Readme.it in English  home page
Readme.it in Italiano  pagina iniziale
readme.it by logo SoftwareHouse.it

Ebook in formato Kindle (mobi) - Kindle File Ebook (mobi)

Formato per Iphone, Ipad e Ebook (epub) - Ipad, Iphone and Ebook reader format (epub)

Versione ebook di Readme.it powered by Softwarehouse.it






The Three Musketeers
Alexandre Dumas

Contents

Author's Preface

1. THE THREE PRESENTS OF D'ARTAGNAN THE ELDER
2. THE ANTECHAMBER OF M. DE TREVILLE
3. THE AUDIENCE
4. THE SHOULDER OF ATHOSTHE BALDRIC OF PORTHOS AND THE
HANDKERCHIEF OF ARAMIS
5. THE KING'S MUSKETEERS AND THE CARDINAL'S GUARDS
6. HIS MAJESTY KING LOUIS XIII
7. THE INTERIOR OF "THE MUSKETEERS"
8. CONCERNING A COURT INTRIGUE
9. D'ARTAGNAN SHOWS HIMSELF
10. A MOUSETRAP IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
11. IN WHICH THE PLOT THICKENS
12. GEORGE VILLIERSDUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
13. MONSIEUR BONACIEUX
14. THE MAN OF MEUNG
15. MEN OF THE ROBE AND MEN OF THE SWORD
16. M. SEGUIERKEEPER OF THE SEALSLOOKS MORE THAN ONCE FOR THE BELL
IN ORDER TO RING ITAS HE DID BEFORE
17. BONACIEUX AT HOME
18. LOVER AND HUSBAND
19. PLAN OF CAMPAIGN
20. THE JOURNEY
21. THE COUNTESS DE WINTER
22. THE BALLET OF LA MERLAISON
23. THE RENDEZVOUS
24. THE PAVILION
25. PORTHOS
26. ARAMIS AND HIS THESIS
27. THE WIFE OF ATHOS
28. THE RETURN
29. HUNTING FOR THE EQUIPMENTS
30. D'ARTAGNAN AND THE ENGLISHMAN
31. ENGLISH AND FRENCH
32. A PROCURATOR'S DINNER
33. SOUBRETTE AND MISTRESS
34. IN WHICH THE EQUIPMENT OF ARAMIS AND PORTHOS IS TREATED OF
35. A GASCON A MATCH FOR CUPID
36. DREAM OF VENGEANCE
37. MILADY'S SECRET
38. HOWWITHOUT INCOMMODING HIMSELFATHOS PROCURED HIS EQUIPMENT
39. A VISION
40. A TERRIBLE VISION
41. THE SEIGE OF LA ROCHELLE
42. THE ANJOU WINE
43. THE SIGN OF THE RED DOVECOT
44. THE UTILITY OF STOVEPIPES
45. A CONJUGAL SCENE
46. THE BASTION SAINT-GERVAIS
47. THE COUNCIL OF THE MUSKETEERS

48. A FAMILY AFFAIR
49. FATALITY
50. CHAT BETWEEN BROTHER AND SISTER
51. OFFICER
52. CAPTIVITY: THE FIRST DAY
53. CAPTIVITY: THE SECOND DAY
54. CAPTIVITY: THE THIRD DAY
55. CAPTIVITY: THE FOURTH DAY
56. CAPTIVITY: THE FIFTH DAY
57. MEANS FOR CLASSICAL TRAGEDY
58. ESCAPE
59. WHAT TOOK PLACE AT PORTSMOUTH
60. IN FRANCE
61. THE CARMELITE CONVENT AT BETHUNE
62. TWO VARIETIES OF DEMONS
63. THE DROP OF WATER
64. THE MAN IN THE RED CLOAK
65. TRIAL
66. EXECUTION
67. CONCLUSION
EPILOGUE

The Three Musketeers
Alexandre Dumas

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

In which it is proved thatnotwithstanding their names' ending
in OS and ISthe heroes of the story which we are about to have
the honor to relate to our readers have nothing mythological
about them.

A short time agowhile making researches in the Royal Library
for my History of Louis XIVI stumbled by chance upon the
Memoirs of M. d'Artagnanprinted--as were most of the works of
that periodin which authors could not tell the truth without
the risk of a residencemore or less longin the Bastille--at
Amsterdamby Pierre Rouge. The title attracted me; I took them
home with mewith the permission of the guardianand devoured
them.

It is not my intention here to enter into an analysis of this
curious work; and I shall satisfy myself with referring such of
my readers as appreciate the pictures of the period to its pages.
They will therein find portraits penciled by the hand of a
master; and although these squibs may befor the most part
traced upon the doors of barracks and the walls of cabaretsthey
will not find the likenesses of Louis XIIIAnne of Austria
RichelieuMazarinand the courtiers of the periodless
faithful than in the history of M. Anquetil.

Butit is well knownwhat strikes the capricious mind of the
poet is not always what affects the mass of readers. Nowwhile
admiringas others doubtless will admirethe details we have to
relateour main preoccupation concerned a matter to which no one
before ourselves had given a thought.


D'Artagnan relates that on his first visit to M. de Treville
captain of the king's Musketeershe met in the antechamber three
young menserving in the illustrious corps into which he was
soliciting the honor of being receivedbearing the names of
AthosPorthosand Aramis.

We must confess these three strange names struck us; and it
immediately occurred to us that they were but pseudonymsunder
which d'Artagnan had disguised names perhaps illustriousor else
that the bearers of these borrowed names had themselves chosen
them on the day in whichfrom capricediscontentor want of
fortunethey had donned the simple Musketeer's uniform.

From the moment we had no rest till we could find some trace in
contemporary works of these extraordinary names which had so
strongly awakened our curiosity.

The catalogue alone of the books we read with this object would
fill a whole chapterwhichalthough it might be very
instructivewould certainly afford our readers but little
amusement. It will sufficethento tell them that at the
moment at whichdiscouraged by so many fruitless investigations
we were about to abandon our searchwe at length foundguided
by the counsels of our illustrious friend Paulin Parisa
manuscript in folioendorsed 4772 or 4773we do not recollect
whichhaving for titleMemoirs of the Comte de la Fere,
Touching Some Events Which Passed in France Toward the End of the
Reign of King Louis XIII and the Commencement of the Reign of
King Louis XIV.

It may be easily imagined how great was our joy whenin turning
over this manuscriptour last hopewe found at the twentieth
page the name of Athosat the twenty-seventh the name of
Porthosand at the thirty-first the name of Aramis.

The discovery of a completely unknown manuscript at a period in
which historical science is carried to such a high degree
appeared almost miraculous. We hastenedthereforeto obtain
permission to print itwith the view of presenting ourselves
someday with the pack of others at the doors of the Academie des
Inscriptions et Belles Lettresif we should not succeed--a very
probable thingby the by--in gaining admission to the Academie
Francaise with our own proper pack. This permissionwe feel
bound to saywas graciously granted; which compels us here to
give a public contradiction to the slanderers who pretend that we
live under a government but moderately indulgent to men of
letters.

Nowthis is the first part of this precious manuscript which we
offer to our readersrestoring it to the title which belongs to
itand entering into an engagement that if (of which we have no
doubt) this first part should obtain the success it meritswe
will publish the second immediately.

In the meanwhileas the godfather is a second fatherwe beg the
reader to lay to our accountand not to that of the Comte de la
Ferethe pleasure or the ENNUI he may experience.

This being understoodlet us proceed with our history.

THE THREE PRESENTS OF D'ARTAGNAN THE ELDER


On the first Monday of the month of April1625the market town
of Meungin which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born
appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the
Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. Many
citizensseeing the women flying toward the High Streetleaving
their children crying at the open doorshastened to don the
cuirassand supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a
musket or a partisandirected their steps toward the hostelry of
the Jolly Millerbefore which was gatheredincreasing every
minutea compact groupvociferous and full of curiosity.

In those times panics were commonand few days passed without
some city or other registering in its archives an event of this
kind. There were nobleswho made war against each other; there
was the kingwho made war against the cardinal; there was Spain
which made war against the king. Thenin addition to these
concealed or publicsecret or open warsthere were robbers
mendicantsHuguenotswolvesand scoundrelswho made war upon
everybody. The citizens always took up arms readily against
thieveswolves or scoundrelsoften against nobles or Huguenots
sometimes against the kingbut never against cardinal or Spain.
It resultedthenfrom this habit that on the said first Monday
of April1625the citizenson hearing the clamorand seeing
neither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de
Richelieurushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When
arrived therethe cause of the hubbub was apparent to all.

A young man--we can sketch his portrait at a dash. Imagine to
yourself a Don Quixote of eighteen; a Don Quixote without his
corseletwithout his coat of mailwithout his cuisses; a Don
Quixote clothed in a wooden doubletthe blue color of which had
faded into a nameless shade between lees of wine and a heavenly
azure; face long and brown; high cheek bonesa sign of sagacity;
the maxillary muscles enormously developedan infallible sign by
which a Gascon may always be detectedeven without his cap--and
our young man wore a cap set off with a sort of feather; the eye
open and intelligent; the nose hookedbut finely chiseled. Too
big for a youthtoo small for a grown manan experienced eye
might have taken him for a farmer's son upon a journey had it not
been for the long sword whichdangling from a leather baldric
hit against the calves of its owner as he walkedand against the
rough side of his steed when he was on horseback.

For our young man had a steed which was the observed of all
observers. It was a Bearn ponyfrom twelve to fourteen years
oldyellow in his hidewithout a hair in his tailbut not
without windgalls on his legswhichthough going with his head
lower than his kneesrendering a martingale quite unnecessary
contrived nevertheless to perform his eight leagues a day.
Unfortunatelythe qualities of this horse were so well concealed
under his strange-colored hide and his unaccountable gaitthat
at a time when everybody was a connoisseur in horsefleshthe
appearance of the aforesaid pony at Meung--which place he had
entered about a quarter of an hour beforeby the gate of
Beaugency--produced an unfavorable feelingwhich extended to his
rider.

And this feeling had been more painfully perceived by young
d'Artagnan--for so was the Don Quixote of this second Rosinante
named--from his not being able to conceal from himself the
ridiculous appearance that such a steed gave himgood horseman
as he was. He had sighed deeplythereforewhen accepting the
gift of the pony from M. d'Artagnan the elder. He was not
ignorant that such a beast was worth at least twenty livres; and


the words which had accompanied the present were above all price.

My son,said the old Gascon gentlemanin that pure Bearn
PATOIS of which Henry IV could never rid himselfthis horse was
born in the house of your father about thirteen years ago, and
has remained in it ever since, which ought to make you love it.
Never sell it; allow it to die tranquilly and honorably of old
age, and if you make a campaign with it, take as much care of it
as you would of an old servant. At court, provided you have ever
the honor to go there,continued M. d'Artagnan the elder--an
honor to which, remember, your ancient nobility gives you the
right--sustain worthily your name of gentleman, which has been
worthily borne by your ancestors for five hundred years, both for
your own sake and the sake of those who belong to you. By the
latter I mean your relatives and friends. Endure nothing from
anyone except Monsieur the Cardinal and the king. It is by his
courage, please observe, by his courage alone, that a gentleman
can make his way nowadays. Whoever hesitates for a second
perhaps allows the bait to escape which during that exact second
fortune held out to him. You are young. You ought to be brave
for two reasons: the first is that you are a Gascon, and the
second is that you are my son. Never fear quarrels, but seek
adventures. I have taught you how to handle a sword; you have
thews of iron, a wrist of steel. Fight on all occasions. Fight
the more for duels being forbidden, since consequently there is
twice as much courage in fighting. I have nothing to give you,
my son, but fifteen crowns, my horse, and the counsels you have
just heard. Your mother will add to them a recipe for a certain
balsam, which she had from a Bohemian and which has the
miraculous virtue of curing all wounds that do not reach the
heart. Take advantage of all, and live happily and long. I have
but one word to add, and that is to propose an example to you-not
mine, for I myself have never appeared at court, and have
only taken part in religious wars as a volunteer; I speak of
Monsieur de Treville, who was formerly my neighbor, and who had
the honor to be, as a child, the play-fellow of our king, Louis
XIII, whom God preserve! Sometimes their play degenerated into
battles, and in these battles the king was not always the
stronger. The blows which he received increased greatly his
esteem and friendship for Monsieur de Treville. Afterward,
Monsieur de Treville fought with others: in his first journey to
Paris, five times; from the death of the late king till the young
one came of age, without reckoning wars and sieges, seven times;
and from that date up to the present day, a hundred times,
perhaps! So that in spite of edicts, ordinances, and decrees,
there he is, captain of the Musketeers; that is to say, chief of
a legion of Caesars, whom the king holds in great esteem and whom
the cardinal dreads--he who dreads nothing, as it is said. Still
further, Monsieur de Treville gains ten thousand crowns a year;
he is therefore a great noble. He began as you begin. Go to him
with this letter, and make him your model in order that you may
do as he has done.

Upon which M. d'Artagnan the elder girded his own sword round his
sonkissed him tenderly on both cheeksand gave him his
benediction.

On leaving the paternal chamberthe young man found his mother
who was waiting for him with the famous recipe of which the
counsels we have just repeated would necessitate frequent
employment. The adieux were on this side longer and more tender
than they had been on the other--not that M. d'Artagnan did not
love his sonwho was his only offspringbut M. d'Artagnan was a
manand he would have considered it unworthy of a man to give


way to his feelings; whereas Mme. d'Artagnan was a womanand
still morea mother. She wept abundantly; and--let us speak it
to the praise of M. d'Artagnan the younger--notwithstanding the
efforts he made to remain firmas a future Musketeer ought
nature prevailedand he shed many tearsof which he succeeded
with great difficulty in concealing the half.

The same day the young man set forward on his journeyfurnished
with the three paternal giftswhich consistedas we have said
of fifteen crownsthe horseand the letter for M. de Treville-the
counsels being thrown into the bargain.

With such a VADE MECUM d'Artagnan was morally and physically an
exact copy of the hero of Cervantesto whom we so happily
compared him when our duty of an historian placed us under the
necessity of sketching his portrait. Don Quixote took windmills
for giantsand sheep for armies; d'Artagnan took every smile for
an insultand every look as a provocation--whence it resulted
that from Tarbes to Meung his fist was constantly doubledor his
hand on the hilt of his sword; and yet the fist did not descend
upon any jawnor did the sword issue from its scabbard. It was
not that the sight of the wretched pony did not excite numerous
smiles on the countenances of passers-by; but as against the side
of this pony rattled a sword of respectable lengthand as over
this sword gleamed an eye rather ferocious than haughtythese
passers-by repressed their hilarityor if hilarity prevailed
over prudencethey endeavored to laugh only on one sidelike
the masks of the ancients. D'Artagnanthenremained majestic
and intact in his susceptibilitytill he came to this unlucky
city of Meung.

But thereas he was alighting from his horse at the gate of the
Jolly Millerwithout anyone--hostwaiteror hostler--coming to
hold his stirrup or take his horsed'Artagnan spiedthough an
open window on the ground floora gentlemanwell-made and of
good carriagealthough of rather a stern countenancetalking
with two persons who appeared to listen to him with respect.
d'Artagnan fancied quite naturallyaccording to his customthat
he must be the object of their conversationand listened. This
time d'Artagnan was only in part mistaken; he himself was not in
questionbut his horse was. The gentleman appeared to be
enumerating all his qualities to his auditors; andas I have
saidthe auditors seeming to have great deference for the
narratorthey every moment burst into fits of laughter. Nowas
a half-smile was sufficient to awaken the irascibility of the
young manthe effect produced upon him by this vociferous mirth
may be easily imagined.

Neverthelessd'Artagnan was desirous of examining the appearance
of this impertinent personage who ridiculed him. He fixed his
haughty eye upon the strangerand perceived a man of from forty
to forty-five years of agewith black and piercing eyespale
complexiona strongly marked noseand a black and well-shaped
mustache. He was dressed in a doublet and hose of a violet
colorwith aiguillettes of the same colorwithout any other
ornaments than the customary slashesthrough which the shirt
appeared. This doublet and hosethough newwere creasedlike
traveling clothes for a long time packed in a portmanteau.
d'Artagnan made all these remarks with the rapidity of a most
minute observerand doubtless from an instinctive feeling that
this stranger was destined to have a great influence over his
future life.

Nowas at the moment in which d'Artagnan fixed his eyes upon the


gentleman in the violet doubletthe gentleman made one of his
most knowing and profound remarks respecting the Bearnese pony
his two auditors laughed even louder than beforeand he himself
though contrary to his customallowed a pale smile (if I may
allowed to use such an expression) to stray over his countenance.
This time there could be no doubt; d'Artagnan was really
insulted. Fullthenof this convictionhe pulled his cap down
over his eyesand endeavoring to copy some of the court airs he
had picked up in Gascony among young traveling nobleshe
advanced with one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other
resting on his hip. Unfortunatelyas he advancedhis anger
increased at every step; and instead of the proper and lofty
speech he had prepared as a prelude to his challengehe found
nothing at the tip of his tongue but a gross personalitywhich
he accompanied with a furious gesture.

I say, sir, you sir, who are hiding yourself behind that
shutter--yes, you, sir, tell me what you are laughing at, and we
will laugh together!

The gentleman raised his eyes slowly from the nag to his
cavalieras if he required some time to ascertain whether it
could be to him that such strange reproaches were addressed;
thenwhen he could not possibly entertain any doubt of the
matterhis eyebrows slightly bentand with an accent of irony
and insolence impossible to be describedhe replied to
d'ArtagnanI was not speaking to you, sir.

But I am speaking to you!replied the young manadditionally
exasperated with this mixture of insolence and good mannersof
politeness and scorn.

The stranger looked at him again with a slight smileand
retiring from the windowcame out of the hostelry with a slow
stepand placed himself before the horsewithin two paces of
d'Artagnan. His quiet manner and the ironical expression of his
countenance redoubled the mirth of the persons with whom he had
been talkingand who still remained at the window.

D'Artagnanseeing him approachdrew his sword a foot out of the
scabbard.

This horse is decidedly, or rather has been in his youth, a
buttercup,resumed the strangercontinuing the remarks he had
begunand addressing himself to his auditors at the window
without paying the least attention to the exasperation of
d'Artagnanwhohowever placed himself between him and them.
It is a color very well known in botany, but till the present
time very rare among horses.

There are people who laugh at the horse that would not dare to
laugh at the master,cried the young emulator of the furious
Treville.

I do not often laugh, sir,replied the strangeras you may
perceive by the expression of my countenance; but nevertheless I
retain the privilege of laughing when I please.

And I,cried d'Artagnanwill allow no man to laugh when it
displeases me!

Indeed, sir,continued the strangermore calm than ever;
well, that is perfectly right!and turning on his heelwas
about to re-enter the hostelry by the front gatebeneath which


d'Artagnan on arriving had observed a saddled horse.

Butd'Artagnan was not of a character to allow a man to escape
him thus who had the insolence to ridicule him. He drew his
sword entirely from the scabbardand followed himcrying
Turn, turn, Master Joker, lest I strike you behind!

Strike me!said the otherturning on his heelsand surveying
the young man with as much astonishment as contempt. "Whymy
good fellowyou must be mad!" Thenin a suppressed toneas if
speaking to himselfThis is annoying,continued he. "What a
godsend this would be for his Majestywho is seeking everywhere
for brave fellows to recruit for his Musketeers!"

He had scarcely finishedwhen d'Artagnan made such a furious
lunge at him that if he had not sprung nimbly backwardit is
probable he would have jested for the last time. The stranger
then perceiving that the matter went beyond raillerydrew his
swordsaluted his adversaryand seriously placed himself on
guard. But at the same momenthis two auditorsaccompanied by
the hostfell upon d'Artagnan with sticksshovels and tongs.
This caused so rapid and complete a diversion from the attack
that d'Artagnan's adversarywhile the latter turned round to
face this shower of blowssheathed his sword with the same
precisionand instead of an actorwhich he had nearly been
became a spectator of the fight--a part in which he acquitted
himself with his usual impassivenessmutteringneverthelessA
plague upon these Gascons! Replace him on his orange horse, and
let him begone!

Not before I have killed you, poltroon!cried d'Artagnan
making the best face possibleand never retreating one step
before his three assailantswho continued to shower blows upon
him.

Another gasconade!murmured the gentleman. "By my honorthese
Gascons are incorrigible! Keep up the dancethensince he will
have it so. When he is tiredhe will perhaps tell us that he
has had enough of it."

But the stranger knew not the headstrong personage he had to do
with; d'Artagnan was not the man ever to cry for quarter. The
fight was therefore prolonged for some seconds; but at length
d'Artagnan dropped his swordwhich was broken in two pieces by
the blow of a stick. Another blow full upon his forehead at the
same moment brought him to the groundcovered with blood and
almost fainting.

It was at this moment that people came flocking to the scene of
action from all sides. The hostfearful of consequenceswith
the help of his servants carried the wounded man into the
kitchenwhere some trifling attentions were bestowed upon him.

As to the gentlemanhe resumed his place at the windowand
surveyed the crowd with a certain impatienceevidently annoyed
by their remaining undispersed.

Well, how is it with this madman?exclaimed heturning round
as the noise of the door announced the entrance of the hostwho
came in to inquire if he was unhurt.

Your excellency is safe and sound?asked the host.

Oh, yes! Perfectly safe and sound, my good host; and I wish to


know what has become of our young man.

He is better,said the hosthe fainted quite away.

Indeed!said the gentleman.

But before he fainted, he collected all his strength to
challenge you, and to defy you while challenging you.

Why, this fellow must be the devil in person!cried the
stranger.

Oh, no, your Excellency, he is not the devil,replied the host
with a grin of contempt; "for during his fainting we rummaged his
valise and found nothing but a clean shirt and eleven crowns-which
howeverdid not prevent his sayingas he was fainting
that if such a thing had happened in Parisyou should have cause
to repent of it at a later period."

Then,said the stranger coollyhe must be some prince in
disguise.

I have told you this, good sir,resumed the hostin order
that you may be on your guard.

Did he name no one in his passion?

Yes; he struck his pocket and said, 'We shall see what Monsieur
de Treville will think of this insult offered to his protege.'

Monsieur de Treville?said the strangerbecoming attentive
he put his hand upon his pocket while pronouncing the name of
Monsieur de Treville? Now, my dear host, while your young man
was insensible, you did not fail, I am quite sure, to ascertain
what that pocket contained. What was there in it?

A letter addressed to Monsieur de Treville, captain of the
Musketeers.

Indeed!

Exactly as I have the honor to tell your Excellency.

The hostwho was not endowed with great perspicacitydid not
observe the expression which his words had given to the
physiognomy of the stranger. The latter rose from the front of
the windowupon the sill of which he had leaned with his elbow
and knitted his brow like a man disquieted.

The devil!murmured hebetween his teeth. "Can Treville have
set this Gascon upon me? He is very young; but a sword thrust is
a sword thrustwhatever be the age of him who gives itand a
youth is less to be suspected than an older man and the
stranger fell into a reverie which lasted some minutes. A weak
obstacle is sometimes sufficient to overthrow a great design.

Host,said hecould you not contrive to get rid of this
frantic boy for me? In conscience, I cannot kill him; and yet,
added hewith a coldly menacing expressionhe annoys me.
Where is he?

In my wife's chamber, on the first flight, where they are
dressing his wounds.


His things and his bag are with him? Has he taken off his
doublet?

On the contrary, everything is in the kitchen. But if he annoys
you, this young fool--

To be sure he does. He causes a disturbance in your hostelry,
which respectable people cannot put up with. Go; make out my
bill and notify my servant.

What, monsieur, will you leave us so soon?

You know that very well, as I gave my order to saddle my horse.
Have they not obeyed me?

It is done; as your Excellency may have observed, your horse is
in the great gateway, ready saddled for your departure.

That is well; do as I have directed you, then.

What the devil!said the host to himself. "Can he be afraid of
this boy?" But an imperious glance from the stranger stopped him
short; he bowed humbly and retired.

It is not necessary for Milady* to be seen by this fellow,
continued the stranger. "She will soon pass; she is already
late. I had better get on horsebackand go and meet her. I
should likehoweverto know what this letter addressed to
Treville contains."

*We are well aware that this termmiladyis only properly used
when followed by a family name. But we find it thus in the manuscript
and we do not choose to take upon ourselves to alter it.

And the strangermuttering to himselfdirected his steps toward
the kitchen.

In the meantimethe hostwho entertained no doubt that it was
the presence of the young man that drove the stranger from his
hostelryre-ascended to his wife's chamberand found d'Artagnan
just recovering his senses. Giving him to understand that the
police would deal with him pretty severely for having sought a
quarrel with a great lord--for the opinion of the host the
stranger could be nothing less than a great lord--he insisted
that notwithstanding his weakness d'Artagnan should get up and
depart as quickly as possible. D'Artagnanhalf stupefied
without his doubletand with his head bound up in a linen cloth
arose thenand urged by the hostbegan to descend the stairs;
but on arriving at the kitchenthe first thing he saw was his
antagonist talking calmly at the step of a heavy carriagedrawn
by two large Norman horses.

His interlocutorwhose head appeared through the carriage
windowwas a woman of from twenty to two-and-twenty years. We
have already observed with what rapidity d'Artagnan seized the
expression of a countenance. He perceived thenat a glance
that this woman was young and beautiful; and her style of beauty
struck him more forcibly from its being totally different from
that of the southern countries in which d'Artagnan had hitherto
resided. She was pale and fairwith long curls falling in
profusion over her shouldershad largebluelanguishing eyes
rosy lipsand hands of alabaster. She was talking with great
animation with the stranger.


His Eminence, then, orders me--said the lady.

To return instantly to England, and to inform him as soon as the
duke leaves London.

And as to my other instructions?asked the fair traveler.

They are contained in this box, which you will not open until
you are on the other side of the Channel.

Very well; and you--what will you do?

I--I return to Paris.

What, without chastising this insolent boy?asked the lady.

The stranger was about to reply; but at the moment he opened his
mouthd'Artagnanwho had heard allprecipitated himself over
the threshold of the door.

This insolent boy chastises others,cried he; "and I hope that
this time he whom he ought to chastise will not escape him as
before."

Will not escape him?replied the strangerknitting his brow.

No; before a woman you would dare not fly, I presume?

Remember,said Miladyseeing the stranger lay his hand on his
swordthe least delay may ruin everything.

You are right,cried the gentleman; "begone thenon your part
and I will depart as quickly on mine." And bowing to the lady
sprang into his saddlewhile her coachman applied his whip
vigorously to his horses. The two interlocutors thus separated
taking opposite directionsat full gallop.

Pay him, booby!cried the stranger to his servantwithout
checking the speed of his horse; and the manafter throwing two
or three silver pieces at the foot of mine hostgalloped after
his master.

Base coward! false gentleman!cried d'Artagnanspringing
forwardin his turnafter the servant. But his wound had
rendered him too weak to support such an exertion. Scarcely had
he gone ten steps when his ears began to tinglea faintness
seized hima cloud of blood passed over his eyesand he fell in
the middle of the streetcrying stillCoward! coward! coward!

He is a coward, indeed,grumbled the hostdrawing near to
d'Artagnanand endeavoring by this little flattery to make up
matters with the young manas the heron of the fable did with
the snail he had despised the evening before.

Yes, a base coward,murmured d'Artagnan; "but she--she was very
beautiful."

What she?demanded the host.

Milady,faltered d'Artagnanand fainted a second time.

Ah, it's all one,said the host; "I have lost two customers
but this one remainsof whom I am pretty certain for some days
to come. There will be eleven crowns gained."


It is to be remembered that eleven crowns was just the sum that
remained in d'Artagnan's purse.

The host had reckoned upon eleven days of confinement at a crown
a daybut he had reckoned without his guest. On the following
morning at five o'clock d'Artagnan aroseand descending to the
kitchen without helpaskedamong other ingredients the list of
which has not come down to usfor some oilsome wineand some
rosemaryand with his mother's recipe in his hand composed a
balsamwith which he anointed his numerous woundsreplacing his
bandages himselfand positively refusing the assistance of any
doctord'Artagnan walked about that same eveningand was almost
cured by the morrow.

But when the time came to pay for his rosemarythis oiland the
winethe only expense the master had incurredas he had
preserved a strict abstinence--while on the contrarythe yellow
horseby the account of the hostler at leasthad eaten three
times as much as a horse of his size could reasonably supposed to
have done--d'Artagnan found nothing in his pocket but his little
old velvet purse with the eleven crowns it contained; for as to
the letter addressed to M. de Trevilleit had disappeared.

The young man commenced his search for the letter with the
greatest patienceturning out his pockets of all kinds over and
over againrummaging and rerummaging in his valiseand opening
and reopening his purse; but when he found that he had come to
the conviction that the letter was not to be foundhe flewfor
the third timeinto such a rage as was near costing him a fresh
consumption of wineoiland rosemary--for upon seeing this hotheaded
youth become exasperated and threaten to destroy
everything in the establishment if his letter were not foundthe
host seized a spithis wife a broom handleand the servants the
same sticks they had used the day before.

My letter of recommendation!cried d'Artagnanmy letter of
recommendation! or, the holy blood, I will spit you all like
ortolans!

Unfortunatelythere was one circumstance which created a
powerful obstacle to the accomplishment of this threat; which
wasas we have relatedthat his sword had been in his first
conflict broken in twoand which he had entirely forgotten.
Henceit resulted when d'Artagnan proceeded to draw his sword in
earnesthe found himself purely and simply armed with a stump of
a sword about eight or ten inches in lengthwhich the host had
carefully placed in the scabbard. As to the rest of the blade
the master had slyly put that on one side to make himself a
larding pin.

But this deception would probably not have stopped our fiery
young man if the host had not reflected that the reclamation
which his guest made was perfectly just.

But, after all,said helowering the point of his spitwhere
is this letter?

Yes, where is this letter?cried d'Artagnan. "In the first
placeI warn you that that letter is for Monsieur de Treville
and it must be foundhe will not know how to find it."

His threat completed the intimidation of the host. After the
king and the cardinalM. de Treville was the man whose name was


perhaps most frequently repeated by the militaryand even by
citizens. There wasto be sureFather Josephbut his name was
never pronounced but with a subdued voicesuch was the terror
inspired by his Gray Eminenceas the cardinal's familiar was
called.

Throwing down his spitand ordering his wife to do the same with
her broom handleand the servants with their stickshe set the
first example of commencing an earnest search for the lost
letter.

Does the letter contain anything valuable?demanded the host
after a few minutes of useless investigation.

Zounds! I think it does indeed!cried the Gasconwho reckoned
upon this letter for making his way at court. "It contained my
fortune!"

Bills upon Spain?asked the disturbed host.

Bills upon his Majesty's private treasury,answered d'Artagnan
whoreckoning upon entering into the king's service in
consequence of this recommendationbelieved he could make this
somewhat hazardous reply without telling of a falsehood.

The devil!cried the hostat his wit's end.

But it's of no importance,continued d'Artagnanwith natural
assurance; "it's of no importance. The money is nothing; that
letter was everything. I would rather have lost a thousand
pistoles than have lost it." He would not have risked more if he
had said twenty thousand; but a certain juvenile modesty
restrained him.

A ray of light all at once broke upon the mind of the host as he
was giving himself to the devil upon finding nothing.

That letter is not lost!cried he.

What!cried d'Artagnan.

No, it has been stolen from you.

Stolen? By whom?

By the gentleman who was here yesterday. He came down into the
kitchen, where your doublet was. He remained there some time
alone. I would lay a wager he has stolen it.

Do you think so?answered d'Artagnanbut little convincedas
he knew better than anyone else how entirely personal the value
of this letter wasand was nothing in it likely to tempt
cupidity. The fact was that none of his servantsnone of the
travelers presentcould have gained anything by being possessed
of this paper.

Do you say,resumed d'Artagnanthat you suspect that
impertinent gentleman?

I tell you I am sure of it,continued the host. "When I
informed him that your lordship was the protege of Monsieur de
Trevilleand that you even had a letter for that illustrious
gentlemanhe appeared to be very much disturbedand asked me
where that letter wasand immediately came down into the


kitchenwhere he knew your doublet was."

Then that's my thief,replied d'Artagnan. "I will complain to
Monsieur de Trevilleand Monsieur de Treville will complain to
the king." He then drew two crowns majestically from his purse
and gave them to the hostwho accompanied himcap in handto
the gateand remounted his yellow horsewhich bore him without
any further accident to the gate of St. Antoine at Pariswhere
his owner sold him for three crownswhich was a very good price
considering that d'Artagnan had ridden him hard during the last
stage. Thus the dealer to whom d'Artagnan sold him for the nine
livres did not conceal from the young man that he only gave that
enormous sum for him on the account of the originality of his
color.

Thus d'Artagnan entered Paris on footcarrying his little packet
under his armand walked about till he found an apartment to be
let on terms suited to the scantiness of his means. This chamber
was a sort of garretsituated in the Rue des Fossoyeursnear
the Luxembourg.

As soon as the earnest money was paidd'Artagnan took possession
of his lodgingand passed the remainder of the day in sewing
onto his doublet and hose some ornamental braiding which his
mother had taken off an almost-new doublet of the elder M.
d'Artagnanand which she had given her son secretly. Next he
went to the Quai de Feraille to have a new blade put to his
swordand then returned toward the Louvreinquiring of the
first Musketeer he met for the situation of the hotel of M. de
Trevillewhich proved to be in the Rue du Vieux-Colombier; that
is to sayin the immediate vicinity of the chamber hired by
d'Artagnan--a circumstance which appeared to furnish a happy
augury for the success of his journey.

After thissatisfied with the way in which he had conducted
himself at Meungwithout remorse for the pastconfident in the
presentand full of hope for the futurehe retired to bed and
slept the sleep of the brave.

This sleepprovincial as it wasbrought him to nine o'clock in
the morning; at which hour he rosein order to repair to the
residence of M. de Trevillethe third personage in the kingdomin the
paternal estimation.

THE ANTECHAMBER OF M. DE TREVILLE

M. de Troisvilleas his family was still called in Gasconyor
M. de Trevilleas he has ended by styling himself in Parishad
really commenced life as d'Artagnan now did; that is to say
without a sou in his pocketbut with a fund of audacity
shrewdnessand intelligence which makes the poorest Gascon
gentleman often derive more in his hope from the paternal
inheritance than the richest Perigordian or Berrichan gentleman
derives in reality from his. His insolent braveryhis still
more insolent success at a time when blows poured down like hail
had borne him to the top of that difficult ladder called Court
Favorwhich he had climbed four steps at a time.
He was the friend of the kingwho honored highlyas everyone
knowsthe memory of his fatherHenry IV. The father of M. de
Treville had served him so faithfully in his wars against the
league that in default of money--a thing to which the Bearnais


was accustomed all his lifeand who constantly paid his debts
with that of which he never stood in need of borrowingthat is
to saywith ready wit--in default of moneywe repeathe
authorized himafter the reduction of Paristo assume for his
arms a golden lion passant upon guleswith the motto FIDELIS ET
FORTIS. This was a great matter in the way of honorbut very
little in the way of wealth; so that when the illustrious
companion of the great Henry diedthe only inheritance he was
able to leave his son was his sword and his motto. Thanks to
this double gift and the spotless name that accompanied itM. de
Treville was admitted into the household of the young prince
where he made such good use of his swordand was so faithful to
his mottothat Louis XIIIone of the good blades of his
kingdomwas accustomed to say that if he had a friend who was
about to fighthe would advise him to choose as a second
himself firstand Treville next--or evenperhapsbefore
himself.

Thus Louis XIII had a real liking for Treville--a royal likinga
self-interested likingit is truebut still a liking. At that
unhappy period it was an important consideration to be surrounded
by such men as Treville. Many might take for their device the
epithet STRONGwhich formed the second part of his mottobut
very few gentlemen could lay claim to the FAITHFULwhich
constituted the first. Treville was one of these latter. His
was one of those rare organizationsendowed with an obedient
intelligence like that of the dog; with a blind valora quick
eyeand a prompt hand; to whom sight appeared only to be given
to see if the king were dissatisfied with anyoneand the hand to
strike this displeasing personagewhether a Besmea Maurevers
a Poltiot de Mereor a Vitry. In shortup to this period
nothing had been wanting to Treville but opportunity; but he was
ever on the watch for itand he faithfully promised himself that
he would not fail to seize it by its three hairs whenever it came
within reach of his hand. At last Louis XIII made Treville the
captain of his Musketeerswho were to Louis XIII in devotedness
or rather in fanaticismwhat his Ordinaries had been to Henry
IIIand his Scotch Guard to Louis XI.

On his partthe cardinal was not behind the king in this
respect. When he saw the formidable and chosen body with which
Louis XIII had surrounded himselfthis secondor rather this
first king of Francebecame desirous that hetooshould have
his guard. He had his Musketeers thereforeas Louis XIII had
hisand these two powerful rivals vied with each other in
procuringnot only from all the provinces of Francebut even
from all foreign statesthe most celebrated swordsmen. It was
not uncommon for Richelieu and Louis XIII to dispute over their
evening game of chess upon the merits of their servants. Each
boasted the bearing and the courage of his own people. While
exclaiming loudly against duels and brawlsthey excited them
secretly to quarrelderiving an immoderate satisfaction or
genuine regret from the success or defeat of their own
combatants. We learn this from the memoirs of a man who was
concerned in some few of these defeats and in many of these
victories.

Treville had grasped the weak side of his master; and it was to
this address that he owed the long and constant favor of a king
who has not left the reputation behind him of being very faithful
in his friendships. He paraded his Musketeers before the
Cardinal Armand Duplessis with an insolent air which made the
gray moustache of his Eminence curl with ire. Treville
understood admirably the war method of that periodin which he


who could not live at the expense of the enemy must live at the
expense of his compatriots. His soldiers formed a legion of
devil-may-care fellowsperfectly undisciplined toward all but
himself.

Loosehalf-drunkimposingthe king's Musketeersor rather M.
de Treville'sspread themselves about in the cabaretsin the
public walksand the public sportsshoutingtwisting their
mustachesclanking their swordsand taking great pleasure in
annoying the Guards of the cardinal whenever they could fall in
with them; then drawing in the open streetsas if it were the
best of all possible sports; sometimes killedbut sure in that
case to be both wept and avenged; often killing othersbut then
certain of not rotting in prisonM. de Treville being there to
claim them. Thus M. de Treville was praised to the highest note
by these menwho adored himand whoruffians as they were
trembled before him like scholars before their masterobedient
to his least wordand ready to sacrifice themselves to wash out
the smallest insult.

M. de Treville employed this powerful weapon for the kingin the
first placeand the friends of the king--and then for himself
and his own friends. For the restin the memoirs of this
periodwhich has left so many memoirsone does not find this
worthy gentleman blamed even by his enemies; and he had many such
among men of the pen as well as among men of the sword. In no
instancelet us saywas this worthy gentleman accused of
deriving personal advantage from the cooperation of his minions.
Endowed with a rare genius for intrigue which rendered him the
equal of the ablest intriguershe remained an honest man. Still
furtherin spite of sword thrusts which weakenand painful
exercises which fatiguehe had become one of the most gallant
frequenters of revelsone of the most insinuating lady's men
one of the softest whisperers of interesting nothings of his
day; the BONNES FORTUNES of de Treville were talked of as those
of M. de Bassompierre had been talked of twenty years beforeand
that was not saying a little. The captain of the Musketeers was
therefore admiredfearedand loved; and this constitutes the
zenith of human fortune.
Louis XIV absorbed all the smaller stars of his court in his own
vast radiance; but his fathera sun PLURIBUS IMPARleft his
personal splendor to each of his favoriteshis individual value
to each of his courtiers. In addition to the leeves of the king
and the cardinalthere might be reckoned in Paris at that time
more than two hundred smaller but still noteworthy leeves. Among
these two hundred leevesthat of Treville was one of the most
sought.

The court of his hotelsituated in the Rue du Vieux-Colombier
resembled a camp from by six o'clock in the morning in summer and
eight o'clock in winter. From fifty to sixty Musketeerswho
appeared to replace one another in order always to present an
imposing numberparaded constantlyarmed to the teeth and ready
for anything. On one of those immense staircasesupon whose
space modern civilization would build a whole house. Ascended and
descended the office seekers of Pariswho ran after any sort of
favor--gentlemen from the provinces anxious to be enrolledand
servants in all sorts of liveriesbringing and carrying messages
between their masters and M. de Treville. In the antechamber
upon long circular benchesreposed the elect; that is to say
those who were called. In this apartment a continued buzzing
prevailed from morning till nightwhile M. de Trevillein his
office contiguous to this antechamberreceived visitslistened


to complaintsgave his ordersand like the king in his balcony
at the Louvrehad only to place himself at the window to review
both his men and arms.

The day on which d'Artagnan presented himself the assemblage was
imposingparticularly for a provincial just arriving from his
province. It is true that this provincial was a Gascon; and
thatparticularly at this periodthe compatriots of d'Artagnan
had the reputation of not being easily intimidated. When he had
once passed the massive door covered with long square-headed
nailshe fell into the midst of a troop of swordsmenwho
crossed one another in their passagecalling outquarreling
and playing tricks one with another. In order to make one's way
amid these turbulent and conflicting wavesit was necessary to
be an officera great nobleor a pretty woman.

It wastheninto the midst of this tumult and disorder that our
young man advanced with a beating heatranging his long rapier
up his lanky legand keeping one hand on the edge of his cap
with that half-smile of the embarrassed a provincial who wishes
to put on a good face. When he had passed one group he began to
breathe more freely; but he could not help observing that they
turned round to look at himand for the first time in his life
d'Artagnanwho had till that day entertained a very good opinion
of himselffelt ridiculous.

Arrived at the staircaseit was still worse. There were four
Musketeers on the bottom stepsamusing themselves with the
following exercisewhile ten or twelve of their comrades waited
upon the landing place to take their turn in the sport.

One of themstationed upon the top stairnaked sword in hand
preventedor at least endeavored to preventthe three others
from ascending.

These three others fenced against him with their agile swords.

D'Artagnan at first took these weapons for foilsand believed
them to be buttoned; but he soon perceived by certain scratches
that every weapon was pointed and sharpenedand that at each of
these scratches not only the spectatorsbut even the actors
themselveslaughed like so many madmen.

He who at the moment occupied the upper step kept his adversaries
marvelously in check. A circle was formed around them. The
conditions required that at every hit the man touched should quit
the gameyielding his turn for the benefit of the adversary who
had hit him. In five minutes three were slightly woundedone on
the handanother on the earby the defender of the stairwho
himself remained intact--a piece of skill which was worth to him
according to the rules agreed uponthree turns of favor.

However difficult it might beor rather as he pretended it was
to astonish our young travelerthis pastime really astonished
him. He had seen in his province--that land in which heads
become so easily heated--a few of the preliminaries of duels; but
the daring of these four fencers appeared to him the strongest he
had ever heard of even in Gascony. He believed himself
transported into that famous country of giants into which
Gulliver afterward went and was so frightened; and yet he had not
gained the goalfor there were still the landing place and the
antechamber.

On the landing they were no longer fightingbut amused


themselves with stories about womenand in the antechamberwith
stories about the court. On the landing d'Artagnan blushed; in
the antechamber he trembled. His warm and fickle imagination
which in Gascony had rendered formidable to young chambermaids
and even sometimes their mistresseshad never dreamedeven in
moments of deliriumof half the amorous wonders or a quarter of
the feats of gallantry which were here set forth in connection
with names the best known and with details the least concealed.
But if his morals were shocked on the landinghis respect for
the cardinal was scandalized in the antechamber. Thereto his
great astonishmentd'Artagnan heard the policy which made all
Europe tremble criticized aloud and openlyas well as the
private life of the cardinalwhich so many great nobles had been
punished for trying to pry into. That great man who was so
revered by d'Artagnan the elder served as an object of ridicule
to the Musketeers of Trevillewho cracked their jokes upon his
bandy legs and his crooked back. Some sang ballads about Mme.
d'Aguillonhis mistressand Mme. Cambalethis niece; while
others formed parties and plans to annoy the pages and guards of
the cardinal duke--all things which appeared to d'Artagnan
monstrous impossibilities.

Neverthelesswhen the name of the king was now and then uttered
unthinkingly amid all these cardinal jestsa sort of gag seemed
to close for a moment on all these jeering mouths. They looked
hesitatingly around themand appeared to doubt the thickness of
the partition between them and the office of M. de Treville; but
a fresh allusion soon brought back the conversation to his
Eminenceand then the laughter recovered its loudness and the
light was not withheld from any of his actions.

Certes, these fellows will all either be imprisoned or hanged,
thought the terrified d'Artagnanand I, no doubt, with them;
for from the moment I have either listened to or heard them, I
shall be held as an accomplice. What would my good father say,
who so strongly pointed out to me the respect due to the
cardinal, if he knew I was in the society of such pagans?

We have no needthereforeto say that d'Artagnan dared not join
in the conversationonly he looked with all his eyes and
listened with all his earsstretching his five senses so as to
lose nothing; and despite his confidence on the paternal
admonitionshe felt himself carried by his tastes and led by his
instincts to praise rather than to blame the unheard-of things
which were taking place.

Although he was a perfect stranger in the court of M. de
Treville's courtiersand this his first appearance in that
placehe was at length noticedand somebody came and asked him
what he wanted. At this demand d'Artagnan gave his name very
modestlyemphasized the title of compatriotand begged the
servant who had put the question to him to request a moment's
audience of M. de Treville--a request which the otherwith an
air of protectionpromised to transmit in due season.

D'Artagnana little recovered from his first surprisehad now
leisure to study costumes and physiognomy.

The center of the most animated group was a Musketeer of great
height and haughty countenancedressed in a costume so peculiar
as to attract general attention. He did not wear the uniform
cloak--which was not obligatory at that epoch of less liberty but
more independence--but a cerulean-blue doubleta little faded and
wornand over this a magnificent baldricworked in goldwhich


shone like water ripples in the sun. A long cloak of crimson
velvet fell in graceful folds from his shouldersdisclosing in
front the splendid baldricfrom which was suspended a gigantic
rapier. This Musketeer had just come off guardcomplained of
having a coldand coughed from time to time affectedly. It was
for this reasonas he said to those around himthat he had put
on his cloak; and while he spoke with a lofty air and twisted his
mustache disdainfullyall admired his embroidered baldricand
d'Artagnan more than anyone.

What would you have?said the Musketeer. "This fashion is
coming in. It is a follyI admitbut still it is the fashion.
Besidesone must lay out one's inheritance somehow."

Ah, Porthos!cried one of his companionsdon't try to make us
believe you obtained that baldric by paternal generosity. It was
given to you by that veiled lady I met you with the other Sunday,
near the gate St. Honor.

No, upon honor and by the faith of a gentleman, I bought it with
the contents of my own purse,answered he whom they designated
by the name Porthos.

Yes; about in the same manner,said another Musketeerthat I
bought this new purse with what my mistress put into the old
one.

It's true, though,said Porthos; "and the proof is that I paid
twelve pistoles for it."

The wonder was increasedthough the doubt continued to exist.

Is it not true, Aramis?said Porthosturning toward another
Musketeer.

This other Musketeer formed a perfect contrast to his
interrogatorwho had just designated him by the name of Aramis.
He was a stout manof about two- or three-and-twentywith an
openingenuous countenancea blackmild eyeand cheeks rosy
and downy as an autumn peach. His delicate mustache marked a
perfectly straight line upon his upper lip; he appeared to dread
to lower his hands lest their veins should swelland he pinched
the tips of his ears from time to time to preserve their delicate
pink transparency. Habitually he spoke little and slowlybowed
frequentlylaughed without noiseshowing his teethwhich were
fine and of whichas the rest of his personhe appeared to take
great care. He answered the appeal of his friend by an
affirmative nod of the head.

This affirmation appeared to dispel all doubts with regard to the
baldric. They continued to admire itbut said no more about it;
and with a rapid change of thoughtthe conversation passed
suddenly to another subject.

What do you think of the story Chalais's esquire relates?asked
another Musketeerwithout addressing anyone in particularbut
on the contrary speaking to everybody.

And what does he say?asked Porthosin a self-sufficient tone.

He relates that he met at Brussels Rochefort, the AME DAMNEE of
the cardinal disguised as a Capuchin, and that this cursed
Rochefort, thanks to his disguise, had tricked Monsieur de


Laigues, like a ninny as he is.

A ninny, indeed!said Porthos; "but is the matter certain?"

I had it from Aramis,replied the Musketeer.

Indeed?

Why, you knew it, Porthos,said Aramis. "I told you of it
yesterday. Let us say no more about it."

Say no more about it? That's YOUR opinion!replied Porthos.

Say no more about it! PESTE! You come to your conclusions
quickly. What! The cardinal sets a spy upon a gentleman, has
his letters stolen from him by means of a traitor, a brigand, a
rascal-has, with the help of this spy and thanks to this
correspondence, Chalais's throat cut, under the stupid pretext
that he wanted to kill the king and marry Monsieur to the queen!
Nobody knew a word of this enigma. You unraveled it yesterday to
the great satisfaction of all; and while we are still gaping with
wonder at the news, you come and tell us today, Let us say no
more about it.'"

Well, then, let us talk about it, since you desire it,replied
Aramispatiently.

This Rochefort,cried Porthosif I were the esquire of poor
Chalais, should pass a minute or two very uncomfortably with me.

And you--you would pass rather a sad quarter-hour with the Red
Duke,replied Aramis.

Oh, the Red Duke! Bravo! Bravo! The Red Duke!cried Porthos
clapping his hands and nodding his head. "The Red Duke is
capital. I'll circulate that sayingbe assuredmy dear fellow.
Who says this Aramis is not a wit? What a misfortune it is you
did not follow your first vocation; what a delicious abbe you
would have made!"

Oh, it's only a temporary postponement,replied Aramis; "I
shall be one someday. You very well knowPorthosthat I
continue to study theology for that purpose."

He will be one, as he says,cried Porthos; "he will be one
sooner or later."

Sooner.said Aramis.

He only waits for one thing to determine him to resume his
cassock, which hangs behind his uniform,said another Musketeer.

What is he waiting for?asked another.

Only till the queen has given an heir to the crown of France.

No jesting upon that subject, gentlemen,said Porthos; "thank
God the queen is still of an age to give one!"

They say that Monsieur de Buckingham is in France,replied
Aramiswith a significant smile which gave to this sentence
apparently so simplea tolerably scandalous meaning.

Aramis, my good friend, this time you are wrong,interrupted


Porthos. "Your wit is always leading you beyond bounds; if
Monsieur de Treville heard youyou would repent of speaking
thus."

Are you going to give me a lesson, Porthos?cried Aramisfrom
whose usually mild eye a flash passed like lightning.

My dear fellow, be a Musketeer or an abbe. Be one or the other,
but not both,replied Porthos. "You know what Athos told you
the other day; you eat at everybody's mess. Ahdon't be angry
I beg of youthat would be useless; you know what is agreed upon
between youAthos and me. You go to Madame d'Aguillon'sand
you pay your court to her; you go to Madame de Bois-Tracy'sthe
cousin of Madame de Chevreuseand you pass for being far
advanced in the good graces of that lady. Ohgood Lord! Don't
trouble yourself to reveal your good luck; no one asks for your
secret-all the world knows your discretion. But since you possess
that virtuewhy the devil don't you make use of it with respect
to her Majesty? Let whoever likes talk of the king and the
cardinaland how he likes; but the queen is sacredand if
anyone speaks of herlet it be respectfully."

Porthos, you are as vain as Narcissus; I plainly tell you so,
replied Aramis. "You know I hate moralizingexcept when it is
done by Athos. As to yougood siryou wear too magnificent a
baldric to be strong on that head. I will be an abbe if it suits
me. In the meanwhile I am a Musketeer; in that quality I say
what I pleaseand at this moment it pleases me to say that you
weary me."

Aramis!

Porthos!

Gentlemen! Gentlemen!cried the surrounding group.

Monsieur de Treville awaits Monsieur d'Artagnan,cried a
servantthrowing open the door of the cabinet.

At this announcementduring which the door remained open
everyone became muteand amid the general silence the young man
crossed part of the length of the antechamberand entered the
apartment of the captain of the Musketeerscongratulating
himself with all his heart at having so narrowly escaped the end
of this strange quarrel.

THE AUDIENCE

M. de Treville was at the moment in rather ill-humor
nevertheless he saluted the young man politelywho bowed to the
very ground; and he smiled on receiving d'Artagnan's response
the Bearnese accent of which recalled to him at the same time
his youth and his country--a double remembrance which makes a man
smile at all ages; but stepping toward the antechamber and making
a sign to d'Artagnan with his handas if to ask his permission
to finish with others before he began with himhe called three
timeswith a louder voice at each timeso that he ran through
the intervening tones between the imperative accent and the angry
accent.
Athos! Porthos! Aramis!


The two Musketeers with whom we have already made acquaintance
and who answered to the last of these three namesimmediately
quitted the group of which they had formed a partand advanced
toward the cabinetthe door of which closed after them as soon
as they had entered. Their appearancealthough it was not quite
at easeexcited by its carelessnessat once full of dignity and
submissionthe admiration of d'Artagnanwho beheld in these two
men demigodsand in their leader an Olympian Jupiterarmed with
all his thunders.

When the two Musketeers had entered; when the door was closed
behind them; when the buzzing murmur of the antechamberto which
the summons which had been made had doubtless furnished fresh
foodhad recommenced; when M. de Treville had three or four
times paced in silenceand with a frowning browthe whole
length of his cabinetpassing each time before Porthos and
Aramiswho were as upright and silent as if on parade--he
stopped all at once full in front of themand covering them from
head to foot with an angry lookDo you know what the king said
to me,cried heand that no longer ago then yesterday
evening--do you know, gentlemen?

No,replied the two Musketeersafter a moment's silenceno,
sir, we do not.

But I hope that you will do us the honor to tell us,added
Aramisin his politest tone and with his most graceful bow.

He told me that he should henceforth recruit his Musketeers from
among the Guards of Monsieur the Cardinal.

The Guards of the cardinal! And why so?asked Porthoswarmly.

Because he plainly perceives that his piquette* stands in need
of being enlivened by a mixture of good wine.

*A watered liquormade from the second pressing of the grape.

The two Musketeers reddened to the whites of their eyes.
d'Artagnan did not know where he wasand wished himself a
hundred feet underground.

Yes, yes,continued M. de Trevillegrowing warmer as he spoke
and his majesty was right; for, upon my honor, it is true that
the Musketeers make but a miserable figure at court. The
cardinal related yesterday while playing with the king, with an
air of condolence very displeasing to me, that the day before
yesterday those DAMNED MUSKETEERS, those DAREDEVILS--he dwelt
upon those words with an ironical tone still more displeasing to
me--those BRAGGARTS, added he, glancing at me with his tigercat's
eye, had made a riot in the Rue Ferou in a cabaret, and
that a party of his Guards (I thought he was going to laugh in my
face) had been forced to arrest the rioters! MORBLEU! You must
know something about it. Arrest Musketeers! You were among
them--you were! Don't deny it; you were recognized, and the
cardinal named you. But it's all my fault; yes, it's all my
fault, because it is myself who selects my men. You, Aramis, why
the devil did you ask me for a uniform when you would have been
so much better in a cassock? And you, Porthos, do you only wear
such a fine golden baldric to suspend a sword of straw from it?
And Athos--I don't see Athos. Where is he?

Ill--very ill, say you? And of what malady?


It is feared that it may be the smallpox, sir,replied Porthos
desirous of taking his turn in the conversation; "and what is
serious is that it will certainly spoil his face."

The smallpox! That's a great story to tell me, Porthos! Sick
of the smallpox at his age! No, no; but wounded without doubt,
killed, perhaps. Ah, if I knew! S'blood! Messieurs Musketeers,
I will not have this haunting of bad places, this quarreling in
the streets, this swordplay at the crossways; and above all, I
will not have occasion given for the cardinal's Guards, who are
brave, quiet, skillful men who never put themselves in a
position to be arrested, and who, besides, never allow themselves
to be arrested, to laugh at you! I am sure of it--they would
prefer dying on the spot to being arrested or taking back a step.
To save yourselves, to scamper away, to flee--that is good for
the king's Musketeers!

Porthos and Aramis trembled with rage. They could willingly have
strangled M. de Trevilleifat the bottom of all thisthey had
not felt it was the great love he bore them which made him speak
thus. They stamped upon the carpet with their feet; they bit
their lips till the blood cameand grasped the hilts of their
swords with all their might. All without had heardas we have
saidAthosPorthosand Aramis calledand had guessedfrom M.
de Treville's tone of voicethat he was very angry about
something. Ten curious heads were glued to the tapestry and
became pale with fury; for their earsclosely applied to the
doordid not lose a syllable of what he saidwhile their mouths
repeated as he went onthe insulting expressions of the captain
to all the people in the antechamber. In an instantfrom the
door of the cabinet to the street gatethe whole hotel was
boiling.

Ah! The king's Musketeers are arrested by the Guards of the
cardinal, are they?continued M. de Trevilleas furious at
heart as his soldiersbut emphasizing his words and plunging
themone by oneso to saylike so many blows of a stiletto
into the bosoms of his auditors. "What! Six of his Eminence's
Guards arrest six of his Majesty's Musketeers! MORBLEU! My part
is taken! I will go straight to the louvre; I will give in my
resignation as captain of the king's Musketeers to take a
lieutenancy in the cardinal's Guardsand if he refuses me
MORBLEU! I will turn abbe."

At these wordsthe murmur without became an explosion; nothing
was to be heard but oaths and blasphemies. The MORBLUESthe
SANG DIEUSthe MORTS TOUTS LES DIABLEScrossed one another in
the air. D'Artagnan looked for some tapestry behind which he
might hide himselfand felt an immense inclination to crawl
under the table.

Well, my Captain,said Porthosquite beside himselfthe
truth is that we were six against six. But we were not captured
by fair means; and before we had time to draw our swords, two of
our party were dead, and Athos, grievously wounded, was very
little better. For you know Athos. Well, Captain, he endeavored
twice to get up, and fell again twice. And we did not
surrender--no! They dragged us away by force. On the way we
escaped. As
for Athos, they believed him to be dead, and left him very quiet
on the field of battle, not thinking it worth the trouble to
carry him away. That's the whole story. What the devil,
Captain, one cannot win all one's battles! The great Pompey lost
that of Pharsalia; and Francis the First, who was, as I have


heard say, as good as other folks, nevertheless lost the Battle
of Pavia.

And I have the honor of assuring you that I killed one of them
with his own sword,said Aramis; "for mine was broken at the
first parry. Killed himor poniarded himsiras is most
agreeable to you."

I did not know that,replied M. de Trevillein a somewhat
softened tone. "The cardinal exaggeratedas I perceive."

But pray, sir,continued Aramiswhoseeing his captain become
appeasedventured to risk a prayerdo not say that Athos is
wounded. He would be in despair if that should come to the ears
of the king; and as the wound is very serious, seeing that after
crossing the shoulder it penetrates into the chest, it is to be feared--

At this instant the tapestry was raised and a noble and handsome
headbut frightfully paleappeared under the fringe.

Athos!cried the two Musketeers.

Athos!repeated M. de Treville himself.

You have sent for me, sir,said Athos to M. de Trevillein a
feeble yet perfectly calm voiceyou have sent for me, as my
comrades inform me, and I have hastened to receive your orders.
I am here; what do you want with me?

And at these wordsthe Musketeerin irreproachable costume
belted as usualwith a tolerably firm stepentered the cabinet.

M. de Trevillemoved to the bottom of his heart by this proof of
couragesprang toward him.
I was about to say to these gentlemen,added hethat I forbid
my Musketeers to expose their lives needlessly; for brave men are
very dear to the king, and the king knows that his Musketeers are
the bravest on the earth. Your hand, Athos!

And without waiting for the answer of the newcomer to this proof
of affectionM. de Treville seized his right hand and pressed it
with all his mightwithout perceiving that Athoswhatever might
be his self-commandallowed a slight murmur of pain to escape
himand if possiblegrew paler than he was before.

The door had remained openso strong was the excitement produced
by the arrival of Athoswhose woundthough kept as a secret
was known to all. A burst of satisfaction hailed the last words
of the captain; and two or three headscarried away by the
enthusiasm of the momentappeared through the openings of the
tapestry. M. de Treville was about to reprehend this breach of
the rules of etiquettewhen he felt the hand of Athoswho had
rallied all his energies to contend against painat length
overcome by itfell upon the floor as if he were dead.

A surgeon!cried M. de Trevillemine! The king's! The best! A
surgeon! Or, s'blood, my brave Athos will die!

At the cries of M. de Trevillethe whole assemblage rushed into
the cabinethe not thinking to shut the door against anyoneand
all crowded round the wounded man. But all this eager attention
might have been useless if the doctor so loudly called for
had not chanced to be in the hotel. He pushed through the crowd
approached Athosstill insensibleand as all this noise and


commotion inconvenienced him greatlyhe requiredas the first
and most urgent thingthat the Musketeer should be carried into
an adjoining chamber. Immediately M. de Treville opened and
pointed the way to Porthos and Aramiswho bore their comrade in
their arms. Behind this group walked the surgeon; and behind the
surgeon the door closed.

The cabinet of M. de Trevillegenerally held so sacredbecame
in an instant the annex of the antechamber. Everyone spoke
haranguedand vociferatedswearingcursingand consigning the
cardinal and his Guards to all the devils.

An instant afterPorthos and Aramis re-enteredthe surgeon and

M. de Treville alone remaining with the wounded.
At lengthM. de Treville himself returned. The injured man had
recovered his senses. The surgeon declared that the situation of
the Musketeer had nothing in it to render his friends uneasyhis
weakness having been purely and simply caused by loss of blood.

Then M. de Treville made a sign with his handand all retired
except d'Artagnanwho did not forget that he had an audience
and with the tenacity of a Gascon remained in his place.

When all had gone out and the door was closedM. de Trevilleon
turning roundfound himself alone with the young man. The event
which had occurred had in some degree broken the thread of his
ideas. He inquired what was the will of his persevering visitor.
d'Artagnan then repeated his nameand in an instant recovering
all his remembrances of the present and the pastM. de Treville
grasped the situation.

Pardon me,said hesmilingpardon me my dear compatriot, but
I had wholly forgotten you. But what help is there for it! A
captain is nothing but a father of a family, charged with even a
greater responsibility than the father of an ordinary family.
Soldiers are big children; but as I maintain that the orders of
the king, and more particularly the orders of the cardinal,
should be executed--

D'Artagnan could not restrain a smile. By this smile M. de
Treville judged that he had not to deal with a fooland changing
the conversationcame straight to the point.

I respected your father very much,said he. "What can I do for
the son? Tell me quickly; my time is not my own."

Monsieur,said d'Artagnanon quitting Tarbes and coming
hither, it was my intention to request of you, in remembrance of
the friendship which you have not forgotten, the uniform of a
Musketeer; but after all that I have seen during the last two
hours, I comprehend that such a favor is enormous, and tremble
lest I should not merit it.

It is indeed a favor, young man,replied M. de Trevillebut
it may not be so far beyond your hopes as you believe, or rather
as you appear to believe. But his majesty's decision is always
necessary; and I inform you with regret that no one becomes a
Musketeer without the preliminary ordeal of several campaigns,
certain brilliant actions, or a service of two years in some
other regiment less favored than ours.

D'Artagnan bowed without replyingfeeling his desire to don the
Musketeer's uniform vastly increased by the great difficulties


which preceded the attainment of it.

But,continued M. de Trevillefixing upon his compatriot a
look so piercing that it might be said he wished to read the
thoughts of his hearton account of my old companion, your
father, as I have said, I will do something for you, young man.
Our recruits from Bearn are not generally very rich, and I have
no reason to think matters have much changed in this respect
since I left the province. I dare say you have not brought too
large a stock of money with you?

D'Artagnan drew himself up with a proud air which plainly said
I ask alms of no man.

Oh, that's very well, young man,continued M. de Treville
that's all very well. I know these airs; I myself came to Paris
with four crowns in my purse, and would have fought with anyone
who dared to tell me I was not in a condition to purchase the
Louvre.

D'Artagnan's bearing became still more imposing. Thanks to the
sale of his horsehe commenced his career with four more crowns
than M. de Treville possessed at the commencement of his.

You ought, I say, then, to husband the means you have, however
large the sum may be; but you ought also to endeavor to perfect
yourself in the exercises becoming a gentleman. I will write a
letter today to the Director of the Royal Academy, and tomorrow
he will admit you without any expense to yourself. Do not refuse
this little service. Our best-born and richest gentlemen
sometimes solicit it without being able to obtain it. You will
learn horsemanship, swordsmanship in all its branches, and
dancing. You will make some desirable acquaintances; and from
time to time you can call upon me, just to tell me how you are getting
on, and to say whether I can be of further service to you.

D'Artagnanstranger as he was to all the manners of a court
could not but perceive a little coldness in this reception.

Alas, sir,said heI cannot but perceive how sadly I miss the
letter of introduction which my father gave me to present to
you.

I certainly am surprised,replied M. de Trevillethat you
should undertake so long a journey without that necessary
passport, the sole resource of us poor Bearnese.

I had one, sir, and, thank God, such as I could wish,cried
d'Artagnan; "but it was perfidiously stolen from me."

He then related the adventure of Meungdescribed the unknown
gentleman with the greatest minutenessand all with a warmth and
truthfulness that delighted M. de Treville.

This is all very strange,said M. de Trevilleafter meditating
a minute; "you mentioned my namethenaloud?"

Yes, sir, I certainly committed that imprudence; but why should
I have done otherwise? A name like yours must be as a buckler to
me on my way. Judge if I should not put myself under its
protection.

Flattery was at that period very currentand M. de Treville
loved incense as well as a kingor even a cardinal. He could


not refrain from a smile of visible satisfaction; but this smile
soon disappearedand returning to the adventure of MeungTell
me,continued hehad not this gentlemen a slight scar on his
cheek?

Yes, such a one as would be made by the grazing of a ball.

Was he not a fine-looking man?

Yes.

Of lofty stature.

Yes.

Of complexion and brown hair?

Yes, yes, that is he; how is it, sir, that you are acquainted
with this man? If I ever find him again--and I will find him, I
swear, were it in hell!

He was waiting for a woman,continued Treville.

He departed immediately after having conversed for a minute with
her whom he awaited.

You know not the subject of their conversation?

He gave her a box, told her not to open it except in London.

Was this woman English?

He called her Milady.

It is he; it must be he!murmured Treville. "I believed him
still at Brussels."

Oh, sir, if you know who this man is,cried d'Artagnantell
me who he is, and whence he is. I will then release you from all
your promises--even that of procuring my admission into the
Musketeers; for before everything, I wish to avenge myself.

Beware, young man!cried Treville. "If you see him coming on
one side of the streetpass by on the other. Do not cast
yourself against such a rock; he would break you like glass."

That will not prevent me,replied d'Artagnanif ever I find
him.

In the meantime,said Trevilleseek him not--if I have a
right to advise you.

All at once the captain stoppedas if struck by a sudden
suspicion. This great hatred which the young traveler manifested
so loudly for this manwho--a rather improbable thing--had
stolen his father's letter from him--was there not some perfidy
concealed under this hatred? Might not this young man be sent by
his Eminence? Might he not have come for the purpose of laying a
snare for him? This pretended d'Artagnan--was he not an emissary
of the cardinalwhom the cardinal sought to introduce into
Treville's houseto place near himto win his confidenceand
afterward to ruin him as had been done in a thousand other
instances? He fixed his eyes upon d'Artagnan even more earnestly
than before. He was moderately reassured howeverby the aspect


of that countenancefull of astute intelligence and affected
humility. "I know he is a Gascon reflected he, but he may be
one for the cardinal as well as for me. Let us try him."

My friend,said heslowlyI wish, as the son of an ancient
friend--for I consider this story of the lost letter perfectly
true--I wish, I say, in order to repair the coldness you may have
remarked in my reception of you, to discover to you the secrets
of our policy. The king and the cardinal are the best of
friends; their apparent bickerings are only feints to deceive
fools. I am not willing that a compatriot, a handsome cavalier,
a brave youth, quite fit to make his way, should become the dupe
of all these artifices and fall into the snare after the example
of so many others who have been ruined by it. Be assured that I
am devoted to both these all-powerful masters, and that my
earnest endeavors have no other aim than the service of the king,
and also the cardinal--one of the most illustrious geniuses that
France has ever produced.

Nowyoung manregulate your conduct accordingly; and if you
entertainwhether from your familyyour relationsor even from
your instinctsany of these enmities which we see constantly
breaking out against the cardinalbid me adieu and let us
separate. I will aid you in many waysbut without attaching you
to my person. I hope that my frankness at least will make you my
friend; for you are the only young man to whom I have hitherto
spoken as I have done to you."

Treville said to himself: "If the cardinal has set this young
fox upon mehe will certainly not have failed--hewho knows how
bitterly I execrate him--to tell his spy that the best means of
making his court to me is to rail at him. Thereforein spite of
all my protestationsif it be as I suspectmy cunning gossip
will assure me that he holds his Eminence in horror."

Ithoweverproved otherwise. D'Artagnan answeredwith the
greatest simplicity: "I came to Paris with exactly such
intentions. My father advised me to stoop to nobody but the
kingthe cardinaland yourself--whom he considered the first
three personages in France."

D'Artagnan added M. de Treville to the othersas may be
perceived; but he thought this addition would do no harm.

I have the greatest veneration for the cardinal,continued he
and the most profound respect for his actions. So much the
better for me, sir, if you speak to me, as you say, with
frankness--for then you will do me the honor to esteem the
resemblance of our opinions; but if you have entertained any
doubt, as naturally you may, I feel that I am ruining myself by
speaking the truth. But I still trust you will not esteem me the
less for it, and that is my object beyond all others.

M. de Treville was surprised to the greatest degree. So much
penetrationso much franknesscreated admirationbut did not
entirely remove his suspicions. The more this young man was
superior to othersthe more he was to be dreaded if he meant to
deceive him; "You are an honest youth; but at the present moment
I can only do for you that which I just now offered. My hotel
will be always open to you. Hereafterbeing able to ask for me
at all hoursand consequently to take advantage of all
opportunitiesyou will probably obtain that which you desire."
That is to say,replied d'Artagnanthat you will wait until I


have proved myself worthy of it. Well, be assured,added he
with the familiarity of a Gasconyou shall not wait long.And
he bowed in order to retireand as if he considered the future
in his own hands.

But wait a minute,said M. de Trevillestopping him. "I
promised you a letter for the director of the Academy. Are you
too proud to accept ityoung gentleman?"

No, sir,said d'Artagnan; "and I will guard it so carefully
that I will be sworn it shall arrive at its addressand woe be
to him who shall attempt to take it from me!"

M. de Treville smiled at this flourish; and leaving his young man
compatriot in the embrasure of the windowwhere they had talked
togetherhe seated himself at a table in order to write the
promised letter of recommendation. While he was doing this
d'Artagnanhaving no better employmentamused himself with
beating a march upon the window and with looking at the
Musketeerswho went awayone after anotherfollowing them with
his eyes until they disappeared.
M. de Trevilleafter having written the lettersealed itand
risingapproached the young man in order to give it to him. But
at the very moment when d'Artagnan stretched out his hand to
receive itM. de Treville was highly astonished to see his
protege make a sudden springbecome crimson with passionand
rush from the cabinet cryingS'blood, he shall not escape me
this time!
And who?asked M. de Treville.

He, my thief!replied d'Artagnan. "Ahthe traitor!" and he
disappeared.

The devil take the madman!murmured M. de Trevilleunless,
added hethis is a cunning mode of escaping, seeing that he had
failed in his purpose!

4 THE SHOULDER OF ATHOSTHE BALDRIC OF PORTHOS AND THE
HANDKERCHIEF OF ARAMIS

D'Artagnanin a state of furycrossed the antechamber at three
boundsand was darting toward the stairswhich he reckoned upon
descending four at a timewhenin his heedless coursehe ran
head foremost against a Musketeer who was coming out of one of M.
de Treville's private roomsand striking his shoulder violently
made him utter a cryor rather a howl.

Excuse me,said d'Artagnanendeavoring to resume his course
excuse me, but I am in a hurry.

Scarcely had he descended the first stairwhen a hand of iron
seized him by the belt and stopped him.

You are in a hurry?said the Musketeeras pale as a sheet.
Under that pretense you run against me! You say. 'Excuse me,'
and you believe that is sufficient? Not at all my young man. Do
you fancy because you have heard Monsieur de Treville speak to us
a little cavalierly today that other people are to treat us as he
speaks to us? Undeceive yourself, comrade, you are not Monsieur
de Treville.


My faith!replied d'Artagnanrecognizing Athoswhoafter the
dressing performed by the doctorwas returning to his own
apartment. "I did not do it intentionallyand not doing it
intentionallyI said 'Excuse me.' It appears to me that this is
quite enough. I repeat to youhoweverand this time on my word
of honor--I think perhaps too often--that I am in hastegreat
haste. Leave your holdthenI beg of youand let me go where
my business calls me."

Monsieur,said Athosletting him goyou are not polite; it
is easy to perceive that you come from a distance.

D'Artagnan had already strode down three or four stairsbut at
Athos's last remark he stopped short.

MORBLEU, monsieur!said hehowever far I may come, it is not
you who can give me a lesson in good manners, I warn you.

Perhaps,said Athos.

Ah! If I were not in such haste, and if I were not running
after someone,said d'Artagnan.

Monsieur Man-in-a-hurry, you can find me without running--ME,
you understand?

And where, I pray you?

Near the Carmes-Deschaux.

At what hour?

About noon.

About noon? That will do; I will be there.

Endeavor not to make me wait; for at quarter past twelve I will
cut off your ears as you run.

Good!cried d'ArtagnanI will be there ten minutes before
twelve.And he set off running as if the devil possessed him
hoping that he might yet find the strangerwhose slow pace could
not have carried him far.

But at the street gatePorthos was talking with the soldier on
guard. Between the two talkers there was just enough room for a
man to pass. D'Artagnan thought it would suffice for himand he
sprang forward like a dart between them. But d'Artagnan had
reckoned without the wind. As he was about to passthe wind
blew out Porthos's long cloakand d'Artagnan rushed straight
into the middle of it. Without doubtPorthos had reasons for
not abandoning this part of his vestmentsfor instead of
quitting his hold on the flap in his handhe pulled it toward
himso that d'Artagnan rolled himself up in the velvet by a
movement of rotation explained by the persistency of Porthos.

D'Artagnanhearing the Musketeer swearwished to escape from
the cloakwhich blinded himand sought to find his way from
under the folds of it. He was particularly anxious to avoid
marring the freshness of the magnificent baldric we are
acquainted with; but on timidly opening his eyeshe found
himself with his nose fixed between the two shoulders of
Porthos--that is to sayexactly upon the baldric.


Alaslike most things in this world which have nothing in their
favor but appearancesthe baldric was glittering with gold in
the frontbut was nothing but simple buff behind. Vainglorious
as he wasPorthos could not afford to have a baldric wholly of
goldbut had at least half. One could comprehend the necessity
of the cold and the urgency of the cloak.

Bless me!cried Porthosmaking strong efforts to disembarrass
himself of d'Artagnanwho was wriggling about his back; "you
must be mad to run against people in this manner."

Excuse me,said d'Artagnanreappearing under the shoulder of
the giantbut I am in such haste--I was running after someone
and--

And do you always forget your eyes when you run?asked Porthos.

No,replied d'Artagnanpiquedand thanks to my eyes, I can
see what other people cannot see.

Whether Porthos understood him or did not understand himgiving
way to his angerMonsieur,said heyou stand a chance of
getting chastised if you rub Musketeers in this fashion.

Chastised, Monsieur!said d'Artagnanthe expression is
strong.

It is one that becomes a man accustomed to look his enemies in
the face.

Ah, PARDIEU! I know full well that you don't turn your back to
yours.

And the young mandelighted with his jokewent away laughing
loudly.

Porthos foamed with rageand made a movement to rush after
d'Artagnan.

Presently, presently,cried the latterwhen you haven't your
cloak on.

At one o'clock, then, behind the Luxembourg.

Very well, at one o'clock, then,replied d'Artagnanturning
the angle of the street.

But neither in the street he had passed throughnor in the one
which his eager glance pervadedcould he see anyone; however
slowly the stranger had walkedhe was gone on his wayor
perhaps had entered some house. D'Artagnan inquired of everyone
he met withwent down to the ferrycame up again by the Rue de
Seineand the Red Cross; but nothingabsolutely nothing! This
chase washoweveradvantageous to him in one sensefor in
proportion as the perspiration broke from his foreheadhis heart
began to cool.

He began to reflect upon the events that had passed; they were
numerous and inauspicious. It was scarcely eleven o'clock in the
morningand yet this morning had already brought him into
disgrace with M. de Trevillewho could not fail to think the
manner in which d'Artagnan had left him a little cavalier.


Besides thishe had drawn upon himself two good duels with two
meneach capable of killing three d'Artagnans-with two
Musketeersin shortwith two of those beings whom he esteemed
so greatly that he placed them in his mind and heart above all
other men.

The outlook was sad. Sure of being killed by Athosit may
easily be understood that the young man was not very uneasy about
Porthos. As hopehoweveris the last thing extinguished in the
heart of manhe finished by hoping that he might surviveeven
though with terrible woundsin both these duels; and in case of
survivinghe made the following reprehensions upon his own
conduct:

What a madcap I was, and what a stupid fellow I am! That brave
and unfortunate Athos was wounded on that very shoulder against
which I must run head foremost, like a ram. The only thing that
astonishes me is that he did not strike me dead at once. He had
good cause to do so; the pain I gave him must have been
atrocious. As to Porthos--oh, as to Porthos, faith, that's a
droll affair!

And in spite of himselfthe young man began to laugh aloud
looking round carefullyhoweverto see that his solitary laugh
without a cause in the eyes of passers-byoffended no one.

As to Porthos, that is certainly droll; but I am not the less a
giddy fool. Are people to be run against without warning? No!
And have I any right to go and peep under their cloaks to see
what is not there? He would have pardoned me, he would certainly
have pardoned me, if I had not said anything to him about that
cursed baldric--in ambiguous words, it is true, but rather drolly
ambiguous. Ah, cursed Gascon that I am, I get from one hobble
into another. Friend d'Artagnan,continued hespeaking to
himself with all the amenity that he thought due himselfif you
escape, of which there is not much chance, I would advise you to
practice perfect politeness for the future. You must henceforth
be admired and quoted as a model of it. To be obliging and
polite does not necessarily make a man a coward. Look at Aramis,
now; Aramis is mildness and grace personified. Well, did anybody
ever dream of calling Aramis a coward? No, certainly not, and
from this moment I will endeavor to model myself after him. Ah!
That's strange! Here he is!

D'Artagnanwalking and soliloquizinghad arrived within a few
steps of the hotel d'Arguillon and in front of that hotel
perceived Aramischatting gaily with three gentlemen; but as he
had not forgotten that it was in presence of this young man that

M. de Treville had been so angry in the morningand as a witness
of the rebuke the Musketeers had received was not likely to be at
all agreeablehe pretended not to see him. D'Artagnanon the
contraryquite full of his plans of conciliation and courtesy
approached the young men with a profound bowaccompanied by a
most gracious smile. All fourbesidesimmediately broke off
their conversation.
D'Artagnan was not so dull as not to perceive that he was one too
many; but he was not sufficiently broken into the fashions of the
gay world to know how to extricate himself gallantly from a false
positionlike that of a man who begins to mingle with people he
is scarcely acquainted with and in a conversation that does not
concern him. He was seeking in his mindthenfor the least
awkward means of retreatwhen he remarked that Aramis had let
his handkerchief falland by mistakeno doubthad placed his


foot upon it. This appeared to be a favorable opportunity to
repair his intrusion. He stoopedand with the most gracious air
he could assumedrew the handkerchief from under the foot of the
Musketeer in spite of the efforts the latter made to detain it
and holding it out to himsaidI believe, monsieur, that this
is a handkerchief you would be sorry to lose?

The handkerchief was indeed richly embroideredand had a coronet
and arms at one of its corners. Aramis blushed excessivelyand
snatched rather than took the handkerchief from the hand of the
Gascon.

Ah, ah!cried one of the Guardswill you persist in saying,
most discreet Aramis, that you are not on good terms with Madame
de Bois-Tracy, when that gracious lady has the kindness to lend
you one of her handkerchiefs?

Aramis darted at d'Artagnan one of those looks which inform a man
that he has acquired a mortal enemy. Thenresuming his mild
airYou are deceived, gentlemen,said hethis handkerchief
is not mine, and I cannot fancy why Monsieur has taken it into
his head to offer it to me rather than to one of you; and as a
proof of what I say, here is mine in my pocket.

So sayinghe pulled out his own handkerchieflikewise a very
elegant handkerchiefand of fine cambric--though cambric was
dear at the period--but a handkerchief without embroidery and
without armsonly ornamented with a single cipherthat of its
proprietor.

This time d'Artagnan was not hasty. He perceived his mistake;
but the friends of Aramis were not at all convinced by his
denialand one of them addressed the young Musketeer with
affected seriousness. "If it were as you pretend it is said
he, I should be forcedmy dear Aramisto reclaim it myself;
foras you very well knowBois-Tracy is an intimate friend of
mineand I cannot allow the property of his wife to be sported
as a trophy."

You make the demand badly,replied Aramis; "and while
acknowledging the justice of your reclamationI refuse it on
account of the form."

The fact is,hazarded d'ArtagnantimidlyI did not see the
handkerchief fall from the pocket of Monsieur Aramis. He had his
foot upon it, that is all; and I thought from having his foot
upon it the handkerchief was his.

And you were deceived, my dear sir,replied Aramiscoldly
very little sensible to the reparation. Then turning toward that
one of the guards who had declared himself the friend of Bois-
TracyBesides,continued heI have reflected, my dear
intimate of Bois-Tracy, that I am not less tenderly his friend
than you can possibly be; so that decidedly this handkerchief is
as likely to have fallen from your pocket as mine.

No, upon my honor!cried his Majesty's Guardsman.

You are about to swear upon your honor and I upon my word, and
then it will be pretty evident that one of us will have lied.
Now, here, Montaran, we will do better than that--let each take a
half.

Of the handkerchief?


Yes.

Perfectly just,cried the other two Guardsmenthe judgment of
King Solomon! Aramis, you certainly are full of wisdom!

The young men burst into a laughand as may be supposedthe
affair had no other sequel. In a moment or two the conversation
ceasedand the three Guardsmen and the Musketeerafter having
cordially shaken handsseparatedthe Guardsmen going one way
and Aramis another.

Now is my time to make peace with this gallant man,said
d'Artagnan to himselfhaving stood on one side during the whole
of the latter part of the conversation; and with this good
feeling drawing near to Aramiswho was departing without paying
any attention to himMonsieur,said heyou will excuse me, I
hope.

Ah, monsieur,interrupted Aramispermit me to observe to you
that you have not acted in this affair as a gallant man ought.

What, monsieur!cried d'Artagnanand do you suppose--

I suppose, monsieur that you are not a fool, and that you knew
very well, although coming from Gascony, that people do not tread
upon handkerchiefs without a reason. What the devil! Paris is
not paved with cambric!

Monsieur, you act wrongly in endeavoring to mortify me,said
d'Artagnanin whom the natural quarrelsome spirit began to speak
more loudly than his pacific resolutions. "I am from Gasconyit
is true; and since you know itthere is no occasion to tell you
that Gascons are not very patientso that when they have begged
to be excused oncewere it even for a follythey are convinced
that they have done already at least as much again as they ought
to have done."

Monsieur, what I say to you about the matter,said Aramisis
not for the sake of seeking a quarrel. Thank God, I am not a
bravo! And being a Musketeer but for a time, I only fight when I
am forced to do so, and always with great repugnance; but this
time the affair is serious, for here is a lady compromised by
you.

By US, you mean!cried d'Artagnan.

Why did you so maladroitly restore me the handkerchief?

Why did you so awkwardly let it fall?

I have said, monsieur, and I repeat, that the handkerchief did
not fall from my pocket.

And thereby you have lied twice, monsieur, for I saw it fall.

Ah, you take it with that tone, do you, Master Gascon? Well, I
will teach you how to behave yourself.

And I will send you back to your Mass book, Master Abbe. Draw,
if you please, and instantly--

Not so, if you please, my good friend--not here, at least. Do
you not perceive that we are opposite the Hotel d'Arguillon,


which is full of the cardinal's creatures? How do I know that
this is not his Eminence who has honored you with the commission
to procure my head? Now, I entertain a ridiculous partiality for
my head, it seems to suit my shoulders so correctly. I wish to
kill you, be at rest as to that, but to kill you quietly in a
snug, remote place, where you will not be able to boast of your
death to anybody.

I agree, monsieur; but do not be too confident. Take your
handkerchief; whether it belongs to you or another, you may
perhaps stand in need of it.

Monsieur is a Gascon?asked Aramis.

Yes. Monsieur does not postpone an interview through prudence?

Prudence, monsieur, is a virtue sufficiently useless to
Musketeers, I know, but indispensable to churchmen; and as I am
only a Musketeer provisionally, I hold it good to be prudent. At
two o'clock I shall have the honor of expecting you at the hotel
of Monsieur de Treville. There I will indicate to you the best
place and time.

The two young men bowed and separatedAramis ascending the
street which led to the Luxembourgwhile d'Artagnanperceiving
the appointed hour was approachingtook the road to the
Carmes-Deschauxsaying to himselfDecidedly I can't draw back;
but at least, if I am killed, I shall be killed by a Musketeer.

THE KING'S MUSKETEERS AND THE CARDINAL'S GUARDS

D'Artagnan was acquainted with nobody in Paris. He went
therefore to his appointment with Athos without a second
determined to be satisfied with those his adversary should
choose. Besideshis intention was formed to make the brave
Musketeer all suitable apologiesbut without meanness or
weaknessfearing that might result from this duel which
generally results from an affair of this kindwhen a young and
vigorous man fights with an adversary who is wounded and
weakened--if conqueredhe doubles the triumph of his antagonist;
if a conquerorhe is accused of foul play and want of courage.

Nowwe must have badly painted the character of our adventure
seekeror our readers must have already perceived that
d'Artagnan was not an ordinary man; thereforewhile repeating to
himself that his death was inevitablehe did not make up his
mind to die quietlyas one less courageous and less restrained
might have done in his place. He reflected upon the different
characters of men he had to fight withand began to view his
situation more clearly. He hopedby means of loyal excusesto
make a friend of Athoswhose lordly air and austere bearing
pleased him much. He flattered himself he should be able to
frighten Porthos with the adventure of the baldricwhich he
mightif not killed upon the spotrelate to everybody a recital
whichwell managedwould cover Porthos with ridicule. As to
the astute Aramishe did not entertain much dread of him; and
supposing he should be able to get so farhe determined to
dispatch him in good style or at leastby hitting him in the
faceas Caesar recommended his soldiers do to those of Pompey
to damage forever the beauty of which he was so proud.

In addition to thisd'Artagnan possessed that invincible stock


of resolution which the counsels of his father had implanted in
his heart: "Endure nothing from anyone but the kingthe
cardinaland Monsieur de Treville." He flewthenrather than
walkedtoward the convent of the Carmes Dechaussesor rather
Deschauxas it was called at that perioda sort of building
without a windowsurrounded by barren fields--an accessory to
the Preaux-Clercsand which was generally employed as the place
for the duels of men who had no time to lose.

When d'Artagnan arrived in sight of the bare spot of ground which
extended along the foot of the monasteryAthos had been waiting
about five minutesand twelve o'clock was striking. He was
thenas punctual as the Samaritan womanand the most rigorous
casuist with regard to duels could have nothing to say.

Athoswho still suffered grievously from his woundthough it
had been dressed anew by M. de Treville's surgeonwas seated on
a post and waiting for his adversary with hat in handhis
feather even touching the ground.

Monsieur,said AthosI have engaged two of my friends as
seconds; but these two friends are not yet come, at which I am
astonished, as it is not at all their custom.

I have no seconds on my part, monsieur,said d'Artagnan; "for
having only arrived yesterday in ParisI as yet know no one but
Monsieur de Trevilleto whom I was recommended by my fatherwho
has the honor to bein some degreeone of his friends."

Athos reflected for an instant. "You know no one but Monsieur de
Treville?" he asked.

Yes, monsieur, I know only him.

Well, but then,continued Athosspeaking half to himselfif
I kill you, I shall have the air of a boy-slayer.

Not too much so,replied d'Artagnanwith a bow that was not
deficient in dignitysince you do me the honor to draw a sword
with me while suffering from a wound which is very inconvenient.

Very inconvenient, upon my word; and you hurt me devilishly, I
can tell you. But I will take the left hand--it is my custom in
such circumstances. Do not fancy that I do you a favor; I use
either hand easily. And it will be even a disadvantage to you; a
left-handed man is very troublesome to people who are not
prepared for it. I regret I did not inform you sooner of this
circumstance.

You have truly, monsieur,said d'Artagnanbowing againa
courtesy, for which, I assure you, I am very grateful.

You confuse me,replied Athoswith his gentlemanly air; "let
us talk of something elseif you please. Ahs'bloodhow you
have hurt me! My shoulder quite burns."

If you would permit me--said d'Artagnanwith timidity.

What, monsieur?

I have a miraculous balsam for wounds--a balsam given to me by
my mother and of which I have made a trial upon myself.

Well?


Well, I am sure that in less than three days this balsam would
cure you; and at the end of three days, when you would be cured-well,
sir, it would still do me a great honor to be your man.

D'Artagnan spoke these words with a simplicity that did honor to
his courtesywithout throwing the least doubt upon his courage.

PARDIEU, monsieur!said Athosthat's a proposition that
pleases me; not that I can accept it, but a league off it savors
of the gentleman. Thus spoke and acted the gallant knights of
the time of Charlemagne, in whom every cavalier ought to seek his
model. Unfortunately, we do not live in the times of the great
emperor, we live in the times of the cardinal; and three days
hence, however well the secret might be guarded, it would be
known, I say, that we were to fight, and our combat would be
prevented. I think these fellows will never come.

If you are in haste, monsieur,said d'Artagnanwith the same
simplicity with which a moment before he had proposed to him to
put off the duel for three daysand if it be your will to
dispatch me at once, do not inconvenience yourself, I pray you.

There is another word which pleases me,cried Athoswith a
gracious nod to d'Artagnan. "That did not come from a man
without a heart. MonsieurI love men of your kidney; and I
foresee plainly that if we don't kill each otherI shall
hereafter have much pleasure in your conversation. We will wait
for these gentlemenso please you; I have plenty of timeand it
will be more correct. Ahhere is one of themI believe."

In factat the end of the Rue Vaugirard the gigantic Porthos
appeared.

What!cried d'Artagnanis your first witness Monsieur
Porthos?

Yes, that disturbs you?

By no means.

And here is the second.

D'Artagnan turned in the direction pointed to by Athosand
perceived Aramis.

What!cried hein an accent of greater astonishment than
beforeyour second witness is Monsieur Aramis?

Doubtless! Are you not aware that we are never seen one without
the others, and that we are called among the Musketeers and the
Guards, at court and in the city, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, or
the Three Inseparables? And yet, as you come from Dax or Pau--

From Tarbes,said d'Artagnan.

It is probable you are ignorant of this little fact,said
Athos.

My faith!replied d'Artagnanyou are well named, gentlemen;
and my adventure, if it should make any noise, will prove at
least that your union is not founded upon contrasts.

In the meantimePorthos had come upwaved his hand to Athos


and then turning toward d'Artagnanstood quite astonished.

Let us say in passing that he had changed his baldric and
relinquished his cloak.

Ah, ah!said hewhat does this mean?

This is the gentleman I am going to fight with,said Athos
pointing to d'Artagnan with his hand and saluting him with the
same gesture.

Why, it is with him I am also going to fight,said Porthos.

But not before one o'clock,replied d'Artagnan.

And I also am to fight with this gentleman,said Aramiscoming
in his turn onto the place.

But not until two o'clock,said d'Artagnanwith the same
calmness.

But what are you going to fight about, Athos?asked Aramis.

Faith! I don't very well know. He hurt my shoulder. And you,
Porthos?

Faith! I am going to fight--because I am going to fight,
answered Porthosreddening.

Athoswhose keen eye lost nothingperceived a faintly sly smile
pass over the lips of the young Gascon as he repliedWe had a
short discussion upon dress.

And you, Aramis?asked Athos.

Oh, ours is a theological quarrel,replied Aramismaking a
sign to d'Artagnan to keep secret the cause of their duel.

Athos indeed saw a second smile on the lips of d'Artagnan.

Indeed?said Athos.

Yes; a passage of St. Augustine, upon which we could not agree,
said the Gascon.

Decidedly, this is a clever fellow,murmured Athos.

And now you are assembled, gentlemen,said d'Artagnanpermit
me to offer you my apologies.

At this word APOLOGIESa cloud passed over the brow of Athosa
haughty smile curled the lip of Porthosand a negative sign was
the reply of Aramis.

You do not understand me, gentlemen,said d'Artagnanthrowing
up his headthe sharp and bold lines of which were at the moment
gilded by a bright ray of the sun. "I asked to be excused in
case I should not be able to discharge my debt to all three; for
Monsieur Athos has the right to kill me firstwhich must much diminish
the face-value of your billMonsieur Porthosand render
yours almost nullMonsieur Aramis. And nowgentlemenI
repeatexcuse mebut on that account onlyand--on guard!"

At these wordswith the most gallant air possibled'Artagnan


drew his sword.

The blood had mounted to the head of d'Artagnanand at that
moment he would have drawn his sword against all the Musketeers
in the kingdom as willingly as he now did against AthosPorthos
and Aramis.

It was a quarter past midday. The sun was in its zenithand the
spot chosen for the scene of the duel was exposed to its full
ardor.

It is very hot,said Athosdrawing his sword in its turnand
yet I cannot take off my doublet; for I just now felt my wound
begin to bleed again, and I should not like to annoy Monsieur
with the sight of blood which he has not drawn from me himself.

That is true, Monsieur,replied d'Artagnanand whether drawn
by myself or another, I assure you I shall always view with
regret the blood of so brave a gentleman. I will therefore fight
in my doublet, like yourself.

Come, come, enough of such compliments!cried Porthos.
Remember, we are waiting for our turns.

Speak for yourself when you are inclined to utter such
incongruities,interrupted Aramis. "For my partI think what
they say is very well saidand quite worthy of two gentlemen."

When you please, monsieur,said Athosputting himself on
guard.

I waited your orders,said d'Artagnancrossing swords.

But scarcely had the two rapiers clashedwhen a company of the
Guards of his Eminencecommanded by M. de Jussacturned the
corner of the convent.

The cardinal's Guards!cried Aramis and Porthos at the same
time. "Sheathe your swordsgentlemensheathe your swords!"

But it was too late. The two combatants had been seen in a
position which left no doubt of their intentions.

Halloo!cried Jussacadvancing toward them and making a sign
to his men to do so likewisehalloo, Musketeers? Fighting
here, are you? And the edicts? What is become of them?

You are very generous, gentlemen of the Guards,said Athos
full of rancorfor Jussac was one of the aggressors of the
preceding day. "If we were to see you fightingI can assure you
that we would make no effort to prevent you. Leave us alone
thenand you will enjoy a little amusement without cost to
yourselves."

Gentlemen,said Jussacit is with great regret that I
pronounce the thing impossible. Duty before everything.
Sheathe, then, if you please, and follow us.

Monsieur,said Aramisparodying Jussacit would afford us
great pleasure to obey your polite invitation if it depended upon
ourselves; but unfortunately the thing is impossible--Monsieur de
Treville has forbidden it. Pass on your way, then; it is the
best thing to do.


This raillery exasperated Jussac. "We will charge upon you
then said he, if you disobey."

There are five of them,said Athoshalf aloudand we are but
three; we shall be beaten again, and must die on the spot, for,
on my part, I declare I will never appear again before the
captain as a conquered man.

AthosPorthosand Aramis instantly drew near one anotherwhile
Jussac drew up his soldiers.

This short interval was sufficient to determine d'Artagnan on the
part he was to take. It was one of those events which decide the
life of a man; it was a choice between the king and the
cardinal--the choice madeit must be persisted in. To fight
that was to disobey the lawthat was to risk his headthat was
to make at one blow an enemy of a minister more powerful than the
king himself. All this young man perceivedand yetto his
praise we speak ithe did not hesitate a second. Turning
towards Athos and his friendsGentlemen,said heallow me to
correct your words, if you please. You said you were but three,
but it appears to me we are four.

But you are not one of us,said Porthos.

That's true,replied d'Artagnan; "I have not the uniformbut I
have the spirit. My heart is that of a Musketeer; I feel it
monsieurand that impels me on."

Withdraw, young man,cried Jussacwho doubtlessby his
gestures and the expression of his countenancehad guessed
d'Artagnan's design. "You may retire; we consent to that. Save
your skin; begone quickly."

D'Artagnan did not budge.

Decidedly, you are a brave fellow,said Athospressing the
young man's hand.

Come, come, choose your part,replied Jussac.

Well,said Porthos to Aramiswe must do something.

Monsieur is full of generosity,said Athos.

But all three reflected upon the youth of d'Artagnanand dreaded
his inexperience.

We should only be three, one of whom is wounded, with the
addition of a boy,resumed Athos; "and yet it will not be the
less said we were four men."

Yes, but to yield!said Porthos.

That IS difficult,replied Athos.

D'Artagnan comprehended their irresolution.

Try me, gentlemen,said heand I swear to you by my honor
that I will not go hence if we are conquered.

What is your name, my brave fellow?said Athos.

d'Artagnan, monsieur.


Well, then, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan, forward!
cried Athos.

Come, gentlemen, have you decided?cried Jussac for the third
time.

It is done, gentlemen,said Athos.

And what is your choice?asked Jussac.

We are about to have the honor of charging you,replied Aramis
lifting his hat with one hand and drawing his sword with the
other.

Ah! You resist, do you?cried Jussac.

S'blood; does that astonish you?

And the nine combatants rushed upon each other with a fury which
however did not exclude a certain degree of method.

Athos fixed upon a certain Cahusaca favorite of the cardinal's.
Porthos had Bicaratand Aramis found himself opposed to two
adversaries. As to d'Artagnanhe sprang toward Jussac himself.

The heart of the young Gascon beat as if it would burst through
his side--not from fearGod he thankedhe had not the shade of
itbut with emulation; he fought like a furious tigerturning
ten times round his adversaryand changing his ground and his
guard twenty times. Jussac wasas was then saida fine blade
and had had much practice; nevertheless it required all his skill
to defend himself against an adversary whoactive and energetic
departed every instant from received rulesattacking him on all
sides at onceand yet parrying like a man who had the greatest
respect for his own epidermis.

This contest at length exhausted Jussac's patience. Furious at
being held in check by one whom he had considered a boyhe
became warm and began to make mistakes. D'Artagnanwho though
wanting in practice had a sound theoryredoubled his agility.
Jussacanxious to put an end to thisspringing forwardaimed a
terrible thrust at his adversarybut the latter parried it; and
while Jussac was recovering himselfglided like a serpent
beneath his bladeand passed his sword through his body. Jussac
fell like a dead mass.

D'Artagnan then cast an anxious and rapid glance over the field
of battle.

Aramis had killed one of his adversariesbut the other pressed
him warmly. NeverthelessAramis was in a good situationand
able to defend himself.

Bicarat and Porthos had just made counterhits. Porthos had
received a thrust through his armand Bicarat one through his
thigh. But neither of these two wounds was seriousand they
only fought more earnestly.

Athoswounded anew by Cahusacbecame evidently palerbut did
not give way a foot. He only changed his sword handand fought
with his left hand.

According to the laws of dueling at that periodd'Artagnan was


at liberty to assist whom he pleased. While he was endeavoring
to find out which of his companions stood in greatest needhe
caught a glance from Athos. The glance was of sublime eloquence.
Athos would have died rather than appeal for help; but he could
lookand with that look ask assistance. D'Artagnan interpreted
it; with a terrible bound he sprang to the side of Cahusac
cryingTo me, Monsieur Guardsman; I will slay you!

Cahusac turned. It was time; for Athoswhose great courage
alone supported himsank upon his knee.

S'blood!cried he to d'Artagnando not kill him, young man, I
beg of you. I have an old affair to settle with him when I am
cured and sound again. Disarm him only--make sure of his sword.
That's it! Very well done!

The exclamation was drawn from Athos by seeing the sword of
Cahusac fly twenty paces from him. D'Artagnan and Cahusac sprang
forward at the same instantthe one to recoverthe other to
obtainthe sword; but d'Artagnanbeing the more activereached
it first and placed his foot upon it.

Cahusac immediately ran to the Guardsman whom Aramis had killed
seized his rapierand returned toward d'Artagnan; but on his way
he met Athoswho during his relief which d'Artagnan had procured
him had recovered his breathand whofor fear that d'Artagnan
would kill his enemywished to resume the fight.

D'Artagnan perceived that it would be disobliging Athos not to
leave him alone; and in a few minutes Cahusac fellwith a sword
thrust through his throat.

At the same instant Aramis placed his sword point on the breast
of his fallen enemyand forced him to ask for mercy.

There only then remained Porthos and Bicarat. Porthos made a
thousand flourishesasking Bicarat what o'clock it could beand
offering him his compliments upon his brother's having just
obtained a company in the regiment of Navarre; butjest as he
mighthe gained nothing. Bicarat was one of those iron men who
never fell dead.

Neverthelessit was necessary to finish. The watch might come
up and take all the combatantswounded or notroyalists or
cardinalists. AthosAramisand d'Artagnan surrounded Bicarat
and required him to surrender. Though alone against all and with
a wound in his thighBicarat wished to hold out; but Jussacwho
had risen upon his elbowcried out to him to yield. Bicarat was
a Gasconas d'Artagnan was; he turned a deaf earand contented
himself with laughingand between two parries finding time to
point to a spot of earth with his swordHere,cried he
parodying a verse of the Biblehere will Bicarat die; for I
only am left, and they seek my life.

But there are four against you; leave off, I command you.

