D'Artagnan had, according to his usual style, calculated that
every hour is worth sixty minutes, and every minute worth sixty
seconds. Thanks to this perfectly exact calculation of minutes and
seconds, he reached the superintendent's door at the very moment
the soldier was leaving it with his belt empty. D'Artagnan
presented himself at the door, which a porter with a profusely
embroidered livery held half opened for him. D'Artagnan would very
much have liked to enter without giving his name, but this was
impossible, and so he gave it. Notwithstanding this concession,
which ought to have removed every difficulty in the way, at least
D'Artagnan thought so, the concierge hesitated;
however, at the second repetition of the title, captain of the
king's guards, theconcierge, without quite leaving the
passage clear for him, ceased to bar it completely. D'Artagnan
understood that orders of the most positive character had been
given. He decided, therefore, to tell a falsehood,—a circumstance,
moreover, which did not seriously affect his peace of mind, when he
saw that beyond the falsehood the safety of the state itself, or
even purely and simply his own individual personal interest, might
be at stake. He moreover added to the declarations he had already
made, that the soldier sent to M. du Vallon was his own messenger,
and that the only object that letter had in view was to announce
his intended arrival. From that moment, no one opposed D'Artagnan's
entrance any further, and he entered accordingly. A valet wished to
accompany him, but he answered that it was useless to take that
trouble on his account, inasmuch as he knew perfectly well where M.
du Vallon was. There was nothing, of course, to say to a man so
thoroughly and completely informed on all points, and D'Artagnan
was permitted, therefore, to do as he liked. The terraces, the
magnificent apartments, the gardens, were all reviewed and narrowly
inspected by the musketeer. He walked for a quarter of an hour in
this more than royal residence, which included as many wonders as
articles of furniture, and as many servants as there were columns
and doors. "Decidedly," he said to himself, "this mansion has no
other limits than the pillars of the habitable world. Is it
probable Porthos has taken it into his head to go back to
Pierrefonds without even leaving M. Fouquet's house?" He finally
reached a remote part of the chateau inclosed by a stone wall,
which was covered with a profusion of thick plants, luxuriant in
blossoms as large and solid as fruit. At equal distances on the top
of this wall were placed various statues in timid or mysterious
attitudes. These were vestals hidden beneath the long Greek peplum,
with its thick, sinuous folds; agile nymphs, covered with their
marble veils, and guarding the palace with their fugitive glances.
A statue of Hermes, with his finger on his lips; one of Iris, with
extended wings; another of Night, sprinkled all over with poppies,
dominated the gardens and outbuildings, which could be seen through
the trees. All these statues threw in white relief their profiles
upon the dark ground of the tall cypresses, which darted their
somber summits towards the sky. Around these cypresses were
entwined climbing roses, whose flowering rings were fastened to
every fork of the branches, and spread over the lower boughs and
the various statues, showers of flowers of the rarest fragrance.
These enchantments seemed to the musketeer the result of the
greatest efforts of the human mind. He felt in a dreamy, almost
poetical, frame of mind. The idea that Porthos was living in so
perfect an Eden gave him a higher idea of Porthos, showing how
tremendously true it is, that even the very highest orders of minds
are not quite exempt from the influence of surroundings. D'Artagnan
found the door, and on, or rather in the door, a kind of spring
which he detected; having touched it, the door flew open.
D'Artagnan entered, closed the door behind him, and advanced into a
pavilion built in a circular form, in which no other sound could be
heard but cascades and the songs of birds. At the door of the
pavilion he met a lackey.
"It is here, I believe," said D'Artagnan, without hesitation,
"that M. le Baron du Vallon is staying?"
"Yes, monsieur," answered the lackey.
"Have the goodness to tell him that M. le Chevalier d'Artagnan,
captain of the king's musketeers, is waiting to see him."
D'Artagnan was introduced into the salon, and had
not long to remain in expectation: a well-remembered step shook the
floor of the adjoining room, a door opened, or rather flew open,
and Porthos appeared and threw himself into his friend's arms with
a sort of embarrassment which did not ill become him. "You here?"
"And you?" replied D'Artagnan. "Ah, you sly fellow!"
"Yes," said Porthos, with a somewhat embarrassed smile; "yes,
you see I am staying in M. Fouquet's house, at which you are not a
little surprised, I suppose?"
"Not at all; why should you not be one of M. Fouquet's friends?
