Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas [Pere]

Part 2 out of 20

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 2.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

course of cross-examination."

"Which you answer according to your fancy," replied Mazarin.

"Tell me your wishes and I will comply with them."

The queen spoke with some impatience.

"Well, madame," said Mazarin, bowing, "I desire that you
give me a share in your friends, as I have shared with you
the little industry and talent that Heaven has given me. The
circumstances are grave and it will be necessary to act

"Still!" said the queen. "I thought that we were finally
quit of Monsieur de Beaufort."

"Yes, you saw only the torrent that threatened to overturn
everything and you gave no attention to the still water.
There is, however, a proverb current in France relating to
water which is quiet."

"Continue," said the queen.

"Well, then, madame, not a day passes in which I do not
suffer affronts from your princes and your lordly servants,
all of them automata who do not perceive that I wind up the
spring that makes them move, nor do they see that beneath my
quiet demeanor lies the still scorn of an injured, irritated
man, who has sworn to himself to master them one of these
days. We have arrested Monsieur de Beaufort, but he is the
least dangerous among them. There is the Prince de Conde
---- "

"The hero of Rocroy. Do you think of him?"

"Yes, madame, often and often, but pazienza, as we say in
Italy; next, after Monsieur de Conde, comes the Duke of

"What are you saying? The first prince of the blood, the
king's uncle!"

"No! not the first prince of the blood, not the king's
uncle, but the base conspirator, the soul of every cabal,
who pretends to lead the brave people who are weak enough to
believe in the honor of a prince of the blood -- not the
prince nearest to the throne, not the king's uncle, I
repeat, but the murderer of Chalais, of Montmorency and of
Cinq-Mars, who is playing now the same game he played long
ago and who thinks that he will win the game because he has
a new adversary -- instead of a man who threatened, a man
who smiles. But he is mistaken; I shall not leave so near
the queen that source of discord with which the deceased
cardinal so often caused the anger of the king to rage above
the boiling point."

Anne blushed and buried her face in her hands.

"What am I to do?" she said, bowed down beneath the voice of
her tyrant.

"Endeavor to remember the names of those faithful servants
who crossed the Channel, in spite of Monsieur de Richelieu,
tracking the roads along which they passed by their blood,
to bring back to your majesty certain jewels given by you to

Anne arose, full of majesty, and as if touched by a spring,
and looking at the cardinal with the haughty dignity which
in the days of her youth had made her so powerful: "You are
insulting me!" she said.

"I wish," continued Mazarin, finishing, as it were, the
speech this sudden movement of the queen had cut; "I wish,
in fact, that you should now do for your husband what you
formerly did for your lover."

"Again that accusation!" cried the queen. "I thought that
calumny was stifled or extinct; you have spared me till now,
but since you speak of it, once for all, I tell you ---- "

"Madame, I do not ask you to tell me," said Mazarin,
astounded by this returning courage.

"I will tell you all," replied Anne. "Listen: there were in
truth, at that epoch, four devoted hearts, four loyal
spirits, four faithful swords, who saved more than my life
-- my honor ---- "

"Ah! you confess it!" exclaimed Mazarin.

"Is it only the guilty whose honor is at the sport of
others, sir? and cannot women be dishonored by appearances?
Yes, appearances were against me and I was about to suffer
dishonor. However, I swear I was not guilty, I swear it by
---- "

The queen looked around her for some sacred object by which
she could swear, and taking out of a cupboard hidden in the
tapestry, a small coffer of rosewood set in silver, and
laying it on the altar:

"I swear," she said, "by these sacred relics that Buckingham
was not my lover."

"What relics are those by which you swear?" asked Mazarin,
smiling. "I am incredulous."

The queen untied from around her throat a small golden key
which hung there, and presented it to the cardinal.

"Open, sir," she said, "and look for yourself."

Mazarin opened the coffer; a knife, covered with rust, and
two letters, one of which was stained with blood, alone met
his gaze.

"What are these things?" he asked.

"What are these things?" replied Anne, with queen-like
dignity, extending toward the open coffer an arm, despite
the lapse of years, still beautiful. "These two letters are
the only ones I ever wrote to him. This knife is the knife
with which Felton stabbed him. Read the letters and see if I
have lied or spoken the truth."

But Mazarin, notwithstanding this permission, instead of
reading the letters, took the knife which the dying
Buckingham had snatched out of the wound and sent by Laporte
to the queen. The blade was red, for the blood had become
rust; after a momentary examination during which the queen
became as white as the cloth which covered the altar on
which she was leaning, he put it back into the coffer with
an involuntary shudder.

"It is well, madame, I believe your oath."

"No, no, read," exclaimed the queen, indignantly; "read, I
command you, for I am resolved that everything shall be
finished to-night and never will I recur to this subject
again. Do you think," she said, with a ghastly smile, "that
I shall be inclined to reopen this coffer to answer any
future accusations?"

Mazarin, overcome by this determination, read the two
letters. In one the queen asked for the ornaments back
again. This letter had been conveyed by D'Artagnan and had
arrived in time. The other was that which Laporte had placed
in the hands of the Duke of Buckingham, warning him that he
was about to be assassinated; that communication had arrived
too late.

"It is well, madame," said Mazarin; "nothing can gainsay
such testimony."

"Sir," replied the queen, closing the coffer and leaning her
hand upon it, "if there is anything to be said, it is that I
have always been ungrateful to the brave men who saved me --
that I have given nothing to that gallant officer,
D'Artagnan, you were speaking of just now, but my hand to
kiss and this diamond."

As she spoke she extended her beautiful hand to the cardinal
and showed him a superb diamond which sparkled on her

"It appears," she resumed, "that he sold it ---he sold it in
order to save me another time -- to be able to send a
messenger to the duke to warn him of his danger -- he sold
it to Monsieur des Essarts, on whose finger I remarked it. I
bought it from him, but it belongs to D'Artagnan. Give it
back to him, sir, and since you have such a man in your
service, make him useful."

"Thank you, madame," said Mazarin. "I will profit by the

"And now," added the queen, her voice broken by her emotion,
"have you any other question to ask me?"

"Nothing," -- the cardinal spoke in his most conciliatory
manner -- "except to beg of you to forgive my unworthy
suspicions. I love you so tenderly that I cannot help being
jealous, even of the past."

A smile, which was indefinable, passed over the lips of the

"Since you have no further interrogations to make, leave me,
I beseech you," she said. "I wish, after such a scene, to be

Mazarin bent low before her.

"I will retire, madame. Do you permit me to return?"

"Yes, to-morrow."

The cardinal took the queen's hand and pressed it with an
air of gallantry to his lips.

Scarcely had he left her when the queen went into her son's
room, and inquired from Laporte if the king was in bed.
Laporte pointed to the child, who was asleep.

Anne ascended the steps side of the bed and softly kissed
the placid forehead of her son; then she retired as silently
as she had come, merely saying to Laporte:

"Try, my dear Laporte, to make the king more courteous to
Monsieur le Cardinal, to whom both he and I are under such
important obligations."


The Gascon and the Italian.

Meanwhile the cardinal returned to his own room; and after
asking Bernouin, who stood at the door, whether anything had
occurred during his absence, and being answered in the
negative, he desired that he might be left alone.

When he was alone he opened the door of the corridor and
then that of the ante-chamber. There D'Artagnan was asleep
upon a bench.

The cardinal went up to him and touched his shoulder.
D'Artagnan started, awakened himself, and as he awoke, stood
up exactly like a soldier under arms.

"Here I am," said he. "Who calls me?"

"I," said Mazarin, with his most smiling expression.

"I ask pardon of your eminence," said D'Artagnan, "but I was
so fatigued ---- "

"Don't ask my pardon, monsieur," said Mazarin, "for you
fatigued yourself in my service."

D'Artagnan admired Mazarin's gracious manner. "Ah," said he,
between his teeth, "is there truth in the proverb that
fortune comes while one sleeps?"

"Follow me, monsieur," said Mazarin.

