“And in how many hours can you go from here to Vannes?”
“Oh! pardieu! in six hours. Three hours by sea to Sarzeau, three hours by road from Sarzeau to Vannes.”
“How convenient that is! Being so near to the bishopric; do you often go to Vannes?”
“Yes; once a week. But, stop till I get my plan.”
Porthos picked up his plan, folded it carefully, and engulfed it in his large pocket.
“Good!” said D’Artagnan aside; “I think I now know the real engineer who is fortifying Belle-Isle.”
Two hours after, at high tide, Porthos and D’Artagnan set out for Sarzeau.
The passage from Belle-Isle to Sarzeau was made rapidly enough, thanks to one of those little corsairs of which D’Artagnan had been told during his voyage, and which, shaped for fast sailing and destined for the chase, were sheltered at that time in the roadstead of Locmaria, where one of them, with a quarter of its war-crew, performed duty between Belle-Isle and the continent. D’Artagnan had an opportunity of convincing himself that Porthos, though engineer and topographer, was not deeply versed in affairs of state. His perfect ignorance, with any other, might have passed for well-informed dissimulation. But D’Artagnan knew too well all the folds and refolds of his Porthos, not to find a secret if there were one there; like those regular, minute old bachelors, who know how to find, with their eyes shut, each book on the shelves of their library and each piece of linen in their wardrobe. So if he had found nothing, our cunning D’Artagnan, in rolling and unrolling his Porthos, it was because, in truth, there was nothing to be found.
“Be it so,” said D’Artagnan; “I shall get to know more at Vannes in half an hour than Porthos has discovered at Belle-Isle in two months. Only, in order that I may know something, it is important that Porthos should not make use of the only stratagem I leave at his disposal. He must not warn Aramis of my arrival.” All the care of the musketeer was then, for the moment, confined to the watching of Porthos. And let us hasten to say, Porthos did not deserve all this mistrust. Porthos thought of no evil. Perhaps, on first seeing him, D’Artagnan had inspired him with a little suspicion; but almost immediately D’Artagnan had reconquered in that good and brave heart the place he had always occupied, and not the least cloud darkened the large eye of Porthos, fixed from time to time with tenderness on his friend.