Part 1 out of 17
John P. Roberts III
Scott David Gray
The Three Musketeers
John P. Roberts III
Scott David Gray
The Three Musketeers
1. THE THREE PRESENTS OF D'ARTAGNAN THE ELDER
2. THE ANTECHAMBER OF M. DE TREVILLE
3. THE AUDIENCE
4. THE SHOULDER OF ATHOS, THE 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 VILLIERS, DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM
13. MONSIEUR BONACIEUX
14. THE MAN OF MEUNG
15. MEN OF THE ROBE AND MEN OF THE SWORD
16. M. SEGUIER, KEEPER OF THE SEALS, LOOKS MORE THAN ONCE FOR THE BELL,
IN ORDER TO RING IT, AS 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
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. HOW, WITHOUT INCOMMODING HIMSELF, ATHOS 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
50. CHAT BETWEEN BROTHER AND SISTER
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
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
The Three Musketeers
In which it is proved that, notwithstanding their names' ending
in OS and IS, the heroes of the story which we are about to have
the honor to relate to our readers have nothing mythological
A short time ago, while making researches in the Royal Library
for my History of Louis XIV, I stumbled by chance upon the
Memoirs of M. d'Artagnan, printed--as were most of the works of
that period, in which authors could not tell the truth without
the risk of a residence, more or less long, in the Bastille--at
Amsterdam, by Pierre Rouge. The title attracted me; I took them
home with me, with the permission of the guardian, and devoured
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 be, for the most part,
traced upon the doors of barracks and the walls of cabarets, they
will not find the likenesses of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria,
Richelieu, Mazarin, and the courtiers of the period, less
faithful than in the history of M. Anquetil.
But, it is well known, what strikes the capricious mind of the
poet is not always what affects the mass of readers. Now, while
admiring, as others doubtless will admire, the details we have to
relate, our 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 Musketeers, he met in the antechamber three
young men, serving in the illustrious corps into which he was
soliciting the honor of being received, bearing the names of
Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.
We must confess these three strange names struck us; and it
immediately occurred to us that they were but pseudonyms, under
which d'Artagnan had disguised names perhaps illustrious, or else
that the bearers of these borrowed names had themselves chosen
them on the day in which, from caprice, discontent, or want of
fortune, they 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 chapter, which, although it might be very
instructive, would certainly afford our readers but little
amusement. It will suffice, then, to tell them that at the
moment at which, discouraged by so many fruitless investigations,
we were about to abandon our search, we at length found, guided
by the counsels of our illustrious friend Paulin Paris, a
manuscript in folio, endorsed 4772 or 4773, we do not recollect
which, having for title, "Memoirs 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 when, in turning
over this manuscript, our last hope, we found at the twentieth
page the name of Athos, at the twenty-seventh the name of
Porthos, and 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 hastened, therefore, to obtain
permission to print it, with the view of presenting ourselves
someday with the pack of others at the doors of the Academie des
Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, if we should not succeed--a very
probable thing, by the by--in gaining admission to the Academie
Francaise with our own proper pack. This permission, we feel
bound to say, was 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
Now, this is the first part of this precious manuscript which we
offer to our readers, restoring it to the title which belongs to
it, and entering into an engagement that if (of which we have no
doubt) this first part should obtain the success it merits, we
will publish the second immediately.
In the meanwhile, as the godfather is a second father, we beg the
reader to lay to our account, and not to that of the Comte de la
Fere, the pleasure or the ENNUI he may experience.
This being understood, let us proceed with our history.
1 THE THREE PRESENTS OF D'ARTAGNAN THE ELDER
On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town
of Meung, in 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
citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving
their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the
cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a
musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of
the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every
minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.
In those times panics were common, and few days passed without
some city or other registering in its archives an event of this
kind. There were nobles, who made war against each other; there
was the king, who made war against the cardinal; there was Spain,
which made war against the king. Then, in addition to these
concealed or public, secret or open wars, there were robbers,
mendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels, who made war upon
everybody. The citizens always took up arms readily against
thieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles or Huguenots,
sometimes against the king, but never against cardinal or Spain.
It resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Monday
of April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing
neither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de
Richelieu, rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When
arrived there, the 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
corselet, without his coat of mail, without his cuisses; a Don
Quixote clothed in a wooden doublet, the blue color of which had
faded into a nameless shade between lees of wine and a heavenly
azure; face long and brown; high cheek bones, a sign of sagacity;
the maxillary muscles enormously developed, an infallible sign by
which a Gascon may always be detected, even without his cap--and
our young man wore a cap set off with a sort of feather; the eye
open and intelligent; the nose hooked, but finely chiseled. Too
big for a youth, too small for a grown man, an experienced eye
might have taken him for a farmer's son upon a journey had it not
been for the long sword which, dangling from a leather baldric,
hit against the calves of its owner as he walked, and 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 pony, from twelve to fourteen years
old, yellow in his hide, without a hair in his tail, but not
without windgalls on his legs, which, though going with his head
lower than his knees, rendering a martingale quite unnecessary,
contrived nevertheless to perform his eight leagues a day.
Unfortunately, the qualities of this horse were so well concealed
under his strange-colored hide and his unaccountable gait, that
at a time when everybody was a connoisseur in horseflesh, the
appearance of the aforesaid pony at Meung--which place he had
entered about a quarter of an hour before, by the gate of
Beaugency--produced an unfavorable feeling, which extended to his
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 him, good horseman
as he was. He had sighed deeply, therefore, when 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 gentleman, in that pure Bearn
PATOIS of which Henry IV could never rid himself, "this 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
son, kissed him tenderly on both cheeks, and gave him his
On leaving the paternal chamber, the 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 son, who was his only offspring, but M. d'Artagnan was a
man, and he would have considered it unworthy of a man to give
way to his feelings; whereas Mme. d'Artagnan was a woman, and
still more, a 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 firm, as a future Musketeer ought,
nature prevailed, and he shed many tears, of which he succeeded
with great difficulty in concealing the half.
