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Aramis must be absorbed in his devotional exercises."

He cast his eyes again on the letter. There was a postscript.

"I write by the same courier to our worthy friend Aramis in
his convent."

"In his convent! what convent?" There are about two
hundred in Paris, and about three thousand in France ; and then,
perhaps, on entering the convent he has changed his name


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Ah! if I were but learned in theology, I should recollect what
at was he used to dispute about with the Curate of Montdidier
and the Superior of the Jesuits, when we were at Crevecour;
I should know what doctrine he leans to, and I should glean
from that what saint he has adopted as his patron.

"Well, suppose I go back to the Cardinal and ask him for a
passport into all the convents one can find; even into the nun-
neries? It would be a curious idea, and, maybe I should find my
friend under the name of Achilles. But, no! I should ruin
myself in the Cardinal's opinion. Great people only thank you
for doing for them what's impossible ; what's possible, they say,
they can do themselves, and they are right."

So he was perfectly ignorant either where to find Aramis
any more than Porthos, and the affair was becoming a matter
of great perplexity, when he fancied he heard a pane of glass
break in his room window. He thought directly of his bag,
and rushed from the inner room where he was sleeping. He
was not mistaken; as he entered his bedroom a man was get-
ting in by the window.

"Ah! you scoundrel," cried d'Artagnan, taking the man for a
thief, and seizing his sword.

"Sir," cried the man. **In the name of heaven, put your
sword back into the sheath, and don't kill me unheard. I'm
no thief, but an honest citizen, well off in the world, with a house
of my own. My name is — ah ! but surely you are M. d'Artagnan?"

"And you — Planchet !" cried the lieutenant.

**At your service, sir," said Planchet, overwhelmed with joy;
"and Fm still capable of serving you."

"Perhaps so," replied d'Artagnan. "But why the devil do you
run about the house tops at seven o'clock in the morning in

"Sir," said Planchet, *'yovL must know; but, are you on good
terms with M. de Rochefort?"

"Perfectly; one of my dearest friends, but he is in the Bas-

"That is to say, he was there," replied Planchet. "But m re-
turning thither last night, as his carriage was crossing the Rue
de la Ferronnerie, his guards insulted the people, who began to
abuse him. The prisoner thought this a good opportunity for es-
cape; he called out his name, and cried for help. I was there.
I heard the name of Rochefort. I remembered him well. I
said in a loud voice that he was a prisoner, and a friend of the
Duke de Beaufort, who called fot help. The people were in-
furiated; they stopped the horses, and cut the escort to pieces,
whilst I opened the door of the carriage, and M. de Rochefort
jumped out and was lost amongst the crowd. At this moment
a patrol passed by. I was obliged to beat a retreat towards
the Rue Tiquetonne ; I was pursued, and took refuge in a house
next to this, where I have been concealed till this morning on


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the top of the house, between two mattresses. I ventured to itm
along the gutters, and "

"Well," interrupted d'Artagnan, "I am delighted that de
Rochefort is free; but as for you, you have done a pretty thing,
for the king's men will hang you if you fall into their
clutches. Do you expect his officer to give you asylum?"

"Ah ! sir, you know well I would risk my life for you."

"You may add that you have risked it, Planchet. I have not
forgotten all I owe you. Sit down there, and eat in security.
I see you cast expressive glances at the remains of my supper."

"Yes, sir; for all Tve had since yesterday was a slice of
bread and butter with preserve on it. Although I don't de-
spise sweet things in proper time and place, yet I foimd that
supper rather light."

"Poor fellow!" said d'Artagnan. 'Well, come; set to."

"Ah, sir ! you are going to save my life a second time," cried

And he seated himself at the table and ate as he did in the
merry days, whilst d'Artagnan walked to and fro, and thought
how he could make use of Planchet under present circum-
stances. While he turned this over in his mind Planchet did his
best to make up for lost time at the table.

At last he uttered a sigh of satisfaction, and paused, as if he
had partially appeased his hunger.

"Come," said d'Artagnan, who thought that it was now a
convenient time to begin his interrogations, **do you know where
Athos is?"

"No, sir," replied Planchet.

"The devil you do not! Do you know where Porthos is?"

"No— not at all."

"And Aramis?"

"Not in the least."

"The devil! the devil! the devil!"

"But, sir," said Planchet, with a look of surprise, "I know
where Bazin is, — ^he is a beadle in the Cathedral."

