and who had the honour to be, as a child, the playfellow 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 from him caused him to entertain great esteem and friendship for M. de Tréville. Afterwards, M. de Tréville fought with others: during his first journey to Paris, five times; from the death of the late king to the majority of the young one, without reckoning wars and sieges, seven times; and from that majority up to the present day, a hundred times perhaps! So that in spite of edicts, ordinances, and decrees, behold him captain of the musketeers—that is to say, leader of a legion of Cæsars, whom the king holds in great esteem, and whom the cardinal dreads—he who dreads little, as every one knows. Moreover, M. de Tréville gains ten thousand crowns a year; he is, therefore, a very 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.”

The same day the young man set forward on his journey, provided with the three paternal gifts, which consisted, as we have said, of fifteen crowns, the horse, and the letter for M. de Tréville, the counsels, as may be supposed, being thrown into the bargain.

As he was alighting from his horse at the gate of the Franc-Meunier, without any one—host, waiter, or hostler—coming to hold his stirrup or take his horse, D’Artagnan spied, through an open window on the ground floor, a man of fine figure and lofty bearing, but of rather grim countenance, talking with two persons who appeared to listen to him most respectfully. D’Artagnan fancied, as was natural for him to do, that he himself must be the object of their conversation, and listened. D’Artagnan was only in part mistaken: he himself was not the subject of remark, but his horse was.

Nevertheless, D’Artagnan was desirous of examining the appearance of this impertinent personage who was laughing at 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, a pale complexion, a strongly-marked nose, and a black and well-shaped moustache. He was dressed in a doublet and hose of violet colour, with aiguillettes of the same, without any other ornaments than the customary slashes through which the shirt appeared. This doublet and hose, though new, look creased, as garments do which have been long packed in a travelling-bag. D’Artagnan noticed all this with the rapidity of a most minute observer, and doubtless from an instinctive feeling that this unknown 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 man in the violet doublet the man made one of his most knowing and profound remarks respecting the Béarnese pony, his two auditors burst out laughing, and he himself, though contrary to his custom suffered a pale smile (if I may be 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 his conviction, he pulled his cap down over his eyes, and endeavouring to copy some of the court airs he had picked up in Gascony among young travelling nobles, he advanced, with one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other resting on his hip.

“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 man withdrew his eyes slowly from the nag to his rider, as if he required some time to ascertain whether it could be to him that such strange reproaches were addressed; then, when he could no longer entertain any doubt of the matter, his eyebrows bent slightly, and after quite a long pause, 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, exasperated by this mixture of insolence and good manners, of politeness and scorn.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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