:"On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town\nof Meung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born,\nappeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the\nHuguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it. Many\ncitizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving\ntheir children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the\ncuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a\nmusket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of\nthe Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every\nminute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.\n\nIn those times panics were common, and few days passed without\nsome city or other registering in its archives an event of this\nkind. There were nobles, who made war against each other; there\nwas the king, who made war against the cardinal; there was Spain,\nwhich made war against the king. Then, in addition to these\nconcealed or public, secret or open wars, there were robbers,\nmendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels, who made war upon\neverybody. The citizens always took up arms readily against\nthieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles or Huguenots,\nsometimes against the king, but never against cardinal or Spain.\nIt resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Monday\nof April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing\nneither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de\nRichelieu, rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller. When\narrived there, the cause of the hubbub was apparent to all.\n\nA young man--we can sketch his portrait at a dash. Imagine to\nyourself a Don Quixote of eighteen; a Don Quixote without his\ncorselet, without his coat of mail, without his cuisses; a Don\nQuixote clothed in a woolen doublet, the blue color of which had\nfaded into a nameless shade between lees of wine and a heavenly\nazure; face long and brown; high cheek bones, a sign of sagacity;\nthe maxillary muscles enormously developed, an infallible sign by\nwhich a Gascon may always be detected, even without his cap--and\nour young man wore a cap set off with a sort of feather; the eye\nopen and intelligent; the nose hooked, but finely chiseled. Too\nbig for a youth, too small for a grown man, an experienced eye\nmight have taken him for a farmer's son upon a journey had it not\nbeen for the long sword which, dangling from a leather baldric,\nhit against the calves of its owner as he walked, and against the\nrough side of his steed when he was on horseback.\n\nFor our young man had a steed which was the observed of all\nobservers. It was a Bearn pony, from twelve to fourteen years\nold, yellow in his hide, without a hair in his tail, but not\nwithout windgalls on his legs, which, though going with his head\nlower than his knees, rendering a martingale quite unnecessary,\ncontrived nevertheless to perform his eight leagues a day.\nUnfortunately, the qualities of this horse were so well concealed\nunder his strange-colored hide and his unaccountable gait, that\nat a time when everybody was a connoisseur in horseflesh, the\nappearance of the aforesaid pony at Meung--which place he had\nentered about a quarter of an hour before, by the gate of\nBeaugency--produced an unfavorable feeling, which extended to his\nrider.\n\nAnd this feeling had been more painfully perceived by young\nd'Artagnan--for so was the Don Quixote of this second Rosinante\nnamed--from his not being able to conceal from himself the\nridiculous appearance that such a steed gave him, good horseman\nas he was. He had sighed deeply, therefore, when accepting the\ngift of the pony from M. d'Artagnan the elder. He was not\nignorant that such a beast was worth at least twenty livres; and\nthe words which had accompanied the present were above all price.\n\n\"My son,\" said the old Gascon gentleman, in that pure Bearn\nPATOIS of which Henry IV could never rid himself, \"this horse was\nborn in the house of your father about thirteen years ago, and\nhas remained in it ever since, which ought to make you love it.