On the first Monday of April, 1625, the town of Meung was in a state of excitement. People rushed down the streets, waving their swords and shouting. This often happened in those days because there were lots of wars and battles. Once the excitement began, it grew automatically until it was out of control. All the people rushed to the Jolly Miller Inn.
Here, they discovered that the cause of the disturbance was a young man who stood near the main gate. He was eighteen years old and was tall and handsome, and he knew it. His clothes were faded and worn out. He had a long face with a strong jaw, which was typical for people from the Gascon area of France. He looked at everyone in a challenging manner, as if to say 'I'm as good as you are, and if you don't believe it, I will fight you!' He looked a bit like a farmer's son, but if you looked carefully, you would notice the long sword that hung from his shoulder strap and dangled against his calves. He stood in front of the Jolly Miller Inn, one hand on his hip and the other holding his horse's bridle. His head was held high, his legs apart, and his back to the wall, against the world.
His horse, unfortunately, looked ridiculous. In fact, it was the horse which had first attracted the attention of the crowd. It looked about twelve or fourteen years old and had a tail like a rat's tail, as well as sores on its feet. It was more yellow than brown. It walked along slowly with its head hung so low between its front knees that it almost dragged along the road. When it arrived in the town of Meung, people laughed, pointing at the ridiculous horse. Its owner and rider was D'Artagnan, the young man who now stood at the Jolly Miller Inn. He realized that he did not cut a fine figure on this horse and had groaned inwardly when his father had given it to him as a parting gift, although he knew that it was worth at least seven crowns and that the words of wisdom that came with it were beyond price.
«My son,» this old man had said in his Gascon accent, «this horse was born in your father's stables and has lived here all its life. It's a good horse, so don't ever think of selling it, but treat it with kindness and respect.»
He gave his son a lot more advice. He told him to live dangerously and fight whenever he could. Then he gave him fifteen crowns, which was all the money he had, and a bottle of special ointment that his mother had made and that would cure every disease or wound very efficiently. He gave him a letter for Monsieur de Treville, who had once been a neighbor but was now the head of the musketeers, the personal army of the King of France.
«Have a long and happy life, son! Goodbye!»
D'Artagnan had set out to find his fame and fortune, making first for the little town of Meung, where he now was. People along the road smiled when they saw him, and when he arrived at Meung, nobody offered to hold his horse or help him dismount. As he dismounted, he saw a tall distinguished-looking gentleman through the window. He was talking to some other people, who listened to him carefully and then burst into laughter. D'Artagnan assumed that the man was talking about him, and he was almost right because he was actually talking about his horse. D'Artagnan, naturally, was extremely angry when he heard this happening, but before challenging the man to a duel, he decided to have a good look at him. He was about forty-five years old, had dark hair and a well-trimmed black moustache. He also had a small scar on his cheek.
The stranger made another clever observation about the ridiculous horse, which made his appreciative audience laugh louder than ever. D'Artagnan felt that he was insulted and shouted at the rude stranger.
«Hey, you! What's the joke?!»
The stranger came out of the inn and stood looking at the horse and, ignoring D'Artagnan, made another insulting remark about its yellow color. D'Artagnan drew his sword and threatened the stranger, who also drew his sword and prepared to defend himself. However, the innkeeper and some others attacked D'Artagnan with sticks. D'Artagnan dropped his sword, which one of the men broke with a heavy stick. Then he was hit on the head and fell to the ground. The innkeeper brought him to the kitchen, and the stranger also went back into the inn.
«How is the young lunatic?» he asked the innkeeper.
«I hope you are not hurt, Your Excellency,» he replied.
The innkeeper had found D'Artagnan's letter for Monsieur de Treville and mentioned it to the stranger, who was surprised and a little worried. He wondered whether Monsieur de Treville had sent the young lunatic to try and kill him. He was here on important business and was expecting a young lady called Milady to arrive at any moment. He did not want the young lunatic to see Milady. However, this is exactly what happened. Milady arrived and was speaking to the stranger when D'Artagnan came out and saw them. He also heard them.
«The Cardinal wants you to return to England immediately, Milady, and tell us when the Duke leaves London. All your instructions are in this box,» said the stranger. «I'm returning to Paris.»
D'Artagnan rushed out and wanted to fight, but Milady told the stranger that he must not delay, and he galloped away. D'Artagnan tried to follow but fainted on the road. Milady's carriage sped away in the opposite direction.
It wasn't until the next day that D'Artagnan noticed that his letter to Monsieur de Treville was missing. He searched for it and finally realized that the stranger had stolen it.
«I'll tell Monsieur de Treville,» he thought, «and he will tell the King!»
He rode to Paris as quickly as he could on his yellow horse. There he sold the horse for three crowns and found a cheap room. He slept very well that night.
Monsieur de Treville
The next day, D'Artagnan rose late and went to Monsieur de Treville's house, intending to meet the Captain of the musketeers. Monsieur de Treville himself had come to Paris as a young man, much like D'Artagnan, and had worked hard and faithfully to achieve the rank of Captain of the Musketeers. D'Artagnan's father considered him to be the third most important man in France, after the King and the Cardinal. King Louis XIII was still a young man, and he and the older Cardinal Richelieu ruled France together, although each had their own army of musketeers. Although the King and the Cardinal played chess together most evenings, their bodyguards often fought each other. Sometimes the fights were brawls and sometimes they were duels, although these had been outlawed. Dueling, however, was still a popular way of solving differences, and D'Artagnan was eager to fight as many duels as he could, in accordance with his father's advice.
When D'Artagnan arrived at Monsieur de Treville's house, the hall was crowded with musketeers and other people waiting for an audience with the Captain. D'Artagnan had never seen anything like this before and was very impressed. However, he was not afraid and moved into the middle of the crowd. There was a group of four musketeers sword-fighting on the stairs, and D'Artagnan gasped when he realized that they were using real swords and actually scratching each other with them. On the landing of the stairs, he heard some musketeers telling love stories that made him blush and others telling stories about the Cardinal's private life which made him afraid, since his father had taught him to respect the Cardinal. He did not dare to join in these conversations.
He introduced himself to a servant and requested an audience with Monsieur de Treville. While he waited, he noticed one of the musketeers wearing a beautiful shoulder-belt. Only the front was visible, however, because he also wore a red cape. Everybody was admiring his shoulder-belt. He tried to ignore them, but they all laughed at him.
«You got it from that woman I saw you with last night, Porthos,» said one.
«I bought it myself,» replied Porthos. «I have to spend my money on something, after all. It cost twelve pistoles. Isn't that true, Aramis?»
