6 HIS MAJESTY KING LOUIS XIII
This affair made a great noise. M. de Treville scolded his Musketeers in public, and congratulated them in private; but as no time was to be lost in gaining the king, M. de Treville hastened to report himself at the Louvre. It was already too late. The king was closeted with the cardinal, and M. de Treville was informed that the king was busy and could not receive him at that moment. In the evening M. de Treville attended the king's gaming table. The king was winning; and as he was very avaricious, he was in an excellent humor. Perceiving M. de Treville at a distance —
"Come here, Monsieur Captain," said he, "come here, that I may growl at you. Do you know that his Eminence has been making fresh complaints against your Musketeers, and that with so much emotion, that this evening his Eminence is indisposed? Ah, these Musketeers of yours are very devils — fellows to be hanged."
"No, sire," replied Treville, who saw at the first glance how things would go, "on the contrary, they are good creatures, as meek as lambs, and have but one desire, I'll be their warranty. And that is that their swords may never leave their scabbards but in your majesty's service. But what are they to do? The Guards of Monsieur the Cardinal are forever seeking quarrels with them, and for the honor of the corps even, the poor young men are obliged to defend themselves."
"Listen to Monsieur de Treville," said the king; "listen to him! Would not one say he was speaking of a religious community? In truth, my dear Captain, I have a great mind to take away your commission and give it to Mademoiselle de Chemerault, to whom I promised an abbey. But don't fancy that I am going to take you on your bare word. I am called Louis the Just, Monsieur de Treville, and by and by, by and by we will see."
"Ah, sire; it is because I confide in that justice that I shall wait patiently and quietly the good pleasure of your Majesty."
"Wait, then, monsieur, wait," said the king; "I will not detain you long."
In fact, fortune changed; and as the king began to lose what he had won, he was not sorry to find an excuse for playing Charlemagne — if we may use a gaming phrase of whose origin we confess our ignorance. The king therefore arose a minute after, and putting the money which lay before him into his pocket, the major part of which arose from his winnings, "La Vieuville," said he, "take my place; I must speak to Monsieur de Treville on an affair of importance. Ah, I had eighty louis before me; put down the same sum, so that they who have lost may have nothing to complain of. Justice before everything."
Then turning toward M. de Treville and walking with him toward the embrasure of a window, "Well, monsieur," continued he, "you say it is his Eminence's Guards who have sought a quarrel with your Musketeers?"
"Yes, sire, as they always do."
"And how did the thing happen? Let us see, for you know, my dear Captain, a judge must hear both sides."
"Good Lord! In the most simple and natural manner possible. Three of my best soldiers, whom your Majesty knows by name, and whose devotedness you have more than once appreciated, and who have, I dare affirm to the king, his service much at heart — three of my best soldiers, I say, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, had made a party of pleasure with a young fellow from Gascony, whom I had introduced to them the same morning. The party was to take place at St. Germain, I believe, and they had appointed to meet at the Carmes-Deschaux, when they were disturbed by de Jussac, Cahusac, Bicarat, and two other Guardsmen, who certainly did not go there in such a numerous company without some ill intention against the edicts."
"Ah, ah! You incline me to think so," said the king. "There is no doubt they went thither to fight themselves."
"I do not accuse them, sire; but I leave your Majesty to judge what five armed men could possibly be going to do in such a deserted place as the neighborhood of the Convent des Carmes."
"Yes, you are right, Treville, you are right!"
"Then, upon seeing my Musketeers they changed their minds, and forgot their private hatred for partisan hatred; for your Majesty cannot be ignorant that the Musketeers, who belong to the king and nobody but the king, are the natural enemies of the Guardsmen, who belong to the cardinal."
"Yes, Treville, yes," said the king, in a melancholy tone; "and it is very sad, believe me, to see thus two parties in France, two heads to royalty. But all this will come to an end, Treville, will come to an end. You say, then, that the Guardsmen sought a quarrel with the Musketeers?"
"I say that it is probable that things have fallen out so, but I will not swear to it, sire. You know how difficult it is to discover the truth; and unless a man be endowed with that admirable instinct which causes Louis XIII to be named the Just — "
"You are right, Treville; but they were not alone, your Musketeers. They had a youth with them?"
"Yes, sire, and one wounded man; so that three of the king's Musketeers — one of whom was wounded — and a youth not only maintained their ground against five of the most terrible of the cardinal's Guardsmen, but absolutely brought four of them to earth."
"Why, this is a victory!" cried the king, all radiant, "a complete victory!"
"Yes, sire; as complete as that of the Bridge of Ce."
"Four men, one of them wounded, and a youth, say you?"
"One hardly a young man; but who, however, behaved himself so admirably on this occasion that I will take the liberty of recommending him to your Majesty."
"How does he call himself?"
"d'Artagnan, sire; he is the son of one of my oldest friends — the son of a man who served under the king your father, of glorious memory, in the civil war."
"And you say this young man behaved himself well? Tell me how, Treville — you know how I delight in accounts of war and fighting."
And Louis XIII twisted his mustache proudly, placing his hand upon his hip.
"Sire," resumed Treville, "as I told you, Monsieur d'Artagnan is little more than a boy; and as he has not the honor of being a Musketeer, he was dressed as a citizen. The Guards of the cardinal, perceiving his youth and that he did not belong to the corps, invited him to retire before they attacked."
"So you may plainly see, Treville," interrupted the king, "it was they who attacked?"
"That is true, sire; there can be no more doubt on that head. They called upon him then to retire; but he answered that he was a Musketeer at heart, entirely devoted to your Majesty, and that therefore he would remain with Messieurs the Musketeers."
"Brave young man!" murmured the king.
"Well, he did remain with them; and your Majesty has in him so firm a champion that it was he who gave Jussac the terrible sword thrust which has made the cardinal so angry."
"He who wounded Jussac!" cried the king, "he, a boy! Treville, that's impossible!"
"It is as I have the honor to relate it to your Majesty."
"Jussac, one of the first swordsmen in the kingdom?"
"Well, sire, for once he found his master."
"I will see this young man, Treville — I will see him; and if anything can be done — well, we will make it our business."
"When will your Majesty deign to receive him?"
"Tomorrow, at midday, Treville."
"Shall I bring him alone?"