Maid and Mistress

In spite of the warnings of his conscience and the wise counsels of Athos, D’Artagnan hour by hour grew more and more deeply in love with milady. So the venturesome Gascon paid court to her every day, and he was convinced that sooner or later she could not fail to respond. One day when he arrived with his head in the air and as light at heart as a man who is expecting a shower of gold, he found the maid at the gateway of the hôtel. But this time the pretty Kitty was not satisfied with merely touching him as he passed; she took him gently by the hand.

“Good!” thought D’Artagnan; “she is charged with some message to me from her mistress. She is about to appoint a meeting which she probably has not the courage to speak of.” And he looked down at the pretty girl with the most triumphant air imaginable.

“I should like to speak a few words with you, Chevalier,” stammered the maid.

“Speak, my dear, speak,” said D’Artagnan; “I am all attention.”

“Here? That’s impossible. What I have to say is too long, and, still more, too secret.”

“Well, what is to be done?”

“If you will follow me?” said Kitty timidly.

“Wherever you please.”

“Come, then.”

And Kitty, who had not let go D’Artagnan’s hand, led him up a little dark, winding staircase, and, after ascending about fifteen steps, opened a door.

“Come in here, Chevalier,” said she; “here we shall be alone, and can talk.”

“And whose chamber is this, my pretty friend?”

“It is mine, Chevalier. It communicates with my mistress’s by that door. But you need not fear; she will not hear what we say; she never goes to bed before midnight.”

D’Artagnan glanced around him. The little apartment was charmingly tasteful and neat. But in spite of himself his eyes were directed to the door which Kitty said led to milady’s chamber.

Kitty guessed what was passing in the young man’s mind, and sighed.

“You love my mistress, then, very dearly, Chevalier?” said she.

“Oh, more than I can say, Kitty! I am madly in love with her!” Kitty sighed again.

“Alas, sir,” said she, “that is a great pity.”

“What the devil do you see so pitiable in it?” said D’Artagnan.

“Because, sir,” replied Kitty, “my mistress does not love you at all.”

“Hah!” said D’Artagnan; “can she have charged you to tell me so?”

“Oh, no, sir. Out of the regard I have for you I have taken on myself to tell you so.”

“I am much obliged, my dear Kitty, but for the intention only— for the information, you must agree, is not very pleasant.”

“That is to say, you don’t believe what I have told you, do you?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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