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The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers

Author:Alexandre Dumas


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...
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  On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town ofMeung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born, appeared tobe in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just madea second La Rochelle of it. Many citizens, seeing the women flyingtoward the High Street, leaving their children crying at the open doors,hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertaincourage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward thehostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasingevery minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.

  In those times panics were common, and few days passed without some cityor other registering in its archives an event of this kind. There werenobles, who made war against each other; there was the king, who madewar against the cardinal; there was Spain, which made war against theking. Then, in addition to these concealed or public, secret or openwars, there were robbers, mendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels,who made war upon everybody. The citizens always took up arms readilyagainst thieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles orHuguenots, sometimes against the king, but never against the cardinal orSpain. It resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Mondayof April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing neitherthe red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de Richelieu,rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When arrived there, thecause of the hubbub was apparent to all.

  A young man--we can sketch his portrait at a dash. Imagine to yourself aDon Quixote of eighteen; a Don Quixote without his corselet, without hiscoat of mail, without his cuisses; a Don Quixote clothed in a woolendoublet, the blue color of which had faded into a nameless shade betweenlees of wine and a heavenly azure; face long and brown; high cheekbones, a sign of sagacity; the maxillary muscles enormously developed,an infallible sign by which a Gascon may always be detected, evenwithout his cap--and our young man wore a cap set off with a sort offeather; the eye open and intelligent; the nose hooked, but finelychiseled. Too big for a youth, too small for a grown man, an experiencedeye might have taken him for a farmer’s son upon a journey had it notbeen for the long sword which, dangling from a leather baldric, hitagainst the calves of its owner as he walked, and against the rough sideof 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 hishide, without a hair in his tail, but not without windgalls on his legs,which, though going with his head lower than his knees, rendering amartingale quite unnecessary, contrived nevertheless to perform hiseight leagues a day. Unfortunately, the qualities of this horse were sowell concealed under his strange-colored hide and his unaccountablegait, that at a time when everybody was a connoisseur in horseflesh, theappearance of the aforesaid pony at Meung--which place he had enteredabout a quarter of an hour before, by the gate of Beaugency--produced anunfavorable feeling, which extended to his rider.

  And this feeling had been more painfully perceived by youngd’Artagnan--for so was the Don Quixote of this second Rosinantenamed--from his not being able to conceal from himself the ridiculousappearance that such a steed gave him, good horseman as he was. He hadsighed 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 atleast twenty livres; and the words which had accompanied the presentwere above all price.

  “My son,” said the old Gascon gentleman, in that pure Bearn PATOIS ofwhich Henry IV could never rid himself, “this horse was born in thehouse of your father about thirteen years ago, and has remained in itever since, which ought to make you love it. Never sell it; allow it todie tranquilly and honorably of old age, and if you make a campaign withit, 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’Artagnanthe elder, “--an honor to which, remember, your ancient nobility givesyou the right--sustain worthily your name of gentleman, which has beenworthily borne by your ancestors for five hundred years, both for yourown sake and the sake of those who belong to you. By the latter I meanyour relatives and friends. Endure nothing from anyone except Monsieurthe Cardinal and the king. It is by his courage, please observe, by hiscourage alone, that a gentleman can make his way nowadays. Whoeverhesitates for a second perhaps allows the bait to escape which duringthat exact second fortune held out to him. You are young. You ought tobe brave for two reasons: the first is that you are a Gascon, and thesecond 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 wristof steel. Fight on all occasions. Fight the more for duels beingforbidden, since consequently there is twice as much courage infighting. I have nothing to give you, my son, but fifteen crowns, myhorse, and the counsels you have just heard. Your mother will add tothem a recipe for a certain balsam, which she had from a Bohemian andwhich has the miraculous virtue of curing all wounds that do not reachthe heart. Take advantage of all, and live happily and long. I have butone word to add, and that is to propose an example to you--not mine, forI myself have never appeared at court, and have only taken part inreligious wars as a volunteer; I speak of Monsieur de Treville, who wasformerly my neighbor, and who had the honor to be, as a child, theplay-fellow of our king, Louis XIII, whom God preserve! Sometimes theirplay degenerated into battles, and in these battles the king was notalways the stronger. The blows which he received increased greatly hisesteem and friendship for Monsieur de Treville. Afterward, Monsieur deTreville 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, withoutreckoning wars and sieges, seven times; and from that date up to thepresent day, a hundred times, perhaps! So that in spite of edicts,ordinances, and decrees, there he is, captain of the Musketeers; that isto say, chief of a legion of Caesars, whom the king holds in greatesteem and whom the cardinal dreads--he who dreads nothing, as it issaid. Still further, Monsieur de Treville gains ten thousand crowns ayear; he is therefore a great noble. He began as you begin. Go to himwith this letter, and make him your model in order that you may do as hehas 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 waswaiting for him with the famous recipe of which the counsels we havejust repeated would necessitate frequent employment. The adieux were onthis side longer and more tender than they had been on the other--notthat M. d’Artagnan did not love his son, who was his only offspring, butM. d’Artagnan was a man, and he would have considered it unworthy of aman 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 tothe praise of M. d’Artagnan the younger--notwithstanding the efforts hemade to remain firm, as a future Musketeer ought, nature prevailed, andhe shed many tears, of which he succeeded with great difficulty inconcealing the half.