M. Fouquet has a very large number, particularly among clever
Porthos had the modesty not to take the compliment to himself.
"Besides," he added, "you saw me at Belle-Isle."
"A greater reason for my believing you to be one of M. Fouquet's
"The fact is, I am acquainted with him," said Porthos, with a
certain embarrassment of manner.
"Ah, friend Porthos," said D'Artagnan, "how treacherously you
have behaved towards me."
"In what way?" exclaimed Porthos.
"What! you complete so admirable a work as the fortifications of
Belle-Isle, and you did not tell me of it!" Porthos colored. "Nay,
more than that," continued D'Artagnan, "you saw me out yonder, you
know I am in the king's service, and yet you could not guess that
the king, jealously desirous of learning the name of the man whose
abilities had wrought a work of which he heard the most wonderful
accounts,—you could not guess, I say, that the king sent me to
learn who this man was?"
"What! the king sent you to learn—"
"Of course; but don't let us speak of that any more."
"Not speak of it!" said Porthos; "on the contrary, we will speak
of it; and so the king knew that we were fortifying
"Of course; does not the king know everything?"
"But he did not know who was fortifying it?"
"No, he only suspected, from what he had been told of the nature
of the works, that it was some celebrated soldier or another."
"The devil!" said Porthos, "if I had only known that!"
"You would not have run away from Vannes as you did,
"No; what did you say when you couldn't find me?"
"My dear fellow, I reflected."
"Ah, indeed; you reflect, do you? Well, and what did that
reflection lead to?"
"It led me to guess the whole truth."
"Come, then, tell me what did you guess after all?" said
Porthos, settling himself into an armchair, and assuming the airs
of a sphinx.
"I guessed, in the first place, that you were fortifying
"There was no great difficulty in that, for you saw me at
"Wait a minute; I also guessed something else,—that you were
fortifying Belle-Isle by M. Fouquet's orders."
"But even that is not all. Whenever I feel myself in trim for
guessing, I do not stop on my road; and so I guessed that M.
Fouquet wished to preserve the most absolute secrecy respecting
"I believe that was his intention, in fact," said Porthos.
"Yes, but do you know why he wished to keep it secret?"
"In order it should not become known, perhaps," said
"That was his principal reason. But his wish was subservient to
a bit of generosity—"
"In fact," said Porthos, "I have head it said that M. Fouquet
was a very generous man."
"To a bit of generosity he wished to exhibit towards the
"You seem surprised at that?"
"And you didn't guess?"
"Well, I know it, then."
"You are a wizard."
"Not at all, I assure you."
"How do you know it, then?"
"By a very simple means. I heard M. Fouquet himself say so to
"Say what to the king?"
"That he fortified Belle-Isle on his majesty's account, and that
he had made him a present of Belle Isle."
"And you heard M. Fouquet say that to the king?"
"In those very words. He even added: 'Belle-Isle has been
fortified by an engineer, one of my friends, a man of a great deal
of merit, whom I shall ask your majesty's permission to present to
"'What is his name?' said the king.
"'The Baron du Vallon,' M. Fouquet replied.
"'Very well,' returned his majesty, 'you will present him to
"The king said that?"
"Upon the word of a D'Artagnan!"
"Oh, oh!" said Porthos. "Why have I not been presented,
"Have they not spoken to you about this presentation?"
"Yes, certainly; but I am always kept waiting for it."
"Be easy, it will be sure to come."
"Humph! humph!" grumbled Porthos, which D'Artagnan pretended not
to hear; and, changing the conversation, he said, "You seem to be
living in a very solitary place here, my dear fellow?"
"I always preferred retirement. I am of a melancholy
disposition," replied Porthos, with a sigh.
"Really, that is odd," said D'Artagnan, "I never remarked that
"It is only since I have taken to reading," said Porthos, with a
"But the labors of the mind have not affected the health of the
body, I trust?"
"Not in the slightest degree."
"Your strength is as great as ever?"
"Too great, my friend, too great."
"Ah! I had heard that, for a short time after your arrival—"
"That I could hardly move a limb, I suppose?"
"How was it?" said D'Artagnan, smiling, "and why was it you
could not move?"
Porthos, perceiving that he had made a mistake, wished to
correct it. "Yes, I came from Belle-Isle upon very hard horses," he
said, "and that fatigued me."
"I am no longer astonished, then, since I, who followed you,
found seven or eight lying dead on the road."
