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 o