Ah, if you command me, that's another thing,said Bicarat. "As
you are my commanderit is my duty to obey." And springing
backwardhe broke his sword across his knee to avoid the
necessity of surrendering itthrew the pieces over the convent
walland crossed him armswhistling a cardinalist air.

Bravery is always respectedeven in an enemy. The Musketeers
saluted Bicarat with their swordsand returned them to their


sheaths. D'Artagnan did the same. Thenassisted by Bicarat
the only one left standinghe bore JussacCahusacand one of
Aramis's adversaries who was only woundedunder the porch of the
convent. The fourthas we have saidwas dead. They then rang
the belland carrying away four swords out of fivethey took
their roadintoxicated with joytoward the hotel of M. de
Treville.

They walked arm in armoccupying the whole width of the street
and taking in every Musketeer they metso that in the end it
became a triumphal march. The heart of d'Artagnan swam in
delirium; he marched between Athos and Porthospressing them
tenderly.

If I am not yet a Musketeer,said he to his new friendsas he
passed through the gateway of M. de Treville's hotelat least I
have entered upon my apprenticeship, haven't I?

HIS MAJESTY KING LOUIS XIII

This affair made a great noise. M. de Treville scolded his
Musketeers in publicand congratulated them in private; but as
no time was to be lost in gaining the kingM. de Treville
hastened to report himself at the Louvre. It was already too
late. The king was closeted with the cardinaland M. de
Treville was informed that the king was busy and could not
receive him at that moment. In the evening M. de Treville
attended the king's gaming table. The king was winning; and as
he was very avaricioushe was in an excellent humor. Perceiving

M. de Treville at a distance-"
Come hereMonsieur Captain said he, come herethat I may
growl at you. Do you know that his Eminence has been making
fresh complaints against your Musketeersand that with so much
emotionthat this evening his Eminence is indisposed? Ahthese
Musketeers of yours are very devils--fellows to be hanged."

No, sire,replied Trevillewho saw at the first glance how
things would goon the contrary, they are good creatures, as
meek as lambs, and have but one desire, I'll be their warranty.
And that is that their swords may never leave their scabbards but
in your majesty's service. But what are they to do? The Guards
of Monsieur the Cardinal are forever seeking quarrels with them,
and for the honor of the corps even, the poor young men are
obliged to defend themselves.

Listen to Monsieur de Treville,said the king; "listen to him!
Would not one say he was speaking of a religious community? In
truthmy dear CaptainI have a great mind to take away your
commission and give it to Mademoiselle de Chemeraultto whom I
promised an abbey. But don't fancy that I am going to take you
on your bare word. I am called Louis the JustMonsieur de
Trevilleand by and byby and by we will see."

Ah, sire; it is because I confide in that justice that I shall
wait patiently and quietly the good pleasure of your Majesty.

Wait, then, monsieur, wait,said the king; "I will not detain
you long."

In factfortune changed; and as the king began to lose what he


had wonhe was not sorry to find an excuse for playing
Charlemagne--if we may use a gaming phrase of whose origin we
confess our ignorance. The king therefore arose a minute after
and putting the money which lay before him into his pocketthe
major part of which arose from his winningsLa Vieuville,said
hetake my place; I must speak to Monsieur de Treville on an
affair of importance. Ah, I had eighty louis before me; put down
the same sum, so that they who have lost may have nothing to
complain of. Justice before everything.

Then turning toward M. de Treville and walking with him toward
the embrasure of a windowWell, monsieur,continued heyou
say it is his Eminence's Guards who have sought a quarrel with
your Musketeers?

Yes, sire, as they always do.

And how did the thing happen? Let us see, for you know, my dear
Captain, a judge must hear both sides.

Good Lord! In the most simple and natural manner possible.
Three of my best soldiers, whom your Majesty knows by name, and
whose devotedness you have more than once appreciated, and who
have, I dare affirm to the king, his service much at heart--three
of my best soldiers, I say, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, had made
a party of pleasure with a young fellow from Gascony, whom I had
introduced to them the same morning. The party was to take place
at St. Germain, I believe, and they had appointed to meet at the
Carmes-Deschaux, when they were disturbed by de Jussac, Cahusac,
Bicarat, and two other Guardsmen, who certainly did not go there
in such a numerous company without some ill intention against the
edicts.

Ah, ah! You incline me to think so,said the king. "There is
no doubt they went thither to fight themselves."

I do not accuse them, sire; but I leave your Majesty to judge
what five armed men could possibly be going to do in such a
deserted place as the neighborhood of the Convent des Carmes.

Yes, you are right, Treville, you are right!

Then, upon seeing my Musketeers they changed their minds, and
forgot their private hatred for partisan hatred; for your Majesty
cannot be ignorant that the Musketeers, who belong to the king
and nobody but the king, are the natural enemies of the
Guardsmen, who belong to the cardinal.

Yes, Treville, yes,said the kingin a melancholy tone; "and
it is very sadbelieve meto see thus two parties in France
two heads to royalty. But all this will come to an endTreville
will come to an end. You saythenthat the Guardsmen sought a
quarrel with the Musketeers?"

I say that it is probable that things have fallen out so, but I
will not swear to it, sire. You know how difficult it is to
discover the truth; and unless a man be endowed with that
admirable instinct which causes Louis XIII to be named the
Just--

You are right, Treville; but they were not alone, your
Musketeers. They had a youth with them?


Yes, sire, and one wounded man; so that three of the king's
Musketeers--one of whom was wounded--and a youth not only
maintained their ground against five of the most terrible of the
cardinal's Guardsmen, but absolutely brought four of them to
earth.

Why, this is a victory!cried the kingall radianta
complete victory!

Yes, sire; as complete as that of the Bridge of Ce.

Four men, one of them wounded, and a youth, say you?

One hardly a young man; but who, however, behaved himself so
admirably on this occasion that I will take the liberty of
recommending him to your Majesty.

How does he call himself?

d'Artagnan, sire; he is the son of one of my oldest friends--the
son of a man who served under the king your father, of glorious
memory, in the civil war.

And you say this young man behaved himself well? Tell me how,
Treville--you know how I delight in accounts of war and
fighting.

And Louis XIII twisted his mustache proudlyplacing his hand
upon his hip.

Sire,resumed Trevilleas I told you, Monsieur d'Artagnan is
little more than a boy; and as he has not the honor of being a
Musketeer, he was dressed as a citizen. The Guards of the
cardinal, perceiving his youth and that he did not belong to the
corps, invited him to retire before they attacked.

So you may plainly see, Treville,interrupted the kingit was
they who attacked?

That is true, sire; there can be no more doubt on that head.
They called upon him then to retire; but he answered that he was
a Musketeer at heart, entirely devoted to your Majesty, and that
therefore he would remain with Messieurs the Musketeers.

Brave young man!murmured the king.

Well, he did remain with them; and your Majesty has in him so
firm a champion that it was he who gave Jussac the terrible sword
thrust which has made the cardinal so angry.

He who wounded Jussac!cried the kinghe, a boy! Treville,
that's impossible!

It is as I have the honor to relate it to your Majesty.

Jussac, one of the first swordsmen in the kingdom?

Well, sire, for once he found his master.

I will see this young man, Treville--I will see him; and if anything
can be done--well, we will make it our business.

When will your Majesty deign to receive him?


Tomorrow, at midday, Treville.

Shall I bring him alone?

No, bring me all four together. I wish to thank them all at
once. Devoted men are so rare, Treville, by the back staircase.
It is useless to let the cardinal know.

Yes, sire.

You understand, Treville--an edict is still an edict, it is
forbidden to fight, after all.

But this encounter, sire, is quite out of the ordinary
conditions of a duel. It is a brawl; and the proof is that there
were five of the cardinal's Guardsmen against my three Musketeers
and Monsieur d'Artagnan.

That is true,said the king; "but never mindTrevillecome
still by the back staircase."

Treville smiled; but as it was indeed something to have prevailed
upon this child to rebel against his masterhe saluted the king
respectfullyand with this agreementtook leave of him.

That evening the three Musketeers were informed of the honor
accorded them. As they had long been acquainted with the king
they were not much excited; but d'Artagnanwith his Gascon
imaginationsaw in it his future fortuneand passed the night
in golden dreams. By eight o'clock in the morning he was at the
apartment of Athos.

D'Artagnan found the Musketeer dressed and ready to go out. As
the hour to wait upon the king was not till twelvehe had made a
party with Porthos and Aramis to play a game at tennis in a
tennis court situated near the stables of the Luxembourg. Athos
invited d'Artagnan to follow them; and although ignorant of the
gamewhich he had never playedhe acceptednot knowing what to
do with his time from nine o'clock in the morningas it then
scarcely wastill twelve.

The two Musketeers were already thereand were playing together.
Athoswho was very expert in all bodily exercisespassed with
d'Artagnan to the opposite side and challenged them; but at the
first effort he madealthough he played with his left handhe
found that his wound was yet too recent to allow of such
exertion. D'Artagnan remainedthereforealone; and as he
declared he was too ignorant of the game to play it regularly
they only continued giving balls to one another without counting.
But one of these ballslaunched by Porthos' herculean hand
passed so close to d'Artagnan's face that he thought that if
instead of passing nearit had hit himhis audience would have
been probably lostas it would have been impossible for him to
present himself before the king. Nowas upon this audiencein
his Gascon imaginationdepended his future lifehe saluted
Aramis and Porthos politelydeclaring that he would not resume
the game until he should be prepared to play with them on more
equal termsand went and took his place near the cord and in the
gallery.

Unfortunately for d'Artagnanamong the spectators was one of his
Eminence's Guardsmenwhostill irritated by the defeat of his
companionswhich had happened only the day beforehad promised
himself to seize the first opportunity of avenging it. He


believed this opportunity was now come and addressed his
neighbor: "It is not astonishing that that young man should be
afraid of a ballfor he is doubtless a Musketeer apprentice."

D'Artagnan turned round as if a serpent had stung himand fixed
his eyes intensely upon the Guardsman who had just made this
insolent speech.

PARDIEU,resumed the lattertwisting his mustachelook at me
as long as you like, my little gentleman! I have said what I
have said.

And as since that which you have said is too clear to require
any explanation,replied d'Artagnanin a low voiceI beg you
to follow me.

And when?asked the Guardsmanwith the same jeering air.

At once, if you please.

And you know who I am, without doubt?

I? I am completely ignorant; nor does it much disquiet me.

You're in the wrong there; for if you knew my name, perhaps you
would not be so pressing.

What is your name?

Bernajoux, at your service.

Well, then, Monsieur Bernajoux,said d'ArtagnantranquillyI
will wait for you at the door.

Go, monsieur, I will follow you.

Do not hurry yourself, monsieur, lest it be observed that we go
out together. You must be aware that for our undertaking,
company would be in the way.

That's true,said the Guardsmanastonished that his name had
not produced more effect upon the young man.

Indeedthe name of Bernajoux was known to all the world
d'Artagnan alone exceptedperhaps; for it was one of those which
figured most frequently in the daily brawls which all the edicts
of the cardinal could not repress.

Porthos and Aramis were so engaged with their gameand Athos was
watching them with so much attentionthat they did not even
perceive their young companion go outwhoas he had told the
Guardsman of his Eminencestopped outside the door. An instant
afterthe Guardsman descended in his turn. As d'Artagnan had no
time to loseon account of the audience of the kingwhich was
fixed for middayhe cast his eyes aroundand seeing that the
street was emptysaid to his adversaryMy faith! It is
fortunate for you, although your name is Bernajoux, to have only
to deal with an apprentice Musketeer. Never mind; be content, I
will do my best. On guard!

But,said he whom d'Artagnan thus provokedit appears to me
that this place is badly chosen, and that we should be better
behind the Abbey St. Germain or in the Pre-aux-Clercs.


What you say is full of sense,replied d'Artagnan; "but
unfortunately I have very little time to sparehaving an
appointment at twelve precisely. On guardthenmonsieuron
guard!"

Bernajoux was not a man to have such a compliment paid to him
twice. In an instant his sword glittered in his handand he
sprang upon his adversarywhomthanks to his great
youthfulnesshe hoped to intimidate.

But d'Artagnan had on the preceding day served his
apprenticeship. Fresh sharpened by his victoryfull of hopes of
future favorhe was resolved not to recoil a step. So the two
swords were crossed close to the hiltsand as d'Artagnan stood
firmit was his adversary who made the retreating step; but
d'Artagnan seized the moment at whichin this movementthe
sword of Bernajoux deviated from the line. He freed his weapon
made a lungeand touched his adversary on the shoulder.
d'Artagnan immediately made a step backward and raised his sword;
but Bernajoux cried out that it was nothingand rushing blindly
upon himabsolutely spitted himself upon d'Artagnan's sword.
Ashoweverhe did not fallas he did not declare himself
conqueredbut only broke away toward the hotel of M. de la
Tremouillein whose service he had a relatived'Artagnan was
ignorant of the seriousness of the last wound his adversary had
receivedand pressing him warmlywithout doubt would soon have
completed his work with a third blowwhen the noise which arose
from the street being heard in the tennis courttwo of the
friends of the Guardsmanwho had seen him go out after
exchanging some words with d'Artagnanrushedsword in hand
from the courtand fell upon the conqueror. But AthosPorthos
and Aramis quickly appeared in their turnand the moment the two
Guardsmen attacked their young companiondrove them back.
Bernajoux now felland as the Guardsmen were only two against
fourthey began to cryTo the rescue! The Hotel de la
Tremouille!At these criesall who were in the hotel rushed
out and fell upon the four companionswho on their side cried
aloudTo the rescue, Musketeers!

This cry was generally heeded; for the Musketeers were known to
be enemies of the cardinaland were beloved on account of the
hatred they bore to his Eminence. Thus the soldiers of other
companies than those which belonged to the Red Dukeas Aramis
had called himoften took part with the king's Musketeers in
these quarrels. Of three Guardsmen of the company of M.
Dessessart who were passingtwo came to the assistance of the
four companionswhile the other ran toward the hotel of M. de
TrevillecryingTo the rescue, Musketeers! To the rescue!
As usualthis hotel was full of soldiers of this companywho
hastened to the succor of their comrades. The MELEE became
generalbut strength was on the side of the Musketeers. The
cardinal's Guards and M. de la Tremouille's people retreated into
the hotelthe doors of which they closed just in time to prevent
their enemies from entering with them. As to the wounded manhe
had been taken in at onceandas we have saidin a very bad
state.

Excitement was at its height among the Musketeers and their
alliesand they even began to deliberate whether they should not
set fire to the hotel to punish the insolence of M. de la
Tremouille's domestics in daring to make a SORTIE upon the king's
Musketeers. The proposition had been madeand received with
enthusiasmwhen fortunately eleven o'clock struck. D'Artagnan
and his companions remembered their audienceand as they would


very much have regretted that such an opportunity should be lost
they succeeded in calming their friendswho contented themselves
with hurling some paving stones against the gates; but the gates
were too strong. They soon tired of the sport. Besidesthose
who must be considered the leaders of the enterprise had quit the
group and were making their way toward the hotel of M. de
Trevillewho was waiting for themalready informed of this
fresh disturbance.

Quick to the Louvre,said heto the Louvre without losing an
instant, and let us endeavor to see the king before he is
prejudiced by the cardinal. We will describe the thing to him as
a consequence of the affair of yesterday, and the two will pass
off together.

M. de Trevilleaccompanied by the four young fellowsdirected
his course toward the Louvre; but to the great astonishment of
the captain of the Musketeershe was informed that the king had
gone stag hunting in the forest of St. Germain. M. de Treville
required this intelligence to be repeated to him twiceand each
time his companions saw his brow become darker.
Had his Majesty,asked heany intention of holding this
hunting party yesterday?

No, your Excellency,replied the valet de chambrethe Master
of the Hounds came this morning to inform him that he had marked
down a stag. At first the king answered that he would not go;
but he could not resist his love of sport, and set out after
dinner.

And the king has seen the cardinal?asked M. de Treville.

In all probability he has,replied the valetfor I saw the
horses harnessed to his Eminence's carriage this morning, and
when I asked where he was going, they told me, To St. Germain.'"

He is beforehand with us,said M. de Treville. "GentlemenI
will see the king this evening; but as to youI do not advise
you to risk doing so."

This advice was too reasonableand moreover came from a man who
knew the king too wellto allow the four young men to dispute
it. M. de Treville recommended everyone to return home and wait
for news.

On entering his hotelM. de Treville thought it best to be first
in making the complaint. He sent one of his servants to M. de la
Tremouille with a letter in which he begged of him to eject the
cardinal's Guardsmen from his houseand to reprimand his people
for their audacity in making SORTIE against the king's
Musketeers. But M. de la Tremouille--already prejudiced by his
esquirewhose relativeas we already knowBernajoux was-replied
that it was neither for M. de Treville nor the Musketeers
to complainbuton the contraryfor himwhose people the
Musketeers had assaulted and whose hotel they had endeavored to
burn. Nowas the debate between these two nobles might last a
long timeeach becomingnaturallymore firm in his own
opinionM. de Treville thought of an expedient which might
terminate it quietly. This was to go himself to M. de la
Tremouille.

He repairedthereforeimmediately to his hoteland caused
himself to be announced.


The two nobles saluted each other politelyfor if no friendship
existed between themthere was at least esteem. Both were men
of courage and honor; and as M. de la Tremouille--a Protestant
and seeing the king seldom--was of no partyhe did notin
generalcarry any bias into his social relations. This time
howeverhis addressalthough politewas cooler than usual.

Monsieur,said M. de Trevillewe fancy that we have each
cause to complain of the other, and I am come to endeavor to
clear up this affair.

I have no objection,replied M. de la Tremouillebut I warn
you that I am well informed, and all the fault is with your
Musketeers.

You are too just and reasonable a man, monsieur!said Treville
not to accept the proposal I am about to make to you.

Make it, monsieur, I listen.

How is Monsieur Bernajoux, your esquire's relative?

Why, monsieur, very ill indeed! In addition to the sword thrust
in his arm, which is not dangerous, he has received another right
through his lungs, of which the doctor says bad things.

But has the wounded man retained his senses?

Perfectly.

Does he talk?

With difficulty, but he can speak.

Well, monsieur, let us go to him. Let us adjure him, in the
name of the God before whom he must perhaps appear, to speak the
truth. I will take him for judge in his own cause, monsieur, and
will believe what he will say.

M. de la Tremouille reflected for an instant; then as it was
difficult to suggest a more reasonable proposalhe agreed to it.
Both descended to the chamber in which the wounded man lay. The
latteron seeing these two noble lords who came to visit him
endeavored to raise himself up in his bed; but he was too weak
and exhausted by the efforthe fell back again almost senseless.

M. de la Tremouille approached himand made him inhale some
saltswhich recalled him to life. Then M. de Treville
unwilling that it should be thought that he had influenced the
wounded manrequested M. de la Tremouille to interrogate him
himself.
That happened which M. de Treville had foreseen. Placed between
life and deathas Bernajoux washe had no idea for a moment of
concealing the truth; and he described to the two nobles the
affair exactly as it had passed.

This was all that M. de Treville wanted. He wished Bernajoux a
speedy convalescencetook leave of M. de la Tremouillereturned
to his hoteland immediately sent word to the four friends that
he awaited their company at dinner.


M. de Treville entertained good companywholly anticardinalst
though. It may easily be understoodthereforethat the
conversation during the whole of dinner turned upon the two
checks that his Eminence's Guardsmen had received. Nowas
d'Artagnan had been the hero of these two fightsit was upon him
that all the felicitations fellwhich AthosPorthosand Aramis
abandoned to himnot only as good comradesbut as men who had
so often had their turn that could very well afford him his.
Toward six o'clock M. de Treville announced that it was time to
go to the Louvre; but as the hour of audience granted by his
Majesty was pastinstead of claiming the ENTREE by the back
stairshe placed himself with the four young men in the
antechamber. The king had not yet returned from hunting. Our
young men had been waiting about half an houramid a crowd of
courtierswhen all the doors were thrown openand his Majesty
was announced.

At his announcement d'Artagnan felt himself tremble to the very
marrow of his bones. The coming instant would in all probability
decide the rest of his life. His eyes therefore were fixed in a
sort of agony upon the door through which the king must enter.

Louis XIII appearedwalking fast. He was in hunting costume
covered with dustwearing large bootsand holding a whip in his
hand. At the first glanced'Artagnan judged that the mind of
the king was stormy.

This dispositionvisible as it was in his Majestydid not
prevent the courtiers from ranging themselves along his pathway.
In royal antechambers it is worth more to be viewed with an angry
eye than not to be seen at all. The three Musketeers therefore
did not hesitate to make a step forward. D'Artagnan on the
contrary remained concealed behind them; but although the king
knew AthosPorthosand Aramis personallyhe passed before them
without speaking or looking--indeedas if he had never seen them
before. As for M. de Trevillewhen the eyes of the king fell
upon himhe sustained the look with so much firmness that it was
the king who dropped his eyes; after which his Majesty
grumblingentered his apartment.

Matters go but badly,said Athossmiling; "and we shall not be
made Chevaliers of the Order this time."

Wait here ten minutes,said M. de Treville; "and if at the
expiration of ten minutes you do not see me come outreturn to
my hotelfor it will be useless for you to wait for me longer."

The four young men waited ten minutesa quarter of an hour
twenty minutes; and seeing that M. de Treville did not return
went away very uneasy as to what was going to happen.

M. de Treville entered the king's cabinet boldlyand found his
Majesty in a very ill humorseated on an armchairbeating his
boot with the handle of his whip. Thishoweverdid not prevent
his askingwith the greatest coolnessafter his Majesty's
health.
Bad, monsieur, bad!replied the king; "I am bored."

This wasin factthe worst complaint of Louis XIIIwho would
sometimes take one of his courtiers to a window and say
Monsieur So-and-so, let us weary ourselves together.


How! Your Majesty is bored? Have you not enjoyed the pleasures
of the chase today?

A fine pleasure, indeed, monsieur! Upon my soul, everything
degenerates; and I don't know whether it is the game which leaves
no scent, or the dogs that have no noses. We started a stag of
ten branches. We chased him for six hours, and when he was near
being taken--when St.-Simon was already putting his horn to his
mouth to sound the mort--crack, all the pack takes the wrong
scent and sets off after a two-year-older. I shall be obliged to
give up hunting, as I have given up hawking. Ah, I am an
unfortunate king, Monsieur de Treville! I had but one gerfalcon,
and he died day before yesterday.

Indeed, sire, I wholly comprehend your disappointment. The
misfortune is great; but I think you have still a good number of
falcons, sparrow hawks, and tiercets.

And not a man to instruct them. Falconers are declining. I
know no one but myself who is acquainted with the noble art of
venery. After me it will all be over, and people will hunt with
gins, snares, and traps. If I had but the time to train pupils!
But there is the cardinal always at hand, who does not leave me a
moment's repose; who talks to me about Spain, who talks to me
about Austria, who talks to me about England! Ah! A PROPOS of
the cardinal, Monsieur de Treville, I am vexed with you!

This was the chance at which M. de Treville waited for the king.
He knew the king of oldand he knew that all these complaints
were but a preface--a sort of excitation to encourage himself-and
that he had now come to his point at last.

And in what have I been so unfortunate as to displease your
Majesty?asked M. de Trevillefeigning the most profound
astonishment.

Is it thus you perform your charge, monsieur?continued the
kingwithout directly replying to de Treville's question. "Is
it for this I name you captain of my Musketeersthat they should
assassinate a mandisturb a whole quarterand endeavor to set
fire to Pariswithout your saying a word? But yet continued
the king, undoubtedly my haste accuses you wrongfully; without
doubt the rioters are in prisonand you come to tell me justice
is done."

Sire,replied M. de Trevillecalmlyon the contrary, I come
to demand it of you.

And against whom?cried the king.

Against calumniators,said M. de Treville.

Ah! This is something new,replied the king. "Will you tell
me that your three damned MusketeersAthosPorthosand Aramis
and your youngster from Bearnhave not fallenlike so many
furiesupon poor Bernajouxand have not maltreated him in such
a fashion that probably by this time he is dead? Will you tell
me that they did not lay siege to the hotel of the Duc de la
Tremouilleand that they did not endeavor to burn it?--which
would notperhapshave been a great misfortune in time of war
seeing that it is nothing but a nest of Huguenotsbut which is
in time of peacea frightful example. Tell menowcan you
deny all this?"


And who told you this fine story, sire?asked Treville
quietly.

Who has told me this fine story, monsieur? Who should it be but
he who watches while I sleep, who labors while I amuse myself,
who conducts everything at home and abroad--in France as in
Europe?

Your Majesty probably refers to God,said M. de Treville; "for
I know no one except God who can be so far above your Majesty."

No, monsieur; I speak of the prop of the state, of my only
servant, of my only friend--of the cardinal.

His Eminence is not his holiness, sire.

What do you mean by that, monsieur?

That it is only the Pope who is infallible, and that this
infallibility does not extend to cardinals.

You mean to say that he deceives me; you mean to say that he
betrays me? You accuse him, then? Come, speak; avow freely that
you accuse him!

No, sire, but I say that he deceives himself. I say that he is
ill-informed. I say that he has hastily accused your Majesty's
Musketeers, toward whom he is unjust, and that he has not
obtained his information from good sources.

The accusation comes from Monsieur de la Tremouille, from the
duke himself. What do you say to that?

I might answer, sire, that he is too deeply interested in the
question to be a very impartial witness; but so far from that,
sire, I know the duke to be a royal gentleman, and I refer the
matter to him--but upon one condition, sire.

What?

It is that your Majesty will make him come here, will
interrogate him yourself, TETE-A-TETE, without witnesses, and
that I shall see your Majesty as soon as you have seen the duke.

What, then! You will bind yourself,cried the kingby what
Monsieur de la Tremouille shall say?

Yes, sire.

You will accept his judgment?

Undoubtedly.

Any you will submit to the reparation he may require?

Certainly.

La Chesnaye,said the king. "La Chesnaye!"

Louis XIII's confidential valetwho never left the doorentered
in reply to the call.

La Chesnaye,said the kinglet someone go instantly and find
Monsieur de la Tremouille; I wish to speak with him this


evening.

Your Majesty gives me your word that you will not see anyone
between Monsieur de la Tremouille and myself?

Nobody, by the faith of a gentleman.

Tomorrow, then, sire?

Tomorrow, monsieur.

At what o'clock, please your Majesty?

At any hour you will.

But in coming too early I should be afraid of awakening your
Majesty.

Awaken me! Do you think I ever sleep, then? I sleep no longer,
monsieur. I sometimes dream, that's all. Come, then, as early
as you like--at seven o'clock; but beware, if you and your
Musketeers are guilty.

If my Musketeers are guilty, sire, the guilty shall be placed in
your Majesty's hands, who will dispose of them at your good
pleasure. Does your Majesty require anything further? Speak, I
am ready to obey.

No, monsieur, no; I am not called Louis the Just without reason.
Tomorrow, then, monsieur--tomorrow.

Till then, God preserve your Majesty!

However ill the king might sleepM. de Treville slept still
worse. He had ordered his three Musketeers and their companion
to be with him at half past six in the morning. He took them
with himwithout encouraging them or promising them anything
and without concealing from them that their luckand even his
owndepended upon the cast of the dice.

Arrived at the foot of the back stairshe desired them to wait.
If the king was still irritated against themthey would depart
without being seen; if the king consented to see themthey would
only have to be called.

On arriving at the king's private antechamberM. de Treville
found La Chesnayewho informed him that they had not been able
to find M. de la Tremouille on the preceding evening at his
hotelthat he returned too late to present himself at the
Louvrethat he had only that moment arrived and that he was at
that very hour with the king.

This circumstance pleased M. de Treville muchas he thus became
certain that no foreign suggestion could insinuate itself between

M. de la Tremouille's testimony and himself.
In factten minutes had scarcely passed away when the door of
the king's closet openedand M. de Treville saw M. de la
Tremouille come out. The duke came straight up to himand said:
Monsieur de Treville, his Majesty has just sent for me in order
to inquire respecting the circumstances which took place
yesterday at my hotel. I have told him the truth; that is to
say, that the fault lay with my people, and that I was ready to
offer you my excuses. Since I have the good fortune to meet you,


I beg you to receive them, and to hold me always as one of your
friends.

Monsieur the Duke,said M. de TrevilleI was so confident of
your loyalty that I required no other defender before his Majesty
than yourself. I find that I have not been mistaken, and I thank
you that there is still one man in France of whom may be said,
without disappointment, what I have said of you.

That's well said,cried the kingwho had heard all these
compliments through the open door; "only tell himTreville
since he wishes to be considered your friendthat I also wish to
be one of hisbut he neglects me; that it is nearly three years
since I have seen himand that I never do see him unless I send
for him. Tell him all this for mefor these are things which a
king cannot say for himself."

Thanks, sire, thanks,said the duke; "but your Majesty may be
assured that it is not those--I do not speak of Monsieur de
Treville--whom your Majesty sees at all hours of the day that are
most devoted to you."

Ah! You have heard what I said? So much the better, Duke, so
much the better,said the kingadvancing toward the door. "Ah!
It is youTreville. Where are your Musketeers? I told you the
day before yesterday to bring them with you; why have you not
done so?"

They are below, sire, and with your permission La Chesnaye will
bid them come up.

Yes, yes, let them come up immediately. It is nearly eight
o'clock, and at nine I expect a visit. Go, Monsieur Duke, and
return often. Come in, Treville.

The Duke saluted and retired. At the moment he opened the door
the three Musketeers and d'Artagnanconducted by La Chesnaye
appeared at the top of the staircase.

Come in, my braves,said the kingcome in; I am going to
scold you.

The Musketeers advancedbowingd'Artagnan following closely
behind them.

What the devil!continued the king. "Seven of his Eminence's
Guards placed HORS DE COMBAT by you four in two days! That's too
manygentlementoo many! If you go on sohis Eminence will be
forced to renew his company in three weeksand I to put the
edicts in force in all their rigor. One now and then I don't say
much about; but seven in two daysI repeatit is too manyit
is far too many!"

Therefore, sire, your Majesty sees that they are come, quite
contrite and repentant, to offer you their excuses.

Quite contrite and repentant! Hem!said the king. "I place no
confidence in their hypocritical faces. In particularthere is
one yonder of a Gascon look. Come hithermonsieur."

D'Artagnanwho understood that it was to him this compliment was
addressedapproachedassuming a most deprecating air.

Why you told me he was a young man? This is a boy, Treville, a


mere boy! Do you mean to say that it was he who bestowed that
severe thrust at Jussac?

And those two equally fine thrusts at Bernajoux.

Truly!

Without reckoning,said Athosthat if he had not rescued me
from the hands of Cahusac, I should not now have the honor of
making my very humble reverence to your Majesty.

Why he is a very devil, this Bearnais! VENTRE-SAINT-GRIS,
Monsieur de Treville, as the king my father would have said. But
at this sort of work, many doublets must be slashed and many
swords broken. Now, Gascons are always poor, are they not?

Sire, I can assert that they have hitherto discovered no gold
mines in their mountains; though the Lord owes them this miracle
in recompense for the manner in which they supported the
pretensions of the king your father.

Which is to say that the Gascons made a king of me, myself,
seeing that I am my father's son, is it not, Treville? Well,
happily, I don't say nay to it. La Chesnaye, go and see if by
rummaging all my pockets you can find forty pistoles; and if you
can find them, bring them to me. And now let us see, young man,
with your hand upon your conscience, how did all this come to
pass?

D'Artagnan related the adventure of the preceding day in all its
details; hownot having been able to sleep for the joy he felt
in the expectation of seeing his Majestyhe had gone to his
three friends three hours before the hour of audience; how they
had gone together to the tennis courtand howupon the fear he
had manifested lest he receive a ball in the facehe had been
jeered at by Bernajoux who had nearly paid for his jeer with his
life and M. de la Tremouillewho had nothing to do with the
matterwith the loss of his hotel.

This is all very well,murmured the kingyes, this is just
the account the duke gave me of the affair. Poor cardinal!
Seven men in two days, and those of his very best! But that's
quite enough, gentlemen; please to understand, that's enough.
You have taken your revenge for the Rue Ferou, and even exceeded
it; you ought to be satisfied.

If your Majesty is so,said Trevillewe are.

Oh, yes; I am,added the kingtaking a handful of gold from La
Chesnayeand putting it into the hand of d'Artagnan. "Here
said he, is a proof of my satisfaction."

At this epochthe ideas of pride which are in fashion in our
days did not prevail. A gentleman receivedfrom hand to hand
money from the kingand was not the least in the world
humiliated. D'Artagnan put his forty pistoles into his pocket
without any scruple--on the contrarythanking his Majesty
greatly.

There,said the kinglooking at a clockthere, now, as it is
half past eight, you may retire; for as I told you, I expect
someone at nine. Thanks for your devotedness, gentlemen. I may
continue to rely upon it, may I not?


Oh, sire!cried the four companionswith one voicewe would
allow ourselves to be cut to pieces in your Majesty's service.

Well, well, but keep whole; that will be better, and you will be
more useful to me. Treville,added the kingin a low voiceas
the others were retiringas you have no room in the Musketeers,
and as we have besides decided that a novitiate is necessary
before entering that corps, place this young man in the company
of the Guards of Monsieur Dessessart, your brother-in-law. Ah,
PARDIEU, Treville! I enjoy beforehand the face the cardinal will
make. He will be furious; but I don't care. I am doing what is
right.

The king waved his hand to Trevillewho left him and rejoined
the Musketeerswhom he found sharing the forty pistoles with
d'Artagnan.

The cardinalas his Majesty had saidwas really furiousso
furious that during eight days he absented himself from the
king's gaming table. This did not prevent the king from being as
complacent to him as possible whenever he met himor from asking
in the kindest toneWell, Monsieur Cardinal, how fares it with
that poor Jussac and that poor Bernajoux of yours?

THE INTERIOR OF "THE MUSKETEERS"

When d'Artagnan was out of the Louvreand consulted his friends
upon the use he had best make of his share of the forty pistoles
Athos advised him to order a good repast at the Pomme-de-Pin
Porthos to engage a lackeyand Aramis to provide himself with a
suitable mistress.

The repast was carried into effect that very dayand the lackey
waited at table. The repast had been ordered by Athosand the
lackey furnished by Porthos. He was a Picardwhom the glorious
Musketeer had picked up on the Bridge Tournellemaking rings and
plashing in the water.

Porthos pretended that this occupation was proof of a reflective
and contemplative organizationand he had brought him away
without any other recommendation. The noble carriage of this
gentlemanfor whom he believed himself to be engagedhad won
Planchet--that was the name of the Picard. He felt a slight
disappointmenthoweverwhen he saw that this place was already
taken by a compeer named Mousquetonand when Porthos signified
to him that the state of his householdthough greatwould not
support two servantsand that he must enter into the service of
d'Artagnan. Neverthelesswhen he waited at the dinner given my
his masterand saw him take out a handful of gold to pay for it
he believed his fortune madeand returned thanks to heaven for
having thrown him into the service of such a Croesus. He
preserved this opinion even after the feastwith the remnants of
which he repaired his own long abstinence; but when in the
evening he made his master's bedthe chimeras of Planchet faded
away. The bed was the only one in the apartmentwhich consisted
of an antechamber and a bedroom. Planchet slept in the
antechamber upon a coverlet taken from the bed of d'Artagnanand
which d'Artagnan from that time made shift to do without.

Athoson his parthad a valet whom he had trained in his
service in a thoroughly peculiar fashionand who was named
Grimaud. He was very taciturnthis worthy signor. Be it


understood we are speaking of Athos. During the five or six
years that he had lived in the strictest intimacy with his
companionsPorthos and Aramisthey could remember having often
seen him smilebut had never heard him laugh. His words were
brief and expressiveconveying all that was meantand no more;
no embellishmentsno embroideryno arabesques. His
conversation a matter of factwithout a single romance.

Although Athos was scarcely thirty years oldand was of great
personal beauty and intelligence of mindno one knew whether he
had ever had a mistress. He never spoke of women. He certainly
did not prevent others from speaking of them before himalthough
it was easy to perceive that this kind of conversationin which
he only mingled by bitter words and misanthropic remarkswas
very disagreeable to him. His reservehis roughnessand his
silence made almost an old man of him. He hadthenin order
not to disturb his habitsaccustomed Grimaud to obey him upon a
simple gesture or upon a simple movement of his lips. He never
spoke to himexcept under the most extraordinary occasions.

SometimesGrimaudwho feared his master as he did firewhile
entertaining a strong attachment to his person and a great
veneration for his talentsbelieved he perfectly understood what
he wantedflew to execute the order receivedand did precisely
the contrary. Athos then shrugged his shouldersandwithout
putting himself in a passionthrashed Grimaud. On these days he
spoke a little.

Porthosas we have seenhad a character exactly opposite to
that of Athos. He not only talked muchbut he talked loudly
little caringwe must render him that justicewhether anybody
listened to him or not. He talked for the pleasure of talking
and for the pleasure of hearing himself talk. He spoke upon all
subjects except the sciencesalleging in this respect the
inveterate hatred he had borne to scholars from his childhood.
He had not so noble an air as Athosand the commencement of
their intimacy often rendered him unjust toward that gentleman
whom he endeavored to eclipse by his splendid dress. But with
his simple Musketeer's uniform and nothing but the manner in
which he threw back his head and advanced his footAthos
instantly took the place which was his due and consigned the
ostentatious Porthos to the second rank. Porthos consoled
himself by filling the antechamber of M. de Treville and the
guardroom of the Louvre with the accounts of his love scrapes
after having passed from professional ladies to military ladies
from the lawyer's dame to the baronessthere was question of
nothing less with Porthos than a foreign princesswho was
enormously fond of him.

An old proverb saysLike master, like man.Let us passthen
from the valet of Athos to the valet of Porthosfrom Grimaud to
Mousqueton.

Mousqueton was a Normanwhose pacific name of Boniface his
master had changed into the infinitely more sonorous name of
Mousqueton. He had entered the service of Porthos upon condition
that he should only be clothed and lodgedthough in a handsome
manner; but he claimed two hours a day to himselfconsecrated to
an employment which would provide for his other wants. Porthos
agreed to the bargain; the thing suited him wonderfully well. He
had doublets cut out of his old clothes and cast-off cloaks for
Mousquetonand thanks to a very intelligent tailorwho made his
clothes look as good as new by turning themand whose wife was
suspected of wishing to make Porthos descend from his


aristocratic habitsMousqueton made a very good figure when
attending on his master.

As for Aramisof whom we believe we have sufficiently explained
the character--a character whichlike that of his lackey was
called Bazin. Thanks to the hopes which his master entertained
of someday entering into ordershe was always clothed in black
as became the servant of a churchman. He was a Berrichon
thirty-five or forty years oldmildpeaceablesleekemploying
the leisure his master left him in the perusal of pious works
providing rigorously for two a dinner of few dishesbut
excellent. For the resthe was dumbblindand deafand of
unimpeachable fidelity.

And now that we are acquaintedsuperficially at leastwith the
masters and the valetslet us pass on to the dwellings occupied
by each of them.

Athos dwelt in the Rue Ferouwithin two steps of the Luxembourg.
His apartment consisted of two small chambersvery nicely fitted
upin a furnished housethe hostess of whichstill young and
still really handsomecast tender glances uselessly at him.
Some fragments of past splendor appeared here and there upon the
walls of this modest lodging; a swordfor examplerichly
embossedwhich belonged by its make to the times of Francis I
the hilt of which aloneencrusted with precious stonesmight be
worth two hundred pistolesand whichneverthelessin his
moments of greatest distress Athos had never pledged or offered
for sale. It had long been an object of ambition for Porthos.
Porthos would have given ten years of his life to possess this
sword.

One daywhen he had an appointment with a duchesshe endeavored
even to borrow it of Athos. Athoswithout saying anything
emptied his pocketsgot together all his jewelspurses
aiguillettesand gold chainsand offered them all to Porthos;
but as to the swordhe said it was sealed to its place and
should never quit it until its master should himself quit his
lodgings. In addition to the swordthere was a portrait
representing a nobleman of the time of Henry IIIdressed with
the greatest eleganceand who wore the Order of the Holy Ghost;
and this portrait had certain resemblances of lines with Athos
certain family likenesses which indicated that this great noble
a knight of the Order of the Kingwas his ancestor.

Besides thesea casket of magnificent goldworkwith the same
arms as the sword and the portraitformed a middle ornament to
the mantelpieceand assorted badly with the rest of the
furniture. Athos always carried the key of this coffer about
him; but he one day opened it before Porthosand Porthos was
convinced that this coffer contained nothing but letters and
papers--love letters and family papersno doubt.

Porthos lived in an apartmentlarge in size and of very
sumptuous appearancein the Rue du Vieux-Colombier. Every time
he passed with a friend before his windowsat one of which
Mousqueton was sure to be placed in full liveryPorthos raised
his head and his handand saidThat is my abode!But he was
never to be found at home; he never invited anybody to go up with
himand no one could form an idea of what his sumptuous
apartment contained in the shape of real riches.

As to Aramishe dwelt in a little lodging composed of a boudoir
an eating roomand a bedroomwhich roomsituatedas the


others wereon the ground floorlooked out upon a little fresh
green gardenshady and impenetrable to the eyes of his
neighbors.

With regard to d'Artagnanwe know how he was lodgedand we have
already made acquaintance with his lackeyMaster Planchet.

D'Artagnanwho was by nature very curious--as people generally
are who possess the genius of intrigue--did all he could to make
out who AthosPorthosand Aramis really were (for under these
pseudonyms each of these young men concealed his family name)--
Athos in particularwhoa league awaysavored of nobility. He
addressed himself then to Porthos to gain information respecting
Athos and Aramisand to Aramis in order to learn something of
Porthos.

Unfortunately Porthos knew nothing of the life of his silent
companion but what revealed itself. It was said Athos had met
with great crosses in loveand that a frightful treachery had
forever poisoned the life of this gallant man. What could this
treachery be? All the world was ignorant of it.

As to Porthosexcept his real name (as was the case with those
of his two comrades)his life was very easily known. Vain and
indiscreetit was as easy to see through him as through a
crystal. The only thing to mislead the investigator would have
been belief in all the good things he said of himself.

With respect to Aramisthough having the air of having nothing
secret about himhe was a young fellow made up of mysteries
answering little to questions put to him about othersand having
learned from him the report which prevailed concerning the
success of the Musketeer with a princesswished to gain a little
insight into the amorous adventures of his interlocutor. "And
youmy dear companion said he, you speak of the baronesses
countessesand princesses of others?"

PARDIEU! I spoke of them because Porthos talked of them
himself, because he had paraded all these fine things before me.
But be assured, my dear Monsieur d'Artagnan, that if I had
obtained them from any other source, or if they had been confided
to me, there exists no confessor more discreet than myself.

Oh, I don't doubt that,replied d'Artagnan; "but it seems to me
that you are tolerably familiar with coats of arms--a certain
embroidered handkerchieffor instanceto which I owe the honor
of your acquaintance?"

This time Aramis was not angrybut assumed the most modest air
and replied in a friendly toneMy dear friend, do not forget
that I wish to belong to the Church, and that I avoid all mundane
opportunities. The handkerchief you saw had not been given to
me, but it had been forgotten and left at my house by one of my
friends. I was obliged to pick it up in order not to compromise
him and the lady he loves. As for myself, I neither have, nor
desire to have, a mistress, following in that respect the very
judicious example of Athos, who has none any more than I have.

But what the devil! You are not a priest, you are a Musketeer!

A Musketeer for a time, my friend, as the cardinal says, a
Musketeer against my will, but a churchman at heart, believe me.
Athos and Porthos dragged me into this to occupy me. I had, at
the moment of being ordained, a little difficulty with--But that


would not interest you, and I am taking up your valuable time.

Not at all; it interests me very much,cried d'Artagnan; "and
at this moment I have absolutely nothing to do."

Yes, but I have my breviary to repeat,answered Aramis; "then
some verses to composewhich Madame d'Aiguillon begged of me.
Then I must go to the Rue St. Honore in order to purchase some
rouge for Madame de Chevreuse. So you seemy dear friendthat
if you are not in a hurryI am very much in a hurry."

Aramis held out his hand in a cordial manner to his young
companionand took leave of him.

Notwithstanding all the pains he tookd'Artagnan was unable to
learn any more concerning his three new-made friends. He formed
thereforethe resolution of believing for the present all that
was said of their pasthoping for more certain and extended
revelations in the future. In the meanwhilehe looked upon
Athos as an AchillesPorthos as an Ajaxand Aramis as a Joseph.

As to the restthe life of the four young friends was joyous
enough. Athos playedand that as a rule unfortunately.
Neverthelesshe never borrowed a sou of his companionsalthough
his purse was ever at their service; and when he had played upon
honorhe always awakened his creditor by six o'clock the next
morning to pay the debt of the preceding evening.

Porthos had his fits. On the days when he won he was insolent
and ostentatious; if he losthe disappeared completely for
several daysafter which he reappeared with a pale face and
thinner personbut with money in his purse.

As to Aramishe never played. He was the worst Musketeer and
the most unconvivial companion imaginable. He had always
something or other to do. Sometimes in the midst of dinnerwhen
everyoneunder the attraction of wine and in the warmth of
conversationbelieved they had two or three hours longer to
enjoy themselves at tableAramis looked at his watcharose with
a bland smileand took leave of the companyto goas he said
to consult a casuist with whom he had an appointment. At other
times he would return home to write a treatiseand requested his
friends not to disturb him.

At this Athos would smilewith his charmingmelancholy smile
which so became his noble countenanceand Porthos would drink
swearing that Aramis would never be anything but a village CURE.

Planchetd'Artagnan's valetsupported his good fortune nobly.
He received thirty sous per dayand for a month he returned to
his lodgings gay as a chaffinchand affable toward his master.
When the wind of adversity began to blow upon the housekeeping of
the Rue des Fossoyeurs--that is to saywhen the forty pistoles
of King Louis XIII were consumed or nearly so--he commenced
complaints which Athos thought nauseousPorthos indecentand
Aramis ridiculous. Athos counseled d'Artagnan to dismiss the
fellow; Porthos was of opinion that he should give him a good
thrashing first; and Aramis contended that a master should never
attend to anything but the civilities paid to him.

This is all very easy for you to say,replied d'Artagnanfor
you, Athos, who live like a dumb man with Grimaud, who forbid him
to speak, and consequently never exchange ill words with him; for
you, Porthos, who carry matters in such a magnificent style, and


are a god to your valet, Mousqueton; and for you, Aramis, who,
always abstracted by your theological studies, inspire your
servant, Bazin, a mild, religious man, with a profound respect;
but for me, who am without any settled means and without
resources--for me, who am neither a Musketeer nor even a
Guardsman, what I am to do to inspire either the affection, the
terror, or the respect in Planchet?

This is serious,answered the three friends; "it is a family
affair. It is with valets as with wivesthey must be placed at
once upon the footing in which you wish them to remain. Reflect
upon it."

D'Artagnan did reflectand resolved to thrash Planchet
provisionally; which he did with the conscientiousness that
d'Artagnan carried into everything. After having well beaten
himhe forbade him to leave his service without his permission.
For,added hethe future cannot fail to mend; I inevitably
look for better times. Your fortune is therefore made if you
remain with me, and I am too good a master to allow you to miss
such a chance by granting you the dismissal you require.

This manner of acting roused much respect for d'Artagnan's policy
among the Musketeers. Planchet was equally seized with
admirationand said no more about going away.

The life of the four young men had become fraternal. D'Artagnan
who had no settled habits of his ownas he came from his
province into the midst of his world quite new to himfell
easily into the habits of his friends.

They rose about eight o'clock in the winterabout six in summer
and went to take the countersign and see how things went on at M.
de Treville's. D'Artagnanalthough he was not a Musketeer
performed the duty of one with remarkable punctuality. He went
on guard because he always kept company with whoever of his
friends was on duty. He was well known at the Hotel of the
Musketeerswhere everyone considered him a good comrade. M. de
Trevillewho had appreciated him at the first glance and who
bore him a real affectionnever ceased recommending him to the
king.

On their sidethe three Musketeers were much attached to their
young comrade. The friendship which united these four menand
the need they felt of seeing another three or four times a day
whether for duelingbusinessor pleasurecaused them to be
continually running after one another like shadows; and the
Inseparables were constantly to be met with seeking one another
from the Luxembourg to the Place St. Sulpiceor from the Rue du
Vieux-Colombier to the Luxembourg.

In the meanwhile the promises of M. de Treville went on
prosperously. One fine morning the king commanded M. de
Chevalier Dessessart to admit d'Artagnan as a cadet in his
company of Guards. D'Artagnanwith a sighdonned his uniform
which he would have exchanged for that of a Musketeer at the
expense of ten years of his existence. But M. de Treville
promised this favor after a novitiate of two years--a novitiate
which might besides be abridged if an opportunity should present
itself for d'Artagnan to render the king any signal serviceor
to distinguish himself by some brilliant action. Upon this
promise d'Artagnan withdrewand the next day he began service.

Then it became the turn of AthosPorthosand Aramis to mount


guard with d'Artagnan when he was on duty. The company of M. le
Chevalier Dessessart thus received four instead of one when it
admitted d'Artagnan.

CONCERNING A COURT INTRIGUE

In the meantimethe forty pistoles of King Louis XIIIlike all
other things of this worldafter having had a beginning had an
endand after this end our four companions began to be somewhat
embarrassed. At firstAthos supported the association for a
time with his own means.

Porthos succeeded him; and thanks to one of those disappearances
to which he was accustomedhe was able to provide for the wants
of all for a fortnight. At last it became Aramis's turnwho
performed it with a good grace and who succeeded--as he saidby
selling some theological books--in procuring a few pistoles.

Thenas they had been accustomed to dothey had recourse to M.
de Trevillewho made some advances on their pay; but these
advances could not go far with three Musketeers who were already
much in arrears and a Guardsman who as yet had no pay at all.

At length when they found they were likely to be really in want
they got togetheras a last efforteight or ten pistoleswith
which Porthos went to the gaming table. Unfortunately he was in
a bad vein; he lost alltogether with twenty-five pistoles for
which he had given his word.

Then the inconvenience became distress. The hungry friends
followed by their lackeyswere seen haunting the quays and Guard
roomspicking up among their friends abroad all the dinners they
could meet with; for according to the advice of Aramisit was
prudent to sow repasts right and left in prosperityin order to
reap a few in time of need.

Athos was invited four timesand each time took his friends and
their lackeys with him. Porthos had six occasionsand contrived
in the same manner that his friends should partake of them;
Aramis had eight of them. He was a manas must have been
already perceivedwho made but little noiseand yet was much
sought after.

As to d'Artagnanwho as yet knew nobody in the capitalhe only
found one chocolate breakfast at the house of a priest of his own
provinceand one dinner at the house of a cornet of the Guards.
He took his army to the priest'swhere they devoured as much
provision as would have lasted him for two monthsand to the
cornet'swho performed wonders; but as Planchet saidPeople do
not eat at once for all time, even when they eat a good deal.

D'Artagnan thus felt himself humiliated in having only procured
one meal and a half for his companions--as the breakfast at the
priest's could only be counted as half a repast--in return for
the feasts which AthosPorthosand Aramis had procured him. He
fancied himself a burden to the societyforgetting in his
perfectly juvenile good faith that he had fed this society for a
month; and he set his mind actively to work. He reflected that
this coalition of four youngbraveenterprisingand active men
ought to have some other object than swaggering walksfencing
lessonsand practical jokesmore or less witty.


In factfour men such as they were--four men devoted to one
anotherfrom their purses to their lives; four men always
supporting one anothernever yieldingexecuting singly or
together the resolutions formed in common; four arms threatening
the four cardinal pointsor turning toward a single point--must
inevitablyeither subterraneouslyin open dayby miningin
the trenchby cunningor by forceopen themselves a way toward
the object they wished to attainhowever well it might be
defendedor however distant it may seem. The only thing that
astonished d'Artagnan was that his friends had never thought of
this.

He was thinking by himselfand even seriously racking his brain
to find a direction for this single force four times multiplied
with which he did not doubtas with the lever for which
Archimedes soughtthey should succeed in moving the worldwhen
someone tapped gently at his door. D'Artagnan awakened Planchet
and ordered him to open it.

From this phrased'Artagnan awakened Planchet,the reader must
not suppose it was nightor that day was hardly come. Noit
had just struck four. Planchettwo hours beforehad asked his
master for some dinnerand he had answered him with the proverb
He who sleeps, dines.And Planchet dined by sleeping.

A man was introduced of simple mienwho had the appearance of a
tradesman. Planchetby way of dessertwould have liked to hear
the conversation; but the citizen declared to d'Artagnan that
what he had to say being important and confidentialhe desired
to be left alone with him.

D'Artagnan dismissed Planchetand requested his visitor to be
seated. There was a moment of silenceduring which the two men
looked at each otheras if to make a preliminary acquaintance
after which d'Artagnan bowedas a sign that he listened.

I have heard Monsieur d'Artagnan spoken of as a very brave young
man,said the citizen; "and this reputation which he justly
enjoys had decided me to confide a secret to him."

Speak, monsieur, speak,said d'Artagnanwho instinctively
scented something advantageous.

The citizen made a fresh pause and continuedI have a wife who
is seamstress to the queen, monsieur, and who is not deficient in
either virtue or beauty. I was induced to marry her about three
years ago, although she had but very little dowry, because
Monsieur Laporte, the queen's cloak bearer, is her godfather, and
befriends her.

Well, monsieur?asked d'Artagnan.

Well!resumed the citizenwell, monsieur, my wife was
abducted yesterday morning, as she was coming out of her
workroom.

And by whom was your wife abducted?

I know nothing surely, monsieur, but I suspect someone.

And who is the person whom you suspect?

A man who has persued her a long time.


The devil!

But allow me to tell you, monsieur,continued the citizen
that I am convinced that there is less love than politics in all
this.

Less love than politics,replied d'Artagnanwith a reflective
air; "and what do you suspect?"

I do not know whether I ought to tell you what I suspect.

Monsieur, I beg you to observe that I ask you absolutely
nothing. It is you who have come to me. It is you who have told
me that you had a secret to confide in me. Act, then, as you
think proper; there is still time to withdraw.

No, monsieur, no; you appear to be an honest young man, and I
will have confidence in you. I believe, then, that it is not on
account of any intrigues of her own that my wife has been
arrested, but because of those of a lady much greater than
herself.

Ah, ah! Can it be on account of the amours of Madame de
Bois-Tracy?said d'Artagnanwishing to have the airin the
eyes of the citizenof being posted as to court affairs.

Higher, monsieur, higher.

Of Madame d'Aiguillon?

Still higher.

Of Madame de Chevreuse?

Of the--d'Artagnan checked himself.

Yes, monsieur,replied the terrified citizenin a tone so low
that he was scarcely audible.

And with whom?

With whom can it be, if not the Duke of--

The Duke of--

Yes, monsieur,replied the citizengiving a still fainter
intonation to his voice.

But how do you know all this?

How do I know it?

Yes, how do you know it? No half-confidence, or--you understand!

I know it from my wife, monsieur--from my wife herself.

Who learns it from whom?

From Monsieur Laporte. Did I not tell you that she was the
goddaughter of Monsieur Laporte, the confidential man of the
queen? Well, Monsieur Laporte placed her near her Majesty in
order that our poor queen might at least have someone in whom she
could place confidence, abandoned as she is by the king, watched
as she is by the cardinal, betrayed as she is by everybody.


Ah, ah! It begins to develop itself,said d'Artagnan.

Now, my wife came home four days ago, monsieur. One of her
conditions was that she should come and see me twice a week; for,
as I had the honor to tell you, my wife loves me dearly--my wife,
then, came and confided to me that the queen at that very moment
entertained great fears.

Truly!

Yes. The cardinal, as it appears, pursues he and persecutes her
more than ever. He cannot pardon her the history of the
Saraband. You know the history of the Saraband?

PARDIEU! Know it!replied d'Artagnanwho knew nothing about
itbut who wished to appear to know everything that was going
on.

So that now it is no longer hatred, but vengeance.

Indeed!

And the queen believes--

Well, what does the queen believe?

She believes that someone has written to the Duke of Buckingham
in her name.

In the queen's name?

Yes, to make him come to Paris; and when once come to Paris, to
draw him into some snare.

The devil! But your wife, monsieur, what has she to do with all
this?

Her devotion to the queen is known; and they wish either to
remove her from her mistress, or to intimidate her, in order to
obtain her Majesty's secrets, or to seduce her and make use of
her as a spy.

That is likely,said d'Artagnan; "but the man who has abducted
her--do you know him?"

I have told you that I believe I know him.

His name?

I do not know that; what I do know is that he is a creature of
the cardinal, his evil genius.

But you have seen him?

Yes, my wife pointed him out to me one day.

'Has he anything remarkable about him by which one may recognize
him?"

Oh, certainly; he is a noble of very lofty carriage, black hair,
swarthy complexion, piercing eye, white teeth, and has a scar on
his temple.


A scar on his temple!cried d'Artagnan; "and with thatwhite
teetha piercing eyedark complexionblack hairand haughty
carriage--whythat's my man of Meung."

He is your man, do you say?

Yes, yes; but that has nothing to do with it. No, I am wrong.
On the contrary, that simplifies the matter greatly. If your man
is mine, with one blow I shall obtain two revenges, that's all;
but where to find this man?

I know not.

Have you no information as to his abiding place?

None. One day, as I was conveying my wife back to the Louvre,
he was coming out as she was going in, and she showed him to me.

The devil! The devil!murmured d'Artagnan; "all this is vague
enough. From whom have you learned of the abduction of your
wife?"

From Monsieur Laporte.

Did he give you any details?

He knew none himself.

And you have learned nothing from any other quarter?

Yes, I have received--

What?

I fear I am committing a great imprudence.

You always come back to that; but I must make you see this time
that it is too late to retreat.

I do not retreat, MORDIEU!cried the citizenswearing in order
to rouse his courage. "Besidesby the faith of Bonacieux--"

You call yourself Bonacieux?interrupted d'Artagnan.

Yes, that is my name.

You said, then, by the word of Bonacieux. Pardon me for
interrupting you, but it appears to me that that name is familiar
to me.

Possibly, monsieur. I am your landlord.

Ah, ah!said d'Artagnanhalf rising and bowing; "you are my
landlord?"

Yes, monsieur, yes. And as it is three months since you have
been here, and though, distracted as you must be in your
important occupations, you have forgotten to pay me my rent--as,
I say, I have not tormented you a single instant, I thought you
would appreciate my delicacy.

How can it be otherwise, my dear Bonacieux?replied d'Artagnan;
trust me, I am fully grateful for such unparalleled conduct, and
if, as I told you, I can be of any service to you--


I believe you, monsieur, I believe you; and as I was about to
say, by the word of Bonacieux, I have confidence in you.

Finish, then, what you were about to say.

The citizen took a paper from his pocketand presented it to
d'Artagnan.

A letter?said the young man.

Which I received this morning.

D'Artagnan opened itand as the day was beginning to declinehe
approached the window to read it. The citizen followed him.

'Do not seek your wife,'read d'Artagnan; "'she will be
restored to you when there is no longer occasion for her. If you
make a single step to find her you are lost.'

That's pretty positive,continued d'Artagnan; "but after all
it is but a menace."

Yes; but that menace terrifies me. I am not a fighting man at
all, monsieur, and I am afraid of the Bastille.

Hum!said d'Artagnan. "I have no greater regard for the
Bastille than you. If it were nothing but a sword thrustwhy
then--"

I have counted upon you on this occasion, monsieur.

Yes?

Seeing you constantly surrounded by Musketeers of a very superb
appearance, and knowing that these Musketeers belong to Monsieur
de Treville, and were consequently enemies of the cardinal, I
thought that you and your friends, while rendering justice to
your poor queen, would be pleased to play his Eminence an ill
turn.

Without doubt.

And then I have thought that considering three months' lodging,
about which I have said nothing--

Yes, yes; you have already given me that reason, and I find it
excellent.

Reckoning still further, that as long as you do me the honor to
remain in my house I shall never speak to you about rent--

Very kind!

And adding to this, if there be need of it, meaning to offer you
fifty pistoles, if, against all probability, you should be short
at the present moment.

Admirable! You are rich then, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux?

I am comfortably off, monsieur, that's all; I have scraped
together some such thing as an income of two or three thousand
crown in the haberdashery business, but more particularly in
venturing some funds in the last voyage of the celebrated


navigator Jean Moquet; so that you understand, monsieur--But
cried the citizen.

What!demanded d'Artagnan.

Whom do I see yonder?

Where?

In the street, facing your window, in the embrasure of that
door--a man wrapped in a cloak.

It is he!cried d'Artagnan and the citizen at the same time
each having recognized his man.

Ah, this time,cried d'Artagnanspringing to his swordthis
time he will not escape me!

Drawing his sword from its scabbardhe rushed out of the
apartment. On the staircase he met Athos and Porthoswho were
coming to see him. They separatedand d'Artagnan rushed between
them like a dart.

Pah! Where are you going?cried the two Musketeers in a breath.

The man of Meung!replied d'Artagnanand disappeared.

D'Artagnan had more than once related to his friends his
adventure with the strangeras well as the apparition of the
beautiful foreignerto whom this man had confided some important
missive.

The opinion of Athos was that d'Artagnan had lost his letter in
the skirmish. A gentlemanin his opinion--and according to
d'Artagnan's portrait of himthe stranger must be a gentleman-would
be incapable of the baseness of stealing a letter.

Porthos saw nothing in all this but a love meetinggiven by a
lady to a cavalieror by a cavalier to a ladywhich had been
disturbed by the presence of d'Artagnan and his yellow horse.

Aramis said that as these sorts of affairs were mysteriousit
was better not to fathom them.

They understoodthenfrom the few words which escaped from
d'Artagnanwhat affair was in handand as they thought that
overtaking his manor losing sight of himd'Artagnan would
return to his roomsthey kept on their way.

When they entered D'Artagan's chamberit was empty; the
landlorddreading the consequences of the encounter which was
doubtless about to take place between the young man and the
strangerhadconsistent with the character he had given
himselfjudged it prudent to decamp.

D'ARTAGNAN SHOWS HIMSELF

As Athos and Porthos had foreseenat the expiration of a half
hourd'Artagnan returned. He had again missed his manwho had
disappeared as if by enchantment. D'Artagnan had runsword in
handthrough all the neighboring streetsbut had found nobody
resembling the man he sought for. Then he came back to the point


whereperhapshe ought to have begunand that was to knock at
the door against which the stranger had leaned; but this proved
useless--for though he knocked ten or twelve times in succession
no one answeredand some of the neighborswho put their noses
out of their windows or were brought to their doors by the noise
had assured him that that houseall the openings of which were
tightly closedhad not been inhabited for six months.

While d'Artagnan was running through the streets and knocking at
doorsAramis had joined his companions; so that on returning home
d'Artagnan found the reunion complete.

Well!cried the three Musketeers all togetheron seeing
d'Artagnan enter with his brow covered with perspiration and his
countenance upset with anger.

Well!cried hethrowing his sword upon the bedthis man must
be the devil in person; he has disappeared like a phantom,
like a shade, like a specter.

Do you believe in apparitions?asked Athos of Porthos.

I never believe in anything I have not seen, and as I never have
seen apparitions, I don't believe in them.

The Bible,said Aramismake our belief in them a law; the
ghost of Samuel appeared to Saul, and it is an article of faith
that I should be very sorry to see any doubt thrown upon,
Porthos.

At all events, man or devil, body or shadow, illusion or
reality, this man is born for my damnation; for his flight has
caused us to miss a glorious affair, gentlemen--an affair by
which there were a hundred pistoles, and perhaps more, to be
gained.

How is that?cried Porthos and Aramis in a breath.

As to Athosfaithful to his system of reticencehe contented
himself with interrogating d'Artagnan by a look.

Planchet,said d'Artagnan to his domesticwho just then
insinuated his head through the half-open door in order to catch
some fragments of the conversationgo down to my landlord,
Monsieur Bonacieux, and ask him to send me half a dozen bottles
of Beaugency wine; I prefer that.

Ah, ah! You have credit with your landlord, then?asked
Porthos.

Yes,replied d'Artagnanfrom this very day; and mind, if the
wine is bad, we will send him to find better.

We must use, and not abuse,said Aramissententiously.

I always said that d'Artagnan had the longest head of the four,
said Athoswhohaving uttered his opinionto which d'Artagnan
replied with a bowimmediately resumed his accustomed silence.

But come, what is this about?asked Porthos.

Yes,said Aramisimpart it to us, my dear friend, unless the
honor of any lady be hazarded by this confidence; in that case
you would do better to keep it to yourself.


Be satisfied,replied d'Artagnan; "the honor of no one will
have cause to complain of what I have to tell.

He then related to his friendsword for wordall that had
passed between him and his hostand how the man who had abducted
the wife of his worthy landlord was the same with whom he had had
the difference at the hostelry of the Jolly Miller.

Your affair is not bad,said Athosafter having tasted like a
connoisseur and indicated by a nod of his head that he thought
the wine good; "and one may draw fifty or sixty pistoles from
this good man. Then there only remains to ascertain whether
these fifty or sixty pistoles are worth the risk of four heads."

But observe,cried d'Artagnanthat there is a woman in the
affair--a woman carried off, a woman who is doubtless threatened,
tortured perhaps, and all because she is faithful to her
mistress.

Beware, d'Artagnan, beware,said Aramis. "You grow a little
too warmin my opinionabout the fate of Madame Bonacieux.
Woman was created for our destructionand it is from her we
inherit all our miseries."

At this speech of Aramisthe brow of Athos became clouded and he
bit his lips.

It is not Madame Bonacieux about whom I am anxious,cried
d'Artagnanbut the queen, whom the king abandons, whom the
cardinal persecutes, and who sees the heads of all her friends
fall, one after the other.

Why does she love what we hate most in the world, the Spaniards
and the English?

Spain is her country,replied d'Artagnan; "and it is very
natural that she should love the Spanishwho are the children of
the same soil as herself. As to the second reproachI have
heard it said that she does not love the Englishbut an
Englishman."

Well, and by my faith,said Athosit must be acknowledged
that this Englishman is worthy of being loved. I never saw a man
with a nobler air than his.

Without reckoning that he dresses as nobody else can,said
Porthos. "I was at the Louvre on the day when he scattered his
pearls; andPARDIEUI picked up two that I sold for ten
pistoles each. Do you know himAramis?"

As well as you do, gentlemen; for I was among those who seized
him in the garden at Amiens, into which Monsieur Putange, the
queen's equerry, introduced me. I was at school at the time, and
the adventure appeared to me to be cruel for the king.

Which would not prevent me,said d'Artagnanif I knew where
the Duke of Buckingham was, from taking him by the hand and
conducting him to the queen, were it only to enrage the cardinal,
and if we could find means to play him a sharp turn, I vow that I
would voluntarily risk my head in doing it.

And did the mercer*,rejoined Athostell you, d'Artagnan,
that the queen thought that Buckingham had been brought over by a


forged letter?

*Haberdasher

She is afraid so.

Wait a minute, then,said Aramis.

What for?demanded Porthos.

Go on, while I endeavor to recall circumstances.

And now I am convinced,said d'Artagnanthat this abduction
of the queen's woman is connected with the events of which we are
speaking, and perhaps with the presence of Buckingham in Paris.

The Gascon is full of ideas,said Porthoswith admiration.

I like to hear him talk,said Athos; "his dialect amuses me."

Gentlemen,cried Aramislisten to this.

Listen to Aramis,said his three friends.

Yesterday I was at the house of a doctor of theology, whom I
sometimes consult about my studies.

Athos smiled.

He resides in a quiet quarter,continued Aramis; "his tastes
and his profession require it. Nowat the moment when I left
his house--"

Here Aramis paused.

Well,cried his auditors; "at the moment you left his house?"

Aramis appeared to make a strong inward effortlike a man who
in the full relation of a falsehoodfinds himself stopped by
some unforeseen obstacle; but the eyes of his three companions
were fixed upon himtheir ears were wide openand there were no
means of retreat.

This doctor has a niece,continued Aramis.

Ah, he has a niece!interrupted Porthos.

A very respectable lady,said Aramis.

The three friends burst into laughter.

Ah, if you laugh, if you doubt me,replied Aramisyou shall
know nothing.

We believe like Mohammedans, and are as mute as tombstones,
said Athos.

I will continue, then,resumed Aramis. "This niece comes
sometimes to see her uncle; and by chance was there yesterday at
the same time that I wasand it was my duty to offer to conduct
her to her carriage."

Ah! She has a carriage, then, this niece of the doctor?
interrupted Porthosone of whose faults was a great looseness of


tongue. "A nice acquaintancemy friend!"

Porthos,replied AramisI have had the occasion to observe to
you more than once that you are very indiscreet; and that is
injurious to you among the women.

Gentlemen, gentlemen,cried d'Artagnanwho began to get a
glimpse of the result of the adventurethe thing is serious.
Let us try not to jest, if we can. Go on Aramis, go on.

All at once, a tall, dark gentleman--just like yours,
d'Artagnan.

The same, perhaps,said he.

Possibly,continued Aramiscame toward me, accompanied by
five or six men who followed about ten paces behind him; and in
the politest tone, 'Monsieur Duke,' said he to me, 'and you
madame,' continued he, addressing the lady on my arm--

The doctor's niece?

Hold your tongue, Porthos,said Athos; "you are insupportable."

'--will you enter this carriage, and that without offering the
least resistance, without making the least noise?'

He took you for Buckingham!cried d'Artagnan.

I believe so,replied Aramis.

But the lady?asked Porthos.

He took her for the queen!said d'Artagnan.

Just so,replied Aramis.

The Gascon is the devil!cried Athos; "nothing escapes him."

The fact is,said PorthosAramis is of the same height, and
something of the shape of the duke; but it nevertheless appears
to me that the dress of a Musketeer--

I wore an enormous cloak,said Aramis.

In the month of July? The devil!said Porthos. "Is the doctor
afraid that you may be recognized?"

I can comprehend that the spy may have been deceived by the
person; but the face--

I had a large hat,said Aramis.

Oh, good lord,cried Porthoswhat precautions for the study
of theology!

Gentlemen, gentlemen,said d'Artagnando not let us lose our
time in jesting. Let us separate, and let us seek the mercer's
wife--that is the key of the intrigue.

A woman of such inferior condition! Can you believe so?said
Porthosprotruding his lips with contempt.

She is goddaughter to Laporte, the confidential valet of the


queen. Have I not told you so, gentlemen? Besides, it has
perhaps been her Majesty's calculation to seek on this occasion
for support so lowly. High heads expose themselves from afar,
and the cardinal is longsighted.

Well,said Porthosin the first place make a bargain with the
mercer, and a good bargain.

That's useless,said d'Artagnan; "for I believe if he does not
pay uswe shall be well enough paid by another party."

At this moment a sudden noise of footsteps was heard upon the
stairs; the door was thrown violently openand the unfortunate
mercer rushed into the chamber in which the council was held.

Save me, gentlemen, for the love of heaven, save me!cried he.
There are four men come to arrest me. Save me! Save me!

Porthos and Aramis arose.

A moment,cried d'Artagnanmaking them a sign to replace in
the scabbard their half-drawn swords. "It is not courage that is
needed; it is prudence."

And yet,cried Porthoswe will not leave--

You will leave d'Artagnan to act as he thinks proper,said
Athos. "He hasI repeatthe longest head of the fourand for
my part I declare that I will obey him. Do as you think best
d'Artagnan."

At this moment the four Guards appeared at the door of the
antechamberbut seeing four Musketeers standingand their
swords by their sidesthey hesitated about going farther.

Come in, gentlemen, come in,called d'Artagnan; "you are here
in my apartmentand we are all faithful servants of the king and
cardinal."

Then, gentlemen, you will not oppose our executing the orders we
have received?asked one who appeared to be the leader of the
party.

On the contrary, gentlemen, we would assist you if it were
necessary.

What does he say?grumbled Porthos.

You are a simpleton,said Athos. "Silence!"

But you promised me--whispered the poor mercer.

We can only save you by being free ourselves,replied
d'Artagnanin a rapidlow tone; "and if we appear inclined to
defend youthey will arrest us with you."

It seems, nevertheless--

Come, gentlemen, come!said d'Artagnanaloud; "I have no
motive for defending Monsieur. I saw him today for the first
timeand he can tell you on what occasion; he came to demand the
rent of my lodging. Is that not trueMonsieur Bonacieux?
Answer!"


That is the very truth,cried the mercer; "but Monsieur does
not tell you--"

Silence, with respect to me, silence, with respect to my
friends; silence about the queen, above all, or you will ruin
everybody without saving yourself! Come, come, gentlemen, remove
the fellow.And d'Artagnan pushed the half-stupefied mercer
among the Guardssaying to himYou are a shabby old fellow, my
dear. You come to demand money of me--of a Musketeer! To prison
with him! Gentlemen, once more, take him to prison, and keep him
under key as long as possible; that will give me time to pay
him.

The officers were full of thanksand took away their prey. As
they were going down d'Artagnan laid his hand on the shoulder of
their leader.

May I not drink to your health, and you to mine?said
d'Artagnanfilling two glasses with the Beaugency wine which he
had obtained from the liberality of M. Bonacieux.

That will do me great honor,said the leader of the posseand
I accept thankfully.

Then to yours, monsieur--what is your name?

Boisrenard.

Monsieur Boisrenard.

To yours, my gentlemen! What is your name, in your turn, if you
please?

d'Artagnan.

To yours, monsieur.

And above all others,cried d'Artagnanas if carried away by
his enthusiasmto that of the king and the cardinal.

The leader of the posse would perhaps have doubted the sincerity
of d'Artagnan if the wine had been bad; but the wine was good
and he was convinced.

What diabolical villainy you have performed here,said Porthos
when the officer had rejoined his companions and the four friends
found themselves alone. "Shameshamefor four Musketeers to
allow an unfortunate fellow who cried for help to be arrested in
their midst! And a gentleman to hobnob with a bailiff!"

Porthos,said AramisAthos has already told you that you are
a simpleton, and I am quite of his opinion. D'Artagnan, you are
a great man; and when you occupy Monsieur de Treville's place, I
will come and ask your influence to secure me an abbey.

Well, I am in a maze,said Porthos; "do YOU approve of what
d'Artagnan has done?"

PARBLEU! Indeed I do,said Athos; "I not only approve of what
he has donebut I congratulate him upon it."

And now, gentlemen,said d'Artagnanwithout stopping to
explain his conduct to PorthosAll for one, one for all--that
is our motto, is it not?


And yet--said Porthos.

Hold out your hand and swear!cried Athos and Aramis at once.

Overcome by examplegrumbling to himselfneverthelessPorthos
stretched out his handand the four friends repeated with one
voice the formula dictated by d'Artagnan:

All for one, one for all.

That's well! Now let us everyone retire to his own home,said
d'Artagnanas if he had done nothing but command all his life;
and attention! For from this moment we are at feud with the
cardinal.

10 A MOUSETRAP IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

The invention of the mousetrap does not date from our days; as
soon as societiesin forminghad invented any kind of police
that police invented mousetraps.

As perhaps our readers are not familiar with the slang of the Rue
de Jerusalemand as it is fifteen years since we applied this
word for the first time to this thingallow us to explain to
them what is a mousetrap.

When in a houseof whatever kind it may bean individual
suspected of any crime is arrestedthe arrest is held secret.
Four or five men are placed in ambuscade in the first room. The
door is opened to all who knock. It is closed after themand
they are arrested; so that at the end of two or three days they
have in their power almost all the HABITUES of the establishment.
And that is a mousetrap.

The apartment of M. Bonacieuxthenbecame a mousetrap; and
whoever appeared there was taken and interrogated by the
cardinal's people. It must be observed that as a separate
passage led to the first floorin which d'Artagnan lodgedthose
who called on him were exempted from this detention.

Besidesnobody came thither but the three Musketeers; they had
all been engaged in earnest search and inquiriesbut had
discovered nothing. Athos had even gone so far as to question M.
de Treville--a thing whichconsidering the habitual reticence of
the worthy Musketeerhad very much astonished his captain. But

M. de Treville knew nothingexcept that the last time he had
seen the cardinalthe kingand the queenthe cardinal looked
very thoughtfulthe king uneasyand the redness of the queen's
eyes donated that she had been sleepless or tearful. But this
last circumstance was not strikingas the queen since her
marriage had slept badly and wept much.
M. de Treville requested Athoswhatever might happento be
observant of his duty to the kingbut particularly to the queen
begging him to convey his desires to his comrades.
As to d'Artagnanhe did not budge from his apartment. He
converted his chamber into an observatory. From his windows he
saw all the visitors who were caught. Thenhaving removed a
plank from his floorand nothing remaining but a simple ceiling
between him and the room beneathin which the interrogatories


were madehe heard all that passed between the inquisitors and
the accused.

The interrogatoriespreceded by a minute search operated upon
the persons arrestedwere almost always framed thus: "Has Madame
Bonacieux sent anything to you for her husbandor any other
person? Has Monsieur Bonacieux sent anything to you for his
wifeor for any other person? Has either of them confided
anything to you by word of mouth?"

If they knew anything, they would not question people in this
manner,said d'Artagnan to himself. "Nowwhat is it they want
to know? Whythey want to know if the Duke of Buckingham is in
Parisand if he has hador is likely to havean interview with
the queen."

D'Artagnan held onto this ideawhichfrom what he had heard
was not wanting in probability.

In the meantimethe mousetrap continued in operationand
likewise d'Artagnan's vigilance.

On the evening of the day after the arrest of poor Bonacieuxas
Athos had just left d'Artagnan to report at M. de Treville'sas
nine o'clock had just struckand as Planchetwho had not yet
made the bedwas beginning his taska knocking was heard at the
street door. The door was instantly opened and shut; someone was
taken in the mousetrap.

D'Artagnan flew to his holelaid himself down on the floor at
full lengthand listened.

Cries were soon heardand then moanswhich someone appeared to
be endeavoring to stifle. There were no questions.

The devil!said d'Artagnan to himself. "It seems like a woman!
They search her; she resists; they use force--the scoundrels!"

In spite of his prudenced'Artagnan restrained himself with
great difficulty from taking a part in the scene that was going
on below.

But I tell you that I am the mistress of the house, gentlemen!
I tell you I am Madame Bonacieux; I tell you I belong to the
queen!cried the unfortunate woman.

Madame Bonacieux!murmured d'Artagnan. "Can I be so lucky as
to find what everybody is seeking for?"

The voice became more and more indistinct; a tumultuous movement
shook the partition. The victim resisted as much as a woman
could resist four men.

Pardon, gentlemen--par--murmured the voicewhich could now
only be heard in inarticulate sounds.

They are binding her; they are going to drag her away,cried
d'Artagnan to himselfspringing up from the floor. "My sword!
Goodit is by my side! Planchet!"

Monsieur.

Run and seek Athos, Porthos and Aramis. One of the three will
certainly be at home, perhaps all three. Tell them to take arms,


to come here, and to run! Ah, I remember, Athos is at Monsieur
de Treville's.

But where are you going, monsieur, where are you going?

I am going down by the window, in order to be there the sooner,
cried d'Artagnan. "You put back the boardssweep the floorgo
out at the doorand run as I told you."

Oh, monsieur! Monsieur! You will kill yourself,cried
Planchet.

Hold your tongue, stupid fellow,said d'Artagnan; and laying
hold of the casementhe let himself gently down from the first
storywhich fortunately was not very elevatedwithout doing
himself the slightest injury.

He then went straight to the door and knockedmurmuringI will
go myself and be caught in the mousetrap, but woe be to the cats
that shall pounce upon such a mouse!

The knocker had scarcely sounded under the hand of the young man
before the tumult ceasedsteps approachedthe door was opened
and d'Artagnansword in handrushed into the rooms of M.
Bonacieuxthe door of which doubtless acted upon by a spring
closed after him.

Then those who dwelt in Bonacieux's unfortunate housetogether
with the nearest neighborsheard loud criesstamping of feet
clashing of swordsand breaking of furniture. A moment after
those whosurprised by this tumulthad gone to their windows to
learn the cause of itsaw the door openand four menclothed
in blacknot COME out of itbut FLYlike so many frightened
crowsleaving on the ground and on the corners of the furniture
feathers from their wings; that is to saypatches of their
clothes and fragments of their cloaks.

D'Artagnan was conqueror--without much effortit must be

confessedfor only one of the officers was armedand even he
defended himself for form's sake. It is true that the three
others had endeavored to knock the young man down with chairs
stoolsand crockery; but two or three scratches made by the
Gascon's blade terrified them. Ten minutes sufficed for their
defeatand d'Artagnan remained master of the field of battle.

The neighbors who had opened their windowswith the coolness
peculiar to the inhabitants of Paris in these times of perpetual
riots and disturbancesclosed them again as soon as they saw the
four men in black flee--their instinct telling them that for the
time all was over. Besidesit began to grow lateand thenas
todaypeople went to bed early in the quarter of the Luxembourg.

On being left alone with Mme. Bonacieuxd'Artagnan turned toward
her; the poor woman reclined where she had been left
half-fainting upon an armchair. D'Artagnan examined her with a
rapid glance.

She was a charming woman of twenty-five or twenty-six yearswith
dark hairblue eyesand a nose slightly turned upadmirable
teethand a complexion marbled with rose and opal. There
howeverended the signs which might have confounded her with a
lady of rank. The hands were whitebut without delicacy; the
feet did not bespeak the woman of quality. Happilyd'Artagnan
was not yet acquainted with such niceties.


While d'Artagnan was examining Mme. Bonacieuxand wasas we
have saidclose to herhe saw on the ground a fine cambric
handkerchiefwhich he picked upas was his habitand at the
corner of which he recognized the same cipher he had seen on the
handkerchief which had nearly caused him and Aramis to cut each
other's throat.

From that timed'Artagnan had been cautious with respect to
handkerchiefs with arms on themand he therefore placed in the
pocket of Mme. Bonacieux the one he had just picked up.

At that moment Mme. Bonacieux recovered her senses. She opened
her eyeslooked around her with terrorsaw that the apartment
was empty and that she was alone with her liberator. She
extended her hands to him with a smile. Mme. Bonacieux had the
sweetest smile in the world.

Ah, monsieur!said sheyou have saved me; permit me to thank
you.

Madame,said d'ArtagnanI have only done what every gentleman
would have done in my place; you owe me no thanks.

Oh, yes, monsieur, oh, yes; and I hope to prove to you that you
have not served an ingrate. But what could these men, whom I at
first took for robbers, want with me, and why is Monsieur
Bonacieux not here?

Madame, those men were more dangerous than any robbers could
have been, for they are the agents of the cardinal; and as to
your husband, Monsieur Bonacieux, he is not here because he was
yesterday evening conducted to the Bastille.

My husband in the Bastille!cried Mme. Bonacieux. "Ohmy God!
What has he done? Poor dear manhe is innocence itself!"

And something like a faint smile lighted the still-terrified
features of the young woman.

What has he done, madame?said d'Artagnan. "I believe that his
only crime is to have at the same time the good fortune and the
misfortune to be your husband."

But, monsieur, you know then--

I know that you have been abducted, madame.

And by whom? Do you know him? Oh, if you know him, tell me!

By a man of from forty to forty-five years, with black hair, a
dark complexion, and a scar on his left temple.

That is he, that is he; but his name?

Ah, his name? I do not know that.

And did my husband know I had been carried off?

He was informed of it by a letter, written to him by the
abductor himself.

And does he suspect,said Mme. Bonacieuxwith some
embarrassmentthe cause of this event?


He attributed it, I believe, to a political cause.

I doubted from the first; and now I think entirely as he does.
Then my dear Monsieur Bonacieux has not suspected me a single
instant?

So far from it, madame, he was too proud of your prudence, and
above all, of your love.

A second smilealmost imperceptiblestole over the rosy lips of
the pretty young woman.

But,continued d'Artagnanhow did you escape?

I took advantage of a moment when they left me alone; and as I
had known since morning the reason of my abduction, with the help
of the sheets I let myself down from the window. Then, as I
believed my husband would be at home, I hastened hither.

To place yourself under his protection?

Oh, no, poor dear man! I knew very well that he was incapable
of defending me; but as he could serve us in other ways, I wished
to inform him.

Of what?

Oh, that is not my secret; I must not, therefore, tell you.

Besides,said d'Artagnanpardon me, madame, if, guardsman as
I am, I remind you of prudence--besides, I believe we are not
here in a very proper place for imparting confidences. The men I
have put to flight will return reinforced; if they find us here,
we are lost. I have sent for three of my friends, but who knows
whether they were at home?

Yes, yes! You are right,cried the affrighted Mme. Bonacieux;
let us fly! Let us save ourselves.

At these words she passed her arm under that of d'Artagnanand
urged him forward eagerly.

But whither shall we fly--whither escape?

Let us first withdraw from this house; afterward we shall see.

The young woman and the young manwithout taking the trouble to
shut the door after themdescended the Rue des Fossoyeurs
rapidlyturned into the Rue des Fosses-Monsieur-le-Princeand
did not stop till they came to the Place St. Sulpice.

And now what are we to do, and where do you wish me to conduct
you?asked d'Artagnan.

I am at quite a loss how to answer you, I admit,said Mme.
Bonacieux. "My intention was to inform Monsieur Laportethrough
my husbandin order that Monsieur Laporte might tell us
precisely what had taken place at the Louvre in the last three
daysand whether there is any danger in presenting myself
there."

But I,said d'Artagnancan go and inform Monsieur Laporte.


No doubt you could, only there is one misfortune, and that is
that Monsieur Bonacieux is known at the Louvre, and would be
allowed to pass; whereas you are not known there, and the gate
would be closed against you.

Ah, bah!said d'Artagnan; "you have at some wicket of the
Louvre a CONCIERGE who is devoted to youand whothanks to a
passwordwould--"

Mme. Bonacieux looked earnestly at the young man.

And if I give you this password,said shewould you forget it
as soon as you used it?

By my honor, by the faith of a gentleman!said d'Artagnanwith
an accent so truthful that no one could mistake it.

Then I believe you. You appear to be a brave young man;
besides, your fortune may perhaps be the result of your
devotedness.

I will do, without a promise and voluntarily, all that I can do
to serve the king and be agreeable to the queen. Dispose of me,
then, as a friend.

But I--where shall I go meanwhile?

Is there nobody from whose house Monsieur Laporte can come and
fetch you?

No, I can trust nobody.

Stop,said d'Artagnan; "we are near Athos's door. Yeshere it
is."

Who is this Athos?

One of my friends.

But if he should be at home and see me?

He is not at home, and I will carry away the key, after having
placed you in his apartment.

But if he should return?

Oh, he won't return; and if he should, he will be told that I
have brought a woman with me, and that woman is in his
apartment.

But that will compromise me sadly, you know.

Of what consequence? Nobody knows you. Besides, we are in a
situation to overlook ceremony.

Come, then, let us go to your friend's house. Where does he
live?

Rue Ferou, two steps from here.

Let us go!

Both resumed their way. As d'Artagnan had foreseenAthos was


not within. He took the keywhich was customarily given him as
one of the familyascended the stairsand introduced Mme.
Bonacieux into the little apartment of which we have given a
description.

You are at home,said he. "Remain herefasten the door
insideand open it to nobody unless you hear three taps like
this;" and he tapped thrice--two taps close together and pretty
hardthe other after an intervaland lighter.

That is well,said Mme. Bonacieux. "Nowin my turnlet me
give you my instructions."

I am all attention.

Present yourself at the wicket of the Louvre, on the side of the
Rue de l'Echelle, and ask for Germain.

Well, and then?

He will ask you what you want, and you will answer by these two
words, 'Tours' and 'Bruxelles.' He will at once put himself at
your orders.

And what shall I command him?

To go and fetch Monsieur Laporte, the queen's VALET DE CHAMBRE.

And when he shall have informed him, and Monsieur Laporte is
come?

You will send him to me.

That is well; but where and how shall I see you again?

Do you wish to see me again?

Certainly.

Well, let that care be mine, and be at ease.

I depend upon your word.

You may.

D'Artagnan bowed to Mme. Bonacieuxdarting at her the most
loving glance that he could possibly concentrate upon her
charming little person; and while he descended the stairshe
heard the door closed and double-locked. In two bounds he was at
the Louvre; as he entered the wicket of L'Echelleten o'clock
struck. All the events we have described had taken place within
a half hour.

Everything fell out as Mme. Bonacieux prophesied. On hearing the
passwordGermain bowed. In a few minutesLaporte was at the
lodge; in two words d'Artagnan informed him where Mme. Bonacieux
was. Laporte assured himselfby having it twice repeatedof
the accurate addressand set off at a run. Hardlyhoweverhad
he taken ten steps before he returned.

Young man,said he to d'Artagnana suggestion.

What?


You may get into trouble by what has taken place.

You believe so?

Yes. Have you any friend whose clock is too slow?

Well?

Go and call upon him, in order that he may give evidence of your
having been with him at half past nine. In a court of justice
that is called an alibi.

D'Artagnan found his advice prudent. He took to his heelsand
was soon at M. de Treville's; but instead of going into the
saloon with the rest of the crowdhe asked to be introduced to

M. de Treville's office. As d'Artagnan so constantly frequented
the hotelno difficulty was made in complying with his request
and a servant went to inform M. de Treville that his young
compatriothaving something important to communicatesolicited a
private audience. Five minutes afterM. de Treville was asking
d'Artagnan what he could do to serve himand what caused his
visit at so late an hour.
Pardon me, monsieur,said d'Artagnanwho had profited by the
moment he had been left alone to put back M. de Treville's clock
three-quarters of an hourbut I thought, as it was yet only
twenty-five minutes past nine, it was not too late to wait upon
you.

Twenty-five minutes past nine!cried M. de Trevillelooking at
the clock; "whythat's impossible!"

Look, rather, monsieur,said d'Artagnanthe clock shows it.

That's true,said M. de Treville; "I believed it later. But
what can I do for you?"

Then d'Artagnan told M. de Treville a long history about the
queen. He expressed to him the fears he entertained with respect
to her Majesty; he related to him what he had heard of the
projects of the cardinal with regard to Buckinghamand all with
a tranquillity and candor of which M. de Treville was the more
the dupefrom having himselfas we have saidobserved
something fresh between the cardinalthe kingand the queen.

As ten o'clock was strikingd'Artagnan left M. de Trevillewho
thanked him for his informationrecommended him to have the
service of the king and queen always at heartand returned to
the saloon; but at the foot of the stairsd'Artagnan remembered
he had forgotten his cane. He consequently sprang up again
re-entered the officewith a turn of his finger set the clock
right againthat it might not be perceived the next day that it
had been put wrongand certain from that time that he had a
witness to prove his alibihe ran downstairs and soon found
himself in the street.

11 IN WHICH THE PLOT THICKENS

His visit to M. de Treville being paidthe pensive d'Artagnan
took the longest way homeward.

On what was d'Artagnan thinkingthat he strayed thus from his


pathgazing at the stars of heavenand sometimes sighing
sometimes smiling?

He was thinking of Mme. Bonacieux. For an apprentice Musketeer
the young woman was almost an ideal of love. Prettymysterious
initiated in almost all the secrets of the courtwhich reflected
such a charming gravity over her pleasing featuresit might be
surmised that she was not wholly unmoved; and this is an
irresistible charm to novices in love. Moreoverd'Artagnan had
delivered her from the hands of the demons who wished to search
and ill treat her; and this important service had established
between them one of those sentiments of gratitude which so easily
assume a more tender character.

D'Artagnan already fancied himselfso rapid is the flight of our
dreams upon the wings of imaginationaccosted by a messenger
from the young womanwho brought him some billet appointing a
meetinga gold chainor a diamond. We have observed that young
cavaliers received presents from their king without shame. Let
us add that in these times of lax morality they had no more
delicacy with respect to the mistresses; and that the latter
almost always left them valuable and durable remembrancesas if
they essayed to conquer the fragility of their sentiments by the
solidity of their gifts.

Without a blushmen made their way in the world by the means of
women blushing. Such as were only beautiful gave their beauty
whencewithout doubtcomes the proverbThe most beautiful
girl in the world can only give what she has.Such as were rich
gave in addition a part of their money; and a vast number of
heroes of that gallant period may be cited who would neither have
won their spurs in the first placenor their battles afterward
without the pursemore or less furnishedwhich their mistress
fastened to the saddle bow.

D'Artagnan owned nothing. Provincial diffidencethat slight
varnishthe ephemeral flowerthat down of the peachhad
evaporated to the winds through the little orthodox counsels
which the three Musketeers gave their friend. D'Artagnan
following the strange custom of the timesconsidered himself at
Paris as on a campaignneither more nor less than if he had been
in Flanders--Spain yonderwoman here. In each there was an
enemy to contend withand contributions to be levied.

Butwe must sayat the present moment d'Artagnan was ruled by
a feeling much more noble and disinterested. The mercer had
said that he was rich; the young man might easily guess that
with so weak a man as M. Bonacieux; and interest was almost
foreign to this commencement of lovewhich had been the
consequence of it. We say ALMOSTfor the idea that a young
handsomekindand witty woman is at the same time rich takes
nothing from the beginning of lovebut on the contrary
strengthens it.

There are in affluence a crowd of aristocratic cares and caprices
which are highly becoming to beauty. A fine and white stocking
a silken robea lace kerchiefa pretty slipper on the foota
tasty ribbon on the head do not make an ugly woman prettybut
they make a pretty woman beautifulwithout reckoning the hands
which gain by all this; the handsamong women particularlyto
be beautiful must be idle.

Then d'Artagnanas the readerfrom whom we have not concealed
the state of his fortunevery well knows--d'Artagnan was not a


millionaire; he hoped to become one somedaybut the time which
in his own mind he fixed upon for this happy change was still far
distant. In the meanwhilehow disheartening to see the woman
one loves long for those thousands of nothings which constitute a
woman's happinessand be unable to give her those thousands of
nothings. At leastwhen the woman is rich and the lover is not
that which he cannot offer she offers to herself; and although it
is generally with her husband's money that she procures herself
this indulgencethe gratitude for it seldom reverts to him.

Then d'Artagnandisposed to become the most tender of lovers
was at the same time a very devoted friendIn the midst of his
amorous projects for the mercer's wifehe did not forget his
friends. The pretty Mme. Bonacieux was just the woman to walk
with in the Plain St. Denis or in the fair of St. Germainin
company with AthosPorthosand Aramisto whom d'Artagnan had
often remarked this. Then one could enjoy charming little
dinnerswhere one touches on one side the hand of a friendand
on the other the foot of a mistress. Besideson pressing
occasionsin extreme difficultiesd'Artagnan would become the
preserver of his friends.

And M. Bonacieux? whom d'Artagnan had pushed into the hands of
the officersdenying him aloud although he had promised in a
whisper to save him. We are compelled to admit to our readers
that d'Artagnan thought nothing about him in any way; or that if
he did think of himit was only to say to himself that he was
very well where he waswherever it might be. Love is the most
selfish of all the passions.

Let our readers reassure themselves. IF d'Artagnan forgets his
hostor appears to forget himunder the pretense of not knowing
where he has been carriedwe will not forget himand we know
where he is. But for the momentlet us do as did the amorous
Gascon; we will see after the worthy mercer later.

D'Artagnanreflecting on his future amoursaddressing himself
to the beautiful nightand smiling at the starsascended the
Rue Cherish-Midior Chase-Midias it was then called. As he
found himself in the quarter in which Aramis livedhe took it
into his head to pay his friend a visit in order to explain the
motives which had led him to send Planchet with a request that he
would come instantly to the mousetrap. Nowif Aramis had been
at home when Planchet came to his abodehe had doubtless
hastened to the Rue des Fossoyeursand finding nobody there but
his other two companions perhapsthey would not be able to
conceive what all this meant. This mystery required an
explanation; at leastso d'Artagnan declared to himself.

He likewise thought this was an opportunity for talking about
pretty little Mme. Bonacieuxof whom his headif not his heart
was already full. We must never look for discretion in first
love. First love is accompanied by such excessive joy that
unless the joy be allowed to overflowit will stifle you.

Paris for two hours past had been darkand seemed a desert.
Eleven o'clock sounded from all the clocks of the Faubourg St.
Germain. It was delightful weather. D'Artagnan was passing
along a lane on the spot where the Rue d'Assas is now situated
breathing the balmy emanations which were borne upon the wind
from the Rue de Vaugirardand which arose from the gardens
refreshed by the dews of evening and the breeze of night. From a
distance resoundeddeadenedhoweverby good shuttersthe
songs of the tipplersenjoying themselves in the cabarets


scattered along the plain. Arrived at the end of the lane
d'Artagnan turned to the left. The house in which Aramis dwelt
was situated between the Rue Cassette and the Rue Servandoni.

D'Artagnan had just passed the Rue Cassetteand already
perceived the door of his friend's houseshaded by a mass of
sycamores and clematis which formed a vast arch opposite the
front of itwhen he perceived something like a shadow issuing
from the Rue Servandoni. This something was enveloped in a
cloakand d'Artagnan at first believed it was a man; but by the
smallness of the formthe hesitation of the walkand the
indecision of the stephe soon discovered that it was a woman.
Furtherthis womanas if not certain of the house she was
seekinglifted up her eyes to look around herstoppedwent
backwardand then returned again. D'Artagnan was perplexed.

Shall I go and offer her my services?thought he. "By her step
she must be young; perhaps she is pretty. Ohyes! But a woman
who wanders in the streets at this hour only ventures out to meet
her lover. If I should disturb a rendezvousthat would not be
the best means of commencing an acquaintance."

Meantime the young woman continued to advancecounting the
houses and windows. This was neither long nor difficult. There
were but three hotels in this part of the street; and only two
windows looking toward the roadone of which was in a pavilion
parallel to that which Aramis occupiedthe other belonging to
Aramis himself.

PARIDIEU!said d'Artagnan to himselfto whose mind the niece
of the theologian revertedPARDIEU, it would be droll if this
belated dove should be in search of our friend's house. But on
my soul, it looks so. Ah, my dear Aramis, this time I shall find
you out.And d'Artagnanmaking himself as small as he could
concealed himself in the darkest side of the street near a stone
bench placed at the back of a niche.

The young woman continued to advance; and in addition to the
lightness of her stepwhich had betrayed hershe emitted a
little cough which denoted a sweet voice. D'Artagnan believed
this cough to be a signal.

Neverthelesswhether the cough had been answered by a similar
signal which had fixed the irresolution of the nocturnal seeker
or whether without this aid she saw that she had arrived at the
end of her journeyshe resolutely drew near to Aramis's shutter
and tappedat three equal intervalswith her bent finger.

This is all very fine, dear Aramis,murmured d'Artagnan.

Ah, Monsieur Hypocrite, I understand how you study theology.

The three blows were scarcely struckwhen the inside blind was
opened and a light appeared through the panes of the outside
shutter.

Ah, ah!said the listenernot through doors, but through
windows! Ah, this visit was expected. We shall see the windows
open, and the lady enter by escalade. Very pretty!

But to the great astonishment of d'Artagnanthe shutter remained
closed. Still morethe light which had shone for an instant
disappearedand all was again in obscurity.


D'Artagnan thought this could not last longand continued to
look with all his eyes and listen with all his ears.

He was right; at the end of some seconds two sharp taps were
heard inside. The young woman in the street replied by a single
tapand the shutter was opened a little way.

It may be judged whether d'Artagnan looked or listened with
avidity. Unfortunately the light had been removed into another
chamber; but the eyes of the young man were accustomed to the
night. Besidesthe eyes of the Gascons haveas it is asserted
like those of catsthe faculty of seeing in the dark.

D'Artagnan then saw that the young woman took from her pocket a
white objectwhich she unfolded quicklyand which took the form
of a handkerchief. She made her interlocutor observe the corner
of this unfolded object.

This immediately recalled to d'Artagnan's mind the handkerchief
which he had found at the feet of Mme. Bonacieuxwhich had
reminded him of that which he had dragged from under the feet of
Aramis.

What the devil could that handkerchief signify?

Placed where he wasd'Artagnan could not perceive the face of
Aramis. We say Aramisbecause the young man entertained no
doubt that it was his friend who held this dialogue from the
interior with the lady of the exterior. Curiosity prevailed over
prudence; and profiting by the preoccupation into which the sight
of the handkerchief appeared to have plunged the two personages
now on the scenehe stole from his hiding placeand quick as
lightningbut stepping with utmost cautionhe ran and placed
himself close to the angle of the wallfrom which his eye could
pierce the interior of Aramis's room.

Upon gaining this advantage d'Artagnan was near uttering a cry of
surprise; it was not Aramis who was conversing with the nocturnal
visitorit was a woman! D'Artagnanhowevercould only see
enough to recognize the form of her vestmentsnot enough to
distinguish her features.

At the same instant the woman inside drew a second handkerchief
from her pocketand exchanged it for that which had just been
shown to her. Then some words were spoken by the two women. At
length the shutter closed. The woman who was outside the window
turned roundand passed within four steps of d'Artagnanpulling
down the hood of her mantle; but the precaution was too late
d'Artagnan had already recognized Mme. Bonacieux.

Mme. Bonacieux! The suspicion that it was she had crossed the
mind of d'Artagnan when she drew the handkerchief from her
pocket; but what probability was there that Mme. Bonacieuxwho
had sent for M. Laporte in order to be reconducted to the Louvre
should be running about the streets of Paris at half past eleven
at nightat the risk of being abducted a second time?

This must bethenan affair of importance; and what is the most
important affair to a woman of twenty-five! Love.

But was it on her own accountor on account of anotherthat she
exposed herself to such hazards? This was a question the young
man asked himselfwhom the demon of jealousy already gnawed
being in heart neither more nor less than an accepted lover.


There was a very simple means of satisfying himself whither Mme.
Bonacieux was going; that was to follow her. This method was so
simple that d'Artagnan employed it quite naturally and
instinctively.

But at the sight of the young manwho detached himself from the
wall like a statue walking from its nicheand at the noise of
the steps which she heard resound behind herMme. Bonacieux
uttered a little cry and fled.