"Come, come," murmured D'Artagnan, "Rochefort has kept his
promise, but where in the devil is he?" And he searched the
cabinet even to the smallest recesses, but there was no sign
of Rochefort.

"Monsieur d'Artagnan," said the cardinal, sitting down on a
fauteuil, "you have always seemed to me to be a brave and
honorable man."

"Possibly," thought D'Artagnan, "but he has taken a long
time to let me know his thoughts;" nevertheless, he bowed to
the very ground in gratitude for Mazarin's compliment.

"Well," continued Mazarin, "the time has come to put to use
your talents and your valor."

There was a sudden gleam of joy in the officer's eyes, which
vanished immediately, for he knew nothing of Mazarin's

"Order, my lord," he said; "I am ready to obey your

"Monsieur d'Artagnan," continued the cardinal, "you
performed sundry superb exploits in the last reign."

"Your eminence is too good to remember such trifles in my
favor. It is true I fought with tolerable success."

"I don't speak of your warlike exploits, monsieur," said
Mazarin; "although they gained you much reputation, they
were surpassed by others."

D'Artagnan pretended astonishment.

"Well, you do not reply?" resumed Mazarin.

"I am waiting, my lord, till you tell me of what exploits
you speak."

"I speak of the adventure -- Eh, you know well what I mean."

"Alas, no, my lord!" replied D'Artagnan, surprised.

"You are discreet -- so much the better. I speak of that
adventure in behalf of the queen, of the ornaments, of the
journey you made with three of your friends."

"Aha!" thought the Gascon; "is this a snare or not? Let me
be on my guard."

And he assumed a look of stupidity which Mendori or
Bellerose, two of the first actors of the day, might have

"Bravo!" cried Mazarin; "they told me that you were the man
I wanted. Come, let us see what you will do for me."

"Everything that your eminence may please to command me,"
was the reply.

"You will do for me what you have done for the queen?"

"Certainly," D'Artagnan said to himself, "he wishes to make
me speak out. He's not more cunning than De Richelieu was!
Devil take him!" Then he said aloud:

"The queen, my lord? I don't comprehend."

"You don't comprehend that I want you and your three friends
to be of use to me?"

"Which of my friends, my lord?"

"Your three friends -- the friends of former days."

"Of former days, my lord! In former days I had not only
three friends, I had thirty; at two-and-twenty one calls
every man one's friend."

"Well, sir," returned Mazarin, "prudence is a fine thing,
but to-day you might regret having been too prudent."

"My lord, Pythagoras made his disciples keep silence for
five years that they might learn to hold their tongues."

"But you have been silent for twenty years, sir. Speak, now
the queen herself releases you from your promise."

"The queen!" said D'Artagnan, with an astonishment which
this time was not pretended.

"Yes, the queen! And as a proof of what I say she commanded
me to show you this diamond, which she thinks you know."

And so saying, Mazarin extended his hand to the officer, who
sighed as he recognized the ring so gracefully given to him
by the queen on the night of the ball at the Hotel de Ville
and which she had repurchased from Monsieur des Essarts.

"'Tis true. I remember well that diamond, which belonged to
the queen."

"You see, then, that I speak to you in the queen's name.
Answer me without acting as if you were on the stage; your
interests are concerned in your so doing."

"Faith, my lord, it is very necessary for me to make my
fortune, your eminence has so long forgotten me."

"We need only a week to amend all that. Come, you are
accounted for, you are here, but where are your friends?"

"I do not know, my lord. We have parted company this long
time; all three have left the service."

"Where can you find them, then?"

"Wherever they are, that's my business."

"Well, now, what are your conditions, if I employ you?"

"Money, my lord, as much money as what you wish me to
undertake will require. I remember too well how sometimes we
were stopped for want of money, and but for that diamond,
which I was obliged to sell, we should have remained on the

"The devil he does! Money! and a large sum!" said Mazarin.
"Pray, are you aware that the king has no money in his

"Do then as I did, my lord. Sell the crown diamonds. Trust
me, don't let us try to do things cheaply. Great
undertakings come poorly off with paltry means."

"Well," returned Mazarin, "we will satisfy you."

"Richelieu," thought D'Artagnan, "would have given me five
hundred pistoles in advance."

"You will then be at my service?" asked Mazarin.

"Yes, if my friends agree."

"But if they refuse can I count on you?"

"I have never accomplished anything alone," said D'Artagnan,
shaking his head.

"Go, then, and find them."

"What shall I say to them by way of inducement to serve your

"You know them better than I. Adapt your promises to their
respective characters."

"What shall I promise?"

"That if they serve me as well as they served the queen my
gratitude shall be magnificent."

"But what are we to do?"

"Make your mind easy; when the time for action comes you
shall be put in full possession of what I require from you;
wait till that time arrives and find out your friends."

"My lord, perhaps they are not in Paris. It is even probable
that I shall have to make a journey. I am only a lieutenant
of musketeers, very poor, and journeys cost money.

"My intention," said Mazarin, "is not that you go with a
great following; my plans require secrecy, and would be
jeopardized by a too extravagant equipment."

"Still, my lord, I can't travel on my pay, for it is now
three months behind; and I can't travel on my savings, for
in my twenty-two years of service I have accumulated nothing
but debts."

Mazarin remained some moments in deep thought, as if he were
fighting with himself; then, going to a large cupboard
closed with a triple lock, he took from it a bag of silver,
and weighing it twice in his hands before he gave it to

"Take this," he said with a sigh, "'tis merely for your

"If these are Spanish doubloons, or even gold crowns,"
thought D'Artagnan, "we shall yet be able to do business
together." He saluted the cardinal and plunged the bag into
the depths of an immense pocket.

"Well, then, all is settled; you are to set off," said the

"Yes, my lord."

"Apropos, what are the names of your friends?"

"The Count de la Fere, formerly styled Athos; Monsieur du
Vallon, whom we used to call Porthos; the Chevalier
d'Herblay, now the Abbe d'Herblay, whom we styled Aramis
---- "

The cardinal smiled.

"Younger sons," he said, "who enlisted in the musketeers
under feigned names in order not to lower their family
names. Long swords but light purses. Was that it?"

"If, God willing, these swords should be devoted to the
service of your eminence," said D'Artagnan, "I shall venture
to express a wish, which is, that in its turn the purse of
your eminence may become light and theirs heavy -- for with
these three men your eminence may rouse all Europe if you

"These Gascons," said the cardinal, laughing, "almost beat
the Italians in effrontery."

"At all events," answered D'Artagnan, with a smile almost as
crafty as the cardinal's, "they beat them when they draw
their swords."

He then withdrew, and as he passed into the courtyard he
stopped near a lamp and dived eagerly into the bag of money.

"Crown pieces only -- silver pieces! I suspected it. Ah!
Mazarin! Mazarin! thou hast no confidence in me! so much the
worse for thee, for harm may come of it!"

Meanwhile the cardinal was rubbing his hands in great

"A hundred pistoles! a hundred pistoles! for a hundred
pistoles I have discovered a secret for which Richelieu
would have paid twenty thousand crowns; without reckoning
the value of that diamond" -- he cast a complacent look at
the ring, which he had kept, instead of restoring to
D'Artagnan -- "which is worth, at least, ten thousand

He returned to his room, and after depositing the ring in a
casket filled with brilliants of every sort, for the
cardinal was a connoisseur in precious stones, he called to
Bernouin to undress him, regardless of the noises of
gun-fire that, though it was now near midnight, continued to
resound through Paris.

In the meantime D'Artagnan took his way toward the Rue
Tiquetonne, where he lived at the Hotel de la Chevrette.

We will explain in a few words how D'Artagnan had been led
to choose that place of residence.


D'Artagnan in his Fortieth Year.