Aramis was much younger and smaller than Porthos and said very little. However, all he had to do was nod, and everybody believed him. Then Aramis told a story about the Cardinal's private spy, Rochefort, pretending to be a monk in Brussels. He went on to speak about the Queen, and Porthos thought he insulted her. The two men were about to fight, when the door suddenly opened and a servant called out, «Monsieur de Treville awaits Monsieur D'Artagnan!»
D'Artagnan entered the room to find Monsieur de Treville looking very angry. He greeted D'Artagnan, pleased to be reminded of his own Gascon youth. However, it was clear that he was still thinking about whatever had made him angry. He suddenly went to the door and called out, «Athos! Porthos! Aramis!»
D'Artagnan, of course, already knew two of these men, who now came quickly into the room. Monsieur de Treville was furious.
«The King is angry because the Cardinal told him that some of his guards had to arrest some of you musketeers for disturbing the peace! Both of you were there and so was Athos. Where is Athos?»
«Athos is ill,» replied Porthos.
«I don't believe that! He is probably wounded or even dead. Nobody tells me anything! You must stop this stupid behavior and be more like the Cardinal's guards. They would not allow themselves to be arrested! Six guards arrested six musketeers! How is that possible?»
Porthos explained. «They caught us by surprise and killed two of us before we had time to draw our swords. Athos was badly wounded and could not fight, and we had to surrender. I'm sorry, Sir, but we can't win every battle!»
«I stabbed a couple of them with their own swords after I broke mine,» added Aramis.
Monsieur de Treville seemed a little more pleased with this news. «The Cardinal must have been exaggerating,» he said.
There was a knock at the door, and Athos came in. He was very pale but pretended that he was not wounded. Monsieur de Treville complimented him on his courage, but then the wounded musketeer fainted. Monsieur de Treville called a doctor, who said the problem was merely loss of blood.
Monsieur de Treville then turned his attention to D'Artagnan and inquired about his father and his village. He promised that he would help him become a musketeer but that he had to serve two years in another regiment first, unless he could prove himself in some other way. D'Artagnan told him about the letter of introduction that had been stolen from him in Meung. Monsieur de Treville became very interested in this story when D'Artagnan mentioned the name of Milady. He asked D'Artagnan for a detailed description of the stranger.
«I thought he was still in Brussels,» said Monsieur de Treville to himself. «If you ever see him again,» he said to D'Artagnan, «keep out of his way. He is very dangerous.»
At that very moment, however, D'Artagnan looked out of the window and saw the man who had stolen his letter in Meung.
«He won't escape me this time!» he shouted, as he rushed out of the room.
How to Make Friends with Musketeers
As D'Artagnan hurried down the stairs, he accidentally bumped into Athos, who was just on his way home. He apologized and wanted to keep going, but Athos said he had poor manners. D'Artagnan felt insulted and wanted to fight. They agreed to fight a duel near the convent at twelve o'clock.
D'Artagnan hurried out of the house, still looking for the man who had stolen his letter. In the doorway, he bumped into Porthos and before long had agreed to fight a duel with him at one o'clock.
By now, the man he was looking for had disappeared. D'Artagnan rushed up and down the street looking for him, but he was nowhere to be found. Then he saw Aramis talking to some guards. Aramis had his foot on a handkerchief, so D'Artagnan, trying to be polite, pulled it out for him and gave it to him. It was a beautiful handkerchief, but Aramis was embarrassed when D'Artagnan gave it to him. The guards were all laughing at him because they recognized the initials and coat of arms of a beautiful and wealthy, married lady on the handkerchief. Aramis denied that it was his, and when the guards had gone, he took D'Artagnan to task and soon another duel was arranged, this time for two o'clock.
By this time, it was almost twelve o'clock, and D'Artagnan hurried toward the convent, where the first of his three duels was to be fought. He had no friends in Paris, so he could not find seconds to assist him. He would have to trust the musketeers' friends to act as seconds for him. He was worried about dueling with Athos because Athos was already wounded. If he beat Athos, he would get no credit for fighting a wounded man. On the other hand, it would look very bad if he was beaten by a wounded man.
He found Athos sitting alone and waiting for his seconds. They talked as they waited, and D'Artagnan offered Athos some of his mother's ointment for his wound, suggesting that they might put off their duel until Athos's wounds had healed. Athos was grateful for the offer but declined.
«People will find out about it and stop the duel,» he said, «but it is a gallant offer. If I do not kill you, I hope we shall be friends.»
Then Porthos and Aramis arrived, and each was surprised to find that their opponent was also dueling with their best friends. None of them wanted to confess the reasons for their duels to the others, and D'Artagnan was gallant enough not to reveal them. He apologized to them.
«If Athos kills me, I will not be able to honor my agreement to fight Porthos or Aramis,» he said. With that, he drew his sword and prepared to fight. Athos also drew his sword, but at that very moment, some of the Cardinal's guards saw them and tried to prevent the duel from going ahead.
«You know that it is illegal,» they said and tried to arrest them all. There were five guards, and D'Artagnan threw in his lot with the musketeers. The nine men fought. D'Artagnan was very excited and fought ferociously. He circled Jussac, the leader of the guards, at least ten times and changed his stance a hundred times. Jussac became impatient and began to make mistakes so that eventually, D'Artagnan drove his sword into his body, and he fell to the ground. He then helped Athos in his fight against Cahusac, one of the Cardinal's favorites, and soon disarmed him. Athos put his sword through Cahusac's throat. One of the other guards had also been killed. Only Porthos was still fighting. Jussac was recovering and called out to Porthos's opponent, Bicarat, that he should surrender. Bicarat agreed, and the fight was over. The musketeers won. One of the five guards was dead, one surrendered, and the other three were wounded.
The musketeers and D'Artagnan walked arm in arm along the street to Monsieur de Treville's house to tell him what had happened.
When Monsieur de Treville heard the story, he knew that he had to go to the King immediately. First, however, he privately congratulated his musketeers on their victory, though he complained about their behavior in public. However, when he arrived at the palace, he was too late. The Cardinal had already told the King his version of the event, and the King was annoyed with his Captain. Monsieur de Treville told the King his version of the story.
«Athos, Porthos, and Aramis were taking their young friend for lunch,» he said, «when your guards saw them near the convent. I don't know why the guards were there. They had probably gone there to fight a duel. When they saw my musketeers, they dropped their own plans and fought against my men instead. There were five against three, but the young man joined in, and eventually, my musketeers won the fight. The young man fought very well and wounded Jussac.»
