The final chapter. I hope it was worth the wait. :o)
Warning: Various bodily functions being described in various ways in this chapter.
Chapter Sixty-three: Epilogue, aka The Revenge
D'Artagnan and Athos had entered the main courtyard at almost at the same time, and a little later than either had intended despite their best efforts. As they broke their fast, they kept an eye out for their brothers, but Porthos and Aramis had yet to arrive.
At one point, they had discussed going to look for their friends, but there was just not enough time before muster to do so. They had last seen Aramis and Porthos as they had escorted the two men to their rooms, and knew their absence was likely due to having slept in much longer than intended. D'Artagnan hoped the two men hadn't forgotten how important it was to be on time to muster on this particular day.
Knowing the Captain tended to keep a surreptitious eye out on the proceedings in the main courtyard below his office, he and Athos went to stand amongst the other Musketeers who had arrived early to muster. D'Artagnan pulled Athos towards the back of the small group, in hopes Porthos and Aramis's absence would not be noticed as quickly. From Athos's arched eyebrow, he'd known that his friend also thought the gesture was futile, but in his mind it was still worth a try. Besides, though the two of them had made it to muster on time, he knew they were both not looking their best after the night they'd had.
The previous night, d'Artagnan and his three brothers had gone out to a tavern to celebrate the long-awaited good news that he was being allowed to return to full duty. Originally, his return was to have been several days hence, but with the King throwing a large soirée in celebration of his birthday* the next day, all Musketeers in the immediate region were needed for security and escort duty, as well as several other less-than-pleasant tasks meant to make a good impression on the guests.
Once the celebration had been announced, d'Artagnan had vacillated over whether or not to immediately state his case to Captain Tréville about returning to full duty ahead of the original timetable that had been set for him. At the time of the announcement, he'd decided it was too soon to inquire about a change, despite knowing every able-bodied man would be needed. Instead, he'd bided his time and had increased his training until he felt the Captain might be more receptive towards his request. However, before he could take the issue to Tréville, the Captain had asked to see him about it instead.
Apprehensive at first that he would be completely side-lined, or relegated to some largely meaningless task, d'Artagnan had been greatly surprised to be informed that he would be allowed to go back on full duty – as long as the physician gave his permission after a final check. Apparently, in light of every able-bodied man being needed, the Captain had already discussed the idea of whether d'Artagnan could be allowed back several days early with the garrison's physician.
Upon hearing that news, d'Artagnan had to work hard to keep his delight in check and maintain a countenance associated with the King's elite guard. However, in his mind, he was practically jumping for joy, something he was certain the Captain saw regardless, if the amused gleam in the man's eye was anything to go by.
While waiting for the physician to arrive, Tréville had given him permission to inform his brothers about the good news. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis's reaction was not quite what he had expected. To say it was restrained would be an understatement. They'd looked at each other for a moment before Aramis nodded and had gone off towards the Captain's office. While he still wasn't completely fluent in the silent communication that went on between the older men, d'Artagnan was still able to reasonably guess what they had been saying to each other, and rolled his eyes as a result. Apparently, they would not be happy with the physician's report and wanted Aramis to be involved.
"Do you not trust the physician?" d'Artagnan had asked.
"Of course we do, we just trust Aramis more," Porthos said and grinned.
When even that didn't garner a change of expression from Athos, d'Artagnan asked, "You don't think I'm ready, do you?"
"That is not up to me."
"I know it's not, Athos," d'Artagnan said, raising his voice slightly in his frustration with the non-answer. "I just want to know what you think."
"I do not believe I can be truly objective on this matter."—Athos sighed—"My first instinct is that you're not ready despite the evidence of my own eyes to the contrary these past few days."
"We almost lost you not so long ago, brother."
D'Artagnan nodded in agreement of Porthos's words. How could he not? Yet, there was a truth the two men had yet to realize. "The same is true for any one of us every time we pass through those gates. These past weeks, every time you left on a mission without me, I wondered if you would come back alive, but I had to let you go anyway. Duty and honor had to come first."