D'Artagnan ran after her. It was not difficult for him to
overtake a woman embarrassed with her cloak. He came up with her
before she had traversed a third of the street. The unfortunate
woman was exhaustednot by fatiguebut by terrorand when
d'Artagnan placed his hand upon her shouldershe sank upon one
kneecrying in a choking voiceKill me, if you please, you
shall know nothing!

D'Artagnan raised her by passing his arm round her waist; but as
he felt by her weight she was on the point of faintinghe made
haste to reassure her by protestations of devotedness. These
protestations were nothing for Mme. Bonacieuxfor such
protestations may be made with the worst intentions in the world;
but the voice was all Mme. Bonacieux thought she recognized the
sound of that voice; she reopened her eyescast a quick glance
upon the man who had terrified her soand at once perceiving it
was d'Artagnanshe uttered a cry of joyOh, it is you, it is
you! Thank God, thank God!

Yes, it is I,said d'Artagnanit is I, whom God has sent to
watch over you.

Was it with that intention you followed me?asked the young
womanwith a coquettish smilewhose somewhat bantering
character resumed its influenceand with whom all fear had
disappeared from the moment in which she recognized a friend in
one she had taken for an enemy.

No,said d'Artagnan; "noI confess it. It was chance that
threw me in your way; I saw a woman knocking at the window of one
of my friends."

One of your friends?interrupted Mme. Bonacieux.

Without doubt; Aramis is one of my best friends.

Aramis! Who is he?

Come, come, you won't tell me you don't know Aramis?

This is the first time I ever heard his name pronounced.

It is the first time, then, that you ever went to that house?

Undoubtedly.

And you did not know that it was inhabited by a young man?

No.

By a Musketeer?

No, indeed!


It was not he, then, you came to seek?


Not the least in the world. Besides, you must have seen that
the person to whom I spoke was a woman.
That is true; but this woman is a friend of Aramis--


I know nothing of that.
--since she lodges with him.

That does not concern me.
But who is she?

Oh, that is not my secret.

My dear Madame Bonacieux, you are charming; but at the same time
you are one of the most mysterious women.

Do I lose by that?
No; you are, on the contrary, adorable.


Give me your arm, then.
Most willingly. And now?


Now escort me.
Where?


Where I am going.
But where are you going?


You will see, because you will leave me at the door.
Shall I wait for you?


That will be useless.
You will return alone, then?


Perhaps yes, perhaps no.


But will the person who shall accompany you afterward be a man
or a woman?
I don't know yet.


But I will know it!
How so?


I will wait until you come out.
In that case, adieu.


Why so?
I do not want you.



But you have claimed--
The aid of a gentleman, not the watchfulness of a spy.
The word is rather hard.
How are they called who follow others in spite of them?
They are indiscreet.
The word is too mild.
Well, madame, I perceive I must do as you wish.
Why did you deprive yourself of the merit of doing so at once?
Is there no merit in repentance?
And do you really repent?
I know nothing about it myself. But what I know is that I


promise to do all you wish if you allow me to accompany you where
you are going.
And you will leave me then?
Yes.
Without waiting for my coming out again?
Yes.
Word of honor?


By the faith of a gentleman. Take my arm, and let us go.
D'Artagnan offered his arm to Mme. Bonacieuxwho willingly took
ithalf laughinghalf tremblingand both gained the top of Rue
de la Harpe. Arriving therethe young woman seemed to hesitate
as she had before done in the Rue Vaugirard. She seemed
howeverby certain signsto recognize a doorand approaching
that doorAnd now, monsieur,said sheit is here I have
business; a thousand thanks for your honorable company, which has
saved me from all the dangers to which, alone I was exposed. But
the moment is come to keep your word; I have reached my
destination.

And you will have nothing to fear on your return?
I shall have nothing to fear but robbers.
And that is nothing?
What could they take from me? I have not a penny about me.
You forget that beautiful handkerchief with the coat of arms.
Which?
That which I found at your feet, and replaced in your pocket.
Hold your tongue, imprudent man! Do you wish to destroy me?
You see very plainly that there is still danger for you, since a



single word makes you tremble; and you confess that if that word
were heard you would be ruined. Come, come, madame!cried
d'Artagnanseizing her handsand surveying her with an ardent
glancecome, be more generous. Confide in me. Have you not
read in my eyes that there is nothing but devotion and sympathy
in my heart?

Yes,replied Mme. Bonacieux; "thereforeask my own secrets
and I will reveal them to you; but those of others--that is quite
another thing."

Very well,said d'ArtagnanI shall discover them; as these
secrets may have an influence over your life, these secrets must
become mine.

Beware of what you do!cried the young womanin a manner so
serious as to make d'Artagnan start in spite of himself. "Oh
meddle in nothing which concerns me. Do not seek to assist me in
that which I am accomplishing. This I ask of you in the name of
the interest with which I inspire youin the name of the service
you have rendered me and which I never shall forget while I have
life. Ratherplace faith in what I tell you. Have no more
concern about me; I exist no longer for youany more than if you
had never seen me."

Must Aramis do as much as I, madame?said d'Artagnandeeply
piqued.

This is the second or third time, monsieur, that you have
repeated that name, and yet I have told you that I do not know
him.

You do not know the man at whose shutter you have just knocked?
Indeed, madame, you believe me too credulous!

Confess that it is for the sake of making me talk that you
invent this story and create this personage.

I invent nothing, madame; I create nothing. I only speak that
exact truth.

And you say that one of your friends lives in that house?

I say so, and I repeat it for the third time; that house is one
inhabited by my friend, and that friend is Aramis.

All this will be cleared up at a later period,murmured the
young woman; "nomonsieurbe silent."

If you could see my heart,said d'Artagnanyou would there
read so much curiosity that you would pity me and so much love
that you would instantly satisfy my curiosity. We have nothing
to fear from those who love us.

You speak very suddenly of love, monsieur,said the young
womanshaking her head.

That is because love has come suddenly upon me, and for the
first time; and because I am only twenty.

The young woman looked at him furtively.

Listen; I am already upon the scent,resumed d'Artagnan.
About three months ago I was near having a duel with Aramis


concerning a handkerchief resembling the one you showed to the
woman in his house--for a handkerchief marked in the same manner,
I am sure.

Monsieur,said the young womanyou weary me very much, I
assure you, with your questions.

But you, madame, prudent as you are, think, if you were to be
arrested with that handkerchief, and that handkerchief were to be
seized, would you not be compromised?

In what way? The initials are only mine--C. B., Constance
Bonacieux.

Or Camille de Bois-Tracy.

Silence, monsieur! Once again, silence! Ah, since the dangers
I incur on my own account cannot stop you, think of those you may
yourself run!

Me?

Yes; there is peril of imprisonment, risk of life in knowing
me.

Then I will not leave you.

Monsieur!said the young womansupplicating him and clasping
her hands togethermonsieur, in the name of heaven, by the
honor of a soldier, by the courtesy of a gentleman, depart!
There, there midnight sounds! That is the hour when I am
expected.

Madame,said the young manbowing; "I can refuse nothing asked
of me thus. Be content; I will depart."

But you will not follow me; you will not watch me?

I will return home instantly.

Ah, I was quite sure you were a good and brave young man,said
Mme. Bonacieuxholding out her hand to himand placing the
other upon the knocker of a little door almost hidden in the
wall.

D'Artagnan seized the hand held out to himand kissed it
ardently.

Ah! I wish I had never seen you!cried d'Artagnanwith that
ingenuous roughness which women often prefer to the affectations
of politenessbecause it betrays the depths of the thought and
proves that feeling prevails over reason.

Well!resumed Mme. Bonacieuxin a voice almost caressingand
pressing the hand of d'Artagnanwho had not relinquished hers
well: I will not say as much as you do; what is lost for today
may not be lost forever. Who knows, when I shall be at liberty,
that I may not satisfy your curiosity?

And will you make the same promise to my love?cried
d'Artagnanbeside himself with joy.

Oh, as to that, I do not engage myself. That depends upon the
sentiments with which you may inspire me.


Then today, madame--

Oh, today, I am no further than gratitude.

Ah! You are too charming,said d'Artagnansorrowfully; "and
you abuse my love."

No, I use your generosity, that's all. But be of good cheer;
with certain people, everything comes round.

Oh, you render me the happiest of men! Do not forget this
evening--do not forget that promise.

Be satisfied. In the proper time and place I will remember
everything. Now then, go, go, in the name of heaven! I was
expected at sharp midnight, and I am late.

By five minutes.

Yes; but in certain circumstances five minutes are five ages.

When one loves.

Well! And who told you I had no affair with a lover?

It is a man, then, who expects you?cried d'Artagnan. "A man!"

The discussion is going to begin again!said Mme. Bonacieux
with a half-smile which was not exempt from a tinge of
impatience.

No, no; I go, I depart! I believe in you, and I would have all
the merit of my devotion, even if that devotion were stupidity.
Adieu, madame, adieu!

And as if he only felt strength to detach himself by a violent
effort from the hand he heldhe sprang awayrunningwhile Mme.
Bonacieux knockedas at the shutterthree light and regular
taps. When he had gained the angle of the streethe turned.
The door had been openedand shut again; the mercer's pretty
wife had disappeared.

D'Artagnan pursued his way. He had given his word not to watch
Mme. Bonacieuxand if his life had depended upon the spot to
which she was going or upon the person who should accompany her
d'Artagnan would have returned homesince he had so promised.
Five minutes later he was in the Rue des Fossoyeurs.

Poor Athos!said he; "he will never guess what all this means.
He will have fallen asleep waiting for meor else he will have
returned homewhere he will have learned that a woman had been
there. A woman with Athos! After all continued d'Artagnan,
there was certainly one with Aramis. All this is very strange;
and I am curious to know how it will end."

Badly, monsieur, badly!replied a voice which the young man
recognized as that of Planchet; forsoliloquizing aloudas very
preoccupied people dohe had entered the alleyat the end of
which were the stairs which led to his chamber.

How badly? What do you mean by that, you idiot?asked
d'Artagnan. "What has happened?"


All sorts of misfortunes.

What?

In the first place, Monsieur Athos is arrested.

Arrested! Athos arrested! What for?

He was found in your lodging; they took him for you.

And by whom was he arrested?

By Guards brought by the men in black whom you put to flight.

Why did he not tell them his name? Why did he not tell them he
knew nothing about this affair?

He took care not to do so, monsieur; on the contrary, he came up
to me and said, 'It is your master that needs his liberty at this
moment and not I, since he knows everything and I know nothing.
They will believe he is arrested, and that will give him time; in
three days I will tell them who I am, and they cannot fail to let
me go.'

Bravo, Athos! Noble heart!murmured d'Artagnan. "I know him
well there! And what did the officers do?"

Four conveyed him away, I don't know where--to the Bastille or
Fort l'Eveque. Two remained with the men in black, who rummaged
every place and took all the papers. The last two mounted guard
at the door during this examination; then, when all was over,
they went away, leaving the house empty and exposed.

And Porthos and Aramis?

I could not find them; they did not come.

But they may come any moment, for you left word that I awaited
them?

Yes, monsieur.

Well, don't budge, then; if they come, tell them what has
happened. Let them wait for me at the Pomme-de-Pin. Here it
would be dangerous; the house may be watched. I will run to
Monsieur de Treville to tell them all this, and will meet them
there.

Very well, monsieur,said Planchet.

But you will remain; you are not afraid?said d'Artagnan
coming back to recommend courage to his lackey.

Be easy, monsieur,said Planchet; "you do not know me yet. I
am brave when I set about it. It is all in beginning. Besides
I am a Picard."

Then it is understood,said d'Artagnan; "you would rather be
killed than desert your post?"

Yes, monsieur; and there is nothing I would not do to prove to
Monsieur that I am attached to him.

Good!said d'Artagnan to himself. "It appears that the method


I have adopted with this boy is decidedly the best. I shall use
it again upon occasion."

And with all the swiftness of his legsalready a little fatigued
howeverwith the perambulations of the dayd'Artagnan directed
his course toward M. de Treville's.

M. de Treville was not at his hotel. His company was on guard at
the Louvre; he was at the Louvre with his company.
It was necessary to reach M. de Treville; it was important that
he should be informed of what was passing. D'Artagnan resolved
to try and enter the Louvre. His costume of Guardsman in the
company of M. Dessessart ought to be his passport.

He therefore went down the Rue des Petits Augustinsand came up
to the quayin order to take the New Bridge. He had at first an
idea of crossing by the ferry; but on gaining the riversidehe
had mechanically put his hand into his pocketand perceived that
he had not wherewithal to pay his passage.

As he gained the top of the Rue Guenegaudhe saw two persons
coming out of the Rue Dauphine whose appearance very much struck
him. Of the two persons who composed this groupone was a man
and the other a woman. The woman had the outline of Mme.
Bonacieux; the man resembled Aramis so much as to be mistaken for
him.

Besidesthe woman wore that black mantle which d'Artagnan could
still see outlined on the shutter of the Rue de Vaugirard and on
the door of the Rue de la Harpe; still furtherthe man wore the
uniform of a Musketeer.

The woman's hood was pulled downand the man geld a handkerchief
to his face. Bothas this double precaution indicatedhad an
interest in not being recognized.

They took the bridge. That was d'Artagnan's roadas he was
going to the Louvre. D'Artagnan followed them.

He had not gone twenty steps before he became convinced that the
woman was really Mme. Bonacieux and that the man was Aramis.

He felt at that instant all the suspicions of jealousy agitating
his heart. He felt himself doubly betrayedby his friend and by
her whom he already loved like a mistress. Mme. Bonacieux had
declared to himby all the godsthat she did not know Aramis;
and a quarter of an hour after having made this assertionhe
found her hanging on the arm of Aramis.

D'Artagnan did not reflect that he had only known the mercer's
pretty wife for three hours; that she owed him nothing but a
little gratitude for having delivered her from the men in black
who wished to carry her offand that she had promised him
nothing. He considered himself an outragedbetrayedand
ridiculed lover. Blood and anger mounted to his face; he was
resolved to unravel the mystery.

The young man and young woman perceived they were watchedand
redoubled their speed. D'Artagnan determined upon his course.
He passed themthen returned so as to meet them exactly before
the Samaritaine. Which was illuminated by a lamp which threw its
light over all that part of the bridge.


D'Artagnan stopped before themand they stopped before him.

What do you want, monsieur?demanded the Musketeerrecoiling a
stepand with a foreign accentwhich proved to d'Artagnan that
he was deceived in one of his conjectures.

It is not Aramis!cried he.

No, monsieur, it is not Aramis; and by your exclamation I
perceive you have mistaken me for another, and pardon you.

You pardon me?cried d'Artagnan.

Yes,replied the stranger. "Allow methento pass onsince
it is not with me you have anything to do."

You are right, monsieur, it is not with you that I have anything
to do; it is with Madame.

With Madame! You do not know her,replied the stranger.

You are deceived, monsieur; I know her very well.

Ah,said Mme. Bonacieux; in a tone of reproachah, monsieur,
I had your promise as a soldier and your word as a gentleman. I
hoped to be able to rely upon that.

And I, madame!said d'Artagnanembarrassed; "you promised me-"


Take my arm, madame,said the strangerand let us continue
our way.

D'Artagnanhoweverstupefiedcast downannihilated by all
that happenedstoodwith crossed armsbefore the Musketeer and
Mme. Bonacieux.

The Musketeer advanced two stepsand pushed d'Artagnan aside
with his hand. D'Artagnan made a spring backward and drew his
sword. At the same timeand with the rapidity of lightningthe
stranger drew his.

In the name of heaven, my Lord!cried Mme. Bonacieuxthrowing
herself between the combatants and seizing the swords with her
hands.

My Lord!cried d'Artagnanenlightened by a sudden ideamy
Lord! Pardon me, monsieur, but you are not--

My Lord the Duke of Buckingham,said Mme. Bonacieuxin an
undertone; "and now you may ruin us all."

My Lord, Madame, I ask a hundred pardons! But I love her, my
Lord, and was jealous. You know what it is to love, my Lord.
Pardon me, and then tell me how I can risk my life to serve your
Grace?

You are a brave young man,said Buckinghamholding out his
hand to d'Artagnanwho pressed it respectfully. "You offer me
your services; with the same frankness I accept them. Follow us
at a distance of twenty pacesas far as the Louvreand if
anyone watches usslay him!"

D'Artagnan placed his naked sword under his armallowed the duke


and Mme. Bonacieux to take twenty steps aheadand then followed
themready to execute the instructions of the noble and elegant
minister of Charles I.

Fortunatelyhe had no opportunity to give the duke this proof of
his devotionand the young woman and the handsome Musketeer
entered the Louvre by the wicket of the Echelle without any
interference.

As for d'Artagnanhe immediately repaired to the cabaret of the
Pomme-de-Pinwhere he found Porthos and Aramis awaiting him.
Without giving them any explanation of the alarm and
inconvenience he had caused themhe told them that he had
terminated the affair alone in which he had for a moment believed
he should need their assistance.

Meanwhilecarried away as we are by our narrativewe must leave
our three friends to themselvesand follow the Duke of
Buckingham and his guide through the labyrinths of the Louvre.

12 GEORGE VILLIERSDUKE OF BUCKINGHAM

Mme. Bonacieux and the duke entered the Louvre without
difficulty. Mme. Bonacieux was known to belong to the queen; the
duke wore the uniform of the Musketeers of M. de Trevillewho
as we have saidwere that evening on guard. BesidesGermain
was in the interests of the queen; and if anything should happen
Mme. Bonacieux would be accused of having introduced her lover
into the Louvrethat was all. She took the risk upon herself.
Her reputation would be lostit is true; but of what value in
the world was the reputation of the little wife of a mercer?

Once within the interior of the courtthe duke and the young
woman followed the wall for the space of about twenty-five steps.
This space passedMme. Bonacieux pushed a little servants' door
open by day but generally closed at night. The door yielded.
Both enteredand found themselves in darkness; but Mme.
Bonacieux was acquainted with all the turnings and windings of
this part of the Louvreappropriated for the people of the
household. She closed the door after hertook the duke by the
handand after a few experimental stepsgrasped a balustrade
put her foot upon the bottom stepand began to ascend the
staircase. The duke counted two stories. She then turned to the
rightfollowed the course of a long corridordescended a
flightwent a few steps fartherintroduced a key into a lock
opened a doorand pushed the duke into an apartment lighted only
by a lampsayingRemain here, my Lord Duke; someone will
come.She then went out by the same doorwhich she lockedso
that the duke found himself literally a prisoner.

Neverthelessisolated as he waswe must say that the Duke of
Buckingham did not experience an instant of fear. One of the
salient points of his character was the search for adventures and
a love of romance. Braverashand enterprisingthis was not
the first time he had risked his life in such attempts. He had
learned that the pretended message from Anne of Austriaupon the
faith of which he had come to Pariswas a snare; but instead of
regaining Englandhe hadabusing the position in which he had
been placeddeclared to the queen that he would not depart
without seeing her. The queen had at first positively refused;
but at length became afraid that the dukeif exasperatedwould
commit some folly. She had already decided upon seeing him and


urging his immediate departurewhenon the very evening of
coming to this decisionMme. Bonacieuxwho was charged with
going to fetch the duke and conducting him to the Louvrewas
abducted. For two days no one knew what had become of herand
everything remained in suspense; but once freeand placed in
communication with Laportematters resumed their courseand she
accomplished the perilous enterprise whichbut for her arrest
would have been executed three days earlier.

Buckinghamleft alonewalked toward a mirror. His Musketeer's
uniform became him marvelously.

At thirty-fivewhich was then his agehe passedwith just
titlefor the handsomest gentleman and the most elegant cavalier
of France or England.

The favorite of two kingsimmensely richall-powerful in a
kingdom which he disordered at his fancy and calmed again at his
capriceGeorge VilliersDuke of Buckinghamhad lived one of
those fabulous existences which survivein the course of
centuriesto astonish posterity.

Sure of himselfconvinced of his own powercertain that the
laws which rule other men could not reach himhe went straight
to the object he aimed ateven were this object were so elevated
and so dazzling that it would have been madness for any other
even to have contemplated it. It was thus he had succeeded in
approaching several times the beautiful and proud Anne of
Austriaand in making himself loved by dazzling her.

George Villiers placed himself before the glassas we have said
restored the undulations to his beautiful hairwhich the weight
of his hat had disorderedtwisted his mustacheandhis heart
swelling with joyhappy and proud at being near the moment he
had so long sighed forhe smiled upon himself with pride and
hope.

At this moment a door concealed in the tapestry openedand a
woman appeared. Buckingham saw this apparition in the glass; he
uttered a cry. It was the queen!

Anne of Austria was then twenty-six or twenty-seven years of age;
that is to sayshe was in the full splendor of her beauty.

Her carriage was that of a queen or a goddess; her eyeswhich
cast the brilliancy of emeraldswere perfectly beautifuland
yet were at the same time full of sweetness and majesty.

Her mouth was small and rosy; and although her underliplike
that of all princes of the House of Austriaprotruded slightly
beyond the otherit was eminently lovely in its smilebut as
profoundly disdainful in its contempt.

Her skin was admired for its velvety softness; her hands and arms
were of surpassing beautyall the poets of the time singing them
as incomparable.

Lastlyher hairwhichfrom being light in her youthhad
become chestnutand which she wore curled very plainlyand with
much powderadmirably set off her facein which the most rigid
critic could only have desired a little less rougeand the most
fastidious sculptor a little more fineness in the nose.

Buckingham remained for a moment dazzled. Never had Anna of


Austria appeared to him so beautifulamid ballsfetesor
carousalsas she appeared to him at this momentdressed in a
simple robe of white satinand accompanied by Donna Estafania-the
only one of her Spanish women who had not been driven from
her by the jealousy of the king or by the persecutions of
Richelieu.

Anne of Austria took two steps forward. Buckingham threw himself
at her feetand before the queen could prevent himkissed the
hem of her robe.

Duke, you already know that it is not I who caused you to be
written to.

Yes, yes, madame! Yes, your Majesty!cried the duke. "I know
that I must have been madsenselessto believe that snow would
become animated or marble warm; but what then! They who love
believe easily in love. BesidesI have lost nothing by this
journey because I see you."

Yes,replied Annebut you know why and how I see you;
because, insensible to all my sufferings, you persist in
remaining in a city where, by remaining, you run the risk of your
life, and make me run the risk of my honor. I see you to tell
you that everything separates us--the depths of the sea, the
enmity of kingdoms, the sanctity of vows. It is sacrilege to
struggle against so many things, my Lord. In short, I see you to
tell you that we must never see each other again.

Speak on, madame, speak on, Queen,said Buckingham; "the
sweetness of your voice covers the harshness of your words. You
talk of sacrilege! Whythe sacrilege is the separation of two
hearts formed by God for each other."

My Lord,cried the queenyou forget that I have never said
that I love you.

But you have never told me that you did not love me; and truly,
to speak such words to me would be, on the part of your Majesty,
too great an ingratitude. For tell me, where can you find a love
like mine--a love which neither time, nor absence, nor despair
can extinguish, a love which contents itself with a lost ribbon,
a stray look, or a chance word? It is now three years, madame,
since I saw you for the first time, and during those three years
I have loved you thus. Shall I tell you each ornament of your
toilet? Mark! I see you now. You were seated upon cushions in
the Spanish fashion; you wore a robe of green satin embroidered
with gold and silver, hanging sleeves knotted upon your beautiful
arms--those lovely arms--with large diamonds. You wore a close
ruff, a small cap upon your head of the same color as your robe,
and in that cap a heron's feather. Hold! Hold! I shut my eyes,
and I can see you as you then were; I open them again, and I see
what you are now--a hundred time more beautiful!

What folly,murmured Anne of Austriawho had not the courage
to find fault with the duke for having so well preserved her
portrait in his heartwhat folly to feed a useless passion with
such remembrances!

And upon what then must I live? I have nothing but memory. It
is my happiness, my treasure, my hope. Every time I see you is a
fresh diamond which I enclose in the casket of my heart. This
is the fourth which you have let fall and I have picked up; for
in three years, madame, I have only seen you four times--the


first, which I have described to you; the second, at the mansion
of Madame de Chevreuse; the third, in the gardens of Amiens.

Duke,said the queenblushingnever speak of that evening.

Oh, let us speak of it; on the contrary, let us speak of it!
That is the most happy and brilliant evening of my life! You
remember what a beautiful night it was? How soft and perfumed
was the air; how lovely the blue heavens and star-enameled sky!
Ah, then, madame, I was able for one instant to be alone with
you. Then you were about to tell me all--the isolation of your
life, the griefs of your heart. You leaned upon my arm--upon
this, madame! I felt, in bending my head toward you, your
beautiful hair touch my cheek; and every time that it touched me
I trembled from head to foot. Oh, Queen! Queen! You do not
know what felicity from heaven, what joys from paradise, are
comprised in a moment like that. Take my wealth, my fortune, my
glory, all the days I have to live, for such an instant, for a
night like that. For that night, madame, that night you loved
me, I will swear it.

My Lord, yes; it is possible that the influence of the place,
the charm of the beautiful evening, the fascination of your
look--the thousand circumstances, in short, which sometimes unite
to destroy a woman--were grouped around me on that fatal evening;
but, my Lord, you saw the queen come to the aid of the woman who
faltered. At the first word you dared to utter, at the first
freedom to which I had to reply, I called for help.

Yes, yes, that is true. And any other love but mine would have
sunk beneath this ordeal; but my love came out from it more
ardent and more eternal. You believed that you would fly from me
by returning to Paris; you believed that I would not dare to quit
the treasure over which my master had charged me to watch. What
to me were all the treasures in the world, or all the kings of
the earth! Eight days after, I was back again, madame. That
time you had nothing to say to me; I had risked my life and favor
to see you but for a second. I did not even touch your hand, and
you pardoned me on seeing me so submissive and so repentant.

Yes, but calumny seized upon all those follies in which I took
no part, as you well know, my Lord. The king, excited by the
cardinal, made a terrible clamor. Madame de Vernet was driven
from me, Putange was exiled, Madame de Chevreuse fell into
disgrace, and when you wished to come back as ambassador to
France, the king himself--remember, my lord--the king himself
opposed to it.

Yes, and France is about to pay for her king's refusal with a
war. I am not allowed to see you, madame, but you shall every
day hear of me. What object, think you, have this expedition to
Re and this league with the Protestants of La Rochelle which I am
projecting? The pleasure of seeing you. I have no hope of
penetrating, sword in hand, to Paris, I know that well. But this
war may bring round a peace; this peace will require a
negotiator; that negotiator will be me. They will not dare to
refuse me then; and I will return to Paris, and will see you
again, and will be happy for an instant. Thousands of men, it is
true, will have to pay for my happiness with their lives; but
what is that to me, provided I see you again! All this is
perhaps folly--perhaps insanity; but tell me what woman has a
lover more truly in love; what queen a servant more ardent?

My Lord, my Lord, you invoke in your defense things which accuse


you more strongly. All these proofs of love which you would give
me are almost crimes.

Because you do not love me, madame! If you loved me, you would
view all this otherwise. If you loved me, oh, if you loved me,
that would be too great happiness, and I should run mad. Ah,
Madame de Chevreuse was less cruel than you. Holland loved her,
and she responded to his love.

Madame de Chevreuse was not queen,murmured Anne of Austria
overcomein spite of herselfby the expression of so profound a
passion.

You would love me, then, if you were not queen! Madame, say
that you would love me then! I can believe that it is the
dignity of your rank alone which makes you cruel to me; I can
believe that you had been Madame de Chevreuse, poor Buckingham
might have hoped. Thanks for those sweet words! Oh, my
beautiful sovereign, a hundred times, thanks!

Oh, my Lord! You have ill understood, wrongly interpreted; I
did not mean to say--

Silence, silence!cried the duke. "If I am happy in an error
do not have the cruelty to lift me from it. You have told me
yourselfmadamethat I have been drawn into a snare; I
perhapsmay leave my life in it--foralthough it may be
strangeI have for some time had a presentiment that I should
shortly die." And the duke smiledwith a smile at once sad and
charming.

Oh, my God!cried Anne of Austriawith an accent of terror
which proved how much greater an interest she took in the duke
than she ventured to tell.

I do not tell you this, madame, to terrify you; no, it is even
ridiculous for me to name it to you, and, believe me, I take no
heed of such dreams. But the words you have just spoken, the
hope you have almost given me, will have richly paid all--were it
my life.

Oh, but I,said AnneI also, duke, have had presentiments; I
also have had dreams. I dreamed that I saw you lying bleeding,
wounded.

In the left side, was it not, and with a knife?interrupted
Buckingham.

Yes, it was so, my Lord, it was so--in the left side, and with a
knife. Who can possibly have told you I had had that dream? I
have imparted it to no one but my God, and that in my prayers.

I ask for no more. You love me, madame; it is enough.

I love you, I?

Yes, yes. Would God send the same dreams to you as to me if you
did not love me? Should we have the same presentiments if our
existences did not touch at the heart? You love me, my beautiful
queen, and you will weep for me?

Oh, my God, my God!cried Anne of Austriathis is more than I
can bear. In the name of heaven, Duke, leave me, go! I do not
know whether I love you or love you not; but what I know is that


I will not be perjured. Take pity on me, then, and go! Oh, if
you are struck in France, if you die in France, if I could imagine
that your love for me was the cause of your death, I could not
console myself; I should run mad. Depart then, depart, I implore
you!

Oh, how beautiful you are thus! Oh, how I love you!said
Buckingham.

Go, go, I implore you, and return hereafter! Come back as
ambassador, come back as minister, come back surrounded with
guards who will defend you, with servants who will watch over
you, and then I shall no longer fear for your days, and I shall
be happy in seeing you.

Oh, is this true what you say?

Yes.

Oh, then, some pledge of your indulgence, some object which came
from you, and may remind me that I have not been dreaming;
something you have worn, and that I may wear in my turn--a ring,
a necklace, a chain.

Will you depart--will you depart, if I give you that you
demand?

Yes.

This very instant?

Yes.

You will leave France, you will return to England?

I will, I swear to you.

Wait, then, wait.

Anne of Austria re-entered her apartmentand came out again
almost immediatelyholding a rosewood casket in her handwith
her cipher encrusted with gold.

Her, my Lord, here,said shekeep this in memory of me.

Buckingham took the casketand fell a second time on his knees.

You have promised me to go,said the queen.

And I keep my word. Your hand, madame, your hand, and I
depart!

Anne of Austria stretched forth her handclosing her eyesand
leaning with the other upon Estafaniafor she felt that her
strength was about to fail her.

Buckingham pressed his lips passionately to that beautiful hand
and then risingsaidWithin six months, if I am not dead, I
shall have seen you again, madame--even if I have to overturn the
world.And faithful to the promise he had madehe rushed out
of the apartment.

In the corridor he met Mme. Bonacieuxwho waited for himand
whowith the same precautions and the same good luckconducted


him out of the Louvre.

13 MONSIEUR BONACIEUX

There was in all thisas may have been observedone personage
concernedof whomnotwithstanding his precarious positionwe
have appeared to take but very little notice. This personage was

M. Bonacieuxthe respectable martyr of the political and amorous
intrigues which entangled themselves so nicely together at this
gallant and chivalric period.
Fortunatelythe reader may rememberor may not remember-fortunately
we have promised not to lose sight of him.

The officers who arrested him conducted him straight to the
Bastillewhere he passed trembling before a party of soldiers
who were loading their muskets. Thenceintroduced into a halfsubterranean
galleryhe becameon the part of those who had
brought himthe object of the grossest insults and the harshest
treatment. The officers perceived that they had not to deal with
a gentlemanand they treated him like a very peasant.

At the end of half an hour or thereaboutsa clerk came to put an
end to his torturesbut not to his anxietyby giving the order
to conduct M. Bonacieux to the Chamber of Examination.
Ordinarilyprisoners were interrogated in their cells; but they
did not do so with M. Bonacieux.

Two guards attended the mercer who made him traverse a court and
enter a corridor in which were three sentinelsopened a door and
pushed him unceremoniously into a low roomwhere the only
furniture was a tablea chairand a commissary. The commissary
was seated in the chairand was writing at the table.

The two guards led the prisoner toward the tableand upon a sign
from the commissary drew back so far as to be unable to hear
anything.

The commissarywho had till this time held his head down over
his paperslooked up to see what sort of person he had to do
with. This commissary was a man of very repulsive mienwith a
pointed nosewith yellow and salient cheek boneswith eyes
small but keen and penetratingand an expression of countenance
resembling at once the polecat and the fox. His headsupported
by a long and flexible neckissued from his large black robe
balancing itself with a motion very much like that of the
tortoise thrusting his head out of his shell. He began by asking

M. Bonacieux his nameageconditionand abode.
The accused replied that his name was Jacques Michel Bonacieux
that he was fifty-one years olda retired mercerand lived Rue
des FossoyeursNo. 14.

The commissary theninstead of continuing to interrogate him
made him a long speech upon the danger there is for an obscure
citizen to meddle with public matters. He complicated this
exordium by an exposition in which he painted the power and the
deeds of the cardinalthat incomparable ministerthat conqueror
of past ministersthat example
for ministers to come--deeds and power which none could thwart
with impunity.


After this second part of his discoursefixing his hawk's eye
upon poor Bonacieuxhe bade him reflect upon the gravity of his
situation.

The reflections of the mercer were already made; he cursed the
instant when M. Laporte formed the idea of marrying him to his
goddaughterand particularly the moment when that goddaughter

had been received as Lady of the Linen to her Majesty.

At bottom the character of M. Bonacieux was one of profound
selfishness mixed with sordid avaricethe whole seasoned with
extreme cowardice. The love with which his young wife had
inspired him was a secondary sentimentand was not strong enough
to contend with the primitive feelings we have just enumerated.
Bonacieux indeed reflected on what had just been said to him.

But, Monsieur Commissary,said hecalmlybelieve that I know
and appreciate, more than anybody, the merit of the incomparable
eminence by whom we have the honor to be governed.

Indeed?asked the commissarywith an air of doubt. "If that
is really sohow came you in the Bastille?"

How I came there, or rather why I am there,replied Bonacieux
that is entirely impossible for me to tell you, because I don't
know myself; but to a certainty it is not for having, knowingly
at least, disobliged Monsieur the Cardinal.

You must, nevertheless, have committed a crime, since you are
here and are accused of high treason.

Of high treason!cried Bonacieuxterrified; "of high treason!
How is it possible for a poor mercerwho detests Huguenots and
who abhors Spaniardsto be accused of high treason? Consider
monsieurthe thing is absolutely impossible."

Monsieur Bonacieux,said the commissarylooking at the accused
as if his little eyes had the faculty of reading to the very
depths of heartsyou have a wife?

Yes, monsieur,replied the mercerin a tremblefeeling that
it was at this point affairs were likely to become perplexing;
that is to say, I HAD one.

What, you 'had one'? What have you done with her, then, if you
have her no longer?

They have abducted her, monsieur.

They have abducted her? Ah!

Bonacieux inferred from this "Ah" that the affair grew more and
more intricate.

They have abducted her,added the commissary; "and do you know
the man who has committed this deed?"

I think I know him.

Who is he?

Remember that I affirm nothing, Monsieur the Commissary, and
that I only suspect.


Whom do you suspect? Come, answer freely.

M. Bonacieux was in the greatest perplexity possible. Had he
better deny everything or tell everything? By denying allit
might be suspected that he must know too much to avow; by
confessing all he might prove his good will. He decidedthen
to tell all.
I suspect,said hea tall, dark man, of lofty carriage, who
has the air of a great lord. He has followed us several times,
as I think, when I have waited for my wife at the wicket of the
Louvre to escort her home.

The commissary now appeared to experience a little uneasiness.

And his name?said he.

Oh, as to his name, I know nothing about it; but if I were ever
to meet him, I should recognize him in an instant, I will answer
for it, were he among a thousand persons.

The face of the commissary grew still darker.

You should recognize him among a thousand, say you?continued
he.

That is to say,cried Bonacieuxwho saw he had taken a false
stepthat is to say--

You have answered that you should recognize him,said the
commissary. "That is all very welland enough for today; before
we proceed furthersomeone must be informed that you know the
ravisher of your wife."

But I have not told you that I know him!cried Bonacieuxin
despair. "I told youon the contrary--"

Take away the prisoner,said the commissary to the two guards.

Where must we place him?demanded the chief.

In a dungeon.

Which?

Good Lord! In the first one handy, provided it is safe,said
the commissarywith an indifference which penetrated poor
Bonacieux with horror.

Alas, alas!said he to himselfmisfortune is over my head; my
wife must have committed some frightful crime. They believe me
her accomplice, and will punish me with her. She must have
spoken; she must have confessed everything--a woman is so weak!
A dungeon! The first he comes to! That's it! A night is soon
passed; and tomorrow to the wheel, to the gallows! Oh, my God,
my God, have pity on me!

Without listening the least in the world to the lamentations of

M. Bonacieux--lamentations to whichbesidesthey must have been
pretty well accustomed--the two guards took the prisoner each by
an armand led him awaywhile the commissary wrote a letter in
haste and dispatched it by an officer in waiting.
Bonacieux could not close his eyes; not because his dungeon was


so very disagreeablebut because his uneasiness was so great.
He sat all night on his stoolstarting at the least noise; and
when the first rays of the sun penetrated into his chamberthe
dawn itself appeared to him to have taken funereal tints.

All at once he heard his bolts drawnand made a terrified bound.
He believed they were come to conduct him to the scaffold; so
that when he saw merely and simplyinstead of the executioner he
expectedonly his commissary of the preceding eveningattended
by his clerkhe was ready to embrace them both.

Your affair has become more complicated since yesterday evening,
my good man, and I advise you to tell the whole truth; for your
repentance alone can remove the anger of the cardinal.

Why, I am ready to tell everything,cried Bonacieuxat least,
all that I know. Interrogate me, I entreat you!

Where is your wife, in the first place?

Why, did not I tell you she had been stolen from me?

Yes, but yesterday at five o'clock in the afternoon, thanks to
you, she escaped.

My wife escaped!cried Bonacieux. "Ohunfortunate creature!
Monsieurif she has escapedit is not my faultI swear."

What business had you, then, to go into the chamber of Monsieur
d'Artagnan, your neighbor, with whom you had a long conference
during the day?

Ah, yes, Monsieur Commissary; yes, that is true, and I confess
that I was in the wrong. I did go to Monsieur d'Artagnan's.

What was the aim of that visit?

To beg him to assist me in finding my wife. I believed I had a
right to endeavor to find her. I was deceived, as it appears,
and I ask your pardon.

And what did Monsieur d'Artagnan reply?

Monsieur d'Artagnan promised me his assistance; but I soon found
out that he was betraying me.

You impose upon justice. Monsieur d'Artagnan made a compact
with you; and in virtue of that compact put to flight the police
who had arrested your wife, and has placed her beyond reach.

Fortunately, Monsieur d'Artagnan is in our hands, and you shall
be confronted with him.

By my faith, I ask no better,cried Bonacieux; "I shall not be
sorry to see the face of an acquaintance."

Bring in the Monsieur d'Artagnan,said the commissary to the
guards. The two guards led in Athos.

Monsieur d'Artagnan,said the commissaryaddressing Athos
declare all that passed yesterday between you and Monsieur.

But,cried Bonacieuxthis is not Monsieur d'Artagnan whom you
show me.


What! Not Monsieur d'Artagnan?exclaimed the commissary.

Not the least in the world,replied Bonacieux.

What is this gentleman's name?asked the commissary.

I cannot tell you; I don't know him.

How! You don't know him?

No.

Did you never see him?

Yes, I have seen him, but I don't know what he calls himself.

Your name?replied the commissary.

Athos,replied the Musketeer.

But that is not a man's name; that is the name of a mountain,
cried the poor questionerwho began to lose his head.

That is my name,said Athosquietly.

But you said that your name was d'Artagnan.

Who, I?

Yes, you.

Somebody said to me, 'You are Monsieur d'Artagnan?' I answered,
'You think so?' My guards exclaimed that they were sure of it.
I did not wish to contradict them; besides, I might be deceived.

Monsieur, you insult the majesty of justice.

Not at all,said Athoscalmly.

You are Monsieur d'Artagnan.

You see, monsieur, that you say it again.

But I tell you, Monsieur Commissary,cried Bonacieuxin his
turnthere is not the least doubt about the matter. Monsieur
d'Artagnan is my tenant, although he does not pay me my rent--and
even better on that account ought I to know him. Monsieur
d'Artagnan is a young man, scarcely nineteen or twenty, and this
gentleman must be thirty at least. Monsieur d'Artagnan is in
Monsieur Dessessart's Guards, and this gentleman is in the company of
Monsieur de Treville's Musketeers. Look at his uniform, Monsieur
Commissary, look at his uniform!

That's true,murmured the commissary; "PARDIEUthat's true."

At this moment the door was opened quicklyand a messenger
introduced by one of the gatekeepers of the Bastillegave a
letter to the commissary.

Oh, unhappy woman!cried the commissary.

How? What do you say? Of whom do you speak? It is not of my
wife, I hope!


On the contrary, it is of her. Yours is a pretty business.

But,said the agitated mercerdo me the pleasure, monsieur,
to tell me how my own proper affair can become worse by anything
my wife does while I am in prison?

Because that which she does is part of a plan concerted between
you--of an infernal plan.

I swear to you, Monsieur Commissary, that you are in the
profoundest error, that I know nothing in the world about what my
wife had to do, that I am entirely a stranger to what she has
done; and that if she has committed any follies, I renounce her,
I abjure her, I curse her!

Bah!said Athos to the commissaryif you have no more need of
me, send me somewhere. Your Monsieur Bonacieux is very
tiresome.

The commissary designated by the same gesture Athos and
BonacieuxLet them be guarded more closely than ever.

And yet,said Athoswith his habitual calmnessif it be
Monsieur d'Artagnan who is concerned in this matter, I do not
perceive how I can take his place.

Do as I bade you,cried the commissaryand preserve absolute
secrecy. You understand!

Athos shrugged his shouldersand followed his guards silently
while M. Bonacieux uttered lamentations enough to break the heart
of a tiger.

They locked the mercer in the same dungeon where he had passed
the nightand left him to himself during the day. Bonacieux
wept all daylike a true mercernot being at all a military
manas he himself informed us. In the eveningabout nine
o'clockat the moment he had made up his mind to go to bedhe
heard steps in his corridor. These steps drew near to his
dungeonthe door was thrown openand the guards appeared.

Follow me,said an officerwho came up behind the guards.

Follow you!cried Bonacieuxfollow you at this hour! Where,
my God?

Where we have orders to lead you.

But that is not an answer.

It is, nevertheless, the only one we can give.

Ah, my God, my God!murmured the poor mercernow, indeed, I
am lost!And he followed the guards who came for him
mechanically and without resistance.

He passed along the same corridor as beforecrossed one court
then a second side of a building; at lengthat the gate of the
entrance court he found a carriage surrounded by four guards on
horseback. They made him enter this carriagethe officer placed
himself by his sidethe door was lockedand they were left in a
rolling prison. The carriage was put in motion as slowly as a
funeral car. Through the closely fastened windows the prisoner


could perceive the houses and the pavementthat was all; but
true Parisian as he wasBonacieux could recognize every street
by the milestonesthe signsand the lamps. At the moment of
arriving at St. Paul--the spot where such as were condemned at
the Bastille were executed--he was near fainting and crossed
himself twice. He thought the carriage was about to stop there.
The carriagehoweverpassed on.

Farther ona still greater terror seized him on passing by the
cemetery of St. Jeanwhere state criminals were buried. One
thinghoweverreassured him; he remembered that before they
were buried their heads were generally cut offand he felt that
his head was still on his shoulders. But when he saw the
carriage take the way to La Grevewhen he perceived the pointed
roof of the Hotel de Villeand the carriage passed under the
arcadehe believed it was over with him. He wished to confess
to the officerand upon his refusaluttered such pitiable cries
that the officer told him that if he continued to deafen him
thushe should put a gag in his mouth.

This measure somewhat reassured Bonacieux. If they meant to
execute him at La Greveit could scarcely be worth while to gag
himas they had nearly reached the place of execution. Indeed
the carriage crossed the fatal spot without stopping. There
remainedthenno other place to fear but the Traitor's Cross;
the carriage was taking the direct road to it.

This time there was no longer any doubt; it was at the Traitor's
Cross that lesser criminals were executed. Bonacieux had
flattered himself in believing himself worthy of St. Paul or of
the Place de Greve; it was at the Traitor's Cross that his
journey and his destiny were about to end! He could not yet see
that dreadful crossbut he felt somehow as if it were coming to
meet him. When he was within twenty paces of ithe heard a
noise of people and the carriage stopped. This was more than
poor Bonacieux could enduredepressed as he was by the
successive emotions which he had experienced; he uttered a feeble
groan which night have been taken for the last sigh of a dying
manand fainted.

14 THE MAN OF MEUNG

The crowd was causednot by the expectation of a man to be
hangedbut by the contemplation of a man who was hanged.

The carriagewhich had been stopped for a minuteresumed its
waypassed through the crowdthreaded the Rue St. Honore
turned into the Rue des Bons Enfantsand stopped before a low
door.

The door opened; two guards received Bonacieux in their arms from
the officer who supported him. They carried him through an
alleyup a flight of stairsand deposited him in an
antechamber.

All these movements had been effected mechanicallyas far as he
was concerned. He had walked as one walks in a dream; he had a
glimpse of objects as through a fog. His ears had perceived
sounds without comprehending them; he might have been executed at
that moment without his making a single gesture in his own
defense or uttering a cry to implore mercy.


He remained on the benchwith his back leaning against the wall
and his hands hanging downexactly on the spot where the guards
placed him.

On looking around himhoweveras he could perceive no
threatening objectas nothing indicated that he ran any real
dangeras the bench was comfortably covered with a well-stuffed
cushionas the wall was ornamented with a beautiful Cordova
leatherand as large red damask curtainsfastened back by gold
claspsfloated before the windowhe perceived by degrees that
his fear was exaggeratedand he began to turn his head to the
right and the leftupward and downward.

At this movementwhich nobody opposedhe resumed a little
courageand ventured to draw up one leg and then the other. At
lengthwith the help of his two hands he lifted himself from the
benchand found himself on his feet.

At this moment an officer with a pleasant face opened a door
continued to exchange some words with a person in the next
chamber and then came up to the prisoner. "Is your name
Bonacieux?" said he.

Yes, Monsieur Officer,stammered the mercermore dead than
aliveat your service.

Come in,said the officer.

And he moved out of the way to let the mercer pass. The latter
obeyed without replyand entered the chamberwhere he appeared
to be expected.

It was a large cabinetclose and stiflingwith the walls
furnished with arms offensive and defensiveand in which there
was already a firealthough it was scarcely the end of the month
of September. A square tablecovered with books and papers
upon which was unrolled an immense plan of the city of La
Rochelleoccupied the center of the room.

Standing before the chimney was a man of middle heightof a
haughtyproud mien; with piercing eyesa large browand a thin
facewhich was made still longer by a ROYAL (or IMPERIALas it
is now called)surmounted by a pair of mustaches. Although this
man was scarcely thirty-six or thirty-seven years of agehair
mustachesand royalall began to be gray. This manexcept a
swordhad all the appearance of a soldier; and his buff boots
still slightly covered with dustindicated that he had been on
horseback in the course of the day.

This man was Armand Jean DuplessisCardinal de Richelieu; not
such as he is now represented--broken down like an old man
suffering like a martyrhis body benthis voice failingburied
in a large armchair as in an anticipated tomb; no longer living
but by the strength of his geniusand no longer maintaining the
struggle with Europe but by the eternal application of his
thoughts--but such as he really was at this period; that is to
sayan active and gallant cavalieralready weak of bodybut
sustained by that moral power which made of him one of the most
extraordinary men that ever livedpreparingafter having
supported the Duc de Nevers in his duchy of Mantuaafter having
taken NimesCastresand Uzesto drive the English from the
Isle of Re and lay siege to La Rochelle.

At first sightnothing denoted the cardinal; and it was


impossible for those who did not know his face to guess in whose
presence they were.

The poor mercer remained standing at the doorwhile the eyes of
the personage we have just described were fixed upon himand
appeared to wish to penetrate even into the depths of the past.

Is this that Bonacieux?asked heafter a moment of silence.

Yes, monseigneur,replied the officer.

That's well. Give me those papers, and leave us.

The officer took from the table the papers pointed outgave them
to him who asked for thembowed to the groundand retired.

Bonacieux recognized in these papers his interrogatories of the
Bastille. From time to time the man by the chimney raised his
eyes from the writingsand plunged them like poniards into the
heart of the poor mercer.

At the end of ten minutes of reading and ten seconds of
examinationthe cardinal was satisfied.

That head has never conspired,murmured hebut it matters
not; we will see.

You are accused of high treason,said the cardinalslowly.

So I have been told already, monseigneur,cried Bonacieux
giving his interrogator the title he had heard the officer give
himbut I swear to you that I know nothing about it.

The cardinal repressed a smile.

You have conspired with your wife, with Madame de Chevreuse, and
with my Lord Duke of Buckingham.

Indeed, monseigneur,responded the mercerI have heard her
pronounce all those names.

And on what occasion?

She said that the Cardinal de Richelieu had drawn the Duke of
Buckingham to Paris to ruin him and to ruin the queen.

She said that?cried the cardinalwith violence.

Yes, monseigneur, but I told her she was wrong to talk about
such things; and that his Eminence was incapable--

Hold your tongue! You are stupid,replied the cardinal.

That's exactly what my wife said, monseigneur.

Do you know who carried off your wife?

No, monsigneur.

You have suspicions, nevertheless?

Yes, monsigneur; but these suspicions appeared to be
disagreeable to Monsieur the Commissary, and I no longer have
them.


Your wife has escaped. Did you know that?

No, monseigneur. I learned it since I have been in prison, and
that from the conversation of Monsieur the Commissary--an amiable
man.

The cardinal repressed another smile.

Then you are ignorant of what has become of your wife since her
flight.

Absolutely, monseigneur; but she has most likely returned to the
Louvre.

At one o'clock this morning she had not returned.

My God! What can have become of her, then?

We shall know, be assured. Nothing is concealed from the
cardinal; the cardinal knows everything.

In that case, monseigneur, do you believe the cardinal will be
so kind as to tell me what has become of my wife?

Perhaps he may; but you must, in the first place, reveal to the
cardinal all you know of your wife's relations with Madame de
Chevreuse.

But, monseigneur, I know nothing about them; I have never seen
her.

When you went to fetch your wife from the Louvre, did you always
return directly home?

Scarcely ever; she had business to transact with linen drapers,
to whose houses I conducted her.

And how many were there of these linen drapers?

Two, monseigneur.

And where did they live?

One in Rue de Vaugirard, the other Rue de la Harpe.

Did you go into these houses with her?

Never, monseigneur; I waited at the door.

And what excuse did she give you for entering all alone?

She gave me none; she told me to wait, and I waited.

You are a very complacent husband, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux,
said the cardinal.

He calls me his dear Monsieur,said the mercer to himself.
PESTE! Matters are going all right.

Should you know those doors again?

Yes.


Do you know the numbers?
Yes.


What are they?
No. 25 in the Rue de Vaugirard; 75 in the Rue de la Harpe.


That's well,said the cardinal.


At these words he took up a silver belland rang it; the officer
entered.

Go,said hein a subdued voiceand find Rochefort. Tell him
to come to me immediately, if he has returned.

The count is here,said the officerand requests to speak
with your Eminence instantly.

Let him come in, then!said the cardinalquickly.

The officer sprang out of the apartment with that alacrity which
all the servants of the cardinal displayed in obeying him.

To your Eminence!murmured Bonacieuxrolling his eyes round in
astonishment.

Five seconds has scarcely elapsed after the disappearance of the
officerwhen the door openedand a new personage entered.

It is he!cried Bonacieux.

He! What he?asked the cardinal.
The man who abducted my wife.

The cardinal rang a second time. The officer reappeared.

Place this man in the care of his guards again, and let him wait
till I send for him.

No, monseigneur, no, it is not he!cried Bonacieux; "noI was
deceived. This is quite another manand does not resemble him
at all. Monsieur isI am surean honest man."

Take away that fool!said the cardinal.

The officer took Bonacieux by the armand led him into the
antechamberwhere he found his two guards.

The newly introduced personage followed Bonacieux impatiently
with his eyes till he had gone out; and the moment the door
closedThey have seen each other;said heapproaching the
cardinal eagerly.

Who?asked his Eminence.

He and she.
The queen and the duke?cried Richelieu.


Yes.
Where?



At the Louvre.
Are you sure of it?

Perfectly sure.
Who told you of it?

Madame de Lannoy, who is devoted to your Eminence, as you know.
Why did she not let me know sooner?

Whether by chance or mistrust, the queen made Madame de Surgis
sleep in her chamber, and detained her all day.

Well, we are beaten! Now let us try to take our revenge.

I will assist you with all my heart, monseigneur; be assured of
that.

How did it come about?
At half past twelve the queen was with her women--


Where?
In her bedchamber--


Go on.


When someone came and brought her a handkerchief from her
laundress.
And then?


The queen immediately exhibited strong emotion; and despite the
rouge with which her face was covered evidently turned pale--

And then, and then?

She then arose, and with altered voice, 'Ladies,' said she,
'wait for me ten minutes, I shall soon return.' She then opened
the door of her alcove, and went out.

Why did not Madame de Lannoy come and inform you instantly?

Nothing was certain; besides, her Majesty had said, 'Ladies,
wait for me,' and she did not dare to disobey the queen.
How long did the queen remain out of the chamber?

Three-quarters of an hour.
None of her women accompanied her?


Only Donna Estafania.
Did she afterward return?


Yes; but only to take a little rosewood casket, with her cipher
upon it, and went out again immediately.

And when she finally returned, did she bring that casket with


her?
No.
Does Madame de Lannoy know what was in that casket?
Yes; the diamond studs which his Majesty gave the queen.
And she came back without this casket?
Yes.
Madame de Lannoy, then, is of opinion that she gave them to


Buckingham?
She is sure of it.
How can she be so?
In the course of the day Madame de Lannoy, in her quality of


tire-woman of the queen, looked for this casket, appeared uneasy
at not finding it, and at length asked information of the queen.


And then the queen?
The queen became exceedingly red, and replied that having in the
evening broken one of those studs, she had sent it to her
goldsmith to be repaired.


He must be called upon, and so ascertain if the thing be true or
not.
I have just been with him.
And the goldsmith?


The goldsmith has heard nothing of it.
Well, well! Rochefort, all is not lost; and perhaps--perhaps
everything is for the best.


The fact is that I do not doubt your Eminence's genius--
Will repair the blunders of his agent--is that it?
That is exactly what I was going to say, if your Eminence had


let me finish my sentence.


Meanwhile, do you know where the Duchesse de Chevreuse and the
Duke of Buckingham are now concealed?
No, monseigneur; my people could tell me nothing on that head.
But I know.
You, monseigneur?
Yes; or at least I guess. They were, one in the Rue de


Vaugirard, No. 25; the other in the Rue de la Harpe, No. 75.


Does your Eminence command that they both be instantly
arrested?
It will be too late; they will be gone.



But still, we can make sure that they are so.

Take ten men of my Guardsmen, and search the two houses
thoroughly.

Instantly, monseigneur.And Rochefort went hastily out of the
apartment.

The cardinal being left alonereflected for an instant and then
rang the bell a third time. The same officer appeared.

Bring the prisoner in again,said the cardinal.

M. Bonacieux was introduced afreshand upon a sign from the
cardinalthe officer retired.
You have deceived me!said the cardinalsternly.

I,cried BonacieuxI deceive your Eminence!

Your wife, in going to Rue de Vaugirard and Rue de la Harpe, did
not go to find linen drapers.

Then why did she go, just God?

She went to meet the Duchesse de Chevreuse and the Duke of Buckingham.

Yes,cried Bonacieuxrecalling all his remembrances of the
circumstancesyes, that's it. Your Eminence is right. I told
my wife several times that it was surprising that linen drapers
should live in such houses as those, in houses that had no signs;
but she always laughed at me. Ah, monseigneur!continued
Bonacieuxthrowing himself at his Eminence's feetah, how
truly you are the cardinal, the great cardinal, the man of genius
whom all the world reveres!

The cardinalhowever contemptible might be the triumph gained
over so vulgar a being as Bonacieuxdid not the less enjoy it
for an instant; thenalmost immediatelyas if a fresh thought
has occurreda smile played upon his lipsand he saidoffering
his hand to the mercerRise, my friend, you are a worthy man.

The cardinal has touched me with his hand! I have touched the
hand of the great man!cried Bonacieux. "The great man has
called me his friend!"

Yes, my friend, yes,said the cardinalwith that paternal tone
which he sometimes knew how to assumebut which deceived none
who knew him; "and as you have been unjustly suspectedwellyou
must be indemnified. Heretake this purse of a hundred
pistolesand pardon me."

I pardon you, monseigneur!said Bonacieuxhesitating to take
the pursefearingdoubtlessthat this pretended gift was but a
pleasantry. "But you are able to have me arrestedyou are able
to have me torturedyou are able to have me hanged; you are the
masterand I could not have the least word to say. Pardon you
monseigneur! You cannot mean that!"

Ah, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux, you are generous in this matter.
I see it and I thank you for it. Thus, then, you will take this
bag, and you will go away without being too malcontent.


I go away enchanted.

Farewell, then, or rather, AU REVOIR!

And the cardinal made him a sign with his handto which
Bonacieux replied by bowing to the ground. He then went out
backwardand when he was in the antechamber the cardinal heard
himin his enthusiasmcrying aloudLong life to the
Monseigneur! Long life to his Eminence! Long life to the great
cardinal!The cardinal listened with a smile to this vociferous
manifestation of the feelings of M. Bonacieux; and thenwhen
Bonacieux's cries were no longer audibleGood!said hethat
man would henceforward lay down his life for me.And the
cardinal began to examine with the greatest attention the map of
La Rochellewhichas we have saidlay open on the desk
tracing with a pencil the line in which the famous dyke was to
pass whicheighteen months latershut up the port of the
besieged city. As he was in the deepest of his strategic
meditationsthe door openedand Rochefort returned.

Well?said the cardinaleagerlyrising with a promptitude
which proved the degree of importance he attached to the
commission with which he had charged the count.

Well,said the lattera young woman of about twenty-six or
twenty-eight years of age, and a man of from thirty-five to
forty, have indeed lodged at the two houses pointed out by your
Eminence; but the woman left last night, and the man this
morning.

It was they!cried the cardinallooking at the clock; "and now
it is too late to have them pursued. The duchess is at Tours
and the duke at Boulogne. It is in London they must be found."

What are your Eminence's orders?

Not a word of what has passed. Let the queen remain in perfect
security; let her be ignorant that we know her secret. Let her
believe that we are in search of some conspiracy or other. Send
me the keeper of the seals, Seguier.

And that man, what has your Eminence done with him?

What man?asked the cardinal.

That Bonacieux.

I have done with him all that could be done. I have made him a
spy upon his wife.

The Comte de Rochefort bowed like a man who acknowledges the
superiority of the master as greatand retired.

Left alonethe cardinal seated himself again and wrote a letter
which he secured with his special seal. Then he rang. The
officer entered for the fourth time.

Tell Vitray to come to me,said heand tell him to get ready
for a journey.

An instant afterthe man he asked for was before himbooted and
spurred.

Vitray,said heyou will go with all speed to London. You


must not stop an instant on the way. You will deliver this
letter to Milady. Here is an order for two hundred pistoles;
call upon my treasurer and get the money. You shall have as much
again if you are back within six days, and have executed your
commission well.

The messengerwithout replying a single wordbowedtook the
letterwith the order for the two hundred pistolesand retired.

Here is what the letter contained:

MILADYBe at the first ball at which the Duke of Buckingham
shall be present. He will wear on his doublet twelve diamond
studs; get as near to him as you canand cut off two.

As soon as these studs shall be in your possessioninform me.

15 MEN OF THE ROBE AND MEN OF THE SWORD

On the day after these events had taken placeAthos not having
reappearedM. de Treville was informed by d'Artagnan and Porthos
of the circumstance. As to Aramishe had asked for leave of
absence for five daysand was goneit was saidto Rouen on
family business.

M. de Treville was the father of his soldiers. The lowest or the
least known of themas soon as he assumed the uniform of the
companywas as sure of his aid and support as if he had been his
own brother.
He repairedtheninstantly to the office of the LIEUTENANTCRIMINEL.
The officer who commanded the post of the
Red Cross was sent forand by successive inquiries they learned
that Athos was then lodged in the Fort l'Eveque.

Athos had passed through all the examinations we have seen
Bonacieux undergo.

We were present at the scene in which the two captives were
confronted with each other. Athoswho had till that time said
nothing for fear that d'Artagnaninterrupted in his turnshould
not have the time necessaryfrom this moment declared that his
name was Athosand not d'Artagnan. He added that he did not
know either M. or Mme. Bonacieux; that he had never spoken to the
one or the other; that he had comeat about ten o'clock in the
eveningto pay a visit to his friend M. d'Artagnanbut that
till that hour he had been at M. de Treville'swhere he had
dined. "Twenty witnesses added he, could attest the fact";
and he named several distinguished gentlemenand among them was

M. le Duc de la Tremouille.
The second commissary was as much bewildered as the first had
been by the simple and firm declaration of the Musketeerupon
whom he was anxious to take the revenge which men of the robe
like at all times to gain over men of the sword; but the name of

M. de Trevilleand that of M. de la Tremouillecommanded a
little reflection.
Athos was then sent to the cardinal; but unfortunately the
cardinal was at the Louvre with the king.

It was precisely at this moment that M. de Trevilleon leaving


the residence of the LIEUTENANT-CRIMINEL and the governor of the
Fort l'Eveque without being able to find Athosarrived at the
palace.

As captain of the MusketeersM. de Treville had the right of
entry at all times.

It is well known how violent the king's prejudices were against
the queenand how carefully these prejudices were kept up by the
cardinalwho in affairs of intrigue mistrusted women infinitely
more than men. One of the grand causes of this prejudice was the
friendship of Anne of Austria for Mme. de Chevreuse. These two
women gave him more uneasiness than the war with Spainthe
quarrel with Englandor the embarrassment of the finances. In
his eyes and to his convictionMme. de Chevreuse not only served
the queen in her political intriguesbutwhat tormented him
still morein her amorous intrigues.

At the first word the cardinal spoke of Mme. de Chevreuse--who
though exiled to Tours and believed to be in that cityhad come
to Parisremained there five daysand outwitted the police--the
king flew into a furious passion. Capricious and unfaithfulthe
king wished to be called Louis the Just and Louis the Chaste.
Posterity will find a difficulty in understanding this character
which history explains only by facts and never by reason.

But when the cardinal added that not only Mme. de Chevreuse had
been in Parisbut still furtherthat the queen had renewed with
her one of those mysterious correspondences which at that time
was named a CABAL; when he affirmed that hethe cardinalwas
about to unravel the most closely twisted thread of this
intrigue; that at the moment of arresting in the very actwith
all the proofs about herthe queen's emissary to the exiled
duchessa Musketeer had dared to interrupt the course of justice
violentlyby falling sword in hand upon the honest men of the
lawcharged with investigating impartially the whole affair in
order to place it before the eyes of the king--Louis XIII could
not contain himselfand he made a step toward the queen's
apartment with that pale and mute indignation whichwhen in
broke outled this prince to the commission of the most pitiless
cruelty. And yetin all thisthe cardinal had not yet said a
word about the Duke of Buckingham.

At this instant M. de Treville enteredcoolpoliteand in
irreproachable costume.

Informed of what had passed by the presence of the cardinal and
the alteration in the king's countenanceM. de Treville felt
himself something like Samson before the Philistines.

Louis XIII had already placed his hand on the knob of the door;
at the noise of M. de Treville's entrance he turned round. "You
arrive in good timemonsieur said the king, who, when his
passions were raised to a certain point, could not dissemble; I
have learned some fine things concerning your Musketeers."

And I,said TrevillecoldlyI have some pretty things
to tell your Majesty concerning these gownsmen.

What?said the kingwith hauteur.

I have the honor to inform your Majesty,continued M. de
Trevillein the same tonethat a party of PROCUREURS,
commissaries, and men of the police--very estimable people, but


very inveterate, as it appears, against the uniform--have taken
upon themselves to arrest in a house, to lead away through the
open street, and throw into the Fort l'Eveque, all upon an order
which they have refused to show me, one of my, or rather your
Musketeers, sire, of irreproachable conduct, of an almost
illustrious reputation, and whom your Majesty knows favorably,
Monsieur Athos.

Athos,said the kingmechanically; "yescertainly I know that
name."

Let your Majesty remember,said Trevillethat Monsieur Athos
is the Musketeer who, in the annoying duel which you are
acquainted with, had the misfortune to wound Monsieur de Cahusac
so seriously. A PROPOS, monseigneur,continued Treville.
Addressing the cardinalMonsieur de Cahusac is quite recovered,
is he not?

Thank you,said the cardinalbiting his lips with anger.

Athos, then, went to pay a visit to one of his friends absent at
the time,continued Trevilleto a young Bearnais, a cadet in
his Majesty's Guards, the company of Monsieur Dessessart, but
scarcely had he arrived at his friend's and taken up a book,
while waiting his return, when a mixed crowd of bailiffs and
soldiers came and laid siege to the house, broke open several
doors--

The cardinal made the king a signwhich signifiedThat was on
account of the affair about which I spoke to you.

We all know that,interrupted the king; "for all that was done
for our service."

Then,said Trevilleit was also for your Majesty's service
that one of my Musketeers, who was innocent, has been seized,
that he has been placed between two guards like a malefactor, and
that this gallant man, who has ten times shed his blood in your
Majesty's service and is ready to shed it again, has been paraded
through the midst of an insolent populace?

Bah!said the kingwho began to be shakenwas it so
managed?

Monsieur de Treville,said the cardinalwith the greatest
phlegmdoes not tell your Majesty that this innocent Musketeer,
this gallant man, had only an hour before attacked, sword in
hand, four commissaries of inquiry, who were delegated by myself
to examine into an affair of the highest importance.

I defy your Eminence to prove it,cried Trevillewith his
Gascon freedom and military frankness; "for one hour before
Monsieur AthoswhoI will confide it to your Majestyis really
a man of the highest qualitydid me the honor after having dined
with me to be conversing in the saloon of my hotelwith the Duc
de la Tremouille and the Comte de Chaluswho happened to be
there."

The king looked at the cardinal.

A written examination attests it,said the cardinalreplying
aloud to the mute interrogation of his Majesty; "and the illtreated
people have drawn up the followingwhich I have the
honor to present to your Majesty."


And is the written report of the gownsmen to be placed in
comparison with the word of honor of a swordsman?replied
Treville haughtily.

Come, come, Treville, hold your tongue,said the king.

If his Eminence entertains any suspicion against one of my
Musketeers,said Trevillethe justice of Monsieur the Cardinal
is so well known that I demand an inquiry.

In the house in which the judicial inquiry was made,continued
the impassive cardinalthere lodges, I believe, a young
Bearnais, a friend of the Musketeer.

Your Eminence means Monsieur d'Artagnan.

I mean a young man whom you patronize, Monsieur de Treville.

Yes, your Eminence, it is the same.

Do you not suspect this young man of having given bad counsel?

To Athos, to a man double his age?interrupted Treville. "No
monseigneur. Besidesd'Artagnan passed the evening with me."

Well,said the cardinaleverybody seems to have passed the
evening with you.

Does your Eminence doubt my word?said Trevillewith a brow
flushed with anger.

No, God forbid,said the cardinal; "onlyat what hour was he with you?"

Oh, as to that I can speak positively, your Eminence; for as he
came in I remarked that it was but half past nine by the clock,
although I had believed it to be later.

At what hour did he leave your hotel?

At half past ten--an hour after the event.

Well,replied the cardinalwho could not for an instant
suspect the loyalty of Trevilleand who felt that the victory
was escaping himwell, but Athos WAS taken in the house in the
Rue des Fossoyeurs.

Is one friend forbidden to visit another, or a Musketeer of my
company to fraternize with a Guard of Dessessart's company?

Yes, when the house where he fraternizes is suspected.

That house is suspected, Treville,said the king; "perhaps you
did not know it?"

Indeed, sire, I did not. The house may be suspected; but I deny
that it is so in the part of it inhabited my Monsieur d'Artagnan,
for I can affirm, sire, if I can believe what he says, that there
does not exist a more devoted servant of your Majesty, or a more
profound admirer of Monsieur the Cardinal.

Was it not this d'Artagnan who wounded Jussac one day, in that
unfortunate encounter which took place near the Convent of the
Carmes-Dechausses?asked the kinglooking at the cardinalwho


colored with vexation.

And the next day, Bernajoux. Yes, sire, yes, it is the same; and
your Majesty has a good memory.

Come, how shall we decide?said the king.

That concerns your Majesty more than me,said the cardinal. "I
should affirm the culpability."

And I deny it,said Treville. "But his Majesty has judgesand
these judges will decide."

That is best,said the king. "Send the case before the judges;
it is their business to judgeand they shall judge."

Only,replied Trevilleit is a sad thing that in the
unfortunate times in which we live, the purest life, the most
incontestable virtue, cannot exempt a man from infamy and
persecution. The army, I will answer for it, will be but little
pleased at being exposed to rigorous treatment on account of
police affairs.

The expression was imprudent; but M. de Treville launched it with
knowledge of his cause. He was desirous of an explosionbecause
in that case the mine throws forth fireand fire enlightens.

Police affairs!cried the kingtaking up Treville's words
police affairs! And what do you know about them, Monsieur?
Meddle with your Musketeers, and do not annoy me in this way. It
appears, according to your account, that if by mischance a
Musketeer is arrested, France is in danger. What a noise about a
Musketeer! I would arrest ten of them, VENTREBLEU, a hundred,
even, all the company, and I would not allow a whisper.

From the moment they are suspected by your Majesty,said
Trevillethe Musketeers are guilty; therefore, you see me
prepared to surrender my sword--for after having accused my
soldiers, there can be no doubt that Monsieur the Cardinal will
end by accusing me. It is best to constitute myself at once a
prisoner with Athos, who is already arrested, and with
d'Artagnan, who most probably will be.

Gascon-headed man, will you have done?said the king.

Sire,replied Trevillewithout lowering his voice in the
leasteither order my Musketeer to be restored to me, or let
him be tried.

He shall be tried,said the cardinal.

Well, so much the better; for in that case I shall demand of his
Majesty permission to plead for him.

The king feared an outbreak.

If his Eminence,said hedid not have personal motives--

The cardinal saw what the king was about to say and interrupted
him:

Pardon me,said he; "but the instant your Majesty considers me
a prejudiced judgeI withdraw."


Come,said the kingwill you swear, by my father, that Athos
was at your residence during the event and that he took no part
in it?

By your glorious father, and by yourself, whom I love and
venerate above all the world, I swear it.

Be so kind as to reflect, sire,said the cardinal. "If we
release the prisoner thuswe shall never know the truth."

Athos may always be found,replied Trevilleready to answer,
when it shall please the gownsmen to interrogate him. He will
not desert, Monsieur the Cardinal, be assured of that; I will
answer for him.

No, he will not desert,said the king; "he can always be found
as Treville says. Besides added he, lowering his voice and
looking with a suppliant air at the cardinal, let us give them
apparent security; that is policy."

This policy of Louis XIII made Richelieu smile.

Order it as you please, sire; you possess the right of pardon.

The right of pardoning only applies to the guilty,said
Trevillewho was determined to have the last wordand my
Musketeer is innocent. It is not mercy, then, that you are about
to accord, sire, it is justice.

And he is in the Fort l'Eveque?said the king.

Yes, sire, in solitary confinement, in a dungeon, like the
lowest criminal.

The devil!murmured the king; "what must be done?"

Sign an order for his release, and all will be said,replied
the cardinal. "I believe with your Majesty that Monsieur de
Treville's guarantee is more than sufficient."

Treville bowed very respectfullywith a joy that was not unmixed
with fear; he would have preferred an obstinate resistance on the
part of the cardinal to this sudden yielding.

The king signed the order for releaseand Treville carried it
away without delay. As he was about to leave the presencethe
cardinal have him a friendly smileand saidA perfect harmony
reigns, sire, between the leaders and the soldiers of your
Musketeers, which must be profitable for the service and
honorable to all.

He will play me some dog's trick or other, and that
immediately,said Treville. "One has never the last word with
such a man. But let us be quick--the king may change his mind in
an hour; and at all events it is more difficult to replace a man
in the Fort l'Eveque or the Bastille who has got outthan to
keep a prisoner there who is in."

M. de Treville made his entrance triumphantly into the Fort
l'Evequewhence he delivered the Musketeerwhose peaceful
indifference had not for a moment abandoned him.
The first time he saw d'ArtagnanYou have come off well,said
he to him; "there is your Jussac thrust paid for. There still


remains that of Bernajouxbut you must not be too confident."

As to the restM. de Treville had good reason to mistrust the
cardinal and to think that all was not overfor scarcely had the
captain of the Musketeers closed the door after himthan his
Eminence said to the kingNow that we are at length by
ourselves, we will, if your Majesty pleases, converse seriously.
Sire, Buckingham has been in Paris five days, and only left this
morning.

16 IN WHICH M. SEGUIERKEEPER OF THE SEALSLOOKS MORE THAN
ONCE FOR THE BELLIN ORDER TO RING ITAS HE DID BEFORE

It is impossible to form an idea of the impression these few
words made upon Louis XIII. He grew pale and red alternately;
and the cardinal saw at once that he had recovered by a single
blow all the ground he had lost.

Buckingham in Paris!cried heand why does he come?

To conspire, no doubt, with your enemies, the Huguenots and the
Spaniards.

No, PARDIEU, no! To conspire against my honor with Madame de
Chevreuse, Madame de Longueville, and the Condes.

Oh, sire, what an idea! The queen is too virtuous; and besides,
loves your Majesty too well.

Woman is weak, Monsieur Cardinal,said the king; "and as to
loving me muchI have my own opinion as to that love."

I not the less maintain,said the cardinalthat the Duke of
Buckingham came to Paris for a project wholly political.

And I am sure that he came for quite another purpose, Monsieur
Cardinal; but if the queen be guilty, let her tremble!

Indeed,said the cardinalwhatever repugnance I may have to
directing my mind to such a treason, your Majesty compels me to
think of it. Madame de Lannoy, whom, according to your Majesty's
command, I have frequently interrogated, told me this morning
that the night before last her Majesty sat up very late, that
this morning she wept much, and that she was writing all day.

That's it!cried the king; "to himno doubt. CardinalI must
have the queen's papers."

But how to take them, sire? It seems to me that it is neither
your Majesty nor myself who can charge himself with such a
mission.

How did they act with regard to the Marechale d'Ancre?cried
the kingin the highest state of choler; "first her closets were
thoroughly searchedand then she herself."

The Marechale d'Ancre was no more than the Marechale d'Ancre. A
Florentine adventurer, sire, and that was all; while the august
spouse of your Majesty is Anne of Austria, Queen of France--that
is to say, one of the greatest princesses in the world.

She is not the less guilty, Monsieur Duke! The more she has


forgotten the high position in which she was placed, the more
degrading is her fall. Besides, I long ago determined to put an
end to all these petty intrigues of policy and love. She has
near her a certain Laporte.

Who, I believe, is the mainspring of all this, I confess,said
the cardinal.

You think then, as I do, that she deceives me?said the king.

I believe, and I repeat it to your Majesty, that the queen
conspires against the power of the king, but I have not said
against his honor.

And I--I tell you against both. I tell you the queen does not
love me; I tell you she loves another; I tell you she loves that
infamous Buckingham! Why did you not have him arrested while in
Paris?

Arrest the Duke! Arrest the prime minister of King Charles I!
Think of it, sire! What a scandal! And if the suspicions of
your Majesty, which I still continue to doubt, should prove to
have any foundation, what a terrible disclosure, what a fearful
scandal!

But as he exposed himself like a vagabond or a thief, he should
have been--

Louis XIII stoppedterrified at what he was about to saywhile
Richelieustretching out his neckwaited uselessly for the word
which had died on the lips of the king.

He should have been--?

Nothing,said the kingnothing. But all the time he was in
Paris, you, of course, did not lose sight of him?

No, sire.

Where did he lodge?

Rue de la Harpe. No. 75.

Where is that?

By the side of the Luxembourg.

And you are certain that the queen and he did not see each
other?

I believe the queen to have too high a sense of her duty, sire.

But they have corresponded; it is to him that the queen has been
writing all the day. Monsieur Duke, I must have those letters!

Sire, notwithstanding--

Monsieur Duke, at whatever price it may be, I will have them.

I would, however, beg your Majesty to observe--

Do you, then, also join in betraying me, Monsieur Cardinal, by
thus always opposing my will? Are you also in accord with Spain
and England, with Madame de Chevreuse and the queen?


Sire,replied the cardinalsighingI believed myself secure
from such a suspicion.

Monsieur Cardinal, you have heard me; I will have those
letters.

There is but one way.

What is that?

That would be to charge Monsieur de Seguier, the keeper of the
seals, with this mission. The matter enters completely into the
duties of the post.

Let him be sent for instantly.

He is most likely at my hotel. I requested him to call, and
when I came to the Louvre I left orders if he came, to desire him
to wait.

Let him be sent for instantly.

Your Majesty's orders shall be executed; but--

But what?

But the queen will perhaps refuse to obey.

My orders?

Yes, if she is ignorant that these orders come from the king.

Well, that she may have no doubt on that head, I will go and
inform her myself.

Your Majesty will not forget that I have done everything in my
power to prevent a rupture.

Yes, Duke, yes, I know you are very indulgent toward the queen,
too indulgent, perhaps; we shall have occasion, I warn you, at
some future period to speak of that.

Whenever it shall please your Majesty; but I shall be always
happy and proud, sire, to sacrifice myself to the harmony which I
desire to see reign between you and the Queen of France.

Very well, Cardinal, very well; but, meantime, send for Monsieur
the Keeper of the Seals. I will go to the queen.

And Louis XIIIopening the door of communicationpassed into
the corridor which led from his apartments to those of Anne of
Austria.

The queen was in the midst of her women--Mme. de GuitautMme. de
SableMme. de Montbazonand Mme. de Guemene. In a corner was
the Spanish companionDonna Estafaniawho had followed her from
Madrid. Mme. Guemene was reading aloudand everybody was
listening to her with attention with the exception of the queen
who hadon the contrarydesired this reading in order that she
might be ablewhile feigning to listento pursue the thread of
her own thoughts.

These thoughtsgilded as they were by a last reflection of love


were not the less sad. Anne of Austriadeprived of the
confidence of her husbandpursued by the hatred of the cardinal
who could not pardon her for having repulsed a more tender
feelinghaving before her eyes the example of the queen-mother
whom that hatred had tormented all her life--though Marie de
Medicisif the memoirs of the time are to be believedhad begun
by according to the cardinal that sentiment which Anne of Austria
always refused him--Anne of Austria had seen her most devoted
servants fall around herher most intimate confidantsher
dearest favorites. Like those unfortunate persons endowed with a
fatal giftshe brought misfortune upon everything she touched.
Her friendship was a fatal sign which called down persecution.
Mme. de Chevreuse and Mme. de Bernet were exiledand Laporte did
not conceal from his mistress that he expected to be arrested
every instant.

It was at the moment when she was plunged in the deepest and
darkest of these reflections that the door of the chamber opened
and the king entered.

The reader hushed herself instantly. All the ladies roseand
there was a profound silence. As to the kinghe made no
demonstration of politenessonly stopping before the queen.
Madame,said heyou are about to receive a visit from the
chancellor, who will communicate certain matters to you with
which I have charged him.

The unfortunate queenwho was constantly threatened with
divorceexileand trial eventurned pale under her rougeand
could not refrain from sayingBut why this visit, sire? What
can the chancellor have to say to me that your Majesty could not
say yourself?

The king turned upon his heel without replyand almost at the
same instant the captain of the GuardsM. de Guitantannounced
the visit of the chancellor.

When the chancellor appearedthe king had already gone out by
another door.

The chancellor enteredhalf smilinghalf blushing. As we shall
probably meet with him again in the course of our historyit may
be well for our readers to be made at once acquainted with him.

This chancellor was a pleasant man. He was Des Roches le Masle
canon of Notre Damewho had formerly been valet of a bishopwho
introduced him to his Eminence as a perfectly devout man. The
cardinal trusted himand therein found his advantage.

There are many stories related of himand among them this.
After a wild youthhe had retired into a conventthere to
expiateat least for some timethe follies of adolescence. On
entering this holy placethe poor penitent was unable to shut
the door so close as to prevent the passions he fled from
entering with him. He was incessantly attacked by themand the
superiorto whom he had confided this misfortunewishing as
much as in him lay to free him from themhad advised himin
order to conjure away the tempting demonto have recourse to the
bell ropeand ring with all his might. At the denunciating
soundthe monks would be rendered aware that temptation was
besieging a brotherand all the community would go to prayers.

This advice appeared good to the future chancellor. He conjured
the evil spirit with abundance of prayers offered up by the


monks. But the devil does not suffer himself to be easily
dispossessed from a place in which he has fixed his garrison. In
proportion as they redoubled the exorcisms he redoubled the
temptations; so that day and night the bell was ringing full
swingannouncing the extreme desire for mortification which the
penitent experienced.

The monks had no longer an instant of repose. By day they did
nothing but ascend and descend the steps which led to the chapel;
at nightin addition to complines and matinsthey were further
obliged to leap twenty times out of their beds and prostrate
themselves on the floor of their cells.

It is not known whether it was the devil who gave wayor the
monks who grew tired; but within three months the penitent
reappeared in the world with the reputation of being the most
terrible POSSESSED that ever existed.

On leaving the convent he entered into the magistracybecame
president on the place of his uncleembraced the cardinal's
partywhich did not prove want of sagacitybecame chancellor
served his Eminence with zeal in his hatred against the queenmother
and his vengeance against Anne of Austriastimulated the
judges in the affair of Calaisencouraged the attempts of M. de
Laffemaschief gamekeeper of France; thenat lengthinvested
with the entire confidence of the cardinal--a confidence which he
had so well earned--he received the singular commission for the
execution of which he presented himself in the queen's
apartments.

The queen was still standing when he entered; but scarcely had
she perceived him then she reseated herself in her armchairand
made a sign to her women to resume their cushions and stoolsand
with an air of supreme hauteursaidWhat do you desire,
monsieur, and with what object do you present yourself here?

To make, madame, in the name of the king, and without prejudice
to the respect which I have the honor to owe to your Majesty a
close examination into all your papers.

How, monsieur, an investigation of my papers--mine! Truly, this
is an indignity!

Be kind enough to pardon me, madame; but in this circumstance I
am but the instrument which the king employs. Has not his
Majesty just left you, and has he not himself asked you to
prepare for this visit?

Search, then, monsieur! I am a criminal, as it appears.
Estafania, give up the keys of my drawers and my desks.

For form's sake the chancellor paid a visit to the pieces of
furniture named; but he well knew that it was not in a piece of
furniture that the queen would place the important letter she had
written that day.

When the chancellor had opened and shut twenty times the drawers
of the secretariesit became necessarywhatever hesitation he
might experience--it became necessaryI sayto come to the
conclusion of the affair; that is to sayto search the queen
herself. The chancellor advancedthereforetoward Anne of
Austriaand said with a very perplexed and embarrassed airAnd
now it remains for me to make the principal examination.


What is that?asked the queenwho did not understandor
rather was not willing to understand.

His majesty is certain that a letter has been written by you
during the day; he knows that it has not yet been sent to its
address. This letter is not in your table nor in your secretary;
and yet this letter must be somewhere.

Would you dare to lift your hand to your queen?said Anne of
Austriadrawing herself up to her full heightand fixing her
eyes upon the chancellor with an expression almost threatening.

I am a faithful subject of the king, madame, and all that his
Majesty commands I shall do.

Well, it is true!said Anne of Austria; "and the spies of the
cardinal have served him faithfully. I have written a letter
today; that letter is not yet gone. The letter is here." And
the queen laid her beautiful hand on her bosom.

Then give me that letter, madame,said the chancellor.

I will give it to none but the king monsieur,said Anne.

If the king had desired that the letter should be given to him,
madame, he would have demanded it of you himself. But I repeat
to you, I am charged with reclaiming it; and if you do not give
it up--

Well?

He has, then, charged me to take it from you.

How! What do you say?

That my orders go far, madame; and that I am authorized to seek
for the suspected paper, even on the person of your Majesty.

What horror!cried the queen.

Be kind enough, then, madame, to act more compliantly.

The conduct is infamously violent! Do you know that, monsieur?

The king commands it, madame; excuse me.

I will not suffer it! No, no, I would rather die!cried the
queenin whom the imperious blood of Spain and Austria began to
rise.

The chancellor made a profound reverence. Thenwith the
intention quite patent of not drawing back a foot from the
accomplishment of the commission with which he was chargedand
as the attendant of an executioner might have done in the chamber
of torturehe approached Anne of Austriafor whose eyes at the
same instant sprang tears of rage.

The queen wasas we have saidof great beauty. The commission
might well be called delicate; and the king had reachedin his
jealousy of Buckinghamthe point of not being jealous of anyone
else.

Without doubt the chancellorSeguier looked about at that moment
for the rope of the famous bell; but not finding it he summoned


his resolutionand stretched forth his hands toward the place
where the queen had acknowledged the paper was to be found.

Anne of Austria took one step backwardbecame so pale that it
might be said she was dyingand leaning with her left hand upon
a table behind her to keep herself from fallingshe with her
right hand drew the paper from her bosom and held it out to the
keeper of the seals.

There, monsieur, there is that letter!cried the queenwith a
broken and trembling voice; "take itand deliver me from your
odious presence."

The chancellorwhoon his parttrembled with an emotion easily
to be conceivedtook the letterbowed to the groundand
retired. The door was scarcely closed upon himwhen the queen
sankhalf faintinginto the arms of her women.

The chancellor carried the letter to the king without having read
a single word of it. The king took it with a trembling hand
looked for the addresswhich was wantingbecame very pale
opened it slowlythen seeing by the first words that it was
addressed to the King of Spainhe read it rapidly.

It was nothing but a plan of attack against the cardinal. The
queen pressed her brother and the Emperor of Austria to appear to
be woundedas they really wereby the policy of Richelieu--the
eternal object of which was the abasement of the house of
Austria--to declare war against Franceand as a condition of
peaceto insist upon the dismissal of the cardinal; but as to
lovethere was not a single word about it in all the letter.

The kingquite delightedinquired if the cardinal was still at
the Louvre; he was told that his Eminence awaited the orders of
his Majesty in the business cabinet.

The king went straight to him.

There, Duke,said heyou were right and I was wrong. The
whole intrigue is political, and there is not the least question
of love in this letter; but, on the other hand, there is abundant
question of you.

The cardinal took the letterand read it with the greatest
attention; thenwhen he had arrived at the end of ithe read it
a second time. "Wellyour Majesty said he, you see how far
my enemies go; they menace you with two wars if you do not
dismiss me. In your placein truthsireI should yield to
such powerful instance; and on my partit would be a real
happiness to withdraw from public affairs."

What say you, Duke?

I say, sire, that my health is sinking under these excessive
struggles and these never-ending labors. I say that according to
all probability I shall not be able to undergo the fatigues of
the siege of La Rochelle, and that it would be far better that
you should appoint there either Monsieur de Conde, Monsieur de
Bassopierre, or some valiant gentleman whose business is war, and
not me, who am a churchman, and who am constantly turned aside
for my real vocation to look after matters for which I have no
aptitude. You would be the happier for it at home, sire, and I
do not doubt you would be the greater for it abroad.


Monsieur Duke,said the kingI understand you. Be satisfied,
all who are named in that letter shall be punished as they
deserve, even the queen herself.

What do you say, sire? God forbid that the queen should suffer
the least inconvenience or uneasiness on my account! She has
always believed me, sire, to be her enemy; although your Majesty
can bear witness that I have always taken her part warmly, even
against you. Oh, if she betrayed your Majesty on the side of
your honor, it would be quite another thing, and I should be the
first to say, 'No grace, sire--no grace for the guilty!'
Happily, there is nothing of the kind, and your Majesty has just
acquired a new proof of it.

That is true, Monsieur Cardinal,said the kingand you were
right, as you always are; but the queen, not the less, deserves
all my anger.

It is you, sire, who have now incurred hers. And even if she
were to be seriously offended, I could well understand it; your
Majesty has treated her with a severity--

It is thus I will always treat my enemies and yours, Duke,
however high they may be placed, and whatever peril I may incur
in acting severely toward them.

The queen is my enemy, but is not yours, sire; on the contrary,
she is a devoted, submissive, and irreproachable wife. Allow me,
then, sire, to intercede for her with your Majesty.

Let her humble herself, then, and come to me first.

On the contrary, sire, set the example. You have committed the
first wrong, since it was you who suspected the queen.

What! I make the first advances?said the king. "Never!"

Sire, I entreat you to do so.

Besides, in what manner can I make advances first?

By doing a thing which you know will be agreeable to her.

What is that?

Give a ball; you know how much the queen loves dancing. I will
answer for it, her resentment will not hold out against such an
attention.

Monsieur Cardinal, you know that I do not like worldly
pleasures.

The queen will only be the more grateful to you, as she knows
your antipathy for that amusement; besides, it will be an
opportunity for her to wear those beautiful diamonds which you
gave her recently on her birthday and with which she has since
had no occasion to adorn herself.

We shall see, Monsieur Cardinal, we shall see,said the king
whoin his joy at finding the queen guilty of a crime which he
cared little aboutand innocent of a fault of which he had great
dreadwas ready to make up all differences with herwe shall
see, but upon my honor, you are too indulgent toward her.


Sire,said the cardinalleave severity to your ministers.
Clemency is a royal virtue; employ it, and you will find that you
derive advantage therein.

Thereupon the cardinalhearing the clock strike elevenbowed
lowasking permission of the king to retireand supplicating
him to come to a good understanding with the queen.

Anne of Austriawhoin consequence of the seizure of her
letterexpected reproacheswas much astonished the next day to
see the king make some attempts at reconciliation with her. Her
first movement was repellent. Her womanly pride and her queenly
dignity had both been so cruelly offended that she could not come
round at the first advance; butoverpersuaded by the advice of
her womenshe at last had the appearance of beginning to forget.
The king took advantage of this favorable moment to tell her that
her had the intention of shortly giving a fete.

A fete was so rare a thing for poor Anne of Austria that at this
announcementas the cardinal had predictedthe last trace of
her resentment disappearedif not from her heart at least from
her countenance. She asked upon what day this fete would take
placebut the king replied that he must consult the cardinal
upon that head.

Indeedevery day the king asked the cardinal when this fete
should take place; and every day the cardinalunder some
pretextdeferred fixing it. Ten days passed away thus.

On the eighth day after the scene we have describedthe cardinal
received a letter with the London stamp which only contained
these lines: "I have them; but I am unable to leave London for
want of money. Send me five hundred pistolesand four or five
days after I have received them I shall be in Paris."

On the same day the cardinal received this letter the king put
his customary question to him.

Richelieu counted on his fingersand said to himselfShe will
arrive, she says, four or five days after having received the
money. It will require four or five days for the transmission of
the money, four or five days for her to return; that makes ten
days. Now, allowing for contrary winds, accidents, and a woman's
weakness, there are twelve days.

Well, Monsieur Duke,said the kinghave you made your
calculations?

Yes, sire. Today is the twentieth of September. The aldermen
of the city give a fete on the third of October. That will fall
in wonderfully well; you will not appear to have gone out of your
way to please the queen.

Then the cardinal addedA PROPOS, sire, do not forget to tell
her Majesty the evening before the fete that you should like to
see how her diamond studs become her.

17 BONACIEUX AT HOME

It was the second time the cardinal had mentioned these diamond
studs to the king. Louis XIII was struck with this insistence
and began to fancy that this recommendation concealed some


mystery.

More than once the king had been humiliated by the cardinal
whose policewithout having yet attained the perfection of the
modern policewere excellentbeing better informed than
himselfeven upon what was going on in his own household. He
hopedthenin a conversation with Anne of Austriato obtain
some information from that conversationand afterward to come
upon his Eminence with some secret which the cardinal either knew
or did not knowbut whichin either casewould raise him
infinitely in the eyes of his minister.

He went then to the queenand according to custom accosted her
with fresh menaces against those who surrounded her. Anne of
Austria lowered her headallowed the torrent to flow on without
replyinghoping that it would cease of itself; but this was not
what Louis XIII meant. Louis XIII wanted a discussion from which
some light or other might breakconvinced as he was that the
cardinal had some afterthought and was preparing for him one of
those terrible surprises which his Eminence was so skillful in
getting up. He arrived at this end by his persistence in
accusation.

But,cried Anne of Austriatired of these vague attacksbut,
sire, you do not tell me all that you have in your heart. What
have I done, then? Let me know what crime I have committed. It
is impossible that your Majesty can make all this ado about a
letter written to my brother.

The kingattacked in a manner so directdid not know what to
answer; and he thought that this was the moment for expressing
the desire which he was not have made until the evening before
the fete.

Madame,said hewith dignitythere will shortly be a ball at
the Hotel de Ville. I wish, in order to honor our worthy
aldermen, you should appear in ceremonial costume, and above all,
ornamented with the diamond studs which I gave you on your
birthday. That is my answer.

The answer was terrible. Anne of Austria believed that Louis
XIII knew alland that the cardinal had persuaded him to employ
this long dissimulation of seven or eight dayswhichlikewise
was characteristic. She became excessively paleleaned her
beautiful hand upon a CONSOLEwhich hand appeared then like one
of waxand looking at the king with terror in her eyesshe was
unable to reply by a single syllable.

You hear, madame,said the kingwho enjoyed the embarrassment
to its full extentbut without guessing the cause. "You hear
madame?"

Yes, sire, I hear,stammered the queen.

You will appear at this ball?

Yes.

With those studs?

Yes.

The queen's palenessif possibleincreased; the king perceived
itand enjoyed it with that cold cruelty which was one of the


worst sides of his character.

Then that is agreed,said the kingand that is all I had to
say to you.

But on what day will this ball take place?asked Anne of
Austria.

Louis XIII felt instinctively that he ought not to reply to this
questionthe queen having put it in an almost dying voice.

Oh, very shortly, madame,said he; "but I do not precisely
recollect the date of the day. I will ask the cardinal."

It was the cardinal, then, who informed you of this fete?

Yes, madame,replied the astonished king; "but why do you ask
that?"

It was he who told you to invite me to appear with these studs?

That is to say, madame--

It was he, sire, it was he!

Well, and what does it signify whether it was he or I? Is there
any crime in this request?

No, sire.

Then you will appear?

Yes, sire.

That is well,said the kingretiringthat is well; I count
upon it.

The queen made a curtsyless from etiquette than because her
knees were sinking under her. The king went away enchanted.

I am lost,murmured the queenlost!--for the cardinal knows
all, and it is he who urges on the king, who as yet knows nothing
but will soon know everything. I am lost! My God, my God, my
God!

She knelt upon a cushion and prayedwith her head buried between
her palpitating arms.

In facther position was terrible. Buckingham had returned to
London; Mme. Chevreuse was at Tours. More closely watched than
everthe queen felt certainwithout knowing how to tell which
that one of her women had betrayed her. Laporte could not leave
the Louvre; she had not a soul in the world in whom she could
confide. Thuswhile contemplating the misfortune which
threatened her and the abandonment in which she was leftshe
broke out into sobs and tears.

Can I be of service to your Majesty?said all at once a voice
full of sweetness and pity.

The queen turned sharply roundfor there could be no deception
in the expression of that voice; it was a friend who spoke thus.

In factat one of the doors which opened into the queen's


apartment appeared the pretty Mme. Bonacieux. She had been
engaged in arranging the dresses and linen in a closet when the
king entered; she could not get out and had heard all.

The queen uttered a piercing cry at finding herself surprised-for
in her trouble she did not at first recognize the young woman
who had been given to her by Laporte.

Oh, fear nothing, madame!said the young womanclasping her
hands and weeping herself at the queen's sorrows; "I am your
Majesty'sbody and souland however far I may be from you
however inferior may be my positionI believe I have discovered
a means of extricating your Majesty from your trouble."

You, oh, heaven, you!cried the queen; "but look me in the
face. I am betrayed on all sides. Can I trust in you?"

Oh, madame!cried the young womanfalling on her knees; "upon
my soulI am ready to die for your Majesty!"

This expression sprang from the very bottom of the heartand
like the firstthere was no mistaking it.

Yes,continued Mme. Bonacieuxyes, there are traitors here;
but by the holy name of the Virgin, I swear that no one is more
devoted to your Majesty than I am. Those studs which the king
speaks of, you gave them to the Duke of Buckingham, did you not?
Those studs were enclosed in a little rosewood box which he held
under his arm? Am I deceived? Is it not so, madame?

Oh, my God, my God!murmured the queenwhose teeth chattered
with fright.

Well, those studs,continued Mme. Bonacieuxwe must have them
back again.

Yes, without doubt, it is necessary,cried the queen; "but how
am I to act? How can it be effected?"

Someone must be sent to the duke.

But who, who? In whom can I trust?

Place confidence in me, madame; do me that honor, my queen, and
I will find a messenger.

But I must write.

Oh, yes; that is indispensable. Two words from the hand of your
Majesty and your private seal.

But these two words would bring about my condemnation, divorce,
exile!

Yes, if they fell into infamous hands. But I will answer for
these two words being delivered to their address.

Oh, my God! I must then place my life, my honor, my reputation,
in your hands?

Yes, yes, madame, you must; and I will save them all.

But how? Tell me at least the means.


My husband had been at liberty these two or three days. I have
not yet had time to see him again. He is a worthy, honest man
who entertains neither love nor hatred for anybody. He will do
anything I wish. He will set out upon receiving an order from
me, without knowing what he carries, and he will carry your
Majesty's letter, without even knowing it is from your Majesty,
to the address which is on it.

The queen took the two hands of the young woman with a burst of
emotiongazed at her as if to read her very heartand seeing
nothing but sincerity in her beautiful eyesembraced her
tenderly.

Do that,cried sheand you will have saved my life, you will
have saved my honor!

Do not exaggerate the service I have the happiness to render
your Majesty. I have nothing to save for your Majesty; you are
only the victim of perfidious plots.

That is true, that is true, my child,said the queenyou are
right.

Give me then, that letter, madame; time presses.

The queen ran to a little tableon which were inkpaperand
pens. She wrote two linessealed the letter with her private
sealand gave it to Mme. Bonacieux.

And now,said the queenwe are forgetting one very necessary
thing.

What is that, madame?

Money.

Mme. Bonacieux blushed.

Yes, that is true,said sheand I will confess to your
Majesty that my husband--

Your husband has none. Is that what you would say?

He has some, but he is very avaricious; that is his fault.
Nevertheless, let not your Majesty be uneasy, we will find
means.

And I have none, either,said the queen. Those who have read
the MEMOIRS of Mme. de Motteville will not be astonished at this
reply. "But wait a minute."

Anne of Austria ran to her jewel case.

Here,said shehere is a ring of great value, as I have been
assured. It came from my brother, the King of Spain. It is
mine, and I am at liberty to dispose of it. Take this ring;
raise money with it, and let your husband set out.

In an hour you shall be obeyed.

You see the address,said the queenspeaking so low that Mme.
Bonacieux could hardly hear what she saidTo my Lord Duke of
Buckingham, London.


The letter shall be given to himself.

Generous girl!cried Anne of Austria.

Mme. Bonacieux kissed the hands of the queenconcealed the paper
in the bosom of her dressand disappeared with the lightness of
a bird.

Ten minutes afterward she was at home. As she told the queen
she had not seen her husband since his liberation; she was
ignorant of the change that had taken place in him with respect
to the cardinal--a change which had since been strengthened by
two or three visits from the Comte de Rochefortwho had become
the best friend of Bonacieuxand had persuaded himwithout much
troublewas putting his house in orderthe furniture of which he had found
mostly broken and his closets nearly empty--justice not being one
of the three things which King Solomon names as leaving no traces
of their passage. As to the servantshe had run away at the
moment of her master's arrest. Terror had had such an effect
upon the poor girl that she had never ceased walking from Paris
till she reached Burgundyher native place.

The worthy mercer hadimmediately upon re-entering his house
informed his wife of his happy returnand his wife had replied
by congratulating himand telling him that the first moment she
could steal from her duties should be devoted to paying him a
visit.

This first moment had been delayed five dayswhichunder any
other circumstancesmight have appeared rather long to M.
Bonacieux; but he hadin the visit he had made to the cardinal
and in the visits Rochefort had made himample subjects for
reflectionand as everybody knowsnothing makes time pass more
quickly than reflection.

This was the more so because Bonacieux's reflections were all
rose-colored. Rochefort called him his friendhis dear
Bonacieuxand never ceased telling him that the cardinal had a
great respect for him. The mercer fancied himself already on the
high road to honors and fortune.

On her side Mme. Bonacieux had also reflected; butit must be
admittedupon something widely different from ambition. In
spite of herself her thoughts constantly reverted to that
handsome young man who was so brave and appeared to be so much in
love. Married at eighteen to M. Bonacieuxhaving always lived
among her husband's friends--people little capable of inspiring
any sentiment whatever in a young woman whose heart was above her
position--Mme. Bonacieux had remained insensible to vulgar
seductions; but at this period the title of gentleman had great
influence with the citizen classand d'Artagnan was a gentleman.
Besideshe wore the uniform of the Guardswhich next to that of
the Musketeers was most admired by the ladies. He waswe
repeathandsomeyoungand bold; he spoke of love like a man
who did love and was anxious to be loved in return. There was
certainly enough in all this to turn a head only twenty-three
years oldand Mme. Bonacieux had just attained that happy period
of life.

The couplethenalthough they had not seen each other for eight
daysand during that time serious events had taken place in
which both were concernedaccosted each other with a degree of
preoccupation. NeverthelessBonacieux manifested real joyand
advanced toward his wife with open arms. Madame Bonacieux


presented her cheek to him.

Let us talk a little,said she.

How!said Bonacieuxastonished.

