“Certainly madame,” said Porthos, winking to himself, as a gambler does who laughs at the dupe he is about to pluck.

At that moment D’Artagnan was passing in pursuit of milady. He cast a glance at Porthos, and beheld his triumphant look.

“Ah, ha!” said he to himself, reasoning in accordance with the strangely easy morality of that gallant period, “here is one of us, at least, on the road to be equipped in time.”

D’Artagnan had followed milady, without being perceived by her. He saw her get into her carriage, and heard her order the coachman to drive to St. Germain.

It was useless to endeavour to keep pace on foot with a carriage drawn by two powerful horses, so D’Artagnan returned to the Rue Férou.

In the Rue de Seine he met Planchet, who had stopped before a bake-shop, and was contemplating with ecstasy a cake of the most appetizing appearance.

D’Artagnan and Planchet got into the saddle, and took the road to St. Germain.

Milady had spoken to the man in the black cloak, therefore she knew him. Now, in D’Artagnan’s opinion it was certainly the man in the black cloak who had carried off Madame Bonacieux the second time, as he had carried her off the first.

Thinking of all this, and from time to time giving his horse a touch of the spur, D’Artagnan completed his journey, and arrived at St. Germain. He was riding along a very quiet street, when from the ground floor of a pretty house, he saw a form appear that looked familiar. This person in question was walking along a kind of terrace, ornamented with flowers. Planchet recognized who it was first.

“Why, it is poor Lubin,” said Planchet, “the lackey of the Comte de Wardes, whom you so well accommodated a month ago at Calais, on the road to the governor’s country house.”

“So it is,” said D’Artagnan; “I know him now. Do you think he would recollect you?”

“’Pon my word, sir, he was so greatly disturbed that I don’t think he can have retained a very clear recollection of me.”

“Well, go and get into conversation with him, and find out, if you can, whether his master is dead or not.”

Planchet dismounted and went straight up to Lubin, who did not recognize him, and the two lackeys began to chat with the best understanding possible, while D’Artagnan turned the two horses into a lane, and went round the house so as to be present at the conference, coming back to take his place behind a hedge of hazels.

After a moment’s watching from behind the hedge he heard the noise of a carriage, and saw milady’s coach stop in front of him. He could not be mistaken; milady was in it. D’Artagnan bent over on his horse’s neck in order to see everything without being seen.

Milady put her charming fair head out at the window, and gave some orders to her maid.

D’Artagnan followed the maid with his eyes, and saw her going towards the terrace. But it happened that some one in the house had called Lubin, so that Planchet remained alone, looking in all directions for D’Artagnan.

The maid approached Planchet, whom she took for Lubin, and holding out a little note to him,

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