  The same day the young man set forward on his journey, furnished withthe three paternal gifts, which consisted, as we have said, of fifteencrowns, the horse, and the letter for M. de Treville--the counsels beingthrown into the bargain.

  With such a VADE MECUM d’Artagnan was morally and physically an exactcopy of the hero of Cervantes, to whom we so happily compared him whenour duty of an historian placed us under the necessity of sketching hisportrait. Don Quixote took windmills for giants, and sheep for armies;d’Artagnan took every smile for an insult, and every look as aprovocation--whence it resulted that from Tarbes to Meung his fist wasconstantly doubled, or his hand on the hilt of his sword; and yet thefist did not descend upon any jaw, nor did the sword issue from itsscabbard. It was not that the sight of the wretched pony did not excitenumerous smiles on the countenances of passers-by; but as against theside of this pony rattled a sword of respectable length, and as overthis sword gleamed an eye rather ferocious than haughty, thesepassers-by repressed their hilarity, or if hilarity prevailed overprudence, they endeavored to laugh only on one side, like the masks ofthe ancients. D’Artagnan, then, remained majestic and intact in hissusceptibility, till he came to this unlucky city of Meung.

  But there, as he was alighting from his horse at the gate of the JollyMiller, without anyone--host, waiter, or hostler--coming to hold hisstirrup or take his horse, d’Artagnan spied, though an open window onthe ground floor, a gentleman, well-made and of good carriage, althoughof rather a stern countenance, talking with two persons who appeared tolisten to him with respect. D’Artagnan fancied quite naturally,according to his custom, that he must be the object of theirconversation, and listened. This time d’Artagnan was only in partmistaken; he himself was not in question, but his horse was. Thegentleman appeared to be enumerating all his qualities to his auditors;and, as I have said, the auditors seeming to have great deference forthe narrator, they every moment burst into fits of laughter. Now, as ahalf-smile was sufficient to awaken the irascibility of the young man,the effect produced upon him by this vociferous mirth may be easilyimagined.

  Nevertheless, d’Artagnan was desirous of examining the appearance ofthis impertinent personage who ridiculed him. He fixed his haughty eyeupon the stranger, and perceived a man of from forty to forty-five yearsof age, with black and piercing eyes, pale complexion, a strongly markednose, and a black and well-shaped mustache. He was dressed in a doubletand hose of a violet color, with aiguillettes of the same color, withoutany other ornaments than the customary slashes, through which the shirtappeared. This doublet and hose, though new, were creased, liketraveling clothes for a long time packed in a portmanteau. D’Artagnanmade all these remarks with the rapidity of a most minute observer, anddoubtless from an instinctive feeling that this stranger was destined tohave a great influence over his future life.

  Now, as at the moment in which d’Artagnan fixed his eyes upon thegentleman in the violet doublet, the gentleman made one of his mostknowing and profound remarks respecting the Bearnese pony, his twoauditors laughed even louder than before, and he himself, thoughcontrary to his custom, allowed a pale smile

if I may be allowed to usesuch an expression

to stray over his countenance. This time there couldbe no doubt; d’Artagnan was really insulted. Full, then, of thisconviction, he pulled his cap down over his eyes, and endeavoring tocopy some of the court airs he had picked up in Gascony among youngtraveling nobles, he advanced with one hand on the hilt of his sword andthe other resting on his hip. Unfortunately, as he advanced, his angerincreased at every step; and instead of the proper and lofty speech hehad prepared as a prelude to his challenge, he found nothing at the tipof his tongue but a gross personality, which he accompanied with afurious 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 ifhe required some time to ascertain whether it could be to him that suchstrange reproaches were addressed; then, when he could not possiblyentertain any doubt of the matter, his eyebrows slightly bent, and withan accent of irony and insolence impossible to be described, he repliedto d’Artagnan, “I was not speaking to you, sir.”