Yes, I have something of the highest importance to tell you.

True,said heand I have some questions sufficiently serious
to put to you. Describe to me your abduction, I pray you.

Oh, that's of no consequence just now,said Mme. Bonacieux.

And what does it concern, then--my captivity?

I heard of it the day it happened; but as you were not guilty of
any crime, as you were not guilty of any intrigue, as you, in
short, knew nothing that could compromise yourself or anybody
else, I attached no more importance to that event than it
merited.

You speak very much at your ease, madame,said Bonacieuxhurt
at the little interest his wife showed in him. "Do you know that
I was plunged during a day and night in a dungeon of the
Bastille?"

Oh, a day and night soon pass away. Let us return to the object
that brings me here.

What, that which brings you home to me? Is it not the desire of
seeing a husband again from whom you have been separated for a
week?asked the mercerpiqued to the quick.

Yes, that first, and other things afterward.

Speak.

It is a thing of the highest interest, and upon which our future
fortune perhaps depends.

The complexion of our fortune has changed very much since I saw
you, Madam Bonacieux, and I should not be astonished if in the
course of a few months it were to excite the envy of many folks.

Yes, particularly if you follow the instructions I am about to
give you.

Me?

Yes, you. There is good and holy action to be performed,
monsieur, and much money to be gained at the same time.

Mme. Bonacieux knew that in talking of money to her husbandshe
took him on his weak side. But a manwere he even a mercer
when he had talked for ten minutes with Cardinal Richelieuis no
longer the same man.

Much money to be gained?said Bonacieuxprotruding his lip.

Yes, much.

About how much?

A thousand pistoles, perhaps.


What you demand of me is serious, then?

It is indeed.

What must be done?

You must go away immediately. I will give you a paper which you
must not part with on any account, and which you will deliver
into the proper hands.

And whither am I to go?

To London.

I go to London? Go to! You jest! I have no business in
London.

But others wish that you should go there.

But who are those others? I warn you that I will never again
work in the dark, and that I will know not only to what I expose
myself, but for whom I expose myself.

An illustrious persons sends you; an illustrious person awaits
you. The recompense will exceed your expectations; that is all I
promise you.

More intrigues! Nothing but intrigues! Thank you, madame, I am
aware of them now; Monsieur Cardinal has enlightened me on that
head.

The cardinal?cried Mme. Bonacieux. "Have you seen the
cardinal?"

He sent for me,answered the mercerproudly.

And you responded to his bidding, you imprudent man?

Well, I can't say I had much choice of going or not going, for I
was taken to him between two guards. It is true also, that as I
did not then know his Eminence, if I had been able to dispense
with the visit, I should have been enchanted.

He ill-treated you, then; he threatened you?

He gave me his hand, and called me his friend. His friend! Do
you hear that, madame? I am the friend of the great cardinal!

Of the great cardinal!

Perhaps you would contest his right to that title, madame?

I would contest nothing; but I tell you that the favor of a
minister is ephemeral, and that a man must be mad to attach
himself to a minister. There are powers above his which do not
depend upon a man or the issue of an event; it is to these powers
we should rally.

I am sorry for it, madame, but I acknowledge not her power but
that of the great man whom I have the honor to serve.

You serve the cardinal?


Yes, madame; and as his servant, I will not allow you to be
concerned in plots against the safety of the state, or to serve
the intrigues of a woman who in not French and who has a Spanish
heart. Fortunately we have the great cardinal; his vigilant eye
watches over and penetrates to the bottom of the heart.

Bonacieux was repeatingword for worda sentence which he had
heard from the Comte de Rochefort; but the poor wifewho had
reckoned on her husbandand whoin that hopehad answered for
him to the queendid not tremble the lessboth at the danger
into which she had nearly cast herself and at the helpless state
to which she was reduced. Neverthelessknowing the weakness of
her husbandand more particularly his cupidityshe did not
despair of bringing him round to her purpose.

Ah, you are a cardinalist, then, monsieur, are you?cried she;
and you serve the party of those who maltreat your wife and
insult your queen?

Private interests are as nothing before the interests of all. I
am for those who save the state,said Bonacieuxemphatically.

And what do you know about the state you talk of?said Mme.
Bonacieuxshrugging her shoulders. "Be satisfied with being a
plainstraightforward citizenand turn to that side which
offers the most advantages."

Eh, eh!said Bonacieuxslapping a plumpround bagwhich
returned a sound a money; "what do you think of thisMadame
Preacher?"

Whence comes that money?

You do not guess?

From the cardinal?

From him, and from my friend the Comte de Rochefort.

The Comte de Rochefort! Why it was he who carried me off!

That may be, madame!

And you receive silver from that man?

Have you not said that that abduction was entirely political?

Yes; but that abduction had for its object the betrayal of my
mistress, to draw from me by torture confessions that might
compromise the honor, and perhaps the life, of my august
mistress.

Madame,replied Bonacieuxyour august mistress is a
perfidious Spaniard, and what the cardinal does is well done.

Monsieur,said the young womanI know you to be cowardly,
avaricious, and foolish, but I never till now believed you
infamous!

Madame,said Bonacieuxwho had never seen his wife in a
passionand who recoiled before this conjugal angermadame,
what do you say?

I say you are a miserable creature!continued Mme. Bonacieux


who saw she was regaining some little influence over her husband.
You meddle with politics, do you--and still more, with
cardinalist politics? Why, you sell yourself, body and soul, to
the demon, the devil, for money!

No, to the cardinal.

It's the same thing,cried the young woman. "Who calls
Richelieu calls Satan."

Hold your tongue, hold your tongue, madame! You may be
overheard.

Yes, you are right; I should be ashamed for anyone to know your
baseness.

But what do you require of me, then? Let us see.

I have told you. You must depart instantly, monsieur. You must
accomplish loyally the commission with which I deign to charge
you, and on that condition I pardon everything, I forget
everything; and what is more,and she geld out her hand to him
I restore my love.

Bonacieux was cowardly and avariciousbut he loved his wife. He
was softened. A man of fifty cannot long bear malice with a wife
of twenty-three. Mme. Bonacieux saw that he hesitated.

Come! Have you decided?said she.

But, my dear love, reflect a little upon what you require of me.
London is far from Paris, very far, and perhaps the commission
with which you charge me is not without dangers?

What matters it, if you avoid them?

Hold, Madame Bonacieux,said the mercerhold! I positively
refuse; intrigues terrify me. I have seen the Bastille. My!
Whew! That's a frightful place, that Bastille! Only to think of
it makes my flesh crawl. They threatened me with torture. Do
you know what torture is? Wooden points that they stick in
between your legs till your bones stick out! No, positively I
will not go. And, MORBLEU, why do you not go yourself? For in
truth, I think I have hitherto been deceived in you. I really
believe you are a man, and a violent one, too.

And you, you are a woman--a miserable woman, stupid and brutal.
You are afraid, are you? Well, if you do not go this very
instant, I will have you arrested by the queen's orders, and I
will have you placed in the Bastille which you dread so much.

Bonacieux fell into a profound reflection. He weighed the two
angers in his brain--that of the cardinal and that of the queen;
that of the cardinal predominated enormously.

Have me arrested on the part of the queen,said heand I--I
will appeal to his Eminence.

At once Mme. Bonacieux saw that she had gone too farand she was
terrified at having communicated so much. She for a moment
contemplated with fright that stupid countenanceimpressed with
the invincible resolution of a fool that is overcome by fear.

Well, be it so!said she. "Perhapswhen all is considered


you are right. In the long runa man knows more about politics
than a womanparticularly such aslike youMonsieur Bonacieux
have conversed with the cardinal. And yet it is very hard
added she, that a man upon whose affection I thought I might
dependtreats me thus unkindly and will not comply with any of
my fancies."

That is because your fancies go too far,replied the triumphant
Bonacieuxand I mistrust them.

'WellI will give it upthen said the young woman, sighing.
It is well as it is; say no more about it."

At least you should tell me what I should have to do in London,
replied Bonacieuxwho remembered a little too late that
Rochefort had desired him to endeavor to obtain his wife's
secrets.

It is of no use for you to know anything about it,said the
young womanwhom an instinctive mistrust now impelled to draw
back. "It was about one of those purchases that interest women-a
purchase by which much might have been gained."

But the more the young woman excused herselfthe more important
Bonacieux thought the secret which she declined to confide to
him. He resolved then to hasten immediately to the residence of
the Comte de Rochefortand tell him that the queen was seeking
for a messenger to send to London.

Pardon me for quitting you, my dear Madame Bonacieux,said he;
but, not knowing you would come to see me, I had made an
engagement with a friend. I shall soon return; and if you will
wait only a few minutes for me, as soon as I have concluded my
business with that friend, as it is growing late, I will come
back and reconduct you to the Louvre.

Thank you, monsieur, you are not brave enough to be of any use
to me whatever,replied Mme. Bonacieux. "I shall return very
safely to the Louvre all alone."

As you please, Madame Bonacieux,said the ex-mercer. "Shall I
see you again soon?"

Next week I hope my duties will afford me a little liberty, and
I will take advantage of it to come and put things in order here,
as they must necessarily be much deranged.

Very well; I shall expect you. You are not angry with me?

Not the least in the world.

Till then, then?

Till then.

Bonacieux kissed his wife's handand set off at a quick pace.

Well,said Mme. Bonacieuxwhen her husband had shut the street
door and she found herself alone; "that imbecile lacked but one
thing to become a cardinalist. And Iwho have answered for him
to the queen--Iwho have promised my poor mistress--ahmy God
my God! She will take me for one of those wretches with whom the
palace swarms and who are placed about her as spies! Ah
Monsieur BonacieuxI never did love you muchbut now it is


worse than ever. I hate youand on my word you shall pay for
this!"

At the moment she spoke these words a rap on the ceiling made her
raise her headand a voice which reached her through the ceiling
criedDear Madame Bonacieux, open for me the little door on the
alley, and I will come down to you.

18 LOVER AND HUSBAND

Ah, Madame,said d'Artagnanentering by the door which the
young woman opened for himallow me to tell you that you have a
bad sort of a husband.

You have, then, overheard our conversation?asked Mme.
Bonacieuxeagerlyand looking at d'Artagnan with disquiet.

The whole.

But how, my God?

By a mode of proceeding known to myself, and by which I likewise
overheard the more animated conversation which had with the
cardinal's police.

And what did you understand by what we said?

A thousand things. In the first place, that, unfortunately,
your husband is a simpleton and a fool; in the next place, you
are in trouble, of which I am very glad, as it gives me a
opportunity of placing myself at your service, and God knows I am
ready to throw myself into the fire for you; finally, that the
queen wants a brave, intelligent, devoted man to make a journey
to London for her. I have at least two of the three qualities
you stand in need of, and here I am.

Mme. Bonacieux made no reply; but her heart beat with joy and
secret hope shone in her eyes.

And what guarantee will you give me asked she, if I consent
to confide this message to you?"

My love for you. Speak! Command! What is to be done?

My God, my God!murmured the young womanought I to confide
such a secret to you, monsieur? You are almost a boy.

I see that you require someone to answer for me?

I admit that would reassure me greatly.

Do you know Athos?

No.

Porthos?

No.

Aramis?

No. Who are these gentleman?


Three of the king's Musketeers. Do you know Monsieur de
Treville, their captain?

Oh, yes, him! I know him; not personally, but from having heard
the queen speak of him more than once as a brave and loyal
gentleman.

You do not fear lest he should betray you to the cardinal?

Oh, no, certainly not!

Well, reveal your secret to him, and ask him whether, however
important, however valuable, however terrible it may be, you may
not confide it to me.

But this secret is not mine, and I cannot reveal it in this
manner.

You were about to confide it to Monsieur Bonacieux,said
d'Artagnanwith chagrin.

As one confides a letter to the hollow of a tree, to the wing of
a pigeon, to the collar of a dog.

And yet, me--you see plainly that I love you.

You say so.

I am an honorable man.

You say so.

I am a gallant fellow.

I believe it.

I am brave.

Oh, I am sure of that!

Then, put me to the proof.

Mme. Bonacieux looked at the young manrestrained for a minute
by a last hesitation; but there was such an ardor in his eyes
such persuasion in his voicethat she felt herself constrained
to confide in him. Besidesshe found herself in circumstances
where everything must be risked for the sake of everything. The
queen might be as much injured by too much reticence as by too
much confidence; and--let us admit it--the involuntary sentiment
which she felt for her young protector decided her to speak.

Listen,said she; "I yield to your protestationsI yield to
your assurances. But I swear to youbefore God who hears us
that if you betray meand my enemies pardon meI will kill
myselfwhile accusing you of my death."

And I--I swear to you before God, madame,said d'Artagnan.
that if I am taken while accomplishing the orders you give me, I
will die sooner than do anything that may compromise anyone.

Then the young woman confided in him the terrible secret of which
chance had already communicated to him a part in front of the
Samaritaine. This was their mutual declaration of love.


D'Artagnan was radiant with joy and pride. This secret which he
possessedthis woman whom he loved! Confidence and love mad him
a giant.

I go,said he; "I go at once."

How, you will go!said Mme. Bonacieux; "and your regimentyour
captain?"

By my soul, you had made me forget all that, dear Constance!
Yes, you are right; a furlough is needful.

Still another obstacle,murmured Mme. Bonacieuxsorrowfully.

As to that,cried d'Artagnanafter a moment of reflectionI
shall surmount it, be assured.

How so?

I will go this very evening to Treville, whom I will request to
ask this favor for me of his brother-in-law, Monsieur
Dessessart.

But another thing.

What?asked d'Artagnanseeing that Mme. Bonacieux hesitated to
continue.

You have, perhaps, no money?

PERHAPS is too much,said d'Artagnansmiling.

Then,replied Mme. Bonacieuxopening a cupboard and taking
from it the very bag which a half hour before her husband had
caressed so affectionatelytake this bag.

The cardinal's?cried d'Artagnanbreaking into a loud laugh
he having heardas may be rememberedthanks to the broken
boardsevery syllable of the conversation between the mercer and
his wife.

The cardinal's,replied Mme. Bonacieux. "You see it makes a
very respectable appearance."

PARDIEU,cried d'Artagnanit will be a double amusing affair
to save the queen with the cardinal's money!

You are an amiable and charming young man,said Mme. Bonacieux.
Be assured you will not find her Majesty ungrateful.

Oh, I am already grandly recompensed!cried d'Artagnan. "I
love you; you permit me to tell you that I do--that is already
more happiness than I dared to hope."

Silence!said Mme. Bonacieuxstarting.

What!

Someone is talking in the street.

It is the voice of--

Of my husband! Yes, I recognize it!


D'Artagnan ran to the door and pushed the bolt.

He shall not come in before I am gone,said he; "and when I am
goneyou can open to him."

But I ought to be gone, too. And the disappearance of his
money; how am I to justify it if I am here?

You are right; we must go out.

Go out? How? He will see us if we go out.

Then you must come up into my room.

Ah,said Mme. Bonacieuxyou speak that in a tone that
frightens me!

Mme. Bonacieux pronounced these words with tears in her eyes.
d'Artagnan saw those tearsand much disturbedsoftenedhe
threw himself at her feet.

With me you will be as safe as in a temple; I give you my word
of a gentleman.

Let us go,said sheI place full confidence in you, my
friend!

D'Artagnan drew back the bolt with precautionand bothlight as
shadowsglided through the interior door into the passage
ascended the stairs as quietly as possibleand entered
d'Artagnan's chambers.

Once therefor greater securitythe young man barricaded the
door. They both approached the windowand through a slit in the
shutter they saw Bonacieux talking with a man in a cloak.

At sight of this mand'Artagnan startedand half drawing his
swordsprang toward the door.

It was the man of Meung.

What are you going to do?cried Mme. Bonacieux; "you will ruin
us all!"

But I have sworn to kill that man!said d'Artagnan.

Your life is devoted from this moment, and does not belong to
you. In the name of the queen I forbid you to throw yourself
into any peril which is foreign to that of your journey.

And do you command nothing in your own name?

In my name,said Mme. Bonacieuxwith great emotionin my
name I beg you! But listen; they appear to be speaking of me.

D'Artagnan drew near the windowand lent his ear.

M. Bonacieux had opened his doorand seeing the apartmenthad
returned to the man in the cloakwhom he had left alone for an
instant.
She is gone,said he; "she must have returned to the Louvre."


You are sure,replied the strangerthat she did not suspect
the intentions with which you went out?

No,replied Bonacieuxwith a self-sufficient airshe is too
superficial a woman.

Is the young Guardsman at home?

I do not think he is; as you see, his shutter is closed, and you
can see no light shine through the chinks of the shutters.

All the same, it is well to be certain.

How so?
By knocking at his door. Go.


I will ask his servant.


Bonacieux re-entered the housepassed through the same door that
had afforded a passage for the two fugitiveswent up to
d'Artagnan's doorand knocked.

No one answered. Porthosin order to make a greater display
had that evening borrowed Planchet. As to d'Artagnanhe took
care not to give the least sign of existence.

The moment the hand of Bonacieux sounded on the doorthe two
young people felt their hearts bound within them.

There is nobody within,said Bonacieux.

Never mind. Let us return to your apartment. We shall be safer
there than in the doorway.

Ah, my God!whispered Mme. Bonacieuxwe shall hear no more.

On the contrary,said d'Artagnanwe shall hear better.

D'Artagnan raised the three or four boards which made his chamber
another ear of Dionysiusspread a carpet on the floorwent upon
his kneesand made a sign to Mme. Bonacieux to stoop as he did
toward the opening.

You are sure there is nobody there?said the stranger.
I will answer for it,said Bonacieux.

And you think that your wife--
Has returned to the Louvre.

Without speaking to anyone but yourself?
I am sure of it.

That is an important point, do you understand?
Then the news I brought you is of value?

The greatest, my dear Bonacieux; I don't conceal this from you.
Then the cardinal will be pleased with me?


I have no doubt of it.

The great cardinal!

Are you sure, in her conversation with you, that your wife
mentioned no names?

I think not.

She did not name Madame de Chevreuse, the Duke of Buckingham, or
Madame de Vernet?

No; she only told me she wished to send me to London to serve
the interests of an illustrious personage.

The traitor!murmured Mme. Bonacieux.

Silence!said d'Artagnantaking her handwhichwithout
thinking of itshe abandoned to him.

Never mind,continued the man in the cloak; "you were a fool
not to have pretended to accept the mission. You would then be
in present possession of the letter. The statewhich is now
threatenedwould be safeand you--"

And I?

Well you--the cardinal would have given you letters of
nobility.

Did he tell you so?

Yes, I know that he meant to afford you that agreeable
surprise.

Be satisfied,replied Bonacieux; "my wife adores meand there
is yet time."

The ninny!murmured Mme. Bonacieux.

Silence!said d'Artagnanpressing her hand more closely.

How is there still time?asked the man in the cloak.

I go to the Louvre; I ask for Mme. Bonacieux; I say that I have
reflected; I renew the affair; I obtain the letter, and I run
directly to the cardinal.

Well, go quickly! I will return soon to learn the result of
your trip.

The stranger went out.

Infamous!said Mme. Bonacieuxaddressing this epithet to her
husband.

Silence!said d'Artagnanpressing her hand still more warmly.

A terrible howling interrupted these reflections of d'Artagnan
and Mme. Bonacieux. It was her husbandwho had discovered the
disappearance of the moneybagand was crying "Thieves!"

Oh, my God!cried Mme. Bonacieuxhe will rouse the whole
quarter.


Bonacieux called a long time; but as such crieson account of
their frequencybrought nobody in the Rue des Fossoyeursand as
lately the mercer's house had a bad namefinding that nobody
camehe went out continuing to callhis voice being heard
fainter and fainter as he went in the direction of the Rue du
Bac.

Now he is gone, it is your turn to get out,said Mme.
Bonacieux. "Couragemy friendbut above allprudenceand
think what you owe to the queen."

To her and to you!cried d'Artagnan. "Be satisfiedbeautiful
Constance. I shall become worthy of her gratitude; but shall I
likewise return worthy of your love?"

The young woman only replied by the beautiful glow which mounted
to her cheeks. A few seconds afterward d'Artagnan also went out
enveloped in a large cloakwhich ill-concealed the sheath of a
long sword.

Mme. Bonacieux followed him with her eyeswith that longfond
look with which he had turned the angle of the streetshe fell
on her kneesand clasping her handsOh, my God,cried she
protect the queen, protect me!

19 PLAN OF CAMPAIGN

D'Artagnan went straight to M. de Treville's. He had reflected
that in a few minutes the cardinal would be warned by this cursed
strangerwho appeared to be his agentand he judgedwith
reasonhe had not a moment to lose.

The heart of the young man overflowed with joy. An opportunity
presented itself to him in which there would be at the same time
glory to be acquiredand money to be gained; and as a far higher
encouragementit brought him into close intimacy with a woman he
adored. This chance didthenfor him at once more than he
would have dared to ask of Providence.

M. de Treville was in his saloon with his habitual court of
gentlemen. D'Artagnanwho was known as a familiar of the house
went straight to his officeand sent word that he wished to see
him on something of importance.
D'Artagnan had been there scarcely five minutes when M. de
Treville entered. At the first glanceand by the joy which was
painted on his countenancethe worthy captain plainly perceived
that something new was on foot.

All the way along d'Artagnan had been consulting with himself
whether he should place confidence in M. de Trevilleor whether
he should only ask him to give him CARTE BLANCHE for some secret
affair. But M. de Treville had always been so thoroughly his
friendhad always been so devoted to the king and queenand
hated the cardinal so cordiallythat the young man resolved to
tell him everything.

Did you ask for me, my good friend?said M. de Treville.

'Yesmonsieur said d'Artagnan, lowering his voice, and you
will pardon meI hopefor having disturbed you when you know


the importance of my business."
Speak, then, I am all attention.

It concerns nothing lesssaid d'Artagnanthan the honor,
perhaps the life of the queen.

What did you say?asked M. de Trevilleglancing round to see
if they were surely aloneand then fixing his questioning look
upon d'Artagnan.

I say, monsieur, that chance has rendered me master of a
secret--

Which you will guard, I hope, young man, as your life.

But which I must impart to you, monsieur, for you alone can
assist me in the mission I have just received from her Majesty.

Is this secret your own?

No, monsieur; it is her Majesty's.
Are you authorized by her Majesty to communicate it to me?


No, monsieur, for, on the contrary, I am desired to preserve the
profoundest mystery.

Why, then, are you about to betray it to me?

Because, as I said, without you I can do nothing; and I am
afraid you will refuse me the favor I come to ask if you do not
know to what end I ask it.

Keep your secret, young man, and tell me what you wish.

I wish you to obtain for me, from Monsieur Dessessart, leave of
absence for fifteen days.

When?

This very night.
You leave Paris?


I am going on a mission.
May you tell me whither?


To London.
Has anyone an interest in preventing your arrival there?


The cardinal, I believe, would give the world to prevent my
success.

And you are going alone?
I am going alone.

In that case you will not get beyond Bondy. I tell you so, by
the faith of de Treville.

How so?


You will be assassinated.

And I shall die in the performance of my duty.

But your mission will not be accomplished.

That is true,replied d'Artagnan.

Believe me,continued Trevillein enterprises of this kind,
in order that one may arrive, four must set out.

Ah, you are right, monsieur,said d'Artagnan; "but you know
AthosPorthosand Aramisand you know if I can dispose of
them."

Without confiding to them the secret which I am not willing to
know?

We are sworn, once for all, to implicit confidence and
devotedness against all proof. Besides, you can tell them that
you have full confidence in me, and they will not be more
incredulous than you.

I can send to each of them leave of absence for fifteen days,
that is all--to Athos, whose wound still makes him suffer, to go
to the waters of Forges; to Porthos and Aramis to accompany their
friend, whom they are not willing to abandon in such a painful
condition. Sending their leave of absence will be proof enough
that I authorize their journey.

Thanks, monsieur. You are a hundred times too good.

Begone, then, find them instantly, and let all be done tonight!
Ha! But first write your request to Dessessart. Perhaps you had
a spy at your heels; and your visit, if it should ever be known
to the cardinal, will thus seem legitimate.

D'Artagnan drew up his requestand M. de Trevilleon receiving
itassured him that by two o'clock in the morning the four
leaves of absence should be at the respective domiciles of the
travelers.

Have the goodness to send mine to Athos's residence. I should
dread some disagreeable encounter if I were to go home.

Be easy. Adieu, and a prosperous voyage. A PROPOS,said M. de
Trevillecalling him back.

D'Artagnan returned.

Have you any money?

D'Artagnan tapped the bag he had in his pocket.

Enough?asked M. de Treville.

Three hundred pistoles.

Oh, plenty! That would carry you to the end of the world.
Begone, then!

D'Artagnan saluted M. de Trevillewho held out his hand to him;
d'Artagnan pressed it with a respect mixed with gratitude. Since


his first arrival at Parishe had had constant occasion to honor
this excellent manwhom he had always found worthyloyaland
great.

His first visit was to Aramisat whose residence he had not been
since the famous evening on which he had followed Mme. Bonacieux.
Still furtherhe had seldom seen the young Musketeer; but every
time he had seen himhe had remarked a deep sadness imprinted on
his countenance.

This eveningespeciallyAramis was melancholy and thoughtful.
d'Artagnan asked some questions about this prolonged melancholy.
Aramis pleaded as his excuse a commentary upon the eighteenth
chapter of St. Augustinewhich he was forced to write in Latin
for the following weekand which preoccupied him a good deal.

After the two friends had been chatting a few momentsa servant
from M. de Treville enteredbringing a sealed packet.

What is that?asked Aramis.

The leave of absence Monsieur has asked for,replied the
lackey.

For me! I have asked for no leave of absence.

Hold your tongue and take it!said d'Artagnan. "And youmy
friendthere is a demipistole for your trouble; you will tell
Monsieur de Treville that Monsieur Aramis is very much obliged to
him. Go."

The lackey bowed to the ground and departed.

What does all this mean?asked Aramis.

Pack up all you want for a journey of a fortnight, and follow
me.

But I cannot leave Paris just now without knowing--

Aramis stopped.

What is become of her? I suppose you mean--continued
d'Artagnan.

Become of whom?replied Aramis.

The woman who was here--the woman with the embroidered
handkerchief.

Who told you there was a woman here?replied Aramisbecoming
as pale as death.

I saw her.

And you know who she is?

I believe I can guess, at least.

Listen!said Aramis. "Since you appear to know so many things
can you tell me what is become of that woman?"

I presume that she has returned to Tours.


To Tours? Yes, that may be. You evidently know her. But why
did she return to Tours without telling me anything?

Because she was in fear of being arrested.

Why has she not written to me, then?

Because she was afraid of compromising you.

d'Artagnan, you restore me to life!cried Aramis. "I fancied
myself despisedbetrayed. I was so delighted to see her again!
I could not have believed she would risk her liberty for meand
yet for what other cause could she have returned to Paris?"

For the cause which today takes us to England.

And what is this cause?demanded Aramis.

Oh, you'll know it someday, Aramis; but at present I must
imitate the discretion of 'the doctor's niece.'

Aramis smiledas he remembered the tale he had told his friends
on a certain evening. "Wellthensince she has left Parisand
you are sure of itd'Artagnannothing prevents meand I am
ready to follow you. You say we are going--"

To see Athos now, and if you will come thither, I beg you to
make haste, for we have lost much time already. A PROPOS, inform
Bazin.

Will Bazin go with us?asked Aramis.

Perhaps so. At all events, it is best that he should follow us
to Athos's.

Aramis called Bazinandafter having ordered him to join them
at Athos's residencesaid "Let us go then at the same time
taking his cloak, sword, and three pistols, opening uselessly two
or three drawers to see if he could not find stray coin. When
well assured this search was superfluous, he followed d'Artagnan,
wondering to himself how this young Guardsman should know so well
who the lady was to whom he had given hospitality, and that he
should know better than himself what had become of her.

Only as they went out Aramis placed his hand upon the arm of
d'Artagnan, and looking at him earnestly, You have not spoken of
this lady?" said he.

To nobody in the world.

Not even to Athos or Porthos?

I have not breathed a syllable to them.

Good enough!

Tranquil on this important pointAramis continued his way with
d'Artagnanand both soon arrived at Athos's dwelling. They
found him holding his leave of absence in one handand M. de
Treville's note in the other.

Can you explain to me what signify this leave of absence and
this letter, which I have just received?said the astonished
Athos.


My dear Athos


I wishas your health absolutely requires it
that you should rest for a fortnight. Gothenand take the
waters of Forgesor any that may be more agreeable to youand
recuperate yourself as quickly as possible.


Yours affectionate


de Treville


Well, this leave of absence and that letter mean that you must
follow me, Athos.


To the waters of Forges?


There or elsewhere.


In the king's service?


Either the king's or the queen's. Are we not their Majesties'
servants?


At that moment Porthos entered. "PARDIEU!" said hehere is a
strange thing! Since when, I wonder, in the Musketeers, did they
grant men leave of absence without their asking for it?


Since,said d'Artagnanthey have friends who ask it for
them.


Ah, ah!said Porthosit appears there's something fresh
here.


Yes, we are going--said Aramis.


To what country?demanded Porthos.


My faith! I don't know much about it,said Athos. "Ask
d'Artagnan."


To London, gentlemen,said d'Artagnan.


To London!cried Porthos; "and what the devil are we going to
do in London?"


That is what I am not at liberty to tell you, gentlemen; you
must trust to me.


But in order to go to London,added Porthosmoney is needed,
and I have none.


Nor I,said Aramis.


Nor I,said Athos.


I have,replied d'Artagnanpulling out his treasure from his
pocketand placing it on the table. "There are in this bag
three hundred pistoles. Let each take seventy-five; that is
enough to take us to London and back. Besidesmake yourselves
easy; we shall not all arrive at London."



Why so?

Because, in all probability, some one of us will be left on the
road.

Is this, then, a campaign upon which we are now entering?

One of a most dangerous kind, I give you notice.

Ah! But if we do risk being killed,said Porthosat least I
should like to know what for.

You would be all the wiser,said Athos.

And yet,said AramisI am somewhat of Porthos's opinion.

Is the king accustomed to give you such reasons? No. He says
to you jauntily, 'Gentlemen, there is fighting going on in
Gascony or in Flanders; go and fight,' and you go there. Why?
You need give yourselves no more uneasiness about this.

d'Artagnan is right,said Athos; "here are our three leaves of
absence which came from Monsieur de Trevilleand here are three
hundred pistoles which came from I don't know where. So let us
go and get killed where we are told to go. Is life worth the
trouble of so many questions? D'ArtagnanI am ready to follow
you."

And I also,said Porthos.

And I also,said Aramis. "AndindeedI am not sorry to quit
Paris; I had need of distraction."

Well, you will have distractions enough, gentlemen, be assured,
said d'Artagnan.

And, now, when are we to go?asked Athos.

Immediately,replied d'Artagnan; "we have not a minute to
lose."

Hello, Grimaud! Planchet! Mousqueton! Bazin!cried the four
young mencalling their lackeysclean my boots, and fetch the
horses from the hotel.

Each Musketeer was accustomed to leave at the general hotelas
at a barrackhis own horse and that of his lackey. Planchet
GrimaudMousquetonand Bazin set off at full speed.

Now let us lay down the plan of campaign,said Porthos. "Where
do we go first?"

To Calais,said d'Artagnan; "that is the most direct line to
London."

Well,said Porthosthis is my advice--

Speak!

Four men traveling together would be suspected. D'Artagnan will
give each of us his instructions. I will go by the way of
Boulogne to clear the way; Athos will set out two hours after, by
that of Amiens; Aramis will follow us by that of Noyon; as to
d'Artagnan, he will go by what route he thinks is best, in


Planchet's clothes, while Planchet will follow us like
d'Artagnan, in the uniform of the Guards.

Gentlemen,said Athosmy opinion is that it is not proper to
allow lackeys to have anything to do in such an affair. A secret
may, by chance, be betrayed by gentlemen; but it is almost
always sold by lackeys.

Porthos's plan appears to me to be impracticable,said
d'Artagnaninasmuch as I am myself ignorant of what
instructions I can give you. I am the bearer of a letter, that
is all. I have not, and I cannot make three copies of that
letter, because it is sealed. We must, then, as it appears to
me, travel in company. This letter is here, in this pocket,and
he pointed to the pocket which contained the letter. "If I
should be killedone of you must take itand continue the
route; if he be killedit will be another's turnand so on-provided
a single one arrivesthat is all that is required."

Bravo, d'Artagnan, your opinion is mine,cried AthosBesides,
we must be consistent; I am going to take the waters, you will
accompany me. Instead of taking the waters of Forges, I go and
take sea waters; I am free to do so. If anyone wishes to stop
us, I will show Monsieur de Treville's letter, and you will show
your leaves of absence. If we are attacked, we will defend
ourselves; if we are tried, we will stoutly maintain that we were
only anxious to dip ourselves a certain number of times in the
sea. They would have an easy bargain of four isolated men;
whereas four men together make a troop. We will arm our four
lackeys with pistols and musketoons; if they send an army out
against us, we will give battle, and the survivor, as d'Artagnan
says, will carry the letter.

Well said,cried Aramis; "you don't often speakAthosbut
when you do speakit is like St. John of the Golden Mouth. I
agree to Athos's plan. And youPorthos?"

I agree to it, too,said Porthosif d'Artagnan approves of
it. D'Artagnan, being the bearer of the letter, is naturally the
head of the enterprise; let him decide, and we will execute.

Well,said d'ArtagnanI decide that we should adopt Athos's
plan, and that we set off in half an hour.

Agreed!shouted the three Musketeers in chorus.

Each onestretching out his hand to the bagtook his seventyfive
pistolesand make his preparations to set out at the time
appointed.

20 THE JOURNEY

At two o'clock in the morningour four adventurers left Paris by
the Barriere St. Denis. As long as it was dark they remained
silent; in spite of themselves they submitted to the influence of
the obscurityand apprehended ambushes on every side.

With the first rays of day their tongues were loosened; with the
sun gaiety revived. It was like the eve of a battle; the heart
beatthe eyes laughedand they felt that the life they were
perhaps going to losewasafter alla good thing.


Besidesthe appearance of the caravan was formidable. The black
horses of the Musketeerstheir martial carriagewith the
regimental step of these noble companions of the soldierwould
have betrayed the most strict incognito. The lackeys followed
armed to the teeth.

All went well till they arrived at Chantillywhich they reached
about eight o'clock in the morning. They needed breakfastand
alighted at the door of an AUBERGErecommended by a sign
representing St. Martin giving half his cloak to a poor man.
They ordered the lackeys not to unsaddle the horsesand to hold
themselves in readiness to set off again immediately.

They entered the common halland placed themselves at table. A
gentlemanwho had just arrived by the route of Dammartinwas
seated at the same tableand was breakfasting. He opened the
conversation about rain and fine weather; the travelers replied.
He drank to their good healthand the travelers returned his
politeness.

But at the moment Mousqueton came to announce that the horses
were readyand they were arising from tablethe stranger
proposed to Porthos to drink the health of the cardinal. Porthos
replied that he asked no better if the strangerin his turn
would drink the health of the king. The stranger cried that he
acknowledged no other king but his Eminence. Porthos called him
drunkand the stranger drew his sword.

You have committed a piece of folly,said Athosbut it can't
be helped; there is no drawing back. Kill the fellow, and rejoin
us as soon as you can.

All three remounted their horsesand set out at a good pace
while Porthos was promising his adversary to perforate him with
all the thrusts known in the fencing schools.

There goes one!cried Athosat the end of five hundred paces.

But why did that man attack Porthos rather than any other one of
us?asked Aramis.

Because, as Porthos was talking louder than the rest of us, he
took him for the chief,said d'Artagnan.

I always said that this cadet from Gascony was a well of
wisdom,murmured Athos; and the travelers continued their route.

At Beauvais they stopped two hoursas well to breathe their
horses a little as to wait for Porthos. At the end of two hours
as Porthos did not comenot any news of himthey resumed their
journey.

At a league from Beauvaiswhere the road was confined between
two high banksthey fell in with eight or ten men whotaking
advantage of the road being unpaved in this spotappeared to be
employed in digging holes and filling up the ruts with mud.

Aramisnot liking to soil his boots with this artificial mortar
apostrophized them rather sharply. Athos wished to restrain him
but it was too late. The laborers began to jeer the travelers
and by their insolence disturbed the equanimity even of the cool
Athoswho urged on his horse against one of them.

Then each of these men retreated as far as the ditchfrom which


each took a concealed musket; the result was that our seven
travelers were outnumbered in weapons. Aramis received a ball
which passed through his shoulderand Mousqueton another ball
which lodged in the fleshy part which prolongs the lower portion
of the loins. Therefore Mousqueton alone fell from his horse
not because he was severely woundedbut not being able to see
the woundhe judged it to be more serious than it really was.

It was an ambuscade!shouted d'Artagnan. "Don't waste a
charge! Forward!"

Aramiswounded as he wasseized the mane of his horsewhich
carried him on with the others. Mousqueton's horse rejoined
themand galloped by the side of his companions.

That will serve us for a relay,said Athos.

I would rather have had a hat,said d'Artagnan. "Mine was
carried away by a ball. By my faithit is very fortunate that
the letter was not in it."

They'll kill poor Porthos when he comes up,said Aramis.

If Porthos were on his legs, he would have rejoined us by this
time,said Athos. "My opinion is that on the ground the drunken
man was not intoxicated."

They continued at their best speed for two hoursalthough the
horses were so fatigued that it was to be feared they would soon
refuse service.

The travelers had chosen crossroads in the hope that they might
meet with less interruption; but at CrevecoeurAramis declared
he could proceed no farther. In factit required all the
courage which he concealed beneath his elegant form and polished
manners to bear him so far. He grew more pale every minuteand
they were obliged to support him on his horse. They lifted him
off at the door of a cabaretleft Bazin with himwhobesides
in a skirmish was more embarrassing than usefuland set forward
again in the hope of sleeping at Amiens.

MORBLEU,said Athosas soon as they were again in motion
reduced to two masters and Grimaud and Planchet! MORBLEU! I
won't be their dupe, I will answer for it. I will neither open
my mouth nor draw my sword between this and Calais. I swear
by--

Don't waste time in swearing,said d'Artagnan; "let us gallop
if our horses will consent."

And the travelers buried their rowels in their horses' flanks
who thus vigorously stimulated recovered their energies. They
arrived at Amiens at midnightand alighted at the AUBERGE of the
Golden Lily.

The host had the appearance of as honest a man as any on earth.
He received the travelers with his candlestick in one hand and
his cotton nightcap in the other. He wished to lodge the two
travelers each in a charming chamber; but unfortunately these
charming chambers were at the opposite extremities of the hotel.
d'Artagnan and Athos refused them. The host replied that he had
no other worthy of their Excellencies; but the travelers declared
they would sleep in the common chambereach on a mattress which
might be thrown upon the ground. The host insisted; but the


travelers were firmand he was obliged to do as they wished.

They had just prepared their beds and barricaded their door
withinwhen someone knocked at the yard shutter; they demanded
who was thereand recognizing the voices of their lackeys
opened the shutter. It was indeed Planchet and Grimaud.

Grimaud can take care of the horses,said Planchet. "If you
are willinggentlemenI will sleep across your doorwayand you
will then be certain that nobody can reach you."

And on what will you sleep?said d'Artagnan.

Here is my bed,replied Planchetproducing a bundle of straw.

Come, then,said d'Artagnanyou are right. Mine host's face
does not please me at all; it is too gracious.

Nor me either,said Athos.

Planchet mounted by the window and installed himself across the
doorwaywhile Grimaud went and shut himself up in the stable
undertaking that by five o'clock in the morning he and the four
horses should be ready.

The night was quiet enough. Toward two o'clock in the morning
somebody endeavored to open the door; but as Planchet awoke in an
instant and criedWho goes there?somebody replied that he was
mistakenand went away.

At four o'clock in the morning they heard a terrible riot in the
stables. Grimaud had tried to waken the stable boysand the
stable boys had beaten him. When they opened the windowthey
saw the poor lad lying senselesswith his head split by a blow
with a pitchfork.

Planchet went down into the yardand wished to saddle the
horses; but the horses were all used up. Mousqueton's horse
which had traveled for five or six hours without a rider the day
beforemight have been able to pursue the journey; but by an
inconceivable error the veterinary surgeonwho had been sent
foras it appearedto bleed one of the host's horseshad bled
Mousqueton's.

This began to be annoying. All these successive accidents were
perhaps the result of chance; but they might be the fruits of a
plot. Athos and d'Artagnan went outwhile Planchet was sent to
inquire if there were not three horses for sale in the
neighborhood. At the door stood two horsesfreshstrongand
fully equipped. These would just have suited them. He asked
where their masters wereand was informed that they had passed
the night in the innand were then settling their bill with the
host.

Athos went down to pay the reckoningwhile d'Artagnan and
Planchet stood at the street door. The host was in a lower and
back roomto which Athos was requested to go.

Athos entered without the least mistrustand took out two
pistoles to pay the bill. The host was aloneseated before his
deskone of the drawers of which was partly open. He took the
money which Athos offered to himand after turning and turning
it over and over in his handssuddenly cried out that it was
badand that he would have him and his companions arrested as


forgers.

You blackguard!cried Athosgoing toward himI'll cut your
ears off!

At the same instantfour menarmed to the teethentered by
side doorsand rushed upon Athos.

I am taken!shouted Athoswith all the power of his lungs.
Go on, d'Artagnan! Spur, spur!and he fired two pistols.

D'Artagnan and Planchet did not require twice bidding; they
unfastened the two horses that were waiting at the doorleaped
upon themburied their spurs in their sidesand set off at full
gallop.

Do you know what has become of Athos?asked d'Artagnan of
Planchetas they galloped on.

Ah, monsieur,said PlanchetI saw one fall at each of his two
shots, and he appeared to me, through the glass door, to be
fighting with his sword with the others.

Brave Athos!murmured d'Artagnanand to think that we are
compelled to leave him; maybe the same fate awaits us two paces
hence. Forward, Planchet, forward! You are a brave fellow.

As I told you, monsieur,replied PlanchetPicards are found
out by being used. Besides, I am here in my own country, and
that excites me.

And bothwith free use of the spurarrived at St. Omer without
drawing bit. At St. Omer they breathed their horses with the
bridles passed under their arms for fear of accidentand ate a
morsel from their hands on the stones of the streetafter they
departed again.

At a hundred paces from the gates of Calaisd'Artagnan's horse
gave outand could not by any means be made to get up againthe
blood flowing from his eyes and his nose. There still remained
Planchet's horse; but he stopped shortand could not be made to
move a step.

Fortunatelyas we have saidthey were within a hundred paces of
the city; they left their two nags upon the high roadand ran
toward the quay. Planchet called his master's attention to a
gentleman who had just arrived with his lackeyand only preceded
them by about fifty paces. They made all speed to come up to
this gentlemanwho appeared to be in great haste. His boots
were covered with dustand he inquired if he could not instantly
cross over to England.

Nothing would be more easy,said the captain of a vessel ready
to set sailbut this morning came an order to let no one leave
without express permission from the cardinal.

I have that permission,said the gentlemandrawing the paper
from his pocket; "here it is."

Have it examined by the governor of the port,said the
shipmasterand give me the preference.

Where shall I find the governor?


At his country house.
And that is situated?

At a quarter of a league from the city. Look, you may see it
from here--at the foot of that little hill, that slated roof.

Very well,said the gentleman. Andwith his lackeyhe took
the road to the governor's country house.

D'Artagnan and Planchet followed the gentleman at a distance of
five hundred paces. Once outside the cityd'Artagnan overtook
the gentleman as he was entering a little wood.

Monsieur,you appear to be in great haste?"

No one can be more so, monsieur.

I am sorry for that,said d'Artagnan; "for as I am in great
haste likewiseI wish to beg you to render me a service."

What?
To let me sail first.


That's impossible,said the gentleman; "I have traveled sixty
leagues in forty hoursand by tomorrow at midday I must be in
London."

I have performed that same distance in forty hours, and by ten
o'clock in the morning I must be in London.

Very sorry, monsieur; but I was here first, and will not sail
second.

I am sorry, too, monsieur; but I arrived second, and must sail
first.

The king's service!said the gentleman.

My own service!said d'Artagnan.

But this is a needless quarrel you seek with me, as it seems to
me.

PARBLEU! What do you desire it to be?
What do you want?

Would you like to know?
Certainly.

Well, then, I wish that order of which you are bearer, seeing
that I have not one of my own and must have one.

You jest, I presume.
I never jest.


Let me pass!
You shall not pass.



My brave young man, I will blow out your brains. HOLA, Lubin,
my pistols!

Planchet,called out d'Artagnantake care of the lackey; I
will manage the master.

Planchetemboldened by the first exploitsprang upon Lubin; and
being strong and vigoroushe soon got him on the broad of his
backand placed his knee upon his breast.

Go on with your affair, monsieur,cried Planchet; "I have
finished mine."

Seeing thisthe gentleman drew his swordand sprang upon
d'Artagnan; but he had too strong an adversary. In three seconds
d'Artagnan had wounded him three timesexclaiming at each
thrustOne for Athos, one for Porthos; and one for Aramis!

At the third hit the gentleman fell like a log. D'Artagnan
believed him to be deador at least insensibleand went toward
him for the purpose of taking the order; but the moment he
extended his hand to search for itthe wounded manwho had not
dropped his swordplunged the point into d'Artagnan's breast
cryingOne for you!

And one for me--the best for last!cried d'Artagnanfurious
nailing him to the earth with a fourth thrust through his body.

This time the gentleman closed his eyes and fainted. D'Artagnan
searched his pocketsand took from one of them the order for the
passage. It was in the name of Comte de Wardes.

Thencasting a glance on the handsome young manwho was
scarcely twenty-five years of ageand whom he was leaving in his
goredeprived of sense and perhaps deadhe gave a sigh for that
unaccountable destiny which leads men to destroy each other for
the interests of people who are strangers to them and who often
do not even know that they exist. But he was soon aroused from
these reflections by Lubinwho uttered loud cries and screamed
for help with all his might.

Planchet grasped him by the throatand pressed as hard as he
could. "Monsieur said he, as long as I hold him in this
mannerhe can't cryI'll be bound; but as soon as I let go he
will howl again. I know him for a Normanand Normans are
obstinate."

In facttightly held as he wasLubin endeavored still to cry
out.

Stay!said d'Artagnan; and taking out his handkerchiefhe
gagged him.

Now,said Planchetlet us bind him to a tree.

This being properly donethey drew the Comte de Wardes close to
his servant; and as night was approachingand as the wounded man
and the bound man were at some little distance within the wood
it was evident they were likely to remain there till the next
day.

And now,said d'Artagnanto the Governor's.

But you are wounded, it seems,said Planchet.


Oh, that's nothing! Let us attend to what is more pressing
first, and then we will attend to my wound; besides, it does not
seem very dangerous.

And they both set forward as fast as they could toward the
country house of the worthy functionary.

The Comte de Wardes was announcedand d'Artagnan was introduced.

You have an order signed by the cardinal?said the governor.

Yes, monsieur,replied d'Artagnan; "here it is."

Ah, ah! It is quite regular and explicit,said the governor.

Most likely,said d'Artagnan; "I am one of his most faithful
servants."

It appears that his Eminence is anxious to prevent someone from
crossing to England?

Yes; a certain d'Artagnan, a Bearnese gentleman who left Paris
in company with three of his friends, with the intention of going
to London.

Do you know him personally?asked the governor.

Whom?

This d'Artagnan.

Perfectly well.

Describe him to me, then.

Nothing more easy.

And d'Artagnan havefeature for featurea description of the
Comte de Wardes.

Is he accompanied?

Yes; by a lackey named Lubin.

We will keep a sharp lookout for them; and if we lay hands on
them his Eminence may be assured they will be reconducted to
Paris under a good escort.

And by doing so, Monsieur the Governor,said d'Artagnanyou
will deserve well of the cardinal.

Shall you see him on your return, Monsieur Count?

Without a doubt.

Tell him, I beg you, that I am his humble servant.

I will not fail.

Delighted with this assurance the governor countersigned the
passport and delivered it to d'Artagnan. D'Artagnan lost no time
in useless compliments. He thanked the governorbowedand
departed. Once outsidehe and Planchet set off as fast as they


could; and by making a long detour avoided the wood and reentered
the city by another gate.

The vessel was quite ready to sailand the captain was waiting
on the wharf. "Well?" said heon perceiving d'Artagnan.

Here is my pass countersigned,said the latter.

And that other gentleman?

He will not go today said d'Artagnan; but hereI'll pay you
for us two."

In that case let us go,said the shipmaster.

Let us go,repeated d'Artagnan.

He leaped with Planchet into the boatand five minutes after
they were on board. It was time; for they had scarcely sailed
half a leaguewhen d'Artagnan saw a flash and heard a
detonation. It was the cannon which announced the closing of the
port.

He had now leisure to look to his wound. Fortunatelyas
d'Artagnan had thoughtit was not dangerous. The point of the
sword had touched a riband glanced along the bone. Still
furtherhis shirt had stuck to the woundand he had lost only
a few drops of blood.

D'Artagnan was worn out with fatigue. A mattress was laid upon
the deck for him. He threw himself upon itand fell asleep.

On the morrowat break of daythey were still three or four
leagues from the coast of England. The breeze had been so light
all nightthey had made but little progress. At ten o'clock the
vessel cast anchor in the harbor of Doverand at half past ten
d'Artagnan placed his foot on English landcryingHere I am at
last!

But that was not all; they must get to London. In England the
post was well served. D'Artagnan and Planchet took each a post
horseand a postillion rode before them. In a few hours they
were in the capital.

D'Artagnan did not know London; he did not know a word of
English; but he wrote the name of Buckingham on a piece of paper
and everyone pointed out to him the way to the duke's hotel.

The duke was at Windsor hunting with the king. D'Artagnan
inquired for the confidential valet of the dukewhohaving
accompanied him in all his voyagesspoke French perfectly well;
he told him that he came from Paris on an affair of life and
deathand that he must speak with his master instantly.

The confidence with which d'Artagnan spoke convinced Patrick
which was the name of this minister of the minister. He ordered
two horses to be saddledand himself went as guide to the young
Guardsman. As for Planchethe had been lifted from his horse as
stiff as a rush; the poor lad's strength was almost exhausted.
d'Artagnan seemed iron.

On their arrival at the castle they learned that Buckingham and
the king were hawking in the marshes two or three leagues away.
In twenty minutes they were on the spot named. Patrick soon


caught the sound of his master's voice calling his falcon.

Whom must I announce to my Lord Duke?asked Patrick.

The young man who one evening sought a quarrel with him on the
Pont Neuf, opposite the Samaritaine.

A singular introduction!

You will find that it is as good as another.

Patrick galloped offreached the dukeand announced to him in
the terms directed that a messenger awaited him.

Buckingham at once remembered the circumstanceand suspecting
that something was going on in France of which it was necessary
he should be informedhe only took the time to inquire where the
messenger wasand recognizing from afar the uniform of the
Guardshe put his horse into a gallopand rode straight up to
d'Artagnan. Patrick discreetly kept in the background.

No misfortune has happened to the queen?cried Buckinghamthe
instant he came upthrowing all his fear and love into the
question.

I believe not; nevertheless I believe she runs some great peril
from which your Grace alone can extricate her.

I!cried Buckingham. "What is it? I should be too happy to be
of any service to her. Speakspeak!"

Take this letter,said d'Artagnan.

This letter! From whom comes this letter?

From her Majesty, as I think.

From her Majesty!said Buckinghambecoming so pale that
d'Artagnan feared he would faint as he broke the seal.

What is this rent?said heshowing d'Artagnan a place where it
had been pierced through.

Ah,said d'ArtagnanI did not see that; it was the sword of
the Comte de Wardes which made that hole, when he gave me a good
thrust in the breast.

You are wounded?asked Buckinghamas he opened the letter.

Oh, nothing but a scratch,said d'Artagnan.

Just heaven, what have I read?cried the duke. "Patrick
remain hereor rather join the kingwherever he may beand
tell his Majesty that I humbly beg him to excuse mebut an
affair of the greatest importance recalls me to London. Come
monsieurcome!" and both set off towards the capital at full
gallop.

21 THE COUNTESS DE WINTER

As they rode alongthe duke endeavored to draw from d'Artagnan
not all that had happenedbut what d'Artagnan himself knew. By


adding all that he heard from the mouth of the young man to his
own remembranceshe was enabled to form a pretty exact idea of a
position of the seriousness of whichfor the restthe queen's
lettershort but explicitgave him the clue. But that which
astonished him most was that the cardinalso deeply interested
in preventing this young man from setting his foot in England
had not succeeded in arresting him on the road. It was then
upon the manifestation of this astonishmentthat d'Artagnan
related to him the precaution takenand howthanks to the
devotion of his three friendswhom he had left scattered and
bleeding on the roadhe had succeeded in coming off with a
single sword thrustwhich had pierced the queen's letter and for
which he had repaid M. de Wardes with such terrible coin. While
he was listening to this recitaldelivered with the greatest
simplicitythe duke looked from time to time at the young man
with astonishmentas if he could not comprehend how so much
prudencecourageand devotedness could be allied with a
countenance which indicated not more than twenty years.

The horses went like the windand in a few minutes they were at
the gates of London. D'Artagnan imagined that on arriving in
town the duke would slacken his pacebut it was not so. He kept
on his way at the same rateheedless about upsetting those whom
he met on the road. In factin crossing the city two or three
accidents of this kind happened; but Buckingham did not even turn
his head to see what became of those he had knocked down.
d'Artagnan followed him amid cries which strongly resembled
curses.

On entering the court of his hotelBuckingham sprang from his
horseand without thinking what became of the animalthrew the
bridle on his neckand sprang toward the vestibule. D'Artagnan
did the samewith a little more concernhoweverfor the noble
creatureswhose merits he fully appreciated; but he had the
satisfaction of seeing three or four grooms run from the kitchens
and the stablesand busy themselves with the steeds.

The duke walked so fast that d'Artagnan had some trouble in
keeping up with him. He passed through several apartmentsof an
elegance of which even the greatest nobles of France had not even
an ideaand arrived at length in a bedchamber which was at once
a miracle of taste and of richness. In the alcove of this
chamber was a door concealed in the tapestry which the duke
opened with a little gold key which he wore suspended from his
neck by a chain of the same metal. With discretion d'Artagnan
remained behind; but at the moment when Buckingham crossed the
thresholdhe turned roundand seeing the hesitation of the
young manCome in!cried heand if you have the good fortune
to be admitted to her Majesty's presence, tell her what you have
seen.

Encouraged by this invitationd'Artagnan followed the dukewho
closed the door after them. The two found themselves in a small
chapel covered with a tapestry of Persian silk worked with gold
and brilliantly lighted with a vast number of candles. Over a
species of altarand beneath a canopy of blue velvetsurmounted
by white and red plumeswas a full-length portrait of Anne of
Austriaso perfect in its resemblance that d'Artagnan uttered a
cry of surprise on beholding it. One might believe the queen was
about to speak. On the altarand beneath the portraitwas the
casket containing the diamond studs.

The duke approached the altarknelt as a priest might have done
before a crucifixand opened the casket. "Theresaid he


drawing from the casket a large bow of blue ribbon all sparkling
with diamondsthere are the precious studs which I have taken
an oath should be buried with me. The queen have them to me, the
queen requires them again. Her will be done, like that of God,
in all things.

Thenhe began to kissone after the otherthose dear studs
with which he was about to part. All at once he uttered a
terrible cry.

What is the matter?exclaimed d'Artagnananxiously; "what has
happened to youmy Lord?"

All is lost!cried Buckinghambecoming as pale as a corpse;
two of the studs are wanting, there are only ten.

Can you have lost them, my Lord, or do you think they have been
stolen?

They have been stolen,replied the dukeand it is the
cardinal who has dealt this blow. Hold; see! The ribbons which
held them have been cut with scissors.

If my Lord suspects they have been stolen, perhaps the person
who stole them still has them in his hands.

Wait, wait!said the duke. "The only time I have worn these
studs was at a ball given by the king eight days ago at Windsor.
The Comtesse de Winterwith whom I had quarreledbecame
reconciled to me at that ball. That reconciliation was nothing
but the vengeance of a jealous woman. I have never seen her from
that day. The woman is an agent of the cardinal."

He has agents, then, throughout the world?cried d'Artagnan.

Oh, yes,said Buckinghamgrating his teeth with rage. "Yes
he is a terrible antagonist. But when is this ball to take
place?"

Monday next.

Monday next! Still five days before us. That's more time than
we want. Patrick!cried the dukeopening the door of the
chapelPatrick!His confidential valet appeared.

My jeweler and my secretary.

The valet went out with a mute promptitude which showed him
accustomed to obey blindly and without reply.

But although the jeweler had been mentioned firstit was the
secretary who first made his appearance. This was simply because
he lived in the hotel. He found Buckingham seated at a table in
his bedchamberwriting orders with his own hand.

Mr. Jackson,said hego instantly to the Lord Chancellor, and
tell him that I charge him with the execution of these orders. I
wish them to be promulgated immediately.

But, my Lord, if the Lord Chancellor interrogates me upon the
motives which may have led your Grace to adopt such an
extraordinary measure, what shall I reply?

That such is my pleasure, and that I answer for my will to no


man.

Will that be the answer,replied the secretarysmilingwhich
he must transmit to his Majesty if, by chance, his Majesty should
have the curiosity to know why no vessel is to leave any of the
ports of Great Britain?

You are right, Mr. Jackson,replied Buckingham. "He will say
in that caseto the king that I am determined on warand that
this measure is my first act of hostility against France."

The secretary bowed and retired.

We are safe on that side,said Buckinghamturning toward
d'Artagnan. "If the studs are not yet gone to Paristhey will
not arrive till after you."

How so?

I have just placed an embargo on all vessels at present in his
Majesty's ports, and without particular permission, not one dare
lift an anchor.

D'Artagnan looked with stupefaction at a man who thus employed
the unlimited power with which he was clothed by the confidence
of a king in the prosecution of his intrigues. Buckingham saw by
the expression of the young man's face what was passing in his
mindand he smiled.

Yes,said heyes, Anne of Austria is my true queen. Upon a
word from her, I would betray my country, I would betray my king,
I would betray my God. She asked me not to send the Protestants
of La Rochelle the assistance I promised them; I have not done
so. I broke my word, it is true; but what signifies that? I
obeyed my love; and have I not been richly paid for that
obedience? It was to that obedience I owe her portrait.

D'Artagnan was amazed to note by what fragile and unknown threads
the destinies of nations and the lives of men are suspended. He
was lost in these reflections when the goldsmith entered. He was
an Irishman--one of the most skillful of his craftand who
himself confessed that he gained a hundred thousand livres a year
by the Duke of Buckingham.

Mr. O'Reilly,said the dukeleading him into the chapellook
at these diamond studs, and tell me what they are worth apiece.

The goldsmith cast a glance at the elegant manner in which they
were setcalculatedone with anotherwhat the diamonds were
worthand without hesitation saidFifteen hundred pistoles
each, my Lord.

How many days would it require to make two studs exactly like
them? You see there are two wanting.

Eight days, my Lord.

I will give you three thousand pistoles apiece if I can have
them by the day after tomorrow.

My Lord, they shall be yours.

You are a jewel of a man, Mr. O'Reilly; but that is not all.
These studs cannot be trusted to anybody; it must be done in the


palace.

Impossible, my Lord! There is no one but myself can so execute
them that one cannot tell the new from the old.

Therefore, my dear Mr. O'Reilly, you are my prisoner. And if
you wish ever to leave my palace, you cannot; so make the best of
it. Name to me such of your workmen as you need, and point out
the tools they must bring.

The goldsmith knew the duke. He knew all objection would be
uselessand instantly determined how to act.

May I be permitted to inform my wife?said he.

Oh, you may even see her if you like, my dear Mr. O'Reilly.
Your captivity shall be mild, be assured; and as every
inconvenience deserves its indemnification, here is, in addition
to the price of the studs, an order for a thousand pistoles, to
make you forget the annoyance I cause you.

D'Artagnan could not get over the surprise created in him by this
ministerwho thus open-handedsported with men and millions.

As to the goldsmithhe wrote to his wifesending her the order
for the thousand pistolesand charging her to send himin
exchangehis most skillful apprenticean assortment of
diamondsof which he gave the names and the weightand the
necessary tools.

Buckingham conducted the goldsmith to the chamber destined for
himand whichat the end of half an hourwas transformed into
a workshop. Then he placed a sentinel at each doorwith an
order to admit nobody upon any pretense but his VALET DE CHAMBRE
Patrick. We need not add that the goldsmithO'Reillyand his
assistantwere prohibited from going out under any pretext.
This pointsettledthe duke turned to d'Artagnan. "Nowmy
young friend said he, England is all our own. What do you
wish for? What do you desire?"

A bed, my Lord,replied d'Artagnan. "At presentI confess
that is the thing I stand most in need of."

Buckingham gave d'Artagnan a chamber adjoining his own. He
wished to have the young man at hand--not that he at all
mistrusted himbut for the sake of having someone to whom he
could constantly talk of the queen.

In one hour afterthe ordinance was published in London that no
vessel bound for France should leave portnot even the packet
boat with letters. In the eyes of everybody this was a
declaration of war between the two kingdoms.

On the day after the morrowby eleven o'clockthe two diamond
studs were finishedand they were so completely imitatedso
perfectly alikethat Buckingham could not tell the new ones from
the old onesand experts in such matters would have been
deceived as he was. He immediately called d'Artagnan. "Here
said he to him, are the diamond studs that you came to bring;
and be my witness that I have done all that human power could
do."

Be satisfied, my Lord, I will tell all that I have seen. But
does your Grace mean to give me the studs without the casket?


The casket would encumber you. Besides, the casket is the more
precious from being all that is left to me. You will say that I
keep it.

I will perform your commission, word for word, my Lord.

And now,resumed Buckinghamlooking earnestly at the young
manhow shall I ever acquit myself of the debt I owe you?

D'Artagnan blushed up to the whites of his eyes. He saw that the
duke was searching for a means of making him accept something and
the idea that the blood of his friends and himself was about to
be paid for with English gold was strangely repugnant to him.

Let us understand each other, my Lord,replied d'Artagnanand
let us make things clear beforehand in order that there may be no
mistake. I am in the service of the King and Queen of France,
and form part of the company of Monsieur Dessessart, who, as well
as his brother-in-law, Monsieur de Treville, is particularly
attached to their Majesties. What I have done, then, has been
for the queen, and not at all for your Grace. And still further,
it is very probable I should not have done anything of this, if
it had not been to make myself agreeable to someone who is my
lady, as the queen is yours.

Yes,said the dukesmilingand I even believe that I know
that other person; it is--

My Lord, I have not named her!interrupted the young man
warmly.

That is true,said the duke; "and it is to this person I am
bound to discharge my debt of gratitude."

You have said, my Lord; for truly, at this moment when there is
question of war, I confess to you that I see nothing in your
Grace but an Englishman, and consequently an enemy whom I should
have much greater pleasure in meeting on the field of battle than
in the park at Windsor or the corridors of the Louvre--all which,
however, will not prevent me from executing to the very point my
commission or from laying down my life, if there be need of it,
to accomplish it; but I repeat it to your Grace, without your
having personally on that account more to thank me for in this
second interview than for what I did for you in the first.

We say, 'Proud as a Scotsman,'murmured the Duke of Buckingham.

And we say, 'Proud as a Gascon,'replied d'Artagnan. "The
Gascons are the Scots of France."

D'Artagnan bowed to the dukeand was retiring.

Well, are you going away in that manner? Where, and how?

That's true!

Fore Gad, these Frenchmen have no consideration!

I had forgotten that England was an island, and that you were
the king of it.

Go to the riverside, ask for the brig SUND, and give this letter
to the captain; he will convey you to a little port, where


certainly you are not expected, and which is ordinarily only
frequented by fishermen.

The name of that port?

St. Valery; but listen. When you have arrived there you will go
to a mean tavern, without a name and without a sign--a mere
fisherman's hut. You cannot be mistaken; there is but one.

Afterward?

You will ask for the host, and will repeat to him the word
'Forward!'

Which means?

In French, EN AVANT. It is the password. He will give you a
horse all saddled, and will point out to you the road you ought
to take. You will find, in the same way, four relays on your
route. If you will give at each of these relays your address in
Paris, the four horses will follow you thither. You already know
two of them, and you appeared to appreciate them like a judge.
They were those we rode on; and you may rely upon me for the
others not being inferior to them. These horses are equipped for
the field. However proud you may be, you will not refuse to
accept one of them, and to request your three companions to
accept the others--that is, in order to make war against us.
Besides, the end justified the means, as you Frenchmen say, does
it not?

Yes, my Lord, I accept them,said d'Artagnan; "and if it please
Godwe will make a good use of your presents."

Well, now, your hand, young man. Perhaps we shall soon meet on
the field of battle; but in the meantime we shall part good
friends, I hope.

Yes, my Lord; but with the hope of soon becoming enemies.

Be satisfied; I promise you that.

I depend upon your word, my Lord.

D'Artagnan bowed to the dukeand made his way as quickly as
possible to the riverside. Opposite the Tower of London he found
the vessel that had been named to himdelivered his letter to
the captainwho after having it examined by the governor of the
port made immediate preparations to sail.

Fifty vessels were waiting to set out. Passing alongside one of
themd'Artagnan fancied he perceived on board it the woman of
Meung--the same whom the unknown gentleman had called Miladyand
whom d'Artagnan had thought so handsome; but thanks to the
current of the stream and a fair windhis vessel passed so
quickly that he had little more than a glimpse of her.

The next day about nine o'clock in the morninghe landed at St.
Valery. D'Artagnan went instantly in search of the innand
easily discovered it by the riotous noise which resounded from
it. War between England and France was talked of as near and
certainand the jolly sailors were having a carousal.

D'Artagnan made his way through the crowdadvanced toward the
hostand pronounced the word "Forward!" The host instantly made


him a sign to followwent out with him by a door which opened
into a yardled him to the stablewhere a saddled horse awaited
himand asked him if he stood in need of anything else.

I want to know the route I am to follow,said d'Artagnan.

Go from hence to Blangy, and from Blangy to Neufchatel. At
Neufchatel, go to the tavern of the Golden Harrow, give the
password to the landlord, and you will find, as you have here, a
horse ready saddled.

Have I anything to pay?demanded d'Artagnan.

Everything is paid,replied the hostand liberally. Begone,
and may God guide you!

Amen!cried the young manand set off at full gallop.

Four hours later he was in Neufchatel. He strictly followed the
instructions he had received. At Neufchatelas at St. Valery
he found a horse quite ready and awaiting him. He was about to
remove the pistols from the saddle he had quit to the one he was
about to fillbut he found the holsters furnished with similar
pistols.

Your address at Paris?

Hotel of the Guards, company of Dessessart.

Enough,replied the questioner.

Which route must I take?demanded d'Artagnanin his turn.

That of Rouen; but you will leave the city on your right. You
must stop at the little village of Eccuis, in which there is but
one tavern--the Shield of France. Don't condemn it from
appearances; you will find a horse in the stables quite as good
as this.

The same password?

Exactly.

Adieu, master!

A good journey, gentlemen! Do you want anything?

D'Artagnan shook his headand set off at full speed. At Eccuis
the same scene was repeated. He found as provident a host and a
fresh horse. He left his address as he had done beforeand set
off again at the same pace for Pontoise. At Pontoise he changed
his horse for the last timeand at nine o'clock galloped into
the yard of Treville's hotel. He had made nearly sixty leagues
in little more than twelve hours.

M. de Treville received him as if he had seen him that same
morning; onlywhen pressing his hand a little more warmly than
usualhe informed him that the company of Dessessart was on duty
at the Louvreand that he might repair at once to his post.
22 THE BALLET OF LA MERLAISON


On the morrownothing was talked of in Paris but the ball which
the aldermen of the city were to give to the king and queenand
in which their Majesties were to dance the famous La Merlaison-the
favorite ballet of the king.

Eight days had been occupied in preparations at the Hotel de
Ville for this important evening. The city carpenters had
erected scaffolds upon which the invited ladies were to be
placed; the city grocer had ornamented the chambers with two
hundred FLAMBEAUX of white waxa piece of luxury unheard of at
that period; and twenty violins were orderedand the price for
them fixed at double the usual rateupon conditionsaid the
reportthat they should be played all night.

At ten o'clock in the morning the Sieur de la Costeensign in
the king's Guardsfollowed by two officers and several archers
of that bodycame to the city registrarnamed Clementand
demanded of him all the keys of the rooms and offices of the
hotel. These keys were given up to him instantly. Each of them
had ticket attached to itby which it might be recognized; and
from that moment the Sieur de la Coste was charged with the care
of all the doors and all the avenues.

At eleven o'clock came in his turn Duhalliercaptain of the
Guardsbringing with him fifty archerswho were distributed
immediately through the Hotel de Villeat the doors assigned
them.

At three o'clock came two companies of the Guardsone French
the other Swiss. The company of French guards was composed of
half of M. Duhallier's men and half of M. Dessessart's men.

At six in the evening the guests began to come. As fast as they
enteredthey were placed in the grand saloonon the platforms
prepared for them.

At nine o'clock Madame la Premiere Presidente arrived. As next
to the queenshe was the most considerable personage of the
feteshe was received by the city officialsand placed in a box
opposite to that which the queen was to occupy.

At ten o'clockthe king's collationconsisting of preserves and
other delicacieswas prepared in the little room on the side of
the church of St. Jeanin front of the silver buffet of the
citywhich was guarded by four archers.

At midnight great cries and loud acclamations were heard. It was
the kingwho was passing through the streets which led from the
Louvre to the Hotel de Villeand which were all illuminated with
colored lanterns.

Immediately the aldermanclothed in their cloth robes and
preceded by six sergeantseach holding a FLAMBEAU in his hand
went to attend upon the kingwhom they met on the stepswhere
the provost of the merchants made him the speech of welcome--a
compliment to which his Majesty replied with an apology for
coming so latelaying the blame upon the cardinalwho had
detained him till eleven o'clocktalking of affairs of state.

His Majestyin full dresswas accompanied by his royal
HighnessM. le Comte de Soissonsby the Grand Priorby the Duc
de Longuevilleby the Duc d'Euboeufby the Comte d'Harcourtby
the Comte de la Roche-Guyonby M. de Liancourtby M. de
Baradasby the Comte de Cramailand by the Chevalier de


Souveray. Everybody noticed that the king looked dull and
preoccupied.

A private room had been prepared for the king and another for
Monsieur. In each of these closets were placed masquerade
dresses. The same had been done for the queen and Madame the
President. The nobles and ladies of their Majesties' suites were
to dresstwo by twoin chambers prepared for the purpose.
Before entering his closet the king desired to be informed the
moment the cardinal arrived.

Half an hour after the entrance of the kingfresh acclamations
were heard; these announced the arrival of the queen. The
aldermen did as they had done beforeand preceded by their
sergeantsadvanced to receive their illustrious guest. The
queen entered the great hall; and it was remarked thatlike the
kingshe looked dull and even weary.

At the moment she enteredthe curtain of a small gallery which
to that time had been closedwas drawnand the pale face of the
cardinal appearedhe being dresses as a Spanish cavalier. His
eyes were fixed upon those of the queenand a smile of terrible
joy passed over his lips; the queen did not wear her diamond
studs.

The queen remained for a short time to receive the compliments of
the city dignitaries and to reply to the salutations of the
ladies. All at once the king appeared with the cardinal at one
of the doors of the hall. The cardinal was speaking to him in a
low voiceand the king was very pale.

The king made his way through the crowd without a maskand the
ribbons of his doublet scarcely tied. He went straight to the
queenand in an altered voice saidWhy, madame, have you not
thought proper to wear your diamond studs, when you know it would
give me so much gratification?

The queen cast a glance around herand saw the cardinal behind
with a diabolical smile on his countenance.

Sire,replied the queenwith a faltering voicebecause, in
the midst of such a crowd as this, I feared some accident might
happen to them.

And you were wrong, madame. If I made you that present it was
that you might adorn yourself therewith. I tell you that you
were wrong.

The voice of the king was tremulous with anger. Everybody looked
and listened with astonishmentcomprehending nothing of what
passed.

Sire,said the queenI can send for them to the Louvre, where
they are, and thus your Majesty's wishes will be complied with.

Do so, madame, do so, and that at once; for within an hour the
ballet will commence.

The queen bent in token of submissionand followed the ladies
who were to conduct her to her room. On his part the king
returned to his apartment.

There was a moment of trouble and confusion in the assembly.
Everybody had remarked that something had passed between the king


and queen; but both of them had spoken so low that everybodyout
of respectwithdrew several stepsso that nobody had heard
anything. The violins began to sound with all their mightbut
nobody listened to them.

The king came out first from his room. He was in a most elegant
hunting costume; and Monsieur and the other nobles were dressed
like him. This was the costume that best became the king. So
dressedhe really appeared the first gentleman of his kingdom.

The cardinal drew near to the kingand placed in his hand a
small casket. The king opened itand found in it two diamond
studs.

What does this mean?demanded he of the cardinal.

Nothing,replied the latter; "onlyif the queen has the studs
which I very much doubtcount themsireand if you only find
tenask her Majesty who can have stolen from her the two studs
that are here."

The king looked at the cardinal as if to interrogate him; but he
had not time to address any question to him--a cry of admiration
burst from every mouth. If the king appeared to be the first
gentleman of his kingdomthe queen was without doubt the most
beautiful woman in France.

It is true that the habit of a huntress became her admirably.
She wore a beaver hat with blue feathersa surtout of gray-pearl
velvetfastened with diamond claspsand a petticoat of blue
satinembroidered with silver. On her left shoulder sparkled
the diamonds studson a bow of the same color as the plumes and
the petticoat.

The king trembled with joy and the cardinal with vexation;
althoughdistant as they were from the queenthey could not
count the studs. The queen had them. The only question washad
she ten or twelve?

At that moment the violins sounded the signal for the ballet.
The king advanced toward Madame the Presidentwith whom he was
to danceand his Highness Monsieur with the queen. They took
their placesand the ballet began.

The king danced facing the queenand every time he passed by
herhe devoured with his eyes those studs of which he could not
ascertain the number. A cold sweat covered the brow of the
cardinal.

The ballet lasted an hourand had sixteen ENTREES. The ballet
ended amid the applause of the whole assemblageand everyone
reconducted his lady to her place; but the king took advantage of
the privilege he had of leaving his ladyto advance eagerly
toward the queen.

I thank you, madame,said hefor the deference you have shown
to my wishes, but I think you want two of the studs, and I bring
them back to you.

With these words he held out to the queen the two studs the
cardinal had given him.

How, sire?cried the young queenaffecting surpriseyou are
giving me, then, two more: I shall have fourteen.


In fact the king counted themand the twelve studs were all on
her Majesty's shoulder.

The king called the cardinal.

What does this mean, Monsieur Cardinal?asked the king in a
severe tone.

This means, sire,replied the cardinalthat I was desirous of
presenting her Majesty with these two studs, and that not daring
to offer them myself, I adopted this means of inducing her to
accept them.

And I am the more grateful to your Eminence,replied Anne of
Austriawith a smile that proved she was not the dupe of this
ingenious gallantryfrom being certain that these two studs
alone have cost you as much as all the others cost his Majesty.

Then saluting the king and the cardinalthe queen resumed her
way to the chamber in which she had dressedand where she was to
take off her costume.

The attention which we have been obliged to giveduring the
commencement of the chapterto the illustrious personages we
have introduced into ithas diverted us for an instant from him
to whom Anne of Austria owed the extraordinary triumph she had
obtained over the cardinal; and whoconfoundedunknownlost in
the crowd gathered at one of the doorslooked on at this scene
comprehensible only to four persons--the kingthe queenhis
Eminenceand himself.

The queen had just regained her chamberand d'Artagnan was about
to retirewhen he felt his shoulder lightly touched. He turned
and saw a young womanwho made him a sign to follow her. The
face of this young woman was covered with a black velvet mask;
but notwithstanding this precautionwhich was in fact taken
rather against others than against himhe at once recognized his
usual guidethe light and intelligent Mme. Bonacieux.

On the evening beforethey had scarcely seen each other for a
moment at the apartment of the Swiss guardGermainwhither
d'Artagnan had sent for her. The haste which the young woman was
in to convey to the queen the excellent news of the happy return
of her messenger prevented the two lovers from exchanging more
than a few words. D'Artagnan therefore followed Mme. Bonacieux
moved by a double sentiment--love and curiosity. All the way
and in proportion as the corridors became more deserted
d'Artagnan wished to stop the young womanseize her and gaze
upon herwere it only for a minute; but quick as a bird she
glided between his handsand when he wished to speak to herher
finger placed upon her mouthwith a little imperative gesture
full of gracereminded him that he was under the command of a
power which he must blindly obeyand which forbade him even to
make the slightest complaint. At lengthafter winding about for
a minute or twoMme. Bonacieux opened the door of a closet
which was entirely darkand led d'Artagnan into it. There she
made a fresh sign of silenceand opened a second door concealed
by tapestry. The opening of this door disclosed a brilliant
lightand she disappeared.

D'Artagnan remained for a moment motionlessasking himself where
he could be; but soon a ray of light which penetrated through the
chambertogether with the warm and perfumed air which reached


him from the same aperturethe conversation of two of three
ladies in language at once respectful and refinedand the word
Majestyseveral times repeatedindicated clearly that he was
in a closet attached to the queen's apartment. The young man
waited in comparative darkness and listened.

The queen appeared cheerful and happywhich seemed to astonish
the persons who surrounded her and who were accustomed to see her
almost always sad and full of care. The queen attributed this
joyous feeling to the beauty of the feteto the pleasure she had
experienced in the ballet; and as it is not permissible to
contradict a queenwhether she smile or weepeverybody
expatiated on the gallantry of the aldermen of the city of Paris.

Although d'Artagnan did not at all know the queenhe soon
distinguished her voice from the othersat first by a slightly
foreign accentand next by that tone of domination naturally
impressed upon all royal words. He heard her approach and
withdraw from the partially open door; and twice or three times
he even saw the shadow of a person intercept the light.

At length a hand and an armsurpassingly beautiful in their form
and whitenessglided through the tapestry. D'Artagnan at once
comprehended that this was his recompense. He cast himself on
his kneesseized the handand touched it respectfully with his
lips. Then the hand was withdrawnleaving in his an object
which he perceived to be a ring. The door immediately closed
and d'Artagnan found himself again in complete obscurity.

D'Artagnan placed the ring on his fingerand again waited; it
was evident that all was not yet over. After the reward of his
devotionthat of his love was to come. Besidesalthough the
ballet was dancedthe evening had scarcely begun. Supper was to
be served at threeand the clock of St. Jean had struck three
quarters past two.

The sound of voices diminished by degrees in the adjoining
chamber. The company was then heard departing; then the door of
the closet in which d'Artagnan waswas openedand Mme.
Bonacieux entered.

You at last?cried d'Artagnan.

Silence!said the young womanplacing her hand upon his lips;
silence, and go the same way you came!

But where and when shall I see you again?cried d'Artagnan.

A note which you will find at home will tell you. Begone,
begone!

At these words she opened the door of the corridorand pushed
d'Artagnan out of the room. D'Artagnan obeyed like a child
without the least resistance or objectionwhich proved that he
was really in love.

23 THE RENDEZVOUS

D'Artagnan ran home immediatelyand although it was three
o'clock in the morning and he had some of the worst quarters of
Paris to traversehe met with no misadventure. Everyone knows
that drunkards and lovers have a protecting deity.


He found the door of his passage opensprang up the stairs and
knocked softly in a manner agreed upon between him and his
lackey. Planchet*whom he had sent home two hours before from
the Hotel de Villetelling him to sit up for himopened the
door for him.

*The reader may askHow came Planchet here?when he was left
stiff as a rushin London. In the intervening time Buckingham
perhaps sent him to Parisas he did the horses.

Has anyone brought a letter for me?asked d'Artagnaneagerly.

No one has BROUGHT a letter, monsieur,replied Planchet; "but
one has come of itself."

What do you mean, blockhead?

I mean to say that when I came in, although I had the key of
your apartment in my pocket, and that key had never quit me, I
found a letter on the green table cover in your bedroom.

And where is that letter?

I left it where I found it, monsieur. It is not natural for
letters to enter people's houses in this manner. If the window
had been open or even ajar, I should think nothing of it; but,
no--all was hermetically sealed. Beware, monsieur; there is
certainly some magic underneath.

Meanwhilethe young man had darted in to his chamberand opened
the letter. It was from Mme. Bonacieuxand was expressed in
these terms:

There are many thanks to be offered to you, and to be
transmitted to you. Be this evening about ten o'clock at St.
Cloud, in front of the pavilion which stands at the corner of the
house of M. d'Estrees.--C.B.

While reading this letterd'Artagnan felt his heart dilated and
compressed by that delicious spasm which tortures and caresses
the hearts of lovers.

It was the first billet he had received; it was the first
rendezvous that had been granted him. His heartswelled by the
intoxication of joyfelt ready to dissolve away at the very gate
of that terrestrial paradise called Love!

Well, monsieur,said Planchetwho had observed his master grow
red and pale successivelydid I not guess truly? Is it not
some bad affair?

You are mistaken, Planchet,replied d'Artagnan; "and as a
proofthere is a crown to drink my health."

I am much obliged to Monsieur for the crown he had given me, and
I promise him to follow his instructions exactly; but it is not
the less true that letters which come in this way into shut-up
houses--

Fall from heaven, my friend, fall from heaven.

Then Monsieur is satisfied?asked Planchet.


My dear Planchet, I am the happiest of men!

And I may profit by Monsieur's happiness, and go to bed?

Yes, go.

May the blessings of heaven fall upon Monsieur! But it is not
the less true that that letter--

And Planchet retiredshaking his head with an air of doubt
which the liberality of d'Artagnan had not entirely effaced.

Left aloned'Artagnan read and reread his billet. Then he
kissed and rekissed twenty times the lines traced by the hand of
his beautiful mistress. At length he went to bedfell asleep
and had golden dreams.

At seven o'clock in the morning he arose and called Planchetwho
at the second summons opened the doorhis countenance not yet
quite freed from the anxiety of the preceding night.

Planchet,said d'ArtagnanI am going out for all day,
perhaps. You are, therefore, your own master till seven o'clock
in the evening; but at seven o'clock you must hold yourself in
readiness with two horses.

There!said Planchet. "We are going againit appearsto have
our hides pierced in all sorts of ways."

You will take your musketoon and your pistols.

There, now! Didn't I say so?cried Planchet. "I was sure of
it--the cursed letter!"

Don't be afraid, you idiot; there is nothing in hand but a party
of pleasure.

Ah, like the charming journey the other day, when it rained
bullets and produced a crop of steel traps!

Well, if you are really afraid, Monsieur Planchet,resumed
d'ArtagnanI will go without you. I prefer traveling alone to
having a companion who entertains the least fear.

Monsieur does me wrong,said Planchet; "I thought he had seen
me at work."

Yes, but I thought perhaps you had worn out all your courage the
first time.

Monsieur shall see that upon occasion I have some left; only I
beg Monsieur not to be too prodigal of it if he wishes it to last
long.

Do you believe you have still a certain amount of it to expend
this evening?

I hope so, monsieur.

Well, then, I count on you.

At the appointed hour I shall be ready; only I believed that
Monsieur had but one horse in the Guard stables.


Perhaps there is but one at this moment; but by this evening
there will be four.

It appears that our journey was a remounting journey, then?

Exactly so,said d'Artagnan; and nodding to Planchethe went
out.

M. Bonacieux was at his door. D'Artagnan's intention was to go
out without speaking to the worthy mercer; but the latter made so
polite and friendly a salutation that his tenant felt obliged
not only to stopbut to enter into conversation with him.
Besideshow is it possible to avoid a little condescension
toward a husband whose pretty wife has appointed a meeting with
you that same evening at St. Cloudopposite D'Estrees's
pavilion? D'Artagnan approached him with the most amiable air he
could assume.

The conversation naturally fell upon the incarceration of the
poor man. M. Bonacieuxwho was ignorant that d'Artagnan had
overheard his conversation with the stranger of Meungrelated to
his young tenant the persecutions of that monsterM. de
Laffemaswhom he never ceased to designateduring his account
by the title of the "cardinal's executioner and expatiated at
great length upon the Bastille, the bolts, the wickets, the
dungeons, the gratings, the instruments of torture.

D'Artagnan listened to him with exemplary complaisance, and when
he had finished said, And Madame Bonacieuxdo you know who
carried her off?--For I do not forget that I owe to that
unpleasant circumstance the good fortune of having made your
acquaintance."

Ah!said Bonacieuxthey took good care not to tell me that;
and my wife, on her part, has sworn to me by all that's sacred
that she does not know. But you,continued M. Bonacieuxin a
tine of perfect good fellowshipwhat has become of you all
these days? I have not seen you nor your friends, and I don't
think you could gather all that dust that I saw Planchet brush
off your boots yesterday from the pavement of Paris.

You are right, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux, my friends and I have
been on a little journey.

Far from here?

Oh, Lord, no! About forty leagues only. We went to take
Monsieur Athos to the waters of Forges, where my friends still
remain.

And you have returned, have you not?replied M. Bonacieux
giving to his countenance a most sly air. "A handsome young
fellow like you does not obtain long leaves of absence from his
mistress; and we were impatiently waited for at Pariswere we
not?"

My faith!said the young manlaughingI confess it, and so
much more the readily, my dear Bonacieux, as I see there is no
concealing anything from you. Yes, I was expected, and very
impatiently, I acknowledge.

A slight shade passed over the brow of Bonacieuxbut so slight
that d'Artagnan did not perceive it.


And we are going to be recompensed for our diligence?continued
the mercerwith a trifling alteration in his voice--so trifling
indeedthat d'Artagnan did not perceive it any more than he had
the momentary shade whichan instant beforehad darkened the
countenance of the worthy man.

Ah, may you be a true prophet!said d'Artagnanlaughing.

No; what I say,replied Bonacieuxis only that I may know
whether I am delaying you.

Why that question, my dear host?asked d'Artagnan. "Do you
intend to sit up for me?"

No; but since my arrest and the robbery that was committed in my
house, I am alarmed every time I hear a door open, particularly
in the night. What the deuce can you expect? I am no
swordsman.

Well, don't be alarmed if I return at one, two or three o'clock
in the morning; indeed, do not be alarmed if I do not come at
all.

This time Bonacieux became so pale that d'Artagnan could not help
perceiving itand asked him what was the matter.

Nothing,replied Bonacieuxnothing. Since my misfortunes I
have been subject to faintnesses, which seize me all at once, and
I have just felt a cold shiver. Pay no attention to it; you have
nothing to occupy yourself with but being happy.

Then I have full occupation, for I am so.

Not yet; wait a little! This evening, you said.

Well, this evening will come, thank God! And perhaps you look
for it with as much impatience as I do; perhaps this evening
Madame Bonacieux will visit the conjugal domicile.

Madame Bonacieux is not at liberty this evening,replied the
husbandseriously; "she is detained at the Louvre this evening
by her duties."

So much the worse for you, my dear host, so much the worse!
When I am happy, I wish all the world to be so; but it appears
that is not possible.

The young man departedlaughing at the jokewhich he thought he
alone could comprehend.

Amuse yourself well!replied Bonacieuxin a sepulchral tone.

But d'Artagnan was too far off to hear him; and if he had heard
him in the disposition of mind he then enjoyedhe certainly
would not have remarked it.

He took his way toward the hotel of M. de Treville; his visit of
the day beforeit is to be rememberedhad been very short and
very little explicative.

He found Treville in a joyful mood. He had thought the king and
queen charming at the ball. It is true the cardinal had been
particularly ill-tempered. He had retired at one o'clock under


the pretense of being indisposed. As to their Majestiesthey
did not return to the Louvre till six o'clock in the morning.

Now,said Trevillelowering his voiceand looking into every
corner of the apartment to see if they were alonenow let us
talk about yourself, my young friend; for it is evident that your
happy return has something to do with the joy of the king, the
triumph of the queen, and the humiliation of his Eminence. You
must look out for yourself.

What have I to fear,replied d'Artagnanas long as I shall
have the luck to enjoy the favor of their Majesties?

Everything, believe me. The cardinal is not the man to forget a
mystification until he has settled account with the mystifier;
and the mystifier appears to me to have the air of being a
certain young Gascon of my acquaintance.

Do you believe that the cardinal is as well posted as yourself,
and knows that I have been to London?

The devil! You have been to London! Was it from London you
brought that beautiful diamond that glitters on your finger?
Beware, my dear d'Artagnan! A present from an enemy is not a
good thing. Are there not some Latin verses upon that subject?
Stop!

Yes, doubtless,replied d'Artagnanwho had never been able to
cram the first rudiments of that language into his headand who
had by his ignorance driven his master to despairyes,
doubtless there is one.

There certainly is one,said M. de Trevillewho had a tincture
of literatureand Monsieur de Benserade was quoting it to me
the other day. Stop a minute--ah, this is it: 'Timeo Danaos et
dona ferentes,' which means, 'Beware of the enemy who makes you
presents.

This diamond does not come from an enemy, monsieur,replied
d'Artagnanit comes from the queen.

From the queen! Oh, oh!said M. de Treville. "Whyit is
indeed a true royal jewelwhich is worth a thousand pistoles if
it is worth a denier. By whom did the queen send you this
jewel?"

She gave it to me herself.

Where?

In the room adjoining the chamber in which she changed her
toilet.

How?

Giving me her hand to kiss.

You have kissed the queen's hand?said M. de Trevillelooking
earnestly at d'Artagnan.

Her Majesty did me the honor to grant me that favor.

And that in the presence of witnesses! Imprudent, thrice
imprudent!


No, monsieur, be satisfied; nobody saw her,replied d'Artagnan
and he related to M. de Treville how the affair came to pass.

Oh, the women, the women!cried the old soldier. "I know them
by their romantic imagination. Everything that savors of mystery
charms them. So you have seen the armthat was all. You would
meet the queenand she would not know who you are?"

No; but thanks to this diamond,replied the young man.

Listen,said M. de Treville; "shall I give you counselgood
counselthe counsel of a friend?"

You will do me honor, monsieur,said d'Artagnan.

Well, then, off to the nearest goldsmith's, and sell that
diamond for the highest price you can get from him. However much
of a Jew he may be, he will give you at least eight hundred
pistoles. Pistoles have no name, young man, and that ring has a
terrible one, which may betray him who wears it.

Sell this ring, a ring which comes from my sovereign? Never!
said d'Artagnan.

Then, at least turn the gem inside, you silly fellow; for
everybody must be aware that a cadet from Gascony does not find
such stones in his mother's jewel case.

You think, then, I have something to dread?asked d'Artagnan.

I mean to say, young man, that he who sleeps over a mine the
match of which is already lighted, may consider himself in safety
in comparison with you.

The devil!said d'Artagnanwhom the positive tone of M. de
Treville began to disquietthe devil! What must I do?

Above all things be always on your guard. The cardinal has a
tenacious memory and a long arm; you may depend upon it, he will
repay you by some ill turn.

But of what sort?

Eh! How can I tell? Has he not all the tricks of a demon at
his command? The least that can be expected is that you will be
arrested.

What! Will they dare to arrest a man in his Majesty's service?

PARDIEU! They did not scruple much in the case of Athos. At
all events, young man, rely upon one who has been thirty years at
court. Do not lull yourself in security, or you will be lost;
but, on the contrary--and it is I who say it--see enemies in all
directions. If anyone seeks a quarrel with you, shun it, were it
with a child of ten years old. If you are attacked by day or by
night, fight, but retreat, without shame; if you cross a bridge,
feel every plank of it with your foot, lest one should give way
beneath you; if you pass before a house which is being built,
look up, for fear a stone should fall upon your head; if you stay
out late, be always followed by your lackey, and let your lackey
be armed--if, by the by, you can be sure of your lackey.
Mistrust everybody, your friend, your brother, your mistress-your
mistress above all.


D'Artagnan blushed.

My mistress above all,repeated hemechanically; "and why her
rather than another?"

Because a mistress is one of the cardinal's favorite means; he
has not one that is more expeditious. A woman will sell you for
ten pistoles, witness Delilah. You are acquainted with the
Scriptures?

D'Artagnan thought of the appointment Mme. Bonacieux had made
with him for that very evening; but we are bound to sayto the
credit of our herothat the bad opinion entertained by M. de
Treville of women in generaldid not inspire him with the least
suspicion of his pretty hostess.

But, A PROPOS,resumed M. de Trevillewhat has become of your
three companions?

I was about to ask you if you had heard any news of them?

None, monsieur.

Well, I left them on my road--Porthos at Chantilly, with a duel
on his hands; Aramis at Crevecoeur, with a ball in his shoulder;
and Athos at Amiens, detained by an accusation of coining.

See there, now!said M. de Treville; "and how the devil did you
escape?"

By a miracle, monsieur, I must acknowledge, with a sword thrust
in my breast, and by nailing the Comte de Wardes on the byroad to
Calais, like a butterfly on a tapestry.

There again! De Wardes, one of the cardinal's men, a cousin of
Rochefort! Stop, my friend, I have an idea.

Speak, monsieur.

In your place, I would do one thing.

What?

While his Eminence was seeking for me in Paris, I would take,
without sound of drum or trumpet, the road to Picardy, and would
go and make some inquiries concerning my three companions. What
the devil! They merit richly that piece of attention on your
part.

The advice is good, monsieur, and tomorrow I will set out.

Tomorrow! Any why not this evening?

This evening, monsieur, I am detained in Paris by indispensable
business.

Ah, young man, young man, some flirtation or other. Take care,
I repeat to you, take care. It is woman who has ruined us, still
ruins us, and will ruin us, as long as the world stands. Take my
advice and set out this evening.

Impossible, monsieur.


You have given your word, then?

Yes, monsieur.

Ah, that's quite another thing; but promise me, if you should
not be killed tonight, that you will go tomorrow.

I promise it.

Do you need money?

I have still fifty pistoles. That, I think, is as much as I
shall want.

But your companions?

I don't think they can be in need of any. We left Paris, each
with seventy-five pistoles in his pocket.

Shall I see you again before your departure?

I think not, monsieur, unless something new should happen.

Well, a pleasant journey.

Thanks, monsieur.

D'Artagnan left M. de Trevilletouched more than ever by his
paternal solicitude for his Musketeers.

He called successively at the abodes of AthosPorthosand
Aramis. Neither of them had returned. Their lackeys likewise
were absentand nothing had been heard of either the one or the
other. He would have inquired after them of their mistresses
but he was neither acquainted with Porthos's nor Aramis'sand as
to Athoshe had none.

As he passed the Hotel des Gardeshe took a glance in to the
stables. Three of the four horses had already arrived.
Planchetall astonishmentwas busy grooming themand had
already finished two.

Ah, monsieur,said Plancheton perceiving d'Artagnanhow
glad I am to see you.

Why so, Planchet?asked the young man.

Do you place confidence in our landlord--Monsieur Bonacieux?

I? Not the least in the world.

Oh, you do quite right, monsieur.

But why this question?

Because, while you were talking with him, I watched you without
listening to you; and, monsieur, his countenance changed color
two or three times!

Bah!

Preoccupied as Monsieur was with the letter he had received, he
did not observe that; but I, whom the strange fashion in which
that letter came into the house had placed on my guard--I did not


lose a movement of his features.

And you found it?

Traitorous, monsieur.

Indeed!

Still more; as soon as Monsieur had left and disappeared round
the corner of the street, Monsieur Bonacieux took his hat, shut
his door, and set off at a quick pace in an opposite direction.

It seems you are right, Planchet; all this appears to be a
little mysterious; and be assured that we will not pay him our
rent until the matter shall be categorically explained to us.

Monsieur jests, but Monsieur will see.

What would you have, Planchet? What must come is written.

Monsieur does not then renounce his excursion for this evening?

Quite the contrary, Planchet; the more ill will I have toward
Monsieur Bonacieux, the more punctual I shall be in keeping the
appointment made by that letter which makes you so uneasy.

Then that is Monsieur's determination?

Undeniably, my friend. At nine o'clock, then, be ready here at
the hotel, I will come and take you.

Planchet seeing there was no longer any hope of making his master
renounce his projectheaved a profound sigh and set to work to
groom the third horse.

As to d'Artagnanbeing at bottom a prudent youthinstead of
returning homewent and dined with the Gascon priestwhoat
the time of the distress of the four friendshad given them a
breakfast of chocolate.

24 THE PAVILION

At nine o'clock d'Artagnan was at the Hotel des Gardes; he found
Planchet all ready. The fourth horse had arrived.

Planchet was armed with his musketoon and a pistol. D'Artagnan
had his sword and placed two pistols in his belt; then both
mounted and departed quietly. It was quite darkand no one saw
them go out. Planchet took place behind his masterand kept at
a distance of ten paces from him.

D'Artagnan crossed the quayswent out by the gate of La
Conference and followed the roadmuch more beautiful then than
it is nowwhich leads to St. Cloud.

As long as he was in the cityPlanchet kept at the respectful
distance he had imposed upon himself; but as soon as the road
began to be more lonely and darkhe drew softly nearerso that
when they entered the Bois de Boulogne he found himself riding
quite naturally side by side with his master. In factwe must
not dissemble that the oscillation of the tall trees and the
reflection of the moon in the dark underwood gave him serious


uneasiness. D'Artagnan could not help perceiving that something
more than usual was passing in the mind of his lackey and said
Well, Monsieur Planchet, what is the matter with us now?

Don't you think, monsieur, that woods are like churches?

How so, Planchet?

Because we dare not speak aloud in one or the other.

But why did you not dare to speak aloud, Planchet--because you
are afraid?

Afraid of being heard? Yes, monsieur.

Afraid of being heard! Why, there is nothing improper in our
conversation, my dear Planchet, and no one could find fault with
it.

Ah, monsieur!replied Planchetrecurring to his besetting
ideathat Monsieur Bonacieux has something vicious in his
eyebrows, and something very unpleasant in the play of his lips.

What the devil makes you think of Bonacieux?

Monsieur, we think of what we can, and not of what we will.

Because you are a coward, Planchet.

Monsieur, we must not confound prudence with cowardice; prudence
is a virtue.

And you are very virtuous, are you not, Planchet?

Monsieur, is not that the barrel of a musket which glitters
yonder? Had we not better lower our heads?

In truth,murmured d'Artagnanto whom M. de Treville's
recommendation recurredthis animal will end by making me
afraid.And he put his horse into a trot.

Planchet followed the movements of his master as if he had been
his shadowand was soon trotting by his side.

Are we going to continue this pace all night?asked Planchet.

No; you are at your journey's end.

How, monsieur! And you?

I am going a few steps farther.

And Monsieur leaves me here alone?

You are afraid, Planchet?

No; I only beg leave to observe to Monsieur that the night will
be very cold, that chills bring on rheumatism, and that a lackey
who has the rheumatism makes but a poor servant, particularly to
a master as active as Monsieur.

Well, if you are cold, Planchet, you can go into one of those
cabarets that you see yonder, and be in waiting for me at the
door by six o'clock in the morning.


Monsieur, I have eaten and drunk respectfully the crown you gave
me this morning, so that I have not a sou left in case I should
be cold.

Here's half a pistole. Tomorrow morning.

D'Artagnan sprang from his horsethrew the bridle to Planchet
and departed at a quick pacefolding his cloak around him.

Good Lord, how cold I am!cried Planchetas soon as he had
lost sight of his master; and in such haste was he to warm
himself that he went straight to a house set out with all the
attributes of a suburban tavernand knocked at the door.

In the meantime d'Artagnanwho had plunged into a bypath
continued his route and reached St. Cloud; but instead of
following the main street he turned behind the chateaureached a
sort of retired laneand found himself soon in front of the
pavilion named. It was situated in a very private spot. A high
wallat the angle of which was the pavilionran along one side
of this laneand on the other was a little garden connected with
a poor cottage which was protected by a hedge from passers-by.

He gained the place appointedand as no signal had been given
him by which to announce his presencehe waited.

Not the least noise was to be heard; it might be imagined that he
was a hundred miles from the capital. D'Artagnan leaned against
the hedgeafter having cast a glance behind it. Beyond that
hedgethat gardenand that cottagea dark mist enveloped with
its folds that immensity where Paris slept--a vast void from
which glittered a few luminous pointsthe funeral stars of that
hell!

But for d'Artagnan all aspects were clothed happilyall ideas
wore a smileall shades were diaphanous. The appointed hour was
about to strike. In factat the end of a few minutes the belfry
of St. Cloud let fall slowly ten strokes from its sonorous jaws.
There was something melancholy in this brazen voice pouring out
its lamentations in the middle of the night; but each of those
strokeswhich made up the expected hourvibrated harmoniously
to the heart of the young man.

His eyes were fixed upon the little pavilion situated at the
angle of the wallof which all the windows were closed with
shuttersexcept one on the first story. Through this window
shone a mild light which silvered the foliage of two or three
linden trees which formed a group outside the park. There could
be no doubt that behind this little windowwhich threw forth
such friendly beamsthe pretty Mme. Bonacieux expected him.

Wrapped in this sweet idead'Artagnan waited half an hour
without the least impatiencehis eyes fixed upon that charming
little abode of which he could perceive a part of the ceiling
with its gilded moldingsattesting the elegance of the rest of
the apartment.

The belfry of St. Cloud sounded half past ten.

This timewithout knowing whyd'Artagnan felt a cold shiver run
through his veins. Perhaps the cold began to affect himand he
took a perfectly physical sensation for a moral impression.


Then the idea seized him that he had read incorrectlyand that
the appointment was for eleven o'clock. He drew near to the
windowand placing himself so that a ray of light should fall
upon the letter as he held ithe drew it from his pocket and
read it again; but he had not been mistakenthe appointment was
for ten o'clock. He went and resumed his postbeginning to be
rather uneasy at this silence and this solitude.

Eleven o'clock sounded.

D'Artagnan began now really to fear that something had happened
to Mme. Bonacieux. He clapped his hands three times--the
ordinary signal of lovers; but nobody replied to himnot even an
echo.