The same day the young man set forward on his journey, furnished
with the three paternal gifts, which consisted, as we have said,
of fifteen crowns, the horse, and 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 Cervantes, to 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 giants, and sheep for armies; d'Artagnan took every smile for
an insult, and every look as a provocation--whence it resulted
that from Tarbes to Meung his fist was constantly doubled, or his
hand on the hilt of his sword; and yet the fist did not descend
upon any jaw, nor 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 length, and as over
this sword gleamed an eye rather ferocious than haughty, these
passers-by repressed their hilarity, or if hilarity prevailed
over prudence, they endeavored to laugh only on one side, like
the masks of the ancients. D'Artagnan, then, remained majestic
and intact in his susceptibility, till he came to this unlucky
city of Meung.
But there, as he was alighting from his horse at the gate of the
Jolly Miller, without anyone--host, waiter, or hostler--coming to
hold his stirrup or take his horse, d'Artagnan spied, though an
open window on the ground floor, a gentleman, well-made and of
good carriage, although of rather a stern countenance, talking
with two persons who appeared to listen to him with respect.
d'Artagnan fancied quite naturally, according to his custom, that
he must be the object of their conversation, and listened. This
time d'Artagnan was only in part mistaken; he himself was not in
question, but his horse was. The gentleman appeared to be
enumerating all his qualities to his auditors; and, as I have
said, the auditors seeming to have great deference for the
narrator, they every moment burst into fits of laughter. Now, as
a half-smile was sufficient to awaken the irascibility of the
young man, the effect produced upon him by this vociferous mirth
may be easily imagined.
Nevertheless, d'Artagnan was desirous of examining the appearance
of this impertinent personage who ridiculed him. He fixed his
haughty eye upon the stranger, and perceived a man of from forty
to forty-five years of age, with black and piercing eyes, pale
complexion, a strongly marked nose, and a black and well-shaped
mustache. He was dressed in a doublet and hose of a violet
color, with aiguillettes of the same color, without any other
ornaments than the customary slashes, through which the shirt
appeared. This doublet and hose, though new, were creased, like
traveling clothes for a long time packed in a portmanteau.
d'Artagnan made all these remarks with the rapidity of a most
minute observer, and doubtless from an instinctive feeling that
this stranger was destined to have a great influence over his
Now, as at the moment in which d'Artagnan fixed his eyes upon the
gentleman in the violet doublet, the gentleman made one of his
most knowing and profound remarks respecting the Bearnese pony,
his two auditors laughed even louder than before, and he himself,
though contrary to his custom, allowed 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. Full, then, of this conviction, he pulled his cap down
over his eyes, and endeavoring to copy some of the court airs he
had picked up in Gascony among young traveling nobles, he
advanced with one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other
resting on his hip. Unfortunately, as he advanced, his anger
increased at every step; and instead of the proper and lofty
speech he had prepared as a prelude to his challenge, he found
nothing at the tip of his tongue but a gross personality, which
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
cavalier, as if he required some time to ascertain whether it
could be to him that such strange reproaches were addressed;
then, when he could not possibly entertain any doubt of the
matter, his eyebrows slightly bent, and with an accent of irony
and insolence impossible to be described, he replied to
d'Artagnan, "I was not speaking to you, sir."
"But I am speaking to you!" replied the young man, additionally
exasperated with this mixture of insolence and good manners, of
politeness and scorn.
The stranger looked at him again with a slight smile, and
retiring from the window, came out of the hostelry with a slow
step, and placed himself before the horse, within 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 talking, and who still remained at the window.
D'Artagnan, seeing him approach, drew his sword a foot out of the
"This horse is decidedly, or rather has been in his youth, a
buttercup," resumed the stranger, continuing the remarks he had
begun, and addressing himself to his auditors at the window,
without paying the least attention to the exasperation of
d'Artagnan, who, however 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
"I do not often laugh, sir," replied the stranger, "as you may
perceive by the expression of my countenance; but nevertheless I
retain the privilege of laughing when I please."
"And I," cried d'Artagnan, "will allow no man to laugh when it
"Indeed, sir," continued the stranger, more calm than ever;
"well, that is perfectly right!" and turning on his heel, was
about to re-enter the hostelry by the front gate, beneath which
d'Artagnan on arriving had observed a saddled horse.
But, d'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 scabbard, and followed him, crying,
"Turn, turn, Master Joker, lest I strike you behind!"
"Strike me!" said the other, turning on his heels, and surveying
the young man with as much astonishment as contempt. "Why, my
good fellow, you must be mad!" Then, in a suppressed tone, as if
speaking to himself, "This is annoying," continued he. "What a
godsend this would be for his Majesty, who is seeking everywhere
for brave fellows to recruit for his Musketeers!"
He had scarcely finished, when d'Artagnan made such a furious
lunge at him that if he had not sprung nimbly backward, it is
probable he would have jested for the last time. The stranger,
then perceiving that the matter went beyond raillery, drew his
sword, saluted his adversary, and seriously placed himself on
guard. But at the same moment, his two auditors, accompanied by
the host, fell upon d'Artagnan with sticks, shovels and tongs.
