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Chapter 9 D'ARTAGNAN SHOWS HIMSELF

  • As Athos and Porthos had foreseen, at the expiration of a half hour, d'Artagnan returned. He had again missed his man, who had disappeared as if b_nchantment. D'Artagnan had run, sword in hand, through all the neighborin_treets, but had found nobody resembling the man he sought for. Then he cam_ack to the point where, perhaps, he ought to have begun, and that was t_nock at the door against which the stranger had leaned; but this prove_seless—for though he knocked ten or twelve times in succession, no on_nswered, and some of the neighbors, who put their noses out of their window_r were brought to their doors by the noise, had assured him that that house, all the openings of which were tightly closed, had not been inhabited for si_onths.
  • While d'Artagnan was running through the streets and knocking at doors, Arami_ad joined his companions; so that on returning home d'Artagnan found th_eunion complete.
  • "Well!" cried the three Musketeers all together, on seeing d'Artagnan ente_ith his brow covered with perspiration and his countenance upset with anger.
  • "Well!" cried he, throwing his sword upon the bed, "this man must be the devi_n person; he has disappeared like a phantom, like a shade, like a specter."
  • "Do you believe in apparitions?" asked Athos of Porthos.
  • "I never believe in anything I have not seen, and as I never have see_pparitions, I don't believe in them."
  • "The Bible," said Aramis, "make our belief in them a law; the ghost of Samue_ppeared to Saul, and it is an article of faith that I should be very sorry t_ee any doubt thrown upon, Porthos."
  • "At all events, man or devil, body or shadow, illusion or reality, this man i_orn for my damnation; for his flight has caused us to miss a glorious affair, gentlemen—an affair by which there were a hundred pistoles, and perhaps more, to be gained."
  • "How is that?" cried Porthos and Aramis in a breath.
  • As to Athos, faithful to his system of reticence, he contented himself wit_nterrogating d'Artagnan by a look.
  • "Planchet," said d'Artagnan to his domestic, who just then insinuated his hea_hrough the half-open door in order to catch some fragments of th_onversation, "go down to my landlord, Monsieur Bonacieux, and ask him to sen_e half a dozen bottles of Beaugency wine; I prefer that."
  • "Ah, ah! You have credit with your landlord, then?" asked Porthos.
  • "Yes," replied d'Artagnan, "from this very day; and mind, if the wine is bad, we will send him to find better."
  • "We must use, and not abuse," said Aramis, sententiously.
  • "I always said that d'Artagnan had the longest head of the four," said Athos, who, having uttered his opinion, to which d'Artagnan replied with a bow, immediately resumed his accustomed silence.
  • "But come, what is this about?" asked Porthos.
  • "Yes," said Aramis, "impart it to us, my dear friend, unless the honor of an_ady be hazarded by this confidence; in that case you would do better to kee_t to yourself."
  • "Be satisfied," replied d'Artagnan; "the honor of no one will have cause t_omplain of what I have to tell."
  • He then related to his friends, word for word, all that had passed between hi_nd his host, and how the man who had abducted the wife of his worthy landlor_as the same with whom he had had the difference at the hostelry of the Joll_iller.
  • "Your affair is not bad," said Athos, after having tasted like a connoisseu_nd indicated by a nod of his head that he thought the wine good; "and one ma_raw fifty or sixty pistoles from this good man. Then there only remains t_scertain whether these fifty or sixty pistoles are worth the risk of fou_eads."
  • "But observe," cried d'Artagnan, "that there is a woman in the affair—a woma_arried off, a woman who is doubtless threatened, tortured perhaps, and al_ecause she is faithful to her mistress."
  • "Beware, d'Artagnan, beware," said Aramis. "You grow a little too warm, in m_pinion, about the fate of Madame Bonacieux. Woman was created for ou_estruction, and it is from her we inherit all our miseries."
  • At this speech of Aramis, the brow of Athos became clouded and he bit hi_ips.
  • "It is not Madame Bonacieux about whom I am anxious," cried d'Artagnan, "bu_he queen, whom the king abandons, whom the cardinal persecutes, and who see_he heads of all her friends fall, one after the other."
  • "Why does she love what we hate most in the world, the Spaniards and th_nglish?"
  • "Spain is her country," replied d'Artagnan; "and it is very natural that sh_hould love the Spanish, who are the children of the same soil as herself. A_o the second reproach, I have heard it said that she does not love th_nglish, but an Englishman."
  • "Well, and by my faith," said Athos, "it must be acknowledged that thi_nglishman is worthy of being loved. I never saw a man with a nobler air tha_is."
  • "Without reckoning that he dresses as nobody else can," said Porthos. "I wa_t the Louvre on the day when he scattered his pearls; and, PARDIEU, I picke_p two that I sold for ten pistoles each. Do you know him, Aramis?"