Years have elapsed, many events have happened, alas! since,
in our romance of "The Three Musketeers," we took leave of
D'Artagnan at No. 12 Rue des Fossoyeurs. D'Artagnan had not
failed in his career, but circumstances had been adverse to
him. So long as he was surrounded by his friends he retained
his youth and the poetry of his character. He was one of
those fine, ingenuous natures which assimilate themselves
easily to the dispositions of others. Athos imparted to him
his greatness of soul, Porthos his enthusiasm, Aramis his
elegance. Had D'Artagnan continued his intimacy with these
three men he would have become a superior character. Athos
was the first to leave him, in order that he might retire to
a little property he had inherited near Blois; Porthos, the
second, to marry an attorney's wife; and lastly, Aramis, the
third, to take orders and become an abbe. From that day
D'Artagnan felt lonely and powerless, without courage to
pursue a career in which he could only distinguish himself
on condition that each of his three companions should endow
him with one of the gifts each had received from Heaven.

Notwithstanding his commission in the musketeers, D'Artagnan
felt completely solitary. For a time the delightful
remembrance of Madame Bonancieux left on his character a
certain poetic tinge, perishable indeed; for like all other
recollections in this world, these impressions were, by
degrees, effaced. A garrison life is fatal even to the most
aristocratic organization; and imperceptibly, D'Artagnan,
always in the camp, always on horseback, always in garrison,
became (I know not how in the present age one would express
it) a typical trooper. His early refinement of character was
not only not lost, it grew even greater than ever; but it
was now applied to the little, instead of to the great
things of life -- to the martial condition of the soldier --
comprised under the head of a good lodging, a rich table, a
congenial hostess. These important advantages D'Artagnan
found to his own taste in the Rue Tiquetonne at the sign of
the Roe.

From the time D'Artagnan took quarters in that hotel, the
mistress of the house, a pretty and fresh looking Flemish
woman, twenty-five or twenty-six years old, had been
singularly interested in him; and after certain love
passages, much obstructed by an inconvenient husband to whom
a dozen times D'Artagnan had made a pretence of passing a
sword through his body, that husband had disappeared one
fine morning, after furtively selling certain choice lots of
wine, carrying away with him money and jewels. He was
thought to be dead; his wife, especially, who cherished the
pleasing idea that she was a widow, stoutly maintained that
death had taken him. Therefore, after the connection had
continued three years, carefully fostered by D'Artagnan, who
found his bed and his mistress more agreeable every year,
each doing credit to the other, the mistress conceived the
extraordinary desire of becoming a wife and proposed to
D'Artagnan that he should marry her.

"Ah, fie!" D'Artagnan replied. "Bigamy, my dear! Come now,
you don't really wish it?"

"But he is dead; I am sure of it."

"He was a very contrary fellow and might come back on
purpose to have us hanged."

"All right; if he comes back you will kill him, you are so
skillful and so brave."

"Peste! my darling! another way of getting hanged."

"So you refuse my request?"

"To be sure I do -- furiously!"

The pretty landlady was desolate. She would have taken
D'Artagnan not only as her husband, but as her God, he was
so handsome and had so fierce a mustache.

Then along toward the fourth year came the expedition of
Franche-Comte. D'Artagnan was assigned to it and made his
preparations to depart. There were then great griefs, tears
without end and solemn promises to remain faithful -- all of
course on the part of the hostess. D'Artagnan was too grand
to promise anything; he purposed only to do all that he
could to increase the glory of his name.

As to that, we know D'Artagnan's courage; he exposed himself
freely to danger and while charging at the head of his
company he received a ball through the chest which laid him
prostrate on the field of battle. He had been seen falling
from his horse and had not been seen to rise; every one,
therefore, believed him to be dead, especially those to whom
his death would give promotion. One believes readily what he
wishes to believe. Now in the army, from the
division-generals who desire the death of the
general-in-chief, to the soldiers who desire the death of
the corporals, all desire some one's death.

But D'Artagnan was not a man to let himself be killed like
that. After he had remained through the heat of the day
unconscious on the battle-field, the cool freshness of the
night brought him to himself. He gained a village, knocked
at the door of the finest house and was received as the
wounded are always and everywhere received in France. He was
petted, tended, cured; and one fine morning, in better
health than ever before, he set out for France. Once in
France he turned his course toward Paris, and reaching Paris
went straight to Rue Tiquetonne.

But D'Artagnan found in his chamber the personal equipment
of a man, complete, except for the sword, arranged along the

"He has returned," said he. "So much the worse, and so much
the better!"

It need not be said that D'Artagnan was still thinking of
the husband. He made inquiries and discovered that the
servants were new and that the mistress had gone for a walk.

"Alone?" asked D'Artagnan.

"With monsieur."

"Monsieur has returned, then?"

"Of course," naively replied the servant.

"If I had any money," said D'Artagnan to himself, "I would
go away; but I have none. I must stay and follow the advice
of my hostess, while thwarting the conjugal designs of this
inopportune apparition."

He had just completed this monologue -- which proves that in
momentous circumstances nothing is more natural than the
monologue -- when the servant-maid, watching at the door,
suddenly cried out:

"Ah! see! here is madame returning with monsieur."

D'Artagnan looked out and at the corner of Rue Montmartre
saw the hostess coming along hanging to the arm of an
enormous Swiss, who tiptoed in his walk with a magnificent
air which pleasantly reminded him of his old friend Porthos.

"Is that monsieur?" said D'Artagnan to himself. "Oh! oh! he
has grown a good deal, it seems to me." And he sat down in
the hall, choosing a conspicuous place.

The hostess, as she entered, saw D'Artagnan and uttered a
little cry, whereupon D'Artagnan, judging that he had been
recognized, rose, ran to her and embraced her tenderly. The
Swiss, with an air of stupefaction, looked at the hostess,
who turned pale.

"Ah, it is you, monsieur! What do you want of me?" she
asked, in great distress.

"Is monsieur your cousin? Is monsieur your brother?" said
D'Artagnan, not in the slightest degree embarrassed in the
role he was playing. And without waiting for her reply he
threw himself into the arms of the Helvetian, who received
him with great coldness.

"Who is that man?" he asked.

The hostess replied only by gasps.

"Who is that Swiss?" asked D'Artagnan.

"Monsieur is going to marry me," replied the hostess,
between two gasps.

"Your husband, then, is at last dead?"

"How does that concern you?" replied the Swiss.

"It concerns me much," said D'Artagnan, "since you cannot
marry madame without my consent and since ---- "

"And since?" asked the Swiss.

"And since -- I do not give it," said the musketeer.

The Swiss became as purple as a peony. He wore his elegant
uniform, D'Artagnan was wrapped in a sort of gray cloak; the
Swiss was six feet high, D'Artagnan was hardly more than
five; the Swiss considered himself on his own ground and
regarded D'Artagnan as an intruder.

"Will you go away from here?" demanded the Swiss, stamping
violently, like a man who begins to be seriously angry.

"I? By no means!" said D'Artagnan.

"Some one must go for help," said a lad, who could not
comprehend that this little man should make a stand against
that other man, who was so large.

D'Artagnan, with a sudden accession of wrath, seized the lad
by the ear and led him apart, with the injunction:

"Stay you where you are and don't you stir, or I will pull
this ear off. As for you, illustrious descendant of William
Tell, you will straightway get together your clothes which
are in my room and which annoy me, and go out quickly to
another lodging."

The Swiss began to laugh boisterously. "I go out?" he said.
"And why?"

"Ah, very well!" said D'Artagnan; "I see that you understand
French. Come then, and take a turn with me and I will

The hostess, who knew D'Artagnan's skill with the sword,
began to weep and tear her hair. D'Artagnan turned toward
her, saying, "Then send him away, madame."

"Pooh!" said the Swiss, who had needed a little time to take
in D'Artagnan's proposal, "pooh! who are you, in the first
place, to ask me to take a turn with you?"

"I am lieutenant in his majesty's musketeers," said
D'Artagnan, "and consequently your superior in everything;
only, as the question now is not of rank, but of quarters --
you know the custom -- come and seek for yours; the first to
return will recover his chamber."

D'Artagnan led away the Swiss in spite of lamentations on
the part of the hostess, who in reality found her heart
inclining toward her former lover, though she would not have
been sorry to give a lesson to that haughty musketeer who
had affronted her by the refusal of her hand.

