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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 556 pages of information about The Vicomte De Bragelonne.

Chapter XIX:  What D’Artagnan went to Paris for.

The lieutenant dismounted before a shop in the Rue des Lombards, at the sign of the Pilon d’Or.  A man of good appearance, wearing a white apron, and stroking his gray mustache with a large hand, uttered a cry of joy on perceiving the pied horse.  “Monsieur le chevalier,” said he, “ah, is that you?”

Bon jour, Planchet,” replied D’Artagnan, stooping to enter the shop.

“Quick, somebody,” cried Planchet, “to look after Monsieur d’Artagnan’s horse, — somebody to get ready his room, — somebody to prepare his supper.”

“Thanks, Planchet.  Good-day, my children!” said D’Artagnan to the eager boys.

“Allow me to send off this coffee, this treacle, and these raisins,” said Planchet; “they are for the store-room of monsieur le surintendant.”

“Send them off, send them off!”

“That is only the affair of a moment, then we shall sup.”

“Arrange it that we may sup alone; I want to speak to you.”

Planchet looked at his old master in a significant manner.

“Oh, don’t be uneasy, it is nothing unpleasant,” said D’Artagnan.

“So much the better — so much the better!” And Planchet breathed freely again, whilst D’Artagnan seated himself quietly down in the shop, upon a bale of corks, and made a survey of the premises.  The shop was well stocked; there was a mingled perfume of ginger, cinnamon, and ground pepper, which made D’Artagnan sneeze.  The shop-boy, proud of being in company with so renowned a warrior, of a lieutenant of musketeers, who approached the person of the king, began to work with an enthusiasm which was something like delirium, and to serve the customers with a disdainful haste that was noticed by several.

Planchet put away his money, and made up his accounts, amidst civilities addressed to his former master.  Planchet had with his equals the short speech and haughty familiarity of the rich shopkeeper who serves everybody and waits for nobody.  D’Artagnan observed this habit with a pleasure which we shall analyze presently.  He saw night come on by degrees, and at length Planchet conducted him to a chamber on the first story, where, amidst bales and chests, a table very nicely set out awaited the two guests.

D’Artagnan took advantage of a moment’s pause to examine the countenance of Planchet, whom he had not seen for a year.  The shrewd Planchet had acquired a slight protuberance in front, but his countenance was not puffed.  His keen eye still played with facility in its deep-sunk orbit; and fat, which levels all the characteristic saliences of the human face, had not yet touched either his high cheek-bones, the sign of cunning and cupidity, or his pointed chin, the sign of acuteness and perseverance.  Planchet reigned with as much majesty in his dining-room as in his shop.  He set before his master a frugal, but perfectly Parisian repast:  roast meat, cooked at the baker’s, with vegetables, salad, and a dessert borrowed from the shop itself.  D’Artagnan was pleased that the grocer had drawn from behind the fagots a bottle of that Anjou wine which during all his life had been D’Artagnan’s favorite wine.

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