The King was very impressed. «It was a great victory! I must meet this young man! Bring him here tomorrow, together with the others.»
Monsieur de Treville was very pleased because it was not easy to persuade the young King to act against the Cardinal. He returned to his house and told the four adventurers of their appointment with the King.
D'Artagnan was very excited. Early next morning, he arrived at Athos's door. The appointment was not until twelve, and Athos had arranged to play tennis with Aramis and Porthos. He invited D'Artagnan to come to the game.
D'Artagnan had never played tennis before, and he was soon afraid that the ball would hit him and bruise his face. He didn't want this to happen just before his audience with the King, so he stood aside and watched Aramis and Porthos play. One of the Cardinal's guards was also watching the game. He had heard the story of the fight near the convent and wanted to take revenge against the musketeers, so when he saw D'Artagnan watching instead of playing, he called him a coward. Of course, D'Artagnan challenged him to a duel, and they went outside to fight. The guard was Bernajoux, one of the fiercest fighters in the Cardinal's guards, and he thought it would be easy to defeat D'Artagnan. There was nobody in the street just then, so they began their duel immediately. D'Artagnan scored a lucky hit on Bernajoux's shoulder. Then Bernajoux stumbled and fell into D'Artagnan's sword, stabbing himself and almost falling to the ground. He retreated toward the house of the Duc de la Tremouille, where he had friends.
Two of Bernajoux's companions came to help him. The musketeers heard the fight and came running out onto the street as well. Soon there was quite a brawl. Other musketeers and guards joined in. Bernajoux escaped into the house, and the musketeers considered burning it down. However, since it was now eleven o'clock, the musketeers had to prepare for their audience with the King, and they left the scene of the fight.
They went to Monsieur de Treville's house, and he went with them to the palace.
«Hurry!» he said. «We must tell him our version of this morning's events before the Cardinal does. We'll just tell him that it was a continuation of yesterday's fight.»
The Landlord's Wife
Monsieur de Treville and the four comrades hurried to the palace to see the King but were disappointed when they arrived. The King had decided to go hunting in the forest!
Monsieur de Treville spent the afternoon visiting Duc de la Tremouille and ensuring that he had a good understanding of the cause of the brawl. In the evening, the King returned from his hunt, which had been unsuccessful, and Monsieur de Treville went to see him. He persuaded the King to see Duc de la Tremouille and hear his opinion about the brawl, which the King did the next morning. When Monsieur de Treville returned to the palace, he brought the three musketeers and D'Artagnan with him. The King asked D'Artagnan to tell his version of the story and was soon convinced that the musketeers were not at fault. He rewarded them with forty pistoles, which they shared among them. However, he did give them a warning about the number of guards they were putting out of action.
«I think one or two occasionally is enough,» he said, «but seven in two days is too many!»
D'Artagnan's three new companions helped him decide how he should spend his money. First, they had a wonderful meal. Then, D'Artagnan hired a servant, whose name was Planchet. Each of the musketeers had a servant that reflected their own personality. Athos was a quiet man who rarely spoke. He never spoke at all to his servant, Grimaud, and did not allow Grimaud to speak to him. He communicated with signs and beat him if he misunderstood. On those occasions, he sometimes spoke a few words.
Porthos, on the other hand, loved to talk and show off, and his servant, Mousqueton, did the same. Porthos lived in a large, very impressive building but never allowed anyone into his rooms and was never home when anybody came to visit him unexpectedly.
The third musketeer, Aramis, was scholarly and wanted to be a priest one day, and his servant, Bazin, was always reading books. He was a very quiet and loyal servant.
D'Artagnan discovered that Athos, Porthos, and Aramis were not the real names of his friends, but he could not find out what their real names were. He asked each of them questions about themselves and about each other, but they would tell him nothing.
The three musketeers taught D'Artagnan how to live in the city, and the four of them became inseparable. D'Artagnan was not a musketeer, but he helped with guard duties and was soon well known by all the other musketeers. Meanwhile, Monsieur de Treville had not been idle. One day, the King ordered the Captain of the guards, Monsieur des Essarts, to accept D'Artagnan in his company. D'Artagnan would have preferred to be a musketeer immediately, but Monsieur de Treville said that he should serve two years in another company first.
«Of course,» he said, «this period might become shorter if you do something special to prove yourself to be worthy.»
After a while, the money that the King had given D'Artagnan was all spent. The musketeers took it in turns to provide some money and get invitations to dinner with their friends. When one was invited to dinner, the other three came along and so did their servants. They got a small advance on their wages from Monsieur de Treville, and this helped for a while, but they were soon poor again. D'Artagnan began to wonder why four such brave and clever young men, who could accomplish anything they agreed to do together, were poor.
While he was thinking about this one day, he had a visit from his landlord. He did not recognize him because he had not paid any rent for three months. The landlord was a timid but wealthy draper called Bonacieux, and he wanted D'Artagnan to help him. He said that he would overlook the unpaid rent. In fact, he promised that he would never charge him rent again and that he would also give him fifty pistoles. Of course, D'Artagnan was very interested.
«My wife is one of the Queen's maids,» said Bonacieux. «Yesterday morning, she was kidnapped. Four days ago, she told me that the Queen was afraid because the Cardinal was persecuting her. You know about the Saraband incident, of course?»
«Yes, of course,» replied D'Artagnan. He knew that the King and Queen did not like each other and that the Cardinal did not like the Queen either, but he didn't know anything about the Saraband incident. However, he didn't want the landlord to know that he didn't know.
«Since then,» continued Bonacieux, «the Cardinal has been worse. Now, he wants revenge. The Queen thinks that they have written to the Duke of Buckingham in her name and tricked him into coming to Paris. You know that the Duke is a friend of the Queen. I am sure they will set some sort of trap for him. I think they will force my wife to act as a kind of spy for them.»
«Do you have any ideas about who kidnapped her?» asked D'Artagnan.
«I think I know him. He is the Cardinal's private spy. I don't know his name, but I have seen him. He is about forty-five years old, has dark hair and a well-trimmed, black moustache. He also has a small scar on his cheek.»
«A scar on his cheek?! I know him! Do you know where he lives?»
«No, I don't. I got this letter.»
He gave D'Artagnan a letter. D'Artagnan took it to the window to read it.
«Do not try to find your wife. We will give her back to you when we are finished with her.»
The landlord came to the window too and suddenly cried out.
«Look! There! That man in the doorway across the street!»