"When did you get so wise?" Porthos asked.
"Around the same time I decided to become friends with three loyal, insane, overprotective men."
"He knows us so well." They turned to see Aramis, who had sounded proud of how he'd been described, walking towards them.
"Or like knows like," Athos said, causing Porthos to chuckle.
"That too," Aramis said and grinned. Pointing over his shoulder back towards Tréville's office, he continued, "The Captain said he was fine with me being there for the exam."
D'Artagnan crossed his arms over his chest. "Don't I get a say?"
As one, his friends said, "No."
After what he had considered an overly-thorough, bordering-on-paranoid exam, which he knew was likely Aramis's fault, d'Artagnan was given leave to go rejoin his other two friends. As he'd left the room, he'd looked back and seen that Aramis and the physician were conferring with one another. Aramis had been involved in his recovery from the beginning, and had the best insight on his day-to-day recovery, so he knew the man's observations would be taken into greater consideration.
Down in the courtyard a few minutes later, he'd watched Aramis and the physician head towards Captain Tréville's office. Porthos, who was sitting next to him, clapped him on the shoulder and smiled. He'd then shifted his gaze towards Athos, whose expression clearly told him not to worry.D'Artagnan nodded slightly, but still felt extremely nervous regardless.
While they'd waited for the final verdict, his brothers had done an admirable job distracting him from thinking too much about Captain Tréville's final decision. His forearm was nudged by Porthos when the man had spotted Aramis walking towards their usual table. Aramis's whole countenance seemed grave, which made his stomach drop into his feet with foreboding regarding the verdict his brother was about to deliver.
D'Artagnan was focused on Aramis, but out of the corner of his eye, he'd seen Athos suddenly turn around in his seat in order to figure out what was going on behind him.
"Aramis," Athos said seconds later, the word sounding like part rebuke and part promise of violence.
Porthos laughed when Aramis suddenly broke out into a wide grin and said as he approached, "Well, d'Artagnan, it's back to the heat, flies, and boredom of parades* for you…and the occasional mission of course."
It took a moment, but when the words had finally sunk in, d'Artagnan found he could breathe again. Happiness and joy filled him up as Porthos, with a big grin on his face, clapped him on the back a few times. Athos turned back towards him, locking eyes with him briefly before gracing him with one of the man's rare, full smiles.
Aramis came to a halt and stood just behind the bench Athos was sitting on.
"Not funny, Aramis," d'Artagnan said, feeling a little indignant at the trick his supposed friend had just played.
The man, who looked extremely pleased with himself, chuckled and said, "You have to admit it was a little funny. Your face especially. I can't believe you had any doubts about the outcome."
"After everything that's happened," d'Artagnan said, "I don't think you can blame me for being a little uncertain about my future."
Aramis's expression suddenly became somewhat repentant, his friend nodding slightly in acknowledgement of what d'Artagnan had just said.
"The Captain would like to see you now d'Artagnan, but after that, how about we go out and celebrate? The first round is on me as an apology."
D'Artagnan's gaze briefly slid towards Athos, who said, "While a celebration is certainly in order, do you really think it wise to have it tonight of all nights?"
"I'm well aware of what Tréville will do to anyone who is late to muster tomorrow," Aramis replied, "but it's not like we're going to be out all night. Just some wine—"
"And dinner," Porthos added.
Nodding his head, Aramis said, "And dinner. Wine and dinner. That's all."
"Athos?" d'Artagnan said, getting excited by the prospect of celebrating with his brothers.
Athos was silent for a moment before he said, "Fine." When his brother started to stand, both he and Porthos followed suit. "While d'Artagnan is with the Captain, I'll go get my hat and then wait for him. How about we meet you at Le Bouton d'Or*?"
"Sounds good to me. I'm starving," Porthos said.