  “But I am speaking to you!” replied the young man, additionallyexasperated with this mixture of insolence and good manners, ofpoliteness and scorn.

  The stranger looked at him again with a slight smile, and retiring fromthe window, came out of the hostelry with a slow step, and placedhimself before the horse, within two paces of d’Artagnan. His quietmanner and the ironical expression of his countenance redoubled themirth of the persons with whom he had been talking, and who stillremained at the window.

  D’Artagnan, seeing him approach, drew his sword a foot out of thescabbard.

  “This horse is decidedly, or rather has been in his youth, a buttercup,”resumed the stranger, continuing the remarks he had begun, andaddressing himself to his auditors at the window, without paying theleast attention to the exasperation of d’Artagnan, who, however, placedhimself 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 atthe master,” cried the young emulator of the furious Treville.

  “I do not often laugh, sir,” replied the stranger, “as you may perceiveby the expression of my countenance; but nevertheless I retain theprivilege of laughing when I please.”

  “And I,” cried d’Artagnan, “will allow no man to laugh when itdispleases me!”

  “Indeed, sir,” continued the stranger, more calm than ever; “well, thatis perfectly right!” and turning on his heel, was about to re-enter thehostelry by the front gate, beneath which d’Artagnan on arriving hadobserved a saddled horse.

  But, d’Artagnan was not of a character to allow a man to escape him thuswho had the insolence to ridicule him. He drew his sword entirely fromthe scabbard, and followed him, crying, “Turn, turn, Master Joker, lestI strike you behind!”

  “Strike me!” said the other, turning on his heels, and surveying theyoung 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 hisMajesty, who is seeking everywhere for brave fellows to recruit for hisMusketeers!”

  He had scarcely finished, when d’Artagnan made such a furious lunge athim that if he had not sprung nimbly backward, it is probable he wouldhave jested for the last time. The stranger, then perceiving that thematter went beyond raillery, drew his sword, saluted his adversary, andseriously placed himself on guard. But at the same moment, his twoauditors, accompanied by the host, fell upon d’Artagnan with sticks,shovels and tongs. This caused so rapid and complete a diversion fromthe attack that d’Artagnan’s adversary, while the latter turned round toface this shower of blows, sheathed his sword with the same precision,and instead of an actor, which he had nearly been, became a spectator ofthe fight--a part in which he acquitted himself with his usualimpassiveness, 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 thebest face possible, and never retreating one step before his threeassailants, who continued to shower blows upon him.

  “Another gasconade!” murmured the gentleman. “By my honor, these Gasconsare 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 wastherefore prolonged for some seconds; but at length d’Artagnan droppedhis 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 tothe ground, covered with blood and almost fainting.

  It was at this moment that people came flocking to the scene of actionfrom all sides. The host, fearful of consequences, with the help of hisservants carried the wounded man into the kitchen, where some triflingattentions were bestowed upon him.

  As to the gentleman, he resumed his place at the window, and surveyedthe crowd with a certain impatience, evidently annoyed by theirremaining undispersed.

  “Well, how is it with this madman?” exclaimed he, turning round as thenoise of the door announced the entrance of the host, who came in toinquire 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 knowwhat 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 agrin of contempt; “for during his fainting we rummaged his valise andfound nothing but a clean shirt and eleven crowns--which however, didnot prevent his saying, as he was fainting, that if such a thing hadhappened in Paris, you should have cause to repent of it at a laterperiod.”

  “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 youmay be on your guard.”

  “Did he name no one in his passion?”

  “Yes; he struck his pocket and said, ‘We shall see what Monsieur deTreville will think of this insult offered to his protege.’”

  “Monsieur de Treville?” said the stranger, becoming attentive, “he puthis hand upon his pocket while pronouncing the name of Monsieur deTreville? Now, my dear host, while your young man was insensible, youdid 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.”


  “Exactly as I have the honor to tell your Excellency.”

  The host, who was not endowed with great perspicacity, did not observethe expression which his words had given to the physiognomy of thestranger. The latter rose from the front of the window, upon the sill ofwhich he had leaned with his elbow, and knitted his brow like a mandisquieted.

  “The devil!” murmured he, between his teeth. “Can Treville have set thisGascon 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 besuspected than an older man,” and the stranger fell into a reverie whichlasted some minutes. “A weak obstacle is sometimes sufficient tooverthrow a great design.

  “Host,” said he, “could you not contrive to get rid of this frantic boyfor me? In conscience, I cannot kill him; and yet,” added he, with acoldly menacing expression, “he annoys me. Where is he?”

  “In my wife’s chamber, on the first flight, where they are dressing hiswounds.”

