"Seeing you constantly surrounded by Musketeers of a very superb appearance, and knowing that these Musketeers belong to Monsieur de Treville, and were consequently enemies of the cardinal, I thought that you and your friends, while rendering justice to your poor queen, would be pleased to play his Eminence an ill turn."
"And then I have thought that considering three months' lodging, about which I have said nothing — "
"Yes, yes; you have already given me that reason, and I find it excellent."
"Reckoning still further, that as long as you do me the honor to remain in my house I shall never speak to you about rent — "
"And adding to this, if there be need of it, meaning to offer you fifty pistoles, if, against all probability, you should be short at the present moment."
"Admirable! You are rich then, my dear Monsieur Bonacieux?"
"I am comfortably off, monsieur, that's all; I have scraped together some such thing as an income of two or three thousand crown in the haberdashery business, but more particularly in venturing some funds in the last voyage of the celebrated navigator Jean Moquet; so that you understand, monsieur — But — " cried the citizen.
"What!" demanded d'Artagnan.
"Whom do I see yonder?"
"In the street, facing your window, in the embrasure of that door — a man wrapped in a cloak."
"It is he!" cried d'Artagnan and the citizen at the same time, each having recognized his man.
"Ah, this time," cried d'Artagnan, springing to his sword, "this time he will not escape me!"
Drawing his sword from its scabbard, he rushed out of the apartment. On the staircase he met Athos and Porthos, who were coming to see him. They separated, and d'Artagnan rushed between them like a dart.
"Pah! Where are you going?" cried the two Musketeers in a breath.
"The man of Meung!" replied d'Artagnan, and disappeared.
D'Artagnan had more than once related to his friends his adventure with the stranger, as well as the apparition of the beautiful foreigner, to whom this man had confided some important missive.
The opinion of Athos was that d'Artagnan had lost his letter in the skirmish. A gentleman, in his opinion — and according to d'Artagnan's portrait of him, the stranger must be a gentleman — would be incapable of the baseness of stealing a letter.
Porthos saw nothing in all this but a love meeting, given by a lady to a cavalier, or by a cavalier to a lady, which had been disturbed by the presence of d'Artagnan and his yellow horse.
Aramis said that as these sorts of affairs were mysterious, it was better not to fathom them.
They understood, then, from the few words which escaped from d'Artagnan, what affair was in hand, and as they thought that overtaking his man, or losing sight of him, d'Artagnan would return to his rooms, they kept on their way.
When they entered d'Artagnan's chamber, it was empty; the landlord, dreading the consequences of the encounter which was doubtless about to take place between the young man and the stranger, had, consistent with the character he had given himself, judged it prudent to decamp.