The Council of the Musketeers

The bastion was occupied only by a dozen dead bodies, French and Rochellais.

“Gentlemen,” said Athos, who had assumed the command of the expedition, “while Grimaud is laying out the breakfast, let us begin by getting together the guns and cartridges; we can talk while performing that task. These gentlemen,” added he, pointing to the bodies, “will not hear us.”

“But still we might throw them into the ditch,” said Porthos, “after assuring ourselves they have nothing in their pockets.”

“Yes,” said Athos; “that’s Grimaud’s business.”

“Well, then,” cried D’Artagnan, “let Grimaud search them, and throw them over the walls.”

“By no means,” said Athos; “they may be useful to us.”

“These dead bodies useful to us?” exclaimed Porthos. “Why, you are crazy, my dear friend.”

“‘Judge not rashly,’ say the Gospels and the cardinal,” replied Athos. “How many guns, gentlemen?”

“Twelve,” replied Aramis.

“How many cartridges?”

“A hundred.”

“That’s quite as many as we shall want. Let us load the guns.”

The four musketeers went to work. As they were loading the last musket Grimaud signified that breakfast was ready.

Athos replied, still by gestures, that it was all right, and showed Grimaud a kind of pepper-box, making him understand that he was to stand as sentinel. Only, to alleviate the tedium of the duty, Athos allowed him to take a loaf, two cutlets, and a bottle of wine.

“And now, to table,” said Athos.

The four friends sat down on the ground, with their legs crossed, like Turks or tailors.

“But the secret?” said D’Artagnan.

“The secret is,” said Athos, “that I saw milady last night.”

D’Artagnan was lifting a glass to his lips, but at the mention of milady his hand shook so that he put the glass on the ground again, for fear of spilling the contents.

“You saw your wi—”

“Hush!” interrupted Athos; “you forget, my dear D’Artagnan, that these gentlemen have not been initiated, as you have, into the secrets of my family affairs. I saw milady.”

“And where?” demanded D’Artagnan.

“About two leagues from here, at the tavern of the Red Dovecot.” And Athos told D’Artagnan of the events that had taken place at the tavern.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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