He then thoughtwith a touch of vexationthat perhaps the young
woman had fallen asleep while waiting for him. He approached the
walland tried to climb it; but the wall had been recently
pointedand d'Artagnan could get no hold.

At that moment he thought of the treesupon whose leaves the
light still shone; and as one of them drooped over the roadhe
thought that from its branches he might get a glimpse of the
interior of the pavilion.

The tree was easy to climb. Besidesd'Artagnan was but twenty
years oldand consequently had not yet forgotten his schoolboy
habits. In an instant he was among the branchesand his keen
eyes plunged through the transparent panes into the interior of
the pavilion.

It was a strange thingand one which made d'Artagnan tremble
from the sole of his foot to the roots of his hairto find that
this soft lightthis calm lampenlightened a scene of fearful
disorder. One of the windows was brokenthe door of the chamber
had been beaten in and hungsplit in twoon its hinges. A
tablewhich had been covered with an elegant supperwas
overturned. The decanters broken in piecesand the fruits
crushedstrewed the floor. Everything in the apartment gave
evidence of a violent and desperate struggle. D'Artagnan even
fancied he could recognize amid this strange disorderfragments
of garmentsand some bloody spots staining the cloth and the
curtains. He hastened to descend into the streetwith a
frightful beating at his heart; he wished to see if he could find
other traces of violence.

The little soft light shone on in the calmness of the night.
d'Artagnan then perceived a thing that he had not before
remarked--for nothing had led him to the examination--that the
groundtrampled here and hoofmarked therepresented confused
traces of men and horses. Besidesthe wheels of a carriage
which appeared to have come from Parishad made a deep
impression in the soft earthwhich did not extend beyond the
pavilionbut turned again toward Paris.

At length d'Artagnanin pursuing his researchesfound near the
wall a woman's torn glove. This glovewherever it had not
touched the muddy groundwas of irreproachable odor. It was one
of those perfumed gloves that lovers like to snatch from a pretty
hand.

As d'Artagnan pursued his investigationsa more abundant and
more icy sweat rolled in large drops from his forehead; his heart
was oppressed by a horrible anguish; his respiration was broken


and short. And yet he saidto reassure himselfthat this
pavilion perhaps had nothing in common with Mme. Bonacieux; that
the young woman had made an appointment with him before the
pavilionand not in the pavilion; that she might have been
detained in Paris by her dutiesor perhaps by the jealousy of
her husband.

But all these reasons were combateddestroyedoverthrownby
that feeling of intimate pain whichon certain occasionstakes
possession of our beingand cries to us so as to be understood
unmistakably that some great misfortune is hanging over us.

Then d'Artagnan became almost wild. He ran along the high road
took the path he had before takenand reaching the ferry
interrogated the boatman.

About seven o'clock in the eveningthe boatman had taken over a
young womanwrapped in a black mantlewho appeared to be very
anxious not to be recognized; but entirely on account of her
precautionsthe boatman had paid more attention to her and
discovered that she was young and pretty.

There were thenas nowa crowd of young and pretty women who
came to St. Cloudand who had reasons for not being seenand
yet d'Artagnan did not for an instant doubt that it was Mme.
Bonacieux whom the boatman had noticed.

D'Artagnan took advantage of the lamp which burned in the cabin
of the ferryman to read the billet of Mme. Bonacieux once again
and satisfy himself that he had not been mistakenthat the
appointment was at St. Cloud and not elsewherebefore the
D'Estrees's pavilion and not in another street. Everything
conspired to prove to d'Artagnan that his presentiments had not
deceived himand that a great misfortune had happened.

He again ran back to the chateau. It appeared to him that
something might have happened at the pavilion in his absenceand
that fresh information awaited him. The lane was still deserted
and the same calm soft light shone through the window.

D'Artagnan then thought of that cottagesilent and obscure
which had no doubt seen alland could tell its tale. The gate
of the enclosure was shut; but he leaped over the hedgeand in
spite of the barking of a chained-up dogwent up to the cabin.

No one answered to his first knocking. A silence of death
reigned in the cabin as in the pavilion; but as the cabin was his
last resourcehe knocked again.

It soon appeared to him that he heard a slight noise within--a
timid noise which seemed to tremble lest it should be heard.

Then d'Artagnan ceased knockingand prayed with an accent so
full of anxiety and promisesterror and cajolerythat his voice
was of a nature to reassure the most fearful. At length an old
worm-eaten shutter was openedor rather pushed ajarbut closed
again as soon as the light from a miserable lamp which burned in
the corner had shone upon the baldricsword beltand pistol
pommels of d'Artagnan. Neverthelessrapid as the movement had
beend'Artagnan had had time to get a glimpse of the head of an
old man.

In the name of heaven!cried helisten to me; I have been
waiting for someone who has not come. I am dying with anxiety.


Has anything particular happened in the neighborhood? Speak!

The window was again opened slowlyand the same face appeared
only it was now still more pale than before.

D'Artagnan related his story simplywith the omission of names.
He told how he had a rendezvous with a young woman before that
pavilionand hownot seeing her comehe had climbed the linden
treeand by the light of the lamp had seen the disorder of the
chamber.

The old man listened attentivelymaking a sign only that it was
all so; and thenwhen d'Artagnan had endedhe shook his head
with an air that announced nothing good.

What do you mean?cried d'Artagnan. "In the name of heaven
explain yourself!"

Oh! Monsieur,said the old manask me nothing; for if I
dared tell you what I have seen, certainly no good would befall
me.

You have, then, seen something?replied d'Artagnan. "In that
casein the name of heaven continued he, throwing him a
pistole, tell me what you have seenand I will pledge you the
word of a gentleman that not one of your words shall escape from
my heart."

The old man read so much truth and so much grief in the face of
the young man that he made him a sign to listenand repeated in
a low voice: "It was scarcely nine o'clock when I heard a noise
in the streetand was wondering what it could bewhen on coming
to my doorI found that somebody was endeavoring to open it. As
I am very poor and am not afraid of being robbedI went and
opened the gate and saw three men at a few paces from it. In the
shadow was a carriage with two horsesand some saddlehorses.
These horses evidently belonged to the three menwho wee dressed
as cavaliers. 'Ahmy worthy gentlemen' cried I'what do you
want?' 'You must have a ladder?' said he who appeared to be the
leader of the party. 'Yesmonsieurthe one with which I gather
my fruit.' 'Lend it to usand go into your house again; there
is a crown for the annoyance we have caused you. Only remember
this--if you speak a word of what you may see or what you may
hear (for you will look and you will listenI am quite sure
however we may threaten you)you are lost.' At these words he
threw me a crownwhich I picked upand he took the ladder.
After shutting the gate behind themI pretended to return to the
housebut I immediately went out a back doorand stealing along
in the shade of the hedgeI gained yonder clump of elderfrom
which I could hear and see everything. The three men brought the
carriage up quietlyand took out of it a little manstout
shortelderlyand commonly dressed in clothes of a dark color
who ascended the ladder very carefullylooked suspiciously in at
the window of the pavilioncame down as quietly as he had gone
upand whispered'It is she!' Immediatelyhe who had spoken
to me approached the door of the pavilionopened it with a key
he had in his handclosed the door and disappearedwhile at the
same time the other two men ascended the ladder. The little old
man remained at the coach door; the coachman took care of his
horsesthe lackey held the saddlehorses. All at once great
cried resounded in the pavilionand a woman came to the window
and opened itas if to throw herself out of it; but as soon as
she perceived the other two menshe fell back and they went into
the chamber. Then I saw no more; but I heard the noise of


breaking furniture. The woman screamedand cried for help; but
her cries were soon stifled. Two of the men appearedbearing
the woman in their armsand carried her to the carriageinto
which the little old man got after her. The leader closed the
windowcame out an instant after by the doorand satisfied
himself that the woman was in the carriage. His two companions
were already on horseback. He sprang into his saddle; the lackey
took his place by the coachman; the carriage went off at a quick
paceescorted by the three horsemenand all was over. From
that moment I have neither seen nor heard anything."

D'Artagnanentirely overcome by this terrible storyremained
motionless and mutewhile all the demons of anger and jealousy
were howling in his heart.

But, my good gentleman,resumed the old manupon whom this
mute despair certainly produced a greater effect than cries and
tears would have donedo not take on so; they did not kill her,
and that's a comfort.

Can you guess,said d'Artagnanwho was the man who headed
this infernal expedition?

I don't know him.

But as you spoke to him you must have seen him.

Oh, it's a description you want?

Exactly so.

A tall, dark man, with black mustaches, dark eyes, and the air
of a gentleman.

That's the man!cried d'Artagnanagain he, forever he! He is
my demon, apparently. And the other?

Which?

The short one.

Oh, he was not a gentleman, I'll answer for it; besides, he did
not wear a sword, and the others treated him with small
consideration.

Some lackey,murmured d'Artagnan. "Poor womanpoor woman
what have they done with you?"

You have promised to be secret, my good monsieur?said the old
man.

And I renew my promise. Be easy, I am a gentleman. A gentleman
has but his word, and I have given you mine.

With a heavy heartd'Artagnan again bent his way toward the
ferry. Sometimes he hoped it could not be Mme. Bonacieuxand
that he should find her next day at the Louvre; sometimes he
feared she had had an intrigue with anotherwhoin a jealous
fithad surprised her and carried her off. His mind was torn by
doubtgriefand despair.

Oh, if I had my three friends here,cried heI should have,
at least, some hopes of finding her; but who knows what has
become of them?


It was past midnight; the next thing was to find Planchet.
d'Artagnan went successively into all the cabarets in which there
was a lightbut could not find Planchet in any of them.

At the sixth he began to reflect that the search was rather
dubious. D'Artagnan had appointed six o'clock in the morning for
his lackeyand wherever he might behe was right.

Besidesit came into the young man's mind that by remaining in
the environs of the spot on which this sad event had passedhe
wouldperhapshave some light thrown upon the mysterious
affair. At the sixth cabaretthenas we saidd'Artagnan
stoppedasked for a bottle of wine of the best qualityand
placing himself in the darkest corner of the roomdetermined
thus to wait till daylight; but this time again his hopes were
disappointedand although he listened with all his earshe
heard nothingamid the oathscoarse jokesand abuse which
passed between the laborersservantsand carters who comprised
the honorable society of which he formed a partwhich could put
him upon the least track of her who had been stolen from him. He
was compelledthenafter having swallowed the contents of his
bottleto pass the time as well as to evade suspicionto fall
into the easiest position in his corner and to sleepwhether
well or ill. D'Artagnanbe it rememberedwas only twenty years
oldand at that age sleep has its imprescriptible rights which
it imperiously insists uponeven with the saddest hearts.

Toward six o'clock d'Artagnan awoke with that uncomfortable
feeling which generally accompanies the break of day after a bad
night. He was not long in making his toilet. He examined
himself to see if advantage had been taken of his sleepand
having found his diamond ring on his fingerhis purse in his
pocketand his pistols in his belthe rosepaid for his
bottleand went out to try if he could have any better luck in
his search after his lackey than he had had the night before.
The first thing he perceived through the damp gray mist was
honest Planchetwhowith the two horses in handawaited him at
the door of a little blind cabaretbefore which d'Artagnan had
passed without even a suspicion of its existence.

25 PORTHOS

Instead of returning directly homed'Artagnan alighted at the
door of M. de Trevilleand ran quickly up the stairs. This time
he had decided to relate all that had passed. M. de Treville
would doubtless give him good advice as to the whole affair.
Besidesas M. de Treville saw the queen almost dailyhe might
be able to draw from her Majesty some intelligence of the poor
young womanwhom they were doubtless making pay very dearly for
her devotedness to her mistress.

M. de Treville listened to the young man's account with a
seriousness which proved that he saw something else in this
adventure besides a love affair. When d'Artagnan had finished
he saidHum! All this savors of his Eminence, a league off.
But what is to be done?said d'Artagnan.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, at present, but quitting Paris,
as I told you, as soon as possible. I will see the queen; I will
relate to her the details of the disappearance of this poor


woman, of which she is no doubt ignorant. These details will
guide her on her part, and on your return, I shall perhaps have
some good news to tell you. Rely on me.

D'Artagnan knew thatalthough a GasconM. de Treville was not
in the habit of making promisesand that when by chance he did
promisehe more than kept his word. He bowed to himthenfull
of gratitude for the past and for the future; and the worthy
captainwho on his side felt a lively interest in this young
manso brave and so resolutepressed his hand kindlywishing
him a pleasant journey.

Determined to put the advice of M. de Treville in practice
instantlyd'Artagnan directed his course toward the Rue des
Fossoyeursin order to superintend the packing of his valise.
On approaching the househe perceived M. Bonacieux in morning
costumestanding at his threshold. All that the prudent
Planchet had said to him the preceding evening about the sinister
character of the old man recurred to the mind of d'Artagnanwho
looked at him with more attention than he had done before. In
factin addition to that yellowsickly paleness which indicates
the insinuation of the bile in the bloodand which might
besidesbe accidentald'Artagnan remarked something
perfidiously significant in the play of the wrinkled features of
his countenance. A rogue does not laugh in the same way that an
honest man does; a hypocrite does not shed the tears of a man of
good faith. All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the
mask may bewith a little attention we may always succeed in
distinguishing it from the true face.

It appearedthento d'Artagnan that M. Bonacieux wore a mask
and likewise that that mask was most disagreeable to look upon.
In consequence of this feeling of repugnancehe was about to
pass without speaking to himbutas he had done the day before

M. Bonacieux accosted him.
Well, young man,said hewe appear to pass rather gay nights!
Seven o'clock in the morning! PESTE! You seem to reverse
ordinary customs, and come home at the hour when other people are
going out.

No one can reproach you for anything of the kind, Monsieur
Bonacieux,said the young man; "you are a model for regular
people. It is true that when a man possesses a young and pretty
wifehe has no need to seek happiness elsewhere. Happiness
comes to meet himdoes it notMonsieur Bonacieux?"

Bonacieux became as pale as deathand grinned a ghastly smile.

Ah, ah!said Bonacieuxyou are a jocular companion! But
where the devil were you gladding last night, my young master?
It does not appear to be very clean in the crossroads.

D'Artagnan glanced down at his bootsall covered with mud; but
that same glance fell upon the shoes and stockings of the mercer
and it might have been said they had been dipped in the same mud
heap. Both were stained with splashes of mud of the same
appearance.

Then a sudden idea crossed the mind of d'Artagnan. That little
stout manshort and elderlythat sort of lackeydressed in
dark clothestreated without ceremony by the men wearing swords
who composed the escortwas Bonacieux himself. The husband had
presided at the abduction of his wife.


A terrible inclination seized d'Artagnan to grasp the mercer by
the throat and strangle him; butas we have saidhe was a very
prudent youthand he restrained himself. Howeverthe
revolution which appeared upon his countenance was so visible
that Bonacieux was terrified at itand he endeavored to draw
back a step or two; but as he was standing before the half of the
door which was shutthe obstacle compelled him to keep his
place.

Ah, but you are joking, my worthy man!said d'Artagnan. It
appears to me that if my boots need a spongeyour stockings and
shoes stand in equal need of a brush. May you not have been
philandering a little alsoMonsieur Bonacieux? Ohthe devil!
That's unpardonable in a man of your ageand who besideshas
such a pretty wife as yours."

Oh, Lord! no,said Bonacieuxbut yesterday I went to St.
Mande to make some inquiries after a servant, as I cannot
possibly do without one; and the roads were so bad that I brought
back all this mud, which I have not yet had time to remove.

The place named by Bonacieux as that which had been the object of
his journey was a fresh proof in support of the suspicions
d'Artagnan had conceived. Bonacieux had named Mande because
Mande was in an exactly opposite direction from St. Cloud. This
probability afforded him his first consolation. If Bonacieux
knew where his wife wasone mightby extreme meansforce the
mercer to open his teeth and let his secret escape. The
questionthenwas how to change this probability into a
certainty.

Pardon, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux, if I don't stand upon
ceremony,said d'Artagnanbut nothing makes one so thirsty as
want of sleep. I am parched with thirst. Allow me to take a
glass of water in your apartment; you know that is never refused
among neighbors.

Without waiting for the permission of his hostd'Artagnan went
quickly into the houseand cast a rapid glance at the bed. It
had not been used. Bonacieux had not been abed. He had only
been back an hour or two; he had accompanied his wife to the
place of her confinementor else at least to the first relay.

Thanks, Monsieur Bonacieux,said d'Artagnanemptying his
glassthat is all I wanted of you. I will now go up into my
apartment. I will make Planchet brush my boots; and when he has
done, I will, if you like, send him to you to brush your shoes.

He left the mercer quite astonished at his singular farewelland
asking himself if he had not been a little inconsiderate.

At the top of the stairs he found Planchet in a great fright.

Ah, monsieur!cried Planchetas soon as he perceived his
masterhere is more trouble. I thought you would never come
in.

What's the matter now, Planchet?demanded d'Artagnan.

Oh! I give you a hundred, I give you a thousand times to guess,
monsieur, the visit I received in your absence.

When?


About half an hour ago, while you were at Monsieur de
Treville's.

Who has been here? Come, speak.
Monsieur de Cavois.

Monsieur de Cavois?
In person.

The captain of the cardinal's Guards?
Himself.

Did he come to arrest me?

I have no doubt that he did, monsieur, for all his wheedling
manner.

Was he so sweet, then?
Indeed, he was all honey, monsieur.


Indeed!


He came, he said, on the part of his Eminence, who wished you
well, and to beg you to follow him to the Palais-Royal.*

*It was called the Palais-Cardinal before Richelieu gave it to
the King.

What did you answer him?

That the thing was impossible, seeing that you were not at home,
as he could see.
Well, what did he say then?


That you must not fail to call upon him in the course of the
day; and then he added in a low voice, 'Tell your master that his
Eminence is very well disposed toward him, and that his fortune
perhaps depends upon this interview.'

The snare is rather MALADROIT for the cardinal,replied the
young mansmiling.

Oh, I saw the snare, and I answered you would be quite in
despair on your return.

'Where has he gone?' asked Monsieur de Cavois.

'To Troyes, in Champagne,' I answered.
'And when did he set out?'

'Yesterday evening.'

Planchet, my friend,interrupted d'Artagnanyou are really a
precious fellow.

You will understand, monsieur, I thought there would be still
time, if you wish, to see Monsieur de Cavois to contradict me by


saying you were not yet gone. The falsehood would then lie at my
door, and as I am not a gentleman, I may be allowed to lie.

Be of good heart, Planchet, you shall preserve your reputation
as a veracious man. In a quarter of an hour we set off.

That's the advice I was about to give Monsieur; and where are we
going, may I ask, without being too curious?

PARDIEU! In the opposite direction to that which you said I was
gone. Besides, are you not as anxious to learn news of Grimaud,
Mousqueton, and Bazin as I am to know what has become of Athos,
Porthos, and Aramis?

Yes, monsieur,said Planchetand I will go as soon as you
please. Indeed, I think provincial air will suit us much better
just now than the air of Paris. So then--

So then, pack up our luggage, Planchet, and let us be off. On
my part, I will go out with my hands in my pockets, that nothing
may be suspected. You may join me at the Hotel des Gardes. By
the way, Planchet, I think you are right with respect to our
host, and that he is decidedly a frightfully low wretch.

Ah, monsieur, you may take my word when I tell you anything. I
am a physiognomist, I assure you.

D'Artagnan went out firstas had been agreed upon. Thenin
order that he might have nothing to reproach himself withhe
directed his stepsfor the last timetoward the residences of
his three friends. No news had been received of them; only a
letterall perfumed and of an elegant writing in small
charactershad come for Aramis. D'Artagnan took charge of it.
Ten minutes afterward Planchet joined him at the stables of the
Hotel des Gardes. D'Artagnanin order that there might be no
time losthad saddled his horse himself.

That's well,said he to Planchetwhen the latter added the
portmanteau to the equipment. "Now saddle the other three
horses."

Do you think, then, monsieur, that we shall travel faster with
two horses apiece?said Planchetwith his shrewd air.

No, Monsieur Jester,replied d'Artagnan; "but with our four
horses we may bring back our three friendsif we should have the
good fortune to find them living."

Which is a great chance,replied Planchetbut we must not
despair of the mercy of God.

Amen!said d'Artagnangetting into his saddle.

As they went from the Hotel des Gardesthey separatedleaving
the street at opposite endsone having to quit Paris by the
Barriere de la Villette and the other by the Barriere Montmartre
to meet again beyond St. Denis--a strategic maneuver which
having been executed with equal punctualitywas crowned with the
most fortunate results. D'Artagnan and Planchet entered
Pierrefitte together.

Planchet was more courageousit must be admittedby day than by
night. His natural prudencehowevernever forsook him for a
single instant. He had forgotten not one of the incidents of the


first journeyand he looked upon everybody he met on the road as
an enemy. It followed that his hat was forever in his hand
which procured him some severe reprimands from d'Artagnanwho
feared that his excess of politeness would lead people to think
he was the lackey of a man of no consequence.

Neverthelesswhether the passengers were really touched by the
urbanity of Planchet or whether this time nobody was posted on
the young man's roadour two travelers arrived at Chantilly
without any accidentand alighted at the tavern of Great St.
Martinthe same at which they had stopped on their first
journey.

The hoston seeing a young man followed by a lackey with two
extra horsesadvanced respectfully to the door. Nowas they
had already traveled eleven leaguesd'Artagnan thought it time
to stopwhether Porthos were or were not in the inn. Perhaps it
would not be prudent to ask at once what had become of the
Musketeer. The result of these reflections was that d'Artagnan
without asking information of any kindalightedcommended the
horses to the care of his lackeyentered a small room destined
to receive those who wished to be aloneand desired the host to
bring him a bottle of his best wine and as good a breakfast as
possible--a desire which further corroborated the high opinion
the innkeeper had formed of the traveler at first sight.

D'Artagnan was therefore served with miraculous celerity. The
regiment of the Guards was recruited among the first gentlemen of
the kingdom; and d'Artagnanfollowed by a lackeyand traveling
with four magnificent horsesdespite the simplicity of his
uniformcould not fail to make a sensation. The host desired
himself to serve him; which d'Artagnan perceivingordered two
glasses to be broughtand commenced the following conversation.

My faith, my good host,said d'Artagnanfilling the two
glassesI asked for a bottle of your best wine, and if you have
deceived me, you will be punished in what you have sinned; for
seeing that I hate drinking my myself, you shall drink with me.
Take your glass, then, and let us drink. But what shall we drink
to, so as to avoid wounding any susceptibility? Let us drink to
the prosperity of your establishment.

Your Lordship does me much honor,said the hostand I thank
you sincerely for your kind wish.

But don't mistake,said d'Artagnanthere is more selfishness
in my toast than perhaps you may think--for it is only in
prosperous establishments that one is well received. In hotels
that do not flourish, everything is in confusion, and the
traveler is a victim to the embarrassments of his host. Now, I
travel a great deal, particularly on this road, and I wish to see
all innkeepers making a fortune.

It seems to me,said the hostthat this is not the first time
I have had the honor of seeing Monsieur.

Bah, I have passed perhaps ten times through Chantilly, and out
of the ten times I have stopped three or four times at your house
at least. Why I was here only ten or twelve days ago. I was
conducting some friends, Musketeers, one of whom, by the by, had
a dispute with a stranger--a man who sought a quarrel with him,
for I don't know what.

Exactly so,said the host; "I remember it perfectly. It is not


Monsieur Porthos that your Lordship means?"

Yes, that is my companion's name. My God, my dear host, tell me
if anything has happened to him?

Your Lordship must have observed that he could not continue his
journey.

Why, to be sure, he promised to rejoin us, and we have seen
nothing of him.

He has done us the honor to remain here.

What, he had done you the honor to remain here?

Yes, monsieur, in this house; and we are even a little uneasy--

On what account?

Of certain expenses he has contracted.

Well, but whatever expenses he may have incurred, I am sure he
is in a condition to pay them.

Ah, monsieur, you infuse genuine balm into my blood. We have
made considerable advances; and this very morning the surgeon
declared that if Monsieur Porthos did not pay him, he should look
to me, as it was I who had sent for him.

Porthos is wounded, then?

I cannot tell you, monsieur.

What! You cannot tell me? Surely you ought to be able to tell
me better than any other person.

Yes; but in our situation we must not say all we know-particularly
as we have been warned that our ears should answer
for our tongues.

Well, can I see Porthos?

Certainly, monsieur. Take the stairs on your right; go up the
first flight and knock at Number One. Only warn him that it is
you.

Why should I do that?

Because, monsieur, some mischief might happen to you.

Of what kind, in the name of wonder?

Monsieur Porthos may imagine you belong to the house, and in a
fit of passion might run his sword through you or blow out your
brains.

What have you done to him, then?

We have asked him for money.

The devil! Ah, I can understand that. It is a demand that
Porthos takes very ill when he is not in funds; but I know he
must be so at present.


We thought so, too, monsieur. As our house is carried on very
regularly, and we make out our bills every week, at the end of
eight days we presented our account; but it appeared we had
chosen an unlucky moment, for at the first word on the subject,
he sent us to all the devils. It is true he had been playing the
day before.

Playing the day before! And with whom?

Lord, who can say, monsieur? With some gentleman who was
traveling this way, to whom he proposed a game of LANSQUENET.

That's it, then, and the foolish fellow lost all he had?

Even to his horse, monsieur; for when the gentleman was about to
set out, we perceived that his lackey was saddling Monsieur
Porthos's horse, as well as his master's. When we observed this
to him, he told us all to trouble ourselves about our own
business, as this horse belonged to him. We also informed
Monsieur Porthos of what was going on; but he told us we were
scoundrels to doubt a gentleman's word, and that as he had said
the horse was his, it must be so.

That's Porthos all over,murmured d'Artagnan.

Then,continued the hostI replied that as from the moment we
seemed not likely to come to a good understanding with respect to
payment, I hoped that he would have at least the kindness to
grant the favor of his custom to my brother host of the Golden
Eagle; but Monsieur Porthos replied that, my house being the
best, he should remain where he was. This reply was too
flattering to allow me to insist on his departure. I confined
myself then to begging him to give up his chamber, which is the
handsomest in the hotel, and to be satisfied with a pretty little
room on the third floor; but to this Monsieur Porthos replied
that as he every moment expected his mistress, who was one of the
greatest ladies in the court, I might easily comprehend that the
chamber he did me the honor to occupy in my house was itself very
mean for the visit of such a personage. Nevertheless, while
acknowledging the truth of what he said, I thought proper to
insist; but without even giving himself the trouble to enter into
any discussion with me, he took one of his pistols, laid it on
his table, day and night, and said that at the first word that
should be spoken to him about removing, either within the house
or our of it, he would blow out the brains of the person who
should be so imprudent as to meddle with a matter which only
concerned himself. Since that time, monsieur, nobody entered his
chamber but his servant.

What! Mousqueton is here, then?

Oh, yes, monsieur. Five days after your departure, he came
back, and in a very bad condition, too. It appears that he had
met with disagreeableness, likewise, on his journey. Unfortunately,
he is more nimble than his master; so that for the sake of his
master, he puts us all under his feet, and as he thinks we might
refuse what he asked for, he takes all he wants without asking at
all.

The fact is,said d'ArtagnanI have always observed a great
degree of intelligence and devotedness in Mousqueton.

That is possible, monsieur; but suppose I should happen to be
brought in contact, even four times a year, with such


intelligence and devotedness--why, I should be a ruined man!
No, for Porthos will pay you.
Hum!said the hostin a doubtful tone.
The favorite of a great lady will not be allowed to be


inconvenienced for such a paltry sum as he owes you.
If I durst say what I believe on that head--
What you believe?
I ought rather to say, what I know.
What you know?
And even what I am sure of.
And of what are you so sure?
I would say that I know this great lady.
You?
Yes; I.
And how do you know her?
Oh, monsieur, if I could believe I might trust in your


discretion.


Speak! By the word of a gentleman, you shall have no cause to
repent of your confidence.
Well, monsieur, you understand that uneasiness makes us do many

things.
What have you done?
Oh, nothing which was not right in the character of a creditor.
Well?
Monsieur Porthos gave us a note for his duchess, ordering us to


put it in the post. This was before his servant came. As he
could not leave his chamber, it was necessary to charge us with
this commission.

And then?
Instead of putting the letter in the post, which is never safe,
I took advantage of the journey of one of my lads to Paris, and
ordered him to convey the letter to this duchess himself. This


was fulfilling the intentions of Monsieur Porthos, who had
desired us to be so careful of this letter, was it not?
Nearly so.
Well, monsieur, do you know who this great lady is?
No; I have heard Porthos speak of her, that's all.
Do you know who this pretended duchess is?



I repeat to youI don't know her."

Why, she is the old wife of a procurator* of the Chatelet,
monsieur, named Madame Coquenard, who, although she is at least
fifty, still gives herself jealous airs. It struck me as very
odd that a princess should live in the Rue aux Ours.

*Attorney

But how do you know all this?

Because she flew into a great passion on receiving the letter,
saying that Monsieur Porthos was a weathercock, and that she was
sure it was for some woman he had received this wound.

Has he been wounded, then?

Oh, good Lord! What have I said?

You said that Porthos had received a sword cut.

Yes, but he has forbidden me so strictly to say so.

And why so.

Zounds, monsieur! Because he had boasted that he would
perforate the stranger with whom you left him in dispute; whereas
the stranger, on the contrary, in spite of all his rodomontades
quickly threw him on his back. As Monsieur Porthos is a very
boastful man, he insists that nobody shall know he has received
this wound except the duchess, whom he endeavored to interest by
an account of his adventure.

It is a wound that confines him to his bed?

Ah, and a master stroke, too, I assure you. Your friend's soul
must stick tight to his body.

Were you there, then?

Monsieur, I followed them from curiosity, so that I saw the
combat without the combatants seeing me.

And what took place?

Oh! The affair was not long, I assure you. They placed
themselves on guard; the stranger made a feint and a lunge, and
that so rapidly that when Monsieur Porthos came to the PARADE, he
had already three inches of steel in his breast. He immediately
fell backward. The stranger placed the point of his sword at his
throat; and Monsieur Porthos, finding himself at the mercy of his
adversary, acknowledged himself conquered. Upon which the
stranger asked his name, and learning that it was Porthos, and
not d'Artagnan, he assisted him to rise, brought him back to the
hotel, mounted his horse, and disappeared.

So it was with Monsieur d'Artagnan this stranger meant to
quarrel?

It appears so.

And do you know what has become of him?


No, I never saw him until that moment, and have not seen him
since.

Very well; I know all that I wish to know. Porthos's chamber
is, you say, on the first story, Number One?

Yes, monsieur, the handsomest in the inn--a chamber that I could
have let ten times over.

Bah! Be satisfied,said d'ArtagnanlaughingPorthos will
pay you with the money of the Duchess Coquenard.

Oh, monsieur, procurator's wife or duchess, if she will but
loosen her pursestrings, it will be all the same; but she
positively answered that she was tired of the exigencies and
infidelities of Monsieur Porthos, and that she would not send him
a denier.

And did you convey this answer to your guest?

We took good care not to do that; he would have found in what
fashion we had executed his commission.

So that he still expects his money?

Oh, Lord, yes, monsieur! Yesterday he wrote again; but it was
his servant who this time put the letter in the post.

Do you say the procurator's wife is old and ugly?

Fifty at least, monsieur, and not at all handsome, according to
Pathaud's account.

In that case, you may be quite at ease; she will soon be
softened. Besides, Porthos cannot owe you much.

How, not much! Twenty good pistoles, already, without reckoning
the doctor. He denies himself nothing; it may easily be seen he
has been accustomed to live well.

Never mind; if his mistress abandons him, he will find friends,
I will answer for it. So, my dear host, be not uneasy, and
continue to take all the care of him that his situation
requires.

Monsieur has promised me not to open his mouth about the
procurator's wife, and not to say a word of the wound?

That's agreed; you have my word.

Oh, he would kill me!

Don't be afraid; he is not so much of a devil as he appears.

Saying these wordsd'Artagnan went upstairsleaving his host a
little better satisfied with respect to two things in which he
appeared to be very much interested--his debt and his life.

At the top of the stairsupon the most conspicuous door of the
corridorwas traced in black ink a gigantic number "1."
d'Artagnan knockedand upon the bidding to come in which came
from insidehe entered the chamber.

Porthos was in bedand was playing a game at LANSQUENET with


Mousquetonto keep his hand in; while a spit loaded with
partridges was turning before the fireand on each side of a
large chimneypieceover two chafing disheswere boiling two
stewpansfrom which exhaled a double odor of rabbit and fish
stewsrejoicing to the smell. In addition to this he perceived
that the top of a wardrobe and the marble of a commode were
covered with empty bottles.

At the sight of his friendPorthos uttered a loud cry of joy;
and Mousquetonrising respectfullyyielded his place to him
and went to give an eye to the two stewpansof which he appeared
to have the particular inspection.

Ah, PARDIEU! Is that you?said Porthos to d'Artagnan. "You
are right welcome. Excuse my not coming to meet you; but added
he, looking at d'Artagnan with a certain degree of uneasiness,
you know what has happened to me?"

No.

Has the host told you nothing, then?

I asked after you, and came up as soon as I could.

Porthos seemed to breathe more freely.

And what has happened to you, my dear Porthos?continued
d'Artagnan.

Why, on making a thrust at my adversary, whom I had already hit
three times, and whom I meant to finish with the fourth, I put my
foot on a stone, slipped, and strained my knee.

Truly?

Honor! Luckily for the rascal, for I should have left him dead
on the spot, I assure you.

And what has became of him?

Oh, I don't know; he had enough, and set off without waiting for
the rest. But you, my dear d'Artagnan, what has happened to
you?

So that this strain of the knee,continued d'Artagnanmy dear
Porthos, keeps you in bed?

My God, that's all. I shall be about again in a few days.

Why did you not have yourself conveyed to Paris? You must be
cruelly bored here.

That was my intention; but, my dear friend, I have one thing to
confess to you.

What's that?

It is that as I was cruelly bored, as you say, and as I had the
seventy-five pistoles in my pocket which you had distributed to
me, in order to amuse myself I invited a gentleman who was
traveling this way to walk up, and proposed a cast of dice. He
accepted my challenge, and, my faith, my seventy-five pistoles
passed from my pocket to his, without reckoning my horse, which
he won into the bargain. But you, my dear d'Artagnan?


What can you expect, my dear Porthos; a man is not privileged in
all ways,said d'Artagnan. "You know the proverb 'Unlucky at
playlucky in love.' You are too fortunate in your love for
play not to take its revenge. What consequence can the reverses
of fortune be to you? Have you nothappy rogue that you are-have
you not your duchesswho cannot fail to come to your aid?"

Well, you see, my dear d'Artagnan, with what ill luck I play,
replied Porthoswith the most careless air in the world. "I
wrote to her to send me fifty louis or soof which I stood
absolutely in need on account of my accident."

Well?

Well, she must be at her country seat, for she has not answered
me.

Truly?

No; so I yesterday addressed another epistle to her, still more
pressing than the first. But you are here, my dear fellow, let
us speak of you. I confess I began to be very uneasy on your
account.

But your host behaves very well toward you, as it appears, my
dear Porthos,said d'Artagnandirecting the sick man's
attention to the full stewpans and the empty bottles.

So, so,replied Porthos. "Only three or four days ago the
impertinent jackanapes gave me his billand I was forced to turn
both him and his bill out of the door; so that I am here
something in the fashion of a conquerorholding my positionas
it weremy conquest. So you seebeing in constant fear of
being forced from that positionI am armed to the teeth."

And yet,said d'Artagnanlaughingit appears to me that from
time to time you must make SORTIES.And he again pointed to the
bottles and the stewpans.

Not I, unfortunately!said Porthos. "This miserable strain
confines me to my bed; but Mousqueton foragesand brings in
provisions. Friend Mousquetonyou see that we have a
reinforcementand we must have an increase of supplies."

Mousqueton,said d'Artagnanyou must render me a service.

What, monsieur?

You must give your recipe to Planchet. I may be besieged in my
turn, and I shall not be sorry for him to be able to let me enjoy
the same advantages with which you gratify your master.

Lord, monsieur! There is nothing more easy,said Mousqueton
with a modest air. "One only needs to be sharpthat's all. I
was brought up in the countryand my father in his leisure time
was something of a poacher."

And what did he do the rest of his time?

Monsieur, he carried on a trade which I have always thought
satisfactory.

Which?


As it was a time of war between the Catholics and the Huguenots,
and as he saw the Catholics exterminate the Huguenots and the
Huguenots exterminate the Catholics--all in the name of
religion--he adopted a mixed belief which permitted him to be
sometimes Catholic, sometimes a Huguenot. Now, he was accustomed
to walk with his fowling piece on his shoulder, behind the hedges
which border the roads, and when he saw a Catholic coming alone,
the Protestant religion immediately prevailed in his mind. He
lowered his gun in the direction of the traveler; then, when he
was within ten paces of him, he commenced a conversation which
almost always ended by the traveler's abandoning his purse to
save his life. It goes without saying that when he saw a
Huguenot coming, he felt himself filled with such ardent Catholic
zeal that he could not understand how, a quarter of an hour
before, he had been able to have any doubts upon the superiority
of our holy religion. For my part, monsieur, I am Catholic--my
father, faithful to his principles, having made my elder brother
a Huguenot.

And what was the end of this worthy man?asked d'Artagnan.

Oh, of the most unfortunate kind, monsieur. One day he was
surprised in a lonely road between a Huguenot and a Catholic,
with both of whom he had before had business, and who both knew
him again; so they united against him and hanged him on a tree.
Then they came and boasted of their fine exploit in the cabaret
of the next village, where my brother and I were drinking.

And what did you do?said d'Artagnan.

We let them tell their story out,replied Mousqueton. "Then
as in leaving the cabaret they took different directionsmy
brother went and hid himself on the road of the Catholicand I
on that of the Huguenot. Two hours afterall was over; we had
done the business of bothadmiring the foresight of our poor
fatherwho had taken the precaution to bring each of us up in a
different religion."

Well, I must allow, as you say, your father was a very
intelligent fellow. And you say in his leisure moments the
worthy man was a poacher?

Yes, monsieur, and it was he who taught me to lay a snare and
ground a line. The consequence is that when I saw our laborers,
which did not at all suit two such delicate stomachs as ours, I
had recourse to a little of my old trade. While walking near the
wood of Monsieur le Prince, I laid a few snare in the runs; and
while reclining on the banks of his Highness's pieces of water, I
slipped a few lines into his fish ponds. So that now, thanks be
to God, we do not want, as Monsieur can testify, for partridges,
rabbits, carp or eels--all light, wholesome food, suitable for
the sick.

But the wine,said d'Artagnanwho furnishes the wine? Your
host?

That is to say, yes and no.

How yes and no?

He furnishes it, it is true, but he does not know that he has
that honor.


Explain yourself, Mousqueton; your conversation is full of
instructive things.

That is it, monsieur. It has so chanced that I met with a
Spaniard in my peregrinations who had seen many countries, and
among them the New World.

What connection can the New World have with the bottles which
are on the commode and the wardrobe?

Patience, monsieur, everything will come in its turn.

This Spaniard had in his service a lackey who had accompanied
him in his voyage to Mexico. This lackey was my compatriot; and
we became the more intimate from there being many resemblances of
character between us. We loved sporting of all kinds better than
anything; so that he related to me how in the plains of the
Pampas the natives hunt the tiger and the wild bull with simple
running nooses which they throw to a distance of twenty or thirty
paces the end of a cord with such nicety; but in face of the
proof I was obliged to acknowledge the truth of the recital. My
friend placed a bottle at the distance of thirty paces, and at
each cast he caught the neck of the bottle in his running noose.
I practiced this exercise, and as nature has endowed me with some
faculties, at this day I can throw the lasso with any man in the
world. Well, do you understand, monsieur? Our host has a wellfurnished
cellar the key of which never leaves him; only this
cellar has a ventilating hole. Now through this ventilating
hole I throw my lasso, and as I now know in which part of the
cellar is the best wine, that's my point for sport. You see,
monsieur, what the New World has to do with the bottles which are
on the commode and the wardrobe. Now, will you taste our wine,
and without prejudice say what you think of it?

Thank you, my friend, thank you; unfortunately, I have just
breakfasted.

Well,said Porthosarrange the table, Mousequeton, and while
we breakfast, d'Artagnan will relate to us what has happened to
him during the ten days since he left us.

Willingly,said d'Artagnan.

While Porthos and Mousqueton were breakfastingwith the
appetites of convalescents and with that brotherly cordiality
which unites men in misfortuned'Artagnan related how Aramis
being woundedwas obliged to stop at Crevecoeurhow he had left
Athos fighting at Amiens with four men who accused him of being a
coinerand how hed'Artagnanhad been forced to run the Comtes
de Wardes through the body in order to reach England.

But there the confidence of d'Artagnan stopped. He only added
that on his return from Great Britain he had brought back four
magnificent horses--one for himselfand one for each of his
companions; then he informed Porthos that the one intended for
him was already installed in the stable of the tavern.

At this moment Planchet enteredto inform his master that the
horses were sufficiently refreshed and that it would be possible
to sleep at Clermont.

As d'Artagnan was tolerably reassured with regard to Porthosand
as he was anxious to obtain news of his two other friendshe
held out his hand to the wounded manand told him he was about


to resume his route in order to continue his researches. For the
restas he reckoned upon returning by the same route in seven or
eight daysif Porthos were still at the Great St. Martinhe
would call for him on his way.

Porthos replied that in all probability his sprain would not
permit him to depart yet awhile. Besidesit was necessary he
should stay at Chantilly to wait for the answer from his duchess.

D'Artagnan wished that answer might be prompt and favorable; and
having again recommended Porthos to the care of Mousquetonand
paid his bill to the hosthe resumed his route with Planchet
already relieved of one of his led horses.

26 ARAMIS AND HIS THESIS

D'Artagnan had said nothing to Porthos of his wound or of his
procurator's wife. Our Bernais was a prudent ladhowever young
he might be. Consequently he had appeared to believe all that
the vainglorious Musketeer had told himconvinced that no
friendship will hold out against a surprised secret. Besideswe
feel always a sort of mental superiority over those whose lives
we know better than they suppose. In his projects of intrigue
for the futureand determined as he was to make his three
friends the instruments of his fortuned'Artagnan was not sorry
at getting into his grasp beforehand the invisible strings by
which he reckoned upon moving them.

And yetas he journeyed alonga profound sadness weighed upon
his heart. He thought of that young and pretty Mme. Bonacieux
who was to have paid him the price of his devotedness; but let us
hasten to say that this sadness possessed the young man less from
the regret of the happiness he had missedthan from the fear he
entertained that some serious misfortune had befallen the poor
woman. For himselfhe had no doubt she was a victim of the
cardinal's vengeance; andand as was well knownthe vengeance
of his Eminence was terrible. How he had found grace in the eyes
of the ministerhe did not know; but without doubt M. de Cavois
would have revealed this to him if the captain of the Guards had
found him at home.

Nothing makes time pass more quickly or more shortens a journey
than a thought which absorbs in itself all the faculties of the
organization of him who thinks. External existence then
resembles a sleep of which this thought is the dream. By its
influencetime has no longer measurespace has no longer
distance. We depart from one placeand arrive at anotherthat
is all. Of the interval passednothing remains in the memory
but a vague mist in which a thousand confused images of trees
mountainsand landscapes are lost. It was as a prey to this
hallucination that d'Artagnan traveledat whatever pace his
horse pleasedthe six or eight leagues that separated Chantilly
from Crevecoeurwithout his being able to remember on his
arrival in the village any of the things he had passed or met
with on the road.

There only his memory returned to him. He shook his head
perceived the cabaret at which he had left Aramisand putting
his horse to the trothe shortly pulled up at the door.

This time it was not a host but a hostess who received him.
d'Artagnan was a physiognomist. His eye took in at a glance the


plumpcheerful countenance of the mistress of the placeand he
at once perceived there was no occasion for dissembling with her
or of fearing anything from one blessed with such a joyous
physiognomy.

My good dame,asked d'Artagnancan you tell me what has
become of one of my friends, whom we were obliged to leave here
about a dozen days ago?

A handsome young man, three- or four-and-twenty years old, mild,
amiable, and well made?

That is he--wounded in the shoulder.

Just so. Well, monsieur, he is still here.

Ah, PARDIEU! My dear dame,said d'Artagnanspringing from his
horseand throwing the bridle to Planchetyou restore me to
life; where is this dear Aramis? Let me embrace him, I am in a
hurry to see him again.

Pardon, monsieur, but I doubt whether he can see you at this
moment.

Why so? Has he a lady with him?

Jesus! What do you mean by that? Poor lad! No, monsieur, he
has not a lady with him.

With whom is he, then?

With the curate of Montdidier and the superior of the Jesuits of
Amiens.

Good heavens!cried d'Artagnanis the poor fellow worse,
then?

No, monsieur, quite the contrary; but after his illness grace
touched him, and he determined to take orders.

That's it!said d'ArtagnanI had forgotten that he was only a
Musketeer for a time.

Monsieur still insists upon seeing him?

More than ever.

Well, monsieur has only to take the right-hand staircase in the
courtyard, and knock at Number Five on the second floor.

D'Artagnan walked quickly in the direction indicatedand found
one of those exterior staircases that are still to be seen in the
yards of our old-fashioned taverns. But there was no getting at
the place of sojourn of the future abbe; the defiles of the
chamber of Aramis were as well guarded as the gardens of Armida.
Bazin was stationed in the corridorand barred his passage with
the more intrepidity thatafter many years of trialBazin found
himself near a result of which he had ever been ambitious.

In factthe dream of poor Bazin had always been to serve a
churchman; and he awaited with impatience the momentalways in
the futurewhen Aramis would throw aside the uniform and assume
the cassock. The daily-renewed promise of the young man that the
moment would not long be delayedhad alone kept him in the


service of a Musketeer--a service in whichhe saidhis soul was
in constant jeopardy.

Bazin was then at the height of joy. In all probabilitythis
time his master would not retract. The union of physical pain
with moral uneasiness had produced the effect so long desired.
Aramissuffering at once in body and mindhad at length fixed
his eyes and his thoughts upon religionand he had considered as
a warning from heaven the double accident which had happened to
him; that is to saythe sudden disappearance of his mistress and
the wound in his shoulder.

It may be easily understood that in the present disposition of
his master nothing could be more disagreeable to Bazin than the
arrival of d'Artagnanwhich might cast his master back again
into that vortex of mundane affairs which had so long carried him
away. He resolvedthento defend the door bravely; and as
betrayed by the mistress of the innhe could not say that Aramis
was absenthe endeavored to prove to the newcomer that it would
be the height of indiscretion to disturb his master in his pious
conferencewhich had commenced with the morning and would not
as Bazin saidterminate before night.

But d'Artagnan took very little heed of the eloquent discourse of

M. Bazin; and as he had no desire to support a polemic discussion
with his friend's valethe simply moved him out of the way with
one handand with the other turned the handle of the door of
Number Five. The door openedand d'Artagnan went into the
chamber.
Aramisin a black gownhis head enveloped in a sort of round
flat capnot much unlike a CALOTTEwas seated before an oblong
tablecovered with rolls of paper and enormous volumes in folio.
At his right hand was placed the superior of the Jesuitsand on
his left the curate of Montdidier. The curtains were half drawn
and only admitted the mysterious light calculated for beatific
reveries. All the mundane objects that generally strike the eye
on entering the room of a young manparticularly when that young
man is a Musketeerhad disappeared as if by enchantment; and for
fearno doubtthat the sight of them might bring his master
back to ideas of this worldBazin had laid his hands upon sword
pistolsplumed hatand embroideries and laces of all kinds and
sorts. In their stead d'Artagnan thought he perceived in an
obscure corner a discipline cord suspended from a nail in the
wall.

At the noise made by d'Artagnan in enteringAramis lifted up his
headand beheld his friend; but to the great astonishment of the
young manthe sight of him did not produce much effect upon the
Musketeerso completely was his mind detached from the things of
this world.

Good day, dear d'Artagnan,said Aramis; "believe meI am glad
to see you."

So am I delighted to see you,said d'Artagnanalthough I am
not yet sure that it is Aramis I am speaking to.

To himself, my friend, to himself! But what makes you doubt
it?

I was afraid I had made a mistake in the chamber, and that I had
found my way into the apartment of some churchman. Then another
error seized me on seeing you in company with these gentlemen--I


was afraid you were dangerously ill.

The two men in blackwho guessed d'Artagnan's meaningdarted at
him a glance which might have been thought threatening; but
d'Artagnan took no heed of it.

I disturb you, perhaps, my dear Aramis,continued d'Artagnan
for by what I see, I am led to believe that you are confessing
to these gentlemen.

Aramis colored imperceptibly. "You disturb me? Ohquite the
contrarydear friendI swear; and as a proof of what I say
permit me to declare I am rejoiced to see you safe and sound."

Ah, he'll come round,thought d'Artagnan; "that's not bad!"

This gentleman, who is my friend, has just escaped from a
serious danger,continued Aramiswith unctionpointing to
d'Artagnan with his handand addressing the two ecclesiastics.

Praise God, monsieur,replied theybowing together.

I have not failed to do so, your Reverences,replied the young
manreturning their salutation.

You arrive in good time, dear d'Artagnan,said Aramisand by
taking part in our discussion may assist us with your
intelligence. Monsieur the Principal of Amiens, Monsieur the
Curate of Montdidier, and I are arguing certain theological
questions in which we have been much interested; I shall be
delighted to have your opinion.

The opinion of a swordsman can have very little weight,replied
d'Artagnanwho began to be uneasy at the turn things were
takingand you had better be satisfied, believe me, with the
knowledge of these gentlemen.

The two men in black bowed in their turn.

On the contrary,replied Aramisyour opinion will be very
valuable. The question is this: Monsieur the Principal thinks
that my thesis ought to be dogmatic and didactic.

Your thesis! Are you then making a thesis?

Without doubt,replied the Jesuit. "In the examination which
precedes ordinationa thesis is always a requisite."

Ordination!cried d'Artagnanwho could not believe what the
hostess and Bazin had successively told him; and he gazedhalf
stupefiedupon the three persons before him.

Now,continued Aramistaking the same graceful position in his
easy chair that he would have assumed in bedand complacently
examining his handwhich was as white and plump as that of a
womanand which he held in the air to cause the blood to
descendnow, as you have heard, d'Artagnan, Monsieur the
Principal is desirous that my thesis should be dogmatic, while I,
for my part, would rather it should be ideal. This is the reason
why Monsieur the Principal has proposed to me the following
subject, which has not yet been treated upon, and in which I
perceive there is matter for magnificent elaboration-'UTRAQUE
MANUS IN BENEDICENDO CLERICIS INFERIORIBUS NECESSARIA EST.'


D'Artagnanwhose erudition we are well acquainted withevinced
no more interest on hearing this quotation than he had at that of

M. de Treville in allusion to the gifts he pretended that
d'Artagnan had received from the Duke of Buckingham.
Which means,resumed Aramisthat he might perfectly
understand'The two hands are indispensable for priests of the
inferior orders, when they bestow the benediction.'

An admirable subject!cried the Jesuit.

Admirable and dogmatic!repeated the curatewhoabout as
strong as d'Artagnan with respect to Latincarefully watched the
Jesuit in order to keep step with himand repeated his words
like an echo.

As to d'Artagnanhe remained perfectly insensible to the
enthusiasm of the two men in black.

Yes, admirable! PRORSUS ADMIRABILE!continued Aramis; "but
which requires a profound study of both the Scriptures and the
Fathers. NowI have confessed to these learned ecclesiastics
and that in all humilitythat the duties of mounting guard and
the service of the king have caused me to neglect study a little.
I should find myselfthereforemore at my easeFACILUS NATANS
in a subject of my own choicewhich would be to these hard
theological questions what morals are to metaphysics in
philosophy."

D'Artagnan began to be tiredand so did the curate.

See what an exordium!cried the Jesuit.

Exordium,repeated the curatefor the sake of saying
something. "QUEMADMODUM INTER COELORUM IMMENSITATEM."

Aramis cast a glance upon d'Artagnan to see what effect all this
producedand found his friend gaping enough to split his jaws.

Let us speak French, my father,said he to the Jesuit;
Monsieur d'Artagnan will enjoy our conversation better.

Yes,replied d'Artagnan; "I am fatigued with readingand all
this Latin confuses me."

Certainly,replied the Jesuita little put outwhile the
curategreatly delightedturned upon d'Artagnan a look full of
gratitude. "Welllet us see what is to be derived from this
gloss. Mosesthe servant of God-he was but a servantplease to
understand-Moses blessed with the hands; he held out both his
arms while the Hebrews beat their enemiesand then he blessed
them with his two hands. Besideswhat does the Gospel say?
IMPONITE MANUSand not MANUM-place the HANDSnot the HAND."

Place the HANDS,repeated the curatewith a gesture.

St. Peter, on the contrary, of whom the Popes are the
successors,continued the Jesuit; "PORRIGE DIGITOS-present the
fingers. Are you therenow?"

CERTES,replied Aramisin a pleased tonebut the thing is
subtle.

The FINGERS,resumed the JesuitSt. Peter blessed with the


FINGERS. The Pope, therefore blesses with the fingers. And with
how many fingers does he bless? With THREE fingers, to be sureone
for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost.

All crossed themselves. D'Artagnan thought it was proper to
follow this example.

The Pope is the successor of St. Peter, and represents the three
divine powers; the rest-ORDINES INFERIORES-of the ecclesiastical
hierarchy bless in the name of the holy archangels and angels.
The most humble clerks such as our deacons and sacristans, bless
with holy water sprinklers, which resemble an infinite number of
blessing fingers. There is the subject simplified. ARGUMENTUM
OMNI DENUDATUM ORNAMENTO. I could make of that subject two
volumes the size of this,continued the Jesuit; and in his
enthusiasm he struck a St. Chrysostom in foliowhich made the
table bend beneath its weight.

D'Artagnan trembled.

CERTES,said AramisI do justice to the beauties of this
thesis; but at the same time I perceive it would be overwhelming
for me. I had chosen this text-tell me, dear d'Artagnan, if it
is not to your taste-'NON INUTILE EST DESIDERIUM IN OBLATIONE';
that is, 'A little regret is not unsuitable in an offering to the
Lord.'

Stop there!cried the Jesuitfor that thesis touches closely
upon heresy. There is a proposition almost like it in the
AUGUSTINUS of the heresiarch Jansenius, whose book will sooner or
later be burned by the hands of the executioner. Take care, my
young friend. You are inclining toward false doctrines, my young
friend; you will be lost.

You will be lost,said the curateshaking his head
sorrowfully.

You approach that famous point of free will which is a mortal
rock. You face the insinuations of the Pelagians and the semi-
Pelagians.

But, my Reverend-replied Aramisa little amazed by the shower
of arguments that poured upon his head.

How will you prove,continued the Jesuitwithout allowing him
time to speakthat we ought to regret the world when we offer
ourselves to God? Listen to this dilemma: God is God, and the
world is the devil. To regret the world is to regret the devil;
that is my conclusion.

And that is mine also,said the curate.

But, for heaven's sake-resumed Aramis.

DESIDERAS DIABOLUM, unhappy man!cried the Jesuit.

He regrets the devil! Ah, my young friend,added the curate
groaningdo not regret the devil, I implore you!

D'Artagnan felt himself bewildered. It seemed to him as though
he were in a madhouseand was becoming as mad as those he saw.
He washoweverforced to hold his tongue from not comprehending
half the language they employed.


But listen to me, then,resumed Aramis with politeness mingled
with a little impatience. "I do not say I regret; noI will
never pronounce that sentencewhich would not be orthodox."


The Jesuit raised his hands toward heavenand the curate did the
same.


No; but pray grant me that it is acting with an ill grace to
offer to the Lord only that with which we are perfectly
disgusted! Don't you think so, d'Artagnan?


I think so, indeed,cried he.


The Jesuit and the curate quite started from their chairs.


This is the point of departure; it is a syllogism. The world is
not wanting in attractions. I quit the world; then I make a
sacrifice. Now, the Scripture says positively, 'Make a sacrifice
unto the Lord.'


That is true,said his antagonists.


And then,said Aramispinching his ear to make it redas he
rubbed his hands to make them whiteand then I made a certain
RONDEAU upon it last year, which I showed to Monsieur Voiture,
and that great man paid me a thousand compliments.


A RONDEAU!said the Jesuitdisdainfully.


A RONDEAU!said the curatemechanically.


Repeat it! Repeat it!cried d'Artagnan; "it will make a little
change."


Not so, for it is religious,replied Aramis; "it is theology in
verse."


The devil!said d'Artagnan.


Here it is,said Aramiswith a little look of diffidence
whichhoweverwas not exempt from a shade of hypocrisy:


Vous qui pleurez un passe plein de charmes,
Et qui trainez des jours infortunes,
Tous vos malheurs se verront termines,
Quand a Dieu seul vous offrirez vos larmes,
Vous qui pleurez!


You who weep for pleasures fled,
While dragging on a life of care,
All your woes will melt in air,
If to God your tears are shed,
You who weep!


d'Artagnan and the curate appeared pleased. The Jesuit persisted
in his opinion. "Beware of a profane taste in your theological
style. What says Augustine on this subject: "'SEVERUS SIT
CLERICORUM VERBO.'"


Yes, let the sermon be clear,said the curate.


Now,hastily interrupted the Jesuiton seeing that his acolyte



was going astraynow your thesis would please the ladies; it
would have the success of one of Monsieur Patru's pleadings.

Please God!cried Aramistransported.

There it is,cried the Jesuit; "the world still speaks within
you in a loud voiceALTISIMMA VOCE. You follow the worldmy
young friendand I tremble lest grace prove not efficacious."

Be satisfied, my reverend father, I can answer for myself.

Mundane presumption!

I know myself, Father; my resolution is irrevocable.

Then you persist in continuing that thesis?

I feel myself called upon to treat that, and no other. I will
see about the continuation of it, and tomorrow I hope you will be
satisfied with the corrections I shall have made in consequence
of your advice.

Work slowly,said the curate; "we leave you in an excellent
tone of mind."

Yes, the ground is all sown,said the Jesuitand we have not
to fear that one portion of the seed may have fallen upon stone,
another upon the highway, or that the birds of heaven have eaten
the rest, AVES COELI COMEDERUNT ILLAM.

Plague stifle you and your Latin!said d'Artagnanwho began to
feel all his patience exhausted.

Farewell, my son,said the curatetill tomorrow.

Till tomorrow, rash youth,said the Jesuit. "You promise to
become one of the lights of the Church. Heaven grant that this
light prove not a devouring fire!"

D'Artagnanwho for an hour past had been gnawing his nails with
impatiencewas beginning to attack the quick.

The two men in black rosebowed to Aramis and d'Artagnanand
advanced toward the door. Bazinwho had been standing listening
to all this controversy with a pious jubilationsprang toward
themtook the breviary of the curate and the missal of the
Jesuitand walked respectfully before them to clear their way.

Aramis conducted them to the foot of the stairsand then
immediately came up again to d'Artagnanwhose senses were still
in a state of confusion.

When left alonethe two friends at first kept an embarrassed
silence. It however became necessary for one of them to break it
firstand as d'Artagnan appeared determined to leave that honor
to his companionAramis saidyou see that I am returned to my
fundamental ideas.

Yes, efficacious grace has touched you, as that gentleman said
just now.

Oh, these plans of retreat have been formed for a long time.
You have often heard me speak of them, have you not, my friend?


Yes; but I confess I always thought you jested.

With such things! Oh, d'Artagnan!

The devil! Why, people jest with death.

And people are wrong, d'Artagnan; for death is the door which
leads to perdition or to salvation.

Granted; but if you please, let us not theologize, Aramis. You
must have had enough for today. As for me, I have almost
forgotten the little Latin I have ever known. Then I confess to
you that I have eaten nothing since ten o'clock this morning, and
I am devilish hungry.

We will dine directly, my friend; only you must please to
remember that this is Friday. Now, on such a day I can neither
eat flesh nor see it eaten. If you can be satisfied with my
dinner-it consists of cooked tetragones and fruits.

What do you mean by tetragones?asked d'Artagnanuneasily.

I mean spinach,replied Aramis; "but on your account I will add
some eggsand that is a serious infraction of the rule-for eggs
are meatsince they engender chickens."

This feast is not very succulent; but never mind, I will put up
with it for the sake of remaining with you.

I am grateful to you for the sacrifice,said Aramis; "but if
your body be not greatly benefited by itbe assured your soul
will."

And so, Aramis, you are decidedly going into the Church? What
will our two friends say? What will Monsieur de Treville say?
They will treat you as a deserter, I warn you.

I do not enter the Church; I re-enter it. I deserted the Church
for the world, for you know that I forced myself when I became a
Musketeer.

I? I know nothing about it.

You don't know I quit the seminary?

Not at all.

This is my story, then. Besides, the Scriptures say, 'Confess
yourselves to one another,' and I confess to you, d'Artagnan.

And I give you absolution beforehand. You see I am a good sort
of a man.

Do not jest about holy things, my friend.

Go on, then, I listen.

I had been at the seminary from nine years old; in three days I
should have been twenty. I was about to become an abbe, and all
was arranged. One evening I went, according to custom, to a
house which I frequented with much pleasure: when one is young,
what can be expected?--one is weak. An officer who saw me, with
a jealous eye, reading the LIVES OF THE SAINTS to the mistress of
the house, entered suddenly and without being announced. That


evening I had translated an episode of Judith, and had just
communicated my verses to the lady, who gave me all sorts of
compliments, and leaning on my shoulder, was reading them a
second time with me. Her pose, which I must admit was rather
free, wounded this officer. He said nothing; but when I went out
he followed, and quickly came up with me. 'Monsieur the Abbe,'
said he, 'do you like blows with a cane?' 'I cannot say,
monsieur,' answered I; 'no one has ever dared to give me any.'
'Well, listen to me, then, Monsieur the Abbe! If you venture
again into the house in which I have met you this evening, I will
dare it myself.' I really think I must have been frightened. I
became very pale; I felt my legs fail me; I sought for a reply,
but could find none-I was silent. The officer waited for his
reply, and seeing it so long coming, he burst into a laugh,
turned upon his heel, and re-entered the house. I returned to
the seminary.

I am a gentleman bornand my blood is warmas you may have
remarkedmy dear d'Artagnan. The insult was terribleand
although unknown to the rest of the worldI felt it live and
fester at the bottom of my heart. I informed my superiors that I
did not feel myself sufficiently prepared for ordinationand at
my request the ceremony was postponed for a year. I sought out
the best fencing master in ParisI made an agreement with him to
take a lesson every dayand every day for a year I took that
lesson. Thenon the anniversary of the day on which I had been
insultedI hung my cassock on a pegassumed the costume of a
cavalierand went to a ball given by a lady friend of mine and
to which I knew my man was invited. It was in the Rue des
France-Bourgeoisclose to La Force. As I expectedmy officer
was there. I went up to him as he was singing a love ditty and
looking tenderly at a ladyand interrupted him exactly in the
middle of the second couplet. 'Monsieur' said I'does it still
displease you that I should frequent a certain house of La Rue
Payenne? And would you still cane me if I took it into my head
to disobey you? The officer looked at me with astonishmentand
then said'What is your business with memonsieur? I do not
know you.' 'I am' said I'the little abbe who reads LIVES OF
THE SAINTSand translates Judith into verse.' 'Ahah! I
recollect now' said the officerin a jeering tone; 'wellwhat
do you want with me?' 'I want you to spare time to take a walk
with me.' 'Tomorrow morningif you likewith the greatest
pleasure.' 'Nonot tomorrow morningif you pleasebut
immediately.' 'If you absolutely insist.' 'I do insist upon
it.' 'Comethen. Ladies' said the officer'do not disturb
yourselves; allow me time just to kill this gentlemanand I will
return and finish the last couplet.'

We went out. I took him to the Rue Payenne, to exactly the same
spot where, a year before, at the very same hour, he had paid me
the compliment I have related to you. It was a superb moonlight
night. We immediately drew, and at the first pass I laid him
stark dead.

The devil!cried d'Artagnan.

Now,continued Aramisas the ladies did not see the singer
come back, and as he was found in the Rue Payenne with a great
sword wound through his body, it was supposed that I had
accommodated him thus; and the matter created some scandal which
obliged me to renounce the cassock for a time. Athos, whose
acquaintance I made about that period, and Porthos, who had in
addition to my lessons taught me some effective tricks of fence,
prevailed upon me to solicit the uniform of a Musketeer. The


king entertained great regard for my father, who had fallen at
the siege of Arras, and the uniform was granted. You may understand
that the moment has come for me to re-enter the bosom of the
Church.

And why today, rather than yesterday or tomorrow? What has
happened to you today, to raise all these melancholy ideas?

This wound, my dear d'Artagnan, has been a warning to me from
heaven.

This wound? Bah, it is now nearly healed, and I am sure it is
not that which gives you the most pain.

What, then?said Aramisblushing.

You have one at heart, Aramis, one deeper and more painful--a
wound made by a woman.

The eye of Aramis kindled in spite of himself.

Ah,said hedissembling his emotion under a feigned
carelessnessdo not talk of such things, and suffer love pains?
VANITAS VANITATUM! According to your idea, then, my brain is
turned. And for whom-for some GRISETTE, some chambermaid with
whom I have trifled in some garrison? Fie!

Pardon, my dear Aramis, but I thought you carried your eyes
higher.

Higher? And who am I, to nourish such ambition? A poor
Musketeer, a beggar, an unknown-who hates slavery, and finds
himself ill-placed in the world.

Aramis, Aramis!cried d'Artagnanlooking at his friend with an
air of doubt.

Dust I am, and to dust I return. Life is full of humiliations
and sorrows,continued hebecoming still more melancholy; "all
the ties which attach him to life break in the hand of man
particularly the golden ties. Ohmy dear d'Artagnan resumed
Aramis, giving to his voice a slight tone of bitterness, trust
me! Conceal your wounds when you have any; silence is the last
joy of the unhappy. Beware of giving anyone the clue to your
griefs; the curious suck our tears as flies suck the blood of a
wounded hart."

Alas, my dear Aramis,said d'Artagnanin his turn heaving a
profound sighthat is my story you are relating!

How?

Yes; a woman whom I love, whom I adore, has just been torn from
me by force. I do not know where she is or whither they have
conducted her. She is perhaps a prisoner; she is perhaps dead!

Yes, but you have at least this consolation, that you can say to
yourself she has not quit you voluntarily, that if you learn no
news of her, it is because all communication with you in
interdicted; while I--

Well?

Nothing,replied Aramisnothing.


So you renounce the world, then, forever; that is a settled
thing--a resolution registered!

Forever! You are my friend today; tomorrow you will be no more
to me than a shadow, or rather, even, you will no longer exist.
As for the world, it is a sepulcher and nothing else.

The devil! All this is very sad which you tell me.

What will you? My vocation commands me; it carries me away.

D'Artagnan smiledbut made no answer.

Aramis continuedAnd yet, while I do belong to the earth, I
wish to speak of you--of our friends.

And on my part,said d'ArtagnanI wished to speak of you, but
I find you so completely detached from everything! To love you
cry, 'Fie! Friends are shadows! The world is a sepulcher!'

Alas, you will find it so yourself,said Aramiswith a sigh.

Well, then, let us say no more about it,said d'Artagnan; "and
let us burn this letterwhichno doubtannounces to you some
fresh infidelity of your GRISETTE or your chambermaid."

What letter?cried Aramiseagerly.

A letter which was sent to your abode in your absence, and which
was given to me for you.

But from whom is that letter?

Oh, from some heartbroken waiting woman, some desponding
GRISETTE; from Madame de Chevreuse's chambermaid, perhaps, who
was obliged to return to Tours with her mistress, and who, in
order to appear smart and attractive, stole some perfumed paper,
and sealed her letter with a duchess's coronet.

What do you say?

Hold! I must have lost it,said the young man maliciously
pretending to search for it. "But fortunately the world is a
sepulcher; the menand consequently the womenare but shadows
and love is a sentiment to which you cry'Fie! Fie!'"

d'Artagnan, d'Artagnan,cried Aramisyou are killing me!

Well, here it is at last!said d'Artagnanas he drew the
letter from his pocket.

Aramis made a boundseized the letterread itor rather
devoured ithis countenance radiant.

This same waiting maid seems to have an agreeable style,said
the messengercarelessly.

Thanks, d'Artagnan, thanks!cried Aramisalmost in a state of
delirium. "She was forced to return to Tours; she is not
faithless; she still loves me! Comemy friendcomelet me
embrace you. Happiness almost stifles me!"

The two friends began to dance around the venerable St.


Chrysostomkicking about famously the sheets of the thesis
which had fallen on the floor.

At that moment Bazin entered with the spinach and the omelet.

Be off, you wretch!cried Aramisthrowing his skullcap in his
face. "Return whence you came; take back those horrible
vegetablesand that poor kickshaw! Order a larded harea fat
caponmutton leg dressed with garlicand four bottles of old
Burgundy."

Bazinwho looked at his masterwithout comprehending the cause
of this changein a melancholy mannerallowed the omelet to
slip into the spinachand the spinach onto the floor.

Now this is the moment to consecrate your existence to the King
of kings,said d'Artagnanif you persist in offering him a
civility. NON INUTILE DESIDERIUM OBLATIONE.

Go to the devil with your Latin. Let us drink, my dear
d'Artagnan, MORBLEU! Let us drink while the wine is fresh! Let
us drink heartily, and while we do so, tell me a little of what
is going on in the world yonder.

27 THE WIFE OF ATHOS

We have now to search for Athos,said d'Artagnan to the
vivacious Aramiswhen he had informed him of all that had passed
since their departure from the capitaland an excellent dinner
had made one of them forget his thesis and the other his fatigue.

Do you think, then, that any harm can have happened to him?
asked Aramis. "Athos is so coolso braveand handles his sword
so skillfully."

No doubt. Nobody has a higher opinion of the courage and skill
of Athos than I have; but I like better to hear my sword clang
against lances than against staves. I fear lest Athos should
have been beaten down by serving men. Those fellows strike hard,
and don't leave off in a hurry. This is why I wish to set out
again as soon as possible.

I will try to accompany you,said Aramisthough I scarcely
feel in a condition to mount on horseback. Yesterday I undertook
to employ that cord which you see hanging against the wall, but
pain prevented my continuing the pious exercise.

That's the first time I ever heard of anybody trying to cure
gunshot wounds with cat-o'-nine-tails; but you were ill, and
illness renders the head weak, therefore you may be excused.

When do you mean to set out?

Tomorrow at daybreak. Sleep as soundly as you can tonight, and
tomorrow, if you can, we will take our departure together.

Till tomorrow, then,said Aramis; "for iron-nerved as you are
you must need repose."

The next morningwhen d'Artagnan entered Aramis's chamberhe
found him at the window.


What are you looking at?asked d'Artagnan.

My faith! I am admiring three magnificent horses which the
stable boys are leading about. It would be a pleasure worthy of
a prince to travel upon such horses.

Well, my dear Aramis, you may enjoy that pleasure, for one of
those three horses is yours.

Ah, bah! Which?

Whichever of the three you like, I have no preference.

And the rich caparison, is that mine, too?

Without doubt.

You laugh, d'Artagnan.

No, I have left off laughing, now that you speak French.

What, those rich holsters, that velvet housing, that saddle
studded with silver-are they all for me?

For you and nobody else, as the horse which paws the ground is
mine, and the other horse, which is caracoling, belongs to
Athos.

PESTE! They are three superb animals!

I am glad they please you.

Why, it must have been the king who made you such a present.

Certainly it was not the cardinal; but don't trouble yourself
whence they come, think only that one of the three is your
property.

I choose that which the red-headed boy is leading.

It is yours!

Good heaven! That is enough to drive away all my pains; I could
mount him with thirty balls in my body. On my soul, handsome
stirrups! HOLA, Bazin, come here this minute.

Bazin appeared on the thresholddull and spiritless.

That last order is useless,interrupted d'Artagnan; "there are
loaded pistols in your holsters."

Bazin sighed.

Come, Monsieur Bazin, make yourself easy,said d'Artagnan;
people of all conditions gain the kingdom of heaven.

Monsieur was already such a good theologian,said Bazinalmost
weeping; "he might have become a bishopand perhaps a cardinal."

Well, but my poor Bazin, reflect a little. Of what use is it to
be a churchman, pray? You do not avoid going to war by that
means; you see, the cardinal is about to make the next campaign,
helm on head and partisan in hand. And Monsieur de Nogaret de la
Valette, what do you say of him? He is a cardinal likewise. Ask


his lackey how often he has had to prepare lint of him.

Alas!sighed Bazin. "I know itmonsieur; everything is turned
topsy-turvy in the world nowadays."

While this dialogue was going onthe two young men and the poor
lackey descended.

Hold my stirrup, Bazin,cried Aramis; and Aramis sprang into
the saddle with his usual grace and agilitybut after a few
vaults and curvets of the noble animal his rider felt his pains
come on so insupportably that he turned pale and became unsteady
in his seat. D'Artagnanwhoforeseeing such an eventhad kept
his eye on himsprang toward himcaught him in his armsand
assisted him to his chamber.

That's all right, my dear Aramis, take care of yourself,said
he; "I will go alone in search of Athos."

You are a man of brass,replied Aramis.

No, I have good luck, that is all. But how do you mean to pass
your time till I come back? No more theses, no more glosses upon
the fingers or upon benedictions, hey?

Aramis smiled. "I will make verses said he.

YesI dare say; verses perfumed with the odor of the billet
from the attendant of Madame de Chevreuse. Teach Bazin prosody;
that will console him. As to the horseride him a little every
dayand that will accustom you to his maneuvers."

Oh, make yourself easy on that head,replied Aramis. "You will
find me ready to follow you."

They took leave of each otherand in ten minutesafter having
commended his friend to the cares of the hostess and Bazin
d'Artagnan was trotting along in the direction of Ameins.

How was he going to find Athos? Should he find him at all? The
position in which he had left him was critical. He probably had
succumbed. This ideawhile darkening his browdrew several
sighs from himand caused him to formulate to himself a few vows
of vengeance. Of all his friendsAthos was the eldestand the
least resembling him in appearancein his tastes and sympathies.

Yet he entertained a marked preference for this gentleman. The
noble and distinguished air of Athosthose flashes of greatness
which from time to time broke out from the shade in which he
voluntarily kept himselfthat unalterable equality of temper
which made him the most pleasant companion in the worldthat
forced and cynical gaietythat bravery which might have been
termed blind if it had not been the result of the rarest
coolness--such qualities attracted more than the esteemmore than
the friendship of d'Artagnan; they attracted his admiration.

Indeedwhen placed beside M. de Trevillethe elegant and noble
courtierAthos in his most cheerful days might advantageously
sustain a comparison. He was of middle height; but his person
was so admirably shaped and so well proportioned that more than
once in his struggles with Porthos he had overcome the giant
whose physical strength was proverbial among the Musketeers. His
headwith piercing eyesa straight nosea chin cut like that
of Brutushad altogether an indefinable character of grandeur


and grace. His handsof which he took little carewere the
despair of Aramiswho cultivated his with almond paste and
perfumed oil. The sound of his voice was at once penetrating and
melodious; and thenthat which was inconceivable in Athoswho
was always retiringwas that delicate knowledge of the world and
of the usages of the most brilliant society--those manners of a
high degree which appearedas if unconsciously to himselfin
his least actions.

If a repast were on footAthos presided over it better than any
otherplacing every guest exactly in the rank which his
ancestors had earned for him or that he had made for himself. If
a question in heraldry were startedAthos knew all the noble
families of the kingdomtheir genealogytheir alliancestheir
coats of armsand the origin of them. Etiquette had no minutiae
unknown to him. He knew what were the rights of the great land
owners. He was profoundly versed in hunting and falconryand
had one day when conversing on this great art astonished even
Louis XIII himselfwho took a pride in being considered a past
master therein.

Like all the great nobles of that periodAthos rode and fenced
to perfection. But still furtherhis education had been so
little neglectedeven with respect to scholastic studiesso
rare at this time among gentlementhat he smiled at the scraps
of Latin which Aramis sported and which Porthos pretended to
understand. Two or three timesevento the great astonishment
of his friendshe hadwhen Aramis allowed some rudimental error
to escape himreplaced a verb in its right tense and a noun in
its case. Besideshis probity was irreproachablein an age in
which soldiers compromised so easily with their religion and
their conscienceslovers with the rigorous delicacy of our era
and the poor with God's Seventh Commandment. This Athosthen
was a very extraordinary man.

And yet this nature so distinguishedthis creature so beautiful
this essence so finewas seen to turn insensibly toward material
lifeas old men turn toward physical and moral imbecility.
Athosin his hours of gloom--and these hours were frequent--was
extinguished as to the whole of the luminous portion of himand
his brilliant side disappeared as into profound darkness.

Then the demigod vanished; he remained scarcely a man. His head
hanging downhis eye dullhis speech slow and painfulAthos
would look for hours together at his bottlehis glassor at
Grimaudwhoaccustomed to obey him by signsread in the faint
glance of his master his least desireand satisfied it
immediately. If the four friends were assembled at one of these
momentsa wordthrown forth occasionally with a violent effort
was the share Athos furnished to the conversation. In exchange
for his silence Athos drank enough for fourand without
appearing to be otherwise affected by wine than by a more marked
constriction of the brow and by a deeper sadness.

D'Artagnanwhose inquiring disposition we are acquainted with
had not--whatever interest he had in satisfying his curiosity on
this subject--been able to assign any cause for these fits of for
the periods of their recurrence. Athos never received any
letters; Athos never had concerns which all his friends did not
know.

It could not be said that it was wine which produced this
sadness; for in truth he only drank to combat this sadnesswhich
wine howeveras we have saidrendered still darker. This


excess of bilious humor could not be attributed to play; for
unlike Porthoswho accompanied the variations of chance with
songs or oathsAthos when he won remained as unmoved as when he
lost. He had been knownin the circle of the Musketeersto win
in one night three thousand pistoles; to lose them even to the
gold-embroidered belt for gala dayswin all this again with the
addition of a hundred louiswithout his beautiful eyebrow being
heightened or lowered half a linewithout his hands losing their
pearly huewithout his conversationwhich was cheerful that
eveningceasing to be calm and agreeable.

Neither was itas with our neighborsthe Englishan
atmospheric influence which darkened his countenance; for the
sadness generally became more intense toward the fine season of
the year. June and July were the terrible months with Athos.

For the present he had no anxiety. He shrugged his shoulders
when people spoke of the future. His secretthenwas in the
pastas had often been vaguely said to d'Artagnan.

This mysterious shadespread over his whole personrendered
still more interesting the man whose eyes or moutheven in the
most complete intoxicationhad never revealed anythinghowever
skillfully questions had been put to him.

Well,thought d'Artagnanpoor Athos is perhaps at this moment
dead, and dead by my fault--for it was I who dragged him into this
affair, of which he did not know the origin, of which he is
ignorant of the result, and from which he can derive no
advantage.

Without reckoning, monsieur,added Planchet to his master's
audibly expressed reflectionsthat we perhaps owe our lives to
him. Do you remember how he cried, 'On, d'Artagnan, on, I am
taken'? And when he had discharged his two pistols, what a
terrible noise he made with his sword! One might have said that
twenty men, or rather twenty mad devils, were fighting.

These words redoubled the eagerness of d'Artagnanwho urged his
horsethough he stood in need of no incitementand they
proceeded at a rapid pace. About eleven o'clock in the morning
they perceived Ameinsand at half past eleven they were at the
door of the cursed inn.

D'Artagnan had often meditated against the perfidious host one of
those hearty vengeances which offer consolation while they are
hoped for. He entered the hostelry with his hat pulled over his
eyeshis left hand on the pommel of the swordand cracking his
whip with his right hand.

Do you remember me?said he to the hostwho advanced to greet
him.

I have not that honor, monseigneur,replied the latterhis
eyes dazzled by the brilliant style in which d'Artagnan traveled.

What, you don't know me?

No, monseigneur.

Well, two words will refresh your memory. What have you done
with that gentleman against whom you had the audacity, about
twelve days ago, to make an accusation of passing false money?


The host became as pale as death; for d'Artagnan had assumed a
threatening attitudeand Planchet modeled himself after his
master.

Ah, monseigneur, do not mention it!cried the hostin the most
pitiable voice imaginable. "Ahmonseigneurhow dearly have I
paid for that faultunhappy wretch as I am!"

That gentleman, I say, what has become of him?

Deign to listen to me, monseigneur, and be merciful! Sit down,
in mercy!

D'Artagnanmute with anger and anxietytook a seat in the
threatening attitude of a judge. Planchet glared fiercely over
the back of his armchair.

Here is the story, monseigneur,resumed the trembling host;
for I now recollect you. It was you who rode off at the moment
I had that unfortunate difference with the gentleman you speak
of.

Yes, it was I; so you may plainly perceive that you have no
mercy to expect of you do not tell me the whole truth.

Condescend to listen to me, and you shall know all.

I listen.

I had been warned by the authorities that a celebrated coiner of
bad money would arrive at my inn, with several of his companions,
all disguised as Guards or Musketeers. Monseigneur, I was
furnished with a description of your horses, your lackeys, your
countenances--nothing was omitted.

Go on, go on!said d'Artagnanwho quickly understood whence
such an exact description had come.

I took then, in conformity with the orders of the authorities,
who sent me a reinforcement of six men, such measures as I
thought necessary to get possession of the persons of the
pretended coiners.

Again!said d'Artagnanwhose ears chafed terribly under the
repetition of this word COINERs.

Pardon me, monseigneur, for saying such things, but they form my
excuse. The authorities had terrified me, and you know that an
innkeeper must keep on good terms with the authorities.

But once again, that gentleman--where is he? What has become of
him? Is he dead? Is he living?

Patience, monseigneur, we are coming to it. There happened then
that which you know, and of which your precipitate departure,
added the hostwith an acuteness that did not escape d'Artagnan
appeared to authorize the issue. That gentleman, your friend,
defended himself desperately. His lackey, who, by an unforeseen
piece of ill luck, had quarreled with the officers, disguised as
stable lads--

Miserable scoundrel!cried d'Artagnanyou were all in the
plot, then! And I really don't know what prevents me from
exterminating you all.


Alas, monseigneur, we were not in the plot, as you will soon
see. Monsieur your friend (pardon for not calling him by the
honorable name which no doubt he bears, but we do not know that
name), Monsieur your friend, having disabled two men with his
pistols, retreated fighting with his sword, with which he disable
one of my men, and stunned me with a blow of the flat side of
it.

You villian, will you finish?cried d'ArtagnanAthos--what has
become of Athos?

While fighting and retreating, as I have told Monseigneur, he
found the door of the cellar stairs behind him, and as the door
was open, he took out the key, and barricaded himself inside. As
we were sure of finding him there, we left him alone.

Yes,said d'Artagnanyou did not really wish to kill; you
only wished to imprison him.

Good God! To imprison him, monseigneur? Why, he imprisoned
himself, I swear to you he did. In the first place he had made
rough work of it; one man was killed on the spot, and two others
were severely wounded. The dead man and the two wounded were
carried off by their comrades, and I have heard nothing of either
of them since. As for myself, as soon as I recovered my senses I
went to Monsieur the Governor, to whom I related all that had
passed, and asked, what I should do with my prisoner. Monsieur
the Governor was all astonishment. He told me he knew nothing
about the matter, that the orders I had received did not come
from him, and that if I had the audacity to mention his name as
being concerned in this disturbance he would have me hanged. It
appears that I had made a mistake, monsieur, that I had arrested
the wrong person, and that he whom I ought to have arrested had
escaped.

But Athos!cried d'Artagnanwhose impatience was increased by
the disregard of the authoritiesAthos, where is he?

As I was anxious to repair the wrongs I had done the prisoner,
resumed the innkeeperI took my way straight to the cellar in
order to set him at liberty. Ah, monsieur, he was no longer a
man, he was a devil! To my offer of liberty, he replied that it
was nothing but a snare, and that before he came out he intended
to impose his own conditions. I told him very humbly--for I could
not conceal from myself the scrape I had got into by laying hands
on one of his Majesty's Musketeers--I told him I was quite ready
to submit to his conditions.

'In the first place' said he'I wish my lackey placed with me
fully armed.' We hastened to obey this order; for you will
please to understandmonsieurwe were disposed to do everything
your friend could desire. Monsieur Grimaud (he told us his name
although he does not talk much)--Monsieur Grimaudthenwent down
to the cellarwounded as he was; then his masterhaving
admitted himbarricaded the door afreshand ordered us to
remain quietly in our own bar."

But where is Athos now?cried d'Artagnan. "Where is Athos?"

In the cellar, monsieur.

What, you scoundrel! Have you kept him in the cellar all this
time?


Merciful heaven! No, monsieur! We keep him in the cellar! You
do not know what he is about in the cellar. Ah! If you could
but persuade him to come out, monsieur, I should owe you the
gratitude of my whole life; I should adore you as my patron
saint!

Then he is there? I shall find him there?

Without doubt you will, monsieur; he persists in remaining
there. We every day pass through the air hole some bread at the
end of a fork, and some meat when he asks for it; but alas! It
is not of bread and meat of which he makes the greatest
consumption. I once endeavored to go down with two of my
servants; but he flew into terrible rage. I heard the noise he
made in loading his pistols, and his servant in loading his
musketoon. Then, when we asked them what were their intentions,
the master replied that he had forty charges to fire, and that he
and his lackey would fire to the last one before he would allow a
single soul of us to set foot in the cellar. Upon this I went
and complained to the governor, who replied that I only had what
I deserved, and that it would teach me to insult honorable
gentlemen who took up their abode in my house.

So that since that time--replied d'Artagnantotally unable to
refrain from laughing at the pitiable face of the host.

So from that time, monsieur,continued the latterwe have led
the most miserable life imaginable; for you must know, monsieur,
that all our provisions are in the cellar. There is our wine in
bottles, and our wine in casks; the beer, the oil, and the
spices, the bacon, and sausages. And as we are prevented from
going down there, we are forced to refuse food and drink to the
travelers who come to the house; so that our hostelry is daily
going to ruin. If your friend remains another week in my cellar
I shall be a ruined man.

And not more than justice, either, you ass! Could you not
perceive by our appearance that we were people of quality, and
not coiners--say?

Yes, monsieur, you are right,said the host. "Butharkhark!
There he is!"

Somebody has disturbed him, without doubt,said d'Artagnan.

But he must be disturbed,cried the host; "Here are two English
gentlemen just arrived."

well?

Well, the English like good wine, as you may know, monsieur;
these have asked for the best. My wife has perhaps requested
permission of Monsieur Athos to go into the cellar to satisfy
these gentlemen; and he, as usual, has refused. Ah, good heaven!
There is the hullabaloo louder than ever!

D'Artagnanin factheard a great noise on the side next the
cellar. He roseand preceded by the host wringing his hands
and followed by Planchet with his musketoon ready for usehe
approached the scene of action.

The two gentlemen were exasperated; they had had a long rideand
were dying with hunger and thirst.


But this is tyranny!cried one of themin very good French
though with a foreign accentthat this madman will not allow
these good people access to their own wine! Nonsense, let us
break open the door, and if he is too far gone in his madness,
well, we will kill him!

Softly, gentlemen!said d'Artagnandrawing his pistols from
his beltyou will kill nobody, if you please!

Good, good!cried the calm voice of Athosfrom the other side
of the doorlet them just come in, these devourers of little
children, and we shall see!

Brave as they appeared to bethe two English gentlemen looked at
each other hesitatingly. One might have thought there was in
that cellar one of those famished ogres--the gigantic heroes of
popular legendsinto whose cavern nobody could force their way
with impunity.

There was a moment of silence; but at length the two Englishmen
felt ashamed to draw backand the angrier one descended the five
or six steps which led to the cellarand gave a kick against the
door enough to split a wall.

Planchet,said d'Artagnancocking his pistolsI will take
charge of the one at the top; you look to the one below. Ah,
gentlemen, you want battle; and you shall have it.

Good God!cried the hollow voice of AthosI can hear
d'Artagnan, I think.

Yes,cried d'Artagnanraising his voice in turnI am here,
my friend.

Ah, good, then,replied Athoswe will teach them, these door
breakers!

The gentlemen had drawn their swordsbut they found themselves
taken between two fires. They still hesitated an instant; butas
beforepride prevailedand a second kick split the door from
bottom to top.

Stand on one side, d'Artagnan, stand on one side,cried Athos.
I am going to fire!

Gentlemen,exclaimed d'Artagnanwhom reflection never
abandonedgentlemen, think of what you are about. Patience,
Athos! You are running your heads into a very silly affair; you
will be riddled. My lackey and I will have three shots at you,
and you will get as many from the cellar. You will then have out
swords, with which, I can assure you, my friend and I can play
tolerably well. Let me conduct your business and my own. You
shall soon have something to drink; I give you my word.

If there is any left,grumbled the jeering voice of Athos.

The host felt a cold sweat creep down his back.

How! 'If there is any left!'murmured he.

What the devil! There must be plenty left,replied d'Artagnan.
Be satisfied of that; these two cannot have drunk all the
cellar. Gentlemen, return your swords to their scabbards.


Well, provided you replace your pistols in your belt.

Willingly.

And d'Artagnan set the example. Thenturning toward Planchet
he made him a sign to uncock his musketoon.

The Englishmenconvinced of these peaceful proceedingssheathed
their swords grumblingly. The history of Athos's imprisonment
was then related to them; and as they were really gentlementhey
pronounced the host in the wrong.

Now, gentlemen,said d'Artagnango up to your room again; and
in ten minutes, I will answer for it, you shall have all you
desire.

The Englishmen bowed and went upstairs.

Now I am alone, my dear Athos,said d'Artagnan; "open the door
I beg of you."

Instantly,said Athos.

Then was heard a great noise of fagots being removed and of the
groaning of posts; these were the counterscarps and bastions of
Athoswhich the besieged himself demolished.

An instant afterthe broken door was removedand the pale face
of Athos appearedwho with a rapid glance took a survey of the
surroundings.

D'Artagnan threw himself on his neck and embraced him tenderly.
He then tried to draw him from his moist abodebut to his
surprise he perceived that Athos staggered.

You are wounded,said he.

I! Not at all. I am dead drunk, that's all, and never did a
man more strongly set about getting so. By the Lord, my good
host! I must at least have drunk for my part a hundred and fifty
bottles.

Mercy!cried the hostif the lackey has drunk only half as
much as the master, I am a ruined man.

Grimaud is a well-bred lackey. He would never think of faring
in the same manner as his master; he only drank from the cask.
Hark! I don't think he put the faucet in again. Do you hear it?
It is running now.

D'Artagnan burst into a laugh which changed the shiver of the
host into a burning fever.

In the meantimeGrimaud appeared in his turn behind his master
with the musketoon on his shoulderand his head shaking. Like
one of those drunken satyrs in the pictures of Rubens. He was
moistened before and behind with a greasy liquid which the host
recognized as his best olive oil.

The four crossed the public room and proceeded to take possession
of the best apartment in the housewhich d'Artagnan occupied
with authority.


In the meantime the host and his wife hurried down with lamps
into the cellarwhich had so long been interdicted to them and
where a frightful spectacle awaited them.

Beyond the fortifications through which Athos had made a breach
in order to get outand which were composed of fagotsplanks
and empty casksheaped up according to all the rules of the
strategic artthey foundswimming in puddles of oil and wine
the bones and fragments of all the hams they had eaten; while a
heap of broken bottles filled the whole left-hand corner of the
cellarand a tunthe cock of which was left runningwas
yieldingby this meansthe last drop of its blood. "The image
of devastation and death as the ancient poet says, reigned as
over a field of battle."

Of fifty large sausagessuspended from the joistsscarcely ten
remained.

Then the lamentations of the host and hostess pierced the vault
of the cellar. D'Artagnan himself was moved by them. Athos did
not even turn his head.

To grief succeeded rage. The host armed himself with a spitand
rushed into the chamber occupied by the two friends.

Some wine!said Athoson perceiving the host.

Some wine!cried the stupefied hostsome wine? Why you have
drunk more than a hundred pistoles' worth! I am a ruined man,
lost, destroyed!

Bah,said Athoswe were always dry.

If you had been contented with drinking, well and good; but you
have broken all the bottles.

You pushed me upon a heap which rolled down. That was your
fault.

All my oil is lost!

Oil is a sovereign balm for wounds; and my poor Grimaud here was
obliged to dress those you had inflicted on him.

All my sausages are gnawed!

There is an enormous quantity of rats in that cellar.

You shall pay me for all this,cried the exasperated host.

Triple ass!said Athosrising; but he sank down again
immediately. He had tried his strength to the utmost.
d'Artagnan came to his relief with his whip in his hand.

The host drew back and burst into tears.

This will teach you,said d'Artagnanto treat the guests God
sends you in a more courteous fashion.

God? Say the devil!

My dear friend,said d'Artagnanif you annoy us in this
manner we will all four go and shut ourselves up in your cellar,
and we will see if the mischief is as great as you say.


Oh, gentlemen,said the hostI have been wrong. I confess
it, but pardon to every sin! You are gentlemen, and I am a poor
innkeeper. You will have pity on me.

Ah, if you speak in that way,said Athosyou will break my
heart, and the tears will flow from my eyes as the wine flowed
from the cask. We are not such devils as we appear to be. Come
hither, and let us talk.

The host approached with hesitation.

Come hither, I say, and don't be afraid,continued Athos. "At
the very moment when I was about to pay youI had placed my
purse on the table."

Yes, monsieur.

That purse contained sixty pistoles; where is it?

Deposited with the justice; they said it was bad money.

Very well; get me my purse back and keep the sixty pistoles.

But Monseigneur knows very well that justice never lets go that
which it once lays hold of. If it were bad money, there might be
some hopes; but unfortunately, those were all good pieces.

Manage the matter as well as you can, my good man; it does not
concern me, the more so as I have not a livre left.

Come,said d'Artagnanlet us inquire further. Athos's horse,
where is that?

In the stable.

How much is it worth?

Fifty pistoles at most.

It's worth eighty. Take it, and there ends the matter.

What,cried Athosare you selling my horse--my Bajazet? And
pray upon what shall I make my campaign; upon Grimaud?

I have brought you another,said d'Artagnan.

Another?

And a magnificent one!cried the host.

Well, since there is another finer and younger, why, you may
take the old one; and let us drink.

What?asked the hostquite cheerful again.

Some of that at the bottom, near the laths. There are twentyfive
bottles of it left; all the rest were broken by my fall.
Bring six of them.

Why, this man is a cask!said the hostaside. "If he only
remains here a fortnightand pays for what he drinksI shall
soon re-establish my business."


And don't forget,said d'Artagnanto bring up four bottles of
the same sort for the two English gentlemen.

And now,said Athoswhile they bring the wine, tell me,
d'Artagnan, what has become of the others, come!

D'Artagnan related how he had found Porthos in bed with a
strained kneeand Aramis at a table between two theologians. As
he finishedthe host entered with the wine ordered and a ham
whichfortunately for himhad been left out of the cellar.

That's well!said Athosfilling his glass and that of his
friend; "here's to Porthos and Aramis! But youd'Artagnanwhat
is the matter with youand what has happened to you personally?
You have a sad air."

Alas,said d'Artagnanit is because I am the most
unfortunate.

Tell me.

Presently,said d'Artagnan.

Presently! And why presently? Because you think I am drunk?
d'Artagnan, remember this! My ideas are never so clear as when I
have had plenty of wine. Speak, then, I am all ears.

D'Artagnan related his adventure with Mme. Bonacieux. Athos
listened to him without a frown; and when he had finishedsaid
Trifles, only trifles!That was his favorite word.

You always say TRIFLES, my dear Athos!said d'Artagnanand
that come very ill from you, who have never loved.

The drink-deadened eye of Athos flashed outbut only for a
moment; it became as dull and vacant as before.

That's true,said hequietlyfor my part I have never
loved.

Acknowledge, then, you stony heart,said d'Artagnanthat you
are wrong to be so hard upon us tender hearts.

Tender hearts! Pierced hearts!said Athos.

What do you say?

I say that love is a lottery in which he who wins, wins death!
You are very fortunate to have lost, believe me, my dear
d'Artagnan. And if I have any counsel to give, it is, always
lose!

She seemed to love me so!

She SEEMED, did she?

Oh, she DID love me!

You child, why, there is not a man who has not believed, as you
do, that his mistress loved him, and there lives not a man who
has not been deceived by his mistress.

Except you, Athos, who never had one.


That's true,said Athosafter a moment's silencethat's
true! I never had one! Let us drink!

But then, philosopher that you are,said d'Artagnaninstruct
me, support me. I stand in need of being taught and consoled.

Consoled for what?

For my misfortune.

Your misfortune is laughable,said Athosshrugging his
shoulders; "I should like to know what you would say if I were to
relate to you a real tale of love!"

Which has happened to you?

Or one of my friends, what matters?

Tell it, Athos, tell it.

Better if I drink.

Drink and relate, then.

Not a bad idea!said Athosemptying and refilling his glass.
The two things agree marvelously well.

I am all attention,said d'Artagnan.

Athos collected himselfand in proportion as he did so
d'Artagnan saw that he became pale. He was at that period of
intoxication in which vulgar drinkers fall on the floor and go to
sleep. He kept himself upright and dreamedwithout sleeping.
This somnambulism of drunkenness had something frightful in it.

You particularly wish it?asked he.

I pray for it,said d'Artagnan.

Be it then as you desire. One of my friends--one of my friends,
please to observe, not myself,said Athosinterrupting himself
with a melancholy smileone of the counts of my province--that
is to say, of Berry--noble as a Dandolo or a Montmorency, at
twenty-five years of age fell in love with a girl of sixteen,
beautiful as fancy can paint. Through the ingenuousness of her
age beamed an ardent mind, not of the woman, but of the poet.
She did not please; she intoxicated. She lived in a small town
with her brother, who was a curate. Both had recently come into
the country. They came nobody knew whence; but when seeing her
so lovely and her brother so pious, nobody thought of asking
whence they came. They were said, however, to be of good
extraction. My friend, who was seigneur of the country, might
have seduced her, or taken her by force, at his will--for he was
master. Who would have come to the assistance of two strangers,
two unknown persons? Unfortunately he was an honorable man; he
married her. The fool! The ass! The idiot!

How so, if he love her?asked d'Artagnan.

Wait,said Athos. "He took her to his chateauand made her
the first lady in the province; and in justice it must be allowed
that she supported her rank becomingly."

Well?asked d'Artagnan.


Well, one day when she was hunting with her husband,continued
Athosin a low voiceand speaking very quickly she fell from
her horse and fainted. The count flew to her to help, and as she
appeared to be oppressed by her clothes, he ripped them open with
his poinard, and in so doing laid bare her shoulder.
d'Artagnan,said Athoswith a maniacal burst of laughter
guess what she had on her shoulder.

How can I tell?said d'Artagnan.

A FLEUR-DE-LIS,said Athos. "She was branded."

Athos emptied at a single draught the glass he held in his hand.

Horror!cried d'Artagnan. "What do you tell me?"

Truth, my friend. The angel was a demon; the poor young girl
had stolen the sacred vessels from a church.

And what did the count do?

The count was of the highest nobility. He had on his estates
the rights of high and low tribunals. He tore the dress of the
countess to pieces; he tied her hands behind her, and hanged her
on a tree.

Heavens, Athos, a murder?cried d'Artagnan.

No less,said Athosas pale as a corpse. "But methinks I need
wine!" and he seized by the neck the last bottle that was left
put it to his mouthand emptied it at a single draughtas he
would have emptied an ordinary glass.

Then he let his head sink upon his two handswhile d'Artagnan
stood before himstupefied.

That has cured me of beautiful, poetical, and loving women,
said Athosafter a considerable pauseraising his headand
forgetting to continue the fiction of the count. "God grant you
as much! Let us drink."

Then she is dead?stammered d'Artagnan.

PARBLEU!said Athos. "But hold out your glass. Some hammy
boyor we can't drink."

And her brother?added d'Artagnantimidly.

Her brother?replied Athos.

Yes, the priest.

Oh, I inquired after him for the purpose of hanging him
likewise; but he was beforehand with me, he had quit the curacy
the night before.

Was it ever known who this miserable fellow was?

He was doubtless the first lover and accomplice of the fair
lady. A worthy man, who had pretended to be a curate for the
purpose of getting his mistress married, and securing her a
position. He has been hanged and quartered, I hope.


My God, my God!cried d'Artagnanquite stunned by the relation
of this horrible adventure.

Taste some of this ham, d'Artagnan; it is exquisite,said
Athoscutting a slicewhich he placed on the young man's plate.

What a pity it is there were only four like this in the cellar.
I could have drunk fifty bottles more.

D'Artagnan could no longer endure this conversationwhich had
made him bewildered. Allowing his head to sink upon his two
handshe pretended to sleep.

These young fellows can none of them drink,said Athoslooking
at him with pityand yet this is one of the best!

28 THE RETURN

D'Artagnan was astounded by the terrible confidence of Athos; yet
many things appeared very obscure to him in this half revelation.
In the first place it had been made by a man quite drunk to one
who was half drunk; and yetin spite of the incertainty which
the vapor of three or four bottles of Burgundy carries with it to
the braind'Artagnanwhen awaking on the following morninghad
all the words of Athos as present to his memory as if they then
fell from his mouth--they had been so impressed upon his mind.
All this doubt only gave rise to a more lively desire of arriving
at a certaintyand he went into his friend's chamber with a
fixed determination of renewing the conversation of the preceding
evening; but he found Athos quite himself again--that is to say
the most shrewd and impenetrable of men. Besides whichthe
Musketeerafter having exchanged a hearty shake of the hand with
himbroached the matter first.

I was pretty drunk yesterday, d'Artagnan,said heI can tell
that by my tongue, which was swollen and hot this morning, and by
my pulse, which was very tremulous. I wager that I uttered a
thousand extravagances.

While saying this he looked at his friend with an earnestness
that embarrassed him.

No,replied d'Artagnanif I recollect well what you said, it
was nothing out of the common way.