This caused so rapid and complete a diversion from the attack
that d'Artagnan's adversary, while the latter turned round to
face this shower of blows, sheathed his sword with the same
precision, and instead of an actor, which he had nearly been,
became a spectator of the fight--a part in which he acquitted
himself with his usual impassiveness, muttering, nevertheless, "A
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 possible, and never retreating one step
before his three assailants, who continued to shower blows upon
"Another gasconade!" murmured the gentleman. "By my honor, these
Gascons are incorrigible! Keep up the dance, then, since he will
have it so. When he is tired, he 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 sword, which 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 ground, covered with blood and
It was at this moment that people came flocking to the scene of
action from all sides. The host, fearful of consequences, with
the help of his servants carried the wounded man into the
kitchen, where some trifling attentions were bestowed upon him.
As to the gentleman, he resumed his place at the window, and
surveyed the crowd with a certain impatience, evidently annoyed
by their remaining undispersed.
"Well, how is it with this madman?" exclaimed he, turning round
as the noise of the door announced the entrance of the host, who
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 host, "he 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
"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 however, did not prevent his saying, as he was fainting,
that if such a thing had happened in Paris, you should have cause
to repent of it at a later period."
"Then," said the stranger coolly, "he must be some prince in
"I have told you this, good sir," resumed the host, "in 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 stranger, becoming 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
"Exactly as I have the honor to tell your Excellency."
The host, who was not endowed with great perspicacity, did not
observe the expression which his words had given to the
physiognomy of the stranger. The latter rose from the front of
the window, upon the sill of which he had leaned with his elbow,
and knitted his brow like a man disquieted.
"The devil!" murmured he, between his teeth. "Can Treville have
set this Gascon upon me? He is very young; but a sword thrust is
a sword thrust, whatever be the age of him who gives it, and 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 he, "could you not contrive to get rid of this
frantic boy for me? In conscience, I cannot kill him; and yet,"
added he, with a coldly menacing expression, "he 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
"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 horseback, and go and meet her. I
should like, however, to know what this letter addressed to
*We are well aware that this term, milady, is 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 stranger, muttering to himself, directed his steps toward
In the meantime, the host, who entertained no doubt that it was
the presence of the young man that drove the stranger from his
hostelry, re-ascended to his wife's chamber, and 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'Artagnan, half stupefied,
without his doublet, and with his head bound up in a linen cloth,
arose then, and urged by the host, began to descend the stairs;
but on arriving at the kitchen, the first thing he saw was his
antagonist talking calmly at the step of a heavy carriage, drawn
by two large Norman horses.
His interlocutor, whose head appeared through the carriage
window, was 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 then, at 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 fair, with long curls falling in
profusion over her shoulders, had large, blue, languishing eyes,
rosy lips, and 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
mouth, d'Artagnan, who had heard all, precipitated 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
"Will not escape him?" replied the stranger, knitting his brow.
"No; before a woman you would dare not fly, I presume?"
"Remember," said Milady, seeing the stranger lay his hand on his
sword, "the least delay may ruin everything."
"You are right," cried the gentleman; "begone then, on your part,
and I will depart as quickly on mine." And bowing to the lady,
sprang into his saddle, while her coachman applied his whip
vigorously to his horses. The two interlocutors thus separated,
taking opposite directions, at full gallop.
"Pay him, booby!" cried the stranger to his servant, without
checking the speed of his horse; and the man, after throwing two
or three silver pieces at the foot of mine host, galloped after
"Base coward! false gentleman!" cried d'Artagnan, springing
forward, in his turn, after 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 tingle, a faintness
seized him, a cloud of blood passed over his eyes, and he fell in
the middle of the street, crying still, "Coward! coward! coward!"
"He is a coward, indeed," grumbled the host, drawing near to
d'Artagnan, and endeavoring by this little flattery to make up
matters with the young man, as 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
"What she?" demanded the host.
"Milady," faltered d'Artagnan, and fainted a second time.
"Ah, it's all one," said the host; "I have lost two customers,
but this one remains, of 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 day, but he had reckoned without his guest. On the following
morning at five o'clock d'Artagnan arose, and descending to the
kitchen without help, asked, among other ingredients the list of
which has not come down to us, for some oil, some wine, and some
rosemary, and with his mother's recipe in his hand composed a
balsam, with which he anointed his numerous wounds, replacing his
bandages himself, and positively refusing the assistance of any
doctor, d'Artagnan walked about that same evening, and was almost
cured by the morrow.
But when the time came to pay for his rosemary, this oil, and the
wine, the only expense the master had incurred, as he had
preserved a strict abstinence--while on the contrary, the yellow
horse, by the account of the hostler at least, had 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 Treville, it had disappeared.
The young man commenced his search for the letter with the
greatest patience, turning out his pockets of all kinds over and
over again, rummaging and rerummaging in his valise, and opening
and reopening his purse; but when he found that he had come to
the conviction that the letter was not to be found, he flew, for
the third time, into such a rage as was near costing him a fresh
consumption of wine, oil, and rosemary--for upon seeing this hot-
headed youth become exasperated and threaten to destroy
everything in the establishment if his letter were not found, the
host seized a spit, his wife a broom handle, and the servants the
same sticks they had used the day before.
"My letter of recommendation!" cried d'Artagnan, "my letter of
recommendation! or, the holy blood, I will spit you all like
Unfortunately, there was one circumstance which created a
powerful obstacle to the accomplishment of this threat; which
was, as we have related, that his sword had been in his first
conflict broken in two, and which he had entirely forgotten.
Hence, it resulted when d'Artagnan proceeded to draw his sword in
earnest, he found himself purely and simply armed with a stump of
a sword about eight or ten inches in length, which 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
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 he, lowering the point of his spit, "where
is this letter?"