It was night when the two adversaries reached the field of
battle. D'Artagnan politely begged the Swiss to yield to him
the disputed chamber; the Swiss refused by shaking his head,
and drew his sword.

"Then you will lie here," said D'Artagnan. "It is a wretched
bed, but that is not my fault, and it is you who have chosen
it." With these words he drew in his turn and crossed swords
with his adversary.

He had to contend against a strong wrist, but his agility
was superior to all force. The Swiss received two wounds and
was not aware of it, by reason of the cold; but suddenly
feebleness, occasioned by loss of blood, obliged him to sit

"There!" said: D'Artagnan, "what did I tell you?
Fortunately, you won't be laid up more than a fortnight.
Remain here and I will send you your clothes by the boy.
Good-by! Oh, by the way, you'd better take lodging in the
Rue Montorgueil at the Chat Qui Pelote. You will be well fed
there, if the hostess remains the same. Adieu."

Thereupon he returned in a lively mood to his room and sent
to the Swiss the things that belonged to him. The boy found
him sitting where D'Artagnan had left him, still overwhelmed
by the coolness of his adversary.

The boy, the hostess, and all the house had the same regard
for D'Artagnan that one would have for Hercules should he
return to earth to repeat his twelve labors.

But when he was alone with the hostess he said: "Now, pretty
Madeleine, you know the difference between a Swiss and a
gentleman. As for you, you have acted like a barmaid. So
much the worse for you, for by such conduct you have lost my
esteem and my patronage. I have driven away the Swiss to
humiliate you, but I shall lodge here no longer. I will not
sleep where I must scorn. Ho, there, boy! Have my valise
carried to the Muid d'Amour, Rue des Bourdonnais. Adieu,

In saying these words D'Artagnan appeared at the same time
majestic and grieved. The hostess threw herself at his feet,
asked his pardon and held him back with a sweet violence.
What more need be said? The spit turned, the stove roared,
the pretty Madeleine wept; D'Artagnan felt himself invaded
by hunger, cold and love. He pardoned, and having pardoned
he remained.

And this explains how D'Artagnan had quarters in the Rue
Tiquetonne, at the Hotel de la Chevrette.

D'Artagnan then returned home in thoughtful mood, finding a
somewhat lively pleasure in carrying Mazarin's bag of money
and thinking of that fine diamond which he had once called
his own and which he had seen on the minister's finger that

"Should that diamond ever fall into my hands again," he
reflected, "I would turn it at once into money; I would buy
with the proceeds certain lands around my father's chateau,
which is a pretty place, well enough, but with no land to it
at all, except a garden about the size of the Cemetery des
Innocents; and I should wait in all my glory till some rich
heiress, attracted by my good looks, rode along to marry me.
Then I should like to have three sons; I should make the
first a nobleman, like Athos; the second a good soldier,
like Porthos; the third an excellent abbe, like Aramis.
Faith! that would be a far better life than I lead now; but
Monsieur Mazarin is a mean wretch, who won't dispossess
himself of his diamond in my favor."

On entering the Rue Tiquetonne he heard a tremendous noise
and found a dense crowd near the house.

"Oho!" said he, "is the hotel on fire?" On approaching the
hotel of the Roe he found, however, that it was in front of
the next house the mob was collected. The people were
shouting and running about with torches. By the light of one
of these torches D'Artagnan perceived men in uniform.

He asked what was going on.

He was told that twenty citizens, headed by one man, had
attacked a carriage which was escorted by a troop of the
cardinal's bodyguard; but a reinforcement having come up,
the assailants had been put to flight and the leader had
taken refuge in the hotel next to his lodgings; the house
was now being searched.

In his youth D'Artagnan had often headed the bourgeoisie
against the military, but he was cured of all those
hot-headed propensities; besides, he had the cardinal's
hundred pistoles in his pocket, so he went into the hotel
without a word. There he found Madeleine alarmed for his
safety and anxious to tell him all the events of the
evening, but he cut her short by ordering her to put his
supper in his room and give him with it a bottle of good

He took his key and candle and went upstairs to his bedroom.
He had been contented, for the convenience of the house, to
lodge in the fourth story; and truth obliges us even to
confess that his chamber was just above the gutter and below
the roof. His first care on entering it was to lock up in an
old bureau with a new lock his bag of money, and then as
soon as supper was ready he sent away the waiter who brought
it up and sat down to table.

Not to reflect on what had passed, as one might fancy. No,
D'Artagnan considered that things are never well done when
they are not reserved to their proper time. He was hungry;
he supped, he went to bed. Neither was he one of those who
think that the necessary silence of the night brings counsel
with it. In the night he slept, but in the morning,
refreshed and calm, he was inspired with his clearest views
of everything. It was long since he had any reason for his
morning's inspiration, but he always slept all night long.
At daybreak he awoke and took a turn around his room.

"In '43," he said, "just before the death of the late
cardinal, I received a letter from Athos. Where was I then?
Let me see. Oh! at the siege of Besancon I was in the
trenches. He told me -- let me think -- what was it? That he
was living on a small estate -- but where? I was just
reading the name of the place when the wind blew my letter
away, I suppose to the Spaniards; there's no use in thinking
any more about Athos. Let me see: with regard to Porthos, I
received a letter from him, too. He invited me to a hunting
party on his property in the month of September, 1646.
Unluckily, as I was then in Bearn, on account of my father's
death, the letter followed me there. I had left Bearn when
it arrived and I never received it until the month of April,
1647; and as the invitation was for September, 1646, I
couldn't accept it. Let me look for this letter; it must be
with my title deeds."

D'Artagnan opened an old casket which stood in a corner of
the room, and which was full of parchments referring to an
estate during a period of two hundred years lost to his
family. He uttered an exclamation of delight, for the large
handwriting of Porthos was discernible, and underneath some
lines traced by his worthy spouse.

D'Artagnan eagerly searched for the heading of this letter;
it was dated from the Chateau du Vallon.

Porthos had forgotten that any other address was necessary;
in his pride he fancied that every one must know the Chateau
du Vallon.

"Devil take the vain fellow," said D'Artagnan. "However, I
had better find him out first, since he can't want money.
Athos must have become an idiot by this time from drinking.
Aramis must have worn himself to a shadow of his former self
by constant genuflexion."

He cast his eyes again on the letter. There was a

"I write by the same courier to our worthy friend Aramis in
his convent."

"In his convent! What convent? There are about two hundred
in Paris and three thousand in France; and then, perhaps, on
entering the convent he changed his name. Ah! if I were but
learned in theology I should recollect what it was he used
to dispute about with the curate of Montdidier and the
superior of the Jesuits, when we were at Crevecoeur; I
should know what doctrine he leans to and I should glean
from that what saint he has adopted as his patron.

"Well, suppose I go back to the cardinal and ask him for a
passport into all the convents one can find, even into the
nunneries? It would be a curious idea, and maybe I should
find my friend under the name of Achilles. But, no! I should
lose myself in the cardinal's opinion. Great people only
thank you for doing the impossible; what's possible, they
say, they can effect themselves, and they are right. But let
us wait a little and reflect. I received a letter from him,
the dear fellow, in which he even asked me for some small
service, which, in fact, I rendered him. Yes, yes; but now
what did I do with that letter?"

D'Artagnan thought a moment and then went to the wardrobe in
which hung his old clothes. He looked for his doublet of the
year 1648 and as he had orderly habits, he found it hanging
on its nail. He felt in the pocket and drew from it a paper;
it was the letter of Aramis:

"Monsieur D'Artagnan: You know that I have had a quarrel
with a certain gentleman, who has given me an appointment
for this evening in the Place Royale. As I am of the church,
and the affair might injure me if I should share it with any
other than a sure friend like you, I write to beg that you
will serve me as second.

"You will enter by the Rue Neuve Sainte Catherine; under the
second lamp on the right you will find your adversary. I
shall be with mine under the third.