"Good, for he must know where his old master is."

D'Artagnan thought for a moment, then took his sword, and
put on his cloak ready to go out.

"Sir," said Planchet, in a mournful tone, "do, you abandon
me thus to my fate!- Think, if I am found out here the peo-
ple of the house, who have not seen me enter it, must take me
for a thief."

"True," said d'Artagnan. "Let's see. Can you speak any

"I can speak Flemish."

"That will do capitally."

D'Artagnan opened the door, and called out to a waiter to
desire Madeleine to come upstairs.

When the landlady made her appearance she expressed much
astonishment at seeing Planchet.


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"My dear landlady," said d'Artagnan, "I beg to introduce to
you your brother, who is arrived from Flanders, and whom I am
going to take into my service. Wish your sister good morn-
ing, Master Peter/'

"Wilkom, suster," said Planchet.

"Goeden day, broder," replied the astonished landlady.

"This is the case,*' said d'Artagnan: ''this is your brother,
Madeleine; you don't know him, perhaps, but I do; he has ar-
rived from Amsterdam. You must dress him up during my ab-
sence. When I return, which will be in about an hour, you must
offer him to me as a servant, and, upon vour recommendation,
though he doesn't speak a word of Frencfi, I take him into my
service. You understand?"

"That is to say, I guess your wishes; and that is all that's
necessary," said Madeleine.

"You are a precious creature, my pretty hostess, and I'm
obliged to you."

The next moment d'Artagnan was on his way to Notre Dame.



D'Artagnan congratulated himself upon having found Plan-
chet again; for at that time an intelligent servant was essential
to him; nor was he sorry that through Planchet, and the situa-
tion which he held in the Rue des Lombards, a connection might
be commenced, at that critical period, with the class preparing
to make war with the court party. It was like having a spy
in the enemy's camp. In this frame of mind, grateful for the
accidental meeting with Planchet, pleased with himself, d'Ar-
tagnan reached Notre Dame. He ran up the steps, entered the
church, and addressing a verger who was sweeping the chapel,
asked him if he knew Bazin.

"M. Bazin, the beadle," said the verger. "Yes; there he is,
attending mass, in the chapel of the Virgin."

D'Artagnan nearly jumped for joy — ^he had despaired of
finding Bazin; but now, he thought, since he held one of the
threads, he should be pretty sure to reach the other end of the

He knelt down just opposite to the chapel, in order not to
lose sight of his man; and as he had almost forgotten his
prayers, and had omitted to take a book with him, he made use of
his time in gazing at Bazin.

Bazin wore his dress, it may be observed, with equal dignity
and saintly propriety. It was not difficult to understand that
he had gained the summit of his ambition. His person had


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undergone a change, analogous to the change in his dress,
his figure was rounded, and, as it were, canonized.

The officiating priest was just finishing the mass, whilst
d'Artagnan was looking at Bazm; he pronounced the words of
the holy sacrament, and retired, giving the benediction, which
was received by the kneeling communicants, to the astonishment
of d*Artagnan, who recognized in the priest the Coadjutor him-
self, the famous Jean Frangois Gondi, who at that time, having
a presentiment of the part he was to play, was beginning to
court popularity by almsgiving.

D'Artagnan knelt as well as the rest and received his share of
the benediction, but when Bazin passed in his turn, with his
eyes raised to heaven, and walking, in all humility, the very
last. d'Artagnan plucked him by the hem of his robe.

Bazin looked down and started as if he had seen a serpent.

"M. d'Artagnan!" he cried; "Vade retro Satanas!"

"So, my dear Bazin," said the officer, laughing, "this is the way
you receive an old friend."

"Sir," replied Bazin, **the true friends of a Christian are those
who aid him in working out his salvation ; not those who hinder
him in so doing."

"I don't understand you, Bazin; nor can I see how I can
be a stumbling-block in the way of your salvation," said d'Ar-

"You forget, sir, that you very nearly ruined forever that of
my master ; and that it was owing to you that he was very nearly
being damned eternally for remaining a Musketeer, whilst his
true vocation was for the church,"

"My dear Bazin, you ought to perceive," said d'Artagnan,
"from the place in which you find me, that I am much changed
in everything. Age produces good sense, and, as I doubt not but
that your master is on the road to salvation, I want you to tell
me where he is, that he may help me to mine."

"Rather say— to take him back with you into the world. For-
tunately, I don't know where he is."

