Twenty Years After
The Retreat of Porthos
How D'artagnan, In Discovering The Retreat Of Porthos, Perceives That Wealth Does
Not Necessarily Produce Happiness.
D'Artagnan passed through the iron gate and arrived in front of the chateau. He alighted
as he saw a species of giant on the steps. Let us do justice to D'Artagnan. Independently
of every selfish wish, his heart palpitated with joy when he saw that tall form and martial
demeanor, which recalled to him a good and brave man.
He ran to Porthos and threw himself into his arms; the whole body of servants, arranged
in a semi-circle at a respectful distance, looked on with humble curiosity. Mousqueton, at
the head of them, wiped his eyes. Porthos linked his arm in that of his friend.
"Ah! how delightful to see you again, dear friend!" he cried, in a voice which was now
changed from a baritone into a bass, "you've not then forgotten me?"
"Forget you! oh! dear Du Vallon, does one forget the happiest days of flowery youth,
one's dearest friends, the dangers we have dared together? On the contrary, there is not an
hour we have passed together that is not present to my memory."
"Yes, yes," said Porthos, trying to give to his mustache a curl which it had lost whilst he
had been alone. "Yes, we did some fine things in our time and we gave that poor cardinal
a few threads to unravel."
And he heaved a sigh.
"Under any circumstances," he resumed, "you are welcome, my dear friend; you will help
me to recover my spirits; to-morrow we will hunt the hare on my plain, which is a superb
tract of land, or pursue the deer in my woods, which are magnificent. I have four harriers
which are considered the swiftest in the county, and a pack of hounds which are
unequalled for twenty leagues around."
And Porthos heaved another sigh.
"But, first," interposed D'Artagnan, "you must present me to Madame du Vallon."
A third sigh from Porthos.
"I lost Madame du Vallon two years ago," he said, "and you find me still in affliction on
that account. That was the reason why I left my Chateau du Vallon near Corbeil, and
came to my estate, Bracieux. Poor Madame du Vallon! her temper was uncertain, but she
came at last to accustom herself to my little ways and understand my little wishes."
"So you are free now, and rich?"