"Are you sure you don't want us to wait for you?" Aramis asked.
"Athos doesn't need to wait for me either, but I know when to pick my battles." D'Artagnan ignored the muttered 'since when' and made a shooing motion. "Go and get a table for us."
Aramis lifted a hand in acknowledgment as Porthos said, "Don't take too long or we'll start without ya."
The morning of the King's soirée, when the door to Captain Tréville's office opened, all conversation amongst the gathered Musketeers immediately started petering out before quickly coming to a complete stop.
In vain, d'Artagnan looked around the crowd, hoping Porthos and Aramis had somehow joined it at the last minute, but they hadn't. He shared a look with Athos, who shook his head, indicating he hadn't seen their friends either. In the meantime, the Captain had made it down the stairs and was now standing in front of the assembled Musketeers.
Just as Tréville was about to speak, there was a noise behind d'Artagnan, which indicated that someone had just joined the group of men waiting for their assignments for the day. D'Artagnan risked a brief look behind him, but had been disappointed to see Bellange instead of his two friends.
At first, the Captain said nothing, but the man's expression alone was enough to convey just how much trouble Bellange was in. Tréville's glare was so potent that, even though it wasn't directed towards him, d'Artagnan still felt like he should get on his knees and beg forgiveness.
"Come up to my office after muster, Bellange," Captain Tréville said, with a tone of voice so calm and yet so sharp it could have easily sliced through stone.
As the Captain had given out the assignments, d'Artagnan kept hoping for another such interruption, but there was none. Proof that their commanding officer had been keeping an eye out for who had arrived in the courtyard, and in what order, was in the assignments the older man doled out to the men. Given that the weather did not look at all promising, and would most likely rain later in the day, d'Artagnan was thankful he and Athos had landed assignments that would keep them indoors for the duration of the King's soirée.
Just as the Captain seemed he was about to dismiss them, the man's countenance changed to something far worse than the one Tréville had earlier when Bellange had arrived late to muster. D'Artagnan had a feeling he knew what had caused it, even though he'd not heard his friends' arrival.
"So nice of the two of you to finally join us," the Captain said, the tone of his voice just as sharp as it had been with Bellange. The added disappointment lacing every word made d'Artagnan flinch. He couldn't help but feel sorry for Aramis and Porthos's predicament.
After a tense silence during which only the usual background noises of the garrison could be heard, the Captain dismissed his Musketeers. Immediately, the older man added, "Not you two. My office. Now."
As Tréville started walking towards the stairs leading up to his office, Bellange fell in step behind their commanding officer. After a moment, Porthos and Aramis followed behind the two men who were now ascending the stairs, looking almost as if they were being led to the gallows. Perhaps they were in a sense.
Once they made it to the landing the two men looked down towards him and Athos, but there was nothing they could do for their friends. Every Musketeer had been warned more than once what would happen if they were not at muster on time this day, and now Aramis and Porthos were facing the consequences. Athos caught his attention and d'Artagnan acknowledged the unvoiced reminder that they had their own duties they had to attend to before sending a half-hearted wave of condolence to his friends.
By the time he and Athos were leading their horses out of the stables, Porthos and Aramis were slowly coming down the stairs from the Captain's office, Bellange walking several steps ahead of them. All three of them looked as if they had narrowly escaped death from cannon fire.
D'Artagnan was more than curious to know the fates of his friends, but neither he nor Athos could stop to talk to their friends. Because he was farther away from Aramis and Porthos, he knew they had said something but had missed the exact words – something about not surviving? From the overall tone, it was obvious his friends had been given the worst possible assignments as punishments. Since this was his first major event as a full Musketeer, d'Artagnan had no idea what such assignments could be, but assumed he would find out at some point.
"We'll never survive*," Porthos said.
"Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has," Aramis said.
Apparently, Athos had caught what the two men had said, and had known what their words implied, because d'Artagnan thought he heard the man briefly chortle. As he mounted his horse, d'Artagnan planned to ask why those words had been so amusing to Athos.
