View Full Version : A question regarding Raoul

09-07-2009, 08:18 PM
Hello Dumas fans!

This is my first post, so I hope I am doing this correctly.

I'm wanting some clarification regarding Raoul. I read a few of Dumas' books about the musketeers when in high school but am now going through all of them in order and am loving them!! My question is regarding Raoul's "ancestry". I am completely infatuated with Athos, so am trying to understand the following...

In chapter 20, "One of Marie Michon's Adventures", of Twenty Years After, it appears to me that Madame de Chevreuse (Marie Michon) is Raoul's mother. It also seems apparent that Athos is not his father since Madame de Chevreuse doesn't even know who Athos is until he explains that he is a friend of the other three musketeers (particularly Aramis who was a lover of Chevreuse).

In the 90th chapter of the first part of The Vicomte de Bragelonne (entitled "The Consent of Athos"), it sounds like Athos _is_ Raoul's father, but that Athos simply won't reveal to him who his mother is.

Am I missing something, or is this just an inconsistency in the story?

Any comments/explanations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


09-08-2009, 02:18 AM
Oh my it's been about five years since I did what YOU are doing now and my son now has the series but as I recall the Twenty Years After incident was a one night stand where both parties were incognito and much reading between the lines were needed. Athos discovers the origins of his son later of course. If you get a chance let me know what you think of Louise de la Valaerre as that was one long long struggle to get through. I presume you have the three editions that make up Vicomte de Bragalonne. Wish I had my copies now to be more authoritative in my reply.

09-08-2009, 04:23 AM
Marie Michon was the alter-ego of Mme de Chevreuse as she flees Paris because she is out of favour with the cardinal (Richelieu) (?). She spends the night at a priest's place (safe from all male company, of course), together with her maid.

At the same time, Athos is returning from a campaign and seeks a sleeping place for the night. Somehow (others please fill this one in!) he obtains the address of the priest. He enters the house and Mme de Chevreuse, aka Marie Michon, thinks that the priest who left to read a dying person the last rights, has returned. This is not true of course, as it is Athos who actually enters.

What happens next, while the priest is away, creates Raoul.

When Raoul is born, Mme de Chevreuse, believing that the priest is the father of the child, sends Raoul to the priest to be raised. The priest, knowing that he was absent that night, is very puzzled, but decides to help the poor boy.

About one year after, Atos returns from a campaign again and passes the house of the priest again. And sees there, a child. The priest, not recognising him, tells him the whole story, and Athos concludes by himself that he is in fact that father of Raoul and decides to bring him up.

When Mme de Chevreuse and Athos have their conversation, she does realise that he is the father of her son, but only after he tells the story in a roundabout way. Naturally as it was pitch-dak when they made Raoul :goof:. That conversation in fact is so playful. Both make clear that they know what they are talking about together without actually telling the other straight, like in Austen's books. That's so lovely.

Great story that!

I am not sure why Athos does not want to tell Raul that he is Mme de Chevreuse's son... I think both Athos and she knew that it was a one-off, maybe her husband was even still alive. For a man it was not an affront to have an illegitimate child, but for a woman it was. Although, she does take up the role of mother by introducing Raoul at court, though not with so many words... Although probably everyone knew in silence...

Did it help?

09-08-2009, 07:18 PM
Thank you so much mtpspur & kiki!

I really appreciate your responses. I was desperate to know what I had missed, but the thought of paging through the previous volumes to find it was exasperating! Everything makes sense now.

mtpspur - I'm not sure what part of my series would be the volume Louise de Valliere. I purchased this set of twelve volumes of Dumas on Ebay a few years back. It was printed in 1893, is in excellent condition, and the guy was practically giving it away (so I couldn't resist!). Anyways, in these volumes it only breaks the D'Artagnan series into The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, Vicomte de Bragellone Part 1 and Vicomte de Bragellone Part 2. When I was in high school the series I read was only The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years after and The Man in the Iron Mask. I can tell that I missed much of what I am currently reading, though. I'm finding Vicomte de Bragellone Part 1 a little slow moving, but I still love Dumas!!

Thanks again to both of you!!

09-08-2009, 11:26 PM
I originally had a hardcover Vicomte (back in the 60s)which had a very definite breakoff which was confirmed decades later when I both a uniform paperback 3 volume set made up of Vicomte, Louise and Man in the Iron Mask (since given to my oldest son James). The breakoff for Vicomte was where Buckingham Jr. is making friends with the Queen and pledging undying love and loyalty. Louise is tedious to say the least--way way too much emphasis on poor Louis and his love life the ungrateful dog--can you tell I dislike him. The Musketeers I felt were rarely rewarded for their loyalty properly and seem to be considered expendabe to the greater glory of the crown and I came to understand Aramis a bit better in Man with the Iron Mask as an adult reader. The two editions I had of Iron Mask started at different points but generally BOTH were past Athos's argument with the King. Mind you this is from memory so hope this helps.

