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The Man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask


by Alexandre Dumas

The Man in the Iron Mask Chapter Thirty-Seven: The Two Lighters Summary

  • Fouquet travels rapidly to Orleans, convinced that he is not being pursued. At Orleans, he hires a boat with eight rowers to take him down the Loire River.
  • Fouquet hopes to be the first dignitary at Nantes.
  • The rowers let out an exclamation, for behind them, and rapidly gaining ground, is a boat with twelve rowers.
  • Fouquet and his friend Gourville are astonished; no one, not even the King, travels on a lighter with more than eight rowers.
  • The rowers tell Fouquet that the boat is certainly from Orleans.
  • Gourville and Fouquet are worried.
  • Fouquet commands the rowers to stop so he can get a better look at the boat pursuing them.
  • Fouquet spies Colbert. They wonder why he does not announce himself or draw up next to Fouquet's boat. The boat is also clearly filled with armed men.
  • Fouquet orders his men to begin rowing again.
  • The other boat follows, maintaining a regular distance all day between the two.
  • Towards the evening, Fouquet tries an experiment. He orders the rowers to row closer to shore and pretend that Fouquet will disembark.
  • By chance, a stableman was walking on the banks with three horses.
  • The other boat stops and a handful of men with muskets disembark.
  • Fouquet is pleased that he forced Colbert to show his hand.
  • The two boats continue down the river.
  • Colbert is careful to have his boat remain behind Fouquet's.
  • When they reach Nantes, Fouquet jumps down and gives Colbert a public and ostentatious salute.
  • Fouquet asks, irritated, why Colbert refused to join him or pass him.
  • Colbert says it is out of respect.
  • Fouquet hops into a carriage and makes his way to Nantes. He hears rumors that the King is coming with all speed and is expected in ten or twelve hours.
  • As soon as D'Artagnan arrives, he asks to speak with Fouquet.

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