D'Artagnan looked out of the window and saw what the landlord saw. It was him! The man from Meung! The letter stealer and wife kidnapper!
D'Artagnan drew his sword and rushed out of the room. On the stairs, he met Porthos and Athos who were just coming to visit him.
«It's the man from Meung!» he shouted. They let him go. They had heard the story and knew that D'Artagnan wanted to fight this man.
«He'll be back soon,» they told each other.
They went upstairs to his room. It was empty because the landlord had decided that it was safer to leave.
D'Artagnan rushed up and down the streets with his drawn sword but could not find the man from Meung. He returned to the house across the street and knocked on the door until the neighbors put their heads out of their windows and told him that the house had been empty for six months. He returned to his own room, where Aramis had meanwhile turned up as well. He told the musketeers the landlord's story. Then Aramis told them his story.
«Last night, I was visiting a friend who has a niece. I was escorting the niece to her carriage, when a man, who could well be your man from Meung, approached us and told us to get into his carriage. He had about five or six men to help him.»
«He mistook you for the Duke of Buckingham! And your friend's niece for the Queen!» said D'Artagnan.
«I think that might be true. He addressed me as 'Duke' and my friend's niece as 'Madame,' and it was very dark.»
As the four friends were considering this, they heard hurried footsteps outside the door, and in the next moment, Bonacieux burst into the room.
«Help!» he shouted. «Four policemen are trying to arrest me!»
The musketeers drew their swords, ready to fight the policemen, but D'Artagnan told them to put them away. The policemen entered the room and, much to the amazement of the landlord and the musketeers, D'Artagnan helped them to arrest the landlord. He even offered the policemen some of the wine he had obtained from the landlord.
When they had gone, Porthos and Aramis turned on D'Artagnan and complained about what he had done.
«You let the police arrest your friend!»
Athos disagreed with them. «D'Artagnan, you're a genius!»
The others were astonished but agreed to stick with their motto: One for all and all for one.
D'Artagnan was taking the lead and told them they should all go to their own homes. «We have declared war on the Cardinal himself!» he said.
The Duke of Buckingham
Why did Athos think that D'Artagnan was a genius when he allowed the policemen to arrest Bonacieux and take him away? It was simply because he and D'Artagnan guessed that the police would use Bonacieux as bait for a trap, as they often did in those days. They would take the victim away in secret, and then arrest everyone who came to the house. That is exactly what happened on this occasion.
The three musketeers went out to search for Madame Bonacieux. Athos questioned Monsieur de Treville, who could tell him only that he had seen the King, the Queen, and the Cardinal the previous evening. The King was not comfortable, the Cardinal looked worried, and the Queen had red eyes from either crying or not sleeping. Monsieur de Treville urged Athos to be loyal to the King and Queen.
While the musketeers were out searching, D'Artagnan was busy in his room, which was directly above Bonacieux's room. Through his window, he could see everybody who came to the house, and by putting his ear on the floor, he could hear most of what the police and Bonacieux's visitors were saying in the room below. Each visitor was asked whether Monsieur Bonacieux had ever given them anything to pass on to Madame Bonacieux, or whether Madame Bonacieux had ever given them anything to pass on to Monsieur Bonacieux. Then they were asked whether either Monsieur or Madame Bonacieux had ever told them a secret.
D'Artagnan thought about these questions and decided that the police were trying to find out whether the Duke of Buckingham was in Paris and about to meet with the Queen. On the evening of the second day, another visitor arrived at the house, and D'Artagnan soon heard screams and moans coming from the room below.
«I am Madame Bonacieux,» he heard, «and I work for the Queen!» Then he heard a struggle, and there was a loud crash as something fell to the floor. D'Artagnan was worried that they would take her away, so he told Planchet to run and get the musketeers. D'Artagnan himself rushed downstairs with sword drawn and confronted the unarmed policemen. They soon ran from the house, leaving D'Artagnan alone with Madame Bonacieux. He looked at her and immediately fell in love with her. She was about twenty-five years old and had dark hair, blue eyes, and beautiful, white teeth. She saw D'Artagnan and fainted. On the floor by her feet lay a beautiful white handkerchief. D'Artagnan picked it up and saw the same initials and coat of arms as he had seen on the handkerchief that caused him so much trouble with Aramis. He put it into Madame Bonacieux's dress pocket.
When Madame Bonacieux recovered, she smiled at D'Artagnan and thanked him for rescuing her. D'Artagnan fell in love again.
«Who were those men?» she asked. «What did they want? Where is my husband?»
D'Artagnan explained that the men were policemen working for the Cardinal and that her husband had been arrested.
«My husband, arrested? But he is as innocent as the day!» she said. D'Artagnan noticed a smile flicker across her face. He told her what had happened.
«Yes,» she agreed, «I was kidnapped, but I don't know who did it or why. Do you know?»
D'Artagnan told her about the man from Meung.
«That's him!» she said. «But who is he?»
D'Artagnan could not answer this question, although he wished with all his heart that he could.
«How did you escape?» he asked.
«They were careless. They left me alone, and I climbed out of a window. I came straight here to find my husband.»
«Will he protect you?»
«No, he is a nice man, but he is not capable of fighting. I wanted to give him a message. It is a secret.»
Suddenly, D'Artagnan realized that the policemen could return and bring more police with them. He and Madame Bonacieux rushed out of the house and down the street.
«I need to find out if it is safe for me to return to the palace,» said Madame Bonacieux. «My husband could find out, but now he is not here.»
D'Artagnan volunteered to help, so she told him where to go. She told him a password and said he should ask for Monsieur de Laporte and tell him to come to her. In the meantime, D'Artagnan took her to Athos's room, and she promised to wait there while he was at the palace.
Monsieur de Laporte warned him that he might need an alibi for the evening, so D'Artagnan went to visit Monsieur de Treville. While he waited for the Captain to arrive, he turned back the clock. When the Captain arrived, he made sure that he noticed the time, and then spoke with him about some unimportant matters for a while. When the Captain left, D'Artagnan put the clock back to the correct time. Now he had an alibi.
He went back onto the street and began to wander about aimlessly, thinking of the beautiful Madame Bonacieux. He was in love. It grew dark, and D'Artagnan realized that he was close to Aramis's house, so he decided to visit him and explain what had happened. As he approached the house, however, he noticed a young woman ahead of him. He watched as she went to Aramis's house and knocked on the window. It opened, and the young woman spoke to a woman inside, and the two women exchanged handkerchiefs. Until now, D'Artagnan had not seen the faces of either of the women, but as the young woman walked away from the house, he saw that it was Madame Bonacieux. He began to follow her, but she noticed him and began to run. When he caught her, she was afraid, but when she realized that it was D'Artagnan, she was calm again. She claimed that she did not know anybody called Aramis, although she had knocked on his window, and she would not tell D'Artagnan the name of the woman he had seen through the window. She was very alarmed when D'Artagnan mentioned the handkerchief and made him promise never to mention it again.
