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Chapter 19 PLAN OF CAMPAIGN

  • D'Artagnan went straight to M. de Treville's. He had reflected that in a fe_inutes the cardinal would be warned by this cursed stranger, who appeared t_e his agent, and he judged, with reason, he had not a moment to lose.
  • The heart of the young man overflowed with joy. An opportunity presente_tself to him in which there would be at the same time glory to be acquired, and money to be gained; and as a far higher encouragement, it brought him int_lose intimacy with a woman he adored. This chance did, then, for him at onc_ore than he would have dared to ask of Providence.
  • M. de Treville was in his saloon with his habitual court of gentlemen.
  • D'Artagnan, who was known as a familiar of the house, went straight to hi_ffice, and sent word that he wished to see him on something of importance.
  • D'Artagnan had been there scarcely five minutes when M. de Treville entered.
  • At the first glance, and by the joy which was painted on his countenance, th_orthy captain plainly perceived that something new was on foot.
  • All the way along d'Artagnan had been consulting with himself whether h_hould place confidence in M. de Treville, or whether he should only ask hi_o give him CARTE BLANCHE for some secret affair. But M. de Treville ha_lways been so thoroughly his friend, had always been so devoted to the kin_nd queen, and hated the cardinal so cordially, that the young man resolved t_ell him everything.
  • "Did you ask for me, my good friend?" said M. de Treville.
  • "Yes, monsieur," said d'Artagnan, lowering his voice, "and you will pardon me, I hope, for having disturbed you when you know the importance of my business."
  • "Speak, then, I am all attention."
  • "It concerns nothing less," said d'Artagnan, "than the honor, perhaps the lif_f the queen."
  • "What did you say?" asked M. de Treville, glancing round to see if they wer_urely alone, and then fixing his questioning look upon d'Artagnan.
  • "I say, monsieur, that chance has rendered me master of a secret—"
  • "Which you will guard, I hope, young man, as your life."
  • "But which I must impart to you, monsieur, for you alone can assist me in th_ission I have just received from her Majesty."
  • "Is this secret your own?"
  • "No, monsieur; it is her Majesty's."
  • "Are you authorized by her Majesty to communicate it to me?"
  • "No, monsieur, for, on the contrary, I am desired to preserve the profoundes_ystery."
  • "Why, then, are you about to betray it to me?"
  • "Because, as I said, without you I can do nothing; and I am afraid you wil_efuse me the favor I come to ask if you do not know to what end I ask it."
  • "Keep your secret, young man, and tell me what you wish."
  • "I wish you to obtain for me, from Monsieur Dessessart, leave of absence fo_ifteen days."
  • "When?"
  • "This very night."
  • "You leave Paris?"
  • "I am going on a mission."
  • "May you tell me whither?"
  • "To London."
  • "Has anyone an interest in preventing your arrival there?"
  • "The cardinal, I believe, would give the world to prevent my success."
  • "And you are going alone?"
  • "I am going alone."
  • "In that case you will not get beyond Bondy. I tell you so, by the faith of d_reville."
  • "How so?"
  • "You will be assassinated."
  • "And I shall die in the performance of my duty."
  • "But your mission will not be accomplished."
  • "That is true," replied d'Artagnan.
  • "Believe me," continued Treville, "in enterprises of this kind, in order tha_ne may arrive, four must set out."
  • "Ah, you are right, monsieur," said d'Artagnan; "but you know Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and you know if I can dispose of them."
  • "Without confiding to them the secret which I am not willing to know?"
  • "We are sworn, once for all, to implicit confidence and devotedness agains_ll proof. Besides, you can tell them that you have full confidence in me, an_hey will not be more incredulous than you."
  • "I can send to each of them leave of absence for fifteen days, that is all—t_thos, whose wound still makes him suffer, to go to the waters of Forges; t_orthos and Aramis to accompany their friend, whom they are not willing t_bandon in such a painful condition. Sending their leave of absence will b_roof enough that I authorize their journey."
  • "Thanks, monsieur. You are a hundred times too good."
  • "Begone, then, find them instantly, and let all be done tonight! Ha! But firs_rite your request to Dessessart. Perhaps you had a spy at your heels; an_our visit, if it should ever be known to the cardinal, will thus see_egitimate."
  • D'Artagnan drew up his request, and M. de Treville, on receiving it, assure_im that by two o'clock in the morning the four leaves of absence should be a_he respective domiciles of the travelers.
  • "Have the goodness to send mine to Athos's residence. I should dread som_isagreeable encounter if I were to go home."
  • "Be easy. Adieu, and a prosperous voyage. A PROPOS," said M. de Treville, calling him back.
  • D'Artagnan returned.
  • "Have you any money?"
  • D'Artagnan tapped the bag he had in his pocket.
  • "Enough?" asked M. de Treville.
  • "Three hundred pistoles."
  • "Oh, plenty! That would carry you to the end of the world. Begone, then!"
  • D'Artagnan saluted M. de Treville, who held out his hand to him; d'Artagna_ressed it with a respect mixed with gratitude. Since his first arrival a_aris, he had had constant occasion to honor this excellent man, whom he ha_lways found worthy, loyal, and great.
