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who was completely beside himself with rage and vexation, ' the truth is that we were six against six; but they attacked us treacherously; and before we could draw a sword, two of us were dead men, and Athos desperately wounded and equally useless. You know Athos, captain; well, twice he tried to get up, and twice he fell down again. Nevertheless, we did not yield ourselves prisoners; we were taken off by main force, and on the way to the guard-house we managed to break away from them. As to Athos, they thought him dead, and left him on the ground. That is the real truth of the matter. And what then, captain! One cannot win every battle. The great Pompey lost that of Pharsalia, and Francis I., who, from what I have heard, was no fool in the fighting way, got roughly handled at Pavia.'
"' And I have the honour to assure yon, sir,' said Aramis, ' that I killed one of the guards with his own sword, for mine was broken at the first onset.'
"'I did not know that,' said Trevillc in a more gentle tone. 'I see that the Cardinal exaggerated matters.'
"' But for heaven's sake, sir,' continued Aramis, encouraged by the softened manner of his commander, 'for heaven's sake, do not mention that Athos is wounded: he would be in despair if the King heard of it; and as the wound is very serious, having passed through the shoulder and entered the breast, it is to be feared .
"At this moment the tapestry that covered the door was raised, and the head of a man of noble aspect and handsome features, but fearfully pale, appeared below the fringe.
"' Athos!' exclaimed tho two guardsmen.
"' Athos!' repeated Monsieur de Trevillc himself.
"You asked for me, sir,' said Athos to Monsieur de Treville, in a calm bnt enfeebled voice—' my comrades told me that you asked for me, and I hastened to obey your summons.'
"And so saying, tho mousquetaire entered the room with a tolerably firm step, in full uniform and belted as usual. Monsieur de Treville, touched to the sonl by this proof of courage sprang to meet him.
"' I was telling these gentlemen,' said he, ' that I forbid my mousquetaires to expose their lives without necessity; that brave men are very dear to the King, and his Majesty knows that his mousquctaircs arc the bravest men upon the face of the earth. Your hand, Athos!'
"And without waiting for the new comer to hold out his right hand, Monsieur de Treville seized and pressed it energetically, not observing that Athos, in spite of his command over himself, writhed with pain, and grew each moment paler than before. The room-door had remained half open, and a lond murmur of satisfaction from without replied to the words addressed to Athos by Monsieur de Treville. The heads of two or three mousquetaires, who forgot themselves in the enthusiasm of the moment, appeared at the opening of the tapestry. Doubtless Monsieur de Treville was about to check sharply this infraction ot the laws of etiquette, when he snddenly felt the hand of Athos contract in his, and looking at the guardsman, he saw that he was going to faint. At the same moment Athos, who had summoned all his energies to struggle against the snfferings he endured, was overcome by the torture of his wound, and fell senseless to the ground.
'"A surgeon!' cried Monsieur de Treville. 'My surgeon—the King's— the best! A surgeon! or, sangdieu! my brave Athos will die!'"
Tho swoon of Athos had merely been occasioned by loss of blood. The surgeon declares there is no danger, and D'Artagnan, who has stood his ground with true Gascon teuacity, at length obtains an andience. The loss of his letter of recommendation now proves a great disadvantage to him. In those days of court intrigue and espionage, men were naturally suspicious of each other, and tho mingled naivete and shrewdness of the young Bearnais, are causes for Monsieur de Treville at first suspecting him of being a spy of the Cardinal's. His suspicions, however, arc wearing off, and he is disposed to be useful to D'Artagnan, although he cannot admit him into the mousquetaires—a noviciate of two years in some other regiment being the indispensable condition of admission into that favoured corps— when D'Artagnan, happening to look out of the window, starts, reddens with anger, and rushes to the door. He has recognised, in a passer-by, the person who had stolen his letter; and leaves Monsieur de Treville in doubt whether he has'to do with a madman or with an emissary of the Cardinal's, who, fearing himself suspected, takes this pretext for effecting a retreat.
