The Antechamber of M. de Tréville

M. De Troisville, as his family was still called in Gascony, or M. de Tréville, as he had ended by styling himself in Paris, had really commenced life as D’Artagnan now did—that is to say, without a sou in his pocket. but with a fund of courage, shrewdness, and intelligence which makes the poorest Gascon gentleman often derive more in his imagination from the paternal inheritance than the richest nobleman of the Perigord or Berry receives in reality.

He was the friend of the king, who honoured highly, as every one knows, the memory of his father, Henry IV. Louis XIII made De Tréville the captain of his musketeers, who were to Louis XIII, in devotedness, or rather in fanaticism, what his Ordinaries had been to Henry III, and his Scotch Guard to Louis XI.

On his part, and in this respect, the cardinal was not behindhand with the king. When he saw the formidable and chosen body by which Louis XIII surrounded himself, this second, or rather this first, king of France became desirous that he too should have his guard. He had his musketeers, then, as Louis XIII had his; and these two powerful rivals vied with each other in procuring the most celebrated swordsmen, not only from all the provinces of France, but also from all foreign states.

Loose, tipsy, gashed, the king’s musketeers, or rather M. de Tréville’s, spread themselves about in the saloons, in the public walks, and the public sports, shouting, twirling their moustaches, clanking their swords, and taking great pleasure in bustling against the guards of the cardinal whenever they could fall in with them; then drawing their swords in the open streets, with a thousand jests; sometimes killed, but sure in that case to be both wept and avenged; often killing others, but then certain of not rotting in prison, M. de Tréville being there to claim them. And so M. de Tréville was praised in all keys by these men, who absolutely adored him, and who, ruffians as they were, trembled before him like scholars before their master, obedient to his least word, and ready to sacrifice themselves to wipe out the least insult.

The court of his hôtel, situated in the Rue du Vieux-Colombier, resembled a camp as early as six o’clock in the morning in summer and eight o’clock in winter. From fifty to sixty musketeers, who appeared to relieve each other there, in order always to present an imposing number, paraded constantly about, armed to the teeth and ready for anything. On one of those immense staircases, upon whose space modern civilization would build a whole house, ascended and descended the solicitors of Paris, who were in search of favours of any kind—gentlemen from the provinces anxious to be enrolled, and servants in all sorts of liveries, bringing messages from their masters to M. de Tréville. In the antechamber, upon long circular benches, reposed the elect—that is to say, those who were called. In this apartment a continued buzzing prevailed from morning till night, while M. de Tréville, in his office contiguous to this antechamber, received visits, listened to complaints, gave his orders, and, like the king in his balcony at the Louvre, had only to place himself at the window to review both men and arms.

The day on which D’Artagnan presented himself the assemblage was imposing, particularly for a provincial just arriving from his province. It is true that this provincial was a Gascon, and that, particularly at this period, the compatriots of D’Artagnan had the reputation of not being easily intimidated. When he had once passed the massive door, covered with long square-headed nails, he fell into the midst of a troop of military, who were passing each other in the court, calling out, quarrelling, and playing tricks with one another. To make way through these turbulent and conflicting waves it was necessary to be an officer, a great noble, or a pretty woman.

It was, then, in the midst of this tumult and disorder that our young man advanced with a beating heart. Holding his long rapier close to his lanky leg, and keeping one hand on the edge of his cap, he smiled with the embarrassment of a provincial who affects confidence.

Being, however, a perfect stranger in the crowd of M. de Tréville’s courtiers, and this his first appearance in that place, he was at length noticed, and a person came to him and asked him his business there. At this demand D’Artagnan gave his name very modestly, laid a stress upon the title of compatriot, and

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.