  “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, whichrespectable people cannot put up with. Go; make out my bill and notifymy servant.”

  “What, monsieur, will you leave us so soon?”

  “You know that very well, as I gave my order to saddle my horse. Havethey not obeyed me?”

  “It is done; as your Excellency may have observed, your horse is in thegreat 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 thisboy?” But an imperious glance from the stranger stopped him short; hebowed humbly and retired.

  “It is not necessary for Milady* to be seen by this fellow,” continuedthe stranger. “She will soon pass; she is already late. I had better geton horseback, and go and meet her. I should like, however, to know whatthis letter addressed to Treville contains.”

  _*We are well aware that this term, milady, is only properlyused when followed by a family name. But we find it thusin the manuscript, and we do not choose to take uponourselves to alter it._

  And the stranger, muttering to himself, directed his steps toward thekitchen.

  In the meantime, the host, who entertained no doubt that it was thepresence of the young man that drove the stranger from his hostelry,re-ascended to his wife’s chamber, and found d’Artagnan just recoveringhis senses. Giving him to understand that the police would deal with himpretty severely for having sought a quarrel with a great lord--for inthe opinion of the host the stranger could be nothing less than a greatlord--he insisted that notwithstanding his weakness d’Artagnan shouldget up and depart as quickly as possible. D’Artagnan, half stupefied,without his doublet, and with his head bound up in a linen cloth, arosethen, and urged by the host, began to descend the stairs; but onarriving at the kitchen, the first thing he saw was his antagonisttalking calmly at the step of a heavy carriage, drawn by two largeNorman horses.

  His interlocutor, whose head appeared through the carriage window, was awoman of from twenty to two-and-twenty years. We have already observedwith what rapidity d’Artagnan seized the expression of a countenance. Heperceived then, at a glance, that this woman was young and beautiful;and her style of beauty struck him more forcibly from its being totallydifferent from that of the southern countries in which d’Artagnan hadhitherto resided. She was pale and fair, with long curls falling inprofusion over her shoulders, had large, blue, languishing eyes, rosylips, and hands of alabaster. She was talking with great animation withthe stranger.

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

  “To return instantly to England, and to inform him as soon as the dukeleaves London.”

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

  “They are contained in this box, which you will not open until you areon 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 thresholdof the door.

  “This insolent boy chastises others,” cried he; “and I hope that thistime 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 Iwill depart as quickly on mine.” And bowing to the lady, he sprang intohis saddle, while her coachman applied his whip vigorously to hishorses. The two interlocutors thus separated, taking oppositedirections, at full gallop.

  “Pay him, booby!” cried the stranger to his servant, without checkingthe speed of his horse; and the man, after throwing two or three silverpieces at the foot of mine host, galloped after his master.

  “Base coward! false gentleman!” cried d’Artagnan, springing forward, inhis turn, after the servant. But his wound had rendered him too weak tosupport such an exertion. Scarcely had he gone ten steps when his earsbegan to tingle, a faintness seized him, a cloud of blood passed overhis 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 theyoung man, as the heron of the fable did with the snail he had despisedthe evening before.

  “Yes, a base coward,” murmured d’Artagnan; “but she--she was verybeautiful.”

  “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 thisone remains, of whom I am pretty certain for some days to come. Therewill be eleven crowns gained.”

  It is to be remembered that eleven crowns was just the sum that remainedin 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 fiveo’clock d’Artagnan arose, and descending to the kitchen without help,asked, among other ingredients the list of which has not come down tous, for some oil, some wine, and some rosemary, and with his mother’srecipe in his hand composed a balsam, with which he anointed hisnumerous wounds, replacing his bandages himself, and positively refusingthe 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 strictabstinence--while on the contrary, the yellow horse, by the account ofthe hostler at least, had eaten three times as much as a horse of hissize could reasonably be supposed to have done--d’Artagnan found nothingin his pocket but his little old velvet purse with the eleven crowns itcontained; for as to the letter addressed to M. de Treville, it haddisappeared.

  The young man commenced his search for the letter with the greatestpatience, turning out his pockets of all kinds over and over again,rummaging and rerummaging in his valise, and opening and reopening hispurse; but when he found that he had come to the conviction that theletter was not to be found, he flew, for the third time, into such arage as was near costing him a fresh consumption of wine, oil, androsemary--for upon seeing this hot-headed youth become exasperated andthreaten to destroy everything in the establishment if his letter werenot found, the host seized a spit, his wife a broom handle, and theservants the same sticks they had used the day before.

  “My letter of recommendation!” cried d’Artagnan, “my letter ofrecommendation! or, the holy blood, I will spit you all like ortolans!”

