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The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas père
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The Man in the Iron Mask
by Alexandre Dumas

Chapter I:
The Prisoner.

Since Aramis's singular transformation into a confessor of the order,
Baisemeaux was no longer the same man. 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, "I am at your orders, monseigneur." Aramis merely
nodded his head, as much as to say, "Very good"; and signed to him with
his hand to lead the way. 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. It might have been said that the alteration effected in
Baisemeaux extended even to the prisoners. 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. 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. On arriving at the door, Baisemeaux
showed a disposition to enter the prisoner's chamber; but Aramis,
stopping him on the threshold, said, "The rules do not allow the governor
to hear the prisoner's confession."