  • His first visit was to Aramis, at whose residence he had not been since th_amous evening on which he had followed Mme. Bonacieux. Still further, he ha_eldom seen the young Musketeer; but every time he had seen him, he ha_emarked a deep sadness imprinted on his countenance.
  • This evening, especially, Aramis was melancholy and thoughtful. d'Artagna_sked some questions about this prolonged melancholy. Aramis pleaded as hi_xcuse a commentary upon the eighteenth chapter of St. Augustine, which he wa_orced to write in Latin for the following week, and which preoccupied him _ood deal.
  • After the two friends had been chatting a few moments, a servant from M. d_reville entered, bringing a sealed packet.
  • "What is that?" asked Aramis.
  • "The leave of absence Monsieur has asked for," replied the lackey.
  • "For me! I have asked for no leave of absence."
  • "Hold your tongue and take it!" said d'Artagnan. "And you, my friend, there i_ demipistole for your trouble; you will tell Monsieur de Treville tha_onsieur Aramis is very much obliged to him. Go."
  • The lackey bowed to the ground and departed.
  • "What does all this mean?" asked Aramis.
  • "Pack up all you want for a journey of a fortnight, and follow me."
  • "But I cannot leave Paris just now without knowing—"
  • Aramis stopped.
  • "What is become of her? I suppose you mean—" continued d'Artagnan.
  • "Become of whom?" replied Aramis.
  • "The woman who was here—the woman with the embroidered handkerchief."
  • "Who told you there was a woman here?" replied Aramis, becoming as pale a_eath.
  • "I saw her."
  • "And you know who she is?"
  • "I believe I can guess, at least."
  • "Listen!" said Aramis. "Since you appear to know so many things, can you tel_e what is become of that woman?"
  • "I presume that she has returned to Tours."
  • "To Tours? Yes, that may be. You evidently know her. But why did she return t_ours without telling me anything?"
  • "Because she was in fear of being arrested."
  • "Why has she not written to me, then?"
  • "Because she was afraid of compromising you."
  • "d'Artagnan, you restore me to life!" cried Aramis. "I fancied mysel_espised, betrayed. I was so delighted to see her again! I could not hav_elieved she would risk her liberty for me, and yet for what other cause coul_he have returned to Paris?"
  • "For the cause which today takes us to England."
  • "And what is this cause?" demanded Aramis.
  • "Oh, you'll know it someday, Aramis; but at present I must imitate th_iscretion of 'the doctor's niece.'"
  • Aramis smiled, as he remembered the tale he had told his friends on a certai_vening. "Well, then, since she has left Paris, and you are sure of it, d'Artagnan, nothing prevents me, and I am ready to follow you. You say we ar_oing—"
  • "To see Athos now, and if you will come thither, I beg you to make haste, fo_e have lost much time already. A PROPOS, inform Bazin."
  • "Will Bazin go with us?" asked Aramis.
  • "Perhaps so. At all events, it is best that he should follow us to Athos's."
  • Aramis called Bazin, and, after having ordered him to join them at Athos'_esidence, said "Let us go then," at the same time taking his cloak, sword, and three pistols, opening uselessly two or three drawers to see if he coul_ot find stray coin. When well assured this search was superfluous, h_ollowed d'Artagnan, wondering to himself how this young Guardsman should kno_o well who the lady was to whom he had given hospitality, and that he shoul_now better than himself what had become of her.
  • Only as they went out Aramis placed his hand upon the arm of d'Artagnan, an_ooking at him earnestly, "You have not spoken of this lady?" said he.
  • "To nobody in the world."
  • "Not even to Athos or Porthos?"
  • "I have not breathed a syllable to them."
  • "Good enough!"
  • Tranquil on this important point, Aramis continued his way with d'Artagnan, and both soon arrived at Athos's dwelling. They found him holding his leave o_bsence in one hand, and M. de Treville's note in the other.
  • "Can you explain to me what signify this leave of absence and this letter, which I have just received?" said the astonished Athos.
  • My dear Athos,
  • I wish, as your health absolutely requires it, that you should rest for _ortnight. Go, then, and take the waters of Forges, or any that may be mor_greeable to you, and recuperate yourself as quickly as possible.
  • Yours affectionate,
  • de Treville
  • "Well, this leave of absence and that letter mean that you must follow me, Athos."
  • "To the waters of Forges?"
  • "There or elsewhere."
  • "In the king's service?"
  • "Either the king's or the queen's. Are we not their Majesties' servants?"
  • At that moment Porthos entered. "PARDIEU!" said he, "here is a strange thing!
  • Since when, I wonder, in the Musketeers, did they grant men leave of absenc_ithout their asking for it?"
  • "Since," said d'Artagnan, "they have friends who ask it for them."
  • "Ah, ah!" said Porthos, "it appears there's something fresh here."
  • "Yes, we are going—" said Aramis.
  • "To what country?" demanded Porthos.
  • "My faith! I don't know much about it," said Athos. "Ask d'Artagnan."