D'Artagnan told Madame Bonacieux that he loved her, and she allowed him to escort her to her destination on condition that he did not stay there and wait for her to come out. D'Artagnan was reluctant to promise this, but at last, he agreed.
When he returned home, Planchet told him that Athos had been arrested. The police had found him in D'Artagnan's room and mistaken him for D'Artagnan. Athos did not point out their mistake.
«If the police think they have captured D'Artagnan,» he told Planchet, «they will stop looking for him, and he can operate more freely.»
Planchet had not been able to find Porthos or Aramis, so D'Artagnan decided he should go to Monsieur de Treville's house and report what had happened. On the way, he was walking behind another young woman, who was with a man in musketeer uniform. D'Artagnan thought it was Aramis. He got in front of them and barred their way. Then he realized that it was not Aramis and that the young lady was Madame Bonacieux again! He had to explain that he was not breaking his promise to Madame Bonacieux but had come across them merely by accident. The man grew impatient and tried to push D'Artagnan out of the way. D'Artagnan immediately drew his sword and was ready to fight.
«Don't fight, Your Grace!» cried Madame Bonacieux.
That's how D'Artagnan met the Duke of Buckingham. He apologized to him, and the Duke allowed him to follow him and Madame Bonacieux to the palace as a kind of guard.
The Queen and the Cardinal
When they arrived at the palace, Madame Bonacieux led the Duke of Buckingham through some narrow passages, up and down some stairs, into a small room where she asked him to wait. The Duke knew that he was walking into a trap set by the Cardinal, but he did not care. He loved adventure and danger. He was thirty-five years old and was considered to be the handsomest man in England. He was also very powerful, being King Charles's Prime Minister. However, he did not want the Cardinal to know that he was meeting with the Queen. The Cardinal disliked the Queen. She was known as Anne of Austria, although she was born in Spain. King Louis XIII had married her to make his alliance with Spain strong. The Cardinal, however,wanted to fight against Spain, and he saw Queen Anne as an obstacle to his ambitions. He wanted the King to divorce or execute her, and if he knew that the Duke of Buckingham was visiting her, he would tell the King and achieve his goal. He had already managed to make relations between the King and Queen very bad.
Queen Anne came into the room. She was about twenty-six years old and a very beautiful, though unhappy, woman. The Queen said she was not happy to see him and rejected his declaration of love. However, the Duke did not give up and cleverly managed to make it seem that she did at least care for him. He spoke about the previous times they had met. She reminded him of all the trouble those previous visits had caused, with all her friends being dismissed from the palace so that she was now very lonely. She only had one Spanish maid left. He replied that he was planning an alliance with the Protestants at La Rochelle, which would lead to a war against France, just so that he could see her again.
«Thousands will die for my happiness,» he said, «but I do not care. No man ever loved a woman more than I love you!»
The Queen urged him to leave, but he would not go until she gave him a present. She gave him a small wooden box with twelve diamonds in it. He kissed her hand and left.
Monsieur Bonacieux, meanwhile, was having a difficult time. When the police arrested him, they took him to a cell in the Bastille. He was very frightened. Two guards took him to a magistrate who told him that he was being charged with treason and sent him back to his cell. Monsieur Bonacieux was sure that he would be executed and could not sleep that night. The next day, he was taken back to the magistrate.
«The Cardinal may forgive you if you confess everything,» said the magistrate. Then he told him that his wife had escaped and was then abducted by D'Artagnan.
«However,» he said, «we have arrested D'Artagnan, and he is in prison.»
Monsieur Bonacieux would not believe him, and the magistrate ordered D'Artagnan to be brought to the room. When the guards returned with their prisoner, Monsieur Bonacieux was quickly able to tell them that the man they held was not D'Artagnan at all.
It was Athos, whom the police had captured in D'Artagnan's rooms, believing him to be the man they wanted. The magistrate realized that the police had made a mistake and ordered the guards to put both men back in their cells.
Monsieur Bonacieux sat in his cell all day, crying like a child.
«They are going to kill me!» he cried.
Late that night, the guards took him out of his cell and put him into a carriage. He was so afraid that he would die that he fainted. When the carriage stopped, the guards carried him into a room and left him on a couch. When he recovered, he was taken to another room and was questioned by the Cardinal himself. The Cardinal asked about Madame Bonacieux and soon realized that Monsieur Bonacieux was too timid to be an enemy. The Cardinal sent for his private spy, Count de Rochefort. When he entered the room, Bonacieux recognized him as the man who had kidnapped his wife.
Bonacieux was immediately taken back to his cell. The Count de Rochefort told the Cardinal that the Duke of Buckingham had visited the Queen. One of the maids in the palace had seen them and had also realized that the small wooden box with the diamonds was missing. The Count de Rochefort thought the Queen had given them to the Duke of Buckingham, and the Cardinal agreed.
The Count de Rochefort left, and the Cardinal brought Bonacieux back into his room. He gave him a bag with three hundred pistoles in it, much to the surprise of Monsieur Bonacieux. The Cardinal was pleased to make Monsieur Bonacieux his friend because he would do anything the Cardinal asked. He would even spy against his own wife.
The Cardinal then turned to a large map of La Rochelle that he had on his table and studied it for a few minutes. When the Count de Rochefort returned, the Cardinal sat down and wrote a letter.
«Call Vitray,» he told the Count. «He must take this letter to London immediately.»
This is what the letter said:
When the Duke of Buckingham next attends a ball, you must go there. He will be wearing twelve diamonds on his jacket. You must somehow get near to him and cut two of the diamonds off his jacket. Let me know as soon as you have them.
The Keeper of the Seals
Monsieur de Treville was worried about Athos. Aramis had asked for some leave to visit his family in Rouen, so Porthos and D'Artagnan reported Athos's arrest to Monsieur de Treville. Athos had been examined again. He told the magistrate that he was not D'Artagnan, that he had never met Monsieur or Madame Bonacieux, and that he was having dinner with Monsieur de Treville at the time when D'Artagnan fought the policemen and abducted Madame Bonacieux. Then he was taken to see the Cardinal. However, the Cardinal was visiting the King. He told the King that one of the Queen's closest friends, Madame de Chevreuse, whom the King had banished, was in Paris.