Ah, you surprise me. I thought I had told you a most lamentable
story.And he looked at the young man as if he would read the
bottom of his heart.

My faith,said d'Artagnanit appears that I was more drunk
than you, since I remember nothing of the kind.

Athos did not trust this replyand he resumed; "you cannot have
failed to remarkmy dear friendthat everyone has his
particular kind of drunkennesssad or gay. My drunkenness is
always sadand when I am thoroughly drunk my mania is to relate
all the lugubrious stories which my foolish nurse inculcated into
my brain. That is my failing--a capital failingI admit; but
with that exceptionI am a good drinker."

Athos spoke this in so natural a manner that d'Artagnan was
shaken in his conviction.


It is that, then,replied the young mananxious to find out
the truthit is that, then, I remember as we remember a dream.
We were speaking of hanging.

Ah, you see how it is,said Athosbecoming still palerbut
yet attempting to laugh; "I was sure it was so--the hanging of
people is my nightmare."

Yes, yes,replied d'Artagnan. "I remember now; yesit was
about--stop a minute--yesit was about a woman."

That's it,replied Athosbecoming almost livid; "that is my
grand story of the fair ladyand when I relate thatI must be
very drunk."

Yes, that was it,said d'Artagnanthe story of a tall, fair
lady, with blue eyes.

Yes, who was hanged.

By her husband, who was a nobleman of your acquaintance,
continued d'Artagnanlooking intently at Athos.

Well, you see how a man may compromise himself when he does not
know what he says,replied Athosshrugging his shoulders as if
he thought himself an object of pity. "I certainly never will
get drunk againd'Artagnan; it is too bad a habit."

D'Artagnan remained silent; and then changing the conversation
all at onceAthos said:

By the by, I thank you for the horse you have brought me.

Is it to your mind?asked d'Artagnan.

Yes; but it is not a horse for hard work.

You are mistaken; I rode him nearly ten leagues in less than an
hour and a half, and he appeared no more distressed than if he
had only made the tour of the Place St. Sulpice.

Ah, you begin to awaken my regret.

Regret?

Yes; I have parted with him.

How?

Why, here is the simple fact. This morning I awoke at six
o'clock. You were still fast asleep, and I did not know what to
do with myself; I was still stupid from our yesterday's debauch.
As I came into the public room, I saw one of our Englishman
bargaining with a dealer for a horse, his own having died
yesterday from bleeding. I drew near, and found he was bidding a
hundred pistoles for a chestnut nag. 'PARDIEU,' said I, 'my good
gentleman, I have a horse to sell, too.' 'Ay, and a very fine
one! I saw him yesterday; your friend's lackey was leading him.'
'Do you think he is worth a hundred pistoles?' 'Yes! Will you
sell him to me for that sum?' 'No; but I will play for him.'
'What?' 'At dice.' No sooner said than done, and I lost the
horse. Ah, ah! But please to observe I won back the equipage,'
cried Athos.


D'Artagnan looked much disconcerted.

This vexes you?" said Athos.

Well, I must confess it does,replied d'Artagnan. "That horse
was to have identified us in the day of battle. It was a pledge
a remembrance. Athosyou have done wrong."

But, my dear friend, put yourself in my place,replied the
Musketeer. "I was hipped to death; and still furtherupon my
honorI don't like English horses. If it is only to be
recognizedwhy the saddle will suffice for that; it is quite
remarkable enough. As to the horsewe can easily find some
excuse for its disappearance. Why the devil! A horse is mortal;
suppose mine had had the glanders or the farcy?"

D'Artagnan did not smile.

It vexes me greatly,continued Athosthat you attach so much
importance to these animals, for I am not yet at the end of my
story.

What else have you done.

After having lost my own horse, nine against ten--see how near-I
formed an idea of staking yours.

Yes; but you stopped at the idea, I hope?

No; for I put it in execution that very minute.

And the consequence?said d'Artagnanin great anxiety.

I threw, and I lost.

What, my horse?

Your horse, seven against eight; a point short--you know the
proverb.

Athos, you are not in your right senses, I swear.

My dear lad, that was yesterday, when I was telling you silly
stories, it was proper to tell me that, and not this morning. I
lost him then, with all his appointments and furniture.

Really, this is frightful.

Stop a minute; you don't know all yet. I should make an
excellent gambler if I were not too hot-headed; but I was hotheaded,
just as if I had been drinking. Well, I was not hotheaded
then--

Well, but what else could you play for? You had nothing left?

'Ohyesmy friend; there was still that diamond left which
sparkles on your fingerand which I had observed yesterday."

This diamond!said d'Artagnanplacing his hand eagerly on his
ring.

And as I am a connoisseur in such things, having had a few of my
own once, I estimated it at a thousand pistoles.


I hope,said d'Artagnanhalf dead with frightyou made no
mention of my diamond?

On the contrary, my dear friend, this diamond became our only
resource; with it I might regain our horses and their harnesses,
and even money to pay our expenses on the road.

Athos, you make me tremble!cried d'Artagnan.

I mentioned your diamond then to my adversary, who had likewise
remarked it. What the devil, my dear, do you think you can wear
a star from heaven on your finger, and nobody observe it?
Impossible!

Go on, go on, my dear fellow!said d'Artagnan; "for upon my
honoryou will kill me with your indifference."

We divided, then, this diamond into ten parts of a hundred
pistoles each.

You are laughing at me, and want to try me!said d'Artagnan
whom anger began to take by the hairas Minerva takes Achilles
in the ILLIAD.

No, I do not jest, MORDIEU! I should like to have seen you in
my place! I had been fifteen days without seeing a human face,
and had been left to brutalize myself in the company of bottles.

That was no reason for staking my diamond!replied d'Artagnan
closing his hand with a nervous spasm.

Hear the end. Ten parts of a hundred pistoles each, in ten
throws, without revenge; in thirteen throws I had lost all--in
thirteen throws. The number thirteen was always fatal to me; it
was on the thirteenth of July that--

VENTREBLEU!cried d'Artagnanrising from the tablethe story
of the present day making him forget that of the preceding one.

Patience!said Athos; "I had a plan. The Englishman was an
original; I had seen him conversing that morning with Grimaud
and Grimaud had told me that he had made him proposals to enter
into his service. I staked Grimaudthe silent Grimauddivided
into ten portions."

Well, what next?said d'Artagnanlaughing in spite of himself.

Grimaud himself, understand; and with the ten parts of Grimaud,
which are not worth a ducatoon, I regained the diamond. Tell me,
now, if persistence is not a virtue?

My faith! But this is droll,cried d'Artagnanconsoledand
holding his sides with laughter.

You may guess, finding the luck turned, that I again staked the
diamond.

The devil!said d'Artagnanbecoming angry again.

I won back your harness, then your horse, then my harness, then
my horse, and then I lost again. In brief, I regained your
harness and then mine. That's where we are. That was a superb
throw, so I left off there.


D'Artagnan breathed as if the whole hostelry had been removed
from his breast.

Then the diamond is safe?said hetimidly.
Intact, my dear friend; besides the harness of your Bucephalus
and mine.


But what is the use of harnesses without horses?
I have an idea about them.
Athos, you make me shudder.
Listen to me. You have not played for a long time, d'Artagnan.
And I have no inclination to play.
Swear to nothing. You have not played for a long time, I said;


you ought, then, to have a good hand.
Well, what then?
Well; the Englishman and his companion are still here. I


remarked that he regretted the horse furniture very much. You
appear to think much of your horse. In your place I would stake
the furniture against the horse.

But he will not wish for only one harness.
Stake both, PARDIEU! I am not selfish, as you are.
You would do so?said d'Artagnanundecidedso strongly did


the confidence of Athos begin to prevailin spite of himself.
On my honor, in one single throw.
But having lost the horses, I am particularly anxious to


preserve the harnesses.
Stake your diamond, then.
This? That's another matter. Never, never!
The devil!said Athos. "I would propose to you to stake


Planchetbut as that has already been donethe Englishman would


notperhapsbe willing."
Decidedly, my dear Athos,said d'ArtagnanI should like
better not to risk anything.


That's a pity,said Athoscooly. "The Englishman is
overflowing with pistoles. Good Lordtry one throw! One throw
is soon made!"

And if I lose?
You will win.
But if I lose?
Well, you will surrender the harnesses.



Have with you for one throw!said d'Artagnan.

Athos went in quest of the Englishmanwhom he found in the
stableexamining the harnesses with a greedy eye. The
opportunity was good. He proposed the conditions--the two
harnesseseither against one horse or a hundred pistoles. The
Englishman calculated fast; the two harnesses were worth three
hundred pistoles. He consented.

D'Artagnan threw the dice with a trembling handand turned up
the number three; his paleness terrified Athoswhohowever
consented himself with sayingThat's a sad throw, comrade; you
will have the horses fully equipped, monsieur.

The Englishmanquite triumphantdid not even give himself the
trouble to shake the dice. He threw them on the table without
looking at themso sure was he of victory; d'Artagnan turned
aside to conceal his ill humor.

Hold, hold, hold!said Athoswit his quiet tone; "that throw
of the dice is extraordinary. I have not seen such a one four
times in my life. Two aces!"

The Englishman lookedand was seized with astonishment.
d'Artagnan lookedand was seized with pleasure.

Yes,continued Athosfour times only; once at the house of
Monsieur Crequy; another time at my own house in the country, in
my chateau at--when I had a chateau; a third time at Monsieur de
Treville's where it surprised us all; and the fourth time at a
cabaret, where it fell to my lot, and where I lost a hundred
louis and a supper on it.

Then Monsieur takes his horse back again,said the Englishman.

Certainly,said d'Artagnan.

Then there is no revenge?

Our conditions said, 'No revenge,' you will please to
recollect.

That is true; the horse shall be restored to your lackey,
monsieur.

A moment,said Athos; "with your permissionmonsieurI wish
to speak a word with my friend."

Say on.

Athos drew d'Artagnan aside.

Well, Tempter, what more do you want with me?said d'Artagnan.
You want me to throw again, do you not?

No, I would wish you to reflect.

On what?

You mean to take your horse?

Without doubt.

You are wrong, then. I would take the hundred pistoles. You


know you have staked the harnesses against the horse or a hundred
pistoles, at your choice.

Yes.

Well, then, I repeat, you are wrong. What is the use of one
horse for us two? I could not ride behind. We should look like
the two sons of Anmon, who had lost their brother. You cannot
think of humiliating me by prancing along by my side on that
magnificent charger. For my part, I should not hesitate a
moment; I should take the hundred pistoles. We want money for
our return to Paris.

I am much attached to that horse, Athos.

And there again you are wrong. A horse slips and injures a
joint; a horse stumbles and breaks his knees to the bone; a horse
eats out of a manger in which a glandered horse has eaten. There
is a horse, while on the contrary, the hundred pistoles feed
their master.

But how shall we get back?

Upon our lackey's horses, PARDIEU. Anybody may see by our
bearing that we are people of condition.

Pretty figures we shall cut on ponies while Aramis and Porthos
caracole on their steeds.

Aramis! Porthos!cried Athosand laughed aloud.

What is it?asked d'Artagnanwho did not at all comprehend the
hilarity of his friend.

Nothing, nothing! Go on!

Your advice, then?

To take the hundred pistoles, d'Artagnan. With the hundred
pistoles we can live well to the end of the month. We have
undergone a great deal of fatigue, remember, and a little rest
will do no harm.

I rest? Oh, no, Athos. Once in Paris, I shall prosecute my
search for that unfortunate woman!

Well, you may be assured that your horse will not be half so
serviceable to you for that purpose as good golden louis. Take
the hundred pistoles, my friend; take the hundred pistoles!

D'Artagnan only required one reason to be satisfied. This last
reason appeared convincing. Besideshe feared that by resisting
longer he should appear selfish in the eyes of Athos. He
acquiescedthereforeand chose the hundred pistoleswhich the
Englishman paid down on the spot.

They then determined to depart. Peace with the landlordin
addition to Athos's old horsecost six pistoles. D'Artagnan and
Athos took the nags of Planchet and Grimaudand the two lackeys
started on footcarrying the saddles on their heads.

However ill our two friends were mountedthey were soon far in
advance of their servantsand arrived at Creveccoeur. From a
distance they perceived Aramisseated in a melancholy manner at


his windowlooking outlike Sister Anneat the dust in the
horizon.

HOLA, Aramis! What the devil are you doing there?cried the
two friends.

Ah, is that you, d'Artagnan, and you, Athos?said the young
man. "I was reflecting upon the rapidity with which the
blessings of this world leave us. My English horsewhich has
just disappeared amid a cloud of dusthas furnished me with a
living image of the fragility of the things of the earth. Life
itself may be resolved into three words: ERATESTFUIT."

Which means--said d'Artagnanwho began to suspect the truth.

Which means that I have just been duped-sixty louis for a horse
which by the manner of his gait can do at least five leagues an
hour.

D'Artagnan and Athos laughed aloud.

My dear d'Artagnan,said Aramisdon't be too angry with me, I
beg. Necessity has no law; besides, I am the person punished, as
that rascally horsedealer has robbed me of fifty louis, at least.
Ah, you fellows are good managers! You ride on our lackey's
horses, and have your own gallant steeds led along carefully by
hand, at short stages.

At the same instant a market cartwhich some minutes before had
appeared upon the Amiens roadpulled up at the innand Planchet
and Grimaud came out of it with the saddles on their heads. The
cart was returning empty to Parisand the two lackeys had
agreedfor their transportto slake the wagoner's thirst along
the route.

What is this?said Aramison seeing them arrive. "Nothing but
saddles?"

Now do you understand?said Athos.

My friends, that's exactly like me! I retained my harness by
instinct. HOLA, Bazin! Bring my new saddle and carry it along
with those of these gentlemen.

And what have you done with your ecclesiastics?asked
d'Artagnan.

My dear fellow, I invited them to a dinner the next day,
replied Aramis. "They have some capital wine here--please to
observe that in passing. I did my best to make them drunk. Then
the curate forbade me to quit my uniformand the Jesuit
entreated me to get him made a Musketeer."

Without a thesis?cried d'Artagnanwithout a thesis? I
demand the suppression of the thesis.

Since then,continued AramisI have lived very agreeably. I
have begun a poem in verses of one syllable. That is rather
difficult, but the merit in all things consists in the
difficulty. The matter is gallant. I will read you the first
canto. It has four hundred lines, and lasts a minute.

My faith, my dear Aramis,said d'Artagnanwho detested verses
almost as much as he did Latinadd to the merit of the


difficulty that of the brevity, and you are sure that your poem
will at least have two merits.

You will see,continued Aramisthat it breathes
irreproachable passion. And so, my friends, we return to Paris?
Bravo! I am ready. We are going to rejoin that good fellow,
Porthos. So much the better. You can't think how I have missed
him, the great simpleton. To see him so self-satisfied
reconciles me with myself. He would not sell his horse; not for
a kingdom! I think I can see him now, mounted upon his superb
animal and seated in his handsome saddle. I am sure he will look
like the Great Mogul!

They made a halt for an hour to refresh their horses. Aramis
discharged his billplaced Bazin in the cart with his comrades
and they set forward to join Porthos.

They found him upless pale than when d'Artagnan left him after
his first visitand seated at a table on whichthough he was
alonewas spread enough for four persons. This dinner consisted
of meats nicely dressedchoice winesand superb fruit.

Ah, PARDIEU!said herisingyou come in the nick of time,
gentlemen. I was just beginning the soup, and you will dine with
me.

Oh, oh!said d'ArtagnanMousqueton has not caught these
bottles with his lasso. Besides, here is a piquant FRICANDEAU
and a fillet of beef.

I am recruiting myself,said PorthosI am recruiting myself.
Nothing weakens a man more than these devilish strains. Did you
ever suffer from a strain, Athos?

Never! Though I remember, in our affair of the Rue Ferou, I
received a sword wound which at the end of fifteen or eighteen
days produced the same effect.

But this dinner was not intended for you alone, Porthos?said
Aramis.

No,said PorthosI expected some gentlemen of the
neighborhood, who have just sent me word they could not come.
You will take their places and I shall not lose by the exchange.
HOLA, Mousqueton, seats, and order double the bottles!

Do you know what we are eating here?said Athosat the end of
ten minutes.

PARDIEU!replied d'Artagnanfor my part, I am eating veal
garnished with shrimps and vegetables.

And I some lamb chops,said Porthos.

And I a plain chicken,said Aramis.

You are all mistaken, gentlemen,answered Athosgravely; "you
are eating horse."

Eating what?said d'Artagnan.

Horse!said Aramiswith a grimace of disgust.

Porthos alone made no reply.


Yes, horse. Are we not eating a horse, Porthos? And perhaps
his saddle, therewith.

No, gentlemen, I have kept the harness,said Porthos.

My faith,said Aramiswe are all alike. One would think we
had tipped the wink.

What could I do?said Porthos. "This horse made my visitors
ashamed of theirsand I don't like to humiliate people."

Then your duchess is still at the waters?asked d'Artagnan.

Still,replied Porthos. "Andmy faiththe governor of the
province--one of the gentlemen I expected today--seemed to have
such a wish for himthat I gave him to him."

Gave him?cried d'Artagnan.

My God, yes, GAVE, that is the word,said Porthos; "for the
animal was worth at least a hundred and fifty louisand the
stingy fellow would only give me eighty."

Without the saddle?said Aramis.

Yes, without the saddle.

You will observe, gentlemen,said Athosthat Porthos has made
the best bargain of any of us.

And then commenced a roar of laughter in which they all joined
to the astonishment of poor Porthos; but when he was informed of
the cause of their hilarityhe shared it vociferously according
to his custom.

There is one comfort, we are all in cash,said d'Artagnan.

Well, for my part,said AthosI found Aramis's Spanish wine
so good that I sent on a hamper of sixty bottles of it in the
wagon with the lackeys. That has weakened my purse.

And I,said Aramisimagined that I had given almost my last
sou to the church of Montdidier and the Jesuits of Amiens, with
whom I had made engagements which I ought to have kept. I have
ordered Masses for myself, and for you, gentlemen, which will be
said, gentlemen, for which I have not the least doubt you will be
marvelously benefited.

And I,said Porthosdo you think my strain cost me nothing?-without
reckoning Mousqueton's wound, for which I had to have the
surgeon twice a day, and who charged me double on account of that
foolish Mousqueton having allowed himself a ball in a part which
people generally only show to an apothecary; so I advised him to
try never to get wounded there any more.

Ay, ay!said Athosexchanging a smile with d'Artagnan and
Aramisit is very clear you acted nobly with regard to the poor
lad; that is like a good master.

In short,said Porthoswhen all my expenses are paid, I shall
have, at most, thirty crowns left.

And I about ten pistoles,said Aramis.


Well, then it appears that we are the Croesuses of the society.
How much have you left of your hundred pistoles, d'Artagnan.?

Of my hundred pistoles? Why, in the first place I gave you
fifty.

You think so?

PARDIEU!
Ah, that is true. I recollect.


Then I paid the host six.
What a brute of a host! Why did you give him six pistoles?


You told me to give them to him.
It is true; I am too good-natured. In brief, how much remains?


Twenty-five pistoles,said d'Artagnan.


And I,said Athostaking some small change from his pocket
I--"
You? Nothing!


My faith! So little that it is not worth reckoning with the
general stock.

Now, then, let us calculate how much we posses in all.

Porthos?
Thirty crowns.


Aramis?
Ten pistoles.


And you, d'Artagnan?
Twenty-five.


That makes in all?said Athos.


Four hundred and seventy-five livres,said d'Artagnanwho
reckoned like Archimedes.

On our arrival in Paris, we shall still have four hundred,
besides the harnesses,said Porthos.

But our troop horses?said Aramis.

Well, of the four horses of our lackeys we will make two for the
masters, for which we will draw lots. With the four hundred
livres we will make the half of one for one of the unmounted, and
then we will give the turnings out of our pockets to d'Artagnan,
who has a steady hand, and will go and play in the first gaming
house we come to. There!

Let us dine, then,said Porthos; "it is getting cold."


The friendsat ease with regard to the futuredid honor to the
repastthe remains of which were abandoned to MousquetonBazin
Planchetand Grimaud.

On arriving in Parisd'Artagnan found a letter from M. de
Trevillewhich informed him thatat his requestthe king had
promised that he should enter the company of the Musketeers.

As this was the height of d'Artagnan's worldly ambition--apart
be it well understoodfrom his desire of finding Mme.
Bonacieux--he ranfull of joyto seek his comradeswhom he had
left only half an hour beforebut whom he found very sad and
deeply preoccupied. They were assembled in council at the
residence of Athoswhich always indicated an event of some
gravity. M. de Treville had intimated to them his Majesty's
fixed intention to open the campaign on the first of Mayand
they must immediately prepare their outfits.

The four philosophers looked at one another in a state of
bewilderment. M. de Treville never jested in matters relating to
discipline.

And what do you reckon your outfit will cost?said d'Artagnan.

Oh, we can scarcely say. We have made our calculations with
Spartan economy, and we each require fifteen hundred livres.

Four times fifteen makes sixty--six thousand livres,said
Athos.

It seems to me,said d'Artagnanwith a thousand livres each-I
do not speak as a Spartan, but as a procurator--

This word PROCURATOR roused Porthos. "Stop said he, I have an
idea."

Well, that's something, for I have not the shadow of one,said
Athos cooly; "but as to d'Artagnangentlementhe idea of
belonging to OURS has driven him out of his senses. A thousand
livres! For my partI declare I want two thousand."

Four times two makes eight,then said Aramis; "it is eight
thousand that we want to complete our outfitstoward whichit
is truewe have already the saddles."

Besides,said Athoswaiting till d'Artagnanwho went to thank
Monsieur de Trevillehad shut the doorbesides, there is that
beautiful ring which beams from the finger of our friend. What
the devil! D'Artagnan is too good a comrade to leave his
brothers in embarrassment while he wears the ransom of a king on
his finger.

29 HUNTING FOR THE EQUIPMENTS

The most preoccupied of the four friends was certainly
d'Artagnanalthough hein his quality of Guardsmanwould be
much more easily equipped than Messieurs the Musketeerswho were
all of high rank; but our Gascon cadet wasas may have been
observedof a provident and almost avaricious characterand
with that (explain the contradiction) so vain as almost to rival
Porthos. To this preoccupation of his vanityd'Artagnan at this


moment joined an uneasiness much less selfish. Notwithstanding
all his inquiries respecting Mme. Bonacieuxhe could obtain no
intelligence of her. M. de Treville had spoken of her to the
queen. The queen was ignorant where the mercer's young wife was
but had promised to have her sought for; but this promise was
very vague and did not at all reassure d'Artagnan.

Athos did not leave his chamber; he made up his mind not to take
a single step to equip himself.

We have still fifteen days before us,said he to his friends.
well, if at the end of a fortnight I have found nothing, or
rather if nothing has come to find me, as I, too good a
Catholic to kill myself with a pistol bullet, I will seek a good
quarrel with four of his Eminence's Guards or with eight
Englishmen, and I will fight until one of them has killed me,
which, considering the number, cannot fail to happen. It will
then be said of me that I died for the king; so that I shall have
performed my duty without the expense of an outfit.

Porthos continued to walk about with his hands behind him
tossing his head and repeatingI shall follow up on my idea.

Aramisanxious and negligently dressedsaid nothing.

It may be seen by these disastrous details that desolation
reigned in the community.

The lackeys on their partlike the coursers of Hippolytus
shared the sadness of their masters. Mousqueton collected a
store of crusts; Bazinwho had always been inclined to devotion
never quit the churches; Planchet watched the flight of flies;
and Grimaudwhom the general distress could not induce to break
the silence imposed by his masterheaved sighs enough to soften
the stones.

The three friends--foras we have saidAthos had sworn not to
stir a foot to equip himself--went out early in the morningand
returned late at night. They wandered about the streetslooking
at the pavement a if to see whether the passengers had not left a
purse behind them. They might have been supposed to be following
tracksso observant were they wherever they went. When they met
they looked desolately at one anotheras much as to sayHave
you found anything?

Howeveras Porthos had first found an ideaand had thought of
it earnestly afterwardhe was the first to act. He was a man of
executionthis worthy Porthos. D'Artagnan perceived him one day
walking toward the church of St. Leuand followed him
instinctively. He enteredafter having twisted his mustache and
elongated his imperialwhich always announced on his part the
most triumphant resolutions. As d'Artagnan took some precautions
to conceal himselfPorthos believed he had not been seen.
d'Artagnan entered behind him. Porthos went and leaned against
the side of a pillar. D'Artagnanstill unperceivedsupported
himself against the other side.

There happened to be a sermonwhich made the church very full of
people. Porthos took advantage of this circumstance to ogle the
women. Thanks to the cares of Mousquetonthe exterior was far
from announcing the distress of the interior. His hat was a
little naplesshis feather was a little fadedhis gold lace was
a little tarnishedhis laces were a trifle frayed; but in the
obscurity of the church these things were not seenand Porthos


was still the handsome Porthos.

D'Artagnan observedon the bench nearest to the pillar against
which Porthos leaneda sort of ripe beautyrather yellow and
rather drybut erect and haughty under her black hood. The eyes
of Porthos were furtively cast upon this ladyand then roved
about at large over the nave.

On her side the ladywho from time to time blusheddarted with
the rapidity of lightning a glance toward the inconstant Porthos;
and then immediately the eyes of Porthos wandered anxiously. It
was plain that this mode of proceeding piqued the lady in the
black hoodfor she bit her lips till they bledscratched the
end of her noseand could not sit still in her seat.

Porthosseeing thisretwisted his mustacheelongated his
imperial a second timeand began to make signals to a beautiful
lady who was near the choirand who not only was a beautiful
ladybut still furtherno doubta great lady--for she had
behind her a Negro boy who had brought the cushion on which she
kneltand a female servant who held the emblazoned bag in which
was placed the book from which she read the Mass.

The lady with the black hood followed through all their
wanderings the looks of Porthosand perceived that they rested
upon the lady with the velvet cushionthe little Negroand the
maid-servant.

During this time Porthos played close. It was almost
imperceptible motions of his eyesfingers placed upon the lips
little assassinating smileswhich really did assassinate the
disdained beauty.

Then she criedAhem!under cover of the MEA CULPAstriking
her breast so vigorously that everybodyeven the lady with the
red cushionturned round toward her. Porthos paid no attention.
Neverthelesshe understood it allbut was deaf.

The lady with the red cushion produced a great effect--for she
was very handsome--upon the lady with he black hoodwho saw in
her a rival really to be dreaded; a great effect upon Porthos
who thought her much prettier than the lady with the black hood;
a great effect upon d'Artagnanwho recognized in her the lady of
Meungof Calaisand of Doverwhom his persecutorthe man with
the scarhad saluted by the name of Milady.

D'Artagnanwithout losing sight of the lady of the red cushion
continued to watch the proceedings of Porthoswhich amused him
greatly. He guessed that the lady of the black hood was the
procurator's wife of the Rue aux Ourswhich was the more
probable from the church of St. Leu being not far from that
locality.

He guessedlikewiseby inductionthat Porthos was taking his
revenge for the defeat of Chantillywhen the procurator's wife
had proved so refractory with respect to her purse.

Amid all thisd'Artagnan remarked also that not one countenance
responded to the gallantries of Porthos. There were only
chimeras and illusions; but for real lovefor true jealousyis
there any reality except illusions and chimeras?

The sermon overthe procurator's wife advanced toward the holy
font. Porthos went before herand instead of a fingerdipped


his whole hand in. The procurator's wife smiledthinking that
it was for her Porthos had put himself to this trouble; but she
was cruelly and promptly undeceived. When she was only about
three steps from himhe turned his head roundfixing his eyes
steadfastly upon the lady with the red cushionwho had risen and
was approachingfollowed by her black boy and her woman.

When the lady of the red cushion came close to PorthosPorthos
drew his dripping hand from the font. The fair worshipper
touched the great hand of Porthos with her delicate fingers
smiledmade the sign of the crossand left the church.

This was too much for the procurator's wife; she doubted not
there was an intrigue between this lady and Porthos. If she had
been a great lady she would have fainted; but as she was only a
procurator's wifeshe contented herself saying to the Musketeer
with concentrated furyEh, Monsieur Porthos, you don't offer me
any holy water?

Porthosat the sound of that voicestarted like a man awakened
from a sleep of a hundred years.

Ma-madame!cried he; "is that you? How is your husbandour
dear Monsieur Coquenard? Is he still as stingy as ever? Where
can my eyes have been not to have seen you during the two hours
of the sermon?"

I was within two paces of you, monsieur,replied the
procurator's wife; "but you did not perceive me because you had
no eyes but for the pretty lady to whom you just now gave the
holy water."

Porthos pretended to be confused. "Ah said he, you have
remarked--"

I must have been blind not to have seen.

Yes,said Porthosthat is a duchess of my acquaintance whom I
have great trouble to meet on account of the jealousy of her
husband, and who sent me word that she should come today to this
poor church, buried in this vile quarter, solely for the sake of
seeing me.

Monsieur Porthos,said the procurator's wifewill you have
the kindness to offer me your arm for five minutes? I have
something to say to you.

Certainly, madame,said Porthoswinking to himselfas a
gambler does who laughs at the dupe he is about to pluck.

At that moment d'Artagnan passed in pursuit of Milady; he cast a
passing glance at Porthosand beheld this triumphant look.

Eh, eh!said hereasoning to himself according to the
strangely easy morality of that gallant periodthere is one who
will be equipped in good time!

Porthosyielding to the pressure of the arm of the procurator's
wifeas a bark yields to the rudderarrived at the cloister St.
Magloire--a little-frequented passageenclosed with a turnstile
at each end. In the daytime nobody was seen there but mendicants
devouring their crustsand children at play.

Ah, Monsieur Porthos,cried the procurator's wifewhen she was


assured that no one who was a stranger to the population of the
locality could either see or hear herah, Monsieur Porthos, you
are a great conqueror, as it appears!

I, madame?said Porthosdrawing himself up proudly; "how so?"

The signs just now, and the holy water! But that must be a
princess, at least--that lady with her Negro boy and her maid!

My God! Madame, you are deceived,said Porthos; "she is simply
a duchess."

And that running footman who waited at the door, and that
carriage with a coachman in grand livery who sat waiting on his
seat?

Porthos had seen neither the footman nor the carriagebut with
he eye of a jealous womanMme. Coquenard had seen everything.

Porthos regretted that he had not at once made the lady of the
red cushion a princess.

Ah, you are quite the pet of the ladies, Monsieur Porthos!
resumed the procurator's wifewith a sigh.

Well,responded Porthosyou may imagine, with the physique
with which nature has endowed me, I am not in want of good luck.

Good Lord, how quickly men forget!cried the procurator's wife
raising her eyes toward heaven.

Less quickly than the women, it seems to me,replied Porthos;
for I, madame, I may say I was your victim, when wounded, dying,
I was abandoned by the surgeons. I, the offspring of a noble
family, who placed reliance upon your friendship--I was near
dying of my wounds at first, and of hunger afterward, in a
beggarly inn at Chantilly, without you ever deigning once to
reply to the burning letters I addressed to you.

But, Monsieur Porthos,murmured the procurator's wifewho
began to feel thatto judge by the conduct of the great ladies
of the timeshe was wrong.

I, who had sacrificed for you the Baronne de--

I know it well.

The Comtesse de--

Monsieur Porthos, be generous!

You are right, madame, and I will not finish.

But it was my husband who would not hear of lending.

Madame Coquenard,said Porthosremember the first letter you
wrote me, and which I preserve engraved in my memory.

The procurator's wife uttered a groan.

Besides,said shethe sum you required me to borrow was
rather large.

Madame Coquenard, I gave you the preference. I had but to write


to the Duchesse--but I won't repeat her name, for I am incapable
of compromising a woman; but this I know, that I had but to write
to her and she would have sent me fifteen hundred.

The procurator's wife shed a tear.

Monsieur Porthos,said sheI can assure you that you have
severely punished me; and if in the time to come you should find
yourself in a similar situation, you have but to apply to me.

Fie, madame, fie!said Porthosas if disgusted. "Let us not
talk about moneyif you please; it is humiliating."

Then you no longer love me!said the procurator's wifeslowly
and sadly.

Porthos maintained a majestic silence.

And that is the only reply you make? Alas, I understand.

Think of the offense you have committed toward me, madame! It
remains HERE!said Porthosplacing his hand on his heartand
pressing it strongly.

I will repair it, indeed I will, my dear Porthos.

Besides, what did I ask of you?resumed Porthoswith a
movement of the shoulders full of good fellowship. "A loan
nothing more! After allI am not an unreasonable man. I know
you are not richMadame Coquenardand that your husband is
obliged to bleed his poor clients to squeeze a few paltry crowns
from them. Oh! If you were a duchessa marchionessor a
countessit would be quite a different thing; it would be
unpardonable."

The procurator's wife was piqued.

Please to know, Monsieur Porthos,said shethat my strongbox,
the strongbox of a procurator's wife though if may be, is better
filled than those of your affected minxes.

The doubles the offense,said Porthosdisengaging his arm from
that of the procurator's wife; "for if you are richMadame
Coquenardthen there is no excuse for your refusal."

When I said rich,replied the procurator's wifewho saw that
she had gone too faryou must not take the word literally. I
am not precisely rich, though I am pretty well off.

Hold, madame,said Porthoslet us say no more upon the
subject, I beg of you. You have misunderstood me, all sympathy
is extinct between us.

Ingrate that you are!

Ah! I advise you to complain!said Porthos.

Begone, then, to your beautiful duchess; I will detain you no
longer.

And she is not to be despised, in my opinion.

Now, Monsieur Porthos, once more, and this is the last! Do you
love me still?


Ah, madame,said Porthosin the most melancholy tone he could
assumewhen we are about to enter upon a campaign--a campaign,
in which my presentiments tell me I shall be killed--

Oh, don't talk of such things!cried the procurator's wife
bursting into tears.

Something whispers me so,continued Porthosbecoming more and
more melancholy.

Rather say that you have a new love.

Not so; I speak frankly to you. No object affects me; and I
even feel here, at the bottom of my heart, something which speaks
for you. But in fifteen days, as you know, or as you do not
know, this fatal campaign is to open. I shall be fearfully
preoccupied with my outfit. Then I must make a journey to see my
family, in the lower part of Brittany, to obtain the sum
necessary for my departure.

Porthos observed a last struggle between love and avarice.

And as,continued hethe duchess whom you saw at the church
has estates near to those of my family, we mean to make the
journey together. Journeys, you know, appear much shorter when
we travel two in company.

Have you no friends in Paris, then, Monsieur Porthos?said the
procurator's wife.

I thought I had,said Porthosresuming his melancholy air;
but I have been taught my mistake.

You have some!cried the procurator's wifein a transport that
surprised even herself. "Come to our house tomorrow. You are
the son of my auntconsequently my cousin; you come from Noyon
in Picardy; you have several lawsuits and no attorney. Can you
recollect all that?"

Perfectly, madame.

Cone at dinnertime.

Very well.

And be upon your guard before my husband, who is rather shrewd,
notwithstanding his seventy-six years.

Seventy-six years! PESTE! That's a fine age!replied Porthos.

A great age, you mean, Monsieur Porthos. Yes, the poor man may
be expected to leave me a widow, any hour,continued she
throwing a significant glance at Porthos. "Fortunatelyby our
marriage contractthe survivor takes everything."

All?

Yes, all.

You are a woman of precaution, I see, my dear Madame Coquenard,
said Porthossqueezing the hand of the procurator's wife
tenderly.


We are then reconciled, dear Monsieur Porthos?said she
simpering.

For life,replied Porthosin the same manner.

Till we meet again, then, dear traitor!

Till we meet again, my forgetful charmer!

Tomorrow, my angel!

Tomorrow, flame of my life!

30 D'ARTAGNAN AND THE ENGLISHMAN

D'Artagnan followed Milady without being perceived by her.
He saw her get into her carriageand heard her order the
coachman to drive to St. Germain.

It was useless to try to keep pace on foot with a carriage
drawn by two powerful horses. d'Artagnan therefore returned
to the Rue Ferou.

In the Rue de Seine he met Planchetwho had stopped before
the house of a pastry cookand was contemplating with
ecstasy a cake of the most appetizing appearance.

He ordered him to go and saddle two horses in M. de
Treville's stables--one for himselfd'Artagnanand one for
Planchet--and bring them to Athens's place. Once for all
Treville had placed his stable at d'Artagnan's service.

Planchet proceeded toward the Rue du Colombierand
d'Artagnan toward the Rue Ferou. Athos was at home
emptying sadly a bottle of the famous Spanish wine he had
brought back with him from his journey into Picardy. He
made a sign for Grimaud to bring a glass for d'Artagnanand
Grimaud obeyed as usual.

D'Artagnan related to Athos all that had passed at the
church between Porthos and the procurator's wifeand how
their comrade was probably by that time in a fair way to be
equipped.

As for me,replied Athos to this recitalI am quite at
my ease; it will not be women that will defray the expense
of my outfit.

Handsome, well-bred, noble lord as you are, my dear Athos,
neither princesses nor queens would be secure from your
amorous solicitations.

How young this d'Artagnan is!said Athosshrugging his
shoulders; and he made a sign to Grimaud to bring another
bottle.

At that moment Planchet put his head modestly in at the
half-open doorand told his master that the horses were
ready.

What horses?asked Athos.


Two horses that Monsieur de Treville lends me at my
pleasure, and with which I am now going to take a ride to
St. Germain.

Well, and what are you going to do at St. Germain?then
demanded Athos.

Then d'Artagnan described the meeting which he had at the
churchand how he had found that lady whowith the
seigneur in the black cloak and with the scar near his
templefilled his mind constantly.

That is to say, you are in love with this lady as you were
with Madame Bonacieux,said Athosshrugging his shoulders
contemptuouslyas if he pitied human weakness.

I? not at all!said d'Artagnan. "I am only curious to
unravel the mystery to which she is attached. I do not know
whybut I imagine that this womanwholly unknown to me as
she isand wholly unknown to her as I amhas an influence
over my life."

Well, perhaps you are right,said Athos. "I do not know a
woman that is worth the trouble of being sought for when she
is once lost. Madame Bonacieux is lost; so much the worse
for her if she is found."

No, Athos, no, you are mistaken,said d'Artagnan; "I love
my poor Constance more than everand if I knew the place in
which she iswere it at the end of the worldI would go to
free her from the hands of her enemies; but I am ignorant.
All my researches have been useless. What is to be said? I
must divert my attention!"

Amuse yourself with Milady, my dear d'Artagnan; I wish you
may with all my heart, if that will amuse you.

Hear me, Athos,said d'Artagnan. "Instead of shutting
yourself up here as if you were under arrestget on
horseback and come and take a ride with me to St. Germain."

My dear fellow,said AthosI ride horses when I have
any; when I have none, I go afoot.

Well,said d'Artagnansmiling at the misanthropy of
Athoswhich from any other person would have offended him
I ride what I can get; I am not so proud as you. So AU
REVOIR, dear Athos.

AU REVOIR,said the Musketeermaking a sign to Grimaud to
uncork the bottle he had just brought.

D'Artagnan and Planchet mountedand took the road to St.
Germain.

All along the roadwhat Athos had said respecting Mme.
Bonacieux recurred to the mind of the young man. Although
d'Artagnan was not of a very sentimental characterthe
mercer's pretty wife had made a real impression upon his
heart. As he saidhe was ready to go to the end of the
world to seek her; but the worldbeing roundhas many
endsso that he did not know which way to turn. Meantime
he was going to try to find out Milady. Milady had spoken


to the man in the black cloak; therefore she knew him. Now
in the opinion of d'Artagnanit was certainly the man in
the black cloak who had carried off Mme. Bonacieux the
second timeas he had carried her off the first.
d'Artagnan then only half-liedwhich is lying but little
when he said that by going in search of Milady he at the
same time went in search of Constance.

Thinking of all thisand from time to time giving a touch
of the spur to his horsed'Artagnan completed his short
journeyand arrived at St. Germain. He had just passed by
the pavilion in which ten years later Louis XIV was born.
He rode up a very quiet streetlooking to the right and the
left to see if he could catch any vestige of his beautiful
Englishwomanwhen from the ground floor of a pretty house
whichaccording to the fashion of the timehad no window
toward the streethe saw a face peep out with which he
thought he was acquainted. This person walked along the
terracewhich was ornamented with flowers. Planchet
recognized him first.

Eh, monsieur!said headdressing d'Artagnandon't you
remember that face which is blinking yonder?

No,said d'Artagnanand yet I am certain it is not the
first time I have seen that visage.

PARBLEU, I believe it is not,said Planchet. "Whyit is
poor Lubinthe lackey of the Comte de Wardes--he whom you
took such good care of a month ago at Calaison the road to
the governor's country house!"

So it is!said d'Artagnan; "I know him now. Do you think
he would recollect you?"

My faith, monsieur, he was in such trouble that I doubt if
he can have retained a very clear recollection of me.

Well, go and talk with the boy,said d'Artagnanand make
out if you can from his conversation whether his master is
dead.

Planchet dismounted and went straight up to Lubinwho did
not at all remember himand the two lackeys began to chat
with the best understanding possible; while d'Artagnan
turned the two horses into a lanewent round the houseand
came back to watch the conference from behind a hedge of
filberts.

At the end of an instant's observation he heard the noise of
a vehicleand saw Milady's carriage stop opposite to him.
He could not be mistaken; Milady was in it. D'Artagnan
leaned upon the neck of his horsein order that he might
see without being seen.

Milady put her charming blond head out at the windowand
gave her orders to her maid.

The latter--a pretty girl of about twenty or twenty-two
yearsactive and livelythe true SOUBRETTE of a great
lady--jumped from the step upon whichaccording to the
custom of the timeshe was seatedand took her way toward
the terrace upon which d'Artagnan had perceived Lubin.


D'Artagnan followed the soubrette with his eyesand saw her
go toward the terrace; but it happened that someone in the
house called Lubinso that Planchet remained alonelooking
in all directions for the road where d'Artagnan had disappeared.

The maid approached Planchetwhom she took for Lubinand
holding out a little billet to him saidFor your master.

For my master?replied Planchetastonished.

Yes, and important. Take it quickly.

Thereupon she ran toward the carriagewhich had turned
round toward the way it camejumped upon the stepand the
carriage drove off.

Planchet turned and returned the billet. Thenaccustomed
to passive obediencehe jumped down from the terraceran
toward the laneand at the end of twenty paces met
d'Artagnanwhohaving seen allwas coming to him.

For you, monsieur,said Planchetpresenting the billet to
the young man.

For me?said d'Artagnan; "are you sure of that?"

PARDIEU, monsieur, I can't be more sure. The SOUBRETTE said,
'For your master.' I have no other master but you; so-
a pretty little lass, my faith, is that SOUBRETTE!

D'Artagnan opened the letterand read these words:

A person who takes more interest in you than she is willing
to confess wishes to know on what day it will suit you to
walk in the forest? Tomorrow, at the Hotel Field of the
Cloth of Gold, a lackey in black and red will wait for your
reply.

Oh!said d'Artagnanthis is rather warm; it appears that
Milady and I are anxious about the health of the same
person. Well, Planchet, how is the good Monsieur de Wardes?
He is not dead, then?

No, monsieur, he is as well as a man can be with four sword
wounds in his body; for you, without question, inflicted
four upon the dear gentleman, and he is still very weak,
having lost almost all his blood. As I said, monsieur,
Lubin did not know me, and told me our adventure from one
end to the other.

Well done, Planchet! you are the king of lackeys. Now jump
onto your horse, and let us overtake the carriage.

This did not take long. At the end of five minutes they
perceived the carriage drawn up by the roadside; a cavalier
richly dressedwas close to the door.

The conversation between Milady and the cavalier was so
animated that d'Artagnan stopped on the other side of the
carriage without anyone but the pretty SOUBRETTE perceiving
his presence.


The conversation took place in English--a language which
d'Artagnan could not understand; but by the accent the young
man plainly saw that the beautiful Englishwoman was in a
great rage. She terminated it by an action which left no
doubt as to the nature of this conversation; this was a blow
with her fanapplied with such force that the little
feminine weapon flew into a thousand pieces.

The cavalier laughed aloudwhich appeared to exasperate
Milady still more.

D'Artagnan thought this was the moment to interfere. He
approached the other doorand taking off his hat
respectfullysaidMadame, will you permit me to offer you
my services? It appears to me that this cavalier has made
you very angry. Speak one word, madame, and I take upon
myself to punish him for his want of courtesy.

At the first word Milady turnedlooking at the young man
with astonishment; and when he had finishedshe said in
very good FrenchMonsieur, I should with great confidence
place myself under your protection if the person with whom I
quarrel were not my brother.

Ah, excuse me, then,said d'Artagnan. "You must be aware
that I was ignorant of thatmadame."

What is that stupid fellow troubling himself about?cried
the cavalier whom Milady had designated as her brother
stooping down to the height of the coach window. "Why does
not he go about his business?"

Stupid fellow yourself!said d'Artagnanstooping in his
turn on the neck of his horseand answering on his side
through the carriage window. "I do not go on because it
pleases me to stop here."

The cavalier addressed some words in English to his sister.

I speak to you in French,said d'Artagnan; "be kind
enoughthento reply to me in the same language. You are
Madame's brotherI learn--be it so; but fortunately you are
not mine."

It might be thought that Miladytimid as women are in
generalwould have interposed in this commencement of
mutual provocations in order to prevent the quarrel from
going too far; but on the contraryshe threw herself back
in her carriageand called out coolly to the coachman
Go on--home!

The pretty SOUBRETTE cast an anxious glance at d'Artagnan
whose good looks seemed to have made an impression on her.

The carriage went onand left the two men facing each
other; no material obstacle separated them.

The cavalier made a movement as if to follow the carriage;
but d'Artagnanwhose angeralready excitedwas much
increased by recognizing in him the Englishman of Amiens who
had won his horse and had been very near winning his diamond
of Athoscaught at his bridle and stopped him.

Well, monsieur,said heyou appear to be more stupid


than I am, for you forget there is a little quarrel to
arrange between us two.

Ah,said the Englishmanis it you, my master? It seems
you must always be playing some game or other.

Yes; and that reminds me that I have a revenge to take. We
will see, my dear monsieur, if you can handle a sword as
skillfully as you can a dice box.

You see plainly that I have no sword,said the Englishman.
Do you wish to play the braggart with an unarmed man?

I hope you have a sword at home; but at all events, I have
two, and if you like, I will throw with you for one of
them.

Needless,said the Englishman; "I am well furnished with
such playthings."

Very well, my worthy gentleman,replied d'Artagnanpick
out the longest, and come and show it to me this evening.

Where, if you please?

Behind the Luxembourg; that's a charming spot for such
amusements as the one I propose to you.

That will do; I will be there.

Your hour?

Six o'clock.

A PROPOS, you have probably one or two friends?

I have three, who would be honored by joining in the sport
with me.

Three? Marvelous! That falls out oddly! Three is just my
number!

Now, then, who are you?asked the Englishman.

I am Monsieur d'Artagnan, a Gascon gentleman, serving in
the king's Musketeers. And you?

I am Lord de Winter, Baron Sheffield.

Well, then, I am your servant, Monsieur Baron,said
d'Artagnanthough you have names rather difficult to
recollect.And touching his horse with the spurhe
cantered back to Paris. As he was accustomed to do in all
cases of any consequenced'Artagnan went straight to the
residence of Athos.

He found Athos reclining upon a large sofawhere he was
waitingas he saidfor his outfit to come and find him.
He related to Athos all that had passedexcept the letter
to M. de Wardes.

Athos was delighted to find he was going to fight an
Englishman. We might say that was his dream.


They immediately sent their lackeys for Porthos and Aramis
and on their arrival made them acquainted with the
situation.

Porthos drew his sword from the scabbardand made passes at
the wallspringing back from time to timeand making
contortions like a dancer.

Aramiswho was constantly at work at his poemshut himself
up in Athos's closetand begged not to be disturbed before
the moment of drawing swords.

Athosby signsdesired Grimaud to bring another bottle of
wine.

D'Artagnan employed himself in arranging a little planof
which we shall hereafter see the executionand which
promised him some agreeable adventureas might be seen by
the smiles which from time to time passed over his
countenancewhose thoughtfulness they animated.

31 ENGLISH AND FRENCH

The hour having comethey went with their four lackeys to a
spot behind the Luxembourg given up to the feeding of goats.
Athos threw a piece of money to the goatkeeper to withdraw.
The lackeys were ordered to act as sentinels.

A silent party soon drew near to the same enclosure
enteredand joined the Musketeers. Thenaccording to
foreign customthe presentations took place.

The Englishmen were all men of rank; consequently the odd
names of their adversaries were for them not only a matter
of surprisebut of annoyance.

But after all,said Lord de Winterwhen the three friends
had been namedwe do not know who you are. We cannot
fight with such names; they are names of shepherds.

Therefore your lordship may suppose they are only assumed
names,said Athos.

Which only gives us a greater desire to know the real
ones,replied the Englishman.

You played very willingly with us without knowing our
names,said Athosby the same token that you won our
horses.

That is true, but we then only risked our pistoles; this
time we risk our blood. One plays with anybody; but one
fights only with equals.

And that is but just,said Athosand he took aside the
one of the four Englishmen with whom he was to fightand
communicated his name in a low voice.

Porthos and Aramis did the same.

Does that satisfy you?said Athos to his adversary. "Do


you find me of sufficient rank to do me the honor of
crossing swords with me?"

Yes, monsieur,said the Englishmanbowing.

Well! now tell I tell you something?added Athoscoolly.

What?replied the Englishman.

Why, that is that you would have acted much more wisely if
you had not required me to make myself known.

Why so?

Because I am believed to be dead, and have reasons for
wishing nobody to know I am living; so that I shall be
obliged to kill you to prevent my secret from roaming over
the fields.

The Englishman looked at Athosbelieving that he jested
but Athos did not jest the least in the world.

Gentlemen,said Athosaddressing at the same time his
companions and their adversariesare we ready?

Yes!answered the Englishmen and the Frenchmenas with
one voice.

On guard, then!cried Athos.

Immediately eight swords glittered in the rays of the
setting sunand the combat began with an animosity very
natural between men twice enemies.

Athos fenced with as much calmness and method as if he had
been practicing in a fencing school.

Porthosabatedno doubtof his too-great confidence by
his adventure of Chantillyplayed with skill and prudence.
Aramiswho had the third canto of his poem to finish
behaved like a man in haste.

Athos killed his adversary first. He hit him but oncebut
as he had foretoldthat hit was a mortal one; the sword
pierced his heart.

SecondPorthos stretched his upon the grass with a wound
through his thighAs the Englishmanwithout making any
further resistancethen surrendered his swordPorthos took
him up in his arms and bore him to his carriage.

Aramis pushed his so vigorously that after going back fifty
pacesthe man ended by fairly taking to his heelsand
disappeared amid the hooting of the lackeys.

As to d'Artagnanhe fought purely and simply on the
defensive; and when he saw his adversary pretty well
fatiguedwith a vigorous side thrust sent his sword flying.
The baronfinding himself disarmedtook two or three steps
backbut in this movement his foot slipped and he fell
backward.

D'Artagnan was over him at a boundand said to the
Englishmanpointing his sword to his throatI could kill


you, my Lord, you are completely in my hands; but I spare
your life for the sake of your sister.

D'Artagnan was at the height of joy; he had realized the
plan he had imagined beforehandwhose picturing had
produced the smiles we noted upon his face.

The Englishmandelighted at having to do with a gentleman
of such a kind dispositionpressed d'Artagnan in his arms
and paid a thousand compliments to the three Musketeersand
as Porthos's adversary was already installed in the
carriageand as Aramis's had taken to his heelsthey had
nothing to think about but the dead.

As Porthos and Aramis were undressing himin the hope of
finding his wound not mortala large purse dropped from his
clothes. d'Artagnan picked it up and offered it to Lord de
Winter.

What the devil would you have me do with that?said the
Englishman.

You can restore it to his family,said d'Artagnan.

His family will care much about such a trifle as that! His
family will inherit fifteen thousand louis a year from him.
Keep the purse for your lackeys.

D'Artagnan put the purse into his pocket.

And now, my young friend, for you will permit me, I hope,
to give you that name,said Lord de Winteron this very
evening, if agreeable to you, I will present you to my
sister, Milady Clarik, for I am desirous that she should
take you into her good graces; and as she is not in bad odor
at court, she may perhaps on some future day speak a word
that will not prove useless to you.

D'Artagnan blushed with pleasure, and bowed a sign of
assent.

At this time Athos came up to d'Artagnan.

What do you mean to do with that purse?" whispered he.

Why, I meant to pass it over to you, my dear Athos.

Me! why to me?

Why, you killed him! They are the spoils of victory.

I, the heir of an enemy!said Athos; "for whomthendo
you take me?"

It is the custom in war,said d'Artagnanwhy should it
not be the custom in a duel?

Even on the field of battle, I have never done that.

Porthos shrugged his shoulders; Aramis by a movement of his
lips endorsed Athos.

Then,said d'Artagnanlet us give the money to the
lackeys, as Lord de Winter desired us to do.


Yes,said Athos; "let us give the money to the lackeys--not
to our lackeysbut to the lackeys of the Englishmen."

Athos took the purseand threw it into the hand of the
coachman. "For you and your comrades."

This greatness of spirit in a man who was quite destitute
struck even Porthos; and this French generosityrepeated by
Lord de Winter and his friendwas highly applaudedexcept
by MM. GrimaudBazinMousqueton and Planchet.

Lord de Winteron quitting d'Artagnangave him his
sister's address. She lived in the Place Royale--then the
fashionable quarter--at Number 6and he undertook to call
and take d'Artagnan with him in order to introduce him.
d'Artagnan appointed eight o'clock at Athos's residence.

This introduction to Milady Clarik occupied the head of our
Gascon greatly. He remembered in what a strange manner this
woman had hitherto been mixed up in his destiny. According
to his convictionshe was some creature of the cardinal
and yet he felt himself invincibly drawn toward her by one
of those sentiments for which we cannot account. His only
fear was that Milady would recognize in him the man of Meung
and of Dover. Then she knew that he was one of the friends
of M. de Trevilleand consequentlythat he belonged body
and soul to the king; which would make him lose a part of
his advantagesince when known to Milady as he knew herhe
played only an equal game with her. As to the commencement
of an intrigue between her and M. de Wardesour
presumptuous hero gave but little heed to thatalthough the
marquis was younghandsomerichand high in the
cardinal's favor. It is not for nothing we are but twenty years old
above all if we were born at Tarbes.

D'Artagnan began by making his most splendid toiletthen
returned to Athos'sand according to customrelated
everything to him. Athos listened to his projectsthen
shook his headand recommended prudence to him with a shade
of bitterness.

What!said heyou have just lost one woman, whom you
call good, charming, perfect; and here you are, running
headlong after another.

D'Artagnan felt the truth of this reproach.

I loved Madame Bonacieux with my heart, while I only love
Milady with my head,said he. "In getting introduced to
hermy principal object is to ascertain what part she plays
at court."

The part she plays, PARDIEU! It is not difficult to divine
that, after all you have told me. She is some emissary of
the cardinal; a woman who will draw you into a snare in
which you will leave your head.

The devil! my dear Athos, you view things on the dark side,
methinks.

My dear fellow, I mistrust women. Can it be otherwise? I
bought my experience dearly--particularly fair women. Milady
is fair, you say?


She has the most beautiful light hair imaginable!

Ah, my poor d'Artagnan!said Athos.

Listen to me! I want to be enlightened on a subject; then,
when I shall have learned what I desire to know, I will
withdraw.

Be enlightened!said Athosphlegmatically.

Lord de Winter arrived at the appointed time; but Athos
being warned of his comingwent into the other chamber. He
therefore found d'Artagnan aloneand as it was nearly eight
o'clock he took the young man with him.

An elegant carriage waited belowand as it was drawn by two
excellent horsesthey were soon at the Place Royale.

Milady Clarik received d'Artagnan ceremoniously. Her hotel
was remarkably sumptuousand while the most part of the
English had quitor were about to quitFrance on account
of the warMilady had just been laying out much money upon
her residence; which proved that the general measure which
drove the English from France did not affect her.

You see,said Lord de Winterpresenting d'Artagnan to his
sistera young gentleman who has held my life in his
hands, and who has not abused his advantage, although we
have been twice enemies, although it was I who insulted him,
and although I am an Englishman. Thank him, then, madame,
if you have any affection for me.

Milady frowned slightly; a scarcely visible cloud passed
over her browand so peculiar a smile appeared upon her
lips that the young manwho saw and observed this triple
shadealmost shuddered at it.

The brother did not perceive this; he had turned round to
play with Milady's favorite monkeywhich had pulled him by
the doublet.

You are welcome, monsieur,said Miladyin a voice whose
singular sweetness contrasted with the symptoms of ill-humor
which d'Artagnan had just remarked; "you have today acquired
eternal rights to my gratitude."

The Englishman then turned round and described the combat
without omitting a single detail. Milady listened with the
greatest attentionand yet it was easily to be perceived
whatever effort she made to conceal her impressionsthat
this recital was not agreeable to her. The blood rose to
her headand her little foot worked with impatience beneath
her robe.

Lord de Winter perceived nothing of this. When he had
finishedhe went to a table upon which was a salver with
Spanish wine and glasses. He filled two glassesand by a
sign invited d'Artagnan to drink.

D'Artagnan knew it was considered disobliging by an
Englishman to refuse to pledge him. He therefore drew near
to the table and took the second glass. He did not
howeverlose sight of Miladyand in a mirror he perceived


the change that came over her face. Now that she believed
herself to be no longer observeda sentiment resembling
ferocity animated her countenance. She bit her handkerchief
with her beautiful teeth.

That pretty little SOUBRETTE whom d'Artagnan had already
observed then came in. She spoke some words to Lord de
Winter in Englishwho thereupon requested d'Artagnan's
permission to retireexcusing himself on account of the
urgency of the business that had called him awayand
charging his sister to obtain his pardon.

D'Artagnan exchanged a shake of the hand with Lord de
Winterand then returned to Milady. Her countenancewith
surprising mobilityhad recovered its gracious expression;
but some little red spots on her handkerchief indicated that
she had bitten her lips till the blood came. Those lips
were magnificent; they might be said to be of coral.

The conversation took a cheerful turn. Milady appeared to
have entirely recovered. She told d'Artagnan that Lord de
Winter was her brother-in-lawand not her brother. She had
married a younger brother of the familywho had left her a
widow with one child. This child was the only heir to Lord
de Winterif Lord de Winter did not marry. All this showed
d'Artagnan that there was a veil which concealed something;
but he could not yet see under this veil.

In addition to thisafter a half hour's conversation
d'Artagnan was convinced that Milady was his compatriot; she
spoke French with an elegance and a purity that left no
doubt on that head.

D'Artagnan was profuse in gallant speeches and protestations
of devotion. To all the simple things which escaped our
GasconMilady replied with a smile of kindness. The hour
came for him to retire. D'Artagnan took leave of Milady
and left the saloon the happiest of men.

On the staircase he met the pretty SOUBRETTEwho brushed
gently against him as she passedand thenblushing to the
eyesasked his pardon for having touched him in a voice so
sweet that the pardon was granted instantly.

D'Artagnan came again on the morrowand was still better
received than on the evening before. Lord de Winter was not
at home; and it was Milady who this time did all the honors
of the evening. She appeared to take a great interest in
himasked him whence he camewho were his friendsand
whether he had not sometimes thought of attaching himself to
the cardinal.

D'Artagnanwhoas we have saidwas exceedingly prudent
for a young man of twentythen remembered his suspicions
regarding Milady. He launched into a eulogy of his
Eminenceand said that he should not have failed to enter
into the Guards of the cardinal instead of the king's Guards
if he had happened to know M. de Cavois instead of M. de
Treville.

Milady changed the conversation without any appearance of
affectationand asked d'Artagnan in the most careless
manner possible if he had ever been in England.


D'Artagnan replied that he had been sent thither by M. de
Treville to treat for a supply of horsesand that he had
brought back four as specimens.

Milady in the course of the conversation twice or thrice bit
her lips; she had to deal with a Gascon who played close.

At the same hour as on the preceding eveningd'Artagnan
retired. In the corridor he again met the pretty Kitty; that
was the name of the SOUBRETTE. She looked at him with an
expression of kindness which it was impossible to mistake;
but d'Artagnan was so preoccupied by the mistress that he
noticed absolutely nothing but her.

D'Artagnan came again on the morrow and the day after that
and each day Milady gave him a more gracious reception.

Every eveningeither in the antechamberthe corridoror
on the stairshe met the pretty SOUBRETTE. Butas we have
saidd'Artagnan paid no attention to this persistence of
poor Kitty.

32 A PROCURATOR'S DINNER

However brilliant had been the part played by Porthos in the
duelit had not made him forget the dinner of the
procurator's wife.

On the morrow he received the last touches of Mousqueton's
brush for an hourand took his way toward the Rue aux Ours
with the steps of a man who was doubly in favor with
fortune.

His heart beatbut not like d'Artagnan's with a young and
impatient love. No; a more material interest stirred his
blood. He was about at last to pass that mysterious
thresholdto climb those unknown stairs by whichone by
onethe old crowns of M. Coquenard had ascended. He was
about to see in reality a certain coffer of which he had
twenty times beheld the image in his dreams--a coffer long
and deeplockedboltedfastened in the wall; a coffer of
which he had so often heardand which the hands--a little
wrinkledit is truebut still not without elegance--of the
procurator's wife were about to open to his admiring looks.

And then he--a wanderer on the eartha man without fortune
a man without familya soldier accustomed to inns
cabaretstavernsand restaurantsa lover of wine forced
to depend upon chance treats--was about to partake of family
mealsto enjoy the pleasures of a comfortable
establishmentand to give himself up to those little
attentions which "the harder one isthe more they please
as old soldiers say.

To come in the capacity of a cousin, and seat himself every
day at a good table; to smooth the yellow, wrinkled brow of
the old procurator; to pluck the clerks a little by teaching
them BASSETTE, PASSE-DIX, and LANSQUENET, in their utmost
nicety, and winning from them, by way of fee for the lesson
he would give them in an hour, their savings of a month--all
this was enormously delightful to Porthos.


The Musketeer could not forget the evil reports which then
prevailed, and which indeed have survived them, of the
procurators of the period--meanness, stinginess, fasts; but
as, after all, excepting some few acts of economy which
Porthos had always found very unseasonable, the procurator's
wife had been tolerably liberal--that is, be it understood,
for a procurator's wife--he hoped to see a household of a
highly comfortable kind.

And yet, at the very door the Musketeer began to entertain
some doubts. The approach was not such as to prepossess
people--an ill-smelling, dark passage, a staircase halflighted
by bars through which stole a glimmer from a
neighboring yard; on the first floor a low door studded with
enormous nails, like the principal gate of the Grand
Chatelet.

Porthos knocked with his hand. A tall, pale clerk, his face
shaded by a forest of virgin hair, opened the door, and
bowed with the air of a man forced at once to respect in
another lofty stature, which indicated strength, the
military dress, which indicated rank, and a ruddy
countenance, which indicated familiarity with good living.

A shorter clerk came behind the first, a taller clerk behind
the second, a stripling of a dozen years rising behind the
third. In all, three clerks and a half, which, for the
time, argued a very extensive clientage.

Although the Musketeer was not expected before one o'clock,
the procurator's wife had been on the watch ever since
midday, reckoning that the heart, or perhaps the stomach, of
her lover would bring him before his time.

Mme. Coquenard therefore entered the office from the house
at the same moment her guest entered from the stairs, and
the appearance of the worthy lady relieved him from an
awkward embarrassment. The clerks surveyed him with great
curiosity, and he, not knowing well what to say to this
ascending and descending scale, remained tongue-tied.

It is my cousin!" cried the procurator's wife. "Come in
come inMonsieur Porthos!"

The name of Porthos produced its effect upon the clerkswho
began to laugh; but Porthos turned sharply roundand every
countenance quickly recovered its gravity.

They reached the office of the procurator after having
passed through the antechamber in which the clerks wereand
the study in which they ought to have been. This last
apartment was a sort of dark roomlittered with papers. On
quitting the study they left the kitchen on the rightand
entered the reception room.

All these roomswhich communicated with one anotherdid
not inspire Porthos favorably. Words might be heard at a
distance through all these open doors. Thenwhile passing
he had cast a rapidinvestigating glance into the kitchen;
and he was obliged to confess to himselfto the shame of
the procurator's wife and his own regretthat he did not
see that firethat animationthat bustlewhich when a
good repast is on foot prevails generally in that sanctuary
of good living.


The procurator had without doubt been warned of his visit
as he expressed no surprise at the sight of Porthoswho
advanced toward him with a sufficiently easy airand
saluted him courteously.

We are cousins, it appears, Monsieur Porthos?said the
procuratorrisingyet supporting his weight upon the arms
of his cane chair.

The old manwrapped in a large black doubletin which the
whole of his slender body was concealedwas brisk and dry.
His little gray eyes shone like carbunclesand appeared
with his grinning mouthto be the only part of his face in
which life survived. Unfortunately the legs began to refuse
their service to this bony machine. During the last five or
six months that this weakness had been feltthe worthy
procurator had nearly become the slave of his wife.

The cousin was received with resignationthat was all. M.
Coquenardfirm upon his legswould have declined all
relationship with M. Porthos.

Yes, monsieur, we are cousins,said Porthoswithout being
disconcertedas he had never reckoned upon being received
enthusiastically by the husband.

By the female side, I believe?said the procurator
maliciously.

Porthos did not feel the ridicule of thisand took it for a
piece of simplicityat which he laughed in his large
mustache. Mme. Coquenardwho knew that a simple-minded
procurator was a very rare variety in the speciessmiled a
littleand colored a great deal.

M. Coquenard hadsince the arrival of Porthosfrequently
cast his eyes with great uneasiness upon a large chest
placed in front of his oak desk. Porthos comprehended that
this chestalthough it did not correspond in shape with
that which he had seen in his dreamsmust be the blessed
cofferand he congratulated himself that the reality was
several feet higher than the dream.
M. Coquenard did not carry his genealogical investigations
any further; but withdrawing his anxious look from the chest
and fixing it upon Porthoshe contented himself with saying
Monsieur our cousin will do us the favor of dining with us
once before his departure for the campaign, will he not,
Madame Coquenard?
This time Porthos received the blow right in his stomach
and felt it. It appeared likewise that Mme. Coquenard was
not less affected by it on her partfor she addedMy
cousin will not return if he finds that we do not treat him
kindly; but otherwise he has so little time to pass in Paris,
and consequently to spare to us, that we must entreat him to
give us every instant he can call his own previous to his
departure.

Oh, my legs, my poor legs! where are you?murmured
Coquenardand he tried to smile.

This succorwhich came to Porthos at the moment in which he


was attacked in his gastronomic hopesinspired much
gratitude in the Musketeer toward the procurator's wife.

The hour of dinner soon arrived. They passed into the eating
room--a large dark room situated opposite the kitchen.

The clerkswhoas it appearedhad smelled unusual perfumes
in the housewere of military punctualityand held their
stools in hand quite ready to sit down. Their jaws moved
preliminarily with fearful threatenings.

Indeed!thought Porthoscasting a glance at the three hungry
clerks--for the errand boyas might be expectedwas not
admitted to the honors of the magisterial tablein my
cousin's place, I would not keep such gourmands! They look
like shipwrecked sailors who have not eaten for six weeks.

M. Coquenard enteredpushed along upon his armchair with
casters by Mme. Coquenardwhom Porthos assisted in rolling
her husband up to the table. He had scarcely entered when
he began to agitate his nose and his jaws after the example
of his clerks.
Oh, oh!said he; "here is a soup which is rather
inviting."

What the devil can they smell so extraordinary in this
soup?said Porthosat the sight of a pale liquidabundant
but entirely free from meaton the surface of which a few
crusts swam about as rare as the islands of an archipelago.

Mme. Coquenard smiledand upon a sign from her everyone
eagerly took his seat.

M. Coquenard was served firstthen Porthos. Afterward Mme.
Coquenard filled her own plateand distributed the crusts
without soup to the impatient clerks. At this moment the
door of the dining room unclosed with a creakand Porthos
perceived through the half-open flap the little clerk who
not being allowed to take part in the feastate his dry
bread in the passage with the double odor of the dining room
and kitchen.
After the soup the maid brought a boiled fowl--a piece of
magnificence which caused the eyes of the diners to dilate
in such a manner that they seemed ready to burst.

One may see that you love your family, Madame Coquenard,
said the procuratorwith a smile that was almost tragic.
You are certainly treating your cousin very handsomely!

The poor fowl was thinand covered with one of those thick
bristly skins through which the teeth cannot penetrate with
all their efforts. The fowl must have been sought for a
long time on the perchto which it had retired to die of
old age.

The devil!thought Porthosthis is poor work. I respect
old age, but I don't much like it boiled or roasted.

And he looked round to see if anybody partook of his
opinion; but on the contraryhe saw nothing but eager eyes
which were devouringin anticipationthat sublime fowl
which was the object of his contempt.


Mme. Coquenard drew the dish toward herskillfully detached
the two great black feetwhich she placed upon her
husband's platecut off the neckwhich with the head she
put on one side for herselfraised the wing for Porthos
and then returned the bird otherwise intact to the servant
who had brought it inwho disappeared with it before the
Musketeer had time to examine the variations which
disappointment produces upon facesaccording to the
characters and temperaments of those who experience it.

In the place of the fowl a dish of haricot beans made its
appearance--an enormous dish in which some bones of mutton
that at first sight one might have believed to have some
meat on them pretended to show themselves.

But the clerks were not the dupes of this deceitand their
lugubrious looks settled down into resigned countenances.

Mme. Coquenard distributed this dish to the young men with
the moderation of a good housewife.

The time for wine came. M. Coquenard poured from a very
small stone bottle the third of a glass for each of the
young menserved himself in about the same proportionand
passed the bottle to Porthos and Mme. Coquenard.

The young men filled up their third of a glass with water;
thenwhen they had drunk half the glassthey filled it up
againand continued to do so. This brought themby the
end of the repastto swallowing a drink which from the
color of the ruby had passed to that of a pale topaz.

Porthos ate his wing of the fowl timidlyand shuddered when
he felt the knee of the procurator's wife under the table
as it came in search of his. He also drank half a glass of
this sparingly served wineand found it to be nothing but
that horrible Montreuil--the terror of all expert palates.

M. Coquenard saw him swallowing this wine undilutedand
sighed deeply.
Will you eat any of these beans, Cousin Porthos?said Mme.
Coquenardin that tone which saysTake my advice, don't
touch them.

Devil take me if I taste one of them!murmured Porthos to
himselfand then said aloudThank you, my cousin, I am no
longer hungry.

There was silence. Porthos could hardly keep his
countenance.

The procurator repeated several timesAh, Madame
Coquenard! Accept my compliments; your dinner has been a
real feast. Lord, how I have eaten!

M. Coquenard had eaten his soupthe black feet of the fowl
and the only mutton bone on which there was the least
appearance of meat.
Porthos fancied they were mystifying himand began to curl
his mustache and knit his eyebrows; but the knee of Mme.
Coquenard gently advised him to be patient.


This silence and this interruption in servingwhich were
unintelligible to Porthoshadon the contrarya terrible
meaning for the clerks. Upon a look from the procurator
accompanied by a smile from Mme. Coquenardthey arose
slowly from the tablefolded their napkins more slowly
stillbowedand retired.

Go, young men! go and promote digestion by working,said
the procuratorgravely.

The clerks goneMme. Coquenard rose and took from a buffet
a piece of cheesesome preserved quincesand a cake which
she had herself made of almonds and honey.

M. Coquenard knit his eyebrows because there were too many
good things. Porthos bit his lips because he saw not the
wherewithal to dine. He looked to see if the dish of beans
was still there; the dish of beans had disappeared.
A positive feast!cried M. Coquenardturning about in his
chaira real feast, EPULCE EPULORUM. Lucullus dines with
Lucullus.

Porthos looked at the bottlewhich was near himand hoped
that with winebreadand cheesehe might make a dinner;
but wine was wantingthe bottle was empty. M. and Mme.
Coquenard did not seem to observe it.

This is fine!said Porthos to himself; "I am prettily
caught!"

He passed his tongue over a spoonful of preservesand stuck
his teeth into the sticky pastry of Mme. Coquenard.

Now,said hethe sacrifice is consummated! Ah! if I had
not the hope of peeping with Madame Coquenard into her
husband's chest!

M. Coquenardafter the luxuries of such a repastwhich he
called an excessfelt the want of a siesta. Porthos began
to hope that the thing would take place at the present
sittingand in that same locality; but the procurator would
listen to nothinghe would be taken to his roomand was
not satisfied till he was close to his chestupon the edge
of whichfor still greater precautionhe placed his feet.
The procurator's wife took Porthos into an adjoining room
and they began to lay the basis of a reconciliation.

You can come and dine three times a week,said Mme.
Coquenard.

Thanks, madame!said Porthosbut I don't like to abuse
your kindness; besides, I must think of my outfit!

That's true,said the procurator's wifegroaningthat
unfortunate outfit!

Alas, yes,said Porthosit is so.

But of what, then, does the equipment of your company
consist, Monsieur Porthos?


Oh, of many things!said Porthos. "The Musketeers areas
you knowpicked soldiersand they require many things
useless to the Guardsmen or the Swiss."

But yet, detail them to me.

Why, they may amount to--said Porthoswho preferred
discussing the total to taking them one by one.

The procurator's wife waited tremblingly.

To how much?said she. "I hope it does not exceed--" She
stopped; speech failed her.

Oh, no,said Porthosit does not exceed two thousand
five hundred livres! I even think that with economy I could
manage it with two thousand livres.

Good God!cried shetwo thousand livres! Why, that is a
fortune!

Porthos made a most significant grimace; Mme. Coquenard
understood it.

I wished to know the detail,said shebecause, having
many relatives in business, I was almost sure of obtaining
things at a hundred per cent less than you would pay
yourself.

Ah, ah!said Porthosthat is what you meant to say!

Yes, dear Monsieur Porthos. Thus, for instance, don't you
in the first place want a horse?

Yes, a horse.

Well, then! I can just suit you.

Ah!said Porthosbrighteningthat's well as regards my
horse; but I must have the appointments complete, as they
include objects which a Musketeer alone can purchase, and
which will not amount, besides, to more than three hundred
livres.

Three hundred livres? Then put down three hundred livres,
said the procurator's wifewith a sigh.

Porthos smiled. It may be remembered that he had the saddle
which came from Buckingham. These three hundred livres he
reckoned upon putting snugly into his pocket.

Then,continued hethere is a horse for my lackey, and
my valise. As to my arms, it is useless to trouble you
about them; I have them.

A horse for your lackey?resumed the procurator's wife
hesitatingly; "but that is doing things in lordly stylemy
friend."

Ah, madame!said Porthoshaughtily; "do you take me for a
beggar?"

No; I only thought that a pretty mule makes sometimes as
good an appearance as a horse, and it seemed to me that by


getting a pretty mule for Mousqueton--

Well, agreed for a pretty mule,said Porthos; "you are
rightI have seen very great Spanish nobles whose whole
suite were mounted on mules. But then you understand
Madame Coquenarda mule with feathers and bells."

Be satisfied,said the procurator's wife.

There remains the valise,added Porthos.

Oh, don't let that disturb you,cried Mme. Coquenard. "My
husband has five or six valises; you shall choose the best.
There is one in particular which he prefers in his journeys
large enough to hold all the world."

Your valise is then empty?asked Porthoswith simplicity.

Certainly it is empty,replied the procurator's wifein
real innocence.

Ah, but the valise I want,cried Porthosis a wellfilled
one, my dear.

Madame uttered fresh sighs. Moliere had not written his
scene in "L'Avare" then. Mme. Coquenard was in the dilemma
of Harpagan.

Finallythe rest of the equipment was successively debated
in the same manner; and the result of the sitting was that
the procurator's wife should give eight hundred livres in
moneyand should furnish the horse and the mule which
should have the honor of carrying Porthos and Mousqueton to
glory.

These conditions being agreed toPorthos took leave of Mme.
Coquenard. The latter wished to detain him by darting
certain tender glances; but Porthos urged the commands of
dutyand the procurator's wife was obliged to give place to
the king.

The Musketeer returned home hungry and in bad humor.

33 SOUBRETTE AND MISTRESS

Meantimeas we have saiddespite the cries of his
conscience and the wise counsels of Athosd'Artagnan became
hourly more in love with Milady. Thus he never failed to
pay his diurnal court to her; and the self-satisfied Gascon
was convinced that sooner or later she could not fail to
respond.

One daywhen he arrived with his head in the airand as
light at heart as a man who awaits a shower of goldhe
found the SOUBRETTE under the gateway of the hotel; but this
time the pretty Kitty was not contented with touching him as
he passedshe took him gently by the hand.

Good!thought d'ArtagnanShe is charged with some
message for me from her mistress; she is about to appoint
some rendezvous of which she had not courage to speak.And
he looked down at the pretty girl with the most triumphant


air imaginable.

I wish to say three words to you, Monsieur Chevalier,
stammered the SOUBRETTE.

Speak, my child, speak,said d'Artagnan; "I listen."

Here? Impossible! That which I have to say is too long,
and above all, too secret.

Well, what is to be done?

If Monsieur Chevalier would follow me?said Kitty
timidly.

Where you please, my dear child.

Come, then.

And Kittywho had not let go the hand of d'Artagnanled
him up a little darkwinding staircaseand after ascending
about fifteen stepsopened a door.

Come in here, Monsieur Chevalier,said she; "here we shall
be aloneand can talk."

And whose room is this, my dear child?

It is mine, Monsieur Chevalier; it communicates with my
mistress's by that door. But you need not fear. She will
not hear what we say; she never goes to bed before
midnight,.

D'Artagnan cast a glance around him. The little apartment
was charming for its taste and neatness; but in spite of
himself, his eyes were directed to that door which Kitty
said led to Milady's chamber.

Kitty guessed what was passing in the mind of the young man,
and heaved a deep sigh.

You love my mistressthenvery dearlyMonsieur
Chevalier?" said she.

Oh, more than I can say, Kitty! I am mad for her!

Kitty breathed a second sigh.

Alas, monsieur,said shethat is too bad.

What the devil do you see so bad in it?said d'Artagnan.

Because, monsieur,replied Kittymy mistress loves you
not at all.

HEIN!said d'Artagnancan she have charged you to tell
me so?

Oh, no, monsieur; but out of the regard I have for you, I
have taken the resolution to tell you so.

Much obliged, my dear Kitty; but for the intention only--for
the information, you must agree, is not likely to be at all
agreeable.


That is to say, you don't believe what I have told you; is
it not so?

We have always some difficulty in believing such things, my
pretty dear, were it only from self-love.

Then you don't believe me?

I confess that unless you deign to give me some proof of
what you advance--

What do you think of this?

Kitty drew a little note from her bosom.

For me?said Derogationseizing the letter.

No; for another.

For another?

Yes.

His name; his name!cried d'Artagnan.

Read the address.

Monsieur El Comte de Wardes.

The remembrance of the scene at St. Germain presented itself
to the mind of the presumptuous Gascon. As quick as
thoughthe tore open the letterin spite of the cry which
Kitty uttered on seeing what he was going to door rather
what he was doing.

Oh, good Lord, Monsieur Chevalier,said shewhat are you
doing?

I?said d'Artagnan; "nothing and he read,

You have not answered my first note. Are you indisposed
or have you forgotten the glances you favored me with at the
ball of Mme. de Guise? You have an opportunity nowCount;
do not allow it to escape."

d'Artagnan became very pale; he was wounded in his SELF-
love: he thought that it was in his LOVE.

Poor dear Monsieur d'Artagnan,said Kittyin a voice full
of compassionand pressing anew the young man's hand.

You pity me, little one?said d'Artagnan.

Oh, yes, and with all my heart; for I know what it is to be
in love.

You know what it is to be in love?said d'Artagnan
looking at her for the first time with much attention.

Alas, yes.


Well, then, instead of pitying me, you would do much better
to assist me in avenging myself on your mistress.

And what sort of revenge would you take?

I would triumph over her, and supplant my rival.

I will never help you in that, Monsieur Chevalier,said
Kittywarmly.

And why not?demanded d'Artagnan.

For two reasons.

What ones?

The first is that my mistress will never love you.

How do you know that?

You have cut her to the heart.

I? In what can I have offended her--I who ever since I have
known her have lived at her feet like a slave? Speak, I beg
you!

I will never confess that but to the man--who should read to
the bottom of my soul!

D'Artagnan looked at Kitty for the second time. The young
girl had freshness and beauty which many duchesses would
have purchased with their coronets.

Kitty,said heI will read to the bottom of your soul
when-ever you like; don't let that disturb you.And he gave
her a kiss at which the poor girl became as red as a cherry.

Oh, no,said Kittyit is not me you love! It is my
mistress you love; you told me so just now.

And does that hinder you from letting me know the second
reason?

The second reason, Monsieur the Chevalier,replied Kitty
emboldened by the kiss in the first placeand still further
by the expression of the eyes of the young manis that in
love, everyone for herself!

Then only d'Artagnan remembered the languishing glances of
Kittyher constantly meeting him in the antechamberthe
corridoror on the stairsthose touches of the hand every
time she met himand her deep sighs; but absorbed by his
desire to please the great ladyhe had disdained the
soubrette. He whose game is the eagle takes no heed of the
sparrow.

But this time our Gascon saw at a glance all the advantage
to be derived from the love which Kitty had just confessed
so innocentlyor so boldly: the interception of letters
addressed to the Comte de Wardesnews on the spotentrance
at all hours into Kitty's chamberwhich was contiguous to
her mistress's. The perfidious deceiver wasas may plainly
be perceivedalready sacrificingin intentionthe poor
girl in order to obtain Miladywilly-nilly.


Well,said he to the young girlare you willing, my dear
Kitty, that I should give you a proof of that love which you
doubt?

What love?asked the young girl.

Of that which I am ready to feel toward you.

And what is that proof?

Are you willing that I should this evening pass with you
the time I generally spend with your mistress?

Oh, yes,said Kittyclapping her handsvery willing.

Well, then, come here, my dear,said d'Artagnan
establishing himself in an easy chair; "comeand let me
tell you that you are the prettiest SOUBRETTE I ever saw!"

And he did tell her so muchand so wellthat the poor
girlwho asked nothing better than to believe himdid
believe him. Neverthelessto d'Artagnan's great
astonishmentthe pretty Kitty defended herself resolutely.

Time passes quickly when it is passed in attacks and
defenses. Midnight soundedand almost at the same time the
bell was rung in Milady's chamber.

Good God,cried Kittythere is my mistress calling me!
Go; go directly!

D'Artagnan rosetook his hatas if it had been his
intention to obeythenopening quickly the door of a large
closet instead of that leading to the staircasehe buried
himself amid the robes and dressing gowns of Milady.

What are you doing?cried Kitty.

D'Artagnanwho had secured the keyshut himself up in the
closet without reply.

Well,cried Miladyin a sharp voice. "Are you asleep
that you don't answer when I ring?"

And d'Artagnan heard the door of communication opened
violently.

Here am I, Milady, here am I!cried Kittyspringing
forward to meet her mistress.

Both went into the bedroomand as the door of communication
remained opend'Artagnan could hear Milady for some time
scolding her maid. She was at length appeasedand the
conversation turned upon him while Kitty was assisting her
mistress.

Well,said MiladyI have not seen our Gascon this
evening.

What, Milady! has he not come?said Kitty. "Can he be
inconstant before being happy?"

Oh, no; he must have been prevented by Monsieur de Treville


or Monsieur Dessessart. I understand my game, Kitty; I have
this one safe.

What will you do with him, madame?

What will I do with him? Be easy, Kitty, there is
something between that man and me that he is quite ignorant
of: he nearly made me lose my credit with his Eminence. Oh,
I will be revenged!

I believed that Madame loved him.

I love him? I detest him! An idiot, who held the life of
Lord de Winter in his hands and did not kill him, by which I
missed three hundred thousand livres' income.

That's true,said Kitty; "your son was the only heir of
his uncleand until his majority you would have had the
enjoyment of his fortune."

D'Artagnan shuddered to the marrow at hearing this suave
creature reproach himwith that sharp voice which she took
such pains to conceal in conversationfor not having killed
a man whom he had seen load her with kindnesses.

For all this,continued MiladyI should long ago have
revenged myself on him if, and I don't know why, the
cardinal had not requested me to conciliate him.

Oh, yes; but Madame has not conciliated that little woman
he was so fond of.

What, the mercer's wife of the Rue des Fossoyeurs? Has he
not already forgotten she ever existed? Fine vengeance
that, on my faith!

A cold sweat broke from d'Artagnan's brow. Whythis woman
was a monster! He resumed his listeningbut unfortunately
the toilet was finished.

That will do,said Milady; "go into your own roomand
tomorrow endeavor again to get me an answer to the letter I
gave you."

For Monsieur de Wardes?said Kitty.

To be sure; for Monsieur de Wardes.

Now, there is one,said Kittywho appears to me quite a
different sort of a man from that poor Monsieur d'Artagnan.

Go to bed, mademoiselle,said Milady; "I don't like
comments."

D'Artagnan heard the door close; then the noise of two bolts
by which Milady fastened herself in. On her sidebut as
softly as possibleKitty turned the key of the lockand
then d'Artagnan opened the closet door.

Oh, good Lord!said Kittyin a low voicewhat is the
matter with you? How pale you are!

The abominable creaturemurmured d'Artagnan.


Silence, silence, begone!said Kitty. "There is nothing
but a wainscot between my chamber and Milady's; every word
that is uttered in one can be heard in the other."

That's exactly the reason I won't go,said d'Artagnan.

What!said Kittyblushing.

Or, at least, I will go--later.

He drew Kitty to him. She had the less motive to resist
resistance would make so much noise. Therefore Kitty
surrendered.

It was a movement of vengeance upon Milady. D'Artagnan
believed it right to say that vengeance is the pleasure of
the gods. With a little more hearthe might have been
contented with this new conquest; but the principal features
of his character were ambition and pride. It musthowever
be confessed in his justification that the first use he made
of his influence over Kitty was to try and find out what had
become of Mme. Bonacieux; but the poor girl swore upon the
crucifix to d'Artagnan that she was entirely ignorant on
that headher mistress never admitting her into half her
secrets--only she believed she could say she was not dead.

As to the cause which was near making Milady lose her credit
with the cardinalKitty knew nothing about it; but this
time d'Artagnan was better informed than she was. As he had
seen Milady on board a vessel at the moment he was leaving
Englandhe suspected that it wasalmost without a doubt
on account of the diamond studs.

But what was clearest in all this was that the true hatred
the profound hatredthe inveterate hatred of Miladywas
increased by his not having killed her brother-in-law.

D'Artagnan came the next day to Milady'sand finding her in
a very ill-humorhad no doubt that it was lack of an answer
from M. de Wardes that provoked her thus. Kitty came in
but Milady was very cross with her. The poor girl ventured
a glance at d'Artagnan which saidSee how I suffer on your
account!

Toward the end of the eveninghoweverthe beautiful
lioness became milder; she smilingly listened to the soft
speeches of d'Artagnanand even gave him her hand to kiss.

D'Artagnan departedscarcely knowing what to thinkbut as
he was a youth who did not easily lose his headwhile
continuing to pay his court to Miladyhe had framed a
little plan in his mind.

He found Kitty at the gateandas on the preceding
eveningwent up to her chamber. Kitty had been accused of
negligence and severely scolded. Milady could not at all
comprehend the silence of the Comte de Wardesand she
ordered Kitty to come at nine o'clock in the morning to take
a third letter.

D'Artagnan made Kitty promise to bring him that letter on
the following morning. The poor girl promised all her lover
desired; she was mad.


Things passed as on the night before. D'Artagnan concealed
himself in his closet; Milady calledundressedsent away
Kittyand shut the door. As the night befored'Artagnan
did not return home till five o'clock in the morning.

At eleven o'clock Kitty came to him. She held in her hand a
fresh billet from Milady. This time the poor girl did not
even argue with d'Artagnan; she gave it to him at once. She
belonged body and soul to her handsome soldier.

D'Artagnan opened the letter and read as follows:

This is the third time I have written to you to tell you
that I love you. Beware that I do not write to you a fourth
time to tell you that I detest you.

If you repent of the manner in which you have acted toward
methe young girl who brings you this will tell you how a
man of spirit may obtain his pardon.

d'Artagnan colored and grew pale several times in reading
this billet.

Oh, you love her still,said Kittywho had not taken her
eyes off the young man's countenance for an instant.

No, Kitty, you are mistaken. I do not love her, but I will
avenge myself for her contempt.

Oh, yes, I know what sort of vengeance! You told me that!

What matters it to you, Kitty? You know it is you alone
whom I love.

How can I know that?

By the scorn I will throw upon her.

D'Artagnan took a pen and wrote:

MadameUntil the present moment I could not believe that it
was to me your first two letters were addressedso unworthy
did I feel myself of such an honor; besidesI was so
seriously indisposed that I could not in any case have
replied to them.

But now I am forced to believe in the excess of your
kindnesssince not only your letter but your servant
assures me that I have the good fortune to be beloved by
you.

She has no occasion to teach me the way in which a man of
spirit may obtain his pardon. I will come and ask mine at
eleven o'clock this evening.

To delay it a single day would be in my eyes now to commit a
fresh offense.

From him whom you have rendered the happiest of men
Comte de Wardes


This note was in the first place a forgery; it was likewise
an indelicacy. It was evenaccording to our present
mannerssomething like an infamous action; but at that
period people did not manage affairs as they do today.
Besidesd'Artagnan from her own admission knew Milady
culpable of treachery in matters more importantand could
entertain no respect for her. And yetnotwithstanding this
want of respecthe felt an uncontrollable passion for this
woman boiling in his veins--passion drunk with contempt; but
passion or thirstas the reader pleases.

D'Artagnan's plan was very simple. By Kitty's chamber he
could gain that of her mistress. He would take advantage of
the first moment of surpriseshameand terrorto triumph
over her. He might failbut something must be left to
chance. In eight days the campaign would openand he would
be compelled to leave Paris; d'Artagnan had no time for a
prolonged love siege.

There,said the young manhanding Kitty the letter
sealed; "give that to Milady. It is the count's reply."

Poor Kitty became as pale as death; she suspected what the
letter contained.

Listen, my dear girl,said d'Artagnan; "you cannot but
perceive that all this must endsome way or other. Milady
may discover that you gave the first billet to my lackey
instead of to the count's; that it is I who have opened the
others which ought to have been opened by de Wardes. Milady
will then turn you out of doorsand you know she is not the
woman to limit her vengeance. "Alas!" said Kittyfor whom
have I exposed myself to all that?

For me, I well know, my sweet girl,said d'Artagnan. "But
I am gratefulI swear to you."

But what does this note contain?

Milady will tell you.

Ah, you do not love me!cried Kittyand I am very
wretched.

To this reproach there is always one response which deludes
women. D'Artagnan replied in such a manner that Kitty
remained in her great delusion. Although she cried freely
before deciding to transmit the letter to her mistressshe
did at last so decidewhich was all d'Artagnan wished.
Finally he promised that he would leave her mistress's
presence at an early hour that eveningand that when he
left the mistress he would ascend with the maid. This
promise completed poor Kitty's consolation.

34 IN WHICH THE EQUIPMENT OF ARAMIS AND PORTHOS IS TREATED
OF

Since the four friends had been each in search of his
equipmentsthere had been no fixed meeting between them.
They dined apart from one anotherwherever they might
happen to beor rather where they could. Duty likewise on


its part took a portion of that precious time which was
gliding away so rapidly--only they had agreed to meet once a
weekabout one o'clockat the residence of Athosseeing
that hein agreement with the vow he had formeddid not
pass over the threshold of his door.

This day of reunion was the same day as that on which Kitty
came to find d'Artagnan. Soon as Kitty left himd'Artagnan
directed his steps toward the Rue Ferou.

He found Athos and Aramis philosophizing. Aramis had some
slight inclination to resume the cassock. Athosaccording
to his systemneither encouraged nor dissuaded him. Athos
believed that everyone should be left to his own free will.
He never gave advice but when it was askedand even then he
required to be asked twice.

People, in general,he saidonly ask advice not to
follow it; or if they do follow it, it is for the sake of
having someone to blame for having given it.

Porthos arrived a minute after d'Artagnan. The four friends
were reunited.

The four countenances expressed four different feelings:
that of Porthostranquillity; that of d'Artagnanhope;
that of Aramisuneasiness; that of Athoscarelessness.

At the end of a moment's conversationin which Porthos
hinted that a lady of elevated rank had condescended to
relieve him from his embarrassmentMousqueton entered. He
came to request his master to return to his lodgingswhere
his presence was urgentas he piteously said.

Is it my equipment?

Yes and no,replied Mousqueton.

Well, but can't you speak?

Come, monsieur.

Porthos rosesaluted his friendsand followed Mousqueton.
An instant afterBazin made his appearance at the door.

What do you want with me, my friend?said Aramiswith
that mildness of language which was observable in him every
time that his ideas were directed toward the Church.

A man wishes to see Monsieur at home,replied Bazin.

A man! What man?

A mendicant.

Give him alms, Bazin, and bid him pray for a poor sinner.

This mendicant insists upon speaking to you, and pretends
that you will be very glad to see him.

Has he sent no particular message for me?

Yes. If Monsieur Aramis hesitates to come,he saidtell
him I am from Tours.


From Tours!cried Aramis. "A thousand pardonsgentlemen;
but no doubt this man brings me the news I expected." And
rising alsohe went off at a quick pace. There remained
Athos and d'Artagnan.

I believe these fellows have managed their business. What
do you think, d'Artagnan?said Athos.

I know that Porthos was in a fair way,replied d'Artagnan;
and as to Aramis to tell you the truth, I have never been
seriously uneasy on his account. But you, my dear Athos-you,
who so generously distributed the Englishman's
pistoles, which were our legitimate property--what do you
mean to do?

I am satisfied with having killed that fellow, my boy,
seeing that it is blessed bread to kill an Englishman; but
if I had pocketed his pistoles, they would have weighed me
down like a remorse.

Go tomy dear Athos; you have truly inconceivable ideas."

Let it pass. What do you think of Monsieur de Treville
telling me, when he did me the honor to call upon me
yesterday, that you associated with the suspected English,
whom the cardinal protects?

That is to say, I visit an Englishwoman--the one I named.

Oh, ay! the fair woman on whose account I gave you advice,
which naturally you took care not to adopt.

I gave you my reasons.

Yes; you look there for your outfit, I think you said.

Not at all. I have acquired certain knowledge that that
woman was concerned in the abduction of Madame Bonacieux.

Yes, I understand now: to find one woman, you court
another. It is the longest road, but certainly the most
amusing.

D'Artagnan was on the point of telling Athos all; but one
consideration restrained him. Athos was a gentleman
punctilious in points of honor; and there were in the plan
which our lover had devised for Miladyhe was surecertain
things that would not obtain the assent of this Puritan. He
was therefore silent; and as Athos was the least inquisitive
of any man on earthd'Artagnan's confidence stopped there.
We will therefore leave the two friendswho had nothing
important to say to each otherand follow Aramis.

Upon being informed that the person who wanted to speak to
him came from Tourswe have seen with what rapidity the
young man followedor rather went beforeBazin; he ran
without stopping from the Rue Ferou to the Rue de Vaugirard.
On entering he found a man of short stature and intelligent
eyesbut covered with rags.

You have asked for me?said the Musketeer.

I wish to speak with Monsieur Aramis. Is that your name,


monsieur?

My very own. You have brought me something?

Yes, if you show me a certain embroidered handkerchief.

Here it is,said Aramistaking a small key from his
breast and opening a little ebony box inlaid with mother of
pearlhere it is. Look.

That is right,replied the mendicant; "dismiss your lackey."

In factBazincurious to know what the mendicant could
want with his masterkept pace with him as well as he
couldand arrived almost at the same time he did; but his
quickness was not of much use to him. At the hint from the
mendicant his master made him a sign to retireand he was
obliged to obey.

Bazin gonethe mendicant cast a rapid glance around him in
order to be sure that nobody could either see or hear him
and opening his ragged vestbadly held together by a
leather straphe began to rip the upper part of his
doubletfrom which he drew a letter.

Aramis uttered a cry of joy at the sight of the sealkissed
the superscription with an almost religious respectand
opened the epistlewhich contained what follows:

My Friend, it is the will of fate that we should be still
for some time separated; but the delightful days of youth
are not lost beyond return. Perform your duty in camp; I
will do mine elsewhere. Accept that which the bearer brings
you; make the campaign like a handsome true gentleman, and
think of me, who kisses tenderly your black eyes.

Adieu; or ratherAU REVOIR."

The mendicant continued to rip his garments; and drew from
amid his rags a hundred and fifty Spanish double pistoles
which he laid down on the table; then he opened the door
bowedand went out before the young manstupefied by his
letterhad ventured to address a word to him.

Aramis then reperused the letterand perceived a
postscript:

P.S. You may behave politely to the bearerwho is a count
and a grandee of Spain!
Golden dreams!cried Aramis. "Ohbeautiful life! Yeswe
are young; yeswe shall yet have happy days! My lovemy
bloodmy life! allallallare thinemy adored
mistress!"

And he kissed the letter with passionwithout even
vouchsafing a look at the gold which sparkled on the table.

Bazin scratched at the doorand as Aramis had no longer any
reason to exclude himhe bade him come in.


Bazin was stupefied at the sight of the goldand forgot
that he came to announce d'Artagnanwhocurious to know
who the mendicant could became to Aramis on leaving Athos.

Nowas d'Artagnan used no ceremony with Aramisseeing that
Bazin forgot to announce himhe announced himself.

The devil! my dear Aramis,said d'Artagnanif these are
the prunes that are sent to you from Tours, I beg you will
make my compliments to the gardener who gathers them.

You are mistaken, friend d'Artagnan,said Aramisalways
on his guard; "this is from my publisherwho has just sent
me the price of that poem in one-syllable verse which I
began yonder."

Ah, indeed,said d'Artagnan. "Wellyour publisher is
very generousmy dear Aramisthat's all I can say."

How, monsieur?cried Bazina poem sell so dear as that!
It is incredible! Oh, monsieur, you can write as much as you
like; you may become equal to Monsieur de Voiture and
Monsieur de Benserade. I like that. A poet is as good as
an abbe. Ah! Monsieur Aramis, become a poet, I beg of you.

Bazin, my friend,said AramisI believe you meddle with
my conversation.

Bazin perceived he was wrong; he bowed and went out.

Ah!said d'Artagnan with a smileyou sell your
productions at their weight in gold. You are very
fortunate, my friend; but take care or you will lose that
letter which is peeping from your doublet, and which also
comes, no doubt, from your publisher.

Aramis blushed to the eyescrammed in the letterand
re-buttoned his doublet.

My dear d'Artagnan,said heif you please, we will join
our friends; as I am rich, we will today begin to dine
together again, expecting that you will be rich in your
turn.

My faith!said d'Artagnanwith great pleasure. "It is
long since we have had a good dinner; and Ifor my part
have a somewhat hazardous expedition for this eveningand
shall not be sorryI confessto fortify myself with a few
glasses of good old Burgundy."

Agreed, as to the old Burgundy; I have no objection to
that,said Aramisfrom whom the letter and the gold had
removedas by magichis ideas of conversion.

And having put three or four double pistoles into his pocket
to answer the needs of the momenthe placed the others in
the ebony boxinlaid with mother of pearlin which was the
famous handkerchief which served him as a talisman.

The two friends repaired to Athos'sand hefaithful to his
vow of not going outtook upon him to order dinner to be
brought to them. As he was perfectly acquainted with the
details of gastronomyd'Artagnan and Aramis made no
objection to abandoning this important care to him.


They went to find Porthosand at the corner of the Rue Bac
met Mousquetonwhowith a most pitiable airwas driving
before him a mule and a horse.

D'Artagnan uttered a cry of surprisewhich was not quite
free from joy.

Ah, my yellow horse,cried he. "Aramislook at that
horse!"

Oh, the frightful brute!said Aramis.

Ah, my dear,replied d'Artagnanupon that very horse I
came to Paris.

What, does Monsieur know this horse?said Mousqueton.

It is of an original color,said Aramis; "I never saw one
with such a hide in my life."

I can well believe it,replied d'Artagnanand that was
why I got three crowns for him. It must have been for his
hide, for, CERTESf, the carcass is not worth eighteen livres.
But how did this horse come into your bands, Mousqueton?

Pray,said the lackeysay nothing about it, monsieur; it
is a frightful trick of the husband of our duchess!

How is that, Mousqueton?

Why, we are looked upon with a rather favorable eye by a
lady of quality, the Duchesse de--but, your pardon; my master
has commanded me to be discreet. She had forced us to
accept a little souvenir, a magnificent Spanish GENET and an
Andalusian mule, which were beautiful to look upon. The
husband heard of the affair; on their way he confiscated the
two magnificent beasts which were being sent to us, and
substituted these horrible animals.

Which you are taking back to him?said d'Artagnan.

Exactly!replied Mousqueton. "You may well believe that we
will not accept such steeds as these in exchange for those
which had been promised to us."

No, PARDIEU; though I should like to have seen Porthos on
my yellow horse. That would give me an idea of how I looked
when I arrived in Paris. But don't let us hinder you,
Mousqueton; go and perform your master's orders. Is he at
home?

Yes, monsieur,said Mousquetonbut in a very ill humor.
Get up!

He continued his way toward the Quai des Grands Augustins
while the two friends went to ring at the bell of the
unfortunate Porthos. Hehaving seen them crossing the
yardtook care not to answerand they rang in vain.

Meanwhile Mousqueton continued on his wayand crossing the
Pont Neufstill driving the two sorry animals before him
he reached the Rue aux Ours. Arrived therehe fastened
according to the orders of his masterboth horse and mule


to the knocker of the procurator's door; thenwithout
taking any thought for their futurehe returned to Porthos
and told him that his commission was completed.

