was passing through the gateway into the street the wind blew open the cloak in which he was wrapped, though it was August, and lifted his hat, which the traveller seized with his hand just as it left his head, and pulled it down quickly over his eyes.

D’Artagnan, who had his eyes fixed on this man, became very pale, and let his glass fall.

“What is the matter, sir?” asked Planchet.—“Oh, come, gentlemen, gentlemen! My master is ill!”

The three friends hastened to D’Artagnan, but instead of finding him ill, met him running for his horse. They stopped him at the door.

“Now, where the devil are you going in this way?” cried Athos.

“It is he!” cried D’Artagnan, pale with passion, and with the sweat on his brow; “it is he! Let me overtake him!”

“He—who?” asked Athos.

“He—my man!”

“What man?”

“That cursed man, my evil genius, whom I have always seen when threatened by some misfortune; he who accompanied the horrible woman when I met her for the first time; he whom I was seeking when I offended our friend Athos; he whom I saw on the very morning of the day Madame Bonacieux was carried off! I just saw him! It is he! I recognized him when his cloak blew open!”

“The devil!” said Athos musingly.

“To horse, gentlemen, to horse! Let us pursue him! We shall overtake him!”

“My dear friend,” said Aramis, “remember that he’s gone in an opposite direction to that in which we are going; that he has a fresh horse, and ours are fatigued; that consequently we shall disable our own horses without even the chance of overtaking him. Let the man go, D’Artagnan; let us save the woman.”

“Hello, sir!” cried an hostler, running out and looking after the unknown—“hello, sir! here is a paper which dropped out of your hat. Hello, sir! Hello!”

“Friend,” said D’Artagnan, “a half-pistole for that paper!”

“Faith, sir, with great pleasure! Here it is!”

The hostler, delighted with the good day’s work he had done, went into the yard again. D’Artagnan unfolded the paper.

“Well?” eagerly demanded all his three friends, surrounding him.

“Only one word!” said D’Artagnan.

“Yes,” said Aramis; “but that one word is the name of some town or village.”

Armentiéres!” read Porthos—“Armentiéres! I don’t know it.”

“And that name of a town or village is written in her hand!” cried Athos.

“Come on! come on!” said D’Artagnan; “let us keep that paper carefully; perhaps I have not lost my last pistole. To horse, my friends, to horse!”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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