The Anjou Wine

D’Artagnan had become more tranquil. He felt only one uneasiness, and that was not hearing from his three friends.

But one morning early in November everything was explained to him by this letter, dated from Villeroi:

“Monsieur D’Artagnan,—MM. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis after giving an entertainment at my house, and having a very gay time, created such a disturbance that the provost of the castle, a very rigid man, has had them confined for some days; but I fulfil the order they have given me by forwarding to you a dozen bottles of my Anjou wine, with which they are much taken. They are desirous that you should drink to their health in their favourite wine. I have done so, and am, sir, with great respect, your very humble and obedient servant,

“Godeau, Steward of the Musketeers.”

“That’s good!” cried D’Artagnan; “they think of me in their pleasures, as I thought of them in my troubles. Well, I will certainly drink to their health with all my heart, but I will not drink alone.”

And D’Artagnan went after two guardsmen with whom he had formed greater intimacy than with the others, to invite them to drink with him this delicious Anjou wine which had just been sent him from Villeroi.

One of the two guardsmen was engaged that evening, and the other for the next. So the meeting was fixed for the day after that.

Planchet, very proud of being raised to the dignity of butler, thought he would get everything ready, like an intelligent man; and with this object in mind called in the assistance of the lackey of one of his master’s guests, named Fourreau, and the sham soldier who had tried to kill D’Artagnan, and who, belonging to no corps, had been in D’Artagnan’s service, or rather Planchet’s, ever since D’Artagnan saved his life.

The hour of the banquet having come, the two guests arrived, took their places, and the dishes were served on the table. Planchet waited, towel on arm; Fourreau uncorked the bottles, and Brisemont, as the convalescent was named, carefully poured into glass decanters the wine, which seemed to be rather muddy after the joltings of the journey. Brisemont poured the dregs into a glass, and D’Artagnan allowed him to drink it, for the poor devil had not as yet much strength.

The guests, after having eaten their soup, were on the point of touching the first glass of wine to their lips, when suddenly the cannon roared from Fort Louis and Fort Neuf. Instantly the guardsmen, imagining this to be caused by some unexpected attack, either of the besieged or the English, sprang to their swords.

But scarcely were they out of the messroom when they learned the cause of the noise. Cries of “Hurrah for the king! hurrah for the cardinal!” were resounding on every side, and drums were beating in all directions.

In fact, the king had made forced marches, and had just arrived with all his household and a reinforcement of ten thousand troops. His musketeers rode in front of him and behind him. D’Artagnan, standing with his company drawn up in line, saluted with an expressive gesture his friends, whom he followed with his eyes, and M. de Tréville, who instantly recognized him.

The ceremony of reception over, the four friends were soon in one another’s arms.

“By jove!” cried D’Artagnan, “you could not have arrived more opportunely; the dinner cannot have had time to cool.—Can it, gentlemen?” added the young man, turning to the two guardsmen, whom he introduced to his friends.

“Ah, ha!” said Porthos, “so it seems we were feasting!”

“Is there any drinkable wine in your shanty?” asked Athos.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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