«We were about to arrest Madame de Chevreuse's accomplice,» he said, «when one of the musketeers fought against four policemen and rescued the accomplice.»
The King was furious.
At that very moment, Monsieur de Treville arrived. He had failed to get Athos released and intended to ask the King to intervene. The King accused the musketeers of hindering the work of the Cardinal, but Monsieur de Treville was able to prove that Athos and D'Artagnan were innocent of the attack on the policemen.
«Athos had dinner with me, and D'Artagnan came to visit me at that time, too. I remember the time clearly because it was earlier than I had thought.»
The Cardinal insisted that Athos be charged and taken to court, but eventually, he conceded defeat, and the King wrote a letter releasing Athos from prison. Monsieur de Treville took the letter to prison and came out with Athos. Then he sent a messenger to find D'Artagnan and tell him to come to his house.
«You'd better be careful,» he warned them. «The Cardinal is plotting against us, and you could end up in trouble.»
As soon as Monsieur de Treville had left the palace, the Cardinal told the King about the Duke of Buckingham's visit to Paris. When he heard this news, the King turned white with anger.
«What was he doing here?» he shouted.
«He was probably plotting something with the Protestants,» replied the Cardinal.
«No, I'm sure he was trying to insult me by visiting the Queen,» said the King. He was much more worried about this personal insult than he was about any wars or other affairs of state.
«I hate to think that what you are suggesting might be true,» said the Cardinal, «but it reminds me of something. One of the maids said that the Queen hardly slept last night and spent almost the whole day writing letters today.»
«That proves it! She was obviously writing to the Duke of Buckingham. I must have those letters before she gives them to a messenger!»
«But Sir, you cannot take the Queen's letters,» protested the Cardinal. Of course, this was exactly what he wanted the King to do. The King fell into the Cardinal's trap.
«Are you plotting against me, too, Cardinal? Are you on their side? I will have those letters!»
The Cardinal told him that only the Keeper of the Seals was allowed to ask for letters from the Queen and search her rooms.
«However,» he added, «the Queen may not believe that he is acting on your orders.»
«I will go in and tell her myself!» shouted the King.
The Queen was sitting with her ladies in waiting when the King burst into the room. He walked angrily to the Queen and told her that the Keeper of the Seals was coming to pay her a visit and that she was to obey his every request. He was acting on the King's authority.
«What can he do that you cannot do yourself?» asked the Queen.
The King did not answer but turned on his heel and left the room as angrily as he had entered it. As he left, the Keeper of the Seals arrived. He commanded the Queen to give him her keys. The Queen was insulted and very angry but gave him the keys. He searched through all the desk drawers but found no letters.
«The King knows that you wrote a letter yesterday and that you have not given it to a messenger yet,» he said, «so I must search for it and find it.» He came closer to the Queen, stretching out his arm toward her. It was clear that he intended to search the Queen.
«How can you dare to search the Queen?» asked the Queen.
«I must do as the King has commanded,» he replied and took a few steps closer.
«Very well,» she said. «I did write a letter, and I still have it.»
«If you do not give it to me, Your Highness, I will have to take it from you.»
«The King has ordered you to touch your Queen!?»
«Forgive me, Your Highness, I am only following the King's orders.»
The Queen's eyes filled with tears of anger as the Keeper of the Seals took another two steps toward her.
Suddenly, she put her hand into her dress and pulled out a letter.
«Here's your letter, Sir! Take it and go!»
The Keeper of the Seals took it and went straight to the King. The King quickly tore it open and read it. It was not a love letter but a letter to the Queen's brother, suggesting that he should declare war on France and get rid of the Cardinal. The King was delighted with the letter and showed it to the Cardinal.
«Look,» he said, «I was wrong, and you were right. There is no mention of love or of Buckingham in the letter. It is just a plot to get rid of you!»
The Cardinal, of course, was not quite as happy as the King. He offered to resign, knowing that the King would never allow him to do that. Then he convinced the King that he had wronged the Queen and ought to do something to please her. At first, the King refused, but then he agreed to hold a ball for her. The King hated balls, but the Queen loved them.
«Ask the Queen to wear the twelve diamonds you gave her,» suggested the Cardinal.
The King went to visit the Queen on the following day, and although he didn't apologize to her, he was friendly and told her that he would hold a ball soon. This was such a rare event in the poor Queen's life that it immediately cheered her up, and she began to ask the King for the date on which the ball would be held. He did not give her a date, however, but continually told her that it would be soon. The truth was that he was waiting for the Cardinal to set a date, and the Cardinal was waiting for a letter from Milady.
A week after the Keeper of the Seals visited the Queen, the Cardinal received a letter from London.
This is what it said:
I have them, but I cannot leave London, as I have no money. Please send me five hundred pistoles, and I will be in Paris in four or five days.
The next time the King asked the Cardinal whether he had set a date for the ball, the Cardinal counted the days on his fingers as he thought.
«She said she can be here in four or five days, and it will take the messenger four or five days to get there. We should add a couple of days because things never work exactly as you plan them, so that makes about twelve days.»
Then he turned to the King and said, «The City Councillors are giving a ball on the third of October, and I think you and Her Majesty could go to it.»
Then he paused before adding, «Don't forget to ask her to wear those twelve diamonds you gave her, but don't ask her until the night before the ball.»
Who Will Go to London?
The King wondered why the Cardinal had reminded him about the diamonds again, so he decided to visit the Queen and see whether he could find out what was happening. He opened the conversation as he usually did. He criticized her friends and complained about the things that they did in the palace, and the Queen listened quietly because she was used to these complaints. Eventually, however, she grew tired of it. She became annoyed and asked the King to stop complaining and tell her what he wanted. The King was surprised by her anger and told her that there was soon to be a ball, and he wanted her to wear the diamonds he had given her. Because he himself was now annoyed, he forgot that the Cardinal had asked him not to mention the diamonds until the night before the ball.
The Queen was dismayed and almost fainted with terror. She imagined that the Cardinal knew everything and that he had told the King about the visit of the Duke of Buckingham and the fact that she had given him the diamonds before he left. She went very pale and supported herself by leaning on a small table. The King saw that she was badly affected by his question and enjoyed it without knowing the reason for it.
«When is the ball to be held?» she asked weakly and in a trembling voice.
«I am not sure,» replied the King, «but I will ask the Cardinal.»
«Did the Cardinal propose the ball?» she asked, her eyes widening in fear.
«Well, yes, he did,» replied the King.
