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Chapter 31 ENGLISH AND FRENCH

  • The hour having come, they went with their four lackeys to a spot behind th_uxembourg given up to the feeding of goats. Athos threw a piece of money t_he goatkeeper to withdraw. The lackeys were ordered to act as sentinels.
  • A silent party soon drew near to the same enclosure, entered, and joined th_usketeers. Then, according to foreign custom, the presentations took place.
  • The Englishmen were all men of rank; consequently the odd names of thei_dversaries were for them not only a matter of surprise, but of annoyance.
  • "But after all," said Lord de Winter, when the three friends had been named,
  • "we do not know who you are. We cannot fight with such names; they are name_f shepherds."
  • "Therefore your lordship may suppose they are only assumed names," said Athos.
  • "Which only gives us a greater desire to know the real ones," replied th_nglishman.
  • "You played very willingly with us without knowing our names," said Athos, "b_he same token that you won our horses."
  • "That is true, but we then only risked our pistoles; this time we risk ou_lood. One plays with anybody; but one fights only with equals."
  • "And that is but just," said Athos, and he took aside the one of the fou_nglishmen with whom he was to fight, and communicated his name in a lo_oice.
  • Porthos and Aramis did the same.
  • "Does that satisfy you?" said Athos to his adversary. "Do you find me o_ufficient rank to do me the honor of crossing swords with me?"
  • "Yes, monsieur," said the Englishman, bowing.
  • "Well! now shall I tell you something?" added Athos, coolly.
  • "What?" replied the Englishman.
  • "Why, that is that you would have acted much more wisely if you had no_equired me to make myself known."
  • "Why so?"
  • "Because I am believed to be dead, and have reasons for wishing nobody to kno_ am living; so that I shall be obliged to kill you to prevent my secret fro_oaming over the fields."
  • The Englishman looked at Athos, believing that he jested, but Athos did no_est the least in the world.
  • "Gentlemen," said Athos, addressing at the same time his companions and thei_dversaries, "are we ready?"
  • "Yes!" answered the Englishmen and the Frenchmen, as with one voice.
  • "On guard, then!" cried Athos.
  • Immediately eight swords glittered in the rays of the setting sun, and th_ombat began with an animosity very natural between men twice enemies.
  • Athos fenced with as much calmness and method as if he had been practicing i_ fencing school.
  • Porthos, abated, no doubt, of his too-great confidence by his adventure o_hantilly, played with skill and prudence. Aramis, who had the third canto o_is poem to finish, behaved like a man in haste.
  • Athos killed his adversary first. He hit him but once, but as he had foretold, that hit was a mortal one; the sword pierced his heart.
  • Second, Porthos stretched his upon the grass with a wound through his thigh, As the Englishman, without making any further resistance, then surrendered hi_word, Porthos took him up in his arms and bore him to his carriage.
  • Aramis pushed his so vigorously that after going back fifty paces, the ma_nded by fairly taking to his heels, and disappeared amid the hooting of th_ackeys.
  • As to d'Artagnan, he fought purely and simply on the defensive; and when h_aw his adversary pretty well fatigued, with a vigorous side thrust sent hi_word flying. The baron, finding himself disarmed, took two or three step_ack, but in this movement his foot slipped and he fell backward.
  • D'Artagnan was over him at a bound, and said to the Englishman, pointing hi_word to his throat, "I could kill you, my Lord, you are completely in m_ands; but I spare your life for the sake of your sister."
  • D'Artagnan was at the height of joy; he had realized the plan he had imagine_eforehand, whose picturing had produced the smiles we noted upon his face.
  • The Englishman, delighted at having to do with a gentleman of such a kin_isposition, pressed d'Artagnan in his arms, and paid a thousand compliment_o the three Musketeers, and as Porthos's adversary was already installed i_he carriage, and as Aramis's had taken to his heels, they had nothing t_hink about but the dead.
  • As Porthos and Aramis were undressing him, in the hope of finding his woun_ot mortal, a large purse dropped from his clothes. D'Artagnan picked it u_nd offered it to Lord de Winter.
  • "What the devil would you have me do with that?" said the Englishman.
  • "You can restore it to his family," said d'Artagnan.
  • "His family will care much about such a trifle as that! His family wil_nherit fifteen thousand louis a year from him. Keep the purse for you_ackeys."
  • D'Artagnan put the purse into his pocket.
  • "And now, my young friend, for you will permit me, I hope, to give you tha_ame," said Lord de Winter, "on this very evening, if agreeable to you, I wil_resent you to my sister, Milady Clarik, for I am desirous that she shoul_ake you into her good graces; and as she is not in bad odor at court, she ma_erhaps on some future day speak a word that will not prove useless to you."
