The Vicomte De Bragelonne eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 556 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.
myself; — yes, but the two others will of themselves cost almost as much money as all the rest of the troop.  No; positively I must have but one lieutenant.  In that case, then, I should reduce my troop to twenty men.  I know very well that twenty men is but very little; but since with thirty I was determined not to seek to come to blows, I should do so more carefully still with twenty.  Twenty — that is a round number; that, besides, reduces the number of the horses by ten, which is a consideration; and then, with a good lieutenant — Mordioux! what things patience and calculation are!  Was I not going to embark with forty men, and I have now reduced them to twenty for an equal success?  Ten thousand livres saved at one stroke, and more safety; that is well!  Now, then, let us see; we have nothing to do but to find this lieutenant — let him be found, then; and after — That is not so easy; he must be brave and good, a second myself.  Yes, but a lieutenant must have my secret, and as that secret is worth a million, and I shall only pay my man a thousand livres, fifteen hundred at the most, my man will sell the secret to Monk. Mordioux! no lieutenant.  Besides, this man, were he as mute as a disciple of Pythagoras, — this man would be sure to have in the troop some favorite soldier, whom he would make his sergeant; the sergeant would penetrate the secret of the lieutenant, in case the latter should be honest and unwilling to sell it.  Then the sergeant, less honest and less ambitious, will give up the whole for fifty thousand livres.  Come, come! that is impossible.  The lieutenant is impossible.  But then I must have no fractions; I cannot divide my troop in two, and act upon two points, at once, without another self, who — But what is the use of acting upon two points, as we have only one man to take?  What can be the use of weakening a corps by placing the right here, and the left there?  A single corps — Mordioux! a single one, and that commanded by D’Artagnan.  Very well.  But twenty men marching in one band are suspected by everybody; twenty horsemen must not be seen marching together, or a company will be detached against them and the password will be required; the which company, upon seeing them embarrassed to give it, would shoot M. d’Artagnan and his men like so many rabbits.  I reduce myself then to ten men; in this fashion I shall act simply and with unity; I shall be forced to be prudent, which is half the success in an affair of the kind I am undertaking; a greater number might, perhaps, have drawn me into some folly.  Ten horses are not many, either, to buy or take.  A capital idea; what tranquillity it infuses into my mind! no more suspicions — no passwords — no more dangers!  Ten men, they are valets or clerks.  Ten men, leading ten horses laden with merchandise of whatever kind, are tolerated, well received everywhere.  Ten men travel on account of the house of Planchet & Co., of France, — nothing can be said against that. 
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The Vicomte De Bragelonne from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.