  Unfortunately, there was one circumstance which created a powerfulobstacle to the accomplishment of this threat; which was, as we haverelated, that his sword had been in his first conflict broken in two,and which he had entirely forgotten. Hence, it resulted when d’Artagnanproceeded to draw his sword in earnest, he found himself purely andsimply armed with a stump of a sword about eight or ten inches inlength, which the host had carefully placed in the scabbard. As to therest of the blade, the master had slyly put that on one side to makehimself a larding pin.

  But this deception would probably not have stopped our fiery young manif the host had not reflected that the reclamation which his guest madewas perfectly just.

  “But, after all,” said he, lowering the point of his spit, “where isthis letter?”

  “Yes, where is this letter?” cried d’Artagnan. “In the first place, Iwarn you that that letter is for Monsieur de Treville, and it must befound, or if it is not found, he will know how to find it.”

  His threat completed the intimidation of the host. After the king andthe cardinal, M. de Treville was the man whose name was perhaps mostfrequently repeated by the military, and even by citizens. There was, tobe sure, Father Joseph, but his name was never pronounced but with asubdued voice, such was the terror inspired by his Gray Eminence, as thecardinal’s familiar was called.

  Throwing down his spit, and ordering his wife to do the same with herbroom handle, and the servants with their sticks, he set the firstexample of commencing an earnest search for the lost letter.

  “Does the letter contain anything valuable?” demanded the host, after afew minutes of useless investigation.

  “Zounds! I think it does indeed!” cried the Gascon, who reckoned uponthis 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 thisrecommendation, believed he could make this somewhat hazardous replywithout telling of a falsehood.

  “The devil!” cried the host, at his wit’s end.

  “But it’s of no importance,” continued d’Artagnan, with naturalassurance; “it’s of no importance. The money is nothing; that letter waseverything. I would rather have lost a thousand pistoles than have lostit.” He would not have risked more if he had said twenty thousand; but acertain juvenile modesty restrained him.

  A ray of light all at once broke upon the mind of the host as he wasgiving 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 awager he has stolen it.”

  “Do you think so?” answered d’Artagnan, but little convinced, as he knewbetter than anyone else how entirely personal the value of this letterwas, and saw nothing in it likely to tempt cupidity. The fact was thatnone of his servants, none of the travelers present, could have gainedanything by being possessed of this paper.

  “Do you say,” resumed d’Artagnan, “that you suspect that impertinentgentleman?”

  “I tell you I am sure of it,” continued the host. “When I informed himthat your lordship was the protege of Monsieur de Treville, and that youeven had a letter for that illustrious gentleman, he appeared to be verymuch disturbed, and asked me where that letter was, and immediately camedown into the kitchen, where he knew your doublet was.”

  “Then that’s my thief,” replied d’Artagnan. “I will complain to Monsieurde Treville, and Monsieur de Treville will complain to the king.” Hethen drew two crowns majestically from his purse and gave them to thehost, who accompanied him, cap in hand, to the gate, and remounted hisyellow horse, which bore him without any further accident to the gate ofSt. Antoine at Paris, where his owner sold him for three crowns, whichwas a very good price, considering that d’Artagnan had ridden him hardduring the last stage. Thus the dealer to whom d’Artagnan sold him forthe nine livres did not conceal from the young man that he only gavethat enormous sum for him on the account of the originality of hiscolor.

  Thus d’Artagnan entered Paris on foot, carrying his little packet underhis arm, and walked about till he found an apartment to be let on termssuited to the scantiness of his means. This chamber was a sort ofgarret, situated in the Rue des Fossoyeurs, near the Luxembourg.

  As soon as the earnest money was paid, d’Artagnan took possession of hislodging, and passed the remainder of the day in sewing onto his doubletand hose some ornamental braiding which his mother had taken off analmost-new doublet of the elder M. d’Artagnan, and which she had givenher son secretly. Next he went to the Quai de Feraille to have a newblade put to his sword, and then returned toward the Louvre, inquiringof the first Musketeer he met for the situation of the hotel of M. deTreville, which proved to be in the Rue du Vieux-Colombier; that is tosay, in the immediate vicinity of the chamber hired by d’Artagnan--acircumstance which appeared to furnish a happy augury for the success ofhis journey.

  After this, satisfied with the way in which he had conducted himself atMeung, without remorse for the past, confident in the present, and fullof hope for the future, he retired to bed and slept the sleep of thebrave.

  This sleep, provincial as it was, brought him to nine o’clock in themorning; at which hour he rose, in order to repair to the residence ofM. de Treville, the third personage in the kingdom, in the paternalestimation.