"I am very heavy, you know," said Porthos.
"So that you were bruised all over."
"My marrow melted, and that made me very ill."
"Poor Porthos! But how did Aramis act towards you under those
"Very well, indeed. He had me attended to by M. Fouquet's own
doctor. But just imagine, at the end of a week I could not breathe
"What do you mean?"
"The room was too small; I had absorbed every atom of air."
"I was told so, at least; and so I was removed into another
"Where you were able to breathe, I hope and trust?"
"Yes, more freely; but no exercise—nothing to do. The doctor
pretended that I was not to stir; I, on the contrary, felt that I
was stronger than ever; that was the cause of a very serious
"Fancy, my dear fellow, that I revolted against the directions
of that ass of a doctor, and I resolved to go out, whether it
suited him or not: and, consequently, I told the valet who waited
on me to bring me my clothes."
"You were quite naked, then?"
"Oh, no! on the contrary, I had a magnificent dressing-gown to
wear. The lackey obeyed; I dressed myself in my own clothes, which
had become too large for me; but a strange circumstance had
happened,—my feet had become too large."
"Yes, I quite understand."
"And my boots too small."
"You mean your feet were still swollen?"
"Exactly; you have hit it."
"Pardieu! And is that the accident you were going
to tell me about?"
"Oh, yes; I did not make the same reflection you have done. I
said to myself: 'Since my feet have entered my boots ten times,
there is no reason why they should not go in the eleventh.'"
"Allow me to tell you, my dear Porthos, that on this occasion
you failed in your logic."
"In short, then, they placed me opposite to a part of the room
which was partitioned; I tried to get my boot on; I pulled it with
my hands, I pushed with all the strength of the muscles of my leg,
making the most unheard-of efforts, when suddenly the two tags of
my boot remained in my hands, and my foot struck out like a
"How learned you are in fortification, dear Porthos."
"My foot darted out like a ballista, and came against the
partition, which it broke in; I really thought that, like Samson, I
had demolished the temple. And the number of pictures, the quantity
of china, vases of flowers, carpets, and window-panes that fell
down were really wonderful."
"Without reckoning that on the other side of the partition was a
small table laden with porcelain—"
"Which you knocked over?"
"Which I dashed to the other side of the room," said Porthos,
"Upon my word, it is, as you say, astonishing," replied
D'Artagnan, beginning to laugh also; whereupon Porthos laughed
louder than ever.
"I broke," said Porthos, in a voice half-choked from his
increasing mirth, "more than three thousand francs worth of
china—ha, ha, ha!"
"Good!" said D'Artagnan.
"I smashed more than four thousand francs worth of glass!—ho,
"Without counting a luster, which fell on my head and was broken
into a thousand pieces—ha, ha, ha!"
"Upon your head?" said D'Artagnan, holding his sides.
"But your head was broken, I suppose?"
"No, since I tell you, on the contrary, my dear fellow, that it
was the luster which was broken, like glass, which, in point of
fact, it was."
"Ah! the luster was glass, you say."
"Venetian glass! a perfect curiosity, quite matchless, indeed,
and weighed two hundred pounds."
"And it fell upon your head!"
"Upon my head. Just imagine, a globe of crystal, gilded all
over, the lower part beautifully encrusted, perfumes burning at the
top, with jets from which flame issued when they were lighted."
"I quite understand, but they were not lighted at the time, I
"Happily not, or I should have been grilled prematurely."
"And you were only knocked down flat, instead?"
"Not at all."
"How, 'not at all?'"
"Why, the luster fell on my skull. It appears that we have upon
the top of our heads an exceedingly thick crust."
"Who told you that, Porthos?"
"The doctor. A sort of dome which would bear Notre-Dame."
"Yes, it seems that our skulls are made in that manner."
"Speak for yourself, my dear fellow, it is your own skull that
is made in that manner, and not the skulls of other people."
"Well, that may be so," said Porthos, conceitedly, "so much,
however, was that the case, in my instance, that no sooner did the
luster fall upon the dome which we have at the top of our head,
than there was a report like a cannon, the crystal was broken to
pieces, and I fell, covered from head to foot."
"With blood, poor Porthos!"
"Not at all; with perfumes, which smelt like rich creams; it was
delicious, but the odor was too strong, and I felt quite giddy from
it; perhaps you have experienced it sometimes yourself,
"Yes, in inhaling the scent of the lily of the valley; so that,
my poor friend, you were knocked over by the shock and overpowered
by the perfumes?"
