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On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town\x0d
of Meung, in which the author of ROMANCE OF THE ROSE was born,\x0d
appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the\x0d
Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.  Many\x0d
citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving\x0d
their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the\x0d
cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a\x0d
musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of\x0d
the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every\x0d
minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.\x0d
In those times panics were common, and few days passed without\x0d
some city or other registering in its archives an event of this\x0d
kind.  There were nobles, who made war against each other; there\x0d
was the king, who made war against the cardinal; there was Spain,\x0d
which made war against the king.  Then, in addition to these\x0d
concealed or public, secret or open wars, there were robbers,\x0d
mendicants, Huguenots, wolves, and scoundrels, who made war upon\x0d
everybody.  The citizens always took up arms readily against\x0d
thieves, wolves or scoundrels, often against nobles or Huguenots,\x0d
sometimes against the king, but never against cardinal or Spain.\x0d
It resulted, then, from this habit that on the said first Monday\x0d
of April, 1625, the citizens, on hearing the clamor, and seeing\x0d
neither the red-and-yellow standard nor the livery of the Duc de\x0d
Richelieu, rushed toward the hostel of the Jolly Miller.  When\x0d
arrived there, the cause of the hubbub was apparent to all.\x0d
A young man--we can sketch his portrait at a dash.  Imagine to\x0d
yourself a Don Quixote of eighteen; a Don Quixote without his\x0d
corselet, without his coat of mail, without his cuisses; a Don\x0d
Quixote clothed in a woolen doublet, the blue color of which had\x0d
faded into a nameless shade between lees of wine and a heavenly\x0d
azure; face long and brown; high cheek bones, a sign of sagacity;\x0d
the maxillary muscles enormously developed, an infallible sign by\x0d
which a Gascon may always be detected, even without his cap--and\x0d
our young man wore a cap set off with a sort of feather; the eye\x0d
open and intelligent; the nose hooked, but finely chiseled.  Too\x0d
big for a youth, too small for a grown man, an experienced eye\x0d
might have taken him for a farmer's son upon a journey had it not\x0d
been for the long sword which, dangling from a leather baldric,\x0d
hit against the calves of its owner as he walked, and against the\x0d
rough side of his steed when he was on horseback.\x0d
For our young man had a steed which was the observed of all\x0d
observers.  It was a Bearn pony, from twelve to fourteen years\x0d
old, yellow in his hide, without a hair in his tail, but not\x0d
without windgalls on his legs, which, though going with his head\x0d
lower than his knees, rendering a martingale quite unnecessary,\x0d
contrived nevertheless to perform his eight leagues a day.\x0d
Unfortunately, the qualities of this horse were so well concealed\x0d
under his strange-colored hide and his unaccountable gait, that\x0d
at a time when everybody was a connoisseur in horseflesh, the\x0d
appearance of the aforesaid pony at Meung--which place he had\x0d
entered about a quarter of an hour before, by the gate of\x0d
Beaugency--produced an unfavorable feeling, which extended to his\x0d
And this feeling had been more painfully perceived by young\x0d
d'Artagnan--for so was the Don Quixote of this second Rosinante\x0d
named--from his not being able to conceal from himself the\x0d
ridiculous appearance that such a steed gave him, good horseman\x0d
as he was.  He had sighed deeply, therefore, when accepting the\x0d
gift of the pony from M. d'Artagnan the elder.  He was not\x0d
ignorant that such a beast was worth at least twenty livres; and\x0d
the words which had accompanied the present were above all price.\x0d
"My son," said the old Gascon gentleman, in that pure Bearn\x0d
PATOIS of which Henry IV could never rid himself, "this horse was\x0d
born in the house of your father about thirteen years ago, and\x0d
has remained in it ever since, which ought to make you love it.\x0d
Never sell it; allow it to die tranquilly and honorably of old\x0d
age, and if you make a campaign with it, take as much care of it\x0d
as you would of an old servant.  At court, provided you have ever\x0d
the honor to go there," continued M. d'Artagnan the elder, "--an\x0d
honor to which, remember, your ancient nobility gives you the\x0d
right--sustain worthily your name of gentleman, which has been\x0d
worthily borne by your ancestors for five hundred years, both for\x0d
your own sake and the sake of those who belong to you.  By the\x0d
latter I mean your relatives and friends.  Endure nothing from\x0d