D'Artagnan saw clearly that he should get nothing out of this
man, who was evidently telling a falsehood, but whose false-
hoods were bold and decided.

"Well, Bazin," said d'Artagnan, "since you do not know
where your master lives, let us speak of it no more ; let us part
good friends. Accept this half-pistole to drink my health."

"I do not drink" — Bazin pushed away with dignity the officer's
hand— " 'tis good only for the laity."

"Incorruptible!" murmured d'Artagnan; "I am unlucky;" and
whilst he was lost in thought, Bazin retreated towards the
sacristy, where he began conversing with the sacristan. Bazin
was making with his spare, little, short arms, ridiculous gestures.
D'Artagnan perceived that he was enforcing prudence with
respect to himself.

D'Artagnan slipped out of the cathedral and placed himself


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in ambuscade at the comer; it was impossible that Bazin could
go out without his seeing him.

In five minutes Bazin made his appearance, looking in every
direction to see if he were observed, but he saw no one. Tran-
quilized by appearances, he ventured to walk on. Then d'Ar-
tagnan rushed out of his hiding place, and arrived in time to see
Bazin enter in the Rue de Calandre, a respectable-looking
house; and this d'Artagnan felt no doubt, was the habitation of
the worthy. Afraid of making any inquiries at this house,
d'Artagnan entered a small tavern at the corner, and asked for
a cup of hypocras. This beverage required a good half-hour to
prepare it, and d'Artagnan had time, therefore, to watch Bazin

He perceived in the tavern a pert boy between twelve and
fifteen years of age, whom he fancied he had seen not twenty
minutes before, under the guise of a chorister. He questioned
him; and as the boy had no interest in deceiving, d'Artagnan
learned that he exercised from six o'clock in the morning un-
til nine, the office of chorister; and from nine o'clock till mid«
night that of a waitef in the tavern.

. Whilst he was talking to this lad, a horse was brought to the
door of Bazin's house. It was saddled and bridled. Almost
immediately Bazin came downstairs.

"Look!" said the boy, "there's our beadle going on a journey."

"And where is he going?** asked d'Artagnan, "Half a pis-
tole if you can find out. Wait till he is set out, and then,
marry, come up— ask, and find out The half-pistole is ready;"
and he showed one.

"I understand," said the child, with that jeering smile which
marks especially the street boy. "Well, we must wait."

Five minutes afterwards, Bazin set off on a full trot, urging
on his horse by the blows of an umbrella, instead of a riding-

Scarcely had he turned the comer than the boy rushed after
him like a blood-hound on full scent.

Before five minutes had elapsed he returned.

"Well!" exclaimed the boy; "the thing is done."

"Where is he gone?"

"The half-pistole is for me?"

"Doubtless; answer me."

"I want to see it Give it me, that I may see that it is not

The artful lad took it to his master and got it changed, and
returning as he pocketed the silver, he said: "He has gone to
Noisy, which is his custom, whereupon he always borrows the
butcher's horse."

"Is there a Jesuit monastery at Noisy?"

"A big one."

"What's your name?"



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D'Artagnan wrote down the child's name in his tablets.

"Please, sir," said the boy, "do you think I can get any more
half-pistoles any way?"

"Perhaps," replied d'Artagnan.

And, having got out all he wanted, he paid for the hypo-
eras, which he did not drink, and went quickly home.


d'artagnan^ going to a distance to find out aramis, dis-
covers HIM riding behind PU^NCHET.

The plan adopted by d*Artagnan was soon perfected. He re-
solved not to reach Noisy in the day, for fear of being recog-
nized: he had therefore plenty of time before him, for Noisy
is only three or four leagues from Paris, on the road to Meaux.

At about a league and a half from the city, d*Artagnan, find-
ing that in his impatience he had set out too soon, stopped to
give the horses breathing time. The inn was full of disreputa-
ble-looking people, who seemed as if they were on the point
of commencing some nightly expedition.

D'Artagnan went up to the landlady—praised her wine — ^which
was a horrible production — and heard from her that there were
only two houses of importance in the village; one of these
belonged to the Archbishop of Paris, and was at that time
the abode of his niece, the Duchess of Longueville; the other
was a convent of Jesuits, and was the property of these worthy

At four o'clock d'Artagnan recommenced his journey. He pro-
ceeded slowly, and in a deep reverie. Planchet was also lost in
thought, but the subject of their reflections was not the same.