"Yes; but what is very remarkable, for the doctor told me he had
never seen anything like it—"
"You had a bump on your head I suppose?" interrupted
"I had five."
"I will tell you; the luster had, at its lower extremity, five
gilt ornaments; excessively sharp."
"Well, these five ornaments penetrated my hair, which, as you
see, I wear very thick."
"And they made a mark on my skin. But just notice the
singularity of it, these things seem really only to happen to me!
Instead of making indentations, they made bumps. The doctor could
never succeed in explaining that to me satisfactorily."
"Well, then, I will explain it to you."
"You will do me a great service if you will," said Porthos,
winking his eyes, which, with him, was sign of the profoundest
"Since you have been employing your brain in studies of an
exalted character, in important calculations, and so on, the head
has gained a certain advantage, so that your head is now too full
"Do you think so?"
"I am sure of it. The result is, that, instead of allowing any
foreign matter to penetrate the interior of the head, your bony box
or skull, which is already too full, avails itself of the openings
which are made in allowing this excess to escape."
"Ah!" said Porthos, to whom this explanation appeared clearer
than that of the doctor.
"The five protuberances, caused by the five ornaments of the
luster, must certainly have been scientific globules, brought to
the surface by the force of circumstances."
"In fact," said Porthos, "the real truth is, that I felt far
worse outside my head than inside. I will even confess, that when I
put my hat upon my head, clapping it on my head with that graceful
energy which we gentlemen of the sword possess, if my fist was not
very gently applied, I experienced the most painful
"I quite believe you, Porthos."
"Therefore, my friend," said the giant, "M. Fouquet decided,
seeing how slightly built the house was, to give me another
lodging, and so they brought me here."
"It is the private park, I think, is it not?"
"Where the rendezvous are made; that park, indeed, which is so
celebrated in some of those mysterious stories about the
"I don't know; I have had no rendezvous or heard mysterious
stories myself, but they have authorized me to exercise my muscles,
and I take advantage of the permission by rooting up some of the
"To keep my hand in, and also to take some birds' nests; I find
it more convenient than climbing."
"You are as pastoral as Tyrcis, my dear Porthos."
"Yes, I like the small eggs; I like them very much better than
larger ones. You have no idea how delicate
an omelette is, if made of four or five hundred
eggs of linnets, chaffinches, starlings, blackbirds, and
"But five hundred eggs is perfectly monstrous!"
"A salad-bowl will hold them easily enough," said Porthos.
D'Artagnan looked at Porthos admiringly for full five minutes,
as if he had seen him for the first time, while Porthos spread his
chest out joyously and proudly. They remained in this state several
minutes, Porthos smiling, and D'Artagnan looking at him. D'Artagnan
was evidently trying to give the conversation a new turn. "Do you
amuse yourself much here, Porthos?" he asked at last, very likely
after he had found out what he was searching for.
"I can imagine that; but when you get thoroughly bored, by and
by, what do you intend to do?"
"Oh! I shall not be here for any length of time. Aramis is
waiting until the last bump on my head disappears, in order to
present me to the king, who I am told cannot endure the sight of a
"Aramis is still in Paris, then?"
"Whereabouts is he, then?"
"With M. Fouquet."
"Very good. But do you happen to know one thing?"
"No, tell it me, and then I shall know."
"Well, then, I think Aramis is forgetting you."
"Do you really think so?"
"Yes; for at Fontainebleau yonder, you must know, they are
laughing, dancing, banqueting, and drawing the corks of M. de
Mazarin's wine in fine style. Are you aware that they have a ballet
every evening there?"
"The deuce they have!"
"I assure you that your dear Aramis is forgetting you."
"Well, that is not at all unlikely, and I have myself thought so
"Unless he is playing you a trick, the sly fellow!"
"You know that Aramis is as sly as a fox."
"Yes, but to play me a trick—"
"Listen: in the first place, he puts you under a sort of
"He sequestrates me! Do you mean to say I am sequestrated?"
"I think so."
"I wish you would have the goodness to prove that to me."
"Nothing easier. Do you ever go out?"
"Do you ever ride on horseback?"
"Are your friends allowed to come and see you?"
"Very well, then; never to go out, never to ride on horseback,
never to be allowed to see your friends, that is called being
"But why should Aramis sequestrate me?" inquired Porthos.
