoners that the liberty of earth was a luxury beyond their reach.

  • Narrator

    It might have been said that the alteration effected in Baisemeaux extended even to the prisoners.

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  • The turnkey, the same who, on Aramis’s first arrival had shown himself so inquisitive and curious, was now not only silent, but impassible.

  • He held his head down, and seemed afraid to keep his ears open.

  • Narrator

    In this wise they reached the basement of the Bertaudiere, the two first stories of which were mounted silently and somewhat slowly; for Baisemeaux, though far from disobeying, was far from exhibiting any eagerness to obey.

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  • On arriving at the door, Baisemeaux showed a disposition to enter the prisoner’s chamber; but Aramis, stopping him on the threshold, said,

  • Profile Picture of Aramis in The Man in the Iron Mask

    Aramis

    “The rules do not allow the governor to hear the prisoner’s confession.”

  • Narrator

    Baisemeaux bowed, and made way for Aramis, who took the lantern and entered; and then signed to them to close the door behind him.

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  • For an instant he remained standing, listening whether Baisemeaux and the turnkey had retired; but as soon as he was assured by the sound of their descending footsteps that they had left the tower, he put the lantern on the table and gazed around.

  • On a bed of green serge, similar in all respect to the other beds in the Bastile, save that it was newer, and under curtains half-drawn, reposed a young man, to whom we have already once before introduced Aramis.

  • Narrator

    According to custom, the prisoner was without a light.

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  • At the hour of curfew, he was bound to extinguish his lamp, and we perceive how much he was favored, in being allowed to keep it burning even till then.

  • Near the bed a large leathern armchair, with twisted legs, sustained his clothes.