This was their mutual declaration of love.

D’Artagnan was radiant with joy and pride. This secret which he possessed, this woman whom he loved—confidence and love made him a giant.

“But still there is another thing,” said Madame Bonacieux.

“What is that?” asked D’Artagnan, seeing that Madame Bonacieux hesitated to proceed.

“You have, perhaps, no money?”

“Perhaps is too much,” said D’Artagnan, smiling.

“Then,” replied Madame Bonacieux, opening a cupboard and taking from it the very bag which half an hour before her husband had caressed so affectionately, “take this bag.”

“The cardinal’s?” cried D’Artagnan, breaking into a loud laugh, he having heard, as may be remembered, thanks to his broken floor, every syllable of the conversation between the mercer and his wife.

“The cardinal’s,” replied Madame Bonacieux. “You see it makes a very respectable appearance.”

“Zounds!” cried D’Artagnan, “it will be a doubly amusing affair to save the queen with his Eminence’s money!”

“You are an amiable and charming young man!” said Madame Bonacieux. “Be assured you will not find her Majesty ungrateful.”

“Oh, I am already more than recompensed!” cried D’Artagnan. “I love you; you permit me to tell you that I do; that is already more happiness than I dared to hope for.”

“Silence!” said Madame Bonacieux, starting.


“Some one is talking in the street.”

“It is the voice of—”

“Of my husband! Oh yes, I recognized it!”

D’Artagnan ran to the door and pushed the bolt.

“He shall not come in before I am gone,” said he; “and when I am gone, you can open the door for him.”

“But I ought to be gone too. And the disappearance of this money— how am I to justify it if I am here?”

“You are right. We must go out.”

“Go out? How? He will see us if we go out.”

“Then you must come up into my room.”

“Ah,” said Madame Bonacieux, “you say that in a tone which terrifies me!”

Madame Bonacieux pronounced these words with tears in her eyes. D’Artagnan saw these tears, and much disturbed, softened, he threw himself at her feet.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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