"Come," said D'Artagnan, "be frank, Porthos."
"It was Aramis who drew the plan of the fortifications at
Belle-Isle, was it not?"
Porthos colored as he said, "Yes; but that was all he did."
"Exactly, and my own opinion is that it was no very great affair
"That is mine, too."
"Very good; I am delighted we are of the same opinion."
"He never even came to Belle-Isle," said Porthos.
"There now, you see."
"It was I who went to Vannes, as you may have seen."
"Say rather, as I did see. Well, that is precisely the state of
the case, my dear Porthos. Aramis, who only drew the plans, wishes
to pass himself off as the engineer, whilst you, who, stone by
stone, built the wall, the citadel, and the bastions, he wishes to
reduce to the rank of a mere builder."
"By builder, you mean mason, perhaps?"
"Mason; the very word."
"Plasterer, in fact?"
"Oh, oh! my dear Aramis, you seem to think you are only five and
twenty years of age still."
"Yes, and that is not all, for believes you are fifty."
"I should have amazingly liked to have seen him at work."
"A fellow who has got the gout?"
"Who has lost three of his teeth?"
"While I, look at mine." And Porthos, opening his large mouth
very wide, displayed two rows of teeth not quite as white as snow,
but even, hard, and sound as ivory.
"You can hardly believe, Porthos," said D'Artagnan, "what a
fancy the king has for good teeth. Yours decide me; I will present
you to the king myself."
"Why not? Do you think I have less credit at court than
"Do you think I have the slightest pretensions upon the
fortifications at Belle-Isle?"
"It is your own interest alone which would induce me to do
"I don't doubt it in the least."
"Well, I am the intimate friend of the king; and a proof of that
is, that whenever there is anything disagreeable to tell him, it is
I who have to do it."
"But, dear D'Artagnan, if you present me—"
"Aramis will be angry."
"No, with me."
"Bah! whether he or I present you, since you are to be
presented, what does it matter?"
"They were going to get me some clothes made."
"Your own are splendid."
"Oh! those I had ordered were far more beautiful."
"Take care: the king likes simplicity."
"In that case, I will be simple. But what will M. Fouquet say,
when he learns that I have left?"
"Are you a prisoner, then, on parole?"
"No, not quite that. But I promised him I would not leave
without letting him know."
"Wait a minute, we shall return to that presently. Have you
anything to do here?"
"I, nothing: nothing of any importance, at least."
"Unless, indeed, you are Aramis's representative for something
"By no means."
"What I tell you—pray, understand that—is out of interest for
you. I suppose, for instance, that you are commissioned to send
messages and letters to him?"
"Ah! letters—yes. I send certain letters to him."
"Have you any letters, then?"
"Nay, let me speak. Have you any letters, I say?"
"I have just received one for him."
"I suppose so."
"You do not read them, then?"
"I am not at all curious," said Porthos, as he drew out of his
pocket the soldier's letter which Porthos had not read, but
"Do you know what to do with it?" said D'Artagnan.
"Of course; do as I always do, send it to him."
"Why not? Keep it, then?"
"Did they not tell you that this letter was important?"
"Well, you must take it yourself to Fontainebleau."
"And since the king is there—"
"You will profit by that."
"I shall profit by the opportunity to present you to the
"Ah! D'Artagnan, there is no one like you for expedients."
"Therefore, instead of forwarding to our friend any messages,
which may or may not be faithfully delivered, we will ourselves be
the bearers of the letter."
"I had never even thought of that, and yet it is simple
"And therefore, because it is urgent, Porthos, we ought to set
off at once."
"In fact," said Porthos, "the sooner we set off the less chance
there is of Aramis's letter being delayed."
"Porthos, your reasoning is always accurate, and, in your case,
logic seems to serve as an auxiliary to the imagination."
"Do you think so?" said Porthos.
"It is the result of your hard reading," replied D'Artagnan. "So
come along, let us be off."
"But," said Porthos, "my promise to M. Fouquet?"
"Not to leave Saint-Mande without telling him of it."
"Ah! Porthos," said D'Artagnan, "how very young you still
"In what way?"
"You are going to Fontainebleau, are you not, where you will
find M. Fouquet?"
"Probably in the king's palace?"
"Yes," repeated Porthos, with an air full of majesty.
"Well, you will accost him with these words: 'M. Fouquet, I have
the honor to inform you that I have just left Saint-Mande.'"
