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Twenty Years After

An Adventure On The High Road
The musketeers rode the whole length of the Faubourg Saint Antoine and of the road to
Vincennes, and soon found themselves out of the town, then in a forest and then within
sight of a village.
The horses seemed to become more lively with each successive step; their nostrils
reddened like glowing furnaces. D'Artagnan, freely applying his spurs, was in advance of
Porthos two feet at the most; Mousqueton followed two lengths behind; the guards were
scattered according to the varying excellence of their respective mounts.
From the top of an eminence D'Artagnan perceived a group of people collected on the
other side of the moat, in front of that part of the donjon which looks toward Saint Maur.
He rode on, convinced that in this direction he would gain intelligence of the fugitive. In
five minutes he had arrived at the place, where the guards joined him, coming up one by
one.
The several members of that group were much excited. They looked at the cord, still
hanging from the loophole and broken at about twenty feet from the ground. Their eyes
measured the height and they exchanged conjectures. On the top of the wall sentinels
went and came with a frightened air.
A few soldiers, commanded by a sergeant, drove away idlers from the place where the
duke had mounted his horse. D'Artagnan went straight to the sergeant.
"My officer," said the sergeant, "it is not permitted to stop here."
"That prohibition is not for me," said D'Artagnan. "Have the fugitives been pursued?"
"Yes, my officer; unfortunately, they are well mounted."
"How many are there?"
"Four, and a fifth whom they carried away wounded."
"Four!" said D'Artagnan, looking at Porthos. "Do you hear, baron? They are only four!"
A joyous smile lighted Porthos's face.
"How long a start have they?"
"Two hours and a quarter, my officer."
"Two hours and a quarter -- that is nothing; we are well mounted, are we not, Porthos?"
 
 
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