One word which their landlady had pronounced had given a
particular turn to d*Artagnan's deliberations — ^this was the name
of Longueville. Mdme. de Longueville was one of the highest
ladies in the realm; she was also one of the greatest beauties
at the court and was now connected by a bond of a political
nature with the Princede Marsillac, the eldest son of old
Rochefoucauld, whom she was trying to inspire with an enmity
towards the Duke de Conde, her brother-in-law, whom she now
hated mortally.

D'Artagnan thought of Aramis, who, without possessing any
greater advantages than he had, had formerly been the lover of
Mdme. de Chevreuse, who had been in another court what
Mdme. de Longueville was in that day; and he wondered how
it was that there should be in the world people who succeed
in every wish — some in ambition, others in love — ^whilst others,
either from chance or from ill-luck, or from some natural d^-


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feet or impediment, remain only halfway on the road towards
the goal of their hopes and expectations.

He was confessing to himself that he belonged to the latter
class of persons, when Planchet approached, and said:

"I will lay a wager, your honor, that you and I are thinking
of the same thing, of those desperate-looking men who were
drinking in the inn where we rested. They were assembled
there for some bad purpose; and I was reflecting on what my
instinct had told me, in the darkest corner of the stable, when
a man, wrapped in a cloak, and followed by two other men,
came in."


"I listened, and I learnt that they were lying in wait for a
gentleman who would be in plain clothes, with a servant out
of livery, one who would use his sword if set upon. The chief
was styled Prince by the others, and he promised impunity
from the police."

"Well—what matters all that to us?" said d'Artagnan; "this
is one of those attempts that happen every day. We are un-
fortunately no longer in those times in which princes woidd
care to assassinate me. Those were good old days: never
fear — these people owe us no grudge."

"Well— we won't speak of it any more, then:** and Planchet
took his place in d'Artagnan's suite with that suolime confidence
which he had always had in his master, and which fifteen years
of separation had not destroyed.

At about half-past eight o'clock they reached the first houses
in Noisy; everyone was in bed, and not a light was to be seen
in the village. The obscurity was broken only now and then
by the dark lines of roofs of houses. Here and there a dog
barked behind a door, or an affrighted cat fled precipitately,
the only living creatures that seemed to inhabit the village.

Towards the middle of the town, commanding the principal
open space, rose a dark mass, separated from the rest of the
world by two lanes, and overshadowed in the front by enormous
lime trees. D'Artagnan looked attentively at the building.

"This," he said to Planchet, "must be the archbishop's pal-
ace, the abode of the fair Mdme. de Longueville; but the con-
vent, w^here is that?"

"At the end of the village; I know it well."

"Well, then, Planchet, gallop up to it, whilst I^ tighten my
horse's girth, and come back and tell me if there is a light in
any of the Jesuits' windows."

In about five minutes Planchet returned.

"Sir," he said, "there is one window of the convent lighted

**HemI If I were a 'Frondeur,' " said d'Artagnan, **I should
knock here and should be sure of a good supper. If I were a
monk, I should knock yonder, and should have a good supper
there, too ; whereas, 'tis very possible that between the castl^


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and the convent, we shall sleep on hard beds, dying with hun-
ger and thirst."

"Shall I knock?"

"Hush!" replied d'Artagnan: **the light in the window is ex-

"Do you hear nothing?" whispered Planchet.

"What is that noise?"

There came a sound like a whirlwind, and at the same time
two troops of horsemen, each composed of ten men, sallied
forth from each of the lanes which encompassed the house, and
surrounded d'Artagnan and Planchet.

"Heyday!" cried d'Artagnan, drawing his sword, and taking
refuge behind his horse; "are you not mistaken? is it us you
wish to attack — ^us?"

"Here he is! we have him now," said the horsemen, rush-
ing on d'Artagnan with naked swords.

"Don't let him escape," said a loud voice.

"No, my lord; be assured, we shall not"

D'Artagnan thought it was now time for him to join in the

"Hallo, gentlemen!" he called out in his Gascon accent,
**What do you want?"

"You will soon know," shouted a chorus of horsemen.

"Stop, stop!" cried he whom they had addressed as "my
lord;" "'tis not his voice."

"Ah! just so, gentlemen! pray do people get into passions at
random at Noisy? Take care, for I warn you that the first man
that comes within the length of my sword — and my sword is
long — I rip him up."

The chief of the party drew near.