09-09-2009, 05:30 AM
It is hard to tell which volume of yours is La Vallière, MarieG, because not all Vicomtes are divided the same way. Take a look at the searcheable text-section of this forum, then you get a clue.

I didn't think that La Vallière was too slow or tedious, but that is because I read it in the French version and there the book is not divided into three parts, as three seperate stories.

The Vicomte, that is the whole three or four parts in one (The Vicomte de Braglonne, Louise de la Vallière, Ten Years After and The Man in the Iron Mask) moves as a typical book of the time, and particularly Dumas: nearly the whole book, up until the last 300-400 pages works on the preparation of the reader for the climax. It gives hints as to who is working with whom on what and who will get into trouble or a difficult situation. The dividing of the whole story is a huge mistake because the climax on Belle-Île does not reach its deserved peak.

In fact scholars have argued that the Vicomte (the whole version) does not really centre itself anymore on d'Artagnan and his friends as did the former museteer-books, but rather on Louis XIV and how he finally managed to become a powerful king. That with our voice of honesty d'Artagnan in the middle, of course, because we can identify with him; through him the reader is connected with the old merry days that seem to have come to an end...

The parts The Vicomte and Louise give a huge sketch of life and intrigue at court and are part of the climax at the end. But maybe readers should be warned about the last part of the musketeer saga: that it is not like the first parts and that it is no longer a pure adventure story as its huge ending suggests.

That said, it contains great parts like the one with La Fontaine and the one entitled 'Where Molière got his inspiration for his Bourgeois Getilhomme'. Great that. I'll have to read the Molière version at some point. Other than that, it still does d'Artagnan (Louis: 'D'artagnan, please prepare a carriage.' d'Artagnan (listening in): 'Sire, it is already ready for you.' D'artagnan keeps surprising until the end! And his intervention when Athos has his quarrel with the king, breaking his épée in two pieces), Athos (his death and the scenes on the small island) and particularly Porthos (his death and testament; those made me cry from beginning to end) great, great justice. Aramis in a sense too, but he was developed in a less endearing way...

09-09-2009, 05:46 PM
I should clarify my remarks as to the tediousness of Louise was primarily the heavy emphasis on Louis and his love life and Louise being all so worried about his precious feelings. The dog didn't care two cents about her until he heard her feeling sorry for him. I freely admit watching him grow into the role of the King in Iron Mask was much more interesting but as protrayed in Louise I just wanted to slap him silly. And yes the emphasis shifting away from the Musketeers was disappointing but true to the story. An epic that I have never regretted reading none the less.

09-10-2009, 04:03 AM
Yes, the climax was indeed more interesting.

But, we should add that the whole thing was a satirical romance. Particularly the prank of Madame that goes totally wrong and the queen mother and queen who are trying to find out who his mistress bloody well is...

Dumas wrote about Louis, not only about his political intelligence, but also about the legendry man with a dozen mistresses.

You know when his wife complained about that to him, he said: 'But, ma'am, what do you have to complain about? I sleep with you every night, do not I?'

Louise de la Vallière he did care about, as she was his mistress for several years. She had several children of him, but in the end the relationship ended and she went to the convent to do penance...

I think Dumas needed some young people like in his first part to do strange and funny things with. The problem with people of 60 (like Athos, d'Artagnan, Porthos and Aramis have become), is that they do not do rush things and know the value of the result by looking at te start. Hence, they do not rush into things. Unlike Louis, Madame and Louise, of course who get into trouble because of they youth...

No hard feelings though ;)

09-10-2009, 07:45 PM
Wonderful insights. Thanks to the both of you, again.

I am only at the part where the Queen asks the Duke of Buckingham to leave for England (after the presentation of the princess to Philip), so I have quite a ways to go. I'm a slow reader (and my job is a little overwhelming right now) so it will take some time for me to work my way through to the end. But I like to savor good writing and I know it will be worth it. I'm also finding myself procrastinating in a way because I am dreading the demise of the three (particularly my favorite, Athos).

I'm really glad I found this site and am able to connect with those who love literature like myself. I'm no longer going to hesitate to post questions or comments.


09-11-2009, 04:04 AM
Don't worry about posting your comments. We like to talk about the books we have read long ago ;).

I can tell you, without spoiling it for you, that the last part becomes so interesting that you will arrive at the point of judgement without realising it.

It was one of the wittiest approaches I have ever read.

Welcome on the forum!