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List Of Contents | Contents of The Vicomte de Bragelonne, by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
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"Then pass on to Friday," said D'Artagnan.

"Friday, noble and warlike pleasures.  We hunt, we fence, we dress
falcons and break horses.  Then, Saturday is the day for intellectual
pleasures: we adorn our minds; we look at monseigneur's pictures and
statues; we write, even, and trace plans: and then we fire monseigneur's
cannon."

"You draw plans, and fire cannon?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"Why, my friend," said D'Artagnan, "M. du Vallon, in truth, possesses the
most subtle and amiable mind that I know.  But there is one kind of
pleasure you have forgotten, it appears to me."

"What is that, monsieur?" asked Mousqueton, with anxiety.

"The material pleasures."

Mousqueton colored.  "What do you mean by that, monsieur?" said he,
casting down his eyes.

"I mean the table - good wine - evenings occupied in passing the bottle."

"Ah, monsieur, we don't reckon those pleasures, - we practice them every
day."

"My brave Mousqueton," resumed D'Artagnan, "pardon me, but I was so
absorbed in your charming recital that I have forgotten the principal
object of our conversation, which was to learn what M. le Vicaire-General
d'Herblay could have to write to your master about."

"That is true, monsieur," said Mousqueton; "the pleasures have misled
us.  Well, monsieur, this is the whole affair."

"I am all attention, Mousqueton."

"On Wednesday - "

"The day of the rustic pleasures?"

"Yes - a letter arrived; he received it from my hands.  I had recognized
the writing."

"Well?"

"Monseigneur read it and cried out, "Quick, my horses! my arms!'"

"Oh, good Lord! then it was for some duel?" said D'Artagnan.

"No, monsieur, there were only these words: 'Dear Porthos, set out, if
you would wish to arrive before the Equinox.  I expect you.'"

"_Mordioux!_" said D'Artagnan, thoughtfully, "that was pressing,
apparently."

"I think so; therefore," continued Mousqueton, "monseigneur set out the
very same day with his secretary, in order to endeavor to arrive in time."

"And did he arrive in time?"

"I hope so.  Monseigneur, who is hasty, as you know, monsieur, repeated
incessantly, '_Tonne Dieu!_  What can this mean?  The Equinox?  Never
mind, a fellow must be well mounted to arrive before I do.'"

"And you think Porthos will have arrived first, do you?" asked D'Artagnan.

"I am sure of it.  This Equinox, however rich he may be, has certainly no
horses so good as monseigneur's."

D'Artagnan repressed his inclination to laugh, because the brevity of
Aramis's letter gave rise to reflection.  He followed Mousqueton, or
rather Mousqueton's chariot, to the castle.  He sat down to a sumptuous
table, of which they did him the honors as to a king.  But he could draw
nothing from Mousqueton, - the faithful servant seemed to shed tears at
will, but that was all.

D'Artagnan, after a night passed in an excellent bed, reflected much upon
the meaning of Aramis's letter; puzzled himself as to the relation of the
Equinox with the affairs of Porthos; and being unable to make anything
out unless it concerned some amour of the bishop's, for which it was
necessary that the days and nights should be equal, D'Artagnan left
Pierrefonds as he had left Melun, as he had left the chateau of the Comte
de la Fere.  It was not, however, without a melancholy, which might in
good sooth pass for one of the most dismal of D'Artagnan's moods.  His
head cast down, his eyes fixed, he suffered his legs to hang on each side
of his horse, and said to himself, in that vague sort of reverie which
ascends sometimes to the sublimest eloquence:

"No more friends! no more future! no more anything!  My energies are
broken like the bonds of our ancient friendship.  Oh, old age is coming,
cold and inexorable; it envelopes in its funeral crepe all that was
brilliant, all that was embalming in my youth; then it throws that sweet
burthen on its shoulders and carries it away with the rest into the
fathomless gulf of death."

A shudder crept through the heart of the Gascon, so brave and so strong
against all the misfortunes of life; and during some moments the clouds
appeared black to him, the earth slippery and full of pits as that of
cemeteries.

"Whither am I going?" said he to himself.  "What am I going to do!
Alone, quite alone - without family, without friends!  Bah!" cried he all
at once.  And he clapped spurs to his horse, who, having found nothing
melancholy in the heavy oats of Pierrefonds, profited by this permission
to show his gayety in a gallop which absorbed two leagues.  "To Paris!"
said D'Artagnan to himself.  And on the morrow he alighted in Paris.  He
had devoted ten days to this journey.


Chapter XIX:
What D'Artagnan went to Paris for.

The lieutenant dismounted before a shop in the Rue des Lombards, at the
sign of the Pilon d'Or.  A man of good appearance, wearing a white apron,
and stroking his gray mustache with a large hand, uttered a cry of joy on
perceiving the pied horse.  "Monsieur le chevalier," said he, "ah, is
that you?"