In his hurry to leave the hotel and pursue his robber, D'Artagnan gets into all sorts of scrapes. On the landing-place he runs against Athos, who is returning home after having his wound dressed. Some hasty words pass, a challenge is the result, and rendezvous is taken for noon in a field near the Carmelite convent, then a favourite duelling ground. In the gateway of the courtyard, Porthos is talking with one of his comrades, and D'Artagnan, in trying to pass between them, gets entangled in the velvet cloak of the former, and discovers, what the guardsman had been most anxious to conceal, that the front only of his embroidered shoulder-belt was gold, and the back mere leather. Porthos, not having sufficient pistoles to purchase a whole belt, had gratified his vanity with half a one, and wore his cloak to conceal the deficiency. The young Gascon finds himself with a second duel on his hands, and sets himself down as a dead man. Meantime his robber has disappeared, and as D'Artagnan is proceeding in the direction of his lodging, he encounters Araruis, standing in the middle of the street with some other gentlemen. Furious with himself for the follies he has been committing, D'Artagnan has made a resolution to be all things to all men, at least tor the hour or two that he still has to live; and observing that Aramis has dropped a handkerchief, and placed his foot upon it, he hastens to drag it from under his boot, and present it to him with a most gracious bow and smile. A coronet and cipher on the embroidered cambric attract notice, and draw down a shower of raillery upon the head of the monsqnetaire, who, in order to shield the honour of a lady, is compelled to deny that the handkerchief is his. His companions walk away, and Aramis reproaches D'Artagnan
with his officiousness. The Gascon blood gets up, good resolutions are forgotten, and a third rendezvous is the result.
M. Dumas is never more,at home than in the description of duels. Himself an excellent swordsman, he luxuriates and excels in the description of points and parries, cartes and tierces, and of the vigorous estocades which his heroes administer to each other. One of the good chapters of the book —and there are many such—is the one in which D'Artagnan encounters the three redoubtable champions whom he has so heedlessly provoked. Wc will endeavour, by abridgement, to lay it before our readers.
"D'Artaguan knew nobody at Paris, and betook himself, therefore, to his first rendezvous without seconds, intending to content himself with those whom his adversary should bring. Moreover, his firm intentiou was to make all reasonable apologies to Athos, fearing that there would result from this duel the usual consequence of an encounter between a young and vigorous man and a wounded and feeble one—if the former is conquered, his antagonist's trinmph is doubled; and if he conquers, he is accused of taking an advantage, or of being brave at small risk. Besides this, cither we have been unsuccessful in the exposition of our young adventurer's character, or the reader will have already perceived that D'Artagnan was no ordinary man. Thus, although he repeated to himself that his death was inevitable, he by no means made up his mind to fall an easy sacrifice, as one less cool and courageous than himself might perhaps have done. He reflected on the different characters of the three men with whom he had to fight, and began to think that his case was not so desperate as it might have been. He hoped, by the candid and loyal apology which ho intended to offer, to make himself a friend of Athos. whose austere mien and noble air pleased him greatly. He flattered himself that he should be able to intimidate Porthos by the affair of the belt, which he could, if not the spot, relate to ewry which would cover the giant cule. Finally, he did not
afraid of Aramis, and he resolved, if he lived long enough, either to kill him, or at least to administer to him a wound in the face, that would considerably impair the beauty of which he was evidently so prond.
"When D'Artagnan arrived in sight of the waste land adjoining the convent of barefooted Carmelites, noon was striking, and Athos was already on the ground. The guardsman, who still suffered cruelly from his wound, was seated on a post, and awaiting his adversary with the calm countenance and dignified air that never abandoned him. Upon D'Artagnan's appearance, he rose courteously, and advanced a few steps to meet him. Our Gascon, on his side, made his approach hat in hand, the plume trailing on the earth.
"' Sir,' said Athos, 'I have given notice to two gentlemen to act as my seconds, but they arc not come. I am surprised at it, for they are usually punctual.'
"'For my part, sir,' returned D'Artagnan, 'I have no seconds. I arrived in Paris yesterday, and know no one but Monsieur de Treville, to whom I was recommended by my father, who has the honour to be a friend of his.'
"Athos glanced at the beardless chin and youthful mien of his adversary, and seemed to reflect for a moment.
"' Ah caf said he at last, speaking half to himself and half to D'Artagnan; 'ak ca! but if I kill you, it will be something very like child-murder.'
"' Not exactly, sir,' replied D'Artagnan, with a bow that was not without its dignity; 'not exactly, sir, since you do me the honour to meet me with a wound by which you must be greatly inconvenienced.'
"Inconvenienced certainly, and you hurt me terribly, I must acknowledge, when you ran against me just now; but I will use my left hand, according to my custom in such circumstances. Do not suppose on that account that I am sparing you; I fight decently with both hands, and a left-handed swordsman is an awkward antagonist when one is not prepared for him. I am sorry I did not tell you of it sooner, that you might Lave got your hand in accordingly.'
