|[The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas]@TWC D-Link bookThe Three Musketeers|
4 THE SHOULDER OF ATHOS, THE BALDRIC OF PORTHOS AND THE HANDKERCHIEF OF
Leave your hold, then, I beg of you, and let me go where my business calls me." "Monsieur," said Athos, letting him go, "you are not polite; it is easy to perceive that you come from a distance." D'Artagnan had already strode down three or four stairs, but at Athos's last remark he stopped short.
"MORBLEU, monsieur!" said he, "however far I may come, it is not you who can give me a lesson in good manners, I warn you." "Perhaps," said Athos.
"Ah! If I were not in such haste, and if I were not running after someone," said d'Artagnan.
"Monsieur Man-in-a-hurry, you can find me without running--ME, you understand ?" "And where, I pray you ?" "Near the Carmes-Deschaux." "At what hour ?" "About noon." "About noon?
That will do; I will be there." "Endeavor not to make me wait; for at quarter past twelve I will cut off your ears as you run." "Good!" cried d'Artagnan, "I will be there ten minutes before twelve." And he set off running as if the devil possessed him, hoping that he might yet find the stranger, whose slow pace could not have carried him far.
But at the street gate, Porthos was talking with the soldier on guard.
Between the two talkers there was just enough room for a man to pass.
D'Artagnan thought it would suffice for him, and he sprang forward like a dart between them.
But d'Artagnan had reckoned without the wind.
As he was about to pass, the wind blew out Porthos's long cloak, and d'Artagnan rushed straight into the middle of it.
Without doubt, Porthos had reasons for not abandoning this part of his vestments, for instead of quitting his hold on the flap in his hand, he pulled it toward him, so that d'Artagnan rolled himself up in the velvet by a movement of rotation explained by the persistency of Porthos.
D'Artagnan, hearing the Musketeer swear, wished to escape from the cloak, which blinded him, and sought to find his way from under the folds of it.
He was particularly anxious to avoid marring the freshness of the magnificent baldric we are acquainted with; but on timidly opening his eyes, he found himself with his nose fixed between the two shoulders of Porthos--that is to say, exactly upon the baldric.
Alas, like most things in this world which have nothing in their favor but appearances, the baldric was glittering with gold in the front, but was nothing but simple buff behind.
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