The Three Musketeers HTML version
In Which The Plot Thickens
His visit to M. de Treville being paid, the pensive d'Artagnan took the longest way
On what was d'Artagnan thinking, that he strayed thus from his path, gazing at the stars
of heaven, and sometimes sighing, sometimes smiling?
He was thinking of Mme. Bonacieux. For an apprentice Musketeer the young woman was
almost an ideal of love. Pretty, mysterious, initiated in almost all the secrets of the court,
which reflected such a charming gravity over her pleasing features, it might be surmised
that she was not wholly unmoved; and this is an irresistible charm to novices in love.
Moreover, d'Artagnan had delivered her from the hands of the demons who wished to
search and ill treat her; and this important service had established between them one of
those sentiments of gratitude which so easily assume a more tender character.
D'Artagnan already fancied himself, so rapid is the flight of our dreams upon the wings
of imagination, accosted by a messenger from the young woman, who brought him some
billet appointing a meeting, a gold chain, or a diamond. We have observed that young
cavaliers received presents from their king without shame. Let us add that in these times
of lax morality they had no more delicacy with respect to the mistresses; and that the
latter almost always left them valuable and durable remembrances, as if they essayed to
conquer the fragility of their sentiments by the solidity of their gifts.
Without a blush, men made their way in the world by the means of women blushing.
Such as were only beautiful gave their beauty, whence, without doubt, comes the
proverb, "The most beautiful girl in the world can only give what she has." Such as were
rich gave in addition a part of their money; and a vast number of heroes of that gallant
period may be cited who would neither have won their spurs in the first place, nor their
battles afterward, without the purse, more or less furnished, which their mistress fastened
to the saddle bow.
D'Artagnan owned nothing. Provincial diffidence, that slight varnish, the ephemeral
flower, that down of the peach, had evaporated to the winds through the little orthodox
counsels which the three Musketeers gave their friend. D'Artagnan, following the strange
custom of the times, considered himself at Paris as on a campaign, neither more nor less
than if he had been in Flanders--Spain yonder, woman here. In each there was an enemy
to contend with, and contributions to be levied.
But, we must say, at the present moment d'Artagnan was ruled by a feeling much more
noble and disinterested. The mercer had said that he was rich; the young man might
easily guess that with so weak a man as M. Bonacieux; and interest was almost foreign to
this commencement of love, which had been the consequence of it. We say ALMOST,