  • D'Artagnan blushed with pleasure, and bowed a sign of assent.
  • At this time Athos came up to d'Artagnan.
  • "What do you mean to do with that purse?" whispered he.
  • "Why, I meant to pass it over to you, my dear Athos."
  • "Me! why to me?"
  • "Why, you killed him! They are the spoils of victory."
  • "I, the heir of an enemy!" said Athos; "for whom, then, do you take me?"
  • "It is the custom in war," said d'Artagnan, "why should it not be the custo_n a duel?"
  • "Even on the field of battle, I have never done that."
  • Porthos shrugged his shoulders; Aramis by a movement of his lips endorse_thos.
  • "Then," said d'Artagnan, "let us give the money to the lackeys, as Lord d_inter desired us to do."
  • "Yes," said Athos; "let us give the money to the lackeys—not to our lackeys, but to the lackeys of the Englishmen."
  • Athos took the purse, and threw it into the hand of the coachman. "For you an_our comrades."
  • This greatness of spirit in a man who was quite destitute struck even Porthos; and this French generosity, repeated by Lord de Winter and his friend, wa_ighly applauded, except by MM. Grimaud, Bazin, Mousqueton and Planchet.
  • Lord de Winter, on quitting d'Artagnan, gave him his sister's address. Sh_ived in the Place Royale—then the fashionable quarter—at Number 6, and h_ndertook to call and take d'Artagnan with him in order to introduce him.
  • d'Artagnan appointed eight o'clock at Athos's residence.
  • This introduction to Milady Clarik occupied the head of our Gascon greatly. H_emembered in what a strange manner this woman had hitherto been mixed up i_is destiny. According to his conviction, she was some creature of th_ardinal, and yet he felt himself invincibly drawn toward her by one of thos_entiments for which we cannot account. His only fear was that Milady woul_ecognize in him the man of Meung and of Dover. Then she knew that he was on_f the friends of M. de Treville, and consequently, that he belonged body an_oul to the king; which would make him lose a part of his advantage, sinc_hen known to Milady as he knew her, he played only an equal game with her. A_o the commencement of an intrigue between her and M. de Wardes, ou_resumptuous hero gave but little heed to that, although the marquis wa_oung, handsome, rich, and high in the cardinal's favor. It is not for nothin_e are but twenty years old, above all if we were born at Tarbes.
  • D'Artagnan began by making his most splendid toilet, then returned to Athos's, and according to custom, related everything to him. Athos listened to hi_rojects, then shook his head, and recommended prudence to him with a shade o_itterness.
  • "What!" said he, "you have just lost one woman, whom you call good, charming, perfect; and here you are, running headlong after another."
  • D'Artagnan felt the truth of this reproach.
  • "I loved Madame Bonacieux with my heart, while I only love Milady with m_ead," said he. "In getting introduced to her, my principal object is t_scertain what part she plays at court."
  • "The part she plays, PARDIEU! It is not difficult to divine that, after al_ou have told me. She is some emissary of the cardinal; a woman who will dra_ou into a snare in which you will leave your head."
  • "The devil! my dear Athos, you view things on the dark side, methinks."
  • "My dear fellow, I mistrust women. Can it be otherwise? I bought my experienc_early—particularly fair women. Milady is fair, you say?"
  • "She has the most beautiful light hair imaginable!"
  • "Ah, my poor d'Artagnan!" said Athos.
  • "Listen to me! I want to be enlightened on a subject; then, when I shall hav_earned what I desire to know, I will withdraw."
  • "Be enlightened!" said Athos, phlegmatically.
  • Lord de Winter arrived at the appointed time; but Athos, being warned of hi_oming, went into the other chamber. He therefore found d'Artagnan alone, an_s it was nearly eight o'clock he took the young man with him.
  • An elegant carriage waited below, and as it was drawn by two excellent horses, they were soon at the Place Royale.
  • Milady Clarik received d'Artagnan ceremoniously. Her hotel was remarkabl_umptuous, and while the most part of the English had quit, or were about t_uit, France on account of the war, Milady had just been laying out much mone_pon her residence; which proved that the general measure which drove th_nglish from France did not affect her.
  • "You see," said Lord de Winter, presenting d'Artagnan to his sister, "a youn_entleman who has held my life in his hands, and who has not abused hi_dvantage, although we have been twice enemies, although it was I who insulte_im, and although I am an Englishman. Thank him, then, madame, if you have an_ffection for me."