In a short time the two unfortunate beastswho had not
eaten anything since the morningmade such a noise in
raising and letting fall the knocker that the procurator
ordered his errand boy to go and inquire in the neighborhood
to whom this horse and mule belonged.

Mme. Coquenard recognized her presentand could not at
first comprehend this restitution; but the visit of Porthos
soon enlightened her. The anger which fired the eyes of the
Musketeerin spite of his efforts to suppress itterrified
his sensitive inamorata. In factMousqueton had not
concealed from his master that he had met d'Artagnan and
Aramisand that d'Artagnan in the yellow horse had
recognized the Bearnese pony upon which he had come to
Parisand which he had sold for three crowns.

Porthos went away after having appointed a meeting with the
procurator's wife in the cloister of St. Magloire. The
procuratorseeing he was goinginvited him to dinner--an
invitation which the Musketeer refused with a majestic air.

Mme. Coquenard repaired trembling to the cloister of St.
Magloirefor she guessed the reproaches that awaited her
there; but she was fascinated by the lofty airs of Porthos.

All that which a man wounded in his self-love could let fall
in the shape of imprecations and reproaches upon the head of
a woman Porthos let fall upon the bowed head of the
procurator's wife.

Alas,said sheI did all for the best! One of our
clients is a horsedealer; he owes money to the office, and
is backward in his pay. I took the mule and the horse for
what he owed us; he assured me that they were two noble
steeds.

Well, madame,said Porthosif he owed you more than five
crowns, your horsedealer is a thief.

There is no harm in trying to buy things cheap, Monsieur
Porthos,said the procurator's wifeseeking to excuse
herself.

No, madame; but they who so assiduously try to buy things
cheap ought to permit others to seek more generous friends.
And Porthosturning on his heelmade a step to retire.

Monsieur Porthos! Monsieur Porthos!cried the
procurator's wife. "I have been wrong; I see it. I ought
not to have driven a bargain when it was to equip a cavalier
like you."

Porthoswithout replyretreated a second step. The
procurator's wife fancied she saw him in a brilliant cloud
all surrounded by duchesses and marchionesseswho cast bags
of money at his feet.

Stop, in the name of heaven, Monsieur Porthos!cried she.
Stop, and let us talk.


Talking with you brings me misfortune,said Porthos.

But, tell me, what do you ask?

Nothing; for that amounts to the same thing as if I asked
you for something.

The procurator's wife hung upon the arm of Porthosand in
the violence of her grief she cried outMonsieur Porthos,
I am ignorant of all such matters! How should I know what a
horse is? How should I know what horse furniture is?

You should have left it to me, then, madame, who know what
they are; but you wished to be frugal, and consequently to
lend at usury.

It was wrong, Monsieur Porthos; but I will repair that
wrong, upon my word of honor.

How so?asked the Musketeer.

Listen. This evening M. Coquenard is going to the house of
the Due de Chaulnes, who has sent for him. It is for a
consultation, which will last three hours at least. Come!
We shall be alone, and can make up our accounts.

In good time. Now you talk, my dear.

You pardon me?

We shall see,said Porthosmajestically; and the two
separated sayingTill this evening.

The devil!thought Porthosas he walked awayit appears
I am getting nearer to Monsieur Coquenard's strongbox at
last.

35 A GASCON A MATCH FOR CUPID

The evening so impatiently waited for by Porthos and by
d'Artagnan at last arrived.

As was his customd'Artagnan presented himself at Milady's
at about nine o'clock. He found her in a charming humor.
Never had he been so well received. Our Gascon knewby the
first glance of his eyethat his billet had been delivered
and that this billet had had its effect.

Kitty entered to bring some sherbet. Her mistress put on a
charming faceand smiled on her graciously; but alas! the
poor girl was so sad that she did not even notice Milady's
condescension.

D'Artagnan looked at the two womenone after the otherand
was forced to acknowledge that in his opinion Dame Nature
had made a mistake in their formation. To the great lady
she had given a heart vile and venal; to the SOUBRETTE she
had given the heart of a duchess.

At ten o'clock Milady began to appear restless. D'Artagnan
knew what she wanted. She looked at the clockrose
reseated herselfsmiled at d'Artagnan with an air which


saidYou are very amiable, no doubt, but you would be
charming if you would only depart.

D'Artagnan rose and took his hat; Milady gave him her hand
to kiss. The young man felt her press his handand
comprehended that this was a sentimentnot of coquetrybut
of gratitude because of his departure.

She loves him devilishly,he murmured. Then he went out.

This time Kitty was nowhere waiting for him; neither in the
antechambernor in the corridornor beneath the great
door. It was necessary that d'Artagnan should find alone
the staircase and the little chamber. She heard him enter
but she did not raise her head. The young man went to her
and took her hands; then she sobbed aloud.

As d'Artagnan had presumedon receiving his letterMilady
in a delirium of joy had told her servant everything; and by
way of recompense for the manner in which she had this time
executed the commissionshe had given Kitty a purse.

Returning to her own roomKitty had thrown the purse into a
cornerwhere it lay opendisgorging three or four gold
pieces on the carpet. The poor girlunder the caresses of
d'Artagnanlifted her head. D'Artagnan himself was
frightened by the change in her countenance. She joined her
hands with a suppliant airbut without venturing to speak a
word. As little sensitive as was the heart of d'Artagnan
he was touched by this mute sorrow; but he held too
tenaciously to his projectsabove all to this oneto
change the program which he had laid out in advance. He did
not therefore allow her any hope that he would flinch; only
he represented his action as one of simple vengeance.

For the rest this vengeance was very easy; for Milady
doubtless to conceal her blushes from her loverhad ordered
Kitty to extinguish all the lights in the apartmentand
even in the little chamber itself. Before daybreak M. de
Wardes must take his departurestill in obscurity.

Presently they heard Milady retire to her room. D'Artagnan
slipped into the wardrobe. Hardly was he concealed when the
little bell sounded. Kitty went to her mistressand did
not leave the door open; but the partition was so thin that
one could hear nearly all that passed between the two women.

Milady seemed overcome with joyand made Kitty repeat the
smallest details of the pretended interview of the soubrette
with de Wardes when he received the letter; how he had
responded; what was the expression of his face; if he seemed
very amorous. And to all these questions poor Kittyforced
to put on a pleasant faceresponded in a stifled voice
whose dolorous accent her mistress did not however remark
solely because happiness is egotistical.

Finallyas the hour for her interview with the count
approachedMilady had everything about her darkenedand
ordered Kitty to return to her own chamberand introduce de
Wardes whenever he presented himself.

Kitty's detention was not long. Hardly had d'Artagnan seen

through a crevice in his closetthat the whole apartment


was in obscuritythan he slipped out of his concealmentat
the very moment when Kitty reclosed the door of
communication.

What is that noise?demanded Milady.

It is I,said d'Artagnan in a subdued voiceI, the Comte
de Wardes.

Oh, my God, my God!murmured Kittyhe has not even
waited for the hour he himself named!

Well,said Miladyin a trembling voicewhy do you not
enter? Count, Count,added sheyou know that I wait for
you.

At this appeal d'Artagnan drew Kitty quietly awayand
slipped into the chamber.

If rage or sorrow ever torture the heartit is when a lover
receives under a name which is not his own protestations of
love addressed to his happy rival. D'Artagnan was in a
dolorous situation which he had not foreseen. Jealousy
gnawed his heart; and he suffered almost as much as poor
Kittywho at that very moment was crying in the next
chamber.

Yes, Count,said Miladyin her softest voiceand
pressing his hand in her ownI am happy in the love which
your looks and your words have expressed to me every time we
have met. I also--I love you. Oh, tomorrow, tomorrow, I
must have some pledge from you which will prove that you
think of me; and that you may not forget me, take this!and
she slipped a ring from her finger onto d'Artagnan's.
d'Artagnan remembered having seen this ring on the finger of
Milady; it was a magnificent sapphireencircled with
brilliants.

The first movement of d'Artagnan was to return itbut
Milady addedNo, no! Keep that ring for love of me.
Besides, in accepting it,she addedin a voice full of
emotionyou render me a much greater service than you
imagine.

This woman is full of mysteries,murmured d'Artagnan to
himself. At that instant he felt himself ready to reveal
all. He even opened his mouth to tell Milady who he was
and with what a revengeful purpose he had come; but she
addedPoor angel, whom that monster of a Gascon barely
failed to kill.

The monster was himself.

Oh,continued Miladydo your wounds still make you
suffer?

Yes, much,said d'Artagnanwho did not well know how to
answer.

Be tranquil,murmured Milady; "I will avenge you--and
cruelly!"

PESTE!said d'Artagnan to himselfthe moment for
confidences has not yet come.


It took some time for d'Artagnan to resume this little
dialogue; but then all the ideas of vengeance which he had
brought with him had completely vanished. This woman
exercised over him an unaccountable power; he hated and
adored her at the same time. He would not have believed
that two sentiments so opposite could dwell in the same
heartand by their union constitute a passion so strange
and as it werediabolical.

Presently it sounded one o'clock. It was necessary to
separate. D'Artagnan at the moment of quitting Milady felt
only the liveliest regret at the parting; and as they
addressed each other in a reciprocally passionate adieu
another interview was arranged for the following week.

Poor Kitty hoped to speak a few words to d'Artagnan when he
passed through her chamber; but Milady herself reconducted
him through the darknessand only quit him at the
staircase.

The next morning d'Artagnan ran to find Athos. He was
engaged in an adventure so singular that he wished for
counsel. He therefore told him all.

Your Milady,said heappears to be an infamous creature,
but not the less you have done wrong to deceive her. In one
fashion or another you have a terrible enemy on your hands.

While thus speaking Athos regarded with attention the
sapphire set with diamonds which had takenon d'Artagnan's
fingerthe place of the queen's ringcarefully kept in a
casket.

You notice my ring?said the Gasconproud to display so
rich a gift in the eyes of his friends.

Yes,said Athosit reminds me of a family jewel.

It is beautiful, is it not?said d'Artagnan.

Yes,said Athosmagnificent. I did not think two
sapphires of such a fine water existed. Have you traded it
for your diamond?

No. It is a gift from my beautiful Englishwoman, or rather
Frenchwoman--for I am convinced she was born in France,
though I have not questioned her.

That ring comes from Milady?cried Athoswith a voice in
which it was easy to detect strong emotion.

Her very self; she gave it me last night. Here it is,
replied d'Artagnantaking it from his finger.

Athos examined it and became very pale. He tried it on his
left hand; it fit his finger as if made for it.

A shade of anger and vengeance passed across the usually
calm brow of this gentleman.

It is impossible it can be she,said be. "How could this
ring come into the hands of Milady Clarik? And yet it is
difficult to suppose such a resemblance should exist between


two jewels."

Do you know this ring?said d'Artagnan.

I thought I did,replied Athos; "but no doubt I was
mistaken." And he returned d'Artagnan the ring without
howeverceasing to look at it.

Pray, d'Artagnan,said Athosafter a minuteeither take
off that ring or turn the mounting inside; it recalls such
cruel recollections that I shall have no head to converse
with you. Don't ask me for counsel; don't tell me you are
perplexed what to do. But stop! let me look at that
sapphire again; the one I mentioned to you had one of its
faces scratched by accident.

D'Artagnan took off the ringgiving it again to Athos.

Athos started. "Look said he, is it not strange?" and he
pointed out to d'Artagnan the scratch he had remembered.

But from whom did this ring come to you, Athos?

From my mother, who inherited it from her mother. As I
told you, it is an old family jewel.

And you--sold it?asked d'Artagnanhesitatingly.

No,replied Athoswith a singular smile. "I gave it away
in a night of loveas it has been given to you."

D'Artagnan became pensive in his turn; it appeared as if
there were abysses in Milady's soul whose depths were dark
and unknown. He took back the ringbut put it in his
pocket and not on his finger.

d'Artagnan,said Athostaking his handyou know I love
you; if I had a son I could not love him better. Take my
advice, renounce this woman. I do not know her, but a sort
of intuition tells me she is a lost creature, and that there
is something fatal about her.

You are right,said d'Artagnan; "I will have done with
her. I own that this woman terrifies me."

Shall you have the courage?said Athos.

I shall,replied d'Artagnanand instantly.

In truth, my young friend, you will act rightly,said the
gentlemanpressing the Gascon's hand with an affection
almost paternal; "and God grant that this womanwho has
scarcely entered into your lifemay not leave a terrible
trace in it!" And Athos bowed to d'Artagnan like a man who
wishes it understood that he would not be sorry to be left
alone with his thoughts.

On reaching home d'Artagnan found Kitty waiting for him. A
month of fever could not have changed her more than this one
night of sleeplessness and sorrow.

She was sent by her mistress to the false de Wardes. Her
mistress was mad with loveintoxicated with joy. She
wished to know when her lover would meet her a second night;


and poor Kittypale and tremblingawaited d'Artagnan's
reply. The counsels of his friendjoined to the cries of
his own heartmade him determinenow his pride was saved
and his vengeance satisfiednot to see Milady again. As a
replyhe wrote the following letter:

Do not depend upon memadamefor the next meeting. Since
my convalescence I have so many affairs of this kind on my
hands that I am forced to regulate them a little. When your
turn comesI shall have the honor to inform you of it.
kiss your hands.

Comte de Wardes

Not a word about the sapphire. Was the Gascon determined to
keep it as a weapon against Miladyor elselet us be
frankdid he not reserve the sapphire as a last resource
for his outfit? It would be wrong to judge the actions of
one period from the point of view of another. That which
would now be considered as disgraceful to a gentleman was at
that time quite a simple and natural affairand the younger
sons of the best families were frequently supported by their
mistresses. D'Artagnan gave the open letter to Kittywho
at first was unable to comprehend itbut who became almost
wild with joy on reading it a second time. She could
scarcely believe in her happiness; and d'Artagnan was forced
to renew with the living voice the assurances which he had
written. And whatever might be--considering the violent
character of Milady--the danger which the poor girl incurred
in giving this billet to her mistressshe ran back to the
Place Royale as fast as her legs could carry her.

The heart of the best woman is pitiless toward the sorrows
of a rival.

Milady opened the letter with eagerness equal to Kitty's in
bringing it; but at the first words she read she became
livid. She crushed the paper in her bandand turning with
flashing eyes upon Kittyshe criedWhat is this letter?

The answer to Madame's,replied Kittyall in a tremble.

Impossible!cried Milady. "It is impossible a gentleman
could have written such a letter to a woman." Then all at
oncestartingshe criedMy God! can he have--and she
stopped. She ground her teeth; she was of the color of
ashes. She tried to go toward the window for airbut she
could only stretch forth her arms; her legs failed herand
she sank into an armchair. Kittyfearing she was ill
hastened toward her and was beginning to open her dress; but
Milady started uppushing her away. "What do you want with
me?" said sheand why do you place your hand on me?

I thought that Madame was ill, and I wished to bring her
help,responded the maidfrightened at the terrible
expression which had come over her mistress's face.

I faint? I? I? Do you take me for half a woman? When I am
insulted I do not faint; I avenge myself!

And she made a sign for Kitty to leave the room.


36 DREAM OF VENGEANCE

That evening Milady gave orders that when M. d'Artagnan came
as usualhe should be immediately admitted; but he did not
come.

The next day Kitty went to see the young man againand
related to him all that had passed on the preceding evening.
d'Artagnan smiled; this jealous anger of Milady was his
revenge.

That evening Milady was still more impatient than on the
preceding evening. She renewed the order relative to the
Gascon; but as before she expected him in vain.

The next morningwhen Kitty presented herself at
d'Artagnan'sshe was no longer joyous and alert as on the
two preceding days; but on the contrary sad as death.

D'Artagnan asked the poor girl what was the matter with her;
but sheas her only replydrew a letter from her pocket
and gave it to him.

This letter was in Milady's handwriting; only this time it
was addressed to M. d'Artagnanand not to M. de Wardes.

He opened it and read as follows:

Dear M. d'ArtagnanIt is wrong thus to neglect your
friendsparticularly at the moment you are about to leave
them for so long a time. My brother-in-law and myself
expected you yesterday and the day beforebut in vain.
Will it be the same this evening?

Your very grateful
Milady Clarik

That's all very simple,said d'Artagnan; "I expected this
letter. My credit rises by the fall of that of the Comte de
Wardes."

And will you go?asked Kitty.

Listen to me, my dear girl,said the Gasconwho sought
for an excuse in his own eyes for breaking the promise he
had made Athos; "you must understand it would be impolitic
not to accept such a positive invitation. Miladynot
seeing me come againwould not be able to understand what
could cause the interruption of my visitsand might suspect
something; who could say how far the vengeance of such a
woman would go?"

Oh, my God!said Kittyyou know how to represent things
in such a way that you are always in the right. You are
going now to pay your court to her again, and if this time
you succeed in pleasing her in your own name and with your
own face, it will be much worse than before.

Instinct made poor Kitty guess a part of what was to happen.
d'Artagnan reassured her as well as he couldand promised


to remain insensible to the seductions of Milady.

He desired Kitty to tell her mistress that he could not be
more grateful for her kindnesses than he wasand that he
would be obedient to her orders. He did not dare to write
for fear of not being able--to such experienced eyes as those
of Milady--to disguise his writing sufficiently.

As nine o'clock soundedd'Artagnan was at the Place Royale.
It was evident that the servants who waited in the
antechamber were warnedfor as soon as d'Artagnan appeared
before even he had asked if Milady were visibleone of them
ran to announce him.

Show him in,said Miladyin a quick tonebut so piercing
that d'Artagnan heard her in the antechamber.

He was introduced.

I am at home to nobody,said Milady; "observeto nobody."
The servant went out.

D'Artagnan cast an inquiring glance at Milady. She was
paleand looked fatiguedeither from tears or want of
sleep. The number of lights had been intentionally
diminishedbut the young woman could not conceal the traces
of the fever which had devoured her for two days.

D'Artagnan approached her with his usual gallantry. She
then made an extraordinary effort to receive himbut never
did a more distressed countenance give the lie to a more
amiable smile.

To the questions which d'Artagnan put concerning her health
she repliedBad, very bad.

Then,replied hemy visit is ill-timed; you, no doubt,
stand in need of repose, and I will withdraw.

No. no!said Milady. "On the contrarystayMonsieur
d'Artagnan; your agreeable company will divert me."

Oh, oh!thought d'Artagnan. "She has never been so kind
before. On guard!"

Milady assumed the most agreeable air possibleand
conversed with more than her usual brilliancy. At the same
time the feverwhich for an instant abandoned herreturned
to give luster to her eyescolor to her cheeksand
vermillion to her lips. D'Artagnan was again in the
presence of the Circe who had before surrounded him with her
enchantments. His lovewhich he believed to be extinct but
which was only asleepawoke again in his heart. Milady
smiledand d'Artagnan felt that he could damn himself for
that smile. There was a moment at which he felt something
like remorse.

By degreesMilady became more communicative. She asked
d'Artagnan if he had a mistress.

Alas!said d'Artagnanwith the most sentimental air he
could assumecan you be cruel enough to put such a
question to me--to me, who, from the moment I saw you, have
only breathed and sighed through you and for you?


Milady smiled with a strange smile.

Then you love me?said she.

Have I any need to tell you so? Have you not perceived
it?

It may be; but you know the more hearts are worth the
capture, the more difficult they are to be won.

Oh, difficulties do not affright me,said d'Artagnan. "I
shrink before nothing but impossibilities."

Nothing is impossible,replied Miladyto true love.

Nothing, madame?

Nothing,replied Milady.

The devil!thought d'Artagnan. "The note is changed. Is
she going to fall in love with meby chancethis fair
inconstant; and will she be disposed to give me myself
another sapphire like that which she gave me for de Wardes?"

D'Artagnan rapidly drew his seat nearer to Milady's.

Well, now,she saidlet us see what you would do to
prove this love of which you speak.

All that could be required of me. Order; I am ready.

For everything?

For everything,cried d'Artagnanwho knew beforehand that
he had not much to risk in engaging himself thus.

Well, now let us talk a little seriously,said Miladyin
her turn drawing her armchair nearer to d'Artagnan's chair.

I am all attention, madame,said he.

Milady remained thoughtful and undecided for a moment; then
as if appearing to have formed a resolutionshe saidI
have an enemy.

You, madame!said d'Artagnanaffecting surprise; "is
that possiblemy God?--good and beautiful as you are!"

A mortal enemy.

Indeed!

An enemy who has insulted me so cruelly that between him
and me it is war to the death. May I reckon on you as an
auxiliary?

D'Artagnan at once perceived the ground which the vindictive
creature wished to reach.

You may, madame,said hewith emphasis. "My arm and my
life belong to youlike my love."

Then,said Miladysince you are as generous as you are


loving--

She stopped.

Well?demanded d'Artagnan.

Well,replied Miladyafter a moment of silencefrom the
present time, cease to talk of impossibilities.

Do not overwhelm me with happiness,cried d'Artagnan
throwing himself on his kneesand covering with kisses the
hands abandoned to him.

Avenge me of that infamous de Wardes,said Miladybetween
her teethand I shall soon know how to get rid of you--you
double idiot, you animated sword blade!

Fall voluntarily into my arms, hypocritical and dangerous
woman,said d'Artagnanlikewise to himselfafter having
abused me with such effrontery, and afterward I will laugh
at you with him whom you wish me to kill.

D'Artagnan lifted up his head.

I am ready,said he.

You have understood me, then, dear Monsieur d'Artagnan
said Milady.

I could interpret one of your looks.

Then you would employ for me your arm which has already
acquired so much renown?

Instantly!

But on my part,said Miladyhow should I repay such a
service? I know these lovers. They are men who do nothing
for nothing.

You know the only reply that I desire,said d'Artagnan
the only one worthy of you and of me!

And he drew nearer to her.

She scarcely resisted.

Interested man!cried shesmiling.

Ah,cried d'Artagnanreally carried away by the passion
this woman had the power to kindle in his heartah, that
is because my happiness appears so impossible to me; and I
have such fear that it should fly away from me like a dream
that I pant to make a reality of it.

Well, merit this pretended happiness, then!

I am at your orders,said d'Artagnan.

Quite certain?said Miladywith a last doubt.

Only name to me the base man that has brought tears into
your beautiful eyes!


Who told you that I had been weeping?said she.
It appeared to me--

Such women as I never weep,said Milady.
So much the better! Come, tell me his name!

Remember that his name is all my secret.
Yet I must know his name.

Yes, you must; see what confidence I have in you!
You overwhelm me with joy. What is his name?

You know him.
Indeed.

Yes.

It is surely not one of my friends?replied d'Artagnan
affecting hesitation in order to make her believe him
ignorant.

If it were one of your friends you would hesitate, then?
cried Milady; and a threatening glance darted from her eyes.

Not if it were my own brother!cried d'Artagnanas if
carried away by his enthusiasm.

Our Gascon promised this without riskfor he knew all that
was meant.

I love your devotedness,said Milady.

Alas, do you love nothing else in me?asked d'Artagnan.
I love you also, YOU!said shetaking his hand.

The warm pressure made d'Artagnan trembleas if by the
touch that fever which consumed Milady attacked himself.

You love me, you!cried he. "Ohif that were soI should lose my reason!"

And he folded her in his armsShe made no effort to remove
her lips from his kisses; only she did not respond to them.
Her lips were cold; it appeared to d'Artagnan that he had
embraced a statue.

He was not the less intoxicated with joyelectrified by
love. He almost believed in the tenderness of Milady; he
almost believed in the crime of de Wardes. If de Wardes had
at that moment been under his handhe would have killed
him.

Milady seized the occasion
His name is--said shein her turn.


De Wardes; I know it,cried d'Artagnan.
And how do you know it?asked Miladyseizing both his



handsand endeavoring to read with her eyes to the bottom
of his heart.

D'Artagnan felt he had allowed himself to be carried away
and that he had committed an error.

Tell me, tell me, tell me, I say,repeated Miladyhow do
you know it?

How do I know it?said d'Artagnan.

Yes.

I know it because yesterday Monsieur de Wardes, in a saloon
where I was, showed a ring which he said he had received
from you.

Wretch!cried Milady.

The epithetas may be easily understoodresounded to the
very bottom of d'Artagnan's heart.

Well?continued she.

Well, I will avenge you of this wretch,replied
d'Artagnangiving himself the airs of Don Japhet of
Armenia.

Thanks, my brave friend!cried Milady; "and when shall I
be avenged?"

Tomorrow--immediately--when you please!

Milady was about to cry outImmediately,but she
reflected that such precipitation would not be very gracious
toward d'Artagnan.

Besidesshe had a thousand precautions to takea thousand
counsels to give to her defenderin order that he might
avoid explanations with the count before witnesses. All
this was answered by an expression of d'Artagnan's.
Tomorrow,said heyou will be avenged, or I shall be
dead.

No,said sheyou will avenge me; but you will not be
dead. He is a coward.

With women, perhaps; but not with men. I know something of
him.

But it seems you had not much reason to complain of your
fortune in your contest with him.

Fortune is a courtesan; favorable yesterday, she may turn
her back tomorrow.

Which means that you now hesitate?

No, I do not hesitate; God forbid! But would it be just to
allow me to go to a possible death without having given me
at least something more than hope?

Milady answered by a glance which saidIs that all?--speak,
then.And then accompanying the glance with explanatory


wordsThat is but too just,said shetenderly.

Oh, you are an angel!exclaimed the young man.

Then all is agreed?said she.

Except that which I ask of you, dear love.

But when I assure you that you may rely on my tenderness?

I cannot wait till tomorrow.

Silence! I hear my brother. It will be useless for him to
find you here.

She rang the bell and Kitty appeared.

Go out this way,said sheopening a small private door
and come back at eleven o'clock; we will then terminate
this conversation. Kitty will conduct you to my chamber.

The poor girl almost fainted at hearing these words.

Well, mademoiselle, what are you thinking about, standing
there like a statue? Do as I bid you: show the chevalier
out; and this evening at eleven o'clock--you have heard what
I said.

It appears that these appointments are all made for eleven
o'clock,thought d'Artagnan; "that's a settled custom."

Milady held out her hand to himwhich he kissed tenderly.

But,said heas he retired as quickly as possible from
the reproaches of KittyI must not play the fool. This
woman is certainly a great liar. I must take care.

37 MILADY'S SECRET

D'Artagnan left the hotel instead of going up at once to
Kitty's chamberas she endeavored to persuade him to do--and
that for two reasons: the firstbecause by this means he
should escape reproachesrecriminationsand prayers; the
secondbecause be was not sorry to have an opportunity of
reading his own thoughts and endeavoringif possibleto
fathom those of this woman.

What was most clear in the matter was that d'Artagnan loved
Milady like a madmanand that she did not love him at all.
In an instant d'Artagnan perceived that the best way in
which he could act would be to go home and write Milady a
long letterin which he would confess to her that he and de
Wardes wereup to the present moment absolutely the same
and that consequently he could not undertakewithout
committing suicideto kill the Comte de Wardes. But he
also was spurred on by a ferocious desire of vengeance. He
wished to subdue this woman in his own name; and as this
vengeance appeared to him to have a certain sweetness in it
he could not make up his mind to renounce it.

He walked six or seven times round the Place Royaleturning
at every ten steps to look at the light in Milady's


apartmentwhich was to be seen through the blinds. It was
evident that this time the young woman was not in such haste
to retire to her apartment as she had been the first.

At length the light disappeared. With this light was
extinguished the last irresolution in the heart of
d'Artagnan. He recalled to his mind the details of the
first nightand with a beating heart and a brain on fire he
re-entered the hotel and flew toward Kitty's chamber.

The poor girlpale as death and trembling in all her limbs
wished to delay her lover; but Miladywith her ear on the
watchhad heard the noise d'Artagnan had madeand opening
the doorsaidCome in.

All this was of such incredible immodestyof such monstrous
effronterythat d'Artagnan could scarcely believe what he
saw or what he heard. He imagined himself to be drawn into
one of those fantastic intrigues one meets in dreams. He
howeverdarted not the less quickly toward Miladyyielding
to that magnetic attraction which the loadstone exercises
over iron.

As the door closed after them Kitty rushed toward it.
Jealousyfuryoffended prideall the passions in short
that dispute the heart of an outraged woman in loveurged
her to make a revelation; but she reflected that she would
be totally lost if she confessed having assisted in such a
machinationand above allthat d'Artagnan would also be
lost to her forever. This last thought of love counseled
her to make this last sacrifice.

D'Artagnanon his parthad gained the summit of all his
wishes. It was no longer a rival who was beloved; it was
himself who was apparently beloved. A secret voice
whispered to himat the bottom of his heartthat he was
but an instrument of vengeancethat he was only caressed
till he had given death; but pridebut self-lovebut
madness silenced this voice and stifled its murmurs. And
then our Gasconwith that large quantity of conceit which
we know he possessedcompared himself with de Wardesand
asked himself whyafter allhe should not be beloved for
himself?

He was absorbed entirely by the sensations of the moment.
Milady was no longer for him that woman of fatal intentions
who had for a moment terrified him; she was an ardent
passionate mistressabandoning herself to love which she
also seemed to feel. Two hours thus glided away. When the
transports of the two lovers were calmerMiladywho had
not the same motives for forgetfulness that d'Artagnan had
was the first to return to realityand asked the young man
if the means which were on the morrow to bring on the
encounter between him and de Wardes were already arranged in
his mind.

But d'Artagnanwhose ideas had taken quite another course
forgot himself like a fooland answered gallantly that it
was too late to think about duels and sword thrusts.

This coldness toward the only interests that occupied her
mind terrified Miladywhose questions became more pressing.

Then d'Artagnanwho had never seriously thought of this


impossible duelendeavored to turn the conversation; but he
could not succeed. Milady kept him within the limits she
had traced beforehand with her irresistible spirit and her
iron will.

D'Artagnan fancied himself very cunning when advising Milady
to renounceby pardoning de Wardesthe furious projects
she had formed.

But at the first word the young woman startedand exclaimed
in a sharpbantering tone. which sounded strangely in the
darknessAre you afraid, dear Monsieur d'Artagnan?

You cannot think so, dear love!replied d'Artagnan; "but
nowsuppose this poor Comte de Wardes were less guilty than
you think him?"

At all events,said Miladyseriouslyhe has deceived
me, and from the moment he deceived me, he merited death.

He shall die, then, since you condemn him!said
d'Artagnanin so firm a tone that it appeared to Milady an
undoubted proof of devotion. This reassured her.

We cannot say how long the night seemed to Miladybut
d'Artagnan believed it to be hardly two hours before the
daylight peeped through the window blindsand invaded the
chamber with its paleness. Seeing d'Artagnan about to leave
herMilady recalled his promise to avenge her on the Comte
de Wardes.

I am quite ready,said d'Artagnan; "but in the first place
I should like to be certain of one thing."

And what is that?asked Milady.

That is, whether you really love me?

I have given you proof of that, it seems to me.

And I am yours, body and soul!

Thanks, my brave lover; but as you are satisfied of my
love, you must, in your turn, satisfy me of yours. Is it
not so?

Certainly; but if you love me as much as you say,replied
d'Artagnando you not entertain a little fear on my
account?

What have I to fear?

Why, that I may be dangerously wounded--killed even.

Impossible!cried Miladyyou are such a valiant man, and
such an expert swordsman.

You would not, then, prefer a method,resumed d'Artagnan
which would equally avenge you while rendering the combat
useless?

Milady looked at her lover in silence. The pale light of
the first rays of day gave to her clear eyes a strangely
frightful expression.


Really,said sheI believe you now begin to hesitate.

No, I do not hesitate; but I really pity this poor Comte de
Wardes, since you have ceased to love him. I think that a
man must be so severely punished by the loss of your love
that he stands in need of no other chastisement.

Who told you that I loved him?asked Miladysharply.

At least, I am now at liberty to believe, without too much
fatuity, that you love another,said the young manin a
caressing toneand I repeat that I am really interested
for the count.

You?asked Milady.

Yes, I.

And why YOU?

Because I alone know--

What?

That he is far from being, or rather having been, so guilty
toward you as he appears.

Indeed!said Miladyin an anxious tone; "explain
yourselffor I really cannot tell what you mean."

And she looked at d'Artagnanwho embraced her tenderly
with eyes which seemed to burn themselves away.

Yes; I am a man of honor,said d'Artagnandetermined to
come to an endand since your love is mine, and I am
satisfied I possess it--for I do possess it, do I not?

Entirely; go on.

Well, I feel as if transformed--a confession weighs on my
mind.

A confession!

If I had the least doubt of your love I would not make it,
but you love me, my beautiful mistress, do you not?

Without doubt.

Then if through excess of love I have rendered myself
culpable toward you, you will pardon me?

Perhaps.

D'Artagnan tried with his sweetest smile to touch his lips
to Milady'sbut she evaded him.

This confession,said shegrowing palerwhat is this
confession?

You gave de Wardes a meeting on Thursday last in this very
room, did you not?


No, no! It is not true,said Miladyin a tone of voice so
firmand with a countenance so unchangedthat if
d'Artagnan had not been in such perfect possession of the
facthe would have doubted.

Do not lie, my angel,said d'Artagnansmiling; "that
would be useless."

What do you mean? Speak! you kill me.

Be satisfied; you are not guilty toward me, and I have
already pardoned you.

What next? what next?

De Wardes cannot boast of anything.

How is that? You told me yourself that that ring--

That ring I have! The Comte de Wardes of Thursday and the
d'Artagnan of today are the same person.

The imprudent young man expected a surprisemixed with
shame--a slight storm which would resolve itself into tears;
but he was strangely deceivedand his error was not of long
duration.

Pale and tremblingMilady repulsed d'Artagnan's attempted
embrace by a violent blow on the chestas she sprang out of
bed.

It was almost broad daylight.

D'Artagnan detained her by her night dress of fine India
linento implore her pardon; but shewith a strong
movementtried to escape. Then the cambric was torn from
her beautiful shoulders; and on one of those lovely
shouldersround and whited'Artagnan recognizedwith
inexpressible astonishmentthe FLEUR-DE-LIS--that indelible
mark which the hand of the infamous executioner had
imprinted.

Great God!cried d'Artagnanloosing his hold of her
dressand remaining mutemotionlessand frozen.

But Milady felt herself denounced even by his terror. He
had doubtless seen all. The young man now knew her secret
her terrible secret--the secret she concealed even from her
maid with such carethe secret of which all the world was
ignorantexcept himself.

She turned upon himno longer like a furious womanbut
like a wounded panther.

Ah, wretch!cried sheyou have basely betrayed me, and
still more, you have my secret! You shall die.

And she flew to a little inlaid casket which stood upon the
dressing tableopened it with a feverish and trembling
banddrew from it a small poniardwith a golden haft and a
sharp thin bladeand then threw herself with a bound upon
d'Artagnan.

Although the young man was braveas we knowhe was


terrified at that wild countenancethose terribly dilated
pupilsthose pale cheeksand those bleeding lips. He
recoiled to the other side of the room as he would have done
from a serpent which was crawling toward himand his sword
coming in contact with his nervous handhe drew it almost
unconsciously from the scabbard. But without taking any
heed of the swordMilady endeavored to get near enough to
him to stab himand did not stop till she felt the sharp
point at her throat.

She then tried to seize the sword with her hands; but
d'Artagnan kept it free from her graspand presenting the
pointsometimes at her eyessometimes at her breast
compelled her to glide behind the bedsteadwhile he aimed
at making his retreat by the door which led to Kitty's
apartment.

Milady during this time continued to strike at him with
horrible furyscreaming in a formidable way.

As all thishoweverbore some resemblance to a duel
d'Artagnan began to recover himself little by little.

Well, beautiful lady, very well,said be; "butPARDIEU
if you don't calm yourselfI will design a second
FLEUR-DE-LIS upon one of those pretty checks!"

Scoundrel, infamous scoundrel!howled Milady.

But d'Artagnanstill keeping on the defensivedrew near to
Kitty's door. At the noise they madeshe in overturning
the furniture in her efforts to get at himhe in screening
himself behind the furniture to keep out of her reachKitty
opened the door. D'Artagnanwho had unceasingly maneuvered
to gain this pointwas not at more than three paces from
it. With one spring he flew from the chamber of Milady into
that of the maidand quick as lightninghe slammed to the
doorand placed all his weight against itwhile Kitty
pushed the bolts.

Then Milady attempted to tear down the doorcasewith a
strength apparently above that of a woman; but finding she
could not accomplish thisshe in her fury stabbed at the
door with her poniardthe point of which repeatedly
glittered through the wood. Every blow was accompanied with
terrible imprecations.

Quick, Kitty, quick!said d'Artagnanin a low voiceas
soon as the bolts were fastlet me get out of the hotel;
for if we leave her time to turn round, she will have me
killed by the servants.

But you can't go out so,said Kitty; "you are naked."

That's true,said d'Artagnanthen first thinking of the
costume he found himself inthat's true. But dress me as
well as you are able, only make haste; think, my dear girl,
it's life and death!

Kitty was but too well aware of that. In a turn of the hand
she muffled him up in a flowered robea large hoodand a
cloak. She gave him some slippersin which he placed his
naked feetand then conducted him down the stairs. It was
time. Milady had already rung her belland roused the


whole hotel. The porter was drawing the cord at the moment
Milady cried from her windowDon't open!

The young man fled while she was still threatening him with
an impotent gesture. The moment she lost sight of him
Milady tumbled fainting into her chamber.

38 HOWWITHOUT INCOMMODING HIMSELFATHOS PROCURES HIS EQUIPMENT

D'Artagnan was so completely bewildered that without taking
any heed of what might become of Kitty he ran at full speed
across half Parisand did not stop till he came to Athos's
door. The confusion of his mindthe terror which spurred
him onthe cries of some of the patrol who started in
pursuit of himand the hooting of the people who
notwithstanding the early hourwere going to their work
only made him precipitate his course.

He crossed the courtran up the two flights to Athos's
apartmentand knocked at the door enough to break it down.

Grimaud camerubbing his half-open eyesto answer this
noisy summonsand d'Artagnan sprang with such violence into
the room as nearly to overturn the astonished lackey.

In spite of his habitual silencethe poor lad this time
found his speech.

Holloa, there!cried he; "what do you wantyou strumpet?
What's your business hereyou hussy?"

D'Artagnan threw off his hoodand disengaged his hands from
the folds of the cloak. At sight of the mustaches and the
naked swordthe poor devil perceived he had to deal with a
man. He then concluded it must be an assassin.

Help! murder! help!cried he.

Hold your tongue, you stupid fellow!said the young man; "I am
d'Artagnan; don't you know me? Where is your master?"

You, Monsieur d'Artagnan!cried Grimaudimpossible.

Grimaud,said Athoscoming out of his apartment in a
dressing gownGrimaud, I thought I heard you permitting
yourself to speak?

Ah, monsieur, it is--

Silence!

Grimaud contented himself with pointing d'Artagnan out to
his master with his finger.

Athos recognized his comradeand phlegmatic as he washe
burst into a laugh which was quite excused by the strange
masquerade before his eyes--petticoats falling over his
shoessleeves tucked upand mustaches stiff with
agitation.

Don't laugh, my friend!cried d'Artagnan; "for heaven's
sakedon't laughfor upon my soulit's no laughing


matter!"

And he pronounced these words with such a solemn air and
with such a real appearance of terrorthat Athos eagerly
seized his handcryingAre you wounded, my friend? How
pale you are!

No, but I have just met with a terrible adventure! Are you
alone, Athos?

PARBLEU! whom do you expect to find with me at this hour?

Well, well!and d'Artagnan rushed into Athos's chamber.

Come, speak!said the latterclosing the door and bolting
itthat they might not be disturbed. "Is the king dead?
Have you killed the cardinal? You are quite upset! Come
cometell me; I am dying with curiosity and uneasiness!"

Athos,said d'Artagnangetting rid of his female
garmentsand appearing in his shirtprepare yourself to
hear an incredible, an unheard-of story.

Well, but put on this dressing gown first,said the
Musketeer to his friend.

D'Artagnan donned the robe as quickly as he couldmistaking
one sleeve for the otherso greatly was he still agitated.

Well?said Athos.

Well,replied d'Artagnanbending his mouth to Athos's
earand lowering his voiceMilady is marked with a
FLEUR-DE-LIS upon her shoulder!

Ah!cried the Musketeeras if he had received a ball in
his heart.

Let us see,said d'Artagnan. "Are you SURE that the OTHER
is dead?"

THE OTHER?said Athosin so stifled a voice that
d'Artagnan scarcely heard him.

Yes, she of whom you told me one day at Amiens.

Athos uttered a groanand let his head sink on his hands.

This is a woman of twenty-six or twenty-eight years.

Fair,said Athosis she not?

Very.

Blue and clear eyes, of a strange brilliancy, with black
eyelids and eyebrows?

Yes.

Tall, well-made? She has lost a tooth, next to the
eyetooth on the left?

Yes.


The FLEUR-DE-LIS is small, rosy in color, and looks as if
efforts had been made to efface it by the application of
poultices?

Yes.

But you say she is English?

She is called Milady, but she may be French. Lord de
Winter is only her brother-in-law,

I will see her, d'Artagnan!

Beware, Athos, beware. You tried to kill her; she is a
woman to return you the like, and not to fail.

She will not dare to say anything; that would be to
denounce herself.

She is capable of anything or everything. Did you ever see
her furious?

No,said Athos.

A tigress, a panther! Ah, my dear Athos, I am greatly
afraid I have drawn a terrible vengeance on both of us!

D'Artagnan then related all--the mad passion of Milady and
her menaces of death.

You are right; and upon my soul, I would give my life for a
hair,said Athos. "Fortunatelythe day after tomorrow we
leave Paris. We are going according to all probability to
La Rochelleand once gone--"

She will follow you to the end of the world, Athos, if she
recognizes you. Let her, then, exhaust her vengeance on me
alone!

My dear friend, of what consequence is it if she kills me?
said Athos. "Do youperchancethink I set any great store
by life?"

There is something horribly mysterious under all this,
Athos; this woman is one of the cardinal's spies, I am sure
of that.

In that case, take care! If the cardinal does not hold you
in high admiration for the affair of London, he entertains a
great hatred for you; but as, considering everything, he
cannot accuse you openly, and as hatred must be satisfied,
particularly when it's a cardinal's hatred, take care of
yourself. If you go out, do not go out alone; when you eat,
use every precaution. Mistrust everything, in short, even
your own shadow.

Fortunately,said d'Artagnanall this will be only
necessary till after tomorrow evening, for when once with
the army, we shall have, I hope, only men to dread.

In the meantime,said AthosI renounce my plan of
seclusion, and wherever you go, I will go with you. You
must return to the Rue des Fossoyeurs; I will accompany
you.


But however near it may be,replied d'ArtagnanI cannot
go thither in this guise.

That's true,said Athosand he rang the bell.

Grimaud entered.

Athos made him a sign to go to d'Artagnan's residenceand
bring back some clothes. Grimaud replied by another sign
that be understood perfectlyand set off.

All this will not advance your outfit,said Athos; "for if
I am not mistakenyou have left the best of your apparel
with Miladyand she will certainly not have the politeness
to return it to you. Fortunatelyyou have the sapphire."

The jewel is yours, my dear Athos! Did you not tell me it
was a family jewel?

Yes, my grandfather gave two thousand crowns for it, as he
once told me. It formed part of the nuptial present he made
his wife, and it is magnificent. My mother gave it to me,
and I, fool as I was, instead of keeping the ring as a holy
relic, gave it to this wretch.

Then, my friend, take back this ring, to which I see you
attach much value.

I take back the ring, after it has passed through the hands
of that infamous creature? Never; that ring is defiled,
d'Artagnan.

Sell it, then.

Sell a jewel which came from my mother! I vow I should
consider it a profanation.

Pledge it, then; you can borrow at least a thousand crowns
on it. With that sum you can extricate yourself from your
present difficulties; and when you are full of money again,
you can redeem it, and take it back cleansed from its
ancient stains, as it will have passed through the hands of
usurers.

Athos smiled.

You are a capital companion, d'Artagnan,said be; "your
never-failing cheerfulness raises poor souls in affliction.
Welllet us pledge the ringbut upon one condition."

What?

That there shall be five hundred crowns for you, and five
hundred crowns for me.

Don't dream it, Athos. I don't need the quarter of such a
sum--I who am still only in the Guards--and by selling my
saddles, I shall procure it. What do I want? A horse for
Planchet, that's all. Besides, you forget that I have a
ring likewise.

To which you attach more value, it seems, than I do to
mine; at least, I have thought so.


Yes, for in any extreme circumstance it might not only
extricate us from some great embarrassment, but even a great
danger. It is not only a valuable diamond, but it is an
enchanted talisman.

I don't at all understand you, but I believe all you say to
be true. Let us return to my ring, or rather to yours. You
shall take half the sum that will be advanced upon it, or I
will throw it into the Seine; and I doubt, as was the case
with Polycrates, whether any fish will be sufficiently
complaisant to bring it back to us.

Well, I will take it, then,said d'Artagnan.

At this moment Grimaud returnedaccompanied by Planchet;
the latteranxious about his master and curious to know
what had happened to himhad taken advantage of the
opportunity and brought the garments himself.

d'Artagnan dressed himselfand Athos did the same. When
the two were ready to go outthe latter made Grimaud the
sign of a man taking aimand the lackey immediately took
down his musketoonand prepared to follow his master.

They arrived without accident at the Rue des Fossoyeurs.
Bonacieux was standing at the doorand looked at d'Artagnan
hatefully.

Make haste, dear lodger,said he; "there is a very pretty
girl waiting for you upstairs; and you know women don't like
to be kept waiting."

That's Kitty!said d'Artagnan to himselfand darted into
the passage.

Sure enough! Upon the landing leading to the chamberand
crouching against the doorhe found the poor girlall in a
tremble. As soon as she perceived himshe criedYou have
promised your protection; you have promised to save me from
her anger. Remember, it is you who have ruined me!

Yes, yes, to be sure, Kitty,said d'Artagnan; "be at ease
my girl. But what happened after my departure?"

How can I tell!said Kitty. "The lackeys were brought by
the cries she made. She was mad with passion. There exist
no imprecations she did not pour out against you. Then I
thought she would remember it was through my chamber you had
penetrated hersand that then she would suppose I was your
accomplice; so I took what little money I had and the best
of my thingsand I got away.

Poor dear girl! But what can I do with you? I am going
away the day after tomorrow.

Do what you please, Monsieur Chevalier. Help me out of
Paris; help me out of France!

I cannot take you, however, to the siege of La Rochelle,
aid d'Artagnan.

No; but you can place me in one of the provinces with some


lady of your acquaintance--in your own country, for
instance.

My dear little love! In my country the ladies do without
chambermaids. But stop! I can manage your business for
you. Planchet, go and find Aramis. Request him to come
here directly. We have something very important to say to
him.

I understand,said Athos; "but why not Porthos? I should
have thought that his duchess--"

Oh, Porthos's duchess is dressed by her husband's clerks,
said d'Artagnanlaughing. "BesidesKitty would not like
to live in the Rue aux Ours. Isn't it soKitty?"

I do not care where I live,said Kittyprovided I am
well concealed, and nobody knows where I am.

Meanwhile, Kitty, when we are about to separate, and you
are no longer jealous of me--

Monsieur Chevalier, far off or near,said KittyI shall
always love you.

Where the devil will constancy niche itself next?murmured
Athos.

And I, also,said d'ArtagnanI also. I shall always
love you; be sure of that. But now answer me. I attach
great importance to the question I am about to put to you.
Did you never hear talk of a young woman who was carried off
one night?

There, now! Oh, Monsieur Chevalier, do you love that woman
still?

No, no; it is one of my friends who loves her--Monsieur
Athos, this gentleman here.

I?cried Athoswith an accent like that of a man who
perceives he is about to tread upon an adder.

You, to be sure!said d'Artagnanpressing Athos's hand.
You know the interest we both take in this poor little
Madame Bonacieux. Besides, Kitty will tell nothing; will
you, Kitty? You understand, my dear girl,continued
d'Artagnanshe is the wife of that frightful baboon you
saw at the door as you came in.

Oh, my God! You remind me of my fright! If he should have
known me again!

How? know you again? Did you ever see that man before?

He came twice to Milady's.

That's it. About what time?

Why, about fifteen or eighteen days ago.

Exactly so.

And yesterday evening he came again.


Yesterday evening?

Yes, just before you came.

My dear Athos, we are enveloped in a network of spies. And
do you believe he knew you again, Kitty?

I pulled down my hood as soon as I saw him, but perhaps it
was too
late.

Go down, Athos--he mistrusts you less than me--and see if he
be still at his door.

Athos went down and returned immediately.

He has gone,said heand the house door is shut.

He has gone to make his report, and to say that all the
pigeons are at this moment in the dovecot

Well, then, let us all fly,said Athosand leave nobody
here but Planchet to bring us news.

A minute. Aramis, whom we have sent for!

That's true,said Athos; "we must wait for Aramis."

At that moment Aramis entered.

The matter was all explained to himand the friends gave
him to understand that among all his high connections he
must find a place for Kitty.

Aramis reflected for a minuteand then saidcoloring
Will it be really rendering you a service, d'Artagnan?

I shall be grateful to you all my life.

Very well. Madame de Bois-Tracy asked me, for one of her
friends who resides in the provinces, I believe, for a
trustworthy maid. If you can, my dear d'Artagnan, answer
for Mademoiselle-

Oh, monsieur, be assured that I shall be entirely devoted
to the person who will give me the means of quitting Paris.

Then,said Aramisthis falls out very well.

He placed himself at the table and wrote a little note which
he sealed with a ringand gave the billet to Kitty.

And now, my dear girl,said d'Artagnanyou know that it
is not good for any of us to be here. Therefore let us
separate. We shall meet again in better days.

And whenever we find each other, in whatever place it may
be,said Kittyyou will find me loving you as I love you
today.

Dicers' oaths!said Athoswhile d'Artagnan went to
conduct Kitty downstairs.


An instant afterward the three young men separatedagreeing
to meet again at four o'clock with Athosand leaving
Planchet to guard the house.

Aramis returned homeand Athos and d'Artagnan busied
themselves about pledging the sapphire.

As the Gascon had foreseenthey easily obtained three
hundred pistoles on the ring. Still furtherthe Jew told
them that if they would sell it to himas it would make a
magnificent pendant for earringshe would give five hundred
pistoles for it.

Athos and d'Artagnanwith the activity of two soldiers and
the knowledge of two connoisseurshardly required three
hours to purchase the entire equipment of the Musketeer.
BesidesAthos was very easyand a noble to his fingers'
ends. When a thing suited him he paid the price demanded
without thinking to ask for any abatement. D'Artagnan would
have remonstrated at this; but Athos put his hand upon his
shoulderwith a smileand d'Artagnan understood that it
was all very well for such a little Gascon gentleman as
himself to drive a bargainbut not for a man who had the
bearing of a prince. The Musketeer met with a superb
Andalusian horseblack as jetnostrils of firelegs clean
and elegantrising six years. He examined himand found
him sound and without blemish. They asked a thousand livres
for him.

He might perhaps have been bought for less; but while
d'Artagnan was discussing the price with the dealerAthos
was counting out the money on the table.

Grimaud had a stoutshort Picard cobwhich cost three
hundred livres.

But when the saddle and arms for Grimaud were purchased
Athos had not a sou left of his hundred and fifty pistoles.
d'Artagnan offered his friend a part of his share which he
should return when convenient.

But Athos only replied to this proposal by shrugging his
shoulders.

How much did the Jew say he would give for the sapphire if
be purchased it?said Athos.

Five hundred pistoles.

That is to say, two hundred more--a hundred pistoles for you
and a hundred pistoles for me. Well, now, that would be a
real fortune to us, my friend; let us go back to the Jew's
again.

What! will you--"

This ring would certainly only recall very bitter
remembrances; then we shall never be masters of three
hundred pistoles to redeem it, so that we really should lose
two hundred pistoles by the bargain. Go and tell him the
ring is his, d'Artagnan, and bring back the two hundred
pistoles with you.

Reflect, Athos!


Ready money is needful for the present time, and we must
learn how to make sacrifices. Go, d'Artagnan, go; Grimaud
will accompany you with his musketoon.

A half hour afterwardd'Artagnan returned with the two
thousand livresand without having met with any accident.

It was thus Athos found at home resources which he did not
expect.

39 A VISION

At four o'clock the four friends were all assembled with
Athos. Their anxiety about their outfits had all
disappearedand each countenance only preserved the
expression of its own secret disquiet--for behind all present
happiness is concealed a fear for the future.

Suddenly Planchet enteredbringing two letters for
d'Artagnan.

The one was a little billetgenteelly foldedwith a pretty
seal in green wax on which was impressed a dove bearing a
green branch.

The other was a large square epistleresplendent with the
terrible arms of his Eminence the cardinal duke.

At the sight of the little letter the heart of d'Artagnan
boundedfor he believed he recognized the handwritingand
although he had seen that writing but oncethe memory of it
remained at the bottom of his heart.

He therefore seized the little epistleand opened it
eagerly.

Be,said the letteron Thursday next, at from six to
seven o'clock in the evening, on the road to Chaillot, and
look carefully into the carriages that pass; but if you have
any consideration for your own life or that of those who
love you, do not speak a single word, do not make a movement
which may lead anyone to believe you have recognized her who
exposes herself to everything for the sake of seeing you but
for an instant.

No signature.

That's a snare,said Athos; "don't god'Artagnan."

And yet,replied d'ArtagnanI think I recognize the
writing.

It may be counterfeit,said Athos. "Between six and seven
o'clock the road of Chaillot is quite deserted; you might as
well go and ride in the forest of Bondy."

But suppose we all go,said d'Artagnan; "what the devil!
They won't devour us all fourfour lackeyshorsesarms
and all!"


And besides, it will be a chance for displaying our new
equipments,said Porthos.

But if it is a woman who writes,said Aramisand that
woman desires not to be seen, remember, you compromise her,
d'Artagnan; which is not the part of a gentleman.

We will remain in the background,said Porthosand he
will advance alone.

Yes; but a pistol shot is easily fired from a carriage
which goes at a gallop.

Bah!said d'Artagnanthey will miss me; if they fire we
will ride after the carriage, and exterminate those who may
be in it. They must be enemies.

He is right,said Porthos; "battle. Besideswe must try
our own arms."

Bah, let us enjoy that pleasure,said Aramiswith his
mild and careless manner.

As you please,said Athos.

Gentlemen,said d'Artagnanit is half past four, and we
have scarcely time to be on the road of Chaillot by six.

Besides, if we go out too late, nobody will see us,said
Porthosand that will be a pity. Let us get ready,
gentlemen.

But this second letter,said Athosyou forget that; it
appears to me, however, that the seal denotes that it
deserves to be opened. For my part, I declare, d'Artagnan,
I think it of much more consequence than the little piece of
waste paper you have so cunningly slipped into your bosom.

D'Artagnan blushed.

Well,said helet us see, gentlemen, what are his
Eminence's commands,and d'Artagnan unsealed the letter and
read

M. d'Artagnan, of the king's Guards, company Dessessart, is
expected at the Palais-Cardinal this evening, at eight
o'clock.

La HoudiniereCAPTAIN OF THE GUARDS"

The devil!said Athos; "here's a rendezvous much more
serious than the other."

I will go to the second after attending the first,said
d'Artagnan. "One is for seven o'clockand the other for
eight; there will be time for both."

Hum! I would not go at all,said Aramis. "A gallant
knight cannot decline a rendezvous with a lady; but a
prudent gentleman may excuse himself from not waiting on his
Eminenceparticularly when he has reason to believe he is


not invited to make his compliments."

I am of Aramis's opinion,said Porthos.

Gentlemen,replied d'ArtagnanI have already received by
Monsieur de Cavois a similar invitation from his Eminence.
I neglected it, and on the morrow a serious misfortune
happened to me--Constance disappeared. Whatever may ensue, I
will go.

If you are determined,said Athosdo so.

But the Bastille?said Aramis.

Bah! you will get me out if they put me there,said
d'Artagnan.

To be sure we will,replied Aramis and Porthoswith
admirable promptness and decisionas if that were the
simplest thing in the worldto be sure we will get you
out; but meantime, as we are to set off the day after
tomorrow, you would do much better not to risk this
Bastille.

Let us do better than that,said Athos; "do not let us
leave him during the whole evening. Let each of us wait at
a gate of the palace with three Musketeers behind him; if we
see a close carriageat all suspicious in appearancecome
outlet us fall upon it. It is a long time since we have
had a skirmish with the Guards of Monsieur the Cardinal;
Monsieur de Treville must think us dead."

To a certainty, Athos,said Aramisyou were meant to be
a general of the army! What do you think of the plan,
gentlemen?

Admirable!replied the young men in chorus.

Well,said PorthosI will run to the hotel, and engage
our comrades to hold themselves in readiness by eight
o'clock; the rendezvous, the Place du Palais-Cardinal.
Meantime, you see that the lackeys saddle the horses.

I have no horse,said d'Artagnan; "but that is of no
consequenceI can take one of Monsieur de Treville's."

That is not worth while,said Aramisyou can have one of
mine.

One of yours! how many have you, then?asked d'Artagnan.

Three,replied Aramissmiling.

Certes,cried Athosyou are the best-mounted poet of
France or Navarre.

Well, my dear Aramis, you don't want three horses?

I
cannot comprehend what induced you to buy three!

Therefore I only purchased two,said Aramis.

The third, then, fell from the clouds, I suppose?

No, the third was brought to me this very morning by a


groom out of livery, who would not tell me in whose service
he was, and who said he had received orders from his
master.

Or his mistress,interrupted d'Artagnan.

That makes no difference,said Aramiscoloring; "and who
affirmedas I saidthat he had received orders from his
master or mistress to place the horse in my stablewithout
informing me whence it came."

It is only to poets that such things happen,said Athos
gravely.

Well, in that case, we can manage famously,said
d'Artagnan; "which of the two horses will you ride--that
which you bought or the one that was given to you?"

That which was given to me, assuredly. You cannot for a
moment imagine, d'Artagnan, that I would commit such an
offense toward--

The unknown giver,interrupted d'Artagnan.

Or the mysterious benefactress,said Athos.

The one you bought will then become useless to you?

Nearly so.

And you selected it yourself?

With the greatest care. The safety of the horseman, you
know, depends almost always upon the goodness of his horse.

Well, transfer it to me at the price it cost you?

I was going to make you the offer, my dear d'Artagnan,
giving you all the time necessary for repaying me such a
trifle.

How much did it cost you?

Eight hundred livres.

Here are forty double pistoles, my dear friend,said
d'Artagnantaking the sum from his pocket; "I know that is
the coin in which you were paid for your poems."

You are rich, then?said Aramis.

Rich? Richest, my dear fellow!

And d'Artagnan chinked the remainder of his pistoles in his
pocket.

Send your saddle, then, to the hotel of the Musketeers, and
your horse can be brought back with ours.

Very well; but it is already five o'clock, so make haste.

A quarter of an hour afterward Porthos appeared at the end
of the Rue Ferou on a very handsome genet. Mousqueton
followed him upon an Auvergne horsesmall but very


handsome. Porthos was resplendent with joy and pride.

At the same timeAramis made his appearance at the other
end of the street upon a superb English charger. Bazin
followed him upon a roanholding by the halter a vigorous
Mecklenburg horse; this was d'Artagnan mount.

The two Musketeers met at the gate. Athos and d'Artagnan
watched their approach from the window.

The devil!cried Aramisyou have a magnificent horse
there, Porthos.

Yes,replied Porthosit is the one that ought to have
been sent to me at first. A bad joke of the husband's
substituted the other; but the husband has been punished
since, and I have obtained full satisfaction.

Planchet and Grimaud appeared in their turnleading their
masters' steeds. D'Artagnan and Athos put themselves into
saddle with their companionsand all four set forward;
Athos upon a horse he owed to a womanAramis on a horse he
owed to his mistressPorthos on a horse he owed to his
procurator's wifeand d'Artagnan on a horse he owed to his
good fortune--the best mistress possible.

The lackeys followed.

As Porthos had foreseenthe cavalcade produced a good
effect; and if Mme. Coquenard had met Porthos and seen what
a superb appearance he made upon his handsome Spanish genet
she would not have regretted the bleeding she had inflicted
upon the strongbox of her husband.

Near the Louvre the four friends met with M. de Treville
who was returning from St. Germain; he stopped them to offer
his compliments upon their appointmentswhich in an instant
drew round them a hundred gapers.

D'Artagnan profited by the circumstance to speak to M. de
Treville of the letter with the great red seal and the
cardinal's arms. It is well understood that he did not
breathe a word about the other.

M. de Treville approved of the resolution he had adopted
and assured him that if on the morrow he did not appearhe
himself would undertake to find himlet him be where he
might.
At this moment the clock of La Samaritaine struck six; the
four friends pleaded an engagementand took leave of M. de
Treville.

A short gallop brought them to the road of Chaillot; the day
began to declinecarriages were passing and repassing.
d'Artagnankeeping at some distance from his friends
darted a scrutinizing glance into every carriage that
appearedbut saw no face with which he was acquainted.

At lengthafter waiting a quarter of an hour and just as
twilight was beginning to thickena carriage appeared
coming at a quick pace on the road of Sevres. A
presentiment instantly told d'Artagnan that this carriage
contained the person who had appointed the rendezvous; the


young man was himself astonished to find his heart beat so
violently. Almost instantly a female head was put out at
the windowwith two fingers placed upon her moutheither
to enjoin silence or to send him a kiss. D'Artagnan uttered
a slight cry of joy; this womanor rather this apparition-for
the carriage passed with the rapidity of a vision--was
Mme. Bonacieux.

By an involuntary movement and in spite of the injunction
givend'Artagnan put his horse into a gallopand in a few
strides overtook the carriage; but the window was
hermetically closedthe vision had disappeared.

D'Artagnan then remembered the injunction: "If you value
your own life or that of those who love youremain
motionlessand as if you had seen nothing."

He stoppedthereforetrembling not for himself but for the
poor woman who had evidently exposed herself to great danger
by appointing this rendezvous.

The carriage pursued its waystill going at a great pace
till it dashed into Parisand disappeared.

D'Artagnan remained fixed to the spotastounded and not
knowing what to think. If it was Mme. Bonacieux and if she
was returning to Pariswhy this fugitive rendezvouswhy
this simple exchange of a glancewhy this lost kiss? If
on the other sideit was not she--which was still quite
possible--for the little light that remained rendered a
mistake easy--might it not be the commencement of some plot
against him through the allurement of this womanfor whom
his love was known?

His three companions joined him. All had plainly seen a
woman's head appear at the windowbut none of themexcept
Athosknew Mme. Bonacieux. The opinion of Athos was that
it was indeed she; but less preoccupied by that pretty face
than d'Artagnanhe had fancied he saw a second heada
man's headinside the carriage.

If that be the case,said d'Artagnanthey are doubtless
transporting her from one prison to another. But what can
they intend to do with the poor creature, and how shall I
ever meet her again?

Friend,said Athosgravelyremember that it is the dead
alone with whom we are not likely to meet again on this
earth. You know something of that, as well as I do, I
think. Now, if your mistress is not dead, if it is she we
have just seen, you will meet with her again some day or
other. And perhaps, my God!added hewith that
misanthropic tone which was peculiar to himperhaps sooner
than you wish.

Half past seven had sounded. The carriage had been twenty
minutes behind the time appointed. D'Artagnan's friends
reminded him that he had a visit to paybut at the same
time bade him observe that there was yet time to retract.

But d'Artagnan was at the same time impetuous and curious.
He had made up his mind that he would go to the Palais-
Cardinaland that he would learn what his Eminence had to
say to him. Nothing could turn him from his purpose.


They reached the Rue St. Honoreand in the Place du Palais-
Cardinal they found the twelve invited Musketeerswalking
about in expectation of their comrades. There only they
explained to them the matter in hand.

D'Artagnan was well known among the honorable corps of the
king's Musketeersin which it was known he would one day
take his place; he was considered beforehand as a comrade.
It resulted from these antecedents that everyone entered
heartily into the purpose for which they met; besidesit
would not be unlikely that they would have an opportunity of
playing either the cardinal or his people an ill turnand
for such expeditions these worthy gentlemen were always
ready.

Athos divided them into three groupsassumed the command of
onegave the second to Aramisand the third to Porthos;
and then each group went and took their watch near an
entrance.

D'Artagnanon his partentered boldly at the principal
gate.

Although he felt himself ably supportedthe young man was
not without a little uneasiness as he ascended the great
staircasestep by step. His conduct toward Milady bore a
strong resemblance to treacheryand he was very suspicious
of the political relations which existed between that woman
and the cardinal. Still furtherde Wardeswhom he had
treated so illwas one of the tools of his Eminence; and
d'Artagnan knew that while his Eminence was terrible to his
enemieshe was strongly attached to his friends.

If de Wardes has related all our affair to the cardinal,
which is not to be doubted, and if he has recognized me, as
is probable, I may consider myself almost as a condemned
man,said d'Artagnanshaking his head. "But why has he
waited till now? That's all plain enough. Milady has laid
her complaints against me with that hypocritical grief which
renders her so interestingand this last offense has made
the cup overflow."

Fortunately,added hemy good friends are down yonder,
and they will not allow me to be carried away without a
struggle. Nevertheless, Monsieur de Treville's company of
Musketeers alone cannot maintain a war against the cardinal,
who disposes of the forces of all France, and before whom
the queen is without power and the king without will.
d'Artagnan, my friend, you are brave, you are prudent, you
have excellent qualities; but the women will ruin you!

He came to this melancholy conclusion as he entered the
antechamber. He placed his letter in the hands of the usher
on dutywho led him into the waiting room and passed on
into the interior of the palace.

In this waiting room were five or six of the cardinals
Guardswho recognized d'Artagnanand knowing that it was
he who had wounded Jussacthey looked upon him with a smile
of singular meaning.

This smile appeared to d'Artagnan to be of bad augury.
Onlyas our Gascon was not easily intimidated--or rather


thanks to a great pride natural to the men of his country
he did not allow one easily to see what was passing in his
mind when that which was passing at all resembled fear--he
placed himself haughtily in front of Messieurs the Guards
and waited with his hand on his hipin an attitude by no
means deficient in majesty.

The usher returned and made a sign to d'Artagnan to follow
him. It appeared to the young man that the Guardson
seeing him departchuckled among themselves.

He traversed a corridorcrossed a grand saloonentered a
libraryand found himself in the presence of a man seated
at a desk and writing.

The usher introduced himand retired without speaking a
word. D'Artagnan remained standing and examined this man.

D'Artagnan at first believed that he had to do with some
judge examining his papers; but he perceived that the man at
the desk wroteor rather correctedlines of unequal
lengthscanning the words on his fingers. He saw then that
he was with a poet. At the end of an instant the poet
closed his manuscriptupon the cover of which was written
Mirame, a Tragedy in Five Acts,and raised his head.

D'Artagnan recognized the cardinal.

40 A TERRIBLE VISION

The cardinal leaned his elbow on his manuscripthis cheek
upon his handand looked intently at the young man for a
moment. No one had a more searching eye than the Cardinal
de Richelieuand d'Artagnan felt this glance run through
his veins like a fever.

He however kept a good countenanceholding his hat in his
hand and awaiting the good pleasure of his Eminencewithout
too much assurancebut also without too much humility.

Monsieur,said the cardinalare you a d'Artagnan from
Bearn?

Yes, monseigneur,replied the young man.

There are several branches of the d'Artagnans at Tarbes and
in its environs,said the cardinal; "to which do you
belong?"

I am the son of him who served in the Religious Wars under
the great King Henry, the father of his gracious Majesty.

That is well. It is you who set out seven or eight months
ago from your country to seek your fortune in the capital?

Yes, monseigneur.

You came through Meung, where something befell you. I
don't very well know what, but still something.

Monseigneur,said d'Artagnanthis was what happened to
me--


Never mind, never mind!resumed the cardinalwith a smile
which indicated that he knew the story as well as he who
wished to relate it. "You were recommended to Monsieur de
Trevillewere you not?"

Yes, monseigneur; but in that unfortunate affair at
Meung--

The letter was lost,replied his Eminence; "yesI know
that. But Monsieur de Treville is a skilled physiognomist
who knows men at first sight; and he placed you in the
company of his brother-in-lawMonsieur Dessessartleaving
you to hope that one day or other you should enter the
Musketeers."

Monseigneur is correctly informed,said d'Artagnan.

Since that time many things have happened to you. You were
walking one day behind the Chartreux, when it would have
been better if you had been elsewhere. Then you took with
your friends a journey to the waters of Forges; they stopped
on the road, but you continued yours. That is all very
simple: you had business in England.

Monseigneur,said d'Artagnanquite confusedI went--

Hunting at Windsor, or elsewhere--that concerns nobody. I
know, because it is my office to know everything. On your
return you were received by an august personage, and I
perceive with pleasure that you preserve the souvenir she
gave you.

D'Artagnan placed his hand upon the queen's diamondwhich
he woreand quickly turned the stone inward; but it was too
late.

The day after that, you received a visit from Cavois,
resumed the cardinal. "He went to desire you to come to the
palace. You have not returned that visitand you were
wrong."

Monseigneur, I feared I had incurred disgrace with your
Eminence.

How could that be, monsieur? Could you incur my
displeasure by having followed the orders of your superiors
with more intelligence and courage than another would have
done? It is the people who do not obey that I punish, and
not those who, like you, obey--but too well. As a proof,
remember the date of the day on which I had you bidden to
come to me, and seek in your memory for what happened to you
that very night.

That was the very evening when the abduction of Mme.
Bonacieux took place. D'Artagnan trembled; and he likewise
recollected that during the past half hour the poor woman
had passed close to himwithout doubt carried away by the
same power that had caused her disappearance.

In short,continued the cardinalas I have heard nothing
of you for some time past, I wished to know what you were
doing. Besides, you owe me some thanks. You must yourself
have remarked how much you have been considered in all the


circumstances.

D'Artagnan bowed with respect.

That,continued the cardinalarose not only from a
feeling of natural equity, but likewise from a plan I have
marked out with respect to you.

D'Artagnan became more and more astonished.

I wished to explain this plan to you on the day you
received my first invitation; but you did not come.
Fortunately, nothing is lost by this delay, and you are now
about to hear it. Sit down there, before me, d'Artagnan;
you are gentleman enough not to listen standing.And the
cardinal pointed with his finger to a chair for the young
manwho was so astonished at what was passing that he
awaited a second sign from his interlocutor before he
obeyed.

You are brave, Monsieur d'Artagnan,continued his
Eminence; "you are prudentwhich is still better. I like
men of head and heart. Don't be afraid said he, smiling.
By men of heart I mean men of courage. But young as you
areand scarcely entering into the worldyou have powerful
enemies; if you do not take great heedthey will destroy
you."

Alas, monseigneur!replied the young manvery easily, no
doubt, for they are strong and well supported, while I am
alone.

Yes, that's true; but alone as you are, you have done much
already, and will do still more, I don't doubt. Yet you
have need, I believe, to be guided in the adventurous career
you have undertaken; for, if I mistake not, you came to
Paris with the ambitious idea of making your fortune.

I am at the age of extravagant hopes, monseigneur,said
d'Artagnan.

There are no extravagant hopes but for fools, monsieur, and you
are a man of understanding. Now, what would you say to an
ensign's commission in my Guards, and a company after the
campaign?

Ah, monseigneur.

You accept it, do you not?

Monseigneur,replied d'Artagnanwith an embarrassed air.

How? You refuse?cried the cardinalwith astonishment.

I am in his Majesty's Guards, monseigneur, and I have no
reason to be dissatisfied.

But it appears to me that my Guards--mine--are also his
Majesty's Guards; and whoever serves in a French corps
serves the king.

Monseigneur, your Eminence has ill understood my words.

You want a pretext, do you not? I comprehend. Well, you


have this excuse: advancement, the opening campaign, the
opportunity which I offer you--so much for the world. As
regards yourself, the need of protection; for it is fit you
should know, Monsieur d'Artagnan, that I have received heavy
and serious complaints against you. You do not consecrate
your days and nights wholly to the king's service.

D'Artagnan colored.

In fact,said the cardinalplacing his hand upon a bundle
of papersI have here a whole pile which concerns you. I
know you to be a man of resolution; and your services, well
directed, instead of leading you to ill, might be very
advantageous to you. Come; reflect, and decide.

Your goodness confounds me, monseigneur,replied
d'Artagnanand I am conscious of a greatness of soul in
your Eminence that makes me mean as an earthworm; but since
Monseigneur permits me to speak freely--

D'Artagnan paused.

Yes; speak.

Then, I will presume to say that all my friends are in the
king's Musketeers and Guards, and that by an inconceivable
fatality my enemies are in the service of your Eminence; I
should, therefore, be ill received here and ill regarded
there if I accepted what Monseigneur offers me.

Do you happen to entertain the haughty idea that I have not
yet made you an offer equal to your value?asked the
cardinalwith a smile of disdain.

Monseigneur, your Eminence is a hundred times too kind to
me; and on the contrary, I think I have not proved myself
worthy of your goodness. The siege of La Rochelle is about
to be resumed, monseigneur. I shall serve under the eye of
your Eminence, and if I have the good fortune to conduct
myself at the siege in such a manner as merits your
attention, then I shall at least leave behind me some
brilliant action to justify the protection with which you
honor me. Everything is best in its time, monseigneur.
Hereafter, perhaps, I shall have the right of giving myself;
at present I shall appear to sell myself.

That is to say, you refuse to serve me, monsieur,said the
cardinalwith a tone of vexationthrough whichhowever
might be seen a sort of esteem; "remain freethenand
guard your hatreds and your sympathies."

Monseigneur--

Well, well,said the cardinalI don't wish you any ill;
but you must be aware that it is quite trouble enough to
defend and recompense our friends. We owe nothing to our
enemies; and let me give you a piece of advice; take care of
yourself, Monsieur d'Artagnan, for from the moment I
withdraw my hand from behind you, I would not give an obolus
for your life.

I will try to do so, monseigneur,replied the Gasconwith
a noble confidence.


Remember at a later period and at a certain moment, if any
mischance should happen to you,said Richelieu
significantlythat it was I who came to seek you, and that
I did all in my power to prevent this misfortune befalling
you.

I shall entertain, whatever may happen,said d'Artagnan
placing his hand upon his breast and bowingan eternal
gratitude toward your Eminence for that which you now do for
me.

Well, let it be, then, as you have said, Monsieur
d'Artagnan; we shall see each other again after the
campaign. I will have my eye upon you, for I shall be
there,replied the cardinalpointing with his finger to a
magnificent suit of armor he was to wearand on our
return, well--we will settle our account!

Young man,said Richelieuif I shall be able to say to
you at another time what I have said to you today, I promise
you to do so.

This last expression of Richelieu's conveyed a terrible
doubt; it alarmed d'Artagnan more than a menace would have
donefor it was a warning. The cardinalthenwas seeking
to preserve him from some misfortune which threatened him.
He opened his mouth to replybut with a haughty gesture the
cardinal dismissed him.

D'Artagnan went outbut at the door his heart almost failed
himand he felt inclined to return. Then the noble and
severe countenance of Athos crossed his mind; if he made the
compact with the cardinal which he requiredAthos would no
more give him his hand--Athos would renounce him.

It was this fear that restrained himso powerful is the
influence of a truly great character on all that surrounds
it.

D'Artagnan descended by the staircase at which he had
enteredand found Athos and the four Musketeers waiting his
appearanceand beginning to grow uneasy. With a word
d'Artagnan reassured them; and Planchet ran to inform the
other sentinels that it was useless to keep guard longeras
his master had come out safe from the Palais-Cardinal.

Returned home with AthosAramis and Porthos inquired
eagerly the cause of the strange interview; but d'Artagnan
confined himself to telling them that M. de Richelieu had
sent for him to propose to him to enter into his guards with
the rank of ensignand that he had refused.

And you were right,cried Aramis and Porthoswith one
voice.

Athos fell into a profound reverie and answered nothing.
But when they were alone he saidYou have done that which
you ought to have done, d'Artagnan; but perhaps you have
been wrong.

D'Artagnan sighed deeplyfor this voice responded to a
secret voice of his soulwhich told him that great
misfortunes awaited him.


The whole of the next day was spent in preparations for
departure. D'Artagnan went to take leave of M. de Treville.
At that time it was believed that the separation of the
Musketeers and the Guards would be but momentarythe king
holding his Parliament that very day and proposing to set
out the day after. M. de Treville contented himself with
asking d'Artagnan if he could do anything for himbut
d'Artagnan answered that he was supplied with all he wanted.

That night brought together all those comrades of the Guards
of M. Dessessart and the company of Musketeers of M. de
Treville who had been accustomed to associate together.
They were parting to meet again when it pleased Godand if
it pleased God. That nightthenwas somewhat riotousas
may be imagined. In such cases extreme preoccupation is
only to be combated by extreme carelessness.

At the first sound of the morning trumpet the friends
separated; the Musketeers hastening to the hotel of M. de
Trevillethe Guards to that of M. Dessessart. Each of the
captains then led his company to the Louvrewhere the king
held his review.

The king was dull and appeared illwhich detracted a little
from his usual lofty bearing. In factthe evening before
a fever had seized him in the midst of the Parliamentwhile
he was holding his Bed of Justice. He hadnot the less
decided upon setting out that same evening; and in spite of
the remonstrances that had been offered to himhe persisted
in having the reviewhoping by setting it at defiance to
conquer the disease which began to lay hold upon him.

The review overthe Guards set forward alone on their
marchthe Musketeers waiting for the kingwhich allowed
Porthos time to go and take a turn in his superb equipment
in the Rue aux Ours.

The procurator's wife saw him pass in his new uniform and on
his fine horse. She loved Porthos too dearly to allow him
to part thus; she made him a sign to dismount and come to
her. Porthos was magnificent; his spurs jingledhis
cuirass glitteredhis sword knocked proudly against his
ample limbs. This time the clerks evinced no inclination to
laughsuch a real ear clipper did Porthos appear.

The Musketeer was introduced to M. Coquenardwhose little
gray eyes sparkled with anger at seeing his cousin all
blazing new. Neverthelessone thing afforded him inward
consolation; it was expected by everybody that the campaign
would be a severe one. He whispered a hope to himself that
this beloved relative might be killed in the field.

Porthos paid his compliments to M. Coquenard and bade him
farewell. M. Coquenard wished him all sorts of
prosperities. As to Mme. Coquenardshe could not restrain
her tears; but no evil impressions were taken from her grief
as she was known to be very much attached to her relatives
about whom she was constantly having serious disputes with
her husband.

But the real adieux were made in Mme. Coquenard's chamber;
they were heartrending.

As long as the procurator's wife could follow him with her


eyesshe waved her handkerchief to himleaning so far out
of the window as to lead people to believe she wished to
precipitate herself. Porthos received all these attentions
like a man accustomed to such demonstrationsonly on
turning the corner of the street he lifted his hat
gracefullyand waved it to her as a sign of adieu.

On his part Aramis wrote a long letter. To whom? Nobody
knew. Kittywho was to set out that evening for Tourswas
waiting in the next chamber.

Athos sipped the last bottle of his Spanish wine.

In the meantime d'Artagnan was defiling with his company.
Arriving at the Faubourg St. Antoinehe turned round to
look gaily at the Bastille; but as it was the Bastille alone
he looked athe did not observe Miladywhomounted upon a
light chestnut horsedesignated him with her finger to two
ill-looking men who came close up to the ranks to take
notice of him. To a look of interrogation which they made
Milady replied by a sign that it was he. Thencertain that
there could be no mistake in the execution of her orders
she started her horse and disappeared.

The two men followed the companyand on leaving the
aubourg St. Antoinemounted two horses properly equipped
which a servant without livery had waiting for them.

41 THE SEIGE OF LA ROCHELLE

The Siege of La Rochelle was one of the great political
events of the reign of Louis XIIIand one of the great
military enterprises of the cardinal. It isthen
interesting and even necessary that we should say a few
words about itparticularly as many details of this siege
are connected in too important a manner with the story we
have undertaken to relate to allow us to pass it over in
silence.

The political plans of the cardinal when he undertook this
siege were extensive. Let us unfold them firstand then
pass on to the private plans which perhaps had not less
influence upon his Eminence than the others.

Of the important cities given up by Henry IV to the
Huguenots as places of safetythere only remained La
Rochelle. It became necessarythereforeto destroy this
last bulwark of Calvinism--a dangerous leaven with which the
ferments of civil revolt and foreign war were constantly
mingling.

SpaniardsEnglishmenand Italian malcontentsadventurers
of all nationsand soldiers of fortune of every sect
flocked at the first summons under the standard of the
Protestantsand organized themselves like a vast
associationwhose branches diverged freely over all parts
of Europe.

La Rochellewhich had derived a new importance from the
ruin of the other Calvinist citieswasthenthe focus of
dissensions and ambition. Moreoverits port was the last
in the kingdom of France open to the Englishand by closing


it against Englandour eternal enemythe cardinal
completed the work of Joan of Arc and the Duc de Guise.

Thus Bassompierrewho was at once Protestant and Catholic--
Protestant by conviction and Catholic as commander of the
order of the Holy Ghost; Bassompierrewho was a German by
birth and a Frenchman at heart--in shortBassompierrewho
had a distinguished command at the siege of La Rochelle
saidin charging at the head of several other Protestant
nobles like himselfYou will see, gentlemen, that we shall
be fools enough to take La Rochelle.

And Bassompierre was right. The cannonade of the Isle of Re
presaged to him the dragonnades of the Cevennes; the taking
of La Rochelle was the preface to the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes.

We have hinted that by the side of these views of the
leveling and simplifying ministerwhich belong to history
the chronicler is forced to recognize the lesser motives of
the amorous man and jealous rival.

Richelieuas everyone knowshad loved the queen. Was this
love a simple political affairor was it naturally one of
those profound passions which Anne of Austria inspired in
those who approached her? That we are not able to say; but
at all eventswe have seenby the anterior developments of
this storythat Buckingham had the advantage over himand
in two or three circumstancesparticularly that of the
diamond studshadthanks to the devotedness of the three
Musketeers and the courage and conduct of d'Artagnan
cruelly mystified him.

It wasthenRichelieu's objectnot only to get rid of an
enemy of Francebut to avenge himself on a rival; but this
vengeance must be grand and striking and worthy in every way
of a man who held in his handas his weapon for combatthe
forces of a kingdom.

Richelieu knew that in combating England he combated
Buckingham; that in triumphing over England he triumphed
over Buckingham--in shortthat in humiliating England in
the eyes of Europe he humiliated Buckingham in the eyes of
the queen.

On his side Buckinghamin pretending to maintain the honor
of Englandwas moved by interests exactly like those of the
cardinal. Buckingham also was pursuing a private vengeance.
Buckingham could not under any pretense be admitted into
France as an ambassador; he wished to enter it as a
conqueror.

It resulted from this that the real stake in this game
which two most powerful kingdoms played for the good
pleasure of two amorous menwas simply a kind look from
Anne of Austria.

The first advantage had been gained by Buckingham. Arriving
unexpectedly in sight of the Isle of Re with ninety vessels
and nearly twenty thousand menhe had surprised the Comte
de Toiraswho commanded for the king in the Isleand he
hadafter a bloody conflicteffected his landing.

Allow us to observe in passing that in this fight perished


the Baron de Chantal; that the Baron de Chantal left a
little orphan girl eighteen months oldand that this little
girl was afterward Mme. de Sevigne.

The Comte de Toiras retired into the citadel St. Martin with
his garrisonand threw a hundred men into a little fort
called the fort of La Pree.

This event had hastened the resolutions of the cardinal; and
till the king and he could take the command of the siege of
La Rochellewhich was determinedhe had sent Monsieur to
direct the first operationsand had ordered all the troops
he could dispose of to march toward the theater of war. It
was of this detachmentsent as a vanguardthat our friend
d'Artagnan formed a part.

The kingas we have saidwas to follow as soon as his Bed
of Justice had been held; but on rising from his Bed of
Justice on the twenty-eighth of Junehe felt himself
attacked by fever. He wasnotwithstandinganxious to set
out; but his illness becoming more serioushe was forced to
stop at Villeroy.

Nowwhenever the king haltedthe Musketeers halted. It
followed that d'Artagnanwho was as yet purely and simply
in the Guardsfound himselffor the time at least
separated from his good friends--AthosPorthosand Aramis.
This separationwhich was no more than an unpleasant
circumstancewould have certainly become a cause of serious
uneasiness if he had been able to guess by what unknown
dangers he was surrounded.

Hehoweverarrived without accident in the camp
established before La Rochelleof the tenth of the month of
September of the year 1627.

Everything was in the same state. The Duke of Buckingham
and his Englishmasters of the Isle of Recontinued to
besiegebut without successthe citadel St. Martin and the
fort of La Pree; and hostilities with La Rochelle had
commencedtwo or three days beforeabout a fort which the
Duc d'Angouleme had caused to be constructed near the city.

The Guardsunder the command of M. Dessessarttook up
their quarters at the Minimes; butas we knowd'Artagnan
possessed with ambition to enter the Musketeershad formed
but few friendships among his comradesand he felt himself
isolated and given up to his own reflections.

His reflections were not very cheerful. From the time of
his arrival in Parishe had been mixed up with public
affairs; but his own private affairs had made no great
progresseither in love or fortune. As to lovethe only
woman he could have loved was Mme. Bonacieux; and Mme.
Bonacieux had disappearedwithout his being able to
discover what had become of her. As to fortunehe had
made--hehumble as he was--an enemy of the cardinal; that
is to sayof a man before whom trembled the greatest men of
the kingdombeginning with the king.

That man had the power to crush himand yet he had not done
so. For a mind so perspicuous as that of d'Artagnanthis
indulgence was a light by which he caught a glimpse of a
better future.


Then he had made himself another enemyless to be feared
he thought; but neverthelesshe instinctively feltnot to
be despised. This enemy was Milady.

In exchange for all thishe had acquired the protection and
good will of the queen; but the favor of the queen was at
the present time an additional cause of persecutionand her
protectionas it was knownprotected badly--as witness
Chalais and Mme. Bonacieux.

What he had clearly gained in all this was the diamond
worth five or six thousand livreswhich he wore on his
finger; and even this diamond--supposing that d'Artagnanin
his projects of ambitionwished to keep itto make it
someday a pledge for the gratitude of the queen--had not in
the meanwhilesince he could not part with itmore value
than the gravel he trod under his feet.

We say the gravel he trod under his feetfor d'Artagnan
made these reflections while walking solitarily along a
pretty little road which led from the camp to the village of
Angoutin. Nowthese reflections had led him further than
he intendedand the day was beginning to decline whenby
the last ray of the setting sunhe thought he saw the
barrel of a musket glitter from behind a hedge.

D'Artagnan had a quick eye and a prompt understanding. He
comprehended that the musket had not come there of itself
and that he who bore it had not concealed himself behind a
hedge with any friendly intentions. He determined
thereforeto direct his course as clear from it as he could
whenon the opposite side of the roadfrom behind a rock
he perceived the extremity of another musket.

This was evidently an ambuscade.

The young man cast a glance at the first musket and saw
with a certain degree of inquietudethat it was leveled in
his direction; but as soon as he perceived that the orifice
of the barrel was motionlesshe threw himself upon the
ground. At the same instant the gun was firedand he heard
the whistling of a ball pass over his head.

No time was to be lost. D'Artagnan sprang up with a bound
and at the same instant the ball from the other musket tore
up the gravel on the very spot on the road where he had
thrown himself with his face to the ground.

D'Artagnan was not one of those foolhardy men who seek a
ridiculous death in order that it may be said of them that
they did not retreat a single step. Besidescourage was
out of the question here; d'Artagnan had fallen into an
ambush.

If there is a third shot,said he to himselfI am a lost
man.

He immediatelythereforetook to his heels and ran toward
the campwith the swiftness of the young men of his
countryso renowned for their agility; but whatever might
be his speedthe first who firedhaving had time to
reloadfired a second shotand this time so well aimed
that it struck his hatand carried it ten paces from him.


As hehoweverhad no other hathe picked up this as he
ranand arrived at his quarters very pale and quite out of
breath. He sat down without saying a word to anybodyand
began to reflect.

This event might have three causes:

The first and the most natural was that it might be an
ambuscade of the Rochellaiswho might not be sorry to kill
one of his Majesty's Guardsbecause it would be an enemy
the lessand this enemy might have a well-furnished purse
in his pocket.

D'Artagnan took his hatexamined the hole made by the ball
and shook his head. The ball was not a musket ball--it was
an arquebus ball. The accuracy of the aim had first given
him the idea that a special weapon had been employed. This
could notthenbe a military ambuscadeas the ball was
not of the regular caliber.

This might be a kind remembrance of Monsieur the Cardinal.
It may be observed that at the very moment whenthanks to
the ray of the sunhe perceived the gun barrelhe was
thinking with astonishment on the forbearance of his
Eminence with respect to him.

But d'Artagnan again shook his head. For people toward whom
he had but to put forth his handhis Eminence had rarely
recourse to such means.

It might be a vengeance of Milady; that was most probable.

He tried in vain to remember the faces or dress of the
assassins; he had escaped so rapidly that he had not had
leisure to notice anything.

Ah, my poor friends!murmured d'Artagnan; "where are you?
And that you should fail me!"

D'Artagnan passed a very bad night. Three or four times he
started upimagining that a man was approaching his bed for
the purpose of stabbing him. Neverthelessday dawned
without darkness having brought any accident.

But d'Artagnan well suspected that that which was deferred
was not relinquished.

D'Artagnan remained all day in his quartersassigning as a
reason to himself that the weather was bad.

At nine o'clock the next morningthe drums beat to arms.
The Duc d'Orleans visited the posts. The guards were under
armsand d'Artagnan took his place in the midst of his
comrades.

Monsieur passed along the front of the line; then all the
superior officers approached him to pay their compliments

M. Dessessartcaptain of the Guardsas well as the others.
At the expiration of a minute or twoit appeared to
d'Artagnan that M. Dessessart made him a sign to approach.
He waited for a fresh gesture on the part of his superior
for fear he might be mistaken; but this gesture being


repeatedhe left the ranksand advanced to receive orders.

Monsieur is about to ask for some men of good will for a
dangerous mission, but one which will do honor to those who
shall accomplish it; and I made you a sign in order that you
might hold yourself in readiness.

Thanks, my captain!replied d'Artagnanwho wished for
nothing better than an opportunity to distinguish himself
under the eye of the lieutenant general.

In fact the Rochellais had made a sortie during the night
and had retaken a bastion of which the royal army had gained
possession two days before. The matter was to ascertainby
reconnoiteringhow the enemy guarded this bastion.

At the end of a few minutes Monsieur raised his voiceand
saidI want for this mission three or four volunteers, led
by a man who can be depended upon.

As to the man to be depended upon, I have him under my
hand, monsieur,said M. Dessessartpointing to d'Artagnan;
and as to the four or five volunteers, Monsieur has but to
make his intentions known, and the men will not be wanting.

Four men of good will who will risk being killed with me!
said d'Artagnanraising his sword.

Two of his comrades of the Guards immediately sprang
forwardand two other soldiers having joined themthe
number was deemed sufficient. D'Artagnan declined all
othersbeing unwilling to take the first chance from those
who had the priority.

It was not known whetherafter the taking of the bastion
the Rochellais had evacuated it or left a garrison in it;
the object then was to examine the place near enough to
verify the reports.

D'Artagnan set out with his four companionsand followed
the trench; the two Guards marched abreast with himand the
two soldiers followed behind.

They arrived thusscreened by the lining of the trench
till they came within a hundred paces of the bastion.
Thereon turning roundd'Artagnan perceived that the two
soldiers had disappeared.

He thought thatbeginning to be afraidthey had stayed
behindand he continued to advance.

At the turning of the counterscarp they found themselves
within about sixty paces of the bastion. They saw no one
and the bastion seemed abandoned.

The three composing our forlorn hope were deliberating
whether they should proceed any furtherwhen all at once a
circle of smoke enveloped the giant of stoneand a dozen
balls came whistling around d'Artagnan and his companions.

They knew all they wished to know; the bastion was guarded.
A longer stay in this dangerous spot would have been useless
imprudence. D'Artagnan and his two companions turned their
backsand commenced a retreat which resembled a flight.


On arriving at the angle of the trench which was to serve
them as a rampartone of the Guardsmen fell. A ball had
passed through his breast. The otherwho was safe and
soundcontinued his way toward the camp.

D'Artagnan was not willing to abandon his companion thus
and stooped to raise him and assist him in regaining the
lines; but at this moment two shots were fired. One ball
struck the head of the already-wounded guardand the other
flattened itself against a rockafter having passed within
two inches of d'Artagnan.

The young man turned quickly roundfor this attack could
not have come from the bastionwhich was hidden by the
angle of the trench. The idea of the two soldiers who had
abandoned him occurred to his mindand with them he
remembered the assassins of two evenings before. He
resolved this time to know with whom he had to dealand
fell upon the body of his comrade as if he were dead.

He quickly saw two heads appear above an abandoned work
within thirty paces of him; they were the heads of the two
soldiers. D'Artagnan had not been deceived; these two men
had only followed for the purpose of assassinating him
hoping that the young man's death would be placed to the
account of the enemy.

As he might be only wounded and might denounce their crime
they came up to him with the purpose of making sure.
Fortunatelydeceived by d'Artagnan's trickthey neglected
to reload their guns.

When they were within ten paces of himd'Artagnanwho in
falling had taken care not to let go his swordsprang up
close to them.

The assassins comprehended that if they fled toward the camp
without having killed their manthey should be accused by
him; therefore their first idea was to join the enemy. One
of them took his gun by the barreland used it as he would
a club. He aimed a terrible blow at d'Artagnanwho avoided
it by springing to one side; but by this movement he left a
passage free to the banditwho darted off toward the
bastion. As the Rochellais who guarded the bastion were
ignorant of the intentions of the man they saw coming toward
themthey fired upon himand he fellstruck by a ball
which broke his shoulder.

Meantime d'Artagnan had thrown himself upon the other
soldierattacking him with his sword. The conflict was not
long; the wretch had nothing to defend himself with but his
discharged arquebus. The sword of the Guardsman slipped
along the barrel of the now-useless weaponand passed
through the thigh of the assassinwho fell.

D'Artagnan immediately placed the point of his sword at his
throat.

Oh, do not kill me!cried the bandit. "Pardonpardonmy
officerand I will tell you all."

Is your secret of enough importance to me to spare your
life for it?asked the young manwithholding his arm.


Yes; if you think existence worth anything to a man of
twenty, as you are, and who may hope for everything, being
handsome and brave, as you are.

Wretch,cried d'Artagnanspeak quickly! Who employed
you to assassinate me?

A woman whom I don't know, but who is called Milady.

But if you don't know this woman, how do you know her
name?

My comrade knows her, and called her so. It was with him
she agreed, and not with me; he even has in his pocket a
letter from that person, who attaches great importance to
you, as I have heard him say.

But how did you become concerned in this villainous
affair?

He proposed to me to undertake it with him, and I agreed.

And how much did she give you for this fine enterprise?

A hundred louis.

Well, come!said the young manlaughingshe thinks I am
worth something. A hundred louis? Well, that was a
temptation for two wretches like you. I understand why you
accepted it, and I grant you my pardon; but upon one
condition.

What is that?said the soldieruneasy at perceiving that
all was not over.

That you will go and fetch me the letter your comrade has
in his pocket.

But,cried the banditthat is only another way of
killing me. How can I go and fetch that letter under the
fire of the bastion?

You must nevertheless make up your mind to go and get it,
or I swear you shall die by my hand.

Pardon, monsieur; pity! In the name of that young lady you
love, and whom you perhaps believe dead but who is not!
cried the banditthrowing himself upon his knees and
leaning upon his hand--for he began to lose his strength
with his blood.

And how do you know there is a young woman whom I love, and
that I believed that woman dead?asked d'Artagnan.

By that letter which my comrade has in his pocket.

You see, then,said d'Artagnanthat I must have that
letter. So no more delay, no more hesitation; or else
whatever may be my repugnance to soiling my sword a second
time with the blood of a wretch like you, I swear by my
faith as an honest man--and at these words d'Artagnan made
so fierce a gesture that the wounded man sprang up.


Stop, stop!cried heregaining strength by force of
terror. "I will go--I will go!"

D'Artagnan took the soldier's arquebusmade him go on
before himand urged him toward his companion by pricking
him behind with his sword.

It was a frightful thing to see this wretchleaving a long
track of blood on the ground he passed overpale with
approaching deathtrying to drag himself along without
being seen to the body of his accomplicewhich lay twenty
paces from him.

Terror was so strongly painted on his facecovered with a
cold sweatthat d'Artagnan took pity on himand casting
upon him a look of contemptStop,said heI will show
you the difference between a man of courage and such a
coward as you. Stay where you are; I will go myself.

And with a light stepan eye on the watchobserving the
movements of the enemy and taking advantage of the accidents
of the groundd'Artagnan succeeded in reaching the second
soldier.

There were two means of gaining his object--to search him on
the spotor to carry him awaymaking a buckler of his
bodyand search him in the trench.

D'Artagnan preferred the second meansand lifted the
assassin onto his shoulders at the moment the enemy fired.

A slight shockthe dull noise of three balls which
penetrated the flesha last crya convulsion of agony
proved to d'Artagnan that the would-be assassin had saved
his life.

D'Artagnan regained the trenchand threw the corpse beside
the wounded manwho was as pale as death.

Then he began to search. A leather pocketbooka pursein
which was evidently a part of the sum which the bandit had
receivedwith a dice box and dicecompleted the
possessions of the dead man.

He left the box and dice where they fellthrew the purse to
the wounded manand eagerly opened the pocketbook.

Among some unimportant papers he found the following letter
that which he had sought at the risk of his life:

Since you have lost sight of that woman and she is now in
safety in the convent, which you should never have allowed
her to reach, try, at least, not to miss the man. If you
do, you know that my hand stretches far, and that you shall
pay very dearly for the hundred louis you have from me.

No signature. Nevertheless it was plain the letter came
from Milady. He consequently kept it as a piece of
evidenceand being in safety behind the angle of the
trenchhe began to interrogate the wounded man. He
confessed that he had undertaken with his comrade--the same
who was killed--to carry off a young woman who was to leave


Paris by the Barriere de La Villette; but having stopped to
drink at a cabaretthey had missed the carriage by ten
minutes.

But what were you to do with that woman?asked d'Artagnan
with anguish.

We were to have conveyed her to a hotel in the Place
Royale,said the wounded man.

Yes, yes!murmured d'Artagnan; "that's the place--Milady's
own residence!"

Then the young man tremblingly comprehended what a terrible
thirst for vengeance urged this woman on to destroy himas
well as all who loved himand how well she must be
acquainted with the affairs of the courtsince she had
discovered all. There could be no doubt she owed this
information to the cardinal.

But amid all this he perceivedwith a feeling of real joy
that the queen must have discovered the prison in which poor
Mme. Bonacieux was explaining her devotionand that she had
freed her from that prison; and the letter he had received
from the young womanand her passage along the road of
Chaillot like an apparitionwere now explained.

Then alsoas Athos had predictedit became possible to
find Mme. Bonacieuxand a convent was not impregnable.

This idea completely restored clemency to his heart. He
turned toward the wounded manwho had watched with intense
anxiety all the various expressions of his countenanceand
holding out his arm to himsaidCome, I will not abandon
you thus. Lean upon me, and let us return to the camp.

Yes,said the manwho could scarcely believe in such
magnanimitybut is it not to have me hanged?

You have my word,said he; "for the second time I give you
your life."

The wounded man sank upon his kneesto again kiss the feet
of his preserver; but d'Artagnanwho had no longer a motive
for staying so near the enemyabridged the testimonials of
his gratitude.

The Guardsman who had returned at the first discharge
announced the death of his four companions. They were
therefore much astonished and delighted in the regiment when
they saw the young man come back safe and sound.

D'Artagnan explained the sword wound of his companion by a
sortie which he improvised. He described the death of the
other soldierand the perils they had encountered. This
recital was for him the occasion of veritable triumph. The
whole army talked of this expedition for a dayand Monsieur
paid him his compliments upon it. Besides thisas every
great action bears its recompense with itthe brave exploit
of d'Artagnan resulted in the restoration of the tranquility
he had lost. In factd'Artagnan believed that he might be
tranquilas one of his two enemies was killed and the other
devoted to his interests.


This tranquillity proved one thing--that d'Artagnan did not
yet know Milady.

42 THE ANJOU WINE

After the most disheartening news of the king's healtha
report of his convalescence began to prevail in the camp;
and as he was very anxious to be in person at the siegeit
was said that as soon as he could mount a horse he would set
forward.

MeantimeMonsieurwho knew that from one day to the other
he might expect to be removed from his command by the Duc
d'Angoulemeby Bassompierreor by Schombergwho were all
eager for his postdid but littlelost his days in
waveringand did not dare to attempt any great enterprise
to drive the English from the Isle of Rewhere they still
besieged the citadel St. Martin and the fort of La Preeas
on their side the French were besieging La Rochelle.

D'Artagnanas we have saidhad become more tranquilas
always happens after a post dangerparticularly when the
danger seems to have vanished. He only felt one uneasiness
and that was at not hearing any tidings from his friends.

But one morning at the commencement of the month of November
everything was explained to him by this letterdated from
Villeroy:

M. d'Artagnan
MM. AthosPorthosand Aramisafter having
had an entertainment at my house and enjoying themselves
very muchcreated such a disturbance that the provost of
the castlea rigid manhas ordered them to be confined for
some days; but I accomplish the order they have given me by
forwarding to you a dozen bottles of my Anjou winewith
which they are much pleased. They are desirous that you
should drink to their health in their favorite wine. I have
done thisand ammonsieurwith great respect

Your very humble and obedient servant

GodeauPurveyor of the Musketeers

That's all well!cried d'Artagnan. They think of me in
their pleasuresas I thought of them in my troubles. Well
I will certainly drink to their health with all my heart
but I will not drink alone."

And d'Artagnan went among those Guardsmen with whom he had
formed greater intimacy than with the othersto invite them
to enjoy with him this present of delicious Anjou wine which
had been sent him from Villeroy.

