The Three Musketeers
In which it is proved that, notwithstanding their names' ending in OS and IS, the heroes
of the story which we are about to have the honor to relate to our readers have nothing
mythological about them.
A short time ago, while making researches in the Royal Library for my History of Louis
XIV, I stumbled by chance upon the Memoirs of M. d'Artagnan, printed--as were most of
the works of that period, in which authors could not tell the truth without the risk of a
residence, more or less long, in the Bastille--at Amsterdam, by Pierre Rouge. The title
attracted me; I took them home with me, with the permission of the guardian, and
It is not my intention here to enter into an analysis of this curious work; and I shall satisfy
myself with referring such of my readers as appreciate the pictures of the period to its
pages. They will therein find portraits penciled by the hand of a master; and although
these squibs may be, for the most part, traced upon the doors of barracks and the walls of
cabarets, they will not find the likenesses of Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, Richelieu,
Mazarin, and the courtiers of the period, less faithful than in the history of M. Anquetil.
But, it is well known, what strikes the capricious mind of the poet is not always what
affects the mass of readers. Now, while admiring, as others doubtless will admire, the
details we have to relate, our main preoccupation concerned a matter to which no one
before ourselves had given a thought.
D'Artagnan relates that on his first visit to M. de Treville, captain of the king's
Musketeers, he met in the antechamber three young men, serving in the illustrious corps
into which he was soliciting the honor of being received, bearing the names of Athos,
Porthos, and Aramis.
We must confess these three strange names struck us; and it immediately occurred to us
that they were but pseudonyms, under which d'Artagnan had disguised names perhaps
illustrious, or else that the bearers of these borrowed names had themselves chosen them
on the day in which, from caprice, discontent, or want of fortune, they had donned the
simple Musketeer's uniform.
From the moment we had no rest till we could find some trace in contemporary works of
these extraordinary names which had so strongly awakened our curiosity.
The catalogue alone of the books we read with this object would fill a whole chapter,
which, although it might be very instructive, would certainly afford our readers but little
amusement. It will suffice, then, to tell them that at the moment at which, discouraged by
so many fruitless investigations, we were about to abandon our search, we at length
found, guided by the counsels of our illustrious friend Paulin Paris, a manuscript in folio,