"_Bon jour_, Planchet," replied D'Artagnan, stooping to enter the shop.

"Quick, somebody," cried Planchet, "to look after Monsieur d'Artagnan's
horse, - somebody to get ready his room, - somebody to prepare his
supper."

"Thanks, Planchet.  Good-day, my children!" said D'Artagnan to the eager
boys.

"Allow me to send off this coffee, this treacle, and these raisins,"
said Planchet; "they are for the store-room of monsieur le surintendant."

"Send them off, send them off!"

"That is only the affair of a moment, then we shall sup."

"Arrange it that we may sup alone; I want to speak to you."

Planchet looked at his old master in a significant manner.

"Oh, don't be uneasy, it is nothing unpleasant," said D'Artagnan.

"So much the better - so much the better!"  And Planchet breathed freely
again, whilst D'Artagnan seated himself quietly down in the shop, upon a
bale of corks, and made a survey of the premises.  The shop was well
stocked; there was a mingled perfume of ginger, cinnamon, and ground
pepper, which made D'Artagnan sneeze.  The shop-boy, proud of being in
company with so renowned a warrior, of a lieutenant of musketeers, who
approached the person of the king, began to work with an enthusiasm which
was something like delirium, and to serve the customers with a disdainful
haste that was noticed by several.

Planchet put away his money, and made up his accounts, amidst civilities
addressed to his former master.  Planchet had with his equals the short
speech and haughty familiarity of the rich shopkeeper who serves
everybody and waits for nobody.  D'Artagnan observed this habit with a
pleasure which we shall analyze presently.  He saw night come on by
degrees, and at length Planchet conducted him to a chamber on the first
story, where, amidst bales and chests, a table very nicely set out
awaited the two guests.

D'Artagnan took advantage of a moment's pause to examine the countenance
of Planchet, whom he had not seen for a year.  The shrewd Planchet had
acquired a slight protuberance in front, but his countenance was not
puffed.  His keen eye still played with facility in its deep-sunk orbit;
and fat, which levels all the characteristic saliences of the human face,
had not yet touched either his high cheek-bones, the sign of cunning and
cupidity, or his pointed chin, the sign of acuteness and perseverance.
Planchet reigned with as much majesty in his dining-room as in his shop.
He set before his master a frugal, but perfectly Parisian repast: roast
meat, cooked at the baker's, with vegetables, salad, and a dessert
borrowed from the shop itself.  D'Artagnan was pleased that the grocer
had drawn from behind the fagots a bottle of that Anjou wine which during
all his life had been D'Artagnan's favorite wine.

"Formerly, monsieur," said Planchet, with a smile full of _bonhomie_, "it
was I who drank your wine; now you do me the honor to drink mine."

"And, thank God, friend Planchet, I shall drink it for a long time to
come, I hope; for at present I am free."

"Free?  You have a leave of absence, monsieur?"

"Unlimited."

"You are leaving the service?" said Planchet, stupefied.

"Yes, I am resting."

"And the king?" cried Planchet, who could not suppose it possible that
the king could do without the services of such a man as D'Artagnan.

"The king will try his fortune elsewhere.  But we have supped well, you
are disposed to enjoy yourself; you invite me to confide in you.  Open
your ears, then."

"They are open."  And Planchet, with a laugh more frank than cunning,
opened a bottle of white wine.

"Leave me my reason, at least."

"Oh, as to you losing your head - you, monsieur!"

"Now my head is my own, and I mean to take better care of it than ever.
In the first place we shall talk business.  How fares our money-box?"

"Wonderfully well, monsieur.  The twenty thousand livres I had of you are
still employed in my trade, in which they bring me nine per cent.  I give
you seven, so I gain two by you."

"And you are still satisfied?"

"Delighted.  Have you brought me any more?"

"Better than that.  But do you want any?"

"Oh! not at all.  Every one is willing to trust me now.  I am extending
my business."

"That was your intention."

"I play the banker a little.  I buy goods of my needy brethren; I lend
money to those who are not ready for their payments."

"Without usury?"

"Oh! monsieur, in the course of the last week I have had two meetings on
the boulevards, on account of the word you have just pronounced."

"What?"

"You shall see: it concerned a loan.  The borrower gives me in pledge
some raw sugars, on condition that I should sell if repayment were not
made within a fixed period.  I lend a thousand livres.  He does not pay
me, and I sell the sugars for thirteen hundred livres.  He learns this
and claims a hundred crowns.  _Ma foi!_  I refused, pretending that I
could not sell them for more than nine hundred livres.  He accused me of
usury.  I begged him to repeat that word to me behind the boulevards.  He
was an old guard, and he came: and I passed your sword through his left

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