The Three Musketeers – Day 33 of 227

“That is likely,” said d’Artagnan; “but the man who has abducted her—do you know him?”

“I have told you that I believe I know him.”

“His name?”

“I do not know that; what I do know is that he is a creature of the cardinal, his evil genius.”

“But you have seen him?”

“Yes, my wife pointed him out to me one day.”

“Has he anything remarkable about him by which one may recognize him?”

“Oh, certainly; he is a noble of very lofty carriage, black hair, swarthy complexion, piercing eye, white teeth, and has a scar on his temple.”

“A scar on his temple!” cried d’Artagnan; “and with that, white teeth, a piercing eye, dark complexion, black hair, and haughty carriage—why, that’s my man of Meung.”

“He is your man, do you say?”

“Yes, yes; but that has nothing to do with it. No, I am wrong. On the contrary, that simplifies the matter greatly. If your man is mine, with one blow I shall obtain two revenges, that’s all; but where to find this man?”

“I know not.”

“Have you no information as to his abiding place?”

“None. One day, as I was conveying my wife back to the Louvre, he was coming out as she was going in, and she showed him to me.”

“The devil! The devil!” murmured d’Artagnan; “all this is vague enough. From whom have you learned of the abduction of your wife?”

“From Monsieur Laporte.”

“Did he give you any details?”

“He knew none himself.”

“And you have learned nothing from any other quarter?”

“Yes, I have received—”


“I fear I am committing a great imprudence.”

“You always come back to that; but I must make you see this time that it is too late to retreat.”

“I do not retreat, mordieu!” cried the citizen, swearing in order to rouse his courage. “Besides, by the faith of Bonacieux—”

“You call yourself Bonacieux?” interrupted d’Artagnan.

“Yes, that is my name.”

“You said, then, by the word of Bonacieux. Pardon me for interrupting you, but it appears to me that that name is familiar to me.”

“Possibly, monsieur. I am your landlord.”

“Ah, ah!” said d’Artagnan, half rising and bowing; “you are my landlord?”

“Yes, monsieur, yes. And as it is three months since you have been here, and though, distracted as you must be in your important occupations, you have forgotten to pay me my rent—as, I say, I have not tormented you a single instant, I thought you would appreciate my delicacy.”

“How can it be otherwise, my dear Bonacieux?” replied d’Artagnan; “trust me, I am fully grateful for such unparalleled conduct, and if, as I told you, I can be of any service to you—”

“I believe you, monsieur, I believe you; and as I was about to say, by the word of Bonacieux, I have confidence in you.”

“Finish, then, what you were about to say.”

The citizen took a paper from his pocket, and presented it to d’Artagnan.

“A letter?” said the young man.

“Which I received this morning.”

D’Artagnan opened it, and as the day was beginning to decline, he approached the window to read it. The citizen followed him.

“‘Do not seek your wife,'” read d’Artagnan; “‘she will be restored to you when there is no longer occasion for her. If you make a single step to find her you are lost.’

“That’s pretty positive,” continued d’Artagnan; “but after all, it is but a menace.”

“Yes; but that menace terrifies me. I am not a fighting man at all, monsieur, and I am afraid of the Bastille.”

“Hum!” said d’Artagnan. “I have no greater regard for the Bastille than you. If it were nothing but a sword thrust, why then—”

“I have counted upon you on this occasion, monsieur.”


“Seeing you constantly surrounded by Musketeers of a very superb appearance, and knowing that these Musketeers belong to Monsieur de Treville, and were consequently enemies of the cardinal, I thought that you and your friends, while rendering justice to your poor queen, would be pleased to play his Eminence an ill turn.”

“Without doubt.”

“And then I have thought that considering three months’ lodging, about which I have said nothing—”

“Yes, yes; you have already given me that reason, and I find it excellent.”

“Reckoning still further, that as long as you do me the honor to remain in my house I shall never speak to you about rent—”

“Very kind!”

“And adding to this, if there be need of it, meaning to offer you fifty pistoles, if, against all probability, you should be short at the present moment.”

“Admirable! You are rich then, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux?”

“I am comfortably off, monsieur, that’s all; I have scraped together some such thing as an income of two or three thousand crown in the haberdashery business, but more particularly in venturing some funds in the last voyage of the celebrated navigator Jean Moquet; so that you understand, monsieur—But—” cried the citizen.

“What!” demanded d’Artagnan.

“Whom do I see yonder?”


“In the street, facing your window, in the embrasure of that door—a man wrapped in a cloak.”

“It is he!” cried d’Artagnan and the citizen at the same time, each having recognized his man.

“Ah, this time,” cried d’Artagnan, springing to his sword, “this time he will not escape me!”

Drawing his sword from its scabbard, he rushed out of the apartment. On the staircase he met Athos and Porthos, who were coming to see him. They separated, and d’Artagnan rushed between them like a dart.

“Pah! Where are you going?” cried the two Musketeers in a breath.

“The man of Meung!” replied d’Artagnan, and disappeared.

D’Artagnan had more than once related to his friends his adventure with the stranger, as well as the apparition of the beautiful foreigner, to whom this man had confided some important missive.

The opinion of Athos was that d’Artagnan had lost his letter in the skirmish. A gentleman, in his opinion—and according to d’Artagnan’s portrait of him, the stranger must be a gentleman—would be incapable of the baseness of stealing a letter.

Porthos saw nothing in all this but a love meeting, given by a lady to a cavalier, or by a cavalier to a lady, which had been disturbed by the presence of d’Artagnan and his yellow horse.

Aramis said that as these sorts of affairs were mysterious, it was better not to fathom them.

They understood, then, from the few words which escaped from d’Artagnan, what affair was in hand, and as they thought that overtaking his man, or losing sight of him, d’Artagnan would return to his rooms, they kept on their way.

When they entered d’Artagnan’s chamber, it was empty; the landlord, dreading the consequences of the encounter which was doubtless about to take place between the young man and the stranger, had, consistent with the character he had given himself, judged it prudent to decamp.

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