"Yes, where is this letter?" cried d'Artagnan. "In the first
place, I warn you that that letter is for Monsieur de Treville,
and it must be found, he will know how to find it."
His threat completed the intimidation of the host. After the
king and the cardinal, M. de Treville was the man whose name was
perhaps most frequently repeated by the military, and even by
citizens. There was, to be sure, Father Joseph, but his name was
never pronounced but with a subdued voice, such was the terror
inspired by his Gray Eminence, as the cardinal's familiar was
Throwing down his spit, and ordering his wife to do the same with
her broom handle, and the servants with their sticks, he set the
first example of commencing an earnest search for the lost
"Does the letter contain anything valuable?" demanded the host,
after a few minutes of useless investigation.
"Zounds! I think it does indeed!" cried the Gascon, who reckoned
upon this letter for making his way at court. "It contained my
"Bills upon Spain?" asked the disturbed host.
"Bills upon his Majesty's private treasury," answered d'Artagnan,
who, reckoning upon entering into the king's service in
consequence of this recommendation, believed he could make this
somewhat hazardous reply without telling of a falsehood.
"The devil!" cried the host, at his wit's end.
"But it's of no importance," continued d'Artagnan, with 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
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'Artagnan, but little convinced, as
he knew better than anyone else how entirely personal the value
of this letter was, and was nothing in it likely to tempt
cupidity. The fact was that none of his servants, none of the
travelers present, could have gained anything by being possessed
of this paper.
"Do you say," resumed d'Artagnan, "that you suspect that
"I tell you I am sure of it," continued the host. "When I
informed him that your lordship was the protege of Monsieur de
Treville, and that you even had a letter for that illustrious
gentleman, he appeared to be very much disturbed, and asked me
where that letter was, and immediately came down into the
kitchen, where he knew your doublet was."
"Then that's my thief," replied d'Artagnan. "I will complain to
Monsieur de Treville, and Monsieur de Treville will complain to
the king." He then drew two crowns majestically from his purse
and gave them to the host, who accompanied him, cap in hand, to
the gate, and remounted his yellow horse, which bore him without
any further accident to the gate of St. Antoine at Paris, where
his owner sold him for three crowns, which 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
Thus d'Artagnan entered Paris on foot, carrying his little packet
under his arm, and 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 garret, situated in the Rue des Fossoyeurs, near
As soon as the earnest money was paid, d'Artagnan took possession
of his lodging, and 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'Artagnan, and which she had given her son secretly. Next he
went to the Quai de Feraille to have a new blade put to his
sword, and then returned toward the Louvre, inquiring of the
first Musketeer he met for the situation of the hotel of M. de
Treville, which proved to be in the Rue du Vieux-Colombier; that
is to say, in 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 this, satisfied with the way in which he had conducted
himself at Meung, without remorse for the past, confident in the
present, and full of hope for the future, he retired to bed and
slept the sleep of the brave.
This sleep, provincial as it was, brought him to nine o'clock in
the morning; at which hour he rose, in order to repair to the
residence of M. de Treville, the third personage in the kingdom, in the
2 THE ANTECHAMBER OF M. DE TREVILLE
M. de Troisville, as his family was still called in Gascony, or
M. de Treville, as he has ended by styling himself in Paris, had
really commenced life as d'Artagnan now did; that is to say,
without a sou in his pocket, but with a fund of audacity,
shrewdness, and 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 bravery, his 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
Favor, which he had climbed four steps at a time.
He was the friend of the king, who honored highly, as everyone
knows, the memory of his father, Henry 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 life, and who constantly paid his debts
with that of which he never stood in need of borrowing, that is
to say, with ready wit--in default of money, we repeat, he
authorized him, after the reduction of Paris, to assume for his
arms a golden lion passant upon gules, with the motto FIDELIS ET
FORTIS. This was a great matter in the way of honor, but very
little in the way of wealth; so that when the illustrious
companion of the great Henry died, the 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 it, M. de
Treville was admitted into the household of the young prince
where he made such good use of his sword, and was so faithful to
his motto, that Louis XIII, one of the good blades of his
kingdom, was accustomed to say that if he had a friend who was
about to fight, he would advise him to choose as a second,
himself first, and Treville next--or even, perhaps, before
Thus Louis XIII had a real liking for Treville--a royal liking, a
self-interested liking, it is true, but 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 STRONG, which formed the second part of his motto, but
very few gentlemen could lay claim to the FAITHFUL, which
constituted the first. Treville was one of these latter. His
was one of those rare organizations, endowed with an obedient
intelligence like that of the dog; with a blind valor, a quick
eye, and a prompt hand; to whom sight appeared only to be given
to see if the king were dissatisfied with anyone, and the hand to
strike this displeasing personage, whether a Besme, a Maurevers,
a Poltiot de Mere, or a Vitry. In short, up to this period
nothing had been wanting to Treville but opportunity; but he was
ever on the watch for it, and 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 Musketeers, who were to Louis XIII in devotedness,
or rather in fanaticism, what his Ordinaries had been to Henry
III, and his Scotch Guard to Louis XI.