«And did he also suggest that I should wear the diamonds?»
«So what if it was? It is no crime for him to suggest that you wear the diamonds, is it?»
The Queen almost fainted with fear as the King left the room. As soon as the door was closed, she sat down and began to cry.
«The Cardinal knows everything, and he will tell the King soon, and he will destroy me, and I have no friends to help me, and I don't know what to do,» she sobbed. She knelt down by a chair and began to pray and then to weep uncontrollably.
«Is there anything I can do to help Your Majesty?»
The Queen was surprised and afraid when she heard this voice and looked around to see where it came from since she thought that she was alone in the room. She saw Madame Bonacieux but did not recognize her immediately through the tears in her eyes. Madame Bonacieux had been hanging some dresses in the cupboard when the King had entered the room, and she had not dared to come out while he was there. Consequently, she had heard the entire conversation and now assured the Queen that she was her friend and was ready to do anything she could to help her.
«You gave those diamonds that the King was talking about to the Duke of Buckingham, didn't you?»
When the Queen realized that somebody else knew all about the diamonds, she began to tremble again, but Madame Bonacieux assured her again that she was a friend and that she would do whatever she could to get the diamonds back.
«We need to send a message to the Duke of Buckingham as soon as we can,» she said, «and ask him to return the diamonds as quickly as possible.»
«Yes, but I have nobody to send to London because the King and the Cardinal have sent all my friends away.»
«Your Highness, you can trust me to find a messenger for you. My husband is a very good man, and he will do anything I ask him to do without asking any questions.»
The Queen decided to trust her and wrote a letter for Monsieur Bonacieux to deliver to the Duke of Buckingham. She gave it to Madame Bonacieux and also gave her a valuable ring which had been given to her by her brother, the King of Spain, so that she would have some money to pay for her husband's journey to London.
Madame Bonacieux hid the letter in her dress, and ten minutes later, she was home.
There, she found her husband patiently waiting for her. She did not know that he had seen the Cardinal and had become one of his most loyal supporters, so when she told him that he could earn a lot of money by delivering a letter to London, she was surprised that he did not immediately agree. Monsieur Bonacieux thought of himself as a friend of the Cardinal who did not need to earn money by doing such difficult tasks. He began to boast about being the great Cardinal's personal friend and showed his wife the bag with money that the Cardinal had given him.
Madame Bonacieux persisted in asking him to take the letter to London, but he refused. She threatened him, saying that she would get the Queen to arrest him and put him in the Bastille, but he was more afraid of the Cardinal than of the Queen, and he continued to refuse. However, he suddenly remembered that the Cardinal and Count de Rochefort had asked him to get as much information from his wife as possible. He tried to find out more about the letter, but as soon as he began to ask questions, Madame Bonacieux became suspicious and told him no more. Monsieur Bonacieux left the house, saying he had to visit a friend.
Madame Bonacieux sat in the room, wondering what to do next. She had promised the Queen that her husband would do it. As she sat there, she heard a voice from the ceiling. It was D'Artagnan, who had been listening to the conversation with his ear to the floor.
«Madame Bonacieux, please let me into your room, and I will help you!»
A Message for the Duke
D'Artagnan had heard the conversation between his landlord and Madame Bonacieux and soon convinced Madame Bonacieux to give him the letter to deliver to London. He was very excited. Madame Bonacieux gave him the bag of money that the Cardinal had given her husband. As he was about to leave, they heard voices outside. It was Monsieur Bonacieux and the Count de Rochefort! When D'Artagnan saw the Count de Rochefort, he recognized the man from Meung and wanted to go and fight him. Madame Bonacieux convinced him to stay out of sight because he was on a mission for the Queen. They quickly ran to D'Artagnan's room and hid there.
They heard the Count de Rochefort tell Monsieur Bonacieux that he had been foolish to let the opportunity slip, and Monsieur Bonacieux said he would go to the palace and find his wife. He was sure that she would still give him the letter if he promised to take it to London. Of course, he would give it to the Count de Rochefort instead. The Count de Rochefort left, and then Monsieur Bonacieux discovered that his money had disappeared. He howled very loudly and ran down the street. This gave D'Artagnan the opportunity to leave the house, too, and he went straight to Monsieur de Treville's house to tell him that he had to leave for London immediately on a mission for the Queen. Monsieur de Treville did not question him about it but insisted that he take the three musketeers with him.
D'Artagnan went to Aramis's house and found him worried about the lady who was no longer there. D'Artagnan realized that she was the Queen's friend, Madame de Chevreuse, and told Aramis that she had left. He should not worry about her. Then they went to Athos's and Porthos's houses, and soon all four young men were ready for the trip to London. D'Artagnan told them that the letter was in his jacket pocket and that if he was killed, one of them should take the letter and bring it to London. If that person was killed, another musketeer should take the letter. It was very important that the letter reach London, and the Cardinal was sure to try and stop them.
It was two o'clock in the morning when the four young adventurers and their four servants left Paris on their horses. They rode to Chantilly, where they had some breakfast. Another traveller was dining there, and he proposed a toast to the Cardinal. Then Porthos proposed a toast to the King, but the traveller did not like the King, and soon he challenged Porthos to a duel. The others decided not to wait for him.
«Finish him off, and come after us,» said Athos.
At Beauvais, they waited two hours for Porthos, but he did not come. The horses were rested, and they continued on their way. About a mile past Beauvais, the road became narrow and some workmen had blocked it. As the adventurers tried to pass them, the workmen began to throw stones and even shoot at them. Aramis was injured, and his servant fell off his horse. Aramis managed to ride on, but the servant could not get back on his horse. They rode on, but at Crevecoeur, Aramis declared that he could go no further. They left him and one of the servants at an inn there, which meant that there were now only two masters and two servants. They rode on to Amiens, which they reached at midnight, and stayed at the Golden Lily Inn.
They slept well, but in the morning, they were attacked by the inn keeper and his friends, who accused them of passing false money. D'Artagnan and Planchet managed to escape by stealing two horses and galloping away. Athos would have to look after himself. D'Artagnan and Planchet rode on to St. Omer, where they rested their horses before continuing to Calais.
They went to the harbor and found another man who wanted to sail to England. An official was telling him that the Cardinal made a new rule requiring travellers to England to have a permit.
«I am the Count de Wardes, and I have a permit for myself and my servant Lubin!» said the man.
«Good. Then you will need to get it signed by the Governor of the Port. He lives over there.» The official pointed to a house a little distance away.