anyone except Monsieur the Cardinal and the king.  It is by his\x0d
courage, please observe, by his courage alone, that a gentleman\x0d
can make his way nowadays.  Whoever hesitates for a second\x0d
perhaps allows the bait to escape which during that exact second\x0d
fortune held out to him.  You are young.  You ought to be brave\x0d
for two reasons:  the first is that you are a Gascon, and the\x0d
second is that you are my son.  Never fear quarrels, but seek\x0d
adventures.  I have taught you how to handle a sword; you have\x0d
thews of iron, a wrist of steel.  Fight on all occasions.  Fight\x0d
the more for duels being forbidden, since consequently there is\x0d
twice as much courage in fighting.  I have nothing to give you,\x0d
my son, but fifteen crowns, my horse, and the counsels you have\x0d
just heard.  Your mother will add to them a recipe for a certain\x0d
balsam, which she had from a Bohemian and which has the\x0d
miraculous virtue of curing all wounds that do not reach the\x0d
heart.  Take advantage of all, and live happily and long.  I have\x0d
but one word to add, and that is to propose an example to you--\x0d
not mine, for I myself have never appeared at court, and have\x0d
only taken part in religious wars as a volunteer; I speak of\x0d
Monsieur de Treville, who was formerly my neighbor, and who had\x0d
the honor to be, as a child, the play-fellow of our king, Louis\x0d
XIII, whom God preserve!  Sometimes their play degenerated into\x0d
battles, and in these battles the king was not always the\x0d
stronger.  The blows which he received increased greatly his\x0d
esteem and friendship for Monsieur de Treville.  Afterward,\x0d
Monsieur de Treville fought with others: in his first journey to\x0d
Paris, five times; from the death of the late king till the young\x0d
one came of age, without reckoning wars and sieges, seven times;\x0d
and from that date up to the present day, a hundred times,\x0d
perhaps!  So that in spite of edicts, ordinances, and decrees,\x0d
there he is, captain of the Musketeers; that is to say, chief of\x0d
a legion of Caesars, whom the king holds in great esteem and whom\x0d
the cardinal dreads--he who dreads nothing, as it is said.  Still\x0d
further, Monsieur de Treville gains ten thousand crowns a year;\x0d
he is therefore a great noble.  He began as you begin.  Go to him\x0d
with this letter, and make him your model in order that you may\x0d
do as he has done."\x0d
Upon which M. d'Artagnan the elder girded his own sword round his\x0d
son, kissed him tenderly on both cheeks, and gave him his\x0d
On leaving the paternal chamber, the young man found his mother,\x0d
who was waiting for him with the famous recipe of which the\x0d
counsels we have just repeated would necessitate frequent\x0d
employment.  The adieux were on this side longer and more tender\x0d
than they had been on the other--not that M. d'Artagnan did not\x0d
love his son, who was his only offspring, but M. d'Artagnan was a\x0d
man, and he would have considered it unworthy of a man to give\x0d
way to his feelings; whereas Mme. d'Artagnan was a woman, and\x0d
still more, a mother.  She wept abundantly; and--let us speak it\x0d
to the praise of M. d'Artagnan the younger--notwithstanding the\x0d
efforts he made to remain firm, as a future Musketeer ought,\x0d
nature prevailed, and he shed many tears, of which he succeeded\x0d
with great difficulty in concealing the half.\x0d
The same day the young man set forward on his journey, furnished\x0d
with the three paternal gifts, which consisted, as we have said,\x0d
of fifteen crowns, the horse, and the letter for M. de Treville--\x0d
the counsels being thrown into the bargain.\x0d
With such a VADE MECUM d'Artagnan was morally and physically an\x0d
exact copy of the hero of Cervantes, to whom we so happily\x0d
compared him when our duty of an historian placed us under the\x0d
necessity of sketching his portrait.  Don Quixote took windmills\x0d
for giants, and sheep for armies; d'Artagnan took every smile for\x0d
an insult, and every look as a provocation--whence it resulted\x0d
that from Tarbes to Meung his fist was constantly doubled, or his\x0d
hand on the hilt of his sword; and yet the fist did not descend\x0d
upon any jaw, nor did the sword issue from its scabbard.  It was\x0d
not that the sight of the wretched pony did not excite numerous\x0d
smiles on the countenances of passers-by; but as against the side\x0d
of this pony rattled a sword of respectable length, and as over\x0d
this sword gleamed an eye rather ferocious than haughty, these\x0d
passers-by repressed their hilarity, or if hilarity prevailed\x0d
over prudence, they endeavored to laugh only on one side, like\x0d
the masks of the ancients.  D'Artagnan, then, remained majestic\x0d
and intact in his susceptibility, till he came to this unlucky\x0d
city of Meung.\x0d

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