At two oclock in the morning our four adventurers left Paris by the gate St. Denis.
The lackeys followed, armed to the teeth.
All went well as far as Chantilly, where they arrived about eight oclock in the morning. They needed breakfast, and alighted at the door of an inn recommended by a sign representing St. Martin giving half his cloak to a poor man.
They entered the public room, and seated themselves at table. A gentleman, who had just arrived by the route of Dammartin, was seated at the same table, and was taking his breakfast.
At the moment Mousqueton came to announce that the horses were ready, and they were rising from the table, the stranger proposed to Porthos to drink the cardinals health. Porthos replied that he asked no better, if the stranger in his turn would drink the kings health. The stranger cried that he acknowledged no other king but his Eminence. Porthos told him he was drunk, and the stranger drew his sword.
You have committed a piece of folly, said Athos, but it cant be helped; there is no drawing back. Kill your man, and rejoin us as soon as you can.
And all three mounted their horses and set out at a good pace, while Porthos was promising his adversary to perforate him with all the thrusts known in the fencing schools.
And the travellers continued their route.
At Beauvais they stopped two hours, as much to breathe their horses a little as to wait for Porthos. At the end of the two hours, as Porthos did not come and they heard no news of him, they resumed their journey.
At a league from Beauvais, where the road was confined between two high banks, they fell in with eight or ten men who, taking advantage of the road being unpaved in this spot, appeared to be employed in digging holes and making muddy ruts.
Aramis, not liking to soil his boots with this artificial mortar, apostrophized them rather sharply. Athos wished to restrain him, but it was too late. The labourers began to jeer the travellers, and by their insolence disturbed the equanimity even of the cool Athos, who urged on his horse against one of them.
The men all immediately drew back to the ditch, from which each took a concealed musket. The result was that our seven travellers were outnumbered in weapons. Aramis received a ball which passed through his shoulder, and Mousqueton another ball which lodged in the fleshy parts at the lower portion of the back. Mousqueton alone fell from his horse, not because he was severely wounded, but from not being able to see the wound, he deemed it to be more serious than it really was.
It is an ambuscade! shouted DArtagnan; dont waste a shot! Forward!
Aramis, wounded as he was, seized the mane of his horse, which carried him on with the others. Mousquetons horse rejoined them, and galloped by the side of his companions.
That horse will serve us for a relay, said Athos.
They continued at their best speed for two hours, although the horses were so fatigued that it was to be feared they would soon refuse service.
The travellers had chosen cross-roads, in the hope that they might meet with less interruption. But at Crèvecur Aramis declared he could proceed no farther. In fact, it required all the courage which he concealed beneath his elegant form and polished manners to bear him so far. He grew paler every minute, and they were obliged to support him on his horse. They lifted him off at the door of an inn, left Bazin with
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