"And," said Porthos, with the same majestic mien, "seeing me at
Fontainebleau at the king's, M. Fouquet will not be able to tell me
I am not speaking the truth."
"My dear Porthos, I was just on the point of opening my lips to
make the same remark, but you anticipate me in everything. Oh!
Porthos, how fortunately you are gifted! Years have made not the
slightest impression on you."
"Not over-much, certainly."
"Then there is nothing more to say?"
"I think not."
"All your scruples are removed?"
"In that case I shall carry you off with me."
"Exactly; and I will go and get my horse saddled."
"You have horses here, then?"
"I have five."
"You had them sent from Pierrefonds, I suppose?"
"No, M. Fouquet gave them to me."
"My dear Porthos, we shall not want five horses for two persons;
besides, I have already three in Paris, which would make eight, and
that will be too many."
"It would not be too many if I had some of my servants here;
but, alas! I have not got them."
"Do you regret them, then?"
"I regret Mousqueton; I miss Mousqueton."
"What a good-hearted fellow you are, Porthos," said D'Artagnan;
"but the best thing you can do is to leave your horses here, as you
have left Mousqueton out yonder."
"Because, by and by, it might turn out a very good thing if M.
Fouquet had never given you anything at all."
"I don't understand you," said Porthos.
"It is not necessary you should understand."
"I will explain to you later, Porthos."
"I'll wager it is some piece of policy or other."
"And of the most subtle character," returned D'Artagnan.
Porthos nodded his head at this word policy; then, after a
moment's reflection, he added, "I confess, D'Artagnan, that I am no
"I know that well."
"Oh! no one knows what you told me yourself, you, the bravest of
"What did I tell you, Porthos?"
"That every man has his day. You told me so, and I have
experienced it myself. There are certain days when one feels less
pleasure than others in exposing one's self to a bullet or a
"Exactly my own idea."
"And mine, too, although I can hardly believe in blows or
thrusts that kill outright."
"The deuce! and yet you have killed a few in your time."
"Yes; but I have never been killed."
"Your reason is a very good one."
"Therefore, I do not believe I shall ever die from a thrust of a
sword or a gun-shot."
"In that case, then, you are afraid of nothing. Ah! water,
"Oh! I swim like an otter."
"Of a quartan fever, then?"
"I have never had one yet, and I don't believe I ever shall; but
there is one thing I will admit," and Porthos dropped his
"What is that?" asked D'Artagnan, adopting the same tone of
voice as Porthos.
"I must confess," repeated Porthos, "that I am horribly afraid
"Ah, bah!" exclaimed D'Artagnan.
"Upon my word, it's true," said Porthos, in a stentorian voice.
"I have seen his eminence Monsieur le Cardinal de Richelieu, and
his eminence Monsieur le Cardinal de Mazarin; the one was a red
politician, the other a black politician; I never felt very much
more satisfied with the one than with the other; the first struck
off the heads of M. de Marillac, M. de Thou, M. de Cinq-Mars, M.
Chalais, M. de Bouteville, and M. de Montmorency; the second got a
whole crowd of Frondeurs cut in pieces, and we belonged to
"On the contrary, we did not belong to them," said
"Oh! indeed, yes; for if I unsheathed my sword for the cardinal,
I struck it for the king."
"My good Porthos!"
"Well, I have done. My dread of politics is such, that if there
is any question of politics in the matter, I should greatly prefer
to return to Pierrefonds."
"You would be quite right, if that were the case. But with me,
my dear Porthos, no politics at all, that is quite clear. You have
labored hard in fortifying Belle-Isle; the king wished to know the
name of the clever engineer under whose directions the works were
carried out; you are modest, as all men of true genius are; perhaps
Aramis wishes to put you under a bushel. But I happen to seize hold
of you; I make it known who you are; I produce you; the king
rewards you; and that is the only policy I have to do with."
"And the only one I will have to do with either," said Porthos,
holding out his hand to D'Artagnan.
But D'Artagnan knew Porthos's grasp; he knew that, once
imprisoned within the baron's five fingers, no hand ever left it
without being half-crushed. He therefore held out, not his hand,
but his fist, and Porthos did not even perceive the difference. The
servants talked a little with each other in an undertone, and
whispered a few words, which D'Artagnan understood, but which he
took very good care not to let Porthos understand. "Our friend," he
said to himself, "was really and truly Aramis's prisoner. Let us
now see what the result will be of the liberation of the