"What will you? My vocation commands me; it carries me away."
D'Artagnan smiled, but made no answer.
Aramis continued, "And yet, while I do belong to the earth, I wish to speak of you — of our friends."
"And on my part," said d'Artagnan, "I wished to speak of you, but I find you so completely detached from everything! To love you cry, 'Fie! Friends are shadows! The world is a sepulcher!'"
"Alas, you will find it so yourself," said Aramis, with a sigh.
"Well, then, let us say no more about it," said d'Artagnan; "and let us burn this letter, which, no doubt, announces to you some fresh infidelity of your GRISETTE or your chambermaid."
"What letter?" cried Aramis, eagerly.
"A letter which was sent to your abode in your absence, and which was given to me for you."
"But from whom is that letter?"
"Oh, from some heartbroken waiting woman, some desponding GRISETTE; from Madame de Chevreuse's chambermaid, perhaps, who was obliged to return to Tours with her mistress, and who, in order to appear smart and attractive, stole some perfumed paper, and sealed her letter with a duchess's coronet."
"What do you say?"
"Hold! I must have lost it," said the young man maliciously, pretending to search for it. "But fortunately the world is a sepulcher; the men, and consequently the women, are but shadows, and love is a sentiment to which you cry, 'Fie! Fie!'"
"d'Artagnan, d'Artagnan," cried Aramis, "you are killing me!"
"Well, here it is at last!" said d'Artagnan, as he drew the letter from his pocket.
Aramis made a bound, seized the letter, read it, or rather devoured it, his countenance radiant.
"This same waiting maid seems to have an agreeable style," said the messenger, carelessly.
"Thanks, d'Artagnan, thanks!" cried Aramis, almost in a state of delirium. "She was forced to return to Tours; she is not faithless; she still loves me! Come, my friend, come, let me embrace you. Happiness almost stifles me!"
The two friends began to dance around the venerable St. Chrysostom, kicking about famously the sheets of the thesis, which had fallen on the floor.
At that moment Bazin entered with the spinach and the omelet.
"Be off, you wretch!" cried Aramis, throwing his skullcap in his face. "Return whence you came; take back those horrible vegetables, and that poor kickshaw! Order a larded hare, a fat capon, mutton leg dressed with garlic, and four bottles of old Burgundy."
Bazin, who looked at his master, without comprehending the cause of this change, in a melancholy manner, allowed the omelet to slip into the spinach, and the spinach onto the floor.
"Now this is the moment to consecrate your existence to the King of kings," said d'Artagnan, "if you persist in offering him a civility. NON INUTILE DESIDERIUM OBLATIONE."
"Go to the devil with your Latin. Let us drink, my dear d'Artagnan, MORBLEU! Let us drink while the wine is fresh! Let us drink heartily, and while we do so, tell me a little of what is going on in the world yonder."