The Rendezvous

D’Artagnan ran home immediately, and although it was after three o’clock in the morning, and he had the worst quarters of Paris to pass through, he met with no misadventure.

He found the door of his passage open, sprang up the stairs, and knocked softly, in a manner agreed upon between him and his lackey. Planchet, whom he had sent home two hours before from the City Hall, desiring him to sit up for him, came and opened the door.

“Has any one brought a letter for me?” asked D’Artagnan eagerly.

“No one has brought a letter, sir,” replied Planchet; “but there is one come of itself.”

“What do you mean by that, you stupid fellow?”

“I mean that when I came in, although I had the key of your apartment in my pocket and that key had never been out of my possession, I found a letter on the green table-cover in your bedroom.”

“And where is that letter?”

“I left it where I found it, sir.”

In the meantime the young man darted into his chamber and was opening the letter. It was from Madame Bonacieux, and was conceived in these terms:

“Warm thanks are to be offered to you, and to be transmitted to you. Be at St. Cloud this evening about ten o’clock, in front of the pavilion at the corner of M. d’Estrées’s hôtel.—C.B.”

While reading this letter D’Artagnan felt his heart expand and close with that delicious spasm that tortures and caresses the hearts of lovers.

At seven o’clock in the morning he arose and called Planchet, who, at the second summons, opened the door, his countenance not yet quite free from the anxiety of the preceding night.

“Planchet,” said D’Artagnan, “I am going out for all day, perhaps. You are, therefore, your own master till seven o’clock in the evening.”

He took his way toward M. de Tréville’s hôtel. His visit the day before, we remember, had been very short, with little chances for confidential talk.

He found M. de Tréville in a most joyful mood. The king and queen had been charming to him at the ball. The cardinal, however, had been particularly ill-tempered; he had retired at one o’clock under the pretence of being indisposed. Their Majesties did not return to the Louvre till six o’clock.

“Now,” said M. de Tréville, lowering his voice and looking round at every corner of the apartment to see whether they were alone—“now let us talk about yourself, my young friend; for it is evident that your fortunate return has something to do with the king’s joy, the queen’s triumph, and the cardinal’s humiliation. You must look out for yourself.”

“What have I to fear,” replied D’Artagnan, “so long as I have the good fortune to enjoy their Majesties’ favour?”

“Everything, believe me. But, by the way,” resumed M. de Tréville, “what has become of your three companions?”

“I was about to ask you if you had heard no news of them.”

“None whatever, sir.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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