  • Milady frowned slightly; a scarcely visible cloud passed over her brow, and s_eculiar a smile appeared upon her lips that the young man, who saw an_bserved this triple shade, almost shuddered at it.
  • The brother did not perceive this; he had turned round to play with Milady'_avorite monkey, which had pulled him by the doublet.
  • "You are welcome, monsieur," said Milady, in a voice whose singular sweetnes_ontrasted with the symptoms of ill-humor which d'Artagnan had just remarked;
  • "you have today acquired eternal rights to my gratitude."
  • The Englishman then turned round and described the combat without omitting _ingle detail. Milady listened with the greatest attention, and yet it wa_asily to be perceived, whatever effort she made to conceal her impressions, that this recital was not agreeable to her. The blood rose to her head, an_er little foot worked with impatience beneath her robe.
  • Lord de Winter perceived nothing of this. When he had finished, he went to _able upon which was a salver with Spanish wine and glasses. He filled tw_lasses, and by a sign invited d'Artagnan to drink.
  • D'Artagnan knew it was considered disobliging by an Englishman to refuse t_ledge him. He therefore drew near to the table and took the second glass. H_id not, however, lose sight of Milady, and in a mirror he perceived th_hange that came over her face. Now that she believed herself to be no longe_bserved, a sentiment resembling ferocity animated her countenance. She bi_er handkerchief with her beautiful teeth.
  • That pretty little SOUBRETTE whom d'Artagnan had already observed then cam_n. She spoke some words to Lord de Winter in English, who thereupon requeste_'Artagnan's permission to retire, excusing himself on account of the urgenc_f the business that had called him away, and charging his sister to obtai_is pardon.
  • D'Artagnan exchanged a shake of the hand with Lord de Winter, and the_eturned to Milady. Her countenance, with surprising mobility, had recovere_ts gracious expression; but some little red spots on her handkerchie_ndicated that she had bitten her lips till the blood came. Those lips wer_agnificent; they might be said to be of coral.
  • The conversation took a cheerful turn. Milady appeared to have entirel_ecovered. She told d'Artagnan that Lord de Winter was her brother-in-law, an_ot her brother. She had married a younger brother of the family, who had lef_er a widow with one child. This child was the only heir to Lord de Winter, i_ord de Winter did not marry. All this showed d'Artagnan that there was a vei_hich concealed something; but he could not yet see under this veil.
  • In addition to this, after a half hour's conversation d'Artagnan was convince_hat Milady was his compatriot; she spoke French with an elegance and a purit_hat left no doubt on that head.
  • D'Artagnan was profuse in gallant speeches and protestations of devotion. T_ll the simple things which escaped our Gascon, Milady replied with a smile o_indness. The hour came for him to retire. D'Artagnan took leave of Milady, and left the saloon the happiest of men.
  • On the staircase he met the pretty SOUBRETTE, who brushed gently against hi_s she passed, and then, blushing to the eyes, asked his pardon for havin_ouched him in a voice so sweet that the pardon was granted instantly.
  • D'Artagnan came again on the morrow, and was still better received than on th_vening before. Lord de Winter was not at home; and it was Milady who thi_ime did all the honors of the evening. She appeared to take a great interes_n him, asked him whence he came, who were his friends, and whether he had no_ometimes thought of attaching himself to the cardinal.
  • D'Artagnan, who, as we have said, was exceedingly prudent for a young man o_wenty, then remembered his suspicions regarding Milady. He launched into _ulogy of his Eminence, and said that he should not have failed to enter int_he Guards of the cardinal instead of the king's Guards if he had happened t_now M. de Cavois instead of M. de Treville.
  • Milady changed the conversation without any appearance of affectation, an_sked d'Artagnan in the most careless manner possible if he had ever been i_ngland.
  • D'Artagnan replied that he had been sent thither by M. de Treville to trea_or a supply of horses, and that he had brought back four as specimens.
  • Milady in the course of the conversation twice or thrice bit her lips; she ha_o deal with a Gascon who played close.
  • At the same hour as on the preceding evening, d'Artagnan retired. In th_orridor he again met the pretty Kitty; that was the name of the SOUBRETTE.
  • She looked at him with an expression of kindness which it was impossible t_istake; but d'Artagnan was so preoccupied by the mistress that he notice_bsolutely nothing but her.
  • D'Artagnan came again on the morrow and the day after that, and each da_ilady gave him a more gracious reception.
  • Every evening, either in the antechamber, the corridor, or on the stairs, h_et the pretty SOUBRETTE. But, as we have said, d'Artagnan paid no attentio_o this persistence of poor Kitty.