"Wholly yours,


D'Artagnan tried to recall his remembrances. He had gone to
the rendezvous, had encountered there the adversary
indicated, whose name he had never known, had given him a
pretty sword-stroke on the arm, then had gone toward Aramis,
who at the same time came to meet him, having already
finished his affair. "It is over," Aramis had said. "I think
I have killed the insolent fellow. But, dear friend, if you
ever need me you know that I am entirely devoted to you."
Thereupon Aramis had given him a clasp of the hand and had
disappeared under the arcades.

So, then, he no more knew where Aramis was than where Athos
and Porthos were, and the affair was becoming a matter of
great perplexity, when he fancied he heard a pane of glass
break in his room window. He thought directly of his bag and
rushed from the inner room where he was sleeping. He was not
mistaken; as he entered his bedroom a man was getting in by
the window.

"Ah! you scoundrel!" cried D'Artagnan, taking the man for a
thief and seizing his sword.

"Sir!" cried the man, "in the name of Heaven put your sword
back into the sheath and don't kill me unheard. I'm no
thief, but an honest citizen, well off in the world, with a
house of my own. My name is -- ah! but surely you are
Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

"And thou -- Planchet!" cried the lieutenant.

"At your service, sir," said Planchet, overwhelmed with joy;
"if I were still capable of serving you."

"Perhaps so," replied D'Artagnan. "But why the devil dost
thou run about the tops of houses at seven o'clock of the
morning in the month of January?"

"Sir," said Planchet, "you must know; but, perhaps you ought
not to know ---- "

"Tell us what," returned D'Artagnan, "but first put a napkin
against the window and draw the curtains."

"Sir," said the prudent Planchet, "in the first place, are
you on good terms with Monsieur de Rochefort?"

"Perfectly; one of my dearest friends."

"Ah! so much the better!"

"But what has De Rochefort to do with this manner you have
of invading my room?"

"Ah, sir! I must first tell you that Monsieur de Rochefort
is ---- "

Planchet hesitated.

"Egad, I know where he is," said D'Artagnan. "He's in the

"That is to say, he was there," replied Planchet. "But in
returning thither last night, when fortunately you did not
accompany him, as his carriage was crossing the Rue de la
Ferronnerie his guards insulted the people, who began to
abuse them. The prisoner thought this a good opportunity for
escape; he called out his name and cried for help. I was
there. I heard the name of Rochefort. I remembered him well.
I said in a loud voice that he was a prisoner, a friend of
the Duc de Beaufort, who called for help. The people were
infuriated; they stopped the horses and cut the escort to
pieces, whilst I opened the doors of the carriage and
Monsieur de Rochefort jumped out and soon was lost amongst
the crowd. At this moment a patrol passed by. I was obliged
to sound a retreat toward the Rue Tiquetonne; I was pursued
and took refuge in the house next to this, where I have been
concealed between two mattresses. This morning I ventured to
run along the gutters and ---- "

"Well," interrupted D'Artagnan, "I am delighted that De
Rochefort is free, but as for thee, if thou shouldst fall
into the hands of the king's servants they will hang thee
without mercy. Nevertheless, I promise thee thou shalt be
hidden here, though I risk by concealing thee neither more
nor less than my lieutenancy, if it was found out that I
gave one rebel an asylum."

"Ah! sir, you know well I would risk my life for you."

"Thou mayst add that thou hast risked it, Planchet. I have
not forgotten all I owe thee. Sit down there and eat in
security. I see thee cast expressive glances at the remains
of my supper."

"Yes, sir; for all I've had since yesterday was a slice of
bread and butter, with preserves on it. Although I don't
despise sweet things in proper time and place, I found the
supper rather light."

"Poor fellow!" said D'Artagnan. "Well, come; set to."

"Ah, sir, you are going to save my life a second time!"
cried Planchet.

And he seated himself at the table and ate as he did in the
merry days of the Rue des Fossoyeurs, whilst D'Artagnan
walked to and fro and thought how he could make use of
Planchet under present circumstances. While he turned this
over in his mind Planchet did his best to make up for lost
time at table. At last he uttered a sigh of satisfaction and
paused, as if he had partially appeased his hunger.

"Come," said D'Artagnan, who thought that it was now a
convenient time to begin his interrogations, "dost thou know
where Athos is?"

"No, sir," replied Planchet.

"The devil thou dost not! Dost know where Porthos is?"

"No -- not at all."

"And Aramis?"

"Not in the least."

"The devil! the devil! the devil!"

"But, sir," said Planchet, with a look of shrewdness, "I
know where Bazin is."

"Where is he?"

"At Notre Dame."

"What has he to do at Notre Dame?"

"He is beadle."

"Bazin beadle at Notre Dame! He must know where his master

"Without a doubt he must."

D'Artagnan thought for a moment, then took his sword and put
on his cloak to go out.

"Sir," said Planchet, in a mournful tone, "do you abandon me
thus to my fate? Think, if I am found out here, the people
of the house, who have not seen me enter it, will take me
for a thief."

"True," said D'Artagnan. "Let's see. Canst thou speak any

"I can do something better than that, sir, I can speak

"Where the devil didst thou learn it?"

"In Artois, where I fought for years. Listen, sir. Goeden
morgen, mynheer, eth teen begeeray le weeten the ge sond
heets omstand."

"Which means?"

"Good-day, sir! I am anxious to know the state of your

"He calls that a language! But never mind, that will do

D'Artagnan opened the door and called out to a waiter to
desire Madeleine to come upstairs.

When the landlady made her appearance she expressed much
astonishment at seeing Planchet.

"My dear landlady," said D'Artagnan, "I beg to introduce to
you your brother, who is arrived from Flanders and whom I am
going to take into my service."

"My brother?"

"Wish your sister good-morning, Master Peter."

"Wilkom, suster," said Planchet.

"Goeden day, broder," replied the astonished landlady.

"This is the case," said D'Artagnan; "this is your brother,
Madeleine; you don't know him perhaps, but I know him; he
has arrived from Amsterdam. You must dress him up during my
absence. When I return, which will be in about an hour, you
must offer him to me as a servant, and upon your
recommendation, though he doesn't speak a word of French, I
take him into my service. You understand?"

"That is to say, I guess your wishes, and that is all that's
necessary," said Madeleine.

"You are a precious creature, my pretty hostess, and I am
much obliged to you."

The next moment D'Artagnan was on his way to Notre Dame.


Touches upon the Strange Effects a Half-pistole may have
upon a Beadle and a Chorister.

D'Artagnan, as he crossed the Pont Neuf, congratulated
himself on having found Planchet again, for at that time an
intelligent servant was essential to him; nor was he sorry
that through Planchet and the situation which he held in Rue
des Lombards, a connection with the bourgeoisie might be
commenced, at that critical period when that class were
preparing to make war with the court party. It was like
having a spy in the enemy's camp. In this frame of mind,
grateful for the accidental meeting with Planchet, pleased
with himself, D'Artagnan reached Notre Dame. He ran up the
steps, entered the church, and addressing a verger who was
sweeping the chapel, asked him if he knew Monsieur Bazin.

"Monsieur Bazin, the beadle?" said the verger. "Yes. There
he is, attending mass, in the chapel of the Virgin."

D'Artagnan nearly jumped for joy; he had despaired of
finding Bazin, but now, he thought, since he held one end of
the thread he would be pretty sure to reach the other end.

He knelt down just opposite the chapel in order not to lose
sight of his man; and as he had almost forgotten his prayers
and had omitted to take a book with him, he made use of his
time in gazing at Bazin.

Bazin wore his dress, it may be observed, with equal dignity
and saintly propriety. It was not difficult to understand
that he had gained the crown of his ambition and that the
silver-mounted wand he brandished was in his eyes as
honorable a distinction as the marshal's baton which Conde
threw, or did not throw, into the enemy's line of battle at
Fribourg. His person had undergone a change, analogous to
the change in his dress; his figure had grown rotund and, as
it were, canonical. The striking points of his face were
effaced; he had still a nose, but his cheeks, fattened out,
each took a portion of it unto themselves; his chin had
joined his throat; his eyes were swelled up with the
puffiness of his cheeks; his hair, cut straight in holy
guise, covered his forehead as far as his eyebrows.

