Porthos alone made no reply.
"Yes, horse. Are we not eating a horse, Porthos? And perhaps his saddle, therewith."
"No, gentlemen, I have kept the harness," said Porthos.
"My faith," said Aramis, "we are all alike. One would think we had tipped the wink."
"What could I do?" said Porthos. "This horse made my visitors ashamed of theirs, and I don't like to humiliate people."
"Then your duchess is still at the waters?" asked d'Artagnan.
"Still," replied Porthos. "And, my faith, the governor of the province — one of the gentlemen I expected today — seemed to have such a wish for him, that I gave him to him."
"Gave him?" cried d'Artagnan.
"My God, yes, GAVE, that is the word," said Porthos; "for the animal was worth at least a hundred and fifty louis, and the stingy fellow would only give me eighty."
"Without the saddle?" said Aramis.
"Yes, without the saddle."
"You will observe, gentlemen," said Athos, "that Porthos has made the best bargain of any of us."
And then commenced a roar of laughter in which they all joined, to the astonishment of poor Porthos; but when he was informed of the cause of their hilarity, he shared it vociferously according to his custom.
"There is one comfort, we are all in cash," said d'Artagnan.
"Well, for my part," said Athos, "I found Aramis's Spanish wine so good that I sent on a hamper of sixty bottles of it in the wagon with the lackeys. That has weakened my purse."
"And I," said Aramis, "imagined that I had given almost my last sou to the church of Montdidier and the Jesuits of Amiens, with whom I had made engagements which I ought to have kept. I have ordered Masses for myself, and for you, gentlemen, which will be said, gentlemen, for which I have not the least doubt you will be marvelously benefited."
"And I," said Porthos, "do you think my strain cost me nothing? — without reckoning Mousqueton's wound, for which I had to have the surgeon twice a day, and who charged me double on account of that foolish Mousqueton having allowed himself a ball in a part which people generally only show to an apothecary; so I advised him to try never to get wounded there any more."
"Ay, ay!" said Athos, exchanging a smile with d'Artagnan and Aramis, "it is very clear you acted nobly with regard to the poor lad; that is like a good master."
"In short," said Porthos, "when all my expenses are paid, I shall have, at most, thirty crowns left."
"And I about ten pistoles," said Aramis.
"Well, then it appears that we are the Croesuses of the society. How much have you left of your hundred pistoles, d'Artagnan?"
"Of my hundred pistoles? Why, in the first place I gave you fifty."
"You think so?"
"Ah, that is true. I recollect."
"Then I paid the host six."
"What a brute of a host! Why did you give him six pistoles?"
"You told me to give them to him."
"It is true; I am too good-natured. In brief, how much remains?"
"Twenty-five pistoles," said d'Artagnan.
"And I," said Athos, taking some small change from his pocket, "I — "
"My faith! So little that it is not worth reckoning with the general stock."
"Now, then, let us calculate how much we posses in all."
"And you, d'Artagnan?"
"That makes in all?" said Athos.
"Four hundred and seventy-five livres," said d'Artagnan, who reckoned like Archimedes.
"On our arrival in Paris, we shall still have four hundred, besides the harnesses," said Porthos.
"But our troop horses?" said Aramis.
"Well, of the four horses of our lackeys we will make two for the masters, for which we will draw lots. With the four hundred livres we will make the half of one for one of the unmounted, and then we will give the turnings out of our pockets to d'Artagnan, who has a steady hand, and will go and play in the first gaming house we come to. There!"
"Let us dine, then," said Porthos; "it is getting cold."
The friends, at ease with regard to the future, did honor to the repast, the remains of which were abandoned to Mousqueton, Bazin, Planchet, and Grimaud.
On arriving in Paris, d'Artagnan found a letter from M. de Treville, which informed him that, at his request, the king had promised that he should enter the company of the Musketeers.
As this was the height of d'Artagnan's worldly ambition — apart, be it well understood, from his desire of finding Mme. Bonacieux — he ran, full of joy, to seek his comrades, whom he had left only half an hour before, but whom he found very sad and deeply preoccupied. They were assembled in council at the residence of Athos, which always indicated an event of some gravity. M. de Treville had intimated to them his Majesty's fixed intention to open the campaign on the first of May, and they must immediately prepare their outfits.
The four philosophers looked at one another in a state of bewilderment. M. de Treville never jested in matters relating to discipline.
"And what do you reckon your outfit will cost?" said d'Artagnan.
"Oh, we can scarcely say. We have made our calculations with Spartan economy, and we each require fifteen hundred livres."
"Four times fifteen makes sixty — six thousand livres," said Athos.
"It seems to me," said d'Artagnan, "with a thousand livres each — I do not speak as a Spartan, but as a procurator — "
This word PROCURATOR roused Porthos. "Stop," said he, "I have an idea."
"Well, that's something, for I have not the shadow of one," said Athos coolly; "but as to d'Artagnan, gentlemen, the idea of belonging to OURS has driven him out of his senses. A thousand livres! For my part, I declare I want two thousand."
"Four times two makes eight," then said Aramis; "it is eight thousand that we want to complete our outfits, toward which, it is true, we have already the saddles."
"Besides," said Athos, waiting till d'Artagnan, who went to thank Monsieur de Treville, had shut the door, "besides, there is that beautiful ring which beams from the finger of our friend. What the devil! D'Artagnan is too good a comrade to leave his brothers in embarrassment while he wears the ransom of a king on his finger."