The Three Musketeers
At two o'clock in the morning, our four adventurers left Paris by the Barriere St. Denis.
As long as it was dark they remained silent; in spite of themselves they submitted to the
influence of the obscurity, and apprehended ambushes on every side.
With the first rays of day their tongues were loosened; with the sun gaiety revived. It was
like the eve of a battle; the heart beat, the eyes laughed, and they felt that the life they
were perhaps going to lose, was, after all, a good thing.
Besides, the appearance of the caravan was formidable. The black horses of the
Musketeers, their martial carriage, with the regimental step of these noble companions of
the soldier, would have betrayed the most strict incognito. The lackeys followed, armed
to the teeth.
All went well till they arrived at Chantilly, which they reached about eight o'clock in the
morning. They needed breakfast, and alighted at the door of an AUBERGE,
recommended by a sign representing St. Martin giving half his cloak to a poor man. They
ordered the lackeys not to unsaddle the horses, and to hold themselves in readiness to set
off again immediately.
They entered the common hall, and placed themselves at table. A gentleman, who had
just arrived by the route of Dammartin, was seated at the same table, and was
breakfasting. He opened the conversation about rain and fine weather; the travelers
replied. He drank to their good health, and the travelers returned his politeness.
But at the moment Mousqueton came to announce that the horses were ready, and they
were arising from table, the stranger proposed to Porthos to drink the health of the
cardinal. Porthos replied that he asked no better if the stranger, in his turn, would drink
the health of the king. The stranger cried that he acknowledged no other king but his
Eminence. Porthos called him drunk, and the stranger drew his sword.
"You have committed a piece of folly," said Athos, "but it can't be helped; there is no
drawing back. Kill the fellow, and rejoin us as soon as you can."
All three remounted their horses, and set out at a good pace, while Porthos was promising
his adversary to perforate him with all the thrusts known in the fencing schools.
"There goes one!" cried Athos, at the end of five hundred paces.
"But why did that man attack Porthos rather than any other one of us?" asked Aramis.
"Because, as Porthos was talking louder than the rest of us, he took him for the chief,"