"What are you domg here?" he asked, in a lofty tone, and
like one accustomed to command.

"What are you doing here?" replied d'Artagnan.

"Be civil, or I shall beat you; for, although one may not
choose to proclaim one's self, one insists on respect suitable
to one's rank."

"You don't choose to discover yourself, because you are the
leader of an ambuscade," returned d'Artagnan ; "but with regard
to myself, who am traveling quietly with my own servant, I
have not the same reasons as you have to conceal my name!"

"Enough! enough! what is your name?"

"I shall tell you my name in order that you may know where
to find me, my lord, or my prince, as it may suit you best to be
called," said our Gascon, who did not choose to seem to yield
to a threat. "Do you know M. d'Artagnan?"

"Lieutenant in the King's regiment of Musketeers?" said the
voice. "If you are he, you have come to defend him we are

"I am not here to defend any but myself," retorted d'Ar-
tagnan, beginning to wax wroth.


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"Never mind," grumbled the party leader, **this is beyond
doubt a Gascon, and not our man. We shall meet again.
Master d'Artagnan; let us go onwards, gentlemen."

And the troop, angry and complaining, disappeared in the
darkness, and took the road to Paris. D'Artagnan and Plan-
chet remained for some moments still on the defensive; tHen
as the noise of the horsemen became more and more distant
they sheathed their swords.

**You see, simpleton," said d'Artagnan to his servant, "that
they wished no harm to us.*'

"But to whom, then?"

"I'faith! I don't know, nor care. What I care for now is to
make my way into the Jesuits' convent; so, to horse, and let
us knock at their door. Happen what will - devil take them —
they won't eat us."

And he mounted his horse. Planchet had just done the same,
when an unexpected weight fell upon the back of his horse,
which sank down.

"Hey! your honor!" cried Planchet, "Fve a man behind me."

D'Artagnan turned round amd saw plainly, two human forms
upon Planchet's horse.

" 'Tis then the devil that pursues us!" he cried, drawing
his sword, and preparing to attack the new foe. ^

"No, no, dear d'Artagnan," said the figure, " 'tis not the devil,
'tis Aramis ; gallop fast, Planchet, and when you come to the end
of the village, go to the left."

And Planchet, with Aramis behind him, set off full gallop,
followed by d'Artagnan, who began to think he was dreaming
some incoherent and fantastic dream.



At the extremity of the village Planchet turned to the left,
in obedience to the orders of Aramis, and stopped underneath
tiie window which had a light in it. Aramis alighted, and
knocked three times with his hands. Immediately the window
was opened, and a ladder of rope was let down from it.

"My friend," said Aramis, "if you like to ascend, I shall be
delighted to receive you."

"Pass on before me, I beg of you."

"As the late Cardinal used to say to the late King — only to
show you the way, sire."^ And Aramis ascended the ladder
quickly, and reached the window in an instant.

D'Artagnan followed, but less nimbly, showing plainly that
the mode of ascent was not one to which he was accustomed.

"Sir," said Planchet, when he saw d'Artagnan on the top of the


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ladder, "this way is eas^ for M. Aramis, and even for you;
in case of necessity I might also climb up, but my two horses
cannot mount the ladder."

**Take them to yonder shed, my friend," said Aramis, point-
ing to a building in the plain, "there you will find hay and straw
for them, then come back here, knock thrice, and we will give
you out some provisions. Marry, forsooth, people don't die of
hunger here/*^

And Aramis, drawing in the ladder, closed the window.

D'Artagnan then looked around him attentively.

Never was there an apartment at the same time more war-like
and more elegant Exteriorly nothing in the room showed
that it was the habitation of an abbe.

Whilst d'Artagnan was engaged in contemplation the door
opened, and Bazin entered; on perceiving the Musketeer he ut-
tered an exclamation which was almost despair.

"My dear Bazin," said d'Artagnan, **I am delighted to see with
what^ wonderful composure you tell a lie even in a church !"

"Sir," replied Bazm, **I have been taught by the good Jesuit
fathers, that it is permitted to tell a falsehood when it is told
in a good cause."

"So far, well," said Aramis; "but we are d3ring of hunger.
Serve us up the best supper you can, and especially give us some
good wine."

Bazin bowed low, and left the room.

"Now we are alone, dear Aramis," said d'Artagnan, "tell

Online LibraryAlexandre DumasTwenty years after → online text (page 4 of 38)