Twenty Years After
How D'artagnan, On Going To A Distance To Discover Aramis, Discovers His Old
Friend On Horseback Behind His Own Planchet.
On entering the hotel D'Artagnan saw a man sitting in a corner by the fire. It was
Planchet, but so completely transformed, thanks to the old clothes that the departing
husband had left behind, that D'Artagnan himself could hardly recognize him. Madeleine
introduced him in presence of all the servants. Planchet addressed the officer with a fine
Flemish phrase; the officer replied in words that belonged to no language at all, and the
bargain was concluded; Madeleine's brother entered D'Artagnan's service.
The plan adopted by D'Artagnan was soon perfected. He resolved not to reach Noisy in
the day, for fear of being recognized; he had therefore plenty of time before him, for
Noisy is only three or four leagues from Paris, on the road to Meaux.
He began his day by breakfasting substantially -- a bad beginning when one wants to
employ the head, but an excellent precaution when one wants to work the body; and
about two o'clock he had his two horses saddled, and followed by Planchet he quitted
Paris by the Barriere de la Villete. A most active search was still prosecuted in the house
near the Hotel de la Chevrette for the discovery of Planchet.
At about a league and a half from the city, D'Artagnan, finding that in his impatience he
had set out too soon, stopped to give the horses breathing time. The inn was full of
disreputable looking people, who seemed as if they were on the point of commencing
some nightly expedition. A man, wrapped in a cloak, appeared at the door, but seeing a
stranger he beckoned to his companions, and two men who were drinking in the inn went
out to speak to him.
D'Artagnan, on his side, went up to the landlady, praised her wine -- which was a horrible
production from the country of Montreuil -- and heard from her that there were only two
houses of importance in the village; one of these belonged to the Archbishop of Paris, and
was at that time the abode of his niece the Duchess of Longueville; the other was a
convent of Jesuits and was the property -- a by no means unusual circumstance -- of these
At four o'clock D'Artagnan recommenced his journey. He proceeded slowly and in deep
reverie. Planchet also was lost in thought, but the subject of their reflections was not the
One word which their landlady had pronounced had given a particular turn to
D'Artagnan's deliberations; this was the name of Madame de Longueville.
That name was indeed one to inspire imagination and produce thought. Madame de
Longueville was one of the highest ladies in the realm; she was also one of the greatest