The officiating priest was just finishing mass whilst
D'Artagnan was looking at Bazin; he pronounced the words of
the holy Sacrament and retired, giving the benediction,
which was received by the kneeling communicants, to the
astonishment of D'Artagnan, who recognized in the priest the
coadjutor* himself, the famous Jean Francois Gondy, who at
that time, having a presentiment of the part he was to play,
was beginning to court popularity by almsgiving. It was to
this end that he performed from time to time some of those
early masses which the common people, generally, alone

*A sacerdotal officer.

D'Artagnan knelt as well as the rest, received his share of
the benediction and made the sign of the cross; but when
Bazin passed in his turn, with his eyes raised to Heaven and
walking, in all humility, the very last, D'Artagnan pulled
him by the hem of his robe.

Bazin looked down and started, as if he had seen a serpent.

"Monsieur d'Artagnan!" he cried; "Vade retro Satanas!"

"So, my dear Bazin!" said the officer, laughing, "this is
the way you receive an old friend."

"Sir," replied Bazin, "the true friends of a Christian are
those who aid him in working out his salvation, not those
who hinder him in doing so."

"I don't understand you, Bazin; nor can I see how I can be a
stumbling-block in the way of your salvation," said

"You forget, sir, that you very nearly ruined forever that
of my master; and that it was owing to you that he was very
nearly being damned eternally for remaining a musketeer,
whilst all the time his true vocation was the church."

"My dear Bazin, you ought to perceive," said D'Artagnan,
"from the place in which you find me, that I am greatly
changed in everything. Age produces good sense, and, as I
doubt not but that your master is on the road to salvation,
I want you to tell me where he is, that he may help me to

"Rather say, to take him back with you into the world.
Fortunately, I don't know where he is."

"How!" cried D'Artagnan; "you don't know where Aramis is?"

"Formerly," replied Bazin, "Aramis was his name of
perdition. By Aramis is meant Simara, which is the name of a
demon. Happily for him he has ceased to bear that name."

"And therefore," said D'Artagnan, resolved to be patient to
the end, "it is not Aramis I seek, but the Abbe d'Herblay.
Come, my dear Bazin, tell me where he is."

"Didn't you hear me tell you, Monsieur d'Artagnan, that I
don't know where he is?"

"Yes, certainly; but to that I answer that it is

"It is, nevertheless, the truth, monsieur -- the pure truth,
the truth of the good God."

D'Artagnan saw clearly that he would get nothing out of this
man, who was evidently telling a falsehood in his pretended
ignorance of the abode of Aramis, but whose lies were bold
and decided.

"Well, Bazin," said D'Artagnan, "since you do not know where
your master lives, let us speak of it no more; let us part
good friends. Accept this half-pistole to drink to my

"I do not drink" -- Bazin pushed away with dignity the
officer's hand -- "'tis good only for the laity."

"Incorruptible!" murmured D'Artagnan; "I am unlucky;" and
whilst he was lost in thought Bazin retreated toward the
sacristy, and even there he could not think himself safe
until he had shut and locked the door behind him.

D'Artagnan was still in deep thought when some one touched
him on the shoulder. He turned and was about to utter an
exclamation of surprise when the other made to him a sign of

"You here, Rochefort?" he said, in a low voice.

"Hush!" returned Rochefort. "Did you know that I am at

"I knew it from the fountain-head -- from Planchet. And what
brought you here?"

"I came to thank God for my happy deliverance," said

"And nothing more? I suppose that is not all."

"To take my orders from the coadjutor and to see if we
cannot wake up Mazarin a little."

"A bad plan; you'll be shut up again in the Bastile."

"Oh, as to that, I shall take care, I assure you. The air,
the fresh, free air is so good; besides," and Rochefort drew
a deep breath as he spoke, "I am going into the country to
make a tour."

"Stop," cried D'Artagnan; "I, too, am going."

"And if I may without impertinence ask -- where are you

"To seek my friends."

"What friends?"

"Those that you asked about yesterday."

"Athos, Porthos and Aramis -- you are looking for them?"


"On honor?"

"What, then, is there surprising in that?"

"Nothing. Queer, though. And in whose behalf are you looking
for them?"

"You are in no doubt on that score."

"That is true."

"Unfortunately, I have no idea where they are."

"And you have no way to get news of them? Wait a week and I
myself will give you some."

"A week is too long. I must find them within three days."

"Three days are a short time and France is large."

"No matter; you know the word must; with that word great
things are done."

"And when do you set out?"

"I am now on my road."

"Good luck to you."

"And to you -- a good journey."

"Perhaps we shall meet on our road."

"That is not probable."

"Who knows? Chance is so capricious. Adieu, till we meet
again! Apropos, should Mazarin speak to you about me, tell
him that I should have requested you to acquaint him that in
a short time he will see whether I am, as he says, too old
for action."

And Rochefort went away with one of those diabolical smiles
which used formerly to make D'Artagnan shudder, but
D'Artagnan could now see it without alarm, and smiling in
his turn, with an expression of melancholy which the
recollections called up by that smile could, perhaps, alone
give to his countenance, he said:

"Go, demon, do what thou wilt! It matters little now to me.
There's no second Constance in the world."

On his return to the cathedral, D'Artagnan saw Bazin, who
was conversing with the sacristan. Bazin was making, with
his spare little short arms, ridiculous gestures. D'Artagnan
perceived that he was enforcing prudence with respect to

D'Artagnan slipped out of the cathedral and placed himself
in ambuscade at the corner of the Rue des Canettes; it was
impossible that Bazin should go out of the cathedral without
his seeing him.

In five minutes Bazin made his appearance, looking in every
direction to see if he were observed, but he saw no one.
Calmed by appearances he ventured to walk on through the Rue
Notre Dame. Then D'Artagnan rushed out of his hiding place
and arrived in time to see Bazin turn down the Rue de la
Juiverie and enter, in the Rue de la Calandre, a respectable
looking house; and this D'Artagnan felt no doubt was the
habitation of the worthy beadle. Afraid of making any
inquiries at this house, D'Artagnan entered a small tavern
at the corner of the street and asked for a cup of hypocras.
This beverage required a good half-hour to prepare. And
D'Artagnan had time, therefore, to watch Bazin unsuspected.

He perceived in the tavern a pert boy between twelve and
fifteen years of age whom he fancied he had seen not twenty
minutes before under the guise of a chorister. He questioned
him, and as the boy had no interest in deceiving, D'Artagnan
learned that he exercised, from six o'clock in the morning
until nine, the office of chorister, and from nine o'clock
till midnight that of a waiter in the tavern.

Whilst he was talking to this lad a horse was brought to the
door of Bazin's house. It was saddled and bridled. Almost
immediately Bazin came downstairs.

"Look!" said the boy, "there's our beadle, who is going a

"And where is he going?" asked D'Artagnan.

"Forsooth, I don't know."

"Half a pistole if you can find out," said D'Artagnan.

"For me?" cried the boy, his eyes sparkling with joy, "if I
can find out where Bazin is going? That is not difficult.
You are not joking, are you?"

"No, on the honor of an officer; there is the half-pistole;"
and he showed him the seductive coin, but did not give it

"I shall ask him."

"Just the very way not to know. Wait till he is set out and
then, marry, come up, ask, and find out. The half-pistole is
ready," and he put it back again into his pocket.

"I understand," said the child, with that jeering smile
which marks especially the "gamin de Paris." "Well, we must

They had not long to wait. Five minutes afterward Bazin set
off on a full trot, urging on his horse by the blows of a
parapluie, which he was in the habit of using instead of a
riding whip.

Scarcely had he turned the corner of the Rue de la Juiverie
when the boy rushed after him like a bloodhound on full

Before ten minutes had elapsed the child returned.

"Well!" said D'Artagnan.