On his part, the cardinal was not behind the king in this
respect. When he saw the formidable and chosen body with which
Louis XIII had surrounded himself, this second, or rather this
first king of France, became desirous that he, too, should have
his guard. He had his Musketeers therefore, as Louis XIII had
his, and these two powerful rivals vied with each other in
procuring, not only from all the provinces of France, but even
from all foreign states, the 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 brawls, they excited them
secretly to quarrel, deriving 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
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 period, in 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 fellows, perfectly undisciplined toward all but
Loose, half-drunk, imposing, the king's Musketeers, or rather M.
de Treville's, spread themselves about in the cabarets, in the
public walks, and the public sports, shouting, twisting their
mustaches, clanking their swords, and taking great pleasure in
annoying the Guards of the cardinal whenever they could fall in
with them; then drawing in the open streets, as if it were the
best of all possible sports; sometimes killed, but sure in that
case to be both wept and avenged; often killing others, but then
certain of not rotting in prison, M. de Treville being there to
claim them. Thus M. de Treville was praised to the highest note
by these men, who adored him, and who, ruffians as they were,
trembled before him like scholars before their master, obedient
to his least word, and ready to sacrifice themselves to wash out
the smallest insult.
M. de Treville employed this powerful weapon for the king, in the
first place, and the friends of the king--and then for himself
and his own friends. For the rest, in the memoirs of this
period, which has left so many memoirs, one 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
instance, let us say, was 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 intriguers, he remained an honest man. Still
further, in spite of sword thrusts which weaken, and painful
exercises which fatigue, he had become one of the most gallant
frequenters of revels, one 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 before, and
that was not saying a little. The captain of the Musketeers was
therefore admired, feared, and 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 father, a sun PLURIBUS IMPAR, left his
personal splendor to each of his favorites, his individual value
to each of his courtiers. In addition to the leeves of the king
and the cardinal, there might be reckoned in Paris at that time
more than two hundred smaller but still noteworthy leeves. Among
these two hundred leeves, that of Treville was one of the most
The court of his hotel, situated 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 Musketeers, who
appeared to replace one another in order always to present an
imposing number, paraded constantly, armed to the teeth and ready
for anything. On one of those immense staircases, upon whose
space modern civilization would build a whole house, ascended and
descended the office seekers of Paris, who ran after any sort of
favor--gentlemen from the provinces anxious to be enrolled, and
servants in all sorts of liveries, bringing and carrying messages
between their masters and M. de Treville. In the antechamber,
upon long circular benches, reposed the elect; that is to say,
those who were called. In this apartment a continued buzzing
prevailed from morning till night, while M. de Treville, in his
office contiguous to this antechamber, received visits, listened
to complaints, gave his orders, and like the king in his balcony
at the Louvre, had 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
imposing, particularly for a provincial just arriving from his
province. It is true that this provincial was a Gascon; and
that, particularly at this period, the 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
nails, he fell into the midst of a troop of swordsmen, who
crossed one another in their passage, calling out, quarreling,
and playing tricks one with another. In order to make one's way
amid these turbulent and conflicting waves, it was necessary to
be an officer, a great noble, or a pretty woman.
It was, then, into the midst of this tumult and disorder that our
young man advanced with a beating heat, ranging his long rapier
up his lanky leg, and 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 him, and for the first time in his life
d'Artagnan, who had till that day entertained a very good opinion
of himself, felt ridiculous.
Arrived at the staircase, it was still worse. There were four
Musketeers on the bottom steps, amusing themselves with the
following exercise, while ten or twelve of their comrades waited
upon the landing place to take their turn in the sport.
One of them, stationed upon the top stair, naked sword in hand,
prevented, or at least endeavored to prevent, the three others
These three others fenced against him with their agile swords.
D'Artagnan at first took these weapons for foils, and believed
them to be buttoned; but he soon perceived by certain scratches
that every weapon was pointed and sharpened, and that at each of
these scratches not only the spectators, but even the actors
themselves, laughed 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 game, yielding his turn for the benefit of the adversary who
had hit him. In five minutes three were slightly wounded, one on
the hand, another on the ear, by the defender of the stair, who
himself remained intact--a piece of skill which was worth to him,
according to the rules agreed upon, three turns of favor.
However difficult it might be, or rather as he pretended it was,
to astonish our young traveler, this 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 goal, for there were still the landing place and the
On the landing they were no longer fighting, but amused
themselves with stories about women, and in the antechamber, with
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 mistresses, had never dreamed, even in
moments of delirium, of 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 landing, his respect for
the cardinal was scandalized in the antechamber. There, to his
great astonishment, d'Artagnan heard the policy which made all
Europe tremble criticized aloud and openly, as well as the
private life of the cardinal, which 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 Treville, who cracked their jokes upon his
bandy legs and his crooked back. Some sang ballads about Mme.
d'Aguillon, his mistress, and Mme. Cambalet, his niece; while
others formed parties and plans to annoy the pages and guards of
the cardinal duke--all things which appeared to d'Artagnan
Nevertheless, when the name of the king was now and then uttered
unthinkingly amid all these cardinal jests, a sort of gag seemed
to close for a moment on all these jeering mouths. They looked
hesitatingly around them, and 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
Eminence, and 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'Artagnan, "and 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 need, therefore, to say that d'Artagnan dared not join
in the conversation, only he looked with all his eyes and
listened with all his ears, stretching his five senses so as to
lose nothing; and despite his confidence on the paternal
admonitions, he 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 courtiers, and this his first appearance in that
place, he was at length noticed, and somebody came and asked him
what he wanted. At this demand d'Artagnan gave his name very
modestly, emphasized the title of compatriot, and begged the
servant who had put the question to him to request a moment's
audience of M. de Treville--a request which the other, with an
air of protection, promised to transmit in due season.
D'Artagnan, a little recovered from his first surprise, had now
leisure to study costumes and physiognomy.