"…so…much…vomit," Aramis said – again.
At least that's what d'Artagnan thought his brother had said. It was difficult to know for sure, because Aramis's voice had been muffled ever since he'd lowered his head to rest in the circle of his arms which were laying on their usual table.
As expected, the soirée had gone on late into the night. For some, like Aramis, Porthos, and Bellange, it had been late enough that it had been almost daybreak before they had been allowed to go off duty. Captain Tréville was apparently somewhat merciful, allowing those who had been on duty the longest to sleep in a little and report for duty by midday.
Riding towards the palace the day before, d'Artagnan had asked Athos what their friends had said and why it had caused him to laugh. The answer, which was part speculation until it was confirmed, made the Gascon cringe – and he'd grown up on a farm. Apparently, there was a special punishment held in reserve by all the various regiments, but the Captain had very rarely ever had to employ it with his Musketeers.
Soldiers who had earned their commanding officer's ire, like Porthos and Aramis in particular, were assigned to guard duty at the public latrines*, circulating between the various locations around the palace. Some locations were far worse than others, but it could universally be agreed that the stench* was quite remarkable – and revolting. Due to the increased numbers of people at the palace, many of the closed stools* were overflowing, having not been regularly emptied as they should have been.
Porthos had unfortunately been in the wrong place at the wrong time at one point, when some of the contents of a pot from a closed stool had finally been dumped out of a window* and onto his shoulder.
"If I ever find out which valet…" Porthos mimicked strangling someone. "I'm going to kill 'im. My cloak will never be the same again."
As was typical amongst the higher classes at functions such as a celebration of the King's birthday, the people tended to grossly overindulge in the rich food and abundant drink that was provided. The combination of excessive amounts food and drink often led to the guests getting sick and vomiting up the contents of their stomachs – often when least expected and to the detriment of those people closest to the one being ill.
More than once, Aramis and Porthos had been witness to various guests being ill in one form or another. As the night had continued, they'd had to round up guests who had gone astray around the grounds as well as those mistakenly wandering into the private sections of the palace. One particular viscomte Aramis had fetched from one of the gardens had been so suddenly and violently ill that his friend had no time to get out of the way before the sick had splashed all over the man's boots. It was still up in the air whether or not that particular pair of boots could be saved. While they were being cleaned, Aramis was forced to wear a very old pair of boots, which his friend complained about almost as constantly as about the vomit.
D'Artagnan was disgusted by the stories he'd heard, and felt sorry for his friends' having to endure such experiences while on duty. He never meant the celebration of his return to full duty to lead to Porthos and Aramis enduring what had happened to them during the soirée. What had happened to the cloak and boots had been accidents, and nothing that could have been anticipated ahead of time. Their punishment was over and done with as far as their Captain was concerned.
In the beginning, after he and Athos had learned that Aramis and Porthos had drugged them with a sleeping draught, d'Artagnan had not had the most charitable thoughts when thinking about his so-called friends. As the days had passed, and bridges had started to be mended between him and Athos, the Gascon had realized the forced interaction had been what was needed to bring them back into some semblance of an accord. Being drugged by their two friends had ended up being the best thing that could've happened to him and Athos, and he was thankful for their intervention.
However, what still stuck in his craw was the method Aramis and Porthos had employed to make their escape. Had it really been necessary to drug him and Athos? Had it been necessary to make Athos think he had broken the promise to stick to one cup of wine with a meal? Had it been necessary to drug him when every night he'd been exhausted, his insomnia forgotten, because he was still recovering from his injury?
Aramis leaving had left him doubting he would ever walk again. Porthos and Aramis leaving had left him stuck upstairs and without the means of going outside. Their friends leaving had left him in turmoil, both emotionally and physically. Through the talks they'd had, d'Artagnan knew that Athos had not been much better off in either sense. It had taken the two of them a while to find their footing enough to work on the issues plaguing them. Despite the positive outcome, for which he was ultimately extremely grateful to Aramis and Porthos, he couldn't overlook their methods.
