The Three Musketeers HTML version

A Procurator's Dinner
However brilliant had been the part played by Porthos in the duel, it had not made him
forget the dinner of the procurator's wife.
On the morrow he received the last touches of Mousqueton's brush for an hour, and took
his way toward the Rue aux Ours with the steps of a man who was doubly in favor with
His heart beat, but not like d'Artagnan's with a young and impatient love. No; a more
material interest stirred his blood. He was about at last to pass that mysterious threshold,
to climb those unknown stairs by which, one by one, the old crowns of M. Coquenard
had ascended. He was about to see in reality a certain coffer of which he had twenty
times beheld the image in his dreams--a coffer long and deep, locked, bolted, fastened in
the wall; a coffer of which he had so often heard, and which the hands--a little wrinkled,
it is true, but still not without elegance--of the procurator's wife were about to open to his
admiring looks.
And then he--a wanderer on the earth, a man without fortune, a man without family, a
soldier accustomed to inns, cabarets, taverns, and restaurants, a lover of wine forced to
depend upon chance treats--was about to partake of family meals, to enjoy the pleasures
of a comfortable establishment, and to give himself up to those little attentions which "the
harder one is, the more they please," as old soldiers say.
To come in the capacity of a cousin, and seat himself every day at a good table; to
smooth the yellow, wrinkled brow of the old procurator; to pluck the clerks a little by
teaching them BASSETTE, PASSE-DIX, and LANSQUENET, in their utmost nicety,
and winning from them, by way of fee for the lesson he would give them in an hour, their
savings of a month--all this was enormously delightful to Porthos.
The Musketeer could not forget the evil reports which then prevailed, and which indeed
have survived them, of the procurators of the period--meanness, stinginess, fasts; but as,
after all, excepting some few acts of economy which Porthos had always found very
unseasonable, the procurator's wife had been tolerably liberal--that is, be it understood,
for a procurator's wife--he hoped to see a household of a highly comfortable kind.
And yet, at the very door the Musketeer began to entertain some doubts. The approach
was not such as to prepossess people--an ill-smelling, dark passage, a staircase half-
lighted by bars through which stole a glimmer from a neighboring yard; on the first floor
a low door studded with enormous nails, like the principal gate of the Grand Chatelet.
Porthos knocked with his hand. A tall, pale clerk, his face shaded by a forest of virgin
hair, opened the door, and bowed with the air of a man forced at once to respect in