"' Truly, sir,' said D'Artagnan, with another bow, 'I know not how to express my gratitnde for such courtesy.'
"' You arc too obliging to say so,' returned Athos, with his princely air; 'let us talk of something else, if not disagreeable to you. Ah, sangbleu! you hurt me terribly! My shoulder burns.'
"' If yon would permit me,' said D'Artagnan, timidly.
"'What then, sir?'
"'I have a balm that is wonderfully efficacious in the cure of wounds. I hold the recipe from my mother, and have myself experienced its good effects.'
"'Well, I am sure that in less than three days it would heal your wound; and at the end of that time, sir, it would still be a great honour for me to meet you.'
"D'Artagnan said these words with a simplicity that did credit to his natural courtesy of feeling, at the same time that it could not give rise to the slightest doubt of his courage.
"'Pardieu, sir!' said Athos, 'your proposition pleases me, not that I can accept it, but because it is that of a chivalrous gentleman. It is thus that spoke and acted those heroes of Charlemagne's days, on whom every cavalier should strive to model himself. Unfortunately we do not live in the times of the great emperor, but in those of Cardinal Richelieu; and however well we might keep our secret, it would be known before three days had elapsed that we intended to fight, and our duel would be prevented. Ah fa.' where can those idlers be?'
"'If you are in haste, sir,' resumed D'Artagnan with the same simplicity with which he had a moment before proposed to put off the duel for three days—' if you are pressed for time, and that it pleases you to finish with me at once, let me beg of you to do so.'
"'Another proposal that I like,' said Athos with an approving nod of the head; 'it is that of a man lacking neither wit nor valour. Sir, I like men of your stamp; and I see that if we do not kill one another, I shall hereafter have much pleasure in your society. But let us wait for these gentlemen, I beg of you. I have plenty of time, and it will be more according to rule. Ha! here comes one of them.'
"At that moment the gigantic form of Porthos appeared at the extremity of the Rue Vangirard.
"' What!' cried D'Artagnan, 'Monsieur Porthos is one of jour seconds?'
"'Yes; is it disagreeable to you?'
"'By no means.'
"'And here is the other.'
"D'Artagnan turned his head and recognised Aramis.
"' What!' he exclaimed in still greater astonishment, 'Monsieur Aramis is the other?'
"'Certainly; do you not know that we are never seen asunder, and are known in court, camp, and city, U Athoa, Porthos, and Aramis, or the three inseparables? But you are just arrived from Gascony, which accounts for your being unacquainted with these circumstances.'
-" Meanwhile Porthos, who had abandoned his cloak and changed his shonlder-belt, approached, nodded to Athos, but on beholding D'Artagnan, remained struck with astonishment.
"'This is the gentleman I am to fight with,' said Athoa indicating D'Artagnan with his hand, at the same time bowing to him.
"'It is with him that I am to fight,' said Porthos.
"' Not till one o'clock,' said D'Artagnan.
"'And I also,' said Aramis, who just then came up.
"'Our appointment Was for two o'clock,' said D'Artagnan with perfect composure.
"'What are yon going to fight about, Athos?' asked Aramis.
"' Faith, I can hardly tell you. He hurt mv shoulder. And you, Porthos?'
"' I fight because I am so minded,' replied Porthos colouring.
'- Athos, whom nothing escaped, saw a slight smile curling D'Artagnan's lip.
"'We had a dispute about dress,' said the young Gascon.
"'And you, Aramis?' asked Athos.
"'A theological difference,' replied Aramis, making a sign to D'Artagnan
VOL. LVII. KO, CCi'I.l.
that he wished the cause of their duel to remain a secret.
"'Indeed!' said Athos looking at D'Artagnan.
"' Yes. a point of St Augustin on which we are not agreed,' said the latter.
"' Decidedly he is a man of wit and sense,' muttered Athos to himself.
"'And now that you are all assembled, gentlemen,' said D'Artagnan, 'allow me to apologise to you.'
"At the word apologise, a cloud passed across the features of Athos, Porthos smiled contemptuously, Aramis made a negative sign.
"' You do not understand me, gentlemen,' said D'Artagnan raising his head prondly. 'I only apologiso in case I should not be able to pay my debt to all of you; for Monsieur Athos has the right to kill me the first, which greatly diminishes the value of my debt to you, Monsieur Porthos, and renders that to Monsieur Aramis nearly worthless. And now, gentlemen, I say again, accept my apologies, but on that account only— and to work!'