They began to walk toward the Governor's house with D'Artagnan and Planchet following them. Before they got to the house, D'Artagnan attacked Count de Wardes and stole his permit while Planchet attacked Lubin. Then they tied them up and left them in a ditch and took the permit to the Governor.
«I am the Count de Wardes, and I have a permit for myself and my servant Lubin to travel to England,» he told the Governor, who believed him and signed the permit.
«The Cardinal is trying to stop one particular person from going to England,» said the Governor.
«Yes, I know,» replied D'Artagnan. «His name is D'Artagnan.» He gave the Governor a description of Count de Wardes and told him to arrest him if he saw him.
D'Artagnan and Planchet returned to the harbor and were just in time to board the ship that was sailing to England that evening. D'Artagnan had been injured in the fight for the permit, and he was pleased to rest and sleep that night. The ship arrived in Dover early the next morning, and from there, D'Artagnan and Planchet made their way to London. They could not speak English but managed to find where the Duke of Buckingham lived by writing his name on a piece of paper and showing it to people. Unfortunately, the Duke of Buckingham was out hunting with the King, near Windsor castle. D'Artagnan went there and gave the letter to him. The Duke read the letter and turned white.
«This is terrible! It is very serious!» he cried. «We must go to Paris immediately!»
He told his servant to apologize to the King and tell him that he had to return to London urgently on a matter of life and death. Then he and D'Artagnan galloped away to London at breakneck speed.
On the way to London, D'Artagnan told the Duke of Buckingham all about his journey. When the two speeding horsemen reached London, the Duke of Buckingham did not slow down but continued at breakneck speed down the crowded streets, knocking people over and never looking to see whether or not they were injured.
When they reached the Duke's house, D'Artagnan had trouble keeping up with his new friend as they walked quickly through the passages and rooms. D'Artagnan was very impressed with the quality of the magnificent furniture in the rooms. They came to a bedroom and passed through it into a smaller room, where the Duke of Buckingham had a large picture of Queen Anne. On a shelf underneath it there was a small wooden box which contained a blue ribbon with the diamonds pinned to it. As he was showing it to D'Artagnan, he realized that two of the diamonds were missing, which made him very alarmed. Where could they be? It was clear that they had been stolen because they had been cut off with a pair of scissors.
«I've only worn them once,» he said to D'Artagnan, «and that was at the ball at Windsor last week. I am sure that Lady de Winter took them. She was very friendly to me, and I was surprised because we had had an argument recently. Not only that, she is a great admirer of the Cardinal and would do anything for him.»
The ball in Paris was still five days away, and the Duke of Buckingham called his jeweller and commanded him to cut two more diamonds to match those on his blue ribbon. Then he called his secretary and commanded that no ships should leave England until further notice. If the Chancellor or the King wanted to know the reason for this, he was to tell them that he was preparing for war against France. D'Artagnan was astonished that a man could have so much power and use it as he pleased, even to the extent of declaring war so that he could make sure that the Queen would receive her diamonds in time for the ball.
The Councillors' Ball
Two days later, the replacement diamonds were ready, and they were perfect. It was impossible to see that they were not the original diamonds that had been stolen. The Duke of Buckingham gave D'Artagnan the diamonds and told him how to get to France and where he should go in France to obtain good horses. He told D'Artagnan the password that would ensure that the Duke's friends would help him get back to Paris as quickly as possible.
«What about the box?» asked D'Artagnan. «Am I to return the diamonds without the box?»
«Yes,» said the Duke of Buckingham. «I want to keep the box, because it is all I have left now, and I am sure that simply wearing the diamonds to the ball will satisfy the King and dismay the Cardinal.»
D'Artagnan made his way back to France. As his ship left the harbour at Dover, he thought he saw a woman he had seen before, sitting on another ship which was waiting for permission to leave. He thought it was the woman he had seen in the carriage at Meung, to whom his enemy had spoken.
When he arrived in France, he found that using the password given to him by the Duke of Buckingham made his journey back to Paris much easier than the journey to London had been. There were fresh horses waiting for him at every stop. As soon as he arrived in Paris, he went to see Monsieur de Treville to report on his safe return.
The next day was the day of the Councillors' Ball, when all the most important people in Paris, and even people who merely thought they were important, put on their best clothes and went to the Town Hall.
It was already late when the King arrived at the ball, but the Queen was even later. As soon as she arrived, the King noticed that she was not wearing her diamonds. He approached her and demanded that she tell him why she was not wearing the diamonds that he had asked her to wear. She told him that she was afraid she might lose them but that she could send for them and put them on if he insisted. The Cardinal, of course, was watching all this very closely and seemed to be very happy. He gave the two diamonds that Milady had stolen from the Duke of Buckingham to the King.
«If she comes back wearing the diamonds, which I doubt, you will notice that two of them are missing,» he said. «Give her these, and ask her if she remembers who stole them.»
The King was surprised but just then, the Queen returned, and he had no time to question the Cardinal about the two diamonds. He looked at the Queen and noticed that she was wearing her diamonds. He was very pleased, but the Cardinal scowled. The Queen was dancing and kept moving around, so that neither the King nor the Cardinal could count the number of diamonds she was wearing. Were there twelve or only ten? At the end of the dance, the King approached her and gave her the two diamonds the Cardinal had given him.
«I understand that you have lost two diamonds,» he said, «so I am giving you two new ones.»
«But then I will have fourteen!» exclaimed the Queen.
The King counted the diamonds and saw that there were twelve.
«Why did you give me these two diamonds?» he asked the Cardinal. The Cardinal was ready with his answer.
«I wanted to give the Queen a present and thought this might be an amusing way to do it.»
The Queen smiled at him very politely. «Thank you, Your Eminence! I am sure that these two diamonds must have cost you a lot!»
Later that night, Madame Bonacieux took D'Artagnan to the Queen's private dressing room. There, the Queen gave him a ring and allowed him to kiss her hand. She did this by putting her hand through the door to a dark room, where D'Artagnan was waiting. The Queen did not see D'Artagnan or speak to him, but he knew that she was grateful.
D'Artagnan was sure that Madame Bonacieux would also be very kind to him since he was now quite sure that she loved him. However, all she told him was that there would be a letter for him at his home. He rushed home to find that Planchet was waiting for him.
«Your room was locked,» he told D'Artagnan, «but this letter found its way in. I think it is a dangerous letter because letters don't come into locked rooms all by themselves.»
D'Artagnan, however, read the letter and laughed at Planchet.
«This is a very nice letter,» he said. «It is the best letter I have ever received!» It was from M