One of the two Guardsmen was engaged that eveningand
another the nextso the meeting was fixed for the day after
that.

D'Artagnanon his returnsent the twelve bottles of wine


to the refreshment room of the Guardswith strict orders
that great care should be taken of it; and thenon the day
appointedas the dinner was fixed for midday d'Artagnan
sent Planchet at nine in the morning to assist in preparing
everything for the entertainment.

Planchetvery proud of being raised to the dignity of
landlordthought he would make all readylike an
intelligent man; and with this view called in the assistance
of the lackey of one of his master's guestsnamed Fourreau
and the false soldier who had tried to kill d'Artagnan and
whobelonging to no corpshad entered into the service of
d'Artagnanor rather of Planchetafter d'Artagnan had
saved his life.

The hour of the banquet being comethe two guards arrived
took their placesand the dishes were arranged on the
table. Planchet waitedtowel on arm; Fourreau uncorked the
bottles; and Brisemontwhich was the name of the
convalescentpoured the winewhich was a little shaken by
its journeycarefully into decanters. Of this winethe
first bottle being a little thick at the bottomBrisemont
poured the lees into a glassand d'Artagnan desired him to
drink itfor the poor devil had not yet recovered his
strength.

The guests having eaten the soupwere about to lift the
first glass of wine to their lipswhen all at once the
cannon sounded from Fort Louis and Fort Neuf. The
Guardsmenimagining this to be caused by some unexpected
attackeither of the besieged or the Englishsprang to
their swords. D'Artagnannot less forward than theydid
likewiseand all ran outin order to repair to their
posts.

But scarcely were they out of the room before they were made
aware of the cause of this noise. Cries of "Live the king!
Live the cardinal!" resounded on every sideand the drums
were beaten in all directions.

In shortthe kingimpatientas has been saidhad come by
forced marchesand had that moment arrived with all his
household and a reinforcement of ten thousand troops. His
Musketeers proceeded and followed him. D'Artagnanplaced
in line with his companysaluted with an expressive gesture
his three friendswhose eyes soon discovered himand M. de
Trevillewho detected him at once.

The ceremony of reception overthe four friends were soon
in one another's arms.

Pardieu!cried d'Artagnanyou could not have arrived in
better time; the dinner cannot have had time to get cold!
Can it, gentlemen?added the young manturning to the two
Guardswhom he introduced to his friends.

Ah, ah!said Porthosit appears we are feasting!

I hope,said Aramisthere are no women at your dinner.

Is there any drinkable wine in your tavern?asked Athos.

Well, pardieu! there is yours, my dear friend,replied
d'Artagnan.


Our wine!said Athosastonished.
Yes, that you sent me.
We sent you wine?
You know very well--the wine from the hills of Anjou.
Yes, I know what brand you are talking about.
The wine you prefer.
Well, in the absence of champagne and chambertin, you must


content yourselves with that.


And so, connoisseurs in wine as we are, we have sent you
some Anjou wine?said Porthos.
Not exactly, it is the wine that was sent by your order.
On our account?said the three Musketeers.
Did you send this wine, Aramis?said Athos.
No; and you, Porthos?
No; and you, Athos?
No!
If it was not you, it was your purveyor,said d'Artagnan.
Our purveyor!
Yes, your purveyor, Godeau--the purveyor of the


Musketeers.


My faith! never mind where it comes from,said Porthos
let us taste it, and if it is good, let us drink it.
No,said Athos; "don't let us drink wine which comes from

an unknown source."

You are right, Athos,said d'Artagnan. "Did none of you
charge your purveyorGodeauto send me some wine?"
No! And yet you say he has sent you some as from us?
Here is his letter,said d'Artagnanand he presented the

note to his comrades.
This is not his writing!said Athos. "I am acquainted


with it; before we left Villeroy I settled the accounts of
the regiment."
A false letter altogether,said Porthoswe have not been

disciplined.

d'Artagnan,said Aramisin a reproachful tonehow could
you believe that we had made a disturbance?
D'Artagnan grew paleand a convulsive trembling shook all

his limbs.


Thou alarmest me!said Athoswho never used thee and thou
but upon very particular occasionswhat has happened?

Look you, my friends!cried d'Artagnana horrible
suspicion crosses my mind! Can this be another vengeance of
that woman?

It was now Athos who turned pale.

D'Artagnan rushed toward the refreshment roomthe three
Musketeers and the two Guards following him.

The first object that met the eyes of d'Artagnan on entering
the room was Brisemontstretched upon the ground and
rolling in horrible convulsions.

Planchet and Fourreauas pale as deathwere trying to give
him succor; but it was plain that all assistance was
useless--all the features of the dying man were distorted
with agony.

Ah!cried heon perceiving d'Artagnanah! this is
frightful! You pretend to pardon me, and you poison me!

I!cried d'Artagnan. "Iwretch? What do you say?"

I say that it was you who gave me the wine; I say that it
was you who desired me to drink it. I say you wished to
avenge yourself on me, and I say that it is horrible!

Do not think so, Brisemont,said d'Artagnan; "do not think
so. I swear to youI protest--"

Oh, but God is above! God will punish you! My God, grant
that he may one day suffer what I suffer!

Upon the Gospel,said d'Artagnanthrowing himself down by
the dying manI swear to you that the wine was poisoned
and that I was going to drink of it as you did.

I do not believe you,cried the soldierand he expired
amid horrible tortures.

Frightful! frightful!murmured Athoswhile Porthos broke
the bottles and Aramis gave ordersa little too latethat
a confessor should be sent for.

Oh, my friends,said d'Artagnanyou come once more to
save my life, not only mine but that of these gentlemen.
Gentlemen,continued headdressing the GuardsmenI
request you will be silent with regard to this adventure.
Great personages may have had a hand in what you have seen,
and if talked about, the evil would only recoil upon us.

Ah, monsieur!stammered Planchetmore dead than alive
ah, monsieur, what an escape I have had!

How, sirrah! you were going to drink my wine?

To the health of the king, monsieur; I was going to drink a
small glass of it if Fourreau had not told me I was called.

Alas!said Fourreauwhose teeth chattered with terror


I wanted to get him out of the way that I might drink myself.

Gentlemen,said d'Artagnanaddressing the Guardsmenyou
may easily comprehend that such a feast can only be very
dull after what has taken place; so accept my excuses, and
put off the party till another day, I beg of you.

The two Guardsmen courteously accepted d'Artagnan's excuses
and perceiving that the four friends desired to be alone
retired.

When the young Guardsman and the three Musketeers were
without witnessesthey looked at one another with an air
which plainly expressed that each of them perceived the
gravity of their situation.

In the first place,said Athoslet us leave this
chamber; the dead are not agreeable company, particularly
when they have died a violent death.

Planchet,said d'ArtagnanI commit the corpse of this
poor devil to your care. Let him be interred in holy
ground. He committed a crime, it is true; but he repented
of it.

And the four friends quit the roomleaving to Planchet and
Fourreau the duty of paying mortuary honors to Brisemont.

The host gave them another chamberand served them with
fresh eggs and some waterwhich Athos went himself to draw
at the fountain. In a few wordsPorthos and Aramis were
posted as to the situation.

Well,said d'Artagnan to Athosyou see, my dear friend,
that this is war to the death.

Athos shook his head.

Yes, yes,replied heI perceive that plainly; but do you
really believe it is she?

I am sure of it.

Nevertheless, I confess I still doubt.

But the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder?

She is some Englishwoman who has committed a crime in
France, and has been branded in consequence.

Athos, she is your wife, I tell you,repeated d'Artagnan;
only reflect how much the two descriptions resemble each
other.

Yes; but I should think the other must be dead, I hanged
her so effectually.

It was d'Artagnan who now shook his head in his turn.

But in either case, what is to be done?said the young
man.

The fact is, one cannot remain thus, with a sword hanging
eternally over his head,said Athos. "We must extricate


ourselves from this position."

But how?

Listen! You must try to see her, and have an explanation
with her. Say to her: 'Peace or war! My word as a
gentleman never to say anything of you, never to do anything
against you; on your side, a solemn oath to remain neutral
with respect to me. If not, I will apply to the chancellor,
I will apply to the king, I will apply to the hangman, I
will move the courts against you, I will denounce you as
branded, I will bring you to trial; and if you are
acquitted, well, by the faith of a gentleman, I will kill
you at the corner of some wall, as I would a mad dog.'

I like the means well enough,said d'Artagnanbut where
and how to meet with her?

Time, dear friend, time brings round opportunity;
opportunity is the martingale of man. The more we have
ventured the more we gain, when we know how to wait.

Yes; but to wait surrounded by assassins and poisoners.

Bah!said Athos. "God has preserved us hithertoGod will
preserve us still."

Yes, we. Besides, we are men; and everything considered,
it is our lot to risk our lives; but she,asked hein an
undertone.

What she?asked Athos.

Constance.

Madame Bonacieux! Ah, that's true!said Athos. "My poor
friendI had forgotten you were in love."

Well, but,said Aramishave you not learned by the
letter you found on the wretched corpse that she is in a
convent? One may be very comfortable in a convent; and as
soon as the siege of La Rochelle is terminated, I promise
you on my part--

Good,cried Athosgood! Yes, my dear Aramis, we all
know that your views have a religious tendency.

I am only temporarily a Musketeer,said Aramishumbly.

It is some time since we heard from his mistress,said
Athosin a low voice. "But take no notice; we know all
about that."

Well,said Porthosit appears to me that the means are
very simple.

What?asked d'Artagnan.

You say she is in a convent?replied Porthos.

Yes.

Very well. As soon as the siege is over, we'll carry her
off from that convent.


But we must first learn what convent she is in.

That's true,said Porthos.

But I think I have it,said Athos. "Don't you saydear
d'Artagnanthat it is the queen who has made choice of the
convent for her?"

I believe so, at least.

In that case Porthos will assist us.

And how so, if you please?

Why, by your marchioness, your duchess, your princess. She
must have a long arm.

Hush!said Porthosplacing a finger on his lips. "I
believe her to be a cardinalist; she must know nothing of
the matter."

Then,said AramisI take upon myself to obtain
intelligence of her.

You, Aramis?cried the three friends. "You! And how?"

By the queen's almoner, to whom I am very intimately
allied,said Aramiscoloring.

And on this assurancethe four friendswho had finished
their modest repastseparatedwith the promise of meeting
again that evening. D'Artagnan returned to less important
affairsand the three Musketeers repaired to the king's
quarterswhere they had to prepare their lodging.

43 The Sign of the Red Dovecot

Meanwhile the kingwhowith more reason than the cardinal
showed his hatred for Buckinghamalthough scarcely arrived
was in such a haste to meet the enemy that he commanded
every disposition to be made to drive the English from the
Isle of Reand afterward to press the siege of La Rochelle;
but notwithstanding his earnest wishhe was delayed by the
dissensions which broke out between MM. Bassompierre and
Schombergagainst the Duc d'Angouleme.

MM. Bassompierre and Schomberg were marshals of Franceand
claimed their right of commanding the army under the orders
of the king; but the cardinalwho feared that Bassompierre
a Huguenot at heartmight press but feebly the English and
Rochellaishis brothers in religionsupported the Duc
d'Angoulemewhom the kingat his instigationhad named
lieutenant general. The result was that to prevent MM.
Bassompierre and Schomberg from deserting the armya
separate command had to be given to each. Bassompierre took
up his quarters on the north of the citybetween Leu and
Dompierre; the Duc d'Angouleme on the eastfrom Dompierre
to Perigny; and M. de Schomberg on the southfrom Perigny
to Angoutin.

The quarters of Monsieur were at Dompierre; the quarters of


the king were sometimes at Estreesometimes at Jarrie; the
cardinal's quarters were upon the downsat the bridge of La
Pierrein a simple house without any entrenchment. So that
Monsieur watched Bassompierre; the kingthe Duc
d'Angouleme; and the cardinalM. de Schomberg.

As soon as this organization was establishedthey set about
driving the English from the Isle.

The juncture was favorable. The Englishwho requireabove
everythinggood living in order to be good soldiersonly
eating salt meat and bad biscuithad many invalids in their
camp. Still furtherthe seavery rough at this period of
the year all along the sea coastdestroyed every day some
little vessel; and the shorefrom the point of l'Aiguillon
to the trencheswas at every tide literally covered with
the wrecks of pinnaclesrobergesand feluccas. The result
was that even if the king's troops remained quietly in their
campit was evident that some day or otherBuckinghamwho
only continued in the Isle from obstinacywould be obliged
to raise the siege.

But as M. de Toiras gave information that everything was
preparing in the enemy's camp for a fresh assaultthe king
judged that it would be best to put an end to the affair
and gave the necessary orders for a decisive action.

As it is not our intention to give a journal of the siege
but on the contrary only to describe such of the events of
it as are connected with the story we are relatingwe will
content ourselves with saying in two words that the
expedition succeededto the great astonishment of the king
and the great glory of the cardinal. The Englishrepulsed
foot by footbeaten in all encountersand defeated in the
passage of the Isle of Loiewere obliged to re-embark
leaving on the field of battle two thousand menamong whom
were five colonelsthree lieutenant colonelstwo hundred
and fifty captainstwenty gentlemen of rankfour pieces of
cannonand sixty flagswhich were taken to Paris by Claude
de St. Simonand suspended with great pomp in the arches of
Notre Dame.

Te Deums were chanted in campand afterward throughout
France.

The cardinal was left free to carry on the siegewithout
havingat least at the presentanything to fear on the
part of the English.

But it must be acknowledgedthis response was but
momentary. An envoy of the Duke of Buckinghamnamed
Montaguewas takenand proof was obtained of a league
between the German EmpireSpainEnglandand Lorraine.
This league was directed against France.

Still furtherin Buckingham's lodgingwhich he had been
forced to abandon more precipitately than he expected
papers were found which confirmed this alliance and which
as the cardinal asserts in his memoirsstrongly compromised
Mme. de Chevreuse and consequently the queen.

It was upon the cardinal that all the responsibility fell
for one is not a despotic minister without responsibility.
Allthereforeof the vast resources of his genius were at


work night and dayengaged in listening to the least report
heard in any of the great kingdoms of Europe.

The cardinal was acquainted with the activityand more
particularly the hatredof Buckingham. If the league which
threatened France triumphedall his influence would be
lost. Spanish policy and Austrian policy would have their
representatives in the cabinet of the Louvrewhere they had
as yet but partisans; and heRichelieu--the French
ministerthe national minister--would be ruined. The king
even while obeying him like a childhated him as a child
hates his masterand would abandon him to the personal
vengeance of Monsieur and the queen. He would then be lost
and Franceperhapswith him. All this must be prepared
against.

Courtiersbecoming every instant more numeroussucceeded
one anotherday and nightin the little house of the
bridge of La Pierrein which the cardinal had established
his residence.

There were monks who wore the frock with such an ill grace
that it was easy to perceive they belonged to the church
militant; women a little inconvenienced by their costume as
pages and whose large trousers could not entirely conceal
their rounded forms; and peasants with blackened hands but
with fine limbssavoring of the man of quality a league
off.

There were also less agreeable visits--for two or three
times reports were spread that the cardinal had nearly been
assassinated.

It is true that the enemies of the cardinal said that it was
he himself who set these bungling assassins to workin
order to haveif wantedthe right of using reprisals; but
we must not believe everything ministers saynor everything
their enemies say.

These attempts did not prevent the cardinalto whom his
most inveterate detractors have never denied personal
braveryfrom making nocturnal excursionssometimes to
communicate to the Duc d'Angouleme important orders
sometimes to confer with the kingand sometimes to have an
interview with a messenger whom he did not wish to see at
home.

On their part the Musketeerswho had not much to do with
the siegewere not under very strict orders and led a
joyous life. The was the more easy for our three companions
in particular; for being friends of M. de Trevillethey
obtained from him special permission to be absent after the
closing of the camp.

Nowone evening when d'Artagnanwho was in the trenches
was not able to accompany themAthosPorthosand Aramis
mounted on their battle steedsenveloped in their war
cloakswith their hands upon their pistol buttswere
returning from a drinking place called the Red Dovecot
which Athos had discovered two days before upon the route to
Jarriefollowing the road which led to the camp and quite
on their guardas we have statedfor fear of an ambuscade
whenabout a quarter of a league from the village of
Boisnauthey fancied they heard the sound of horses


approaching them. They immediately all three haltedclosed
inand waitedoccupying the middle of the road. In an
instantand as the moon broke from behind a cloudthey saw
at a turning of the road two horsemen whoon perceiving
themstopped in their turnappearing to deliberate whether
they should continue their route or go back. The hesitation
created some suspicion in the three friendsand Athos
advancing a few paces in front of the otherscried in a
firm voiceWho goes there?

Who goes there, yourselves?replied one of the horsemen.

That is not an answer,replied Athos. "Who goes there?
Answeror we charge."

Beware of what you are about, gentlemen!said a clear
voice which seemed accustomed to command.

It is some superior officer making his night rounds,said
Athos. "What do you wishgentlemen?"

Who are you?said the same voicein the same commanding
tone. "Answer in your turnor you may repent of your
disobedience."

King's Musketeers,said Athosmore and more convinced
that he who interrogated them had the right to do so.

What company?

Company of Treville.

Advance, and give an account of what you are doing here at
this hour.

The three companions advanced rather humbly--for all were
now convinced that they had to do with someone more powerful
than themselves--leaving Athos the post of speaker.

One of the two ridershe who had spoken secondwas ten
paces in front of his companion. Athos made a sign to
Porthos and Aramis also to remain in the rearand advanced
alone.

Your pardon, my officer,said Athos; "but we were ignorant
with whom we had to doand you may see that we were good
guard."

Your name?said the officerwho covered a part of his
face with his cloak.

But yourself, monsieur,said Athoswho began to be
annoyed by this inquisitiongive me, I beg you, the proof
that you have the right to question me.

Your name?repeated the cavalier a second timeletting
his cloak falland leaving his face uncovered.

Monsieur the Cardinal!cried the stupefied Musketeer.

Your name?cried his Eminencefor the third time.

Athos,said the Musketeer.


The cardinal made a sign to his attendantwho drew near.
These three Musketeers shall follow us,said hein an
undertone. "I am not willing it should be known I have left
the camp; and if they follow us we shall be certain they
will tell nobody."

We are gentlemen, monseigneur,said Athos; "require our
paroleand give yourself no uneasiness. Thank Godwe can
keep a secret."

The cardinal fixed his piercing eyes on this courageous
speaker.

You have a quick ear, Monsieur Athos,said the cardinal;
but now listen to this. It is not from mistrust that I
request you to follow me, but for my security. Your
companions are no doubt Messieurs Porthos and Aramis.

Yes, your Eminence,said Athoswhile the two Musketeers
who had remained behind advanced hat in hand.

I know you, gentlemen,said the cardinalI know you. I
know you are not quite my friends, and I am sorry you are
not so; but I know you are brave and loyal gentlemen, and
that confidence may be placed in you. Monsieur Athos, do
me, then, the honor to accompany me; you and your two
friends, and then I shall have an escort to excite envy in
his Majesty, if we should meet him.

The three Musketeers bowed to the necks of their horses.

Well, upon my honor,said Athosyour Eminence is right
in taking us with you; we have seen several ill-looking
faces on the road, and we have even had a quarrel at the Red
Dovecot with four of those faces.

A quarrel, and what for, gentlemen?said the cardinal;
you know I don't like quarrelers.

And that is the reason why I have the honor to inform your
Eminence of what has happened; for you might learn it from
others, and upon a false account believe us to be in fault.

What have been the results of your quarrel?said the
cardinalknitting his brow.

My friend, Aramis, here, has received a slight sword wound
in the arm, but not enough to prevent him, as your Eminence
may see, from mounting to the assault tomorrow, if your
Eminence orders an escalade.

But you are not the men to allow sword wounds to be
inflicted upon you thus,said the cardinal. "Comebe
frankgentlemenyou have settled accounts with somebody!
Confess; you know I have the right of giving absolution."

I, monseigneur?said Athos. "I did not even draw my
swordbut I took him who offended me round the bodyand
threw him out of the window. It appears that in falling
continued Athos, with some hesitation, he broke his thigh."

Ah, ah!said the cardinal; "and youMonsieur Porthos?"

I, monseigneur, knowing that dueling is prohibited--I


seized a bench, and gave one of those brigands such a blow
that I believe his shoulder is broken.

Very well,said the cardinal; "and youMonsieur Aramis?"

Monseigneur, being of a very mild disposition, and being,
likewise, of which Monseigneur perhaps is not aware, about
to enter into orders, I endeavored to appease my comrades,
when one of these wretches gave me a wound with a sword,
treacherously, across my left arm. Then I admit my patience
failed me; I drew my sword in my turn, and as he came back
to the charge, I fancied I felt that in throwing himself
upon me, he let it pass through his body. I only know for a
certainty that he fell; and it seemed to me that he was
borne away with his two companions.

The devil, gentlemen!said the cardinalthree men placed
hors de combat in a cabaret squabble! You don't do your
work by halves. And pray what was this quarrel about?

These fellows were drunk,said Athos. "and knowing there
was a lady who had arrived at the cabaret this eveningthey
wanted to force her door."

Force her door!said the cardinaland for what purpose?

To do her violence, without doubt,said Athos. "I have
had the honor of informing your Eminence that these men were
drunk."

And was this lady young and handsome?asked the cardinal
with a certain degree of anxiety.

We did not see her, monseigneur,said Athos.

You did not see her? Ah, very well,replied the cardinal
quickly. "You did well to defend the honor of a woman; and
as I am going to the Red Dovecot myselfI shall know if you
have told me the truth."

Monseigneur,said Athoshaughtilywe are gentlemen, and
to save our heads we would not be guilty of a falsehood.

Therefore I do not doubt what you say, Monsieur Athos, I do
not doubt it for a single instant; but,added heto
change the conversation, was this lady alone?

The lady had a cavalier shut up with her,said Athosbut
as notwithstanding the noise, this cavalier did not show
himself, it is to be presumed that he is a coward.

'Judge not rashly', says the Gospel,replied the cardinal.

Athos bowed.

And now, gentlemen, that's well,continued the cardinal.
I know what I wish to know; follow me.

The three Musketeers passed behind his Eminencewho again
enveloped his face in his cloakand put his horse in
motionkeeping from eight to ten paces in advance of his
four companions.

They soon arrived at the silentsolitary inn. No doubt the


host knew what illustrious visitor was expectedand had
consequently sent intruders out of the way.

Ten paces from the door the cardinal made a sign to his
esquire and the three Musketeers to halt. A saddled horse
was fastened to the window shutter. The cardinal knocked
three timesand in a peculiar manner.

A manenveloped in a cloakcame out immediatelyand
exchanged some rapid words with the cardinal; after which he
mounted his horseand set off in the direction of Surgeres
which was likewise the way to Paris.

Advance, gentlemen,said the cardinal.

You have told me the truth, my gentlemen,said he
addressing the Musketeersand it will not be my fault if
our encounter this evening be not advantageous to you. In
the meantime, follow me.

The cardinal alighted; the three Musketeers did likewise.
The cardinal threw the bridle of his horse to his esquire;
the three Musketeers fastened the horses to the shutters.

The host stood at the door. For himthe cardinal was only
an officer coming to visit a lady.

Have you any chamber on the ground floor where these
gentlemen can wait near a good fire?said the cardinal.

The host opened the door of a large roomin which an old
stove had just been replaced by a large and excellent
chimney.

I have this,said he.

That will do,replied the cardinal. "Entergentlemen
and be kind enough to wait for me; I shall not be more than
half an hour."

And while the three Musketeers entered the ground floor
roomthe cardinalwithout asking further information
ascended the staircase like a man who has no need of having
his road pointed out to him.

44 THE UTILITY OF STOVEPIPES

It was evident that without suspecting itand actuated
solely by their chivalrous and adventurous characterour
three friends had just rendered a service to someone the
cardinal honored with his special protection.

Nowwho was that someone? That was the question the three
Musketeers put to one another. Thenseeing that none of
their replies could throw any light on the subjectPorthos
called the host and asked for dice.

Porthos and Aramis placed themselves at the table and began
to play. Athos walked about in a contemplative mood.

While thinking and walkingAthos passed and repassed before
the pipe of the stovebroken in halvesthe other extremity


passing into the chamber above; and every time he passed and
repassed he heard a murmur of wordswhich at length fixed
his attention. Athos went close to itand distinguished
some words that appeared to merit so great an interest that
he made a sign to his friends to be silentremaining
himself bent with his ear directed to the opening of the
lower orifice.

Listen, Milady,said the cardinalthe affair is
important. Sit down, and let us talk it over.

Milady!murmured Athos.

I listen to your Eminence with greatest attention,replied
a female voice which made the Musketeer start.

A small vessel with an English crew, whose captain is on my
side, awaits you at the mouth of Charente, at fort of the
Point. He will set sail tomorrow morning.

I must go thither tonight?

Instantly! That is to say, when you have received my
instructions. Two men, whom you will find at the door on
going out, will serve you as escort. You will allow me to
leave first; then, after half an hour, you can go away in
your turn.

Yes, monseigneur. Now let us return to the mission with
which you wish to charge me; and as I desire to continue to
merit the confidence of your Eminence, deign to unfold it to
me in terms clear and precise, that I may not commit an
error.

There was an instant of profound silence between the two
interlocutors. It was evident that the cardinal was
weighing beforehand the terms in which he was about to
speakand that Milady was collecting all her intellectual
faculties to comprehend the things he was about to sayand
to engrave them in her memory when they should be spoken.

Athos took advantage of this moment to tell his two
companions to fasten the door insideand to make them a
sign to come and listen with him.

The two Musketeerswho loved their easebrought a chair
for each of themselves and one for Athos. All three then
sat down with their heads together and their ears on the
alert.

You will go to London,continued the cardinal. "Arrived
in Londonyou will seek Buckingham."

I must beg your Eminence to observe,said Miladythat
since the affair of the diamond studs, about which the duke
always suspected me, his Grace distrusts me.

Well, this time,said the cardinalit is not necessary
to steal his confidence, but to present yourself frankly and
loyally as a negotiator.

Frankly and loyally,repeated Miladywith an unspeakable
expression of duplicity.


Yes, frankly and loyally,replied the cardinalin the
same tone. "All this negotiation must be carried on
openly."

I will follow your Eminence's instructions to the letter.
I only wait till you give them.

You will go to Buckingham in my behalf, and you will tell
him I am acquainted with all the preparations he has made;
but that they give me no uneasiness, since at the first step
he takes I will ruin the queen.

Will he believe that your Eminence is in a position to
accomplish the threat thus made?

Yes; for I have the proofs.

I must be able to present these proofs for his
appreciation.

Without doubt. And you will tell him I will publish the
report of Bois-Robert and the Marquis de Beautru, upon the
interview which the duke had at the residence of Madame the
Constable with the queen on the evening Madame the Constable
gave a masquerade. You will tell him, in order that he may
not doubt, that he came there in the costume of the Great
Mogul, which the Chevalier de Guise was to have worn, and
that he purchased this exchange for the sum of three
thousand pistoles.

Well, monseigneur?

All the details of his coming into and going out of the
palace--on the night when he introduced himself in the
character of an Italian fortune teller--you will tell him,
that he may not doubt the correctness of my information;
that he had under his cloak a large white robe dotted with
black tears, death's heads, and crossbones--for in case of a
surprise, he was to pass for the phantom of the White Lady
who, as all the world knows, appears at the Louvre every
time any great event is impending.

Is that all, monseigneur?

Tell him also that I am acquainted with all the details of
the adventure at Amiens; that I will have a little romance
made of it, wittily turned, with a plan of the garden and
portraits of the principal actors in that nocturnal
romance.

I will tell him that.

Tell him further that I hold Montague in my power; that
Montague is in the Bastille; that no letters were found upon
him, it is true, but that torture may make him tell much of
what he knows, and even what he does not know.

Exactly.

Then add that his Grace has, in the precipitation with
which he quit the Isle of Re, forgotten and left behind him
in his lodging a certain letter from Madame de Chevreuse
which singularly compromises the queen, inasmuch as it
proves not only that her Majesty can love the enemies of the


king but that she can conspire with the enemies of France.
You recollect perfectly all I have told you, do you not?

Your Eminence will judge: the ball of Madame the Constable;
the night at the Louvre; the evening at Amiens; the arrest
of Montague; the letter of Madame de Chevreuse.

That's it,said the cardinalthat's it. You have an
excellent memory, Milady.

But,resumed she to whom the cardinal addressed this
flattering complimentif, in spite of all these reasons,
the duke does not give way and continues to menace France?

The duke is in love to madness, or rather to folly,
replied Richelieuwith great bitterness. "Like the ancient
paladinshe has only undertaken this war to obtain a look
from his lady love. If he becomes certain that this war
will cost the honorand perhaps the libertyof the lady of
his thoughtsas he saysI will answer for it he will look
twice."

And yet,said Miladywith a persistence that proved she
wished to see clearly to the end of the mission with which
she was about to be chargedif he persists?

If he persists?said the cardinal. "That is not
probable."

It is possible,said Milady.

If he persists--His Eminence made a pauseand resumed:
If he persists--well, then I shall hope for one of those
events which change the destinies of states.

If your Eminence would quote to me some one of these events
in history,said Miladyperhaps I should partake of your
confidence as to the future.

Well, here, for example,said Richelieu: "whenin 1610
for a cause similar to that which moves the dukeKing Henry
IVof glorious memorywas aboutat the same timeto
invade Flanders and Italyin order to attack Austria on
both sides. Welldid there not happen an event which saved
Austria? Why should not the king of France have the same
chance as the emperor?"

Your Eminence means, I presume, the knife stab in the Rue
de la Feronnerie?

Precisely,said the cardinal.

Does not your Eminence fear that the punishment inflicted
upon Ravaillac may deter anyone who might entertain the idea
of imitating him?

There will be, in all times and in all countries,
particularly if religious divisions exist in those
countries, fanatics who ask nothing better than to become
martyrs. Ay, and observe--it just occurs to me that the
Puritans are furious against Buckingham, and their preachers
designate him as the Antichrist.

Well?said Milady.


Well,continued the cardinalin an indifferent tonethe
only thing to be sought for at this moment is some woman,
handsome, young, and clever, who has cause of quarrel with
the duke. The duke has had many affairs of gallantry; and
if he has fostered his amours by promises of eternal
constancy, he must likewise have sown the seeds of hatred by
his eternal infidelities.

No doubt,said Miladycoollysuch a woman may be
found.

Well, such a woman, who would place the knife of Jacques
Clement or of Ravaillac in the hands of a fanatic, would
save France.

Yes; but she would then be the accomplice of an
assassination.

Were the accomplices of Ravaillac or of Jacques Clement
ever known?

No; for perhaps they were too high-placed for anyone to
dare look for them where they were. The Palace of Justice
would not be burned down for everybody, monseigneur.

You think, then, that the fire at the Palace of Justice was
not caused by chance?asked Richelieuin the tone with
which he would have put a question of no importance.

I, monseigneur?replied Milady. "I think nothing; I quote
a factthat is all. Only I say that if I were named Madame
de Montpensieror the Queen Marie de MedicisI should use
less precautions than I takebeing simply called Milady
Clarik."

That is just,said Richelieu. "What do you require
then?"

I require an order which would ratify beforehand all that I
should think proper to do for the greatest good of France.

But in the first place, this woman I have described must be
found who is desirous of avenging herself upon the duke.

She is found,said Milady.

Then the miserable fanatic must be found who will serve as
an instrument of God's justice.

He will be found.

Well,said the cardinalthen it will be time to claim
the order which you just now required.

Your Eminence is right,replied Milady; "and I have been
wrong in seeing in the mission with which you honor me
anything but that which it really is--that isto announce
to his Graceon the part of your Eminencethat you are
acquainted with the different disguises by means of which he
succeeded in approaching the queen during the fete given by
Madame the Constable; that you have proofs of the interview
granted at the Louvre by the queen to a certain Italian
astrologer who was no other than the Duke of Buckingham;


that you have ordered a little romance of a satirical nature
to be written upon the adventures of Amienswith a plan of
the gardens in which those adventures took placeand
portraits of the actors who figured in them; that Montague
is in the Bastilleand that the torture may make him say
things he remembersand even things he has forgotten; that
you possess a certain letter from Madame de Chevreusefound
in his Grace's lodgingwhich singularly compromises not
only her who wrote itbut her in whose name it was written.
Thenif he persistsnotwithstanding all this--as that is
as I have saidthe limit of my mission--I shall have
nothing to do but to pray God to work a miracle for the
salvation of France. That is itis it notmonseigneur
and I shall have nothing else to do?"

That is it,replied the cardinaldryly.

And now,said Miladywithout appearing to remark the
change of the duke's tone toward her--"now that I have
received the instructions of your Eminence as concerns your
enemiesMonseigneur will permit me to say a few words to
him of mine?"

Have you enemies, then?asked Richelieu.

Yes, monseigneur, enemies against whom you owe me all your
support, for I made them by serving your Eminence.

Who are they?replied the duke.

In the first place, there is a little intrigante named
Bonacieux.

She is in the prison of Nantes.

That is to say, she was there,replied Milady; "but the
queen has obtained an order from the king by means of which
she has been conveyed to a convent."

To a convent?said the duke.

Yes, to a convent.

And to which?

I don't know; the secret has been well kept.

But I will know!

And your Eminence will tell me in what convent that woman
is?

I can see nothing inconvenient in that,said the cardinal.

Well, now I have an enemy much more to be dreaded by me
than this little Madame Bonacieux.

Who is that?

Her lover.

What is his name?

Oh, your Eminence knows him well,cried Miladycarried


away by her anger. "He is the evil genius of both of us.
It is he who in an encounter with your Eminence's Guards
decided the victory in favor of the king's Musketeers; it is
he who gave three desperate wounds to de Wardesyour
emissaryand who caused the affair of the diamond studs to
fail; it is he whoknowing it was I who had Madame
Bonacieux carried offhas sworn my death."

Ah, ah!said the cardinalI know of whom you speak.

I mean that miserable d'Artagnan.

He is a bold fellow,said the cardinal.

And it is exactly because he is a bold fellow that he is
the more to be feared.

I must have,said the dukea proof of his connection
with Buckingham.

A proof?cried Milady; "I will have ten."

Well, then, it becomes the simplest thing in the world; get
me that proof, and I will send him to the Bastille.

So far good, monseigneur; but afterwards?

When once in the Bastille, there is no afterward!said the
cardinalin a low voice. "Ahpardieu!" continued heif
it were as easy for me to get rid of my enemy as it is easy
to get rid of yours, and if it were against such people you
require impunity--

Monseigneur,replied Miladya fair exchange. Life for
life, man for man; give me one, I will give you the other.

I don't know what you mean, nor do I even desire to know
what you mean,replied the cardinal; "but I wish to please
youand see nothing out of the way in giving you what you
demand with respect to so infamous a creature--the more so
as you tell me this d'Artagnan is a libertinea duelist
and a traitor."

An infamous scoundrel, monseigneur, a scoundrel!

Give me paper, a quill, and some ink, then,said the
cardinal.

Here they are, monseigneur.

There was a moment of silencewhich proved that the
cardinal was employed in seeking the terms in which he
should write the noteor else in writing it. Athoswho
had not lost a word of the conversationtook his two
companions by the handand led them to the other end of the
room.

Well,said Porthoswhat do you want, and why do you not
let us listen to the end of the conversation?

Hush!said Athosspeaking in a low voice. "We have heard
all it was necessary we should hear; besidesI don't
prevent you from listeningbut I must be gone."


You must be gone!said Porthos; "and if the cardinal asks
for youwhat answer can we make?"

You will not wait till he asks; you will speak first, and
tell him that I am gone on the lookout, because certain
expressions of our host have given me reason to think the
road is not safe. I will say two words about it to the
cardinal's esquire likewise. The rest concerns myself;
don't be uneasy about that.

Be prudent, Athos,said Aramis.

Be easy on that head,replied Athos; "you know I am cool
enough."

Porthos and Aramis resumed their places by the stovepipe.

As to Athoshe went out without any mysterytook his
horsewhich was tied with those of his friends to the
fastenings of the shuttersin four words convinced the
attendant of the necessity of a vanguard for their return
carefully examined the priming of his pistolsdrew his
swordand tooklike a forlorn hopethe road to the camp.

45 A CONJUGAL SCENE

As Athos had foreseenit was not long before the cardinal
came down. He opened the door of the room in which the
Musketeers wereand found Porthos playing an earnest game
of dice with Aramis. He cast a rapid glance around the
roomand perceived that one of his men was missing.

What has become of Monseigneur Athos?asked he.

Monseigneur,replied Porthoshe has gone as a scout, on
account of some words of our host, which made him believe
the road was not safe.

And you, what have you done, Monsieur Porthos?

I have won five pistoles of Aramis.

Well; now will you return with me?

We are at your Eminence's orders.

To horse, then, gentlemen; for it is getting late.

The attendant was at the doorholding the cardinal's horse
by the bridle. At a short distance a group of two men and
three horses appeared in the shade. These were the two men
who were to conduct Milady to the fort of the Pointand
superintend her embarkation.

The attendant confirmed to the cardinal what the two
Musketeers had already said with respect to Athos. The
cardinal made an approving gestureand retraced his route
with the same precautions he had used incoming.

Let us leave him to follow the road to the camp protected by
his esquire and the two Musketeersand return to Athos.


For a hundred paces he maintained the speed at which he
started; but when out of sight he turned his horse to the
rightmade a circuitand came back within twenty paces of
a high hedge to watch the passage of the little troop.
Having recognized the laced hats of his companions and the
golden fringe of the cardinal's cloakhe waited till the
horsemen had turned the angle of the roadand having lost
sight of themhe returned at a gallop to the innwhich was
opened to him without hesitation.

The host recognized him.

My officer,said Athoshas forgotten to give a piece of
very important information to the lady, and has sent me back
to repair his forgetfulness.

Go up,said the host; "she is still in her chamber."

Athos availed himself of the permissionascended the stairs
with his lightest stepgained the landingand through the
open door perceived Milady putting on her hat.

He entered the chamber and closed the door behind him. At
the noise he made in pushing the boltMilady turned round.

Athos was standing before the doorenveloped in his cloak
with his hat pulled down over his eyes. On seeing this
figuremute and immovable as a statueMilady was
frightened.

Who are you, and what do you want?cried she.

Humph,murmured Athosit is certainly she!

And letting fall his cloak and raising his hathe advanced
toward Milady.

Do you know me, madame?said he.

Milady made one step forwardand then drew back as if she
had seen a serpent.

So far, well,said AthosI perceive you know me.

The Comte de la Fere!murmured Miladybecoming
exceedingly paleand drawing back till the wall prevented
her from going any farther.

Yes, Milady,replied Athos; "the Comte de la Fere in
personwho comes expressly from the other world to have the
pleasure of paying you a visit. Sit downmadameand let
us talkas the cardinal said."

Miladyunder the influence of inexpressible terrorsat
down without uttering a word.

You certainly are a demon sent upon the earth!said Athos.
Your power is great, I know; but you also know that with
the help of God men have often conquered the most terrible
demons. You have once before thrown yourself in my path. I
thought I had crushed you, madame; but either I was deceived
or hell has resuscitated you!

Milady at these wordswhich recalled frightful


remembranceshung down her head with a suppressed groan.

Yes, hell has resuscitated you,continued Athos. "Hell
has made you richhell has given you another namehell has
almost made you another face; but it has neither effaced the
stains from your soul nor the brand from your body."

Milady arose as if moved by a powerful springand her eyes
flashed lightning. Athos remained sitting.

You believed me to be dead, did you not, as I believed you
to be? And the name of Athos as well concealed the Comte de
la Fere, as the name Milady Clarik concealed Anne de Breuil.
Was it not so you were called when your honored brother
married us? Our position is truly a strange one,continued
Athoslaughing. "We have only lived up to the present time
because we believed each other deadand because a
remembrance is less oppressive than a living creature
though a remembrance is sometimes devouring."

But,said Miladyin a hollowfaint voicewhat brings
you back to me, and what do you want with me?

I wish to tell you that though remaining invisible to your
eyes, I have not lost sight of you.

You know what I have done?

I can relate to you, day by day, your actions from your
entrance to the service of the cardinal to this evening.

A smile of incredulity passed over the pale lips of Milady.

Listen! It was you who cut off the two diamond studs from
the shoulder of the Duke of Buckingham; it was you had the
Madame Bonacieux carried off; it was you who, in love with
de Wardes and thinking to pass the night with him, opened
the door to Monsieur d'Artagnan; it was you who, believing
that de Wardes had deceived you, wished to have him killed
by his rival; it was you who, when this rival had discovered
your infamous secret, wished to have him killed in his turn
by two assassins, whom you sent in pursuit of him; it was
you who, finding the balls had missed their mark, sent
poisoned wine with a forged letter, to make your victim
believe that the wine came from his friends. In short, it
was you who have but now in this chamber, seated in this
chair I now fill, made an engagement with Cardinal Richelieu
to cause the Duke of Buckingham to be assassinated, in
exchange for the promise he has made you to allow you to
assassinate d'Artagnan.

Milady was livid.

You must be Satan!cried she.

Perhaps,said Athos; "But at all events listen well to
this. Assassinate the Duke of Buckinghamor cause him to
be assassinated--I care very little about that! I don't
know him. Besideshe is an Englishman. But do not touch
with the tip of your finger a single hair of d'Artagnanwho
is a faithful friend whom I love and defendor I swear to
you by the head of my father the crime which you shall have
endeavored to commitor shall have committedshall be the
last."


Monsieur d'Artagnan has cruelly insulted me,said Milady
in a hollow tone; "Monsieur d'Artagnan shall die!"

Indeed! Is it possible to insult you, madame?said Athos
laughing; "he has insulted youand he shall die!"

He shall die!replied Milady; "she firstand he
afterward."

Athos was seized with a kind of vertigo. The sight of this
creaturewho had nothing of the woman about herrecalled
awful remembrances. He thought how one dayin a less
dangerous situation than the one in which he was now placed
he had already endeavored to sacrifice her to his honor.
His desire for blood returnedburning his brain and
pervading his frame like a raging fever; he arose in his
turnreached his hand to his beltdrew forth a pistoland
cocked it.

Miladypale as a corpseendeavored to cry out; but her
swollen tongue could utter no more than a hoarse sound which
had nothing human in it and resembled the rattle of a wild
beast. Motionless against the dark tapestrywith her hair
in disordershe appeared like a horrid image of terror.

Athos slowly raised his pistolstretched out his arm so
that the weapon almost touched Milady's foreheadand then
in a voice the more terrible from having the supreme
calmness of a fixed resolutionMadame,said heyou will
this instant deliver to me the paper the cardinal signed; or
upon my soul, I will blow your brains out.

With another manMilady might have preserved some doubt;
but she knew Athos. Neverthelessshe remained motionless.

You have one second to decide,said he.

Milady saw by the contraction of his countenance that the
trigger was about to be pulled; she reached her hand quickly
to her bosomdrew out a paperand held it toward Athos.

Take it,said sheand be accursed!

Athos took the paperreturned the pistol to his belt
approached the lamp to be assured that it was the paper
unfolded itand read:

Dec. 31627

It is by my order and for the good of the state that the
bearer of this has done what he has done.

Richelieu

And now,said Athosresuming his cloak and putting on his
hatnow that I have drawn your teeth, viper, bite if you
can.

And he left the chamber without once looking behind him.

At the door he found the two men and the spare horse which


they held.

Gentlemen,said heMonseigneur's order is, you know, to
conduct that woman, without losing time, to the fort of the
Point, and never to leave her till she is on board.

As these words agreed wholly with the order they had
receivedthey bowed their heads in sign of assent.

With regard to Athoshe leaped lightly into the saddle and
set out at full gallop; only instead of following the road
he went across the fieldsurging his horse to the utmost
and stopping occasionally to listen.

In one of those halts he heard the steps of several horses
on the road. He had no doubt it was the cardinal and his
escort. He immediately made a new point in advancerubbed
his horse down with some heath and leaves of treesand
placed himself across the roadabout two hundred paces from
the camp.

Who goes there?cried heas soon as he perceived the
horsemen.

That is our brave Musketeer, I think,said the cardinal.

Yes, monseigneur,said Porthosit is he.

Monsieur Athos,said Richelieureceive my thanks for the
good guard you have kept. Gentlemen, we are arrived; take
the gate on the left. The watchword is, 'King and Re.'

Saying these wordsthe cardinal saluted the three friends
with an inclination of his headand took the right hand
followed by his attendant--for that night he himself slept
in the camp.

Well!said Porthos and Aramis togetheras soon as the
cardinal was out of hearingwell, he signed the paper she
required!

I know it,said Athoscoollysince here it is.

And the three friends did not exchange another word till
they reached their quartersexcept to give the watchword to
the sentinels. Only they sent Mousqueton to tell Planchet
that his master was requestedthe instant that he left the
trenchesto come to the quarters of the Musketeers.

Miladyas Athos had foreseenon finding the two men that
awaited hermade no difficulty in following them. She had
had for an instant an inclination to be reconducted to the
cardinaland relate everything to him; but a revelation on
her part would bring about a revelation on the part of
Athos. She might say that Athos had hanged her; but then
Athos would tell that she was branded. She thought it was
best to preserve silenceto discreetly set off to
accomplish her difficult mission with her usual skill; and
thenall things being accomplished to the satisfaction of
the cardinalto come to him and claim her vengeance.

In consequenceafter having traveled all nightat seven
o'clock she was at the fort of the Point; at eight o'clock
she had embarked; and at ninethe vesselwhich with


letters of marque from the cardinal was supposed to be
sailing for Bayonneraised anchorand steered its course
toward England.


46 THE BASTION SAINT-GERVAIS


On arriving at the lodgings of his three friendsd'Artagnan
found them assembled in the same chamber. Athos was
meditating; Porthos was twisting his mustache; Aramis was
saying his prayers in a charming little Book of Hoursbound
in blue velvet.


Pardieu, gentlemen,said he. "I hope what you have to
tell me is worth the troubleor elseI warn youI will
not pardon you for making me come here instead of getting a
little rest after a night spent in taking and dismantling a
bastion. Ahwhy were you not theregentlemen? It was
warm work."


We were in a place where it was not very cold,replied
Porthosgiving his mustache a twist which was peculiar to
him.


Hush!said Athos.


Oh, oh!said d'Artagnancomprehending the slight frown of
the Musketeer. "It appears there is something fresh
aboard."


Aramis,said Athosyou went to breakfast the day before
yesterday at the inn of the Parpaillot, I believe?


Yes.


How did you fare?


For my part, I ate but little. The day before yesterday
was a fish day, and they had nothing but meat.


What,said Athosno fish at a seaport?


They say,said Aramisresuming his pious readingthat
the dyke which the cardinal is making drives them all out
into the open sea.


But that is not quite what I mean to ask you, Aramis,
replied Athos. "I want to know if you were left aloneand
nobody interrupted
you."


Why, I think there were not many intruders. Yes, Athos, I
know what you mean: we shall do very well at the
Parpaillot.


Let us go to the Parpaillot, then, for here the walls are
like sheets of paper.


D'Artagnanwho was accustomed to his friend's manner of
actingand who perceived immediatelyby a worda gesture
or a sign from himthat the circumstances were serious
took Athos's armand went out without saying anything.
Porthos followedchatting with Aramis.



On their way they met Grimaud. Athos made him a sign to
come with them. Grimaudaccording to customobeyed in
silence; the poor lad had nearly come to the pass of
forgetting how to speak.

They arrived at the drinking room of the Parpaillot. It was
seven o'clock in the morningand daylight began to appear.
The three friends ordered breakfastand went into a room in
which the host said they would not be disturbed.

Unfortunatelythe hour was badly chosen for a private
conference. The morning drum had just been beaten; everyone
shook off the drowsiness of nightand to dispel the humid
morning aircame to take a drop at the inn. Dragoons
SwissGuardsmenMusketeerslight-horsemensucceeded one
another with a rapidity which might answer the purpose of
the host very wellbut agreed badly with the views of the
four friends. Thus they applied very curtly to the
salutationshealthsand jokes of their companions.

I see how it will be,said Athos: "we shall get into some
pretty quarrel or otherand we have no need of one just
now. D'Artagnantell us what sort of a night you have had
and we will describe ours afterward."

Ah, yes,said a light-horsemanwith a glass of brandy in
his handwhich he sipped slowly. "I hear you gentlemen of
the Guards have been in the trenches tonightand that you
did not get much the best of the Rochellais."

D'Artagnan looked at Athos to know if he ought to reply to
this intruder who thus mixed unmasked in their conversation.

Well,said Athosdon't you hear Monsieur de Busigny, who
does you the honor to ask you a question? Relate what has
passed during the night, since these gentlemen desire to
know it.

Have you not taken a bastion?said a Swisswho was
drinking rum out of beer glass.

Yes, monsieur,said d'Artagnanbowingwe have had that
honor. We even have, as you may have heard, introduced a
barrel of powder under one of the angles, which in blowing
up made a very pretty breach. Without reckoning that as the
bastion was not built yesterday all the rest of the building
was badly shaken.

And what bastion is it?asked a dragoonwith his saber
run through a goose which he was taking to be cooked.

The bastion St. Gervais,replied d'Artagnanfrom behind
which the Rochellais annoyed our workmen.

Was that affair hot?

Yes, moderately so. We lost five men, and the Rochellais
eight or ten.

Balzempleu!said the Swisswhonotwithstanding the
admirable collection of oaths possessed by the German
languagehad acquired a habit of swearing in French.


But it is probable,said the light-horsemanthat they
will send pioneers this morning to repair the bastion.

Yes, that's probable,said d'Artagnan.

Gentlemen,said Athosa wager!

Ah, wooi, a vager!cried the Swiss.

What is it?said the light-horseman.

Stop a bit,said the dragoonplacing his saber like a
spit upon the two large iron dogs which held the firebrands
in the chimneystop a bit, I am in it. You cursed host! a
dripping pan immediately, that I may not lose a drop of the
fat of this estimable bird.

You was right,said the Swiss; "goose grease is kood with
basdry."

There!said the dragoon. "Now for the wager! We listenMonsieur Athos."

Yes, the wager!said the light-horseman.

Well, Monsieur de Busigny, I will bet you,said Athos
that my three companions, Messieurs Porthos, Aramis, and
d'Artagnan, and myself, will go and breakfast in the bastion
St. Gervais, and we will remain there an hour, by the watch,
whatever the enemy may do to dislodge us.

Porthos and Aramis looked at each other; they began to
comprehend.

But,said d'Artagnanin the ear of Athosyou are going
to get us all killed without mercy.

We are much more likely to be killed,said Athosif we
do not go.

My faith, gentlemen,said Porthosturning round upon his
chair and twisting his mustachethat's a fair bet, I
hope.

I take it,said M. de Busigny; "so let us fix the stake."

You are four gentlemen,said Athosand we are four; an
unlimited dinner for eight. Will that do?

Capitally,replied M. de Busigny.

Perfectly,said the dragoon.

That shoots me,said the Swiss.

The fourth auditorwho during all this conversation had
played a mute partmade a sign of the head in proof that he
acquiesced in the proposition.

The breakfast for these gentlemen is ready,said the host.

Well, bring it,said Athos.

The host obeyed. Athos called Grimaudpointed to a large
basket which lay in a cornerand made a sign to him to wrap


the viands up in the napkins.

Grimaud understood that it was to be a breakfast on the
grasstook the basketpacked up the viandsadded the
bottlesand then took the basket on his arm.

But where are you going to eat my breakfast?asked the
host.

What matter, if you are paid for it?said Athosand he
threw two pistoles majestically on the table.

Shall I give you the change, my officer?said the host.

No, only add two bottles of champagne, and the difference
will be for the napkins.

The host had not quite so good a bargain as he at first
hoped forbut he made amends by slipping in two bottles of
Anjou wine instead of two bottles of champagne.

Monsieur de Busigny,said Athoswill you be so kind as
to set your watch with mine, or permit me to regulate mine
by yours?

Which you please, monsieur!said the light-horseman
drawing from his fob a very handsome watchstudded with
diamonds; "half past seven."

Thirty-five minutes after seven,said Athosby which you
perceive I am five minutes faster than you.

And bowing to all the astonished persons presentthe young
men took the road to the bastion St. Gervaisfollowed by
Grimaudwho carried the basketignorant of where he was
going but in the passive obedience which Athos had taught
him not even thinking of asking.

As long as they were within the circle of the campthe four
friends did not exchange one word; besidesthey were
followed by the curiouswhohearing of the wagerwere
anxious to know how they would come out of it. But when
once they passed the line of circumvallation and found
themselves in the open plaind'Artagnanwho was completely
ignorant of what was going forwardthought it was time to
demand an explanation.

And now, my dear Athos,said hedo me the kindness to
tell me where we are going?

Why, you see plainly enough we are going to the bastion.

But what are we going to do there?

You know well that we go to breakfast there.

But why did we not breakfast at the Parpaillot?

Because we have very important matters to communicate to
one another, and it was impossible to talk five minutes in
that inn without being annoyed by all those importunate
fellows, who keep coming in, saluting you, and addressing
you. Here at least,said Athospointing to the bastion
they will not come and disturb us.


It appears to me,said d'Artagnanwith that prudence
which allied itself in him so naturally with excessive
braverythat we could have found some retired place on the
downs or the seashore.

Where we should have been seen all four conferring
together, so that at the end of a quarter of an hour the
cardinal would have been informed by his spies that we were
holding a council.

Yes,said AramisAthos is right: ANIMADVERTUNTUR IN
DESERTIS.

A desert would not have been amiss,said Porthos; "but it
behooved us to find it."

There is no desert where a bird cannot pass over one's
head, where a fish cannot leap out of the water, where a
rabbit cannot come out of its burrow, and I believe that
bird, fish, and rabbit each becomes a spy of the cardinal.
Better, then, pursue our enterprise; from which, besides, we
cannot retreat without shame. We have made a wager--a wager
which could not have been foreseen, and of which I defy
anyone to divine the true cause. We are going, in order to
win it, to remain an hour in the bastion. Either we shall
be attacked, or not. If we are not, we shall have all the
time to talk, and nobody will hear us--for I guarantee the
walls of the bastion have no ears; if we are, we will talk
of our affairs just the same. Moreover, in defending
ourselves, we shall cover ourselves with glory. You see
that everything is to our advantage.

Yes,said d'Artagnan; "but we shall indubitably attract a
ball."

Well, my dear,replied Athosyou know well that the
balls most to be dreaded are not from the enemy.

But for such an expedition we surely ought to have brought
our muskets.

You are stupid, friend Porthos. Why should we load
ourselves with a useless burden?

I don't find a good musket, twelve cartridges, and a powder
flask very useless in the face of an enemy.

Well,replied Athoshave you not heard what d'Artagnan
said?

What did he say?demanded Porthos.

d'Artagnan said that in the attack of last night eight or
ten Frenchmen were killed, and as many Rochellais.

What then?

The bodies were not plundered, were they? It appears the
conquerors had something else to do.

Well?

Well, we shall find their muskets, their cartridges, and


their flasks; and instead of four musketoons and twelve
balls, we shall have fifteen guns and a hundred charges to
fire.

Oh, Athos!said Aramistruly you are a great man.

Porthos nodded in sign of agreement. D'Artagnan alone did
not seem convinced.

Grimaud no doubt shared the misgivings of the young manfor
seeing that they continued to advance toward the
bastion--something he had till then doubted--he pulled his
master by the skirt of his coat.

Where are we going?asked heby a gesture.

Athos pointed to the bastion.

But,said Grimaudin the same silent dialectwe shall
leave our skins there.

Athos raised his eyes and his finger toward heaven.

Grimaud put his basket on the ground and sat down with a
shake of the head.

Athos took a pistol from his beltlooked to see if it was
properly primedcocked itand placed the muzzle close to
Grimaud's ear.

Grimaud was on his legs again as if by a spring. Athos then
made him a sign to take up his basket and to walk on first.
Grimaud obeyed. All that Grimaud gained by this momentary
pantomime was to pass from the rear guard to the vanguard.

Arrived at the bastionthe four friends turned round.

More than three hundred soldiers of all kinds were assembled
at the gate of the camp; and in a separate group might be
distinguished M. de Busignythe dragoonthe Swissand the
fourth bettor.

Athos took off his hatplaced it on the end of his sword
and waved it in the air.

All the spectators returned him his saluteaccompanying
this courtesy with a loud hurrah which was audible to the
four; after which all four disappeared in the bastion
whither Grimaud had preceded them.

47 THE COUNCIL OF THE MUSKETEERS

As Athos had foreseenthe bastion was only occupied by a
dozen corpsesFrench and Rochellais.

Gentlemen,said Athoswho had assumed the command of the
expeditionwhile Grimaud spreads the table, let us begin
by collecting the guns and cartridges together. We can talk
while performing that necessary task. These gentlemen,
added hepointing to the bodiescannot hear us.

But we could throw them into the ditch,said Porthos


after having assured ourselves they have nothing in their
pockets.

Yes,said Athosthat's Grimaud's business.

Well, then,cried d'Artagnanpray let Grimaud search
them and throw them over the walls.

Heaven forfend!said Athos; "they may serve us."

These bodies serve us?said Porthos. "You are maddear
friend."

Judge not rashly, say the gospel and the cardinal,replied
Athos. "How many gunsgentlemen?"

Twelve,replied Aramis.

How many shots?

A hundred.

That's quite as many as we shall want. Let us load the
guns.

The four Musketeers went to work; and as they were loading
the last musket Grimaud announced that the breakfast was
ready.

Athos repliedalways by gesturesthat that was welland
indicated to Grimaudby pointing to a turret that resembled
a pepper casterthat he was to stand as sentinel. Onlyto
alleviate the tediousness of the dutyAthos allowed him to
take a loaftwo cutletsand a bottle of wine.

And now to table,said Athos.

The four friends seated themselves on the ground with their
legs crossed like Turksor even tailors.

And now,said d'Artagnanas there is no longer any fear
of being overheard, I hope you are going to let me into your
secret.

I hope at the same time to procure you amusement and glory,
gentlemen,said Athos. "I have induced you to take a
charming promenade; here is a delicious breakfast; and
yonder are five hundred personsas you may see through the
loopholestaking us for heroes or madmen--two classes of
imbeciles greatly resembling each other."

But the secret!said d'Artagnan.

The secret is,said Athosthat I saw Milady last night.

D'Artagnan was lifting a glass to his lips; but at the name
of Miladyhis hand trembled sothat he was obliged to put
the glass on the ground again for fear of spilling the
contents."

You saw your wi--

Hush!interrupted Athos. "You forgetmy dearyou forget
that these gentlemen are not initiated into my family


affairs like yourself. I have seen Milady."

Where?demanded d'Artagnan.

Within two leagues of this place, at the inn of the Red
Dovecot.

In that case I am lost,said d'Artagnan.

Not so bad yet,replied Athos; "for by this time she must
have quit the shores of France."

D'Artagnan breathed again.

But after all,asked Porthoswho is Milady?

A charming woman!said Athossipping a glass of sparkling
wine. "Villainous host!" cried hehe has given us Anjou
wine instead of champagne, and fancies we know no better!
Yes,continued hea charming woman, who entertained kind
views toward our friend d'Artagnan, who, on his part, has
given her some offense for which she tried to revenge
herself a month ago by having him killed by two musket
shots, a week ago by trying to poison him, and yesterday by
demanding his head of the cardinal.

What! by demanding my head of the cardinal?cried
d'Artagnanpale with terror.

Yes, that is true as the Gospel,said Porthos; "I heard
her with my own ears."

I also,said Aramis.

Then,said d'Artagnanletting his arm fall with
discouragementit is useless to struggle longer. I may as
well blow my brains out, and all will be over.

That's the last folly to be committed,said Athosseeing
it is the only one for which there is no remedy.

But I can never escape,said d'Artagnanwith such
enemies. First, my stranger of Meung; then de Wardes, to
whom I have given three sword wounds; next Milady, whose
secret I have discovered; finally, the cardinal, whose
vengeance I have balked.

Well,said Athosthat only makes four; and we are
four--one for one. Pardieu! if we may believe the signs
Grimaud is making, we are about to have to do with a very
different number of people. What is it, Grimaud?
Considering the gravity of the occasion, I permit you to
speak, my friend; but be laconic, I beg. What do you see?

A troop.

Of how many persons?

Twenty men.

What sort of men?

Sixteen pioneers, four soldiers.


How far distant?

Five hundred paces.

Good! We have just time to finish this fowl and to drink
one glass of wine to your health, d'Artagnan.

To your health!repeated Porthos and Aramis.

Well, then, to my health! although I am very much afraid
that your good wishes will not be of great service to me.

Bah!said AthosGod is great, as say the followers of
Mohammed, and the future is in his hands.

Thenswallowing the contents of his glasswhich he put
down close to himAthos arose carelesslytook the musket
next to himand drew near to one of the loopholes.

PorthosAramis and d'Artagnan followed his example. As to
Grimaudhe received orders to place himself behind the four
friends in order to reload their weapons.

Pardieu!said Athosit was hardly worth while to
distribute ourselves for twenty fellows armed with pickaxes,
mattocks, and shovels. Grimaud had only to make them a sign
to go away, and I am convinced they would have left us in
peace.

I doubt that,replied d'Artagnanfor they are advancing
very resolutely. Besides, in addition to the pioneers,
there are four soldiers and a brigadier, armed with
muskets.

That's because they don't see us,said Athos.

My faith,said AramisI must confess I feel a great
repugnance to fire on these poor devils of civilians.

He is a bad priest,said Porthoswho has pity for
heretics.

In truth,said AthosAramis is right. I will warn
them.

What the devil are you going to do?cried d'Artagnanyou
will be shot.

But Athos heeded not his advice. Mounting on the breach
with his musket in one hand and his hat in the otherhe
saidbowing courteously and addressing the soldiers and the
pioneerswhoastonished at this apparitionstopped fifty
paces from the bastion: "Gentlemena few friends and
myself are about to breakfast in this bastion. Nowyou
know nothing is more disagreeable than being disturbed when
one is at breakfast. We request youthenif you really
have business hereto wait till we have finished or repast
or to come again a short time henceunless; unlesswhich
would be far betteryou form the salutary resolution to
quit the side of the rebelsand come and drink with us to
the health of the King of France."

Take care, Athos!cried d'Artagnan; "don't you see they
are aiming?"


Yes, yes,said Athos; "but they are only civilians--very
bad marksmenwho will be sure not to hit me."

In factat the same instant four shots were firedand the
balls were flattened against the wall around Athosbut not
one touched him.

Four shots replied to them almost instantaneouslybut much
better aimed than those of the aggressors; three soldiers
fell deadand one of the pioneers was wounded.

Grimaud,said Athosstill on the breachanother
musket!

Grimaud immediately obeyed. On their partthe three
friends had reloaded their arms; a second discharge followed
the first. The brigadier and two pioneers fell dead; the
rest of the troop took to flight.

Now, gentlemen, a sortie!cried Athos.

And the four friends rushed out of the fortgained the
field of battlepicked up the four muskets of the privates
and the half-pike of the brigadierand convinced that the
fugitives would not stop till they reached the cityturned
again toward the bastionbearing with them the trophies of
their victory.

Reload the muskets, Grimaud,said Athosand we,
gentlemen, will go on with our breakfast, and resume our
conversation. Where were we?

I recollect you were saying,said d'Artagnanthat after
having demanded my head of the cardinal, Milady had quit the
shores of France. Whither goes she?added hestrongly
interested in the route Milady followed.

She goes into England,said Athos.

With what view?

With the view of assassinating, or causing to be
assassinated, the Duke of Buckingham.

D'Artagnan uttered an exclamation of surprise and
indignation.

But this is infamous!cried he.

As to that,said AthosI beg you to believe that I care
very little about it. Now you have done, Grimaud, take our
brigadier's half-pike, tie a napkin to it, and plant it on
top of our bastion, that these rebels of Rochellais may see
that they have to deal with brave and loyal soldiers of the
king.

Grimaud obeyed without replying. An instant afterwardthe
white flag was floating over the heads of the four friends.
A thunder of applause saluted its appearance; half the camp
was at the barrier.

How?replied d'Artagnanyou care little if she kills
Buckingham or causes him to be killed? But the duke is our


friend.

The duke is English; the duke fights against us. Let her
do what she likes with the duke; I care no more about him
than an empty bottle.And Athos threw fifteen paces from
him an empty bottle from which he had poured the last drop
into his glass.

A moment,said d'Artagnan. "I will not abandon Buckingham
thus. He gave us some very fine horses."

And moreover, very handsome saddles,said Porthoswho at
the moment wore on his cloak the lace of his own.

Besides,said AramisGod desires the conversion and not
the death of a sinner.

Amen!said Athosand we will return to that subject
later, if such be your pleasure; but what for the moment
engaged my attention most earnestly, and I am sure you will
understand me, d'Artagnan, was the getting from this woman a
kind of carte blanche which she had extorted from the
cardinal, and by means of which she could with impunity get
rid of you and perhaps of us.

But this creature must be a demon!said Porthosholding
out his plate to Aramiswho was cutting up a fowl.

And this carte blanche,said d'Artagnanthis carte
blanche, does it remain in her hands?

No, it passed into mine; I will not say without trouble,
for if I did I should tell a lie.

My dear Athos, I shall no longer count the number of times
I am indebted to you for my life.

Then it was to go to her that you left us?said Aramis.

Exactly.

And you have that letter of the cardinal?said d'Artagnan.

Here it is,said Athos; and he took the invaluable paper
from the pocket of his uniform. D'Artagnan unfolded it with
one handwhose trembling he did not even attempt to
concealto read:

Dec. 31627

It is by my order and for the good of the state that the
bearer of this has done what he has done.

Richelieu

In fact,said Aramisit is an absolution according to rule.

That paper must be torn to pieces,said d'Artagnanwho
fancied he read in it his sentence of death.

On the contrary,said Athosit must be preserved
carefully. I would not give up this paper if covered with


as many gold pieces.

And what will she do now?asked the young man.

Why,replied Athoscarelesslyshe is probably going to
write to the cardinal that a damned Musketeer, named Athos,
has taken her safe-conduct from her by force; she will
advise him in the same letter to get rid of his two friends,
Aramis and Porthos, at the same time. The cardinal will
remember that these are the same men who have often crossed
his path; and then some fine morning he will arrest
d'Artagnan, and for fear he should feel lonely, he will send
us to keep him company in the Bastille.

Go to! It appears to me you make dull jokes, my dear,
said Porthos.

I do not jest,said Athos.

Do you know,said Porthosthat to twist that damned
Milady's neck would be a smaller sin than to twist those of
these poor devils of Huguenots, who have committed no other
crime than singing in French the psalms we sing in Latin?

What says the abbe?asked Athosquietly.

I say I am entirely of Porthos's opinion,replied Aramis.

And I, too,said d'Artagnan.

Fortunately, she is far off,said Porthosfor I confess
she would worry me if she were here.

She worries me in England as well as in France,said
Athos.

She worries me everywhere,said d'Artagnan.

But when you held her in your power, why did you not drown
her, strangle her, hang her?said Porthos. "It is only the
dead who do not return."

You think so, Porthos?replied the Musketeerwith a sad
smile which d'Artagnan alone understood.

I have an idea,said d'Artagnan.

What is it?said the Musketeers.

To arms!cried Grimaud.

The young men sprang upand seized their muskets.

This time a small troop advancedconsisting of from twenty
to twenty-five men; but they were not pioneersthey were
soldiers of the garrison.

Shall we return to the camp?said Porthos. "I don't think
the sides are equal."

Impossible, for three reasons,replied Athos. "The first
that we have not finished breakfast; the secondthat we
still have some very important things to say; and the third
that it yet wants ten minutes before the lapse of the hour."


Well, then,said Aramiswe must form a plan of battle.

That's very simple,replied Athos. "As soon as the enemy
are within musket shotwe must fire upon them. If they
continue to advancewe must fire again. We must fire as
long as we have loaded guns. If those who remain of the
troop persist in coming to the assaultwe will allow the
besiegers to get as far as the ditchand then we will push
down upon their heads that strip of wall which keeps its
perpendicular by a miracle."

Bravo!cried Porthos. "DecidedlyAthosyou were born to
be a generaland the cardinalwho fancies himself a great
soldieris nothing beside you."

Gentlemen,said Athosno divided attention, I beg; let
each one pick out his man.

I cover mine,said d'Artagnan.

And I mine,said Porthos.

And I mine,said Aramis.

Fire, then,said Athos.

The four muskets made but one reportbut four men fell.

The drum immediately beatand the little troop advanced at
charging pace.

Then the shots were repeated without regularitybut always
aimed with the same accuracy. Neverthelessas if they had
been aware of the numerical weakness of the friendsthe
Rochellais continued to advance in quick time.

With every three shots at least two men fell; but the march
of those who remained was not slackened.

Arrived at the foot of the bastionthere were still more
than a dozen of the enemy. A last discharge welcomed them
but did not stop them; they jumped into the ditchand
prepared to scale the breach.

Now, my friends,said Athosfinish them at a blow. To
the wall; to the wall!

And the four friendsseconded by Grimaudpushed with the
barrels of their muskets an enormous sheet of the wall
which bent as if pushed by the windand detaching itself
from its basefell with a horrible crash into the ditch.
Then a fearful crash was heard; a cloud of dust mounted
toward the sky--and all was over!

Can we have destroyed them all, from the first to the
last?said Athos.

My faith, it appears so!said d'Artagnan.

No,cried Porthos; "there go three or fourlimping away."

In factthree or four of these unfortunate mencovered
with dirt and bloodfled along the hollow wayand at


length regained the city. These were all who were left of
the little troop.

Athos looked at his watch.

Gentlemen,said hewe have been here an hour, and our
wager is won; but we will be fair players. Besides,
d'Artagnan has not told us his idea yet.

And the Musketeerwith his usual coolnessreseated himself
before the remains of the breakfast.

My idea?said d'Artagnan.

Yes; you said you had an idea,said Athos.

Oh, I remember,said d'Artagnan. "WellI will go to
England a second time; I will go and find Buckingham."

You shall not do that, d'Artagnan,said Athoscoolly.

And why not? Have I not been there once?

Yes; but at that period we were not at war. At that period
Buckingham was an ally, and not an enemy. What you would
now do amounts to treason.

D'Artagnan perceived the force of this reasoningand was
silent.

But,said PorthosI think I have an idea, in my turn.

Silence for Monsieur Porthos's idea!said Aramis.

I will ask leave of absence of Monsieur de Treville, on
some pretext or other which you must invent; I am not very
clever at pretexts. Milady does not know me; I will get
access to her without her suspecting me, and when I catch my
beauty, I will strangle her.

Well,replied AthosI am not far from approving the idea
of Monsieur Porthos.

For shame!said Aramis. "Kill a woman? Nolisten to me;
I have the true idea."

Let us see your idea, Aramis,said Athoswho felt much
deference for the young Musketeer.

We must inform the queen.

Ah, my faith, yes!said Porthos and d'Artagnanat the
same time; "we are coming nearer to it now."

Inform the queen!said Athos; "and how? Have we relations
with the court? Could we send anyone to Paris without its
being known in the camp? From here to Paris it is a hundred
and forty leagues; before our letter was at Angers we should
be in a dungeon."

As to remitting a letter with safety to her Majesty,said
AramiscoloringI will take that upon myself. I know a
clever person at Tours--


Aramis stopped on seeing Athos smile.

Well, do you not adopt this means, Athos?said d'Artagnan.

I do not reject it altogether,said Athos; "but I wish to
remind Aramis that he cannot quit the campand that nobody
but one of ourselves is trustworthy; that two hours after
the messenger has set outall the Capuchinsall the
policeall the black caps of the cardinalwill know your
letter by heartand you and your clever person will be
arrested."

Without reckoning,objected Porthosthat the queen would
save Monsieur de Buckingham, but would take no heed of us.

Gentlemen,said d'Artagnanwhat Porthos says is full of
sense.

Ah, ah! but what's going on in the city yonder?said
Athos.

They are beating the general alarm.

The four friends listenedand the sound of the drum plainly
reached them.

You see, they are going to send a whole regiment against
us,said Athos.

You don't think of holding out against a whole regiment, do
you?said Porthos.

Why not?said Musketeer. "I feel myself quite in a humor
for it; and I would hold out before an army if we had taken
the precaution to bring a dozen more bottles of wine."

Upon my word, the drum draws near,said d'Artagnan.

Let it come,said Athos. "It is a quarter of an hour's
journey from here to the cityconsequently a quarter of an
hour's journey from the city to hither. That is more than
time enough for us to devise a plan. If we go from this
place we shall never find another so suitable. Ahstop! I
have itgentlemen; the right idea has just occurred to me."

Tell us.

Allow me to give Grimaud some indispensable orders.

Athos made a sign for his lackey to approach.

Grimaud,said Athospointing to the bodies which lay
under the wall of the bastiontake those gentlemen, set
them up against the wall, put their hats upon their heads,
and their guns in their hands.

Oh, the great man!cried d'Artagnan. "I comprehend now."

You comprehend?said Porthos.

And do you comprehend, Grimaud?said Aramis.

Grimaud made a sign in the affirmative.


That's all that is necessary,said Athos; "now for my
idea."

I should like, however, to comprehend,said Porthos.

That is useless.

Yes, yes! Athos's idea!cried Aramis and d'Artagnanat
the same time.

This Milady, this woman, this creature, this demon, has a
brother-in-law, as I think you told me, d'Artagnan?

Yes, I know him very well; and I also believe that he has
not a very warm affection for his sister-in-law.

There is no harm in that. If he detested her, it would be
all the better,replied Athos.

In that case we are as well off as we wish.

And yet,said PorthosI would like to know what Grimaud
is about.

Silence, Porthos!said Aramis.

What is her brother-in-law's name?

Lord de Winter.

Where is he now?

He returned to London at the first sound of war.

Well, there's just the man we want,said Athos. "It is he
whom we must warn. We will have him informed that his
sister-in-law is on the point of having someone
assassinatedand beg him not to lose sight of her. There
is in LondonI hopesome establishment like that of the
Magdalensor of the Repentant Daughters. He must place his
sister in one of theseand we shall be in peace."

Yes,said d'Artagnantill she comes out.

Ah, my faith!said Athosyou require too much,
d'Artagnan. I have given you all I have, and I beg leave to
tell you that this is the bottom of my sack.

But I think it would be still better,said Aramisto
inform the queen and Lord de Winter at the same time.

Yes; but who is to carry the letter to Tours, and who to
London?

I answer for Bazin,said Aramis.

And I for Planchet,said d'Artagnan.

Ay,said Porthosif we cannot leave the camp, our
lackeys may.

To be sure they may; and this very day we will write the
letters,said Aramis. "Give the lackeys moneyand they
will start."


We will give them money?replied Athos. "Have you any
money?"

The four friends looked at one anotherand a cloud came
over the brows which but lately had been so cheerful.

Look out!cried d'ArtagnanI see black points and red
points moving yonder. Why did you talk of a regiment,
Athos? It is a veritable army!

My faith, yes,said Athos; "there they are. See the
sneaks comewithout drum or trumpet. Ahah! have you
finishedGrimaud?"

Grimaud made a sign in the affirmativeand pointed to a
dozen bodies which he had set up in the most picturesque
attitudes. Some carried armsothers seemed to be taking
aimand the remainder appeared merely to be sword in hand.

Bravo!said Athos; "that does honor to your imagination."

All very well,said Porthosbut I should like to
understand.

Let us decamp first, and you will understand afterward.

A moment, gentlemen, a moment; give Grimaud time to clear
away the breakfast.

Ah, ah!said Aramisthe black points and the red points
are visibly enlarging. I am of d'Artagnan's opinion; we
have no time to lose in regaining our camp.

My faith,said AthosI have nothing to say against a
retreat. We bet upon one hour, and we have stayed an hour
and a half. Nothing can be said; let us be off, gentlemen,
let us be off!

Grimaud was already aheadwith the basket and the dessert.
The four friends followedten paces behind him.

What the devil shall we do now, gentlemen?cried Athos.

Have you forgotten anything?said Aramis.

The white flag, morbleu! We must not leave a flag in the
hands of the enemy, even if that flag be but a napkin.

And Athos ran back to the bastionmounted the platformand
bore off the flag; but as the Rochellais had arrived within
musket rangethey opened a terrible fire upon this manwho
appeared to expose himself for pleasure's sake.

But Athos might be said to bear a charmed life. The balls
passed and whistled all around him; not one struck him.

Athos waved his flagturning his back on the guards of the
cityand saluting those of the camp. On both sides loud
cries arose--on the one side cries of angeron the other
cries of enthusiasm.

A second discharge followed the firstand three ballsby
passing through itmade the napkin really a flag. Cries


were heard from the campCome down! come down!

Athos came down; his friendswho anxiously awaited himsaw
him returned with joy.

Come along, Athos, come along!cried d'Artagnan; "now we
have found everything except moneyit would be stupid to be
killed."

But Athos continued to march majesticallywhatever remarks
his companions made; and theyfinding their remarks
uselessregulated their pace by his.

Grimaud and his basket were far in advanceout of the range
of the balls.

At the end of an instant they heard a furious fusillade.

What's that?asked Porthoswhat are they firing at now?
I hear no balls whistle, and I see nobody!

They are firing at the corpses,replied Athos.

But the dead cannot return their fire.

Certainly not! They will then fancy it is an ambuscade,
they will deliberate; and by the time they have found out
the pleasantry, we shall be out of the range of their balls.
That renders it useless to get a pleurisy by too much
haste.

Oh, I comprehend now,said the astonished Porthos.

That's lucky,said Athosshrugging his shoulders.

On their partthe Frenchon seeing the four friends return
at such a steputtered cries of enthusiasm.

At length a fresh discharge was heardand this time the
balls came rattling among the stones around the four
friendsand whistling sharply in their ears. The
Rochellais had at last taken possession of the bastion.

These Rochellais are bungling fellows,said Athos; "how
many have we killed of them--a dozen?"

Or fifteen.

How many did we crush under the wall?

Eight or ten.

And in exchange for all that not even a scratch! Ah, but
what is the matter with your hand, d'Artagnan? It bleeds,
seemingly.

Oh, it's nothing,said d'Artagnan.

A spent ball?

Not even that.

What is it, then?


We have said that Athos loved d'Artagnan like a childand
this somber and inflexible personage felt the anxiety of a
parent for the young man.

Only grazed a little,replied d'Artagnan; "my fingers were
caught between two stones--that of the wall and that of my
ring--and the skin was broken."

That comes of wearing diamonds, my master,said Athos
disdainfully.

Ah, to be sure,cried Porthosthere is a diamond. Why
the devil, then, do we plague ourselves about money, when
there is a diamond?

Stop a bit!said Aramis.

Well thought of, Porthos; this time you have an idea.

Undoubtedly,said Porthosdrawing himself up at Athos's
compliment; "as there is a diamondlet us sell it."

But,said d'Artagnanit is the queen's diamond.

The stronger reason why it should be sold,replied Athos.
The queen saving Monsieur de Buckinghamher lover; nothing
more just. The queen saving usher friends; nothing more
moral. Let us sell the diamond. What says Monsieur the
Abbe? I don't ask Porthos; his opinion has been given."

Why, I think,said Aramisblushing as usualthat his
ring not coming from a mistress, and consequently not being
a love token, d'Artagnan may sell it.

My dear Aramis, you speak like theology personified. Your
advice, then, is--

To sell the diamond,replied Aramis.

Well, then,said d'Artagnangailylet us sell the
diamond, and say no more about it.

The fusillade continued; but the four friends were out of
reachand the Rochellais only fired to appease their
consciences.

My faith, it was time that idea came into Porthos's head.
Here we are at the camp; therefore, gentlemen, not a word
more of this affair. We are observed; they are coming to
meet us. We shall be carried in triumph.

In factas we have saidthe whole camp was in motion.
More than two thousand persons had assistedas at a
spectaclein this fortunate but wild undertaking of the
four friends--and undertaking of which they were far from
suspecting the real motive. Nothing was heard but cried of
Live the Musketeers! Live the Guards!M. de Busigny was
the first to come and shake Athos by the handand
acknowledge that the wager was lost. The dragoon and the
Swiss followed himand all their comrades followed the
dragoon and the Swiss. There was nothing but felicitations
pressures of the handand embraces; there was no end to the
inextinguishable laughter at the Rochellais. The tumult at
length became so great that the cardinal fancied there must


be some riotand sent La Houdinierehis captain of the
Guardsto inquire what was going on.

The affair was described to the messenger with all the
effervescence of enthusiasm.

Well?asked the cardinalon seeing La Houdiniere return.

Well, monseigneur,replied the latterthree Musketeers
and a Guardsman laid a wager with Monsieur de Busigny that
they would go and breakfast in the bastion St. Gervais; and
while breakfasting they held it for two hours against the
enemy, and have killed I don't know how many Rochellais.

Did you inquire the names of those three Musketeers?

Yes, monseigneur.

What are their names?

Messieurs Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.

Still my three brave fellows!murmured the cardinal. "And
the Guardsman?"

d'Artagnan.

Still my young scapegrace. Positively, these four men must
be on my side.

The same evening the cardinal spoke to M. de Treville of the
exploit of the morningwhich was the talk of the whole
camp. M. de Trevillewho had received the account of the
adventure from the mouths of the heroes of itrelated it in
all its details to his Eminencenot forgetting the episode
of the napkin.

That's well, Monsieur de Treville,said the cardinal;
pray let that napkin be sent to me. I will have three
fleur-de-lis embroidered on it in gold, and will give it to
your company as a standard.

Monseigneur,said M. de Trevillethat will be unjust to
the Guardsmen. Monsieur d'Artagnan is not with me; he
serves under Monsieur Dessessart.

Well, then, take him,said the cardinal; "when four men
are so much attached to one anotherit is only fair that
they should serve in the same company."

That same evening M. de Treville announced this good news to
the three Musketeers and d'Artagnaninviting all four to
breakfast with him next morning.

D'Artagnan was beside himself with joy. We know that the
dream of his life had been to become a Musketeer. The three
friends were likewise greatly delighted.

My faith,said d'Artagnan to Athosyou had a triumphant
idea! As you said, we have acquired glory, and were enabled
to carry on a conversation of the highest importance.

Which we can resume now without anybody suspecting us, for,
with the help of God, we shall henceforth pass for


cardinalists.

That evening d'Artagnan went to present his respects to M.
Dessessartand inform him of his promotion.

M. Dessessartwho esteemed d'Artagnanmade him offers of
helpas this change would entail expenses for equipment.
D'Artagnan refused; but thinking the opportunity a good onehe
begged him to have the diamond he put into his hand valued
as he wished to turn it into money.

The next dayM. Dessessart's valet came to d'Artagnan's
lodgingand gave him a bag containing seven thousand
livres.

This was the price of the queen's diamond.

48 A FAMILY AFFAIR

Athos had invented the phrasefamily affair. A family
affair was not subject to the investigation of the cardinal;
a family affair concerned nobody. People might employ
themselves in a family affair before all the world.
Therefore Athos had invented the phrasefamily affair.

Aramis had discovered the ideathe lackeys.

Porthos had discovered the meansthe diamond.

D'Artagnan alone had discovered nothing--heordinarily the
most inventive of the four; but it must be also said that
the very name of Milady paralyzed him.

Ah! nowe were mistaken; he had discovered a purchaser for
his diamond.

The breakfast at M. de Treville's was as gay and cheerful as
possible. D'Artagnan already wore his uniform--for being
nearly of the same size as Aramisand as Aramis was so
liberally paid by the publisher who purchased his poem as to
allow him to buy everything doublehe sold his friend a
complete outfit.

D'Artagnan would have been at the height of his wishes if he
had not constantly seen Milady like a dark cloud hovering in
the horizon.

After breakfastit was agreed that they should meet again
in the evening at Athos's lodgingand there finish their
plans.

D'Artagnan passed the day in exhibiting his Musketeer's
uniform in every street of the camp.

In the eveningat the appointed hourthe four friends met.
There only remained three things to decide--what they
should write to Milady's brother; what they should write to
the clever person at Tours; and which should be the lackeys
to carry the letters.

Everyone offered his own. Athos talked of the discretion of


Grimaudwho never spoke a word but when his master unlocked
his mouth. Porthos boasted of the strength of Mousqueton
who was big enough to thrash four men of ordinary size.
Aramisconfiding in the address of Bazinmade a pompous
eulogium on his candidate. Finallyd'Artagnan had entire
faith in the bravery of Planchetand reminded them of the
manner in which he had conducted himself in the ticklish
affair of Boulogne.

These four virtues disputed the prize for a length of time
and gave birth to magnificent speeches which we do not
repeat here for fear they should be deemed too long.

Unfortunately,said Athoshe whom we send must possess
in himself alone the four qualities united.

But where is such a lackey to be found?

Not to be found!cried Athos. "I know it wellso take
Grimaud."

Take Mousqueton.

Take Bazin.

Take Planchet. Planchet is brave and shrewd; they are two
qualities out of the four.

Gentlemen,said Aramisthe principal question is not to
know which of our four lackeys is the most discreet, the
most strong, the most clever, or the most brave; the
principal thing is to know which loves money the best.

What Aramis says is very sensible,replied Athos; "we must
speculate upon the faults of peopleand not upon their
virtues. Monsieur Abbeyou are a great moralist."

Doubtless,said Aramisfor we not only require to be
well served in order to succeed, but moreover, not to fail;
for in case of failure, heads are in question, not for our
lackeys--

Speak lower, Aramis,said Athos.

That's wise--not for the lackeys,resumed Aramisbut for
the master--for the masters, we may say. Are our lackeys
sufficiently devoted to us to risk their lives for us? No.

My faith,said d'Artagnan. "I would almost answer for
Planchet."

Well, my dear friend, add to his natural devotedness a good
sum of money, and then, instead of answering for him once,
answer for him twice.

Why, good God! you will be deceived just the same,said
Athoswho was an optimist when things were concernedand a
pessimist when men were in question. "They will promise
everything for the sake of the moneyand on the road fear
will prevent them from acting. Once takenthey will be
pressed; when pressedthey will confess everything. What
the devil! we are not children. To reach England"--Athos
lowered his voice--"all Francecovered with spies and
creatures of the cardinalmust be crossed. A passport for


embarkation must be obtained; and the party must be
acquainted with English in order to ask the way to London.
ReallyI think the thing very difficult."

Not at all,cried d'Artagnanwho was anxious the matter
should be accomplished; "on the contraryI think it very
easy. It would beno doubtparbleuif we write to Lord
de Winter about affairs of vast importanceof the horrors
of the cardinal--"

Speak lower!said Athos.

--of intrigues and secrets of state,continued d'Artagnan
complying with the recommendation. "there can be no doubt
we would all be broken on the wheel; but for God's sakedo
not forgetas you yourself saidAthosthat we only write
to him concerning a family affair; that we only write to him
to entreat that as soon as Milady arrives in London he will
put it out of her power to injure us. I will write to him
thennearly in these terms."

Let us see,said Athosassuming in advance a critical
look.

Monsieur and dear friend--

Ah, yes! Dear friend to an Englishman,interrupted Athos;
well commenced! Bravo, d'Artagnan! Only with that word
you would be quartered instead of being broken on the
wheel.

Well, perhaps. I will say, then, Monsieur, quite short.

You may even say, My Lord,replied Athoswho stickled for
propriety.

My Lord, do you remember the little goat pasture of the
Luxembourg?

Good, the Luxembourg! One might believe this is an
allusion to the queen-mother! That's ingenious,said
Athos.

Well, then, we will put simply, My Lord, do you remember a
certain little enclosure where your life was spared?

My dear d'Artagnan, you will never make anything but a very
bad secretary. Where your life was spared! For shame!
that's unworthy. A man of spirit is not to be reminded of
such services. A benefit reproached is an offense
committed.

The devil!said d'Artagnanyou are insupportable. If
the letter must be written under your censure, my faith, I
renounce the task.

And you will do right. Handle the musket and the sword, my
dear fellow. You will come off splendidly at those two
exercises; but pass the pen over to Monsieur Abbe. That's
his province.

Ay, ay!said Porthos; "pass the pen to Aramiswho writes
theses in Latin."


Well, so be it,said d'Artagnan. "Draw up this note for
usAramis; but by our Holy Father the Popecut it short
for I shall prune you in my turnI warn you."

I ask no better,said Aramiswith that ingenious air of
confidence which every poet has in himself; "but let me be
properly acquainted with the subject. I have heard here and
there that this sister-in-law was a hussy. I have obtained
proof of it by listening to her conversation with the
cardinal."

Lower! SACRE BLEU!said Athos.

But,continued Aramisthe details escape me.

And me also,said Porthos.

D'Artagnan and Athos looked at each other for some time in
silence. At length Athosafter serious reflection and
becoming more pale than usualmade a sign of assent to
d'Artagnanwho by it understood he was at liberty to speak.

Well, this is what you have to say,said d'Artagnan: "My
Lordyour sister-in-law is an infamous womanwho wished to
have you killed that she might inherit your wealth; but she
could not marry your brotherbeing already married in
Franceand having been--" d'Artagnan stoppedas if
seeking for the wordand looked at Athos.

Repudiated by her husband,said Athos.

Because she had been branded,continued d'Artagnan.

Bah!cried Porthos. "Impossible! What do you say--that
she wanted to have her brother-in-law killed?"

Yes.

She was married?asked Aramis.

Yes.

And her husband found out that she had a fleur-de-lis on
her shoulder?cried Porthos.

Yes.

These three yeses had been pronounced by Athoseach with a
sadder intonation.

And who has seen this fleur-de-lis?inquired Aramis.

d'Artagnan and I. Or rather, to observe the chronological
order, I and d'Artagnan,replied Athos.

And does the husband of this frightful creature still
live?said Aramis.

He still lives.

Are you quite sure of it?

I am he.


There was a moment of cold silenceduring which everyone
was affected according to his nature.

This time,said Athosfirst breaking the silence
d'Artagnan has given us an excellent program, and the
letter must be written at once.

The devil! You are right, Athos,said Aramis; "and it is
a rather difficult matter. The chancellor himself would be
puzzled how to write such a letterand yet the chancellor
draws up an official report very readily. Never mind! Be
silentI will write."

Aramis accordingly took the quillreflected for a few
momentswrote eight or ten lines in a charming little
female handand then with a voice soft and slowas if each
word had been scrupulously weighedhe read the following:

My Lord, The person who writes these few lines had the
honor of crossing swords with you in the little enclosure of
the Rue d'Enfer. As you have several times since declared
yourself the friend of that person, he thinks it his duty to
respond to that friendship by sending you important
information. Twice you have nearly been the victim of a near relative,
whom you believe to be your heir because you
are ignorant that before she contracted a marriage in
England she was already married in France. But the third
time, which is the present, you may succumb. Your relative
left La Rochelle for England during the night. Watch her
arrival, for she has great and terrible projects. If you
require to know positively what she is capable of, read her
past history on her left shoulder.

Well, now that will do wonderfully well,said Athos. "My
dear Aramisyou have the pen of a secretary of state. Lord
de Winter will now be upon his guard if the letter should
reach him; and even if it should fall into the hands of the
cardinalwe shall not be compromised. But as the lackey
who goes may make us believe he has been to London and may
stop at Chatelleraultlet us give him only half the sum
promised himwith the letterwith an agreement that he
shall have the other half in exchange for the reply. Have
you the diamond?" continued Athos.

I have what is still better. I have the price; and
d'Artagnan threw the bag upon the table. At the sound of
the gold Aramis raised his eyes and Porthos started. As to
Athoshe remained unmoved.

How much in that little bag?

Seven thousand livres, in louis of twelve francs.

Seven thousand livres!cried Porthos. "That poor little
diamond was worth seven thousand livres?"

It appears so,said Athossince here they are. I don't
suppose that our friend d'Artagnan has added any of his own
to the amount.

But, gentlemen, in all this,said d'Artagnanwe do not
think of the queen. Let us take some heed of the welfare of


her dear Buckingham. That is the least we owe her.

That's true,said Athos; "but that concerns Aramis."

Well,replied the latterblushingwhat must I say?

Oh, that's simple enough!replied Athos. "Write a second
letter for that clever personage who lives at Tours."

Aramis resumed his penreflected a littleand wrote the
following lineswhich he immediately submitted to the
approbation of his friends.

My dear cousin.

Ah, ah!said Athos. "This clever person is your relative
then?"

Cousin-german.

Go on, to your cousin, then!

Aramis continued:

My dear Cousin, His Eminence, the cardinal, whom God
preserve for the happiness of France and the confusion of
the enemies of the kingdom, is on the point of putting an
end to the hectic rebellion of La Rochelle. It is probable
that the succor of the English fleet will never even arrive
in sight of the place. I will even venture to say that I am
certain M. de Buckingham will be prevented from setting out
by some great event. His Eminence is the most illustrious
politician of times past, of times present, and probably of
times to come. He would extinguish the sun if the sun
incommoded him. Give these happy tidings to your sister, my
dear cousin. I have dreamed that the unlucky Englishman was
dead. I cannot recollect whether it was by steel or by
poison; only of this I am sure, I have dreamed he was dead,
and you know my dreams never deceive me. Be assured, then,
of seeing me soon return.

Capital!cried Athos; "you are the king of poetsmy dear
Aramis. You speak like the Apocalypseand you are as true
as the Gospel. There is nothing now to do but to put the
address to this letter."

That is easily done,said Aramis.

He folded the letter fancifullyand took up his pen and
wrote:

To Mlle. Michon, seamstress, Tours.

The three friends looked at one another and laughed; they
were caught.

Now,said Aramisyou will please to understand,
gentlemen, that Bazin alone can carry this letter to Tours.
My cousin knows nobody but Bazin, and places confidence in
nobody but him; any other person would fail. Besides, Bazin


is ambitious and learned; Bazin has read history, gentlemen,
he knows that Sixtus the Fifth became Pope after having kept
pigs. Well, as he means to enter the Church at the same
time as myself, he does not despair of becoming Pope in his
turn, or at least a cardinal. You can understand that a man
who has such views will never allow himself to be taken, or
if taken, will undergo martyrdom rather than speak.

Very well,said d'ArtagnanI consent to Bazin with all
my heart, but grant me Planchet. Milady had him one day
turned out of doors, with sundry blows of a good stick to
accelerate his motions. Now, Planchet has an excellent
memory; and I will be bound that sooner than relinquish any
possible means of vengeance, he will allow himself to be
beaten to death. If your arrangements at Tours are your
arrangements, Aramis, those of London are mine. I request,
then, that Planchet may be chosen, more particularly as he
has already been to London with me, and knows how to speak
correctly: London, sir, if you please, and my master, Lord
d'Artagnan. With that you may be satisfied he can make his
way, both going and returning.

In that case,said AthosPlanchet must receive seven
hundred livres for going, and seven hundred livres for
coming back; and Bazin, three hundred livres for going, and
three hundred livres for returning--that will reduce the sum
to five thousand livres. We will each take a thousand
livres to be employed as seems good, and we will leave a
fund of a thousand livres under the guardianship of Monsieur
Abbe here, for extraordinary occasions or common wants.
Will that do?

My dear Athos,said Aramisyou speak like Nestor, who
was, as everyone knows, the wisest among the Greeks.

Well, then,said Athosit is agreed. Planchet and Bazin
shall go. Everything considered, I am not sorry to retain
Grimaud; he is accustomed to my ways, and I am particular.
Yesterday's affair must have shaken him a little; his voyage
would upset him quite.

Planchet was sent forand instructions were given him. The
matter had been named to him by d'Artagnanwho in the first
place pointed out the money to himthen the gloryand then
the danger.

I will carry the letter in the lining of my coat,said
Planchet; "and if I am taken I will swallow it."

Well, but then you will not be able to fulfill your
commission,said d'Artagnan.

You will give me a copy this evening, which I shall know by
heart tomorrow.

D'Artagnan looked at his friendsas if to sayWell, what
did I tell you?

Now,continued headdressing Planchetyou have eight
days to get an interview with Lord de Winter; you have eight
days to return--in all sixteen days. If, on the sixteenth
day after your departure, at eight o'clock in the evening
you are not here, no money--even if it be but five minutes
past eight.


Then, monsieur,said Planchetyou must buy me a watch.

Take this,said Athoswith his usual careless generosity
giving him his ownand be a good lad. Remember, if you
talk, if you babble, if you get drunk, you risk your
master's head, who has so much confidence in your fidelity,
and who answers for you. But remember, also, that if by
your fault any evil happens to d'Artagnan, I will find you,
wherever you may be, for the purpose of ripping up your
belly.

Oh, monsieur!said Planchethumiliated by the suspicion
and moreoverterrified at the calm air of the Musketeer.

And I,said Porthosrolling his large eyesremember, I
will skin you alive.

Ah, monsieur!

And I,said Aramiswith his softmelodius voice
remember that I will roast you at a slow fire, like a
savage.

Ah, monsieur!

Planchet began to weep. We will not venture to say whether
it was from terror created by the threats or from tenderness
at seeing four friends so closely united.

D'Artagnan took his hand. "SeePlanchet said he, these
gentlemen only say this out of affection for mebut at
bottom they all like you."

Ah, monsieur,said PlanchetI will succeed or I will
consent to be cut in quarters; and if they do cut me in
quarters, be assured that not a morsel of me will speak.

It was decided that Planchet should set out the next dayat
eight o'clock in the morningin orderas he had saidthat
he might during the night learn the letter by heart. He
gained just twelve hours by this engagement; he was to be
back on the sixteenth dayby eight o'clock in the evening.

In the morningas he was mounting his horsed'Artagnan
who felt at the bottom of his heart a partiality for the
duketook Planchet aside.

Listen,said he to him. "When you have given the letter
to Lord de Winter and he has read ityou will further say
to him: Watch over his Grace Lord Buckinghamfor they wish
to assassinate him. But thisPlanchetis so serious and
important that I have not informed my friends that I would
entrust this secret to you; and for a captain's commission I
would not write it."

Be satisfied, monsieur,said Planchetyou shall see if
confidence can be placed in me.

Mounted on an excellent horsewhich he was to leave at the
end of twenty leagues in order to take the postPlanchet
set off at a gallophis spirits a little depressed by the
triple promise made him by the Musketeersbut otherwise as
light-hearted as possible.


Bazin set out the next day for Toursand was allowed eight
days for performing his commission.

The four friendsduring the period of these two absences
hadas may well be supposedthe eye on the watchthe nose
to the windand the ear on the hark. Their days were
passed in endeavoring to catch all that was saidin
observing the proceeding of the cardinaland in looking out
for all the couriers who arrived. More than once an
involuntary trembling seized them when called upon for some
unexpected service. They hadbesidesto look constantly
to their own proper safety; Milady was a phantom whichwhen
it had once appeared to peopledid not allow them to sleep
very quietly.

On the morning of the eighth dayBazinfresh as everand
smilingaccording to customentered the cabaret of the
Parpaillot as the four friends were sitting down to
breakfastsayingas had been agreed upon: "Monsieur
Aramisthe answer from your cousin."

The four friends exchanged a joyful glance; half of the work
was done. It is truehoweverthat it was the shorter and
easier part.

Aramisblushing in spite of himselftook the letterwhich
was in a largecoarse hand and not particular for its
orthography.

Good God!cried helaughingI quite despair of my poor
Michon; she will never write like Monsieur de Voiture.

What does you mean by boor Michon?said the Swisswho was
chatting with the four friends when the letter came.

Oh, pardieu, less than nothing,said Aramis; "a charming
little seamstresswhom I love dearly and from whose hand I
requested a few lines as a sort of keepsake."

The duvil!said the Swissif she is as great a lady as
her writing is large, you are a lucky fellow, gomrade!

Aramis read the letterand passed it to Athos.

See what she writes to me, Athos,said he.

Athos cast a glance over the epistleand to disperse all
the suspicions that might have been createdread aloud:

My cousin, My sister and I are skillful in interpreting
dreams, and even entertain great fear of them; but of yours
it may be said, I hope, every dream is an illusion. Adieu!
Take care of yourself, and act so that we may from time to
time hear you spoken of.

Marie Michon"

And what dream does she mean?asked the dragoonwho had
approached during the reading.


Yez; what's the dream?said the Swiss.

Well, pardieu!said Aramisit was only this: I had a
dream, and I related it to her.

Yez, yez,said the Swiss; "it's simple enough to dell a
dreambut I neffer dream."

You are very fortunate,said Athosrising; "I wish I
could say as much!"

Neffer,replied the Swissenchanted that a man like Athos
could envy him anything. "Nefferneffer!"

D'Artagnanseeing Athos risedid likewisetook his arm
and went out.

Porthos and Aramis remained behind to encounter the jokes of
the dragoon and the Swiss.

As to Bazinhe went and lay down on a truss of straw; and
as he had more imagination than the Swisshe dreamed that
Aramishaving become popeadorned his head with a
cardinal's hat.

Butas we have saidBazin had notby his fortunate
returnremoved more than a part of the uneasiness which
weighed upon the four friends. The days of expectation are
longand d'Artagnanin particularwould have wagered that
the days were forty-four hours. He forgot the necessary
slowness of navigation; he exaggerated to himself the power
of Milady. He credited this womanwho appeared to him the
equal of a demonwith agents as supernatural as herself; at
the least noisehe imagined himself about to be arrested
and that Planchet was being brought back to be confronted
with himself and his friends. Still furtherhis confidence
in the worthy Picardat one time so greatdiminished day
by day. This anxiety became so great that it even extended
to Aramis and Porthos. Athos alone remained unmovedas if
no danger hovered over himand as if he breathed his
customary atmosphere.

On the sixteenth dayin particularthese signs were so
strong in d'Artagnan and his two friends that they could not
remain quiet in one placeand wandered about like ghosts on
the road by which Planchet was expected.

Really,said Athos to themyou are not men but children,
to let a woman terrify you so! And what does it amount to,
after all? To be imprisoned. Well, but we should be taken
out of prison; Madame Bonacieux was released. To be
decapitated? Why, every day in the trenches we go
cheerfully to expose ourselves to worse than that--for a
bullet may break a leg, and I am convinced a surgeon would
give us more pain in