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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
rider.

And this feeling had been more painfully perceived by young
d'Artagnan--for so was the Don Quixote of this second Rosinante
named--from his not being able to conceal from himself the
ridiculous appearance that such a steed gave 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
benediction.

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
future life.

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
scabbard.

"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
Treville.

"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
displeases me!"

"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
him.

"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
almost fainting.

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
stranger.

"Oh, no, your Excellency, he is not the devil," replied the host,
with a grin of contempt; "for during his fainting we rummaged his
valise and found nothing but a clean shirt and eleven crowns--
which 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
disguise."

"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
Musketeers."

"Indeed!"

"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
doublet?"

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

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

"What, monsieur, will you leave us so soon?"

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

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

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

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

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

*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
the kitchen.

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
before."

"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
his master.

"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
beautiful."

"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
ortolans!"

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
larding pin.

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

"But, after all," said 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 not 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
called.

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
letter.

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

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

"Bills upon Spain?" asked the disturbed host.

"Bills upon his Majesty's private treasury," answered d'Artagnan,
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
restrained him.

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

"That letter is not lost!" cried he.

"What!" cried d'Artagnan.

"No, it has been stolen from you."

"Stolen? By whom?"

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

"Do you think so?" answered d'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
impertinent gentleman?"

"I tell you I am sure of it," continued the host. "When I
informed him that your lordship was the protege of Monsieur de
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
color.

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
the Luxembourg.

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
paternal estimation.





The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Category:
General Fiction

Romance Literatures
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