  • "To London, gentlemen," said d'Artagnan.
  • "To London!" cried Porthos; "and what the devil are we going to do in London?"
  • "That is what I am not at liberty to tell you, gentlemen; you must trust t_e."
  • "But in order to go to London," added Porthos, "money is needed, and I hav_one."
  • "Nor I," said Aramis.
  • "Nor I," said Athos.
  • "I have," replied d'Artagnan, pulling out his treasure from his pocket, an_lacing it on the table. "There are in this bag three hundred pistoles. Le_ach take seventy-five; that is enough to take us to London and back. Besides, make yourselves easy; we shall not all arrive at London."
  • "Why so?"
  • "Because, in all probability, some one of us will be left on the road."
  • "Is this, then, a campaign upon which we are now entering?"
  • "One of a most dangerous kind, I give you notice."
  • "Ah! But if we do risk being killed," said Porthos, "at least I should like t_now what for."
  • "You would be all the wiser," said Athos.
  • "And yet," said Aramis, "I am somewhat of Porthos's opinion."
  • "Is the king accustomed to give you such reasons? No. He says to you jauntily,
  • 'Gentlemen, there is fighting going on in Gascony or in Flanders; go an_ight,' and you go there. Why? You need give yourselves no more uneasines_bout this."
  • "d'Artagnan is right," said Athos; "here are our three leaves of absence whic_ame from Monsieur de Treville, and here are three hundred pistoles which cam_rom I don't know where. So let us go and get killed where we are told to go.
  • Is life worth the trouble of so many questions? D'Artagnan, I am ready t_ollow you."
  • "And I also," said Porthos.
  • "And I also," said Aramis. "And, indeed, I am not sorry to quit Paris; I ha_eed of distraction."
  • "Well, you will have distractions enough, gentlemen, be assured," sai_'Artagnan.
  • "And, now, when are we to go?" asked Athos.
  • "Immediately," replied d'Artagnan; "we have not a minute to lose."
  • "Hello, Grimaud! Planchet! Mousqueton! Bazin!" cried the four young men, calling their lackeys, "clean my boots, and fetch the horses from the hotel."
  • Each Musketeer was accustomed to leave at the general hotel, as at a barrack, his own horse and that of his lackey. Planchet, Grimaud, Mousqueton, and Bazi_et off at full speed.
  • "Now let us lay down the plan of campaign," said Porthos. "Where do we g_irst?"
  • "To Calais," said d'Artagnan; "that is the most direct line to London."
  • "Well," said Porthos, "this is my advice—"
  • "Speak!"
  • "Four men traveling together would be suspected. D'Artagnan will give each o_s his instructions. I will go by the way of Boulogne to clear the way; Atho_ill set out two hours after, by that of Amiens; Aramis will follow us by tha_f Noyon; as to d'Artagnan, he will go by what route he thinks is best, i_lanchet's clothes, while Planchet will follow us like d'Artagnan, in th_niform of the Guards."
  • "Gentlemen," said Athos, "my opinion is that it is not proper to allow lackey_o have anything to do in such an affair. A secret may, by chance, be betraye_y gentlemen; but it is almost always sold by lackeys."
  • "Porthos's plan appears to me to be impracticable," said d'Artagnan, "inasmuc_s I am myself ignorant of what instructions I can give you. I am the beare_f a letter, that is all. I have not, and I cannot make three copies of tha_etter, because it is sealed. We must, then, as it appears to me, travel i_ompany. This letter is here, in this pocket," and he pointed to the pocke_hich contained the letter. "If I should be killed, one of you must take it, and continue the route; if he be killed, it will be another's turn, and s_n—provided a single one arrives, that is all that is required."
  • "Bravo, d'Artagnan, your opinion is mine," cried Athos, "Besides, we must b_onsistent; I am going to take the waters, you will accompany me. Instead o_aking the waters of Forges, I go and take sea waters; I am free to do so. I_nyone wishes to stop us, I will show Monsieur de Treville's letter, and yo_ill show your leaves of absence. If we are attacked, we will defen_urselves; if we are tried, we will stoutly maintain that we were only anxiou_o dip ourselves a certain number of times in the sea. They would have an eas_argain of four isolated men; whereas four men together make a troop. We wil_rm our four lackeys with pistols and musketoons; if they send an army ou_gainst us, we will give battle, and the survivor, as d'Artagnan says, wil_arry the letter."
  • "Well said," cried Aramis; "you don't often speak, Athos, but when you d_peak, it is like St. John of the Golden Mouth. I agree to Athos's plan. An_ou, Porthos?"
  • "I agree to it, too," said Porthos, "if d'Artagnan approves of it. D'Artagnan, being the bearer of the letter, is naturally the head of the enterprise; le_im decide, and we will execute."
  • "Well," said d'Artagnan, "I decide that we should adopt Athos's plan, and tha_e set off in half an hour."
  • "Agreed!" shouted the three Musketeers in chorus.
  • Each one, stretching out his hand to the bag, took his seventy-five pistoles, and made his preparations to set out at the time appointed.