"And so saying, he drew his sword with the most fearless and gallant mien possible to be seen. His blood was up, and at that moment he would have fought not only Athos, rorthos, and Aramis, but the whole regiment of mousquetaires.
"' When you please, sir,' said Athos, putting himself on guard.
"' I was waiting your orders,' returned D'Artagnan.
"But the two rapiers had scarcely clashed together, when five of tho Cardinal's guards, commanded by Monsieur de Jussac, appeared from behind a corner of the convent.
"'The Cardinal's guards!' exclaimed Porthos and Aramis. 'Sheath your swords, gentlemen!'
"But it was too late. The combatants had been seen in an attitnde that left no doubt as to their pugnacious intentions.
"' Hola!' cried Jussac advancing towards them, followed by his men. 'Hola, mousquetaires! fighting here? And the edicts. We have forgotten them, eh?'
"' Your generosity is really markable, gentlemen of the gua said Athos bitterly, for Jussac had been one of the aggressors in the recent affray. 'I promise you that if we saw you fighting we would not interrupt you. Leave us alone, then, and you will have your amusement for nothing.'
"' Gentlemen,' said Jussac, 'I am grieved to tell you that the thing is impossible. Duty before every thing. Be pleased to sheath your swords, and follow us.'
"'Sir,' replied Aramis, parodying Jussac's manner,'we should have the greatest pleasure in accepting your polite invitation, if it depended upon ns so to do, but unfortunately the thing is impossible; Monsieur de Treville has forbidden it. Move on, therefore; it is the best thing you can do.'
"This bantering exasperated Jussac. 'We will charge you,' said he, 'if you disobey.'
"'They are five,' said Athos in a low voice,' and we are but three; we Shall be beaten again, and we must die here; for I swear not to reappear before the captain if conquered.'
!' Athos, Porthos, and Aramis drew closer to each other. Jussac was arranging his men in line. This single moment of delay was sufficient lor D'Artagnan to make up his mind; it Was one of those moments that decide a man's whole life. The choice was to be made between King and Cardinal, and, once made, it must be persevered in. If he fought, he disobeyed the law, risked his head, and made an enemy of a minister more powerful than the king himself. All these considerations passed like lightning through the mind of the young Gascon; but, be it said to his honour, he did not hesitate an instant. Turning towards Athos and his friends.
"' Gentlemen,' said he, 'allow me to amend the words last spoken. You said you were only three, but to my thinking we are four.'
"'But you arc not oue of us,' said Porthos.
"' True,' replied D'Artagnan, 'I have not the coat; but I have the spirit. In my heart I am a mousquetaire—I feel it, and that leads me on.'
"• Yon may retire, young man,' cried Jussac, who doubtless guessed
D'Artagnan's intentions by his gestures and the expression of his face. 'You may retire, we permit it. Begone, then, and quickly.'
"D'Artagnan did not stir.
"' Decidedly you arc a fine fellow,' said Athos, pressing the young man's hand.
"But the three mousquetaires thought of D'Artagnan's youth, and distrusted his inexperience.
"' We should only be three, of whom one wounded, and a child,' said Athos; 'but they will say all the same, that there were four of us.'
"' Gentlemen,' said D'Artagnan, 'only try me, and I swear by my honour that if we are conquered I will not leave the ground alive.'
"' What is your name, my brave fellow?' said Athos.
"'Well, then, Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan, forwards! cried Athos.
"' What do you decide to do?' cried Jussac.
"' We are going to have the honour of charging you,' said Aramis, raising his hat with one hand and drawing his sword with the other.
"And the nine combatants precipitated themselves on each other with a fury that did not exclnde a certain degree of method. Athos took oue Cahusac, a favourite of the Cardinal's; Porthos had Bicarat; and Aramis found himself opposed to two adversaries. As to D'Artagnan, he encountered Jussac himself.
"The heart of the young Gascon beat high, not with fear, there was no shadow of it, but with emulation; he fought like an euraged tiger, turning about his enemy, changing each moment his ground and his guard. Jussac was oue of the good blades of the day, and had had much practice; but he had, nevertheless, all the difficulty in the world to defend himself against a supple and active antagonist, who was constantly deviating from tho received rules of fencing, attacking him on all sides at once, and parrying, at the same time, like a man who had the greatest regard for his epidermis. At last Jussac lost patieuco. Furious at being thus kept at bay by one whom he looked upon as a child, his sang-froid abandoned him, and he