Dream of Vengeance

That evening milady gave orders that when M. d’Artagnan came as usual, he should be immediately admitted. But he did not come.

The next day Kitty went to see the young man again, and related to him all that had passed the evening before. D’Artagnan smiled. Milady’s jealous anger was his revenge.

That evening milady was still more impatient than on the preceding one. She renewed the order relative to the Gascon; but, as before, she expected him in vain.

The next morning, when Kitty presented herself at D’Artagnan’s, she was no longer joyous and alert, as she had been on the two preceding days, but, on the contrary, melancholy as death.

D’Artagnan asked the poor girl what was the matter; but her only reply was to draw a letter from her pocket and give it to him.

This letter was in milady’s handwriting, only this time it was addressed to D’Artagnan, and not to M. de Wardes.

He opened it and read as follows:

“Dear Monsieur D’Artagnan,—It is wrong thus to neglect your friends, particularly when you are about to leave them for such a long time. My brother-in-law and myself expected you yesterday and the day before, but in vain. Will it be the same this evening?

“Your very grateful
“Lady Clarick.”

“It’s very simple,” said D’Artagnan; “I was expecting this letter. My credit rises by the Comte de Wardes’s fall.”

Instinct caused poor Kitty to guess a part of what was going to happen. D’Artagnan reassured her as well as he could, and promised to remain insensible to milady’s seductions. He desired Kitty to tell her mistress that he was most grateful for her kindnesses, and that he would be obedient to her orders. But he dare not write, for fear of not being able sufficiently to disguise his writing to deceive such experienced eyes as milady’s.

As nine o’clock was striking, D’Artagnan was at the Place Royale.

Milady assumed the most friendly air possible, and conversed with more than her usual brilliancy. At the same time the fever, which for an instant had left her, returned to give lustre to her eyes, colour to her cheeks, and vermilion to her lips. D’Artagnan was again in the presence of the Circe who had before surrounded him with her enchantment. His love, which he believed to be extinct, but which was only asleep, awoke again in his heart. Milady smiled, and D’Artagnan felt that he could go to perdition for that smile.

There was a moment when he felt something like remorse.

By degrees milady became more communicative. She asked D’Artagnan if he had a mistress.

“Alas!” said D’Artagnan, with the most sentimental air he could assume, “can you be cruel enough to put such a question to me— to me who, from the moment I saw you, have only breathed and sighed by reason of you and for you!”

Milady smiled with a strange smile.

“Then you do love me?” said she.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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