Louise de la Valliere
The cavaliers looked up, and saw that what Planchet had announced to them
was true. Ten minutes afterwards they were in the street called the Rue de Lyon,
on the opposite side of the hostelry of the Beau Paon. A high hedge of bushy
elders, hawthorn, and wild hops formed an impenetrable fence, behind which
rose a white house, with a high tiled roof. Two of the windows, which were quite
dark, looked upon the street. Between the two, a small door, with a porch
supported by a couple of pillars, formed the entrance to the house. The door was
gained by a step raised a little from the ground. Planchet got off his horse, as if
he intended to knock at the door; but, on second thoughts, he took hold of his
horse by the bridle, and led it about thirty paces further on, his two companions
following him. He then advanced about another thirty paces, until he arrived at
the door of a cart-house, lighted by an iron grating; and, lifting up a wooden latch,
pushed open one of the folding-doors. He entered first, leading his horse after
him by the bridle, into a small courtyard, where an odor met them which revealed
their close vicinity to a stable. "That smells all right," said Porthos, loudly, getting
off his horse, "and I almost begin to think I am near my own cows at Pierrefonds."
"I have only one cow," Planchet hastened to say modestly.
"And I have thirty," said Porthos; "or rather, I don't exactly know how many I
When the two cavaliers had entered, Planchet fastened the door behind them. In
the meantime, D'Artagnan, who had dismounted with his usual agility, inhaled the
fresh perfumed air with the delight a Parisian feels at the sight of green fields and
fresh foliage, plucked a piece of honeysuckle with one hand, and of sweet-briar
with the other. Porthos clawed hold of some peas which were twined round poles
stuck into the ground, and ate, or rather browsed upon them, shells and all: and
Planchet was busily engaged trying to wake up an old and infirm peasant, who
was fast asleep in a shed, lying on a bed of moss, and dressed in an old stable
suit of clothes. The peasant, recognizing Planchet, called him "the master," to the
grocer's great satisfaction. "Stable the horses well, old fellow, and you shall have
something good for yourself," said Planchet.
"Yes, yes; fine animals they are too," said the peasant. "Oh! they shall have as
much as they like."
"Gently, gently, my man," said D'Artagnan, "we are getting on a little too fast. A
few oats and a good bed - nothing more."
"Some bran and water for my horse," said Porthos, "for it is very warm, I think."
"Don't be afraid, gentlemen," replied Planchet; "Daddy Celestin is an old
gendarme, who fought at Ivry. He knows all about horses; so come into the
house." And he led the way along a well-sheltered walk, which crossed a kitchen-
garden, then a small paddock, and came out into a little garden behind the
house, the principal front of which, as we have already noticed, faced the street.
As they approached, they could see, through two open windows on the ground
floor, which led into a sitting- room, the interior of Planchet's residence. This