\nNever sell it; allow it to die tranquilly and honorably of old\nage, and if you make a campaign with it, take as much care of it\nas you would of an old servant. At court, provided you have ever\nthe honor to go there,\" continued M. d'Artagnan the elder, \"--an\nhonor to which, remember, your ancient nobility gives you the\nright--sustain worthily your name of gentleman, which has been\nworthily borne by your ancestors for five hundred years, both for\nyour own sake and the sake of those who belong to you. By the\nlatter I mean your relatives and friends. Endure nothing from\nanyone except Monsieur the Cardinal and the king. It is by his\ncourage, please observe, by his courage alone, that a gentleman\ncan make his way nowadays. Whoever hesitates for a second\nperhaps allows the bait to escape which during that exact second\nfortune held out to him. You are young. You ought to be brave\nfor two reasons: the first is that you are a Gascon, and the\nsecond is that you are my son. Never fear quarrels, but seek\nadventures. I have taught you how to handle a sword; you have\nthews of iron, a wrist of steel. Fight on all occasions. Fight\nthe more for duels being forbidden, since consequently there is\ntwice as much courage in fighting. I have nothing to give you,\nmy son, but fifteen crowns, my horse, and the counsels you have\njust heard. Your mother will add to them a recipe for a certain\nbalsam, which she had from a Bohemian and which has the\nmiraculous virtue of curing all wounds that do not reach the\nheart. Take advantage of all, and live happily and long. I have\nbut one word to add, and that is to propose an example to you--\nnot mine, for I myself have never appeared at court, and have\nonly taken part in religious wars as a volunteer; I speak of\nMonsieur de Treville, who was formerly my neighbor, and who had\nthe honor to be, as a child, the play-fellow of our king, Louis\nXIII, whom God preserve! Sometimes their play degenerated into\nbattles, and in these battles the king was not always the\nstronger. The blows which he received increased greatly his\nesteem and friendship for Monsieur de Treville. Afterward,\nMonsieur de Treville fought with others: in his first journey to\nParis, five times; from the death of the late king till the young\none came of age, without reckoning wars and sieges, seven times;\nand from that date up to the present day, a hundred times,\nperhaps! So that in spite of edicts, ordinances, and decrees,\nthere he is, captain of the Musketeers; that is to say, chief of\na legion of Caesars, whom the king holds in great esteem and whom\nthe cardinal dreads--he who dreads nothing, as it is said. Still\nfurther, Monsieur de Treville gains ten thousand crowns a year;\nhe is therefore a great noble. He began as you begin. Go to him\nwith this letter, and make him your model in order that you may\ndo as he has done.\"\n\nUpon which M. d'Artagnan the elder girded his own sword round his\nson, kissed him tenderly on both cheeks, and gave him his\nbenediction.\n\nOn leaving the paternal chamber, the young man found his mother,\nwho was waiting for him with the famous recipe of which the\ncounsels we have just repeated would necessitate frequent\nemployment. The adieux were on this side longer and more tender\nthan they had been on the other--not that M. d'Artagnan did not\nlove his son, who was his only offspring, but M. d'Artagnan was a\nman, and he would have considered it unworthy of a man to give\nway to his feelings; whereas Mme. d'Artagnan was a woman, and\nstill more, a mother. She wept abundantly; and--let us speak it\nto the praise of M. d'Artagnan the younger--notwithstanding the\nefforts he made to remain firm, as a future Musketeer ought,\nnature prevailed, and he shed many tears, of which he succeeded\nwith great difficulty in concealing the half.\n\nThe same day the young man set forward on his journey, furnished\nwith the three paternal gifts, which consisted, as we have said,\nof fifteen crowns, the horse, and the letter for M. de Treville--\nthe counsels being thrown into the bargain.\n\nWith such a VADE MECUM d'Artagnan was morally and physically an\nexact copy of the hero of Cervantes, to whom we so happily\ncompared him when our duty of an historian placed us under the\nnecessity of sketching his portrait. Don Quixote took windmills\nfor giants, and sheep for armies; d'Artagnan took every smile for\nan insult, and every look as a provocation--whence it resulted\nthat from Tarbes to Meung his fist was constantly doubled, or his\nhand on the hilt of his sword; and yet the fist did not descend\nupon any jaw, nor did the sword issue from its scabbard. It was\nnot that the sight of the wretched pony did not excite numerous\nsmiles on the countenances of passers-by; but as against the side\nof this pony rattled a sword of respectable length, and as over\nthis sword gleamed an eye rather ferocious than haughty, these\npassers-by repressed their hilarity, or if hilarity prevailed\nover prudence, they endeavored to laugh only on one side, like\nthe masks of the ancients. D'Artagnan, then, remained majestic\nand intact in his susceptibility, till he came to this unlucky\ncity of Meung."
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