“On the contrary, monsieur,” said Monk.
“Come, gentlemen, on board,” cried Keyser’s son.
Charles bowed to the general with grace and dignity, saying, — “You will pardon me this unfortunate accident, and the violence to which you have been subjected, when you are convinced that I was not the cause of them.”
Monk bowed profoundly without replying. On his side, Charles affected not to say a word to D’Artagnan in private, but aloud, — “Once more, thanks, monsieur le chevalier,” said he, “thanks for your services. They will be repaid you by the Lord God, who, I hope, reserves trials and troubles for me alone.”
Monk followed Keyser and his son embarked with them. D’Artagnan came after, muttering to himself, — “Poor Planchet! poor Planchet! I am very much afraid we have made a bad speculation.”
During the passage, Monk only spoke to D’Artagnan in cases of urgent necessity. Thus, when the Frenchman hesitated to come and take his meals, poor meals, composed of salt fish, biscuit, and Hollands gin, Monk called him, saying, — “To table, monsieur, to table!”
This was all. D’Artagnan, from being himself on all great occasions, extremely concise, did not draw from the general’s conciseness a favorable augury of the result of his mission. Now, as D’Artagnan had plenty of time for reflection, he battered his brains during this time in endeavoring to find out how Athos had seen King Charles, how he had conspired his departure with him, and lastly, how he had entered Monk’s camp; and the poor lieutenant of musketeers plucked a hair from his mustache every time that he reflected that the horseman who accompanied Monk on the night of the famous abduction must have been Athos.
At length, after a passage of two nights and two days, the patron Keyser touched at the point where Monk, who had given all the orders during the voyage, had commanded they should land. It was exactly at the mouth of the little river, near where Athos had chosen his abode.
Daylight was waning, a splendid sun, like a red steel buckler, was plunging the lower extremity of its disc beneath the blue line of the sea. The felucca was making fair way up the river, tolerably wide in that part, but Monk, in his impatience, desired to be landed, and Keyser’s boat set him and D’Artagnan upon the muddy bank, amidst the reeds. D’Artagnan, resigned to obedience, followed Monk exactly as a chained bear follows his master; but the position humiliated him not a little, and he grumbled to himself that the service of kings was a bitter one, and that the best of them was good for nothing. Monk walked with long and hasty strides; it might be thought that he did not yet feel certain of having reached English land. They had already begun to perceive distinctly a few of the cottages of the sailors and fishermen spread over the little quay of this humble port, when, all at once, D’Artagnan cried out, — “God pardon me, there is a house on fire!”