It had turned out that Athos had agreed with him, including the part about wanting to get some revenge. While he had been healing, they had agreed to bide their time, knowing Porthos and Aramis would be waiting for them to do something in retaliation.
The perfect opportunity had come when they'd returned to the garrison. He and Athos had not planned it, but they were given the chance to make Aramis and Porthos believe their scheme had not worked, that there had not been any form of compromise or reconciliation. Their trick had worked and their friends seemed to believe they were in the clear.
He and Athos had made plans, bided their time, and had succeeded in getting their revenge. D'Artagnan had to admit it had worked a little too well, with both Porthos and Aramis experiencing more indignities than either of them had considered might happen. It was almost enough to—
"What I don't get is how come we overslept."
Until Porthos had said those words, d'Artagnan had been lost in thought. He had startled upon hearing them, and had involuntarily sought out Athos's gaze, even though such reactions had likely looked highly suspicious. Thankfully, Aramis still had his head resting on his arms, but the Gascon could only hope Porthos had not noticed his careless reaction.
D'Artagnan had no idea what to say, and wondered if either he or Athos should acknowledge such a comment. Saying something or not saying anything at all could equally backfire, and implicate them and their role in Aramis and Porthos being punished in such a disgusting way.
Aramis lifted his head enough so that they could see his eyes. His tone was speculative as Aramis said, "We were out fairly late celebrating."
Before Porthos could finish speaking, and saying something which would've likely led to him and Athos possibly being murdered by their brothers, Captain Tréville interrupted his friend.
"You four," Tréville said, who paused long enough for them all to shift so they were looking up at the Captain. "My office; now. I have a mission for you."
Upon hearing those words, d'Artagnan grinned widely and practically vibrated out of his seat in his excitement at the prospect of going on his first mission since the injury which had nearly ended his life in more than one respect. As he stood, he saw that Athos was also smiling, looking in his way almost as excited as he was.
Both he and Athos were at the foot of the stairs before Aramis and Porthos were half out of their seats while still grumbling about having to move. He and his brother exchanged an expression of relief at their Captain's timing as they slowly started to climb the stairs, hoping their brothers would soon catch up.
When he and Athos made it to the landing a few steps ahead of their brothers, they saw that Tréville was standing in the doorway waiting for them, something their Captain did not usually do. Their eyes met those of their commanding officer as they walked, wondering why the man wasn't already inside. After a moment, and with a gleam in his eye, Tréville smiled slightly before turning to go into his office.
Apparently, someone had noticed his reaction to Porthos's words, and that someone had figured out what they'd meant, interrupting the conversation before their plan of revenge could be discovered.
As he and Athos walked into Captain Tréville's office, d'Artagnan's mind quickly flashed back to making and executing their plan against Porthos and Aramis…
As d'Artagnan exited Athos's room, he decided it might be a good time to share the idea he'd had brewing in his head recently. He said, "I've been thinking."*
"About?" Athos said as he closed the door to his room.
D'Artagnan started heading towards his own room so that he could drop off his old doublet. He was looking forward to seeing how long it would take for Porthos and Aramis to notice the new one Athos had just given him.
"About a way to get Aramis and Porthos back for their dirty trick back in Saint Sulpice. It occurred to me that it won't be much longer before I'm back on full duty. I think it would be a great cause for celebration, don't you? We could have dinner together, perhaps some wine..."
The Gascon had seen the exact moment Athos deduced what he had in mind. "A special meal to celebrate sounds like an excellent idea. I think I know somewhere where I can get something extra special to go with it."
D'Artagnan grinned. "We can sort out more of the details later."
D'Artagnan was still pretty giddy from the good news which Captain Tréville had officially given him. It was one thing to have Aramis tell him he was cleared for full duty, but it was quite another to hear it from his commanding officer.
