“Whatever may happen,” said D’Artagnan, placing his hand on his heart and bowing, “I shall entertain an eternal gratitude toward your Eminence for what you are now doing for me.”

“Well, let it be, then, as you have said, Monsieur d’Artagnan; we shall meet again after the campaign. I will have my eye on you, for I shall be there,” replied the cardinal, pointing with his finger to a magnificent suit of armour he was to wear; “and on our return—well, we will settle our account!”

“Ah, monseigneur!” cried D’Artagnan, “spare me the weight of your disfavour; remain neutral, monseigneur, if you find that I act as a gentleman ought to act.”

“Young man,” said Richelieu, “if I am able once again to say to you what I have said to you to-day, I promise you to do so.”

This last expression of Richelieu’s conveyed a terrible doubt; it alarmed D’Artagnan more than a threat would have done, for it was a warning. The cardinal, then, was trying to preserve him from some threatened misfortune. He opened his mouth to reply, but with a gesture the cardinal dismissed him.

D’Artagnan descended by the same staircase at which he had entered.

When he reached Athos’s residence, Aramis and Porthos inquired as to the cause of this strange interview; but D’Artagnan confined himself to telling them that Richelieu had sent for him to propose to him to enter his guards with the rank of ensign, and that he had refused.

“And you were right,” cried Aramis and Porthos, with one voice.

Athos fell into a deep reverie and made no remark. But when they were alone,

“You have done your duty, D’Artagnan,” said Athos; “but yet perhaps you have done wrong.”

D’Artagnan sighed deeply, for this voice responded to a secret voice of his soul, which told him that great misfortunes were awaiting him.

The whole of the next day was spent in preparations for departure. D’Artagnan went to take leave of M. de Tréville. At that time it was still believed that the separation of the musketeers and the guards would be only temporary, as the king was holding his parliament that very day, and proposed to set out the day after. M. de Tréville contented himself with asking D’Artagnan if he could do anything for him, but D’Artagnan answered that he was supplied with all he wanted.

That night all the comrades of the company of M. des Essarts’s guards and of the company of M. de Tréville’s musketeers who had struck up a mutual friendship came together. They were parting to meet again when it should please God, and if it should please God. The night, therefore, was a somewhat riotous one, as may be imagined, for in such cases extreme preoccupation can be combated only by extreme carelessness.

At the first sound of the morning trumpet the friends separated, the musketeers hastening to M. de Tréville’s hôtel, the guards to M. des Essarts’s. Each of the captains then led his company to the Louvre, where the king reviewed them.

The review over, the guards set forward alone on their march, the musketeers waiting for the king.

Meantime, D’Artagnan was marching off with his company. On arriving at the Faubourg St. Antoine, he turned round to look gaily at the Bastille; but as he looked at the Bastille alone he did not observe milady, who, mounted upon a light bay horse, was pointing him out to two ill-looking men who immediately came close up to the ranks to take notice of him. To a questioning look milady signified that it was he. Then, certain that there could no longer be any mistake in the execution of her orders, she gave spurs to her horse and disappeared.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.