The voice became more and more indistinct; a tumultuous movement shook the wainscoting. The victim was resisting as much as one woman can resist four men.

“Pardon, gentlemen, par—” murmured the voice, which could now be heard only in inarticulate sounds.

“They are gagging her, they are going to drag her away,” cried D’Artagnan to himself, springing from the floor. “My sword! Good! it is by my side. Planchet!”


“Run and get Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. One of the three will certainly be at home—perhaps all three are. Tell them to arm, to come here, and be quick about it! Ah, I remember; Athos is at M. de Tréville’s.”

“But where are you going, sir, where are you going?”

“I am going down by the window, in order to be there the sooner,” cried D’Artagnan. “Do you put back the tiles, sweep the floor, go out at the door, and run where I bid you.”

“O sir, sir, you will kill yourself!” cried Planchet.

“Hold your tongue, you stupid fellow,” said D’Artagnan; and laying hold of the window-ledge, he let himself fall from the first story, which luckily was not far, without even scratching himself.

He then went straight to the door and knocked, murmuring,

“I will go and be caught in the mouse-trap in my turn, but woe be to the cats that shall pounce upon such a mouse!”

The knocker had scarcely sounded under the hand of the young man than the tumult ceased, steps approached, the door opened, and D’Artagnan, sword in hand, rushed into M. Bonacieux’s apartment, the door of which, doubtless moved by a spring, closed after him of itself.

Then those who were still living in Bonacieux’s unfortunate house, together with the nearest neighbours, heard loud cries, stamping of feet, clashing of swords, and much breaking of furniture. Then a moment after those who, surprised by this tumult, had gone to their windows to learn the cause of it, could see the door open, and four men, clothed in black, not come out of it, but fly, like so many frightened crows, leaving on the ground, and on the corners of the furniture, feathers from their wings—that is to say, portions of their clothes and fragments of their cloaks.

D’Artagnan was conqueror, without much trouble, it must be confessed, for only one of the bailiffs was armed, and he defended himself only for form’s sake. It is true that the three others had endeavoured to knock the young man down with chairs, stools, and crockery; but two or three scratches made by the Gascon’s blade terrified them. Ten minutes had sufficed for their defeat, and D’Artagnan remained master of the field of battle.

The neighbours who had opened their windows, with the indifference peculiar to the inhabitants of Paris in those times of perpetual riots and disturbances, closed them again as soon as they saw the four men in black fly away, their instinct telling them that for the moment all was over.

Besides, it began to grow late, and in those days, as at the present, people went to bed early in the Luxembourg quarter.

On being left alone with Madame Bonacieux, D’Artagnan turned towards her. The poor woman had fallen back upon an armchair in a half-fainting state. D’Artagnan examined her with a rapid glance.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page 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.