  • "As well as you do, gentlemen; for I was among those who seized him in th_arden at Amiens, into which Monsieur Putange, the queen's equerry, introduce_e. I was at school at the time, and the adventure appeared to me to be crue_or the king."
  • "Which would not prevent me," said d'Artagnan, "if I knew where the Duke o_uckingham was, from taking him by the hand and conducting him to the queen, were it only to enrage the cardinal, and if we could find means to play him _harp turn, I vow that I would voluntarily risk my head in doing it."
  • "And did the mercer[[3]](footnotes.xml#footnote_3)," rejoined Athos, "tel_ou, d'Artagnan, that the queen thought that Buckingham had been brought ove_y a forged letter?"
  • "She is afraid so."
  • "Wait a minute, then," said Aramis.
  • "What for?" demanded Porthos.
  • "Go on, while I endeavor to recall circumstances."
  • "And now I am convinced," said d'Artagnan, "that this abduction of the queen'_oman is connected with the events of which we are speaking, and perhaps wit_he presence of Buckingham in Paris."
  • "The Gascon is full of ideas," said Porthos, with admiration.
  • "I like to hear him talk," said Athos; "his dialect amuses me."
  • "Gentlemen," cried Aramis, "listen to this."
  • "Listen to Aramis," said his three friends.
  • "Yesterday I was at the house of a doctor of theology, whom I sometime_onsult about my studies."
  • Athos smiled.
  • "He resides in a quiet quarter," continued Aramis; "his tastes and hi_rofession require it. Now, at the moment when I left his house—"
  • Here Aramis paused.
  • "Well," cried his auditors; "at the moment you left his house?"
  • Aramis appeared to make a strong inward effort, like a man who, in the ful_elation of a falsehood, finds himself stopped by some unforeseen obstacle; but the eyes of his three companions were fixed upon him, their ears were wid_pen, and there were no means of retreat.
  • "This doctor has a niece," continued Aramis.
  • "Ah, he has a niece!" interrupted Porthos.
  • "A very respectable lady," said Aramis.
  • The three friends burst into laughter.
  • "Ah, if you laugh, if you doubt me," replied Aramis, "you shall know nothing."
  • "We believe like Mohammedans, and are as mute as tombstones," said Athos.
  • "I will continue, then," resumed Aramis. "This niece comes sometimes to se_er uncle; and by chance was there yesterday at the same time that I was, an_t was my duty to offer to conduct her to her carriage."
  • "Ah! She has a carriage, then, this niece of the doctor?" interrupted Porthos, one of whose faults was a great looseness of tongue. "A nice acquaintance, m_riend!"
  • "Porthos," replied Aramis, "I have had the occasion to observe to you mor_han once that you are very indiscreet; and that is injurious to you among th_omen."
  • "Gentlemen, gentlemen," cried d'Artagnan, who began to get a glimpse of th_esult of the adventure, "the thing is serious. Let us try not to jest, if w_an. Go on Aramis, go on."
  • "All at once, a tall, dark gentleman—just like yours, d'Artagnan."
  • "The same, perhaps," said he.
  • "Possibly," continued Aramis, "came toward me, accompanied by five or six me_ho followed about ten paces behind him; and in the politest tone, 'Monsieu_uke,' said he to me, 'and you madame,' continued he, addressing the lady o_y arm—"
  • "The doctor's niece?"
  • "Hold your tongue, Porthos," said Athos; "you are insupportable."
  • "'—will you enter this carriage, and that without offering the leas_esistance, without making the least noise?'"
  • "He took you for Buckingham!" cried d'Artagnan.
  • "I believe so," replied Aramis.
  • "But the lady?" asked Porthos.
  • "He took her for the queen!" said d'Artagnan.
  • "Just so," replied Aramis.
  • "The Gascon is the devil!" cried Athos; "nothing escapes him."
  • "The fact is," said Porthos, "Aramis is of the same height, and something o_he shape of the duke; but it nevertheless appears to me that the dress of _usketeer—"
  • "I wore an enormous cloak," said Aramis.
  • "In the month of July? The devil!" said Porthos. "Is the doctor afraid tha_ou may be recognized?"
  • "I can comprehend that the spy may have been deceived by the person; but th_ace—"
  • "I had a large hat," said Aramis.
  • "Oh, good lord," cried Porthos, "what precautions for the study of theology!"
  • "Gentlemen, gentlemen," said d'Artagnan, "do not let us lose our time i_esting. Let us separate, and let us seek the mercer's wife—that is the key o_he intrigue."
  • "A woman of such inferior condition! Can you believe so?" said Porthos, protruding his lips with contempt.
  • "She is goddaughter to Laporte, the confidential valet of the queen. Have _ot told you so, gentlemen? Besides, it has perhaps been her Majesty'_alculation to seek on this occasion for support so lowly. High heads expos_hemselves from afar, and the cardinal is longsighted."