He felt suffused with happiness over the realization that his life was finally getting back to normal now that the final hurdle had been overcome. He was very much looking forward to whatever came next, even if what was next ended up being fighting his boredom while guarding a ballroom of revelers.
The Gascon's thoughts were so occupied with the joy filling them that he'd almost missed the fact that Athos was waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.
"The Captain has made it official?" Athos asked.
"Yes, I'm back," d'Artagnan said with a grin on his face as he pulled Athos to him for a brief hug. "I'm finally back!"
Athos smiled, and d'Artagnan thought he detected a wicked gleam to the man's eyes. "Shall we go meet our brothers? This celebration has been a long time coming."
His continued happiness had made him slow to remember their plans for this long-awaited celebration. As they walked out of the garrison's gate, d'Artagnan said, "Do you have the special ingredient?"
Athos gripped his arm and pulled him into a small alcove. His brother pulled out two small vials, and handed one to him. "I thought we'd have a better chance to get them both if we each had some."
D'Artagnan nodded his agreement and hid the vial away in his doublet.
As they'd continued on their way towards Le Bouton d'Or, d'Artagnan had started to wonder if it was really the right time to execute their plan given the Captain's repeated warnings against being late for muster the next morning.
He said as much to Athos, who replied, "Normally, I would not want to incite so much of Tréville's wrath upon anyone of us, but needs must. Otherwise, the punishment will come nowhere near to fitting their crime."
It was a near thing, with Athos almost being caught at one point putting some sleeping draught into Porthos's cup of wine, but they managed to successfully drug both their friends.
The fact that it had taken Athos longer to add tamper with Porthos's wine had actually worked in their favor. The difference in time before Aramis and Porthos had begun to be affected by the sleeping draught ended up lending credence to the idea that the two were simply tired after a long day at the garrison.
D'Artagnan, after a kick in the shin from Athos, had started playing up how tired he was feeling after the day he'd had despite being so excited about the next day. He was fairly certain sleep would not come easily for him that night.
Athos had chimed in not long after that with a reminder about having to be on time to the earlier muster the next morning.
"Athos is right," Aramis said, slightly slurring the man's name. "It's getting late; we can't risk staying out all night."
Porthos yawned. "Yeah, yeah. 'Sides, I don't think I could make it through a game o' cards tonight."
They all finished their wine before making their way back, taking longer than normal given Aramis and Porthos's vaguely uneven gaits.
When they'd split up, he and Athos each followed along behind one of their friends to make sure Porthos and Aramis made it safely back to their respective rooms.
"Maybe we should go look for them, confirm that we didn't give them too much of that sleeping draught last night," d'Artagnan said.
Athos's expression became thoughtful, but he didn't say anything.
"Granted," d'Artagnan continued, "I will forever be grateful to Porthos and Aramis for forcing us to work things out, but do they really deserve…?"
"Perhaps not. I, too, am grateful, but I didn't appreciate their underhanded way of going about things back in Saint Sulpice. Too much could have gone wrong with your recovery."
"What if something's gone wrong with our plan?"
"I don't see how; they were not in any condition to get into trouble after we left them at their respective rooms." Athos tipped his head towards the Captain's office. "Besides, Tréville will be down at any moment, and I refuse to incur his wrath."
D'Artagnan sighed, and then glanced in the direction of Aramis and Porthos's rooms. "You're right, and I agree. Captain Tréville can be downright intimidating when he wants to be."
It wasn't long after he'd said those words, that d'Artagnan had seen the Captain at his most fearsome when Bellange showed up to muster just as Tréville was about to start giving orders. When his two brothers finally showed up, he was happy Athos had talked him out of going to look for them. Intimidating was nowhere close to describing their Captain at the moment.
As soon as all four of them were standing before the man's desk, Captain Tréville gave them escort duty for a small caravan of nobles returning to their homes after the previous night's soirée.
