The Three Musketeers HTML version

Milady's Secret
D'Artagnan left the hotel instead of going up at once to Kitty's chamber, as she
endeavored to persuade him to do--and that for two reasons: the first, because by this
means he should escape reproaches, recriminations, and prayers; the second, because be
was not sorry to have an opportunity of reading his own thoughts and endeavoring, if
possible, to fathom those of this woman.
What was most clear in the matter was that d'Artagnan loved Milady like a madman, and
that she did not love him at all. In an instant d'Artagnan perceived that the best way in
which he could act would be to go home and write Milady a long letter, in which he
would confess to her that he and de Wardes were, up to the present moment absolutely
the same, and that consequently he could not undertake, without committing suicide, to
kill the Comte de Wardes. But he also was spurred on by a ferocious desire of vengeance.
He wished to subdue this woman in his own name; and as this vengeance appeared to him
to have a certain sweetness in it, he could not make up his mind to renounce it.
He walked six or seven times round the Place Royale, turning at every ten steps to look at
the light in Milady's apartment, which was to be seen through the blinds. It was evident
that this time the young woman was not in such haste to retire to her apartment as she had
been the first.
At length the light disappeared. With this light was extinguished the last irresolution in
the heart of d'Artagnan. He recalled to his mind the details of the first night, and with a
beating heart and a brain on fire he re-entered the hotel and flew toward Kitty's chamber.
The poor girl, pale as death and trembling in all her limbs, wished to delay her lover; but
Milady, with her ear on the watch, had heard the noise d'Artagnan had made, and opening
the door, said, "Come in."
All this was of such incredible immodesty, of such monstrous effrontery, that d'Artagnan
could scarcely believe what he saw or what he heard. He imagined himself to be drawn
into one of those fantastic intrigues one meets in dreams. He, however, darted not the less
quickly toward Milady, yielding to that magnetic attraction which the loadstone exercises
over iron.
As the door closed after them Kitty rushed toward it. Jealousy, fury, offended pride, all
the passions in short that dispute the heart of an outraged woman in love, urged her to
make a revelation; but she reflected that she would be totally lost if she confessed having
assisted in such a machination, and above all, that d'Artagnan would also be lost to her
forever. This last thought of love counseled her to make this last sacrifice.
D'Artagnan, on his part, had gained the summit of all his wishes. It was no longer a rival
who was beloved; it was himself who was apparently beloved. A secret voice whispered
to him, at the bottom of his heart, that he was but an instrument of vengeance, that he was