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Twenty Years After

The Abbe D'Herblay
At the extremity of the village Planchet turned to the left in obedience to the orders of
Aramis, and stopped underneath the window which had light in it. Aramis alighted and
clapped his hands three times. Immediately the window was opened and a ladder of rope
was let down from it.
"My friend," said Aramis, "if you like to ascend I shall be delighted to receive you."
"Ah," said D'Artagnan, "is that the way you return to your apartment?"
"After nine at night, pardieu!" said Aramis, "the rule of the convent is very severe."
"Pardon me, my dear friend," said D'Artagnan, "I think you said `pardieu!'"
"Do you think so?" said Aramis, smiling; "it is possible. You have no idea, my dear
fellow, how one acquires bad habits in these cursed convents, or what evil ways all these
men of the church have, with whom I am obliged to live. But will you not go up?"
"Pass on before me, I beg of you."
"As the late cardinal used to say to the late king, `only to show you the way, sire.'" And
Aramis ascended the ladder quickly and reached the window in an instant.
D'Artagnan followed, but less nimbly, showing plainly that this mode of ascent was not
one to which he was accustomed.
"I beg your pardon," said Aramis, noticing his awkwardness; "if I had known that I was
to have the honor of your visit I should have procured the gardener's ladder; but for me
alone this is good enough."
"Sir," said Planchet when he saw D'Artagnan on the summit of the ladder, "this way is
easy for Monsieur Aramis and even for you; in case of necessity I might also climb up,
but my two horses cannot mount the ladder."
"Take them to yonder shed, my friend," said Aramis, pointing to a low building on the
plain; "there you will find hay and straw for them; then come back here and clap your
hands three times, and we will give you wine and food. Marry, forsooth, people don't die
of hunger here.'
And Aramis, drawing in the ladder, closed the window. D'Artagnan then looked around
attentively.
Never was there an apartment at the same time more warlike and more elegant. At each
corner were arranged trophies, presenting to view swords of all sorts, and on the walls
 
 
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