As they left the Captain's office, the four of them had continued to make plans and discuss other logistics.
By the time they'd had occasion for idle chatter again, neither Porthos nor Aramis brought up the issue of them oversleeping or how it had led to them being given the worst of all possible duty stations; it seemed as if that part had been forgotten.
D'Artagnan and Athos shared a knowing look, and he'd had to work to contain his smile.
It wasn't until they were making the return trip to Paris that d'Artagnan could no longer contain himself and laughed out loud as he thought about how he and Athos had gotten their revenge. His brothers asked him what was so amusing. For a moment, he didn't know what to say, and he feared the revenge would be discovered. But, thinking fast, he managed to remember and recount something amusing the marquis they'd escorted had done. His brothers had laughed at the noble's idiocy, and d'Artagnan had hidden a quiet sigh of relief.
When d'Artagnan next caught Athos's eye, he shrugged in apology. Athos smirked and shook his head in exasperation.
La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid,* but it was even better when you got away with it.
"the King … in celebration of his birthday": Louis XIII was born Sunday, 27 September 1601 in the Château de Fontainebleau.
"heat, flies, and boredom of parades": Paraphrased from episode 1.04 "The Good Soldier" written by Adrian Hodges.
"Le Bouton d'Or": One English translation is "Buttercup" (as in the flower). As far as I know this was not a real tavern in Paris at that time. I just wanted to include another nod to The Princess Bride before the end of the story.
"We'll never survive"… "Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.": Porthos and Aramis's lines are taken directly from the movie, The Princess Bride, screenplay by William Goldman. The lines of dialogue were originally spoken by Buttercup and Westley during the Fire Swamp scene.
"public latrines…stench…closed stools…dumped out of a window": According to a documentary on YouTube called "Versailles' Dirty Secrets", written by Julia Bracher and posted on the Toute l'Histoire channel on 3 March 2017, hygiene was regarded much differently than it is today in the 17th century. At Versailles, under Louis XIII's reign, there were a number of public latrines, but higher ranking visitors (e.g. nobles) tended to urinate in the corridors of the chateau when they needed to relieve themselves. The place tended to smell like pee much of the time. A "closed stool" is also known as a "toilet chair". They were about the size of a large clothes/storage trunk, and inside was a porcelain pot sunk into a seat. Normally the contents would be disposed of in the cess pits, which were only cleaned out seasonally. This meant the place had a particular stench that could be quite disgusting at certain times of the year. However, "…a number of lazy, uncouth valets, rather than go empty the pots in the cess pits dug for this purpose, they would throw the slops straight out of the window, with barely the decency to shout 'watch out below'." Here's an added tidbit of information: Did you know that in the 17th century "to go into one's closet" meant that you were going to go empty your bowels? Not all the details used in the story pertained to Louis XII's time at Versailles but rather to his son, Louis XIV's, time. Plus, I'm well aware of how bad sanitation was in general back then, that it just wasn't the palace that was bad. Writer's prerogative? :o)
"I've been thinking." … "…It occurred to me that…": Dialogue taken from Chapter Sixty-two: The End.
"La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid": Just a reminder… Translation into French of "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
A/N: My apologies for how long it took to get this chapter out to you. Real life happened - repeatedly .
Well…This is the end of another story. Thank you to all those who read, reviewed, got alerts and/or favorited this story! Special thanks to the eight people who left the majority of the comments! When I started this story, I had no idea it would go on for so long, or reach the length it did. I am very thankful for your support, and appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to take this journey with me.
I'm very grateful to Celiticgal1041, who offered her support and proofed so many chapters (including this one), despite the fact that this story was a gift for her. Thanks also to Tidia for proofing chapters 1-20 for me. As always, any remaining mistakes were my fault.
***As mentioned previously, I will be posting something where you can choose the next Musketeers adventure I write by voting on ideas explained in the individual chapters. Be on the lookout for "Choose Your Own Adventure."
Thanks for reading! Until next time.