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24. The timely Arrival of D'Artagnan in Paris.
At Blois, D'Artagnan received the money paid to him by Mazarin for any future service he might render the cardinal.
From Blois to Paris was a journey of four days for ordinary travelers, but D'Artagnan arrived on the third day at the Barriere Saint Denis. In turning the corner of the Rue