  • "Well," said Porthos, "in the first place make a bargain with the mercer, an_ good bargain."
  • "That's useless," said d'Artagnan; "for I believe if he does not pay us, w_hall be well enough paid by another party."
  • At this moment a sudden noise of footsteps was heard upon the stairs; the doo_as thrown violently open, and the unfortunate mercer rushed into the chambe_n which the council was held.
  • "Save me, gentlemen, for the love of heaven, save me!" cried he. "There ar_our men come to arrest me. Save me! Save me!"
  • Porthos and Aramis arose.
  • "A moment," cried d'Artagnan, making them a sign to replace in the scabbar_heir half-drawn swords. "It is not courage that is needed; it is prudence."
  • "And yet," cried Porthos, "we will not leave—"
  • "You will leave d'Artagnan to act as he thinks proper," said Athos. "He has, _epeat, the longest head of the four, and for my part I declare that I wil_bey him. Do as you think best, d'Artagnan."
  • At this moment the four Guards appeared at the door of the antechamber, bu_eeing four Musketeers standing, and their swords by their sides, the_esitated about going farther.
  • "Come in, gentlemen, come in," called d'Artagnan; "you are here in m_partment, and we are all faithful servants of the king and cardinal."
  • "Then, gentlemen, you will not oppose our executing the orders we hav_eceived?" asked one who appeared to be the leader of the party.
  • "On the contrary, gentlemen, we would assist you if it were necessary."
  • "What does he say?" grumbled Porthos.
  • "You are a simpleton," said Athos. "Silence!"
  • "But you promised me—" whispered the poor mercer.
  • "We can only save you by being free ourselves," replied d'Artagnan, in _apid, low tone; "and if we appear inclined to defend you, they will arrest u_ith you."
  • "It seems, nevertheless—"
  • "Come, gentlemen, come!" said d'Artagnan, aloud; "I have no motive fo_efending Monsieur. I saw him today for the first time, and he can tell you o_hat occasion; he came to demand the rent of my lodging. Is that not true, Monsieur Bonacieux? Answer!"
  • "That is the very truth," cried the mercer; "but Monsieur does not tell you—"
  • "Silence, with respect to me, silence, with respect to my friends; silenc_bout the queen, above all, or you will ruin everybody without savin_ourself! Come, come, gentlemen, remove the fellow." And d'Artagnan pushed th_alf-stupefied mercer among the Guards, saying to him, "You are a shabby ol_ellow, my dear. You come to demand money of me—of a Musketeer! To prison wit_im! Gentlemen, once more, take him to prison, and keep him under key as lon_s possible; that will give me time to pay him."
  • The officers were full of thanks, and took away their prey. As they were goin_own d'Artagnan laid his hand on the shoulder of their leader.
  • "May I not drink to your health, and you to mine?" said d'Artagnan, fillin_wo glasses with the Beaugency wine which he had obtained from the liberalit_f M. Bonacieux.
  • "That will do me great honor," said the leader of the posse, "and I accep_hankfully."
  • "Then to yours, monsieur—what is your name?"
  • "Boisrenard."
  • "Monsieur Boisrenard."
  • "To yours, my gentlemen! What is your name, in your turn, if you please?"
  • "d'Artagnan."
  • "To yours, monsieur."
  • "And above all others," cried d'Artagnan, as if carried away by hi_nthusiasm, "to that of the king and the cardinal."
  • The leader of the posse would perhaps have doubted the sincerity of d'Artagna_f the wine had been bad; but the wine was good, and he was convinced.
  • "What diabolical villainy you have performed here," said Porthos, when th_fficer had rejoined his companions and the four friends found themselve_lone. "Shame, shame, for four Musketeers to allow an unfortunate fellow wh_ried for help to be arrested in their midst! And a gentleman to hobnob with _ailiff!"
  • "Porthos," said Aramis, "Athos has already told you that you are a simpleton, and I am quite of his opinion. D'Artagnan, you are a great man; and when yo_ccupy Monsieur de Treville's place, I will come and ask your influence t_ecure me an abbey."
  • "Well, I am in a maze," said Porthos; "do YOU approve of what d'Artagnan ha_one?"
  • "PARBLEU! Indeed I do," said Athos; "I not only approve of what he has done, but I congratulate him upon it."
  • "And now, gentlemen," said d'Artagnan, without stopping to explain his conduc_o Porthos, "All for one, one for all—that is our motto, is it not?"
  • "And yet—" said Porthos.
  • "Hold out your hand and swear!" cried Athos and Aramis at once.
  • Overcome by example, grumbling to himself, nevertheless, Porthos stretched ou_is hand, and the four friends repeated with one voice the formula dictated b_'Artagnan:
  • "All for one, one for all."
  • "That's well! Now let us everyone retire to his own home," said d'Artagnan, a_f he had done nothing but command all his life; "and attention! For from thi_oment we are at feud with the cardinal."