The Three Musketeers
At four o'clock the four friends were all assembled with Athos. Their anxiety about their
outfits had all disappeared, and each countenance only preserved the expression of its
own secret disquiet--for behind all present happiness is concealed a fear for the future.
Suddenly Planchet entered, bringing two letters for d'Artagnan.
The one was a little billet, genteelly folded, with a pretty seal in green wax on which was
impressed a dove bearing a green branch.
The other was a large square epistle, resplendent with the terrible arms of his Eminence
the cardinal duke.
At the sight of the little letter the heart of d'Artagnan bounded, for he believed he
recognized the handwriting, and although he had seen that writing but once, the memory
of it remained at the bottom of his heart.
He therefore seized the little epistle, and opened it eagerly.
"Be," said the letter, "on Thursday next, at from six to seven o'clock in the evening, on
the road to Chaillot, and look carefully into the carriages that pass; but if you have any
consideration for your own life or that of those who love you, do not speak a single word,
do not make a movement which may lead anyone to believe you have recognized her
who exposes herself to everything for the sake of seeing you but for an instant."
"That's a snare," said Athos; "don't go, d'Artagnan."
"And yet," replied d'Artagnan, "I think I recognize the writing."
"It may be counterfeit," said Athos. "Between six and seven o'clock the road of Chaillot
is quite deserted; you might as well go and ride in the forest of Bondy."
"But suppose we all go," said d'Artagnan; "what the devil! They won't devour us all four,
four lackeys, horses, arms, and all!"
"And besides, it will be a chance for displaying our new equipments," said Porthos.
"But if it is a woman who writes," said Aramis, "and that woman desires not to be seen,
remember, you compromise her, d'Artagnan; which is not the part of a gentleman."
"We will remain in the background," said Porthos, "and he will advance alone."