"Well!" answered the boy, "the thing is done."

"Where is he gone?"

"The half-pistole is for me?"

"Doubtless, answer me."

"I want to see it. Give it me, that I may see it is not

"There it is."

The child put the piece of money into his pocket.

"And now, where is he gone?" inquired D'Artagnan.

"He is gone to Noisy."

"How dost thou know?"

"Ah, faith! there was no great cunning necessary. I knew the
horse he rode; it belonged to the butcher, who lets it out
now and then to M. Bazin. Now I thought that the butcher
would not let his horse out like that without knowing where
it was going. And he answered `that Monsieur Bazin went to
Noisy.' 'Tis his custom. He goes two or three times a week."

"Dost thou know Noisy well?"

"I think so, truly; my nurse lives there."

"Is there a convent at Noisy?"

"Isn't there a great and grand one -- the convent of

"What is thy name?"


D'Artagnan wrote the child's name in his tablets.

"Please, sir," said the boy, "do you think I can gain any
more half-pistoles in any way?"

"Perhaps," replied D'Artagnan.

And having got out all he wanted, he paid for the hypocras,
which he did not drink, and went quickly back to the Rue


How D'Artagnan, on going to a Distance to discover Aramis,
discovers his old Friend on Horseback behind his own

On entering the hotel D'Artagnan saw a man sitting in a
corner by the fire. It was Planchet, but so completely
transformed, thanks to the old clothes that the departing
husband had left behind, that D'Artagnan himself could
hardly recognize him. Madeleine introduced him in presence
of all the servants. Planchet addressed the officer with a
fine Flemish phrase; the officer replied in words that
belonged to no language at all, and the bargain was
concluded; Madeleine's brother entered D'Artagnan's service.

The plan adopted by D'Artagnan was soon perfected. He
resolved not to reach Noisy in the day, for fear of being
recognized; he had therefore plenty of time before him, for
Noisy is only three or four leagues from Paris, on the road
to Meaux.

He began his day by breakfasting substantially -- a bad
beginning when one wants to employ the head, but an
excellent precaution when one wants to work the body; and
about two o'clock he had his two horses saddled, and
followed by Planchet he quitted Paris by the Barriere de la
Villete. A most active search was still prosecuted in the
house near the Hotel de la Chevrette for the discovery of

At about a league and a half from the city, D'Artagnan,
finding that in his impatience he had set out too soon,
stopped to give the horses breathing time. The inn was full
of disreputable looking people, who seemed as if they were
on the point of commencing some nightly expedition. A man,
wrapped in a cloak, appeared at the door, but seeing a
stranger he beckoned to his companions, and two men who were
drinking in the inn went out to speak to him.

D'Artagnan, on his side, went up to the landlady, praised
her wine -- which was a horrible production from the country
of Montreuil -- and heard from her that there were only two
houses of importance in the village; one of these belonged
to the Archbishop of Paris, and was at that time the abode
of his niece the Duchess of Longueville; the other was a
convent of Jesuits and was the property -- a by no means
unusual circumstance -- of these worthy fathers.

At four o'clock D'Artagnan recommenced his journey. He
proceeded slowly and in deep reverie. Planchet also was lost
in thought, but the subject of their reflections was not the

One word which their landlady had pronounced had given a
particular turn to D'Artagnan's deliberations; this was the
name of Madame de Longueville.

That name was indeed one to inspire imagination and produce
thought. Madame de Longueville was one of the highest ladies
in the realm; she was also one of the greatest beauties at
court. She had formerly been suspected of an intimacy of too
tender a nature with Coligny, who, for her sake, had been
killed in a duel, in the Place Royale, by the Duc de Guise.
She was now connected by bonds of a political nature with
the Prince de Marsillac, the eldest son of the old Duc de
Rochefoucauld, whom she was trying to inspire with an enmity
toward the Duc de Conde, her brother-in-law, whom she now
hated mortally.

D'Artagnan thought of all these matters. He remembered how
at the Louvre he had often seen, as she passed by him in the
full radiance of her dazzling charms, the beautiful Madame
de Longueville. He thought of Aramis, who, without
possessing any greater advantages than himself, had formerly
been the lover of Madame de Chevreuse, who had been to a
former court what Madame de Longueville was in that day; and
he wondered how it was that there should be in the world
people who succeed in every wish, some in ambition, others
in love, whilst others, either from chance, or from
ill-luck, or from some natural defect or impediment, remain
half-way upon the road toward fulfilment of their hopes and

He was confessing to himself that he belonged to the latter
unhappy class, when Planchet approached and said:

"I will lay a wager, your honor, that you and I are thinking
of the same thing."

"I doubt it, Planchet," replied D'Artagnan, "but what are
you thinking of?"

"I am thinking, sir, of those desperate looking men who were
drinking in the inn where we rested."

"Always cautious, Planchet."

"'Tis instinct, your honor."

"Well, what does your instinct tell you now?"

"Sir, my instinct told me that those people were assembled
there for some bad purpose; and I was reflecting on what my
instinct had told me, in the darkest corner of the stable,
when a man wrapped in a cloak and followed by two other men,
came in."

"Ah ah!" said D'Artagnan, Planchet's recital agreeing with
his own observations. "Well?"

"One of these two men said, `He must certainly be at Noisy,
or be coming there this evening, for I have seen his

"`Art thou sure? ' said the man in the cloak.

"`Yes, my prince.'"

"My prince!" interrupted D'Artagnan.

"Yes, `my prince;' but listen. `If he is here' -- this is
what the other man said -- `let's see decidedly what to do
with him.'

"`What to do with him?' answered the prince.

"`Yes, he's not a man to allow himself to be taken anyhow;
he'll defend himself.'

"`Well, we must try to take him alive. Have you cords to
bind him with and a gag to stop his mouth?'

"`We have.'

"`Remember that he will most likely be disguised as a

"`Yes, yes, my lord; don't be uneasy.'

"`Besides, I shall be there.'

"`You will assure us that justice ---- '

"`Yes, yes! I answer for all that,' the prince said.

"`Well, then, we'll do our best.' Having said that, they
went out of the stable."

"Well, what matters all that to us?" said D'Artagnan. "This
is one of those attempts that happen every day."

"Are you sure that we are not its objects?"

"We? Why?"

"Just remember what they said. `I have seen his servant,'
said one, and that applies very well to me."


"`He must certainly be at Noisy, or be coming there this
evening,' said the other; and that applies very well to

"What else?"

"Then the prince said: `Take notice that in all probability
he will be disguised as a cavalier;' which seems to me to
leave no room for doubt, since you are dressed as a cavalier
and not as an officer of musketeers. Now then, what do you
say to that?"

"Alas! my dear Planchet," said D'Artagnan, sighing, "we are
unfortunately no longer in those times in which princes
would care to assassinate me. Those were good old days;
never fear -- these people owe us no grudge."

"Is your honor sure?"

"I can answer for it they do not."

"Well, we won't speak of it any more, then;" and Planchet
took his place in D'Artagnan's suite with that sublime
confidence he had always had in his master, which even
fifteen years of separation had not destroyed.

They had traveled onward about half a mile when Planchet
came close up to D'Artagnan.

"Stop, sir, look yonder," he whispered; "don't you see in
the darkness something pass by, like shadows? I fancy I hear
horses' feet."

"Impossible!" returned D'Artagnan. "The ground is soaking
wet; yet I fancy, as thou sayest, that I see something."

At this moment the neighing of a horse struck his ear,
coming through darkness and space.

"There are men somewhere about, but that's of no consequence
to us," said D'Artagnan; "let us ride onward."

At about half-past eight o'clock they reached the first
houses in Noisy; every one was in bed and not a light was to
be seen in the village. The obscurity was broken only now
and then by the still darker lines of the roofs of houses.
Here and there a dog barked behind a door or an affrighted
cat fled precipitately from the midst of the pavement to
take refuge behind a pile of faggots, from which retreat her
eyes would shine like peridores. These were the only living
creatures that seemed to inhabit the village.