The center of the most animated group was a Musketeer of great
height and haughty countenance, dressed 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 doublet, a little faded and
worn, and over this a magnificent baldric, worked in gold, which
shone like water ripples in the sun. A long cloak of crimson
velvet fell in graceful folds from his shoulders, disclosing in
front the splendid baldric, from which was suspended a gigantic
rapier. This Musketeer had just come off guard, complained of
having a cold, and coughed from time to time affectedly. It was
for this reason, as he said to those around him, that he had put
on his cloak; and while he spoke with a lofty air and twisted his
mustache disdainfully, all admired his embroidered baldric, and
d'Artagnan more than anyone.
"What would you have?" said the Musketeer. "This fashion is
coming in. It is a folly, I admit, but still it is the fashion.
Besides, one must lay out one's inheritance somehow."
"Ah, Porthos!" cried one of his companions, "don'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 Musketeer, "that I
bought this new purse with what my mistress put into the old
"It's true, though," said Porthos; "and the proof is that I paid
twelve pistoles for it."
The wonder was increased, though the doubt continued to exist.
"Is it not true, Aramis?" said Porthos, turning toward another
This other Musketeer formed a perfect contrast to his
interrogator, who had just designated him by the name of Aramis.
He was a stout man, of about two- or three-and-twenty, with an
open, ingenuous countenance, a black, mild eye, and 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 swell, and he pinched
the tips of his ears from time to time to preserve their delicate
pink transparency. Habitually he spoke little and slowly, bowed
frequently, laughed without noise, showing his teeth, which were
fine and of which, as the rest of his person, he 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 it, but said no more about it;
and with a rapid change of thought, the conversation passed
suddenly to another subject.
"What do you think of the story Chalais's esquire relates?" asked
another Musketeer, without addressing anyone in particular, but
on the contrary speaking to everybody.
"And what does he say?" asked Porthos, in 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.
"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
"This Rochefort," cried Porthos, "if 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 saying, be assured, my 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 know, Porthos, that 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
Aramis, with a significant smile which gave to this sentence,
apparently so simple, a 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 you, you would repent of speaking
"Are you going to give me a lesson, Porthos?" cried Aramis, from
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. Ah, don't be angry,
I beg of you, that would be useless; you know what is agreed upon
between you, Athos and me. You go to Madame d'Aguillon's, and
you pay your court to her; you go to Madame de Bois-Tracy's, the
cousin of Madame de Chevreuse, and you pass for being far
advanced in the good graces of that lady. Oh, good 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 virtue, why the devil don't you make use of it with respect
to her Majesty? Let whoever likes talk of the king and the
cardinal, and how he likes; but the queen is sacred, and if
anyone speaks of her, let it be respectfully."
"Porthos, you are as vain as Narcissus; I plainly tell you so,"
replied Aramis. "You know I hate moralizing, except when it is
done by Athos. As to you, good sir, you 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 please, and at this moment it pleases me to say that you
"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" cried the surrounding group.
"Monsieur de Treville awaits Monsieur d'Artagnan," cried a
servant, throwing open the door of the cabinet.
At this announcement, during which the door remained open,
everyone became mute, and amid the general silence the young man
crossed part of the length of the antechamber, and entered the
apartment of the captain of the Musketeers, congratulating
himself with all his heart at having so narrowly escaped the end
of this strange quarrel.
3 THE AUDIENCE
M. de Treville was at the moment in rather ill-humor,
nevertheless he saluted the young man politely, who 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 hand, as if to ask his permission
to finish with others before he began with him, he called three
times, with a louder voice at each time, so that he ran through
the intervening tones between the imperative accent and the angry
"Athos! Porthos! Aramis!"
The two Musketeers with whom we have already made acquaintance,
and who answered to the last of these three names, immediately
quitted the group of which they had formed a part, and advanced
toward the cabinet, the door of which closed after them as soon
as they had entered. Their appearance, although it was not quite
at ease, excited by its carelessness, at once full of dignity and
submission, the admiration of d'Artagnan, who beheld in these two
men demigods, and in their leader an Olympian Jupiter, armed with
all his thunders.
When the two Musketeers had entered; when the door was closed
behind them; when the buzzing murmur of the antechamber, to which
the summons which had been made had doubtless furnished fresh
food, had recommenced; when M. de Treville had three or four
times paced in silence, and with a frowning brow, the whole
length of his cabinet, passing each time before Porthos and
Aramis, who were as upright and silent as if on parade--he
stopped all at once full in front of them, and covering them from
head to foot with an angry look, "Do you know what the king said
to me," cried he, "and that no longer ago than yesterday
evening--do you know, gentlemen?"
"No," replied the two Musketeers, after a moment's silence, "no,
sir, we do not."
"But I hope that you will do us the honor to tell us," added
Aramis, in 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 Porthos, warmly.
"Because he plainly perceives that his piquette* stands in need
of being enlivened by a mixture of good wine."
*A watered liquor, made from the second pressing of the grape.
The two Musketeers reddened to the whites of their eyes.
d'Artagnan did not know where he was, and wished himself a
hundred feet underground.
"Yes, yes," continued M. de Treville, growing 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 tiger-
cat'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?"
"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 Treville, if, at the bottom of all this, they 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 came, and grasped the hilts of their
swords with all their might. All without had heard, as we have
said, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis called, and had guessed, from M.
de Treville's tone of voice, that he was very angry about
something. Ten curious heads were glued to the tapestry and
became pale with fury; for their ears, closely applied to the
door, did not lose a syllable of what he said, while their mouths
repeated as he went on, the insulting expressions of the captain
to all the people in the antechamber. In an instant, from the
door of the cabinet to the street gate, the whole hotel was
"Ah! The king's Musketeers are arrested by the Guards of the
cardinal, are they?" continued M. de Treville, as furious at
heart as his soldiers, but emphasizing his words and plunging
them, one by one, so to say, like 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 Guards, and if he refuses me,
MORBLEU! I will turn abbe."
At these words, the murmur without became an explosion; nothing
was to be heard but oaths and blasphemies. The MORBLEUS, the
SANG DIEUS, the MORTS TOUTS LES DIABLES, crossed one another in
the air. D'Artagnan looked for some tapestry behind which he
might hide himself, and felt an immense inclination to crawl
under the table.
"Well, my Captain," said Porthos, quite beside himself, "the
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
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
"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 him, or poniarded him, sir, as is most
agreeable to you."
"I did not know that," replied M. de Treville, in a somewhat
softened tone. "The cardinal exaggerated, as I perceive."
"But pray, sir," continued Aramis, who, seeing his captain become
appeased, ventured to risk a prayer, "do 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
head, but frightfully pale, appeared 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 Treville, in a
feeble yet perfectly calm voice, "you 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 words, the Musketeer, in irreproachable costume,
belted as usual, with a tolerably firm step, entered the cabinet.
M. de Treville, moved to the bottom of his heart by this proof of
courage, sprang toward him.
"I was about to say to these gentlemen," added he, "that 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 affection, M. de Treville seized his right hand and pressed it
with all his might, without perceiving that Athos, whatever might
be his self-command, allowed a slight murmur of pain to escape
him, and if possible, grew paler than he was before.
The door had remained open, so strong was the excitement produced
by the arrival of Athos, whose wound, though kept as a secret,
was known to all. A burst of satisfaction hailed the last words
of the captain; and two or three heads, carried away by the
enthusiasm of the moment, appeared through the openings of the
tapestry. M. de Treville was about to reprehend this breach of
the rules of etiquette, when he felt the hand of Athos, who had
rallied all his energies to contend against pain, at length
overcome by it, fell upon the floor as if he were dead.
"A surgeon!" cried M. de Treville, "mine! The king's! The best! A
surgeon! Or, s'blood, my brave Athos will die!"
At the cries of M. de Treville, the whole assemblage rushed into
the cabinet, he not thinking to shut the door against anyone, and
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 Athos, still insensible, and as all this noise and
commotion inconvenienced him greatly, he required, as the first
and most urgent thing, that the Musketeer should be carried into
an adjoining chamber. Immediately M. de Treville opened and
pointed the way to Porthos and Aramis, who bore their comrade in
their arms. Behind this group walked the surgeon; and behind the
surgeon the door closed.
The cabinet of M. de Treville, generally held so sacred, became
in an instant the annex of the antechamber. Everyone spoke,
harangued, and vociferated, swearing, cursing, and consigning the
cardinal and his Guards to all the devils.
An instant after, Porthos and Aramis re-entered, the surgeon and
M. de Treville alone remaining with the wounded.
At length, M. 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 uneasy, his
weakness having been purely and simply caused by loss of blood.
Then M. de Treville made a sign with his hand, and all retired
except d'Artagnan, who 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 closed, M. de Treville, on
turning round, found 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 name, and in an instant recovering
all his remembrances of the present and the past, M. de Treville
grasped the situation.
"Pardon me," said he, smiling, "pardon 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 fool, and changing
the conversation, came 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'Artagnan, "on 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 Treville, "but
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 replying, feeling his desire to don the
Musketeer's uniform vastly increased by the great difficulties
which preceded the attainment of it.
"But," continued M. de Treville, fixing upon his compatriot a
look so piercing that it might be said he wished to read the
thoughts of his heart, "on 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
D'Artagnan's bearing became still more imposing. Thanks to the
sale of his horse, he 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'Artagnan, stranger as he was to all the manners of a court,
could not but perceive a little coldness in this reception.
"Alas, sir," said he, "I cannot but perceive how sadly I miss the
letter of introduction which my father gave me to present to
"I certainly am surprised," replied M. de Treville, "that 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 Meung, described the unknown
gentleman with the greatest minuteness, and all with a warmth and
truthfulness that delighted M. de Treville.
"This is all very strange," said M. de Treville, after meditating
a minute; "you mentioned my name, then, aloud?"
"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
Flattery was at that period very current, and M. de Treville
loved incense as well as a king, or even a cardinal. He could
not refrain from a smile of visible satisfaction; but this smile
soon disappeared, and returning to the adventure of Meung, "Tell
me," continued he, "had not this gentlemen a slight scar on his
"Yes, such a one as would be made by the grazing of a ball."
"Was he not a fine-looking man?"
"Of lofty stature."
"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'Artagnan, "tell
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 street, pass 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'Artagnan, "if ever I find
"In the meantime," said Treville, "seek him not--if I have a
right to advise you."
All at once the captain stopped, as if struck by a sudden
suspicion. This great hatred which the young traveler manifested
so loudly for this man, who--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 cardinal, whom the cardinal sought to introduce into
Treville's house, to place near him, to win his confidence, and
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 however, by the aspect
of that countenance, full 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 he, slowly, "I 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.
"Now, young man, regulate your conduct accordingly; and if you
entertain, whether from your family, your relations, or even from
your instincts, any of these enmities which we see constantly
breaking out against the cardinal, bid me adieu and let us
separate. I will aid you in many ways, but 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 me, he will certainly not have failed--he, who 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. Therefore, in spite of
all my protestations, if it be as I suspect, my cunning gossip
will assure me that he holds his Eminence in horror."
