Planchet rushed down the stairs, as if the devil had been at his heels. A moment later the lads ascended the stairs, bending beneath their burden. D’Artagnan sent them off to their garrets, carefully closed the door, and addressing Planchet, who, in his turn, looked a little wild, —
“Now, we are by ourselves,” said he; and he spread upon the floor a large cover, and emptied the first bag into it. Planchet did the same with the second; then D’Artagnan, all in a tremble, let out the precious bowels of the third with a knife. When Planchet heard the provoking sound of the silver and gold — when he saw bubbling out of the bags the shining crowns, which glittered like fish from the sweep-net — when he felt himself plunging his hands up to the elbows in that still rising tide of yellow and white coins, a giddiness seized him, and like a man struck by lightning, he sank heavily down upon the enormous heap, which his weight caused to roll away in all directions. Planchet, suffocated with joy, had lost his senses. D’Artagnan threw a glass of white wine in his face, which incontinently recalled him to life.
“Ah! good heavens! good heavens! good heavens!” said Planchet, wiping his mustache and beard.
At that time, as they do now, grocers wore the cavalier mustache and the lansquenet beard, only the money baths, already rare in those days, have become almost unknown now.
“Mordioux!” said D’Artagnan, “there are a hundred thousand livres for you, partner. Draw your share, if you please, and I will draw mine.”
“Oh! the lovely sum! Monsieur d’Artagnan, the lovely sum!”
“I confess that half an hour ago I regretted that I had to give you so much; but now I no longer regret it; thou art a brave grocer, Planchet. There, let us close our accounts, for, as they say, short reckonings make long friends.”
“Oh! rather, in the first place, tell me the whole history,” said Planchet; “that must be better than the money.”
“Ma foi!” said D’Artagnan, stroking his mustache, “I can’t say no; and if ever the historian turns to me for information, he will be able to say he has not dipped his bucket into a dry spring. Listen, then, Planchet, I will tell you all about it.”
“And I shall build piles of crowns,” said Planchet. “Begin, my dear master.”
“Well, this is it,” said D’Artagnan, drawing his breath.
“And that is it,” said Planchet, picking up his first handful of crowns.
In a large chamber of the Palais Royal, hung with a dark colored velvet, which threw into strong relief the gilded frames of a great number of magnificent pictures, on the evening of the arrival of the two Frenchmen, the whole court was assembled before the alcove of M. le Cardinal de Mazarin, who gave a card party to the king and queen.