Toward the middle of the town, commanding the principal open
space, rose a dark mass, separated from the rest of the
world by two lanes and overshadowed in the front by enormous
lime-trees. D'Artagnan looked attentively at the building.

"This," he said to Planchet, "must be the archbishop's
chateau, the abode of the fair Madame de Longueville; but
the convent, where is that?"

"The convent, your honor, is at the other end of the
village; I know it well."

"Well, then, Planchet, gallop up to it whilst I tighten my
horse's girth, and come back and tell me if there is a light
in any of the Jesuits' windows."

In about five minutes Planchet returned.

"Sir," he said, "there is one window of the convent lighted

"Hem! If I were a `Frondeur,'" said D'Artagnan, "I should
knock here and should be sure of a good supper. If I were a
monk I should knock yonder and should have a good supper
there, too; whereas, 'tis very possible that between the
castle and the convent we shall sleep on hard beds, dying
with hunger and thirst."

"Yes," added Planchet, "like the famous ass of Buridan.
Shall I knock?"

"Hush!" replied D'Artagnan; "the light no longer burns in
yonder window."

"Do you hear nothing?" whispered Planchet.

"What is that noise?"

There came a sound like a whirlwind, at the same time two
troops of horsemen, each composed of ten men, sallied forth
from each of the lanes which encompassed the house and
surrounded D'Artagnan and Planchet.

"Heyday!" cried D'Artagnan, drawing his sword and taking
refuge behind his horse; "are you not mistaken? is it really
for us that you mean your attack?"

"Here he is! we have him!" cried the horsemen, rushing on
D'Artagnan with naked swords.

"Don't let him escape!" said a loud voice.

"No, my lord; be assured we shall not."

D'Artagnan thought it was now time for him to join in the

"Halloo, gentlemen!" he called out in his Gascon accent,
"what do you want? what do you demand?"

"That thou shalt soon know," shouted a chorus of horsemen.

"Stop, stop!" cried he whom they had addressed as "my lord;"
"'tis not his voice."

"Ah! just so, gentlemen! pray, do people get into a passion
at random at Noisy? Take care, for I warn you that the first
man that comes within the length of my sword -- and my sword
is long -- I rip him up."

The chieftain of the party drew near.

"What are you doing here?" he asked in a lofty tone, as that
of one accustomed to command.

"And you -- what are you doing here?" replied D'Artagnan.

"Be civil, or I shall beat you; for although one may not
choose to proclaim oneself, one insists on respect suitable
to one's rank."

"You don't choose to discover yourself, because you are the
leader of an ambuscade," returned D'Artagnan; "but with
regard to myself, who am traveling quietly with my own
servant, I have not the same reasons as you have to conceal
my name."

"Enough! enough! what is your name?"

"I shall tell you my name in order that you may know where
to find me, my lord, or my prince, as it may suit you best
to be called," said our Gascon, who did not choose to seem
to yield to a threat. "Do you know Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

"Lieutenant in the king's musketeers?" said the voice; "you
are Monsieur d'Artagnan?"

"I am."

"Then you came here to defend him?"

"Him? whom?"

"The man we are seeking."

"It seems," said D'Artagnan, "that whilst I thought I was
coming to Noisy I have entered, without suspecting it, into
the kingdom of mysteries."

"Come," replied the same lofty tone, "answer! Are you
waiting for him underneath these windows? Did you come to
Noisy to defend him?"

"I am waiting for no one," replied D'Artagnan, who was
beginning to be angry. "I propose to defend no one but
myself, and I shall defend myself vigorously, I give you

"Very well," said the voice; "go away from here and leave
the place to us."

"Go away from here!" said D'Artagnan, whose purposes were in
conflict with that order, "that is not so easy, since I am
on the point of falling, and my horse, too, through fatigue;
unless, indeed, you are disposed to offer me a supper and a
bed in the neighborhood."


"Eh! monsieur!" said D'Artagnan, "I beg you will have a care
what you say; for if you utter another word like that, be
you marquis, duke, prince or king, I will thrust it down
your throat! do you hear?"

"Well, well," rejoined the leader, "there's no doubt 'tis a
Gascon who is speaking, and therefore not the man we are
looking for. Our blow has failed for to-night; let us
withdraw. We shall meet again, Master d'Artagnan," continued
the leader, raising his voice.

"Yes, but never with the same advantages," said D'Artagnan,
in a tone of raillery; "for when you meet me again you will
perhaps be alone and there will be daylight."

"Very good, very good," said the voice. "En route,

And the troop, grumbling angrily, disappeared in the
darkness and took the road to Paris. D'Artagnan and Planchet
remained for some moments still on the defensive; then, as
the noise of the horsemen became more and more distant, they
sheathed their swords.

"Thou seest, simpleton," said D'Artagnan to his servant,
"that they wished no harm to us."

"But to whom, then?"

"I'faith! I neither know nor care. What I do care for now,
is to make my way into the Jesuits' convent; so to horse and
let us knock at their door. Happen what will, the devil take
them, they can't eat us."

And he mounted his horse. Planchet had just done the same
when an unexpected weight fell upon the back of the horse,
which sank down.

"Hey! your honor!" cried Planchet, "I've a man behind me."

D'Artagnan turned around and plainly saw two human forms on
Planchet's horse.

"'Tis then the devil that pursues!" he cried; drawing his
sword and preparing to attack the new foe.

"No, no, dear D'Artagnan," said the figure, "'tis not the
devil, 'tis Aramis; gallop fast, Planchet, and when you come
to the end of the village turn swiftly to the left."

And Planchet, with Aramis behind him, set off at full
gallop, followed by D'Artagnan, who began to think he was in
the merry maze of some fantastic dream.


The Abbe D'Herblay.

At the extremity of the village Planchet turned to the left
in obedience to the orders of Aramis, and stopped underneath
the window which had light in it. Aramis alighted and
clapped his hands three times. Immediately the window was
opened and a ladder of rope was let down from it.

"My friend," said Aramis, "if you like to ascend I shall be
delighted to receive you."

"Ah," said D'Artagnan, "is that the way you return to your

"After nine at night, pardieu!" said Aramis, "the rule of
the convent is very severe."

"Pardon me, my dear friend," said D'Artagnan, "I think you
said `pardieu!'"

"Do you think so?" said Aramis, smiling; "it is possible.
You have no idea, my dear fellow, how one acquires bad
habits in these cursed convents, or what evil ways all these
men of the church have, with whom I am obliged to live. But
will you not go up?"

"Pass on before me, I beg of you."

"As the late cardinal used to say to the late king, `only to
show you the way, sire.'" And Aramis ascended the ladder
quickly and reached the window in an instant.

D'Artagnan followed, but less nimbly, showing plainly that
this mode of ascent was not one to which he was accustomed.

"I beg your pardon," said Aramis, noticing his awkwardness;
"if I had known that I was to have the honor of your visit I
should have procured the gardener's ladder; but for me alone
this is good enough."

"Sir," said Planchet when he saw D'Artagnan on the summit of
the ladder, "this way is easy for Monsieur Aramis and even
for you; in case of necessity I might also climb up, but my
two horses cannot mount the ladder."

"Take them to yonder shed, my friend," said Aramis, pointing
to a low building on the plain; "there you will find hay and
straw for them; then come back here and clap your hands
three times, and we will give you wine and food. Marry,
forsooth, people don't die of hunger here.'

And Aramis, drawing in the ladder, closed the window.
D'Artagnan then looked around attentively.

Never was there an apartment at the same time more warlike
and more elegant. At each corner were arranged trophies,
presenting to view swords of all sorts, and on the walls
hung four great pictures representing in their ordinary
military costume the Cardinal de Lorraine, the Cardinal de
Richelieu, the Cardinal de la Valette, and the Archbishop of
Bordeaux. Exteriorly, nothing in the room showed that it was
the habitation of an abbe. The hangings were of damask, the
carpets from Alencon, and the bed, especially, had more the
look of a fine lady's couch, with its trimmings of fine lace

Book of the day: