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Two hundred years after

X...

1 pages
Fun - 1862 - Royaume-Uni
Humour - Nouvelle

Intérêt: **

 

 

 

Cette très amusante parodie de Dumas a été publiée dans le magazine Fun, un hebdomadaire britannique publié de 1861 à 1901. L’une des rubriques récurrentes du magazine était le Our Prize Essays, pastiches censés être écrits par des écrivains plus ou moins célèbres.

Le numéro du 27 décembre 1862 contient donc le texte Two hundred years after attribué à Alexandre Dumas. Il tient sur une seule page du journal mais celui-ci étant publié sur grand format, il est tout de même relativement long. Le récit est reproduit ici intégralement.

D’un humour passablement délirant, l’histoire imagine que l’impératrice Eugénie, en 1862, charge les trois mousquetaires d’aller lui chercher le nouveau numéro de Fun avant sa parution. Ils se rendent à Londres tous les trois, Athos, Porthos et Aramis, accompagné de leurs valets, Planchet (valet de d’Artagnan) devenant bizarrement ici le valet d’Aramis. Ces valets, il faut le souligner, jouent un rôle important dans l’histoire. Quand les mousquetaires ne savent pas comment s’y prendre pour trouver le numéro de Fun, ils « consultent (leurs) serviteurs ». Et c’est Grimaud qui, en lançant un mot de temps en temps, les met sur la piste.

Le texte est écrit de façon extrêmement drôle, les mousquetaires et plus généralement les textes de Dumas étant joliment parodiés. Parmi les curiosités du texte, on peut relever le fait que l’impératrice dit à deux reprises « Au reservoir ! » aux mousquetaires au lieu de « Au revoir ! ». On ne sait s’il s’agit là d’humour volontaire ou involontaire.

Merci à Mihai-Bogdan Ciuca d’avoir déniché cette curiosité et de me l'avoir signalée.

 

TWO HUNDRED YEARS AFTER

From the French of M. Alexandre Dumas.

I. — A MISSION FROM COMPIEGNE.

"Listen," said the Empress. "Today is Thursday. The next number of Fun will not be published until Wednesday. But it must be in Paris by Tuesday night. The enterprise seems impossible to ye. Attend. On Tuesday night the new number is looked for by one whom I name not. Eh! well. It is your Empress who speaks to ye. Ye will do, we are sure of it, all that can be done by three gallant gentlemen. What say ye of it?"

"It is all as a game," said Athos. "Against the impossible we stake our promise to achieve it. The number shall be in your Majesty’s hands by Tuesday afternoon."

"We can do anything, except disappoint a lady," said Aramis.

Porthos was silent.

But he pressed his fat hand upon his indomitable heart.

"Go, then," said the Empress. "Au reservoir!" They went.

II. — GRIMAUD BREAKS SILENCE.

"More blue!" said Athos.

"Blue stomach!" cried Porthos.

Aramis, so faithful to his ecclesiastical tendencies, joined not in these exclamations; but he twirled his blonde mustache, and gently hummed a canticle.

"Let us consult our servants," said he.

They were already in London. It was November. It was Sunday.

All the Sundays of all the Novembers in London — they are a fog, yellow, thick, confused.

Athos had drank deeply of porter beer.

Porthos had eaten pounds of bif-stek.

Aramis had attended three churches.

And still there was no sign of the next number!

Mousqueton, the lackey of Porthos, had nothing to propose.

Planchet, the lackey of Aramis, had nothing to propose.

But Grimaud, the taciturn lackey of Athos, broke silence — with one sole word.

"Reechmont," said he.

The three musketeers did not speak; but they exchanged a meaning regard.

This regard, it signified the success. To traduce it in words, it meant:

Let Athos and Grimaud disguise themselves as watermen.

Let Porthos and Mousqueton disguise themselves as coachmen.

Whilst Aramis and Planchet remained in Leicester square.

For one of the writers and one of the artists of FUN resided at Reechmont.

III. — REECHMONT.

Reechmont — the favourite palace of good Queen Annebess.

The chosen home of the Cardinal Voolseyman.

Reechmont, with its stately villows (houses of the suburb), gives upon the Tamise.

Two men, disguised as coachmen, leaned upon the parapet of Reechmont Bridge.

Two others, disguised as watermen, rowed up and down in a little boat.

At three hours and a half, all four met at the station of the railway. They found, on their return, that both Aramis and Planchet were singing canticles gaily.

"What bring ye?" said Aramis.

"I," said Athos, "have an engraving."

"And I," said Porthos, "have a conundrum. What hast thou, Aramis?"

"I," said Aramis, "have an Idea!"

IV. — THE IDEA OF ARAMIS.

"Let us baptize it," said Athos. "Grimaud, Burgundy!"

And in ten minutes from that, the stately Count de La Fere was in that state —half-intoxication, half-inspiration — in which his ideas became clear and sparkling, whilst his voice was thick and husky.

"Silence!" he cried, "for the idea of our comrade. More blue, my heart sinks. An engraving — a conundrum; these are not a whole number of Fun. And thy idea to thee, my comrade?"

"It involves," said Aramis, "the chance of killing policemen."

"Nothing," said Athos, "could please me better!"

"And for me," said Porthos, "I will kill two, and eat them afterwards, Saint Greybelly!"

"Listen, then," said Aramis. "There is, in Fleet-street, an excavation for purposes municipal. It is a little to the westward of the office of FUN!"

"A thousand thunders!" cried Athos. "I commence to comprehend!"

"More dew!" said Porthos. "I do not!"

"Listen," said Aramis. "Overcoming the policeman on guard, we will descend into this excavation. There is, without doubt, a secret passage to the office. We will vanquish the Editor, seize the next number, and go. Tomorrow will be Monday. On Tuesday we must be in Paris; on Tuesday afternoon at Compiègne. To the work, then, at the instant!"

IV. — THE EXCAVATION AND THE SECRET PASSAGE.

Interregarding each other, and muttering under their thick mustaches, the three musketeers proceeded, through the fog, from Leicester square to Fleet-street.

All was done as Aramis had proposed.

They overcame the policeman. Prostrated by a single blow from the enormous fist of Porthos, he fell like an ox. Leaving him in charge of Grimaud, Mousqueton, and Planchet, the musketeers descended into the excavation. A temptation — sudden, terrible, affrightful — rose in the mind of Athos, as his noble head struck against a gas-pipe. The pipe could easily be torn asunder by the prodigious strength of Porthos; the gas would escape.

In ten minutes, London — that haughty Tyro, that servile Carthage — would be in flames!

One thought alone restrained the ardour of Athos. In the general conflagration, the office of Fun would also be destroyed.

Sparing the metropolis of perfidious Albion, the musketeers proceeded with their perilous enterprise. After digging for a few minutes, they came against what appeared to be a brick wall.

"Now then, Porthos?" cried Aramis, "See thou; put thy bull's back against yonder brick wall and burst it open.

"Oh!" replied Porthos; and he did so.

The wall fell with a dull sound; and when the musketeers had groped their way for a short distance, they found their most ardent expectations realized.

There was a secret passage to the office of Fun.

V. — THE DESERTED OFFICE.

The office was empty!

The musketeers at first were startled to find no one in the house; but Aramis, who was playing with a little silk handkerchief, which had the coronet of a countess embroidered upon it, suddenly exclaimed, "It is still Sunday. The cold islanders do little work upon that day."

A low whistle from Grimaud was heard. He uttered the word "desk."

Porthos broke it open; and found —
A bottle of Burgundy;
Some truffles;
A gold pin;
And the next number of Fun!

VI. — THE STATION AT LONDON BRIDGE.

The train for Dover was about to start as the musketeers entered the station.

"More blue!" shouted Porthos. "This is my affair to me. See ye this train? It shall not start itself without us!"

Rushing forward, he seized the hindmost carriage, and by an exertion of his enormous strength held it back! In vain did the infuriated stokair heap fresh coals upon the furnace of the engine. Every muscle, every sinew of Porthos was strained.

But he held on.

"To me, the musketeers!" he shouted, in a voice of thunder,

When they had all taken their seats — Athos had principally been the cause of the delay by going into the refreshment-room for a small bottle of brandy —Porthos allowed the train to proceed.

VII. — COMPIEGNE.

At four o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, the three musketeers again stood in the presence of their Empress.

They were dirty and hot; they were unfit for such a chamber; but their leader — it was the Stately Count de la Fere — carried in his hand — that number of Fun which would not be published in London until Wednesday morning.

"Loyal hearts! Gallant and trusty chevaliers!" said the Empress. "How can I recompense ye, then? Money ye need not; office ye disdain. Take, then, this!"

She held out her hand. Athos pressed it reverently to his lips.

Porthos, with a tear, did the same.

Nor did Aramis refuse.

"Au reservoir," said the Empress. "In all the times, I shall count on your devotion!"

"Mercy," said the three musketeers.

 


 

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