It, however, proved otherwise. D'Artagnan answered, with the
greatest simplicity: "I came to Paris with exactly such
intentions. My father advised me to stoop to nobody but the
king, the cardinal, and yourself--whom he considered the first
three personages in France."
D'Artagnan added M. de Treville to the others, as 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
penetration, so much frankness, created admiration, but did not
entirely remove his suspicions. The more this young man was
superior to others, the 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. Hereafter, being able to ask for me
at all hours, and consequently to take advantage of all
opportunities, you will probably obtain that which you desire."
"That is to say," replied d'Artagnan, "that you will wait until I
have proved myself worthy of it. Well, be assured," added he,
with the familiarity of a Gascon, "you shall not wait long." And
he bowed in order to retire, and as if he considered the future
in his own hands.
"But wait a minute," said M. de Treville, stopping him. "I
promised you a letter for the director of the Academy. Are you
too proud to accept it, young gentleman?"
"No, sir," said d'Artagnan; "and I will guard it so carefully
that I will be sworn it shall arrive at its address, and 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 window, where they had talked
together, he seated himself at a table in order to write the
promised letter of recommendation. While he was doing this,
d'Artagnan, having no better employment, amused himself with
beating a march upon the window and with looking at the
Musketeers, who went away, one after another, following them with
his eyes until they disappeared.
M. de Treville, after having written the letter, sealed it, and
rising, approached the young man in order to give it to him. But
at the very moment when d'Artagnan stretched out his hand to
receive it, M. de Treville was highly astonished to see his
protege make a sudden spring, become crimson with passion, and
rush from the cabinet crying, "S'blood, he shall not escape me
"And who?" asked M. de Treville.
"He, my thief!" replied d'Artagnan. "Ah, the traitor!" and he
"The devil take the madman!" murmured M. de Treville, "unless,"
added he, "this is a cunning mode of escaping, seeing that he had
failed in his purpose!"
4 THE SHOULDER OF ATHOS, THE BALDRIC OF PORTHOS AND THE
HANDKERCHIEF OF ARAMIS
D'Artagnan, in a state of fury, crossed the antechamber at three
bounds, and was darting toward the stairs, which he reckoned upon
descending four at a time, when, in his heedless course, he ran
head foremost against a Musketeer who was coming out of one of M.
de Treville's private rooms, and striking his shoulder violently,
made him utter a cry, or rather a howl.
"Excuse me," said d'Artagnan, endeavoring to resume his course,
"excuse me, but I am in a hurry."
Scarcely had he descended the first stair, when a hand of iron
seized him by the belt and stopped him.
"You are in a hurry?" said the Musketeer, as 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
"My faith!" replied d'Artagnan, recognizing Athos, who, after the
dressing performed by the doctor, was returning to his own
apartment. "I did not do it intentionally, and not doing it
intentionally, I said 'Excuse me.' It appears to me that this is
quite enough. I repeat to you, however, and this time on my word
of honor--I think perhaps too often--that I am in haste, great
haste. Leave your hold, then, I beg of you, and let me go where
my business calls me."
"Monsieur," said Athos, letting him go, "you are not polite; it
is easy to perceive that you come from a distance."
D'Artagnan had already strode down three or four stairs, but at
Athos's last remark he stopped short.
"MORBLEU, monsieur!" said he, "however 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,
"And where, I pray you?"
"Near the Carmes-Deschaux."
"At what hour?"
"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'Artagnan, "I 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 stranger, whose slow pace could
not have carried him far.
But at the street gate, Porthos 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 him, and he
sprang forward like a dart between them. But d'Artagnan had
reckoned without the wind. As he was about to pass, the wind
blew out Porthos's long cloak, and d'Artagnan rushed straight
into the middle of it. Without doubt, Porthos had reasons for
not abandoning this part of his vestments, for instead of
quitting his hold on the flap in his hand, he pulled it toward
him, so that d'Artagnan rolled himself up in the velvet by a
movement of rotation explained by the persistency of Porthos.
D'Artagnan, hearing the Musketeer swear, wished to escape from
the cloak, which blinded him, and 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 eyes, he found
himself with his nose fixed between the two shoulders of
Porthos--that is to say, exactly upon the baldric.
Alas, like most things in this world which have nothing in their
favor but appearances, the baldric was glittering with gold in
the front, but was nothing but simple buff behind. Vainglorious
as he was, Porthos could not afford to have a baldric wholly of
gold, but had at least half. One could comprehend the necessity
of the cold and the urgency of the cloak.
"Bless me!" cried Porthos, making strong efforts to disembarrass
himself of d'Artagnan, who was wriggling about his back; "you
must be mad to run against people in this manner."
"Excuse me," said d'Artagnan, reappearing under the shoulder of
the giant, "but I am in such haste--I was running after someone
"And do you always forget your eyes when you run?" asked Porthos.
"No," replied d'Artagnan, piqued, "and thanks to my eyes, I can
see what other people cannot see."
Whether Porthos understood him or did not understand him, giving
way to his anger, "Monsieur," said he, "you stand a chance of
getting chastised if you rub Musketeers in this fashion."
"Chastised, Monsieur!" said d'Artagnan, "the expression is
"It is one that becomes a man accustomed to look his enemies in
"Ah, PARDIEU! I know full well that you don't turn your back to
And the young man, delighted with his joke, went away laughing
Porthos foamed with rage, and made a movement to rush after
"Presently, presently," cried the latter, "when you haven't your
"At one o'clock, then, behind the Luxembourg."
"Very well, at one o'clock, then," replied d'Artagnan, turning
the angle of the street.
But neither in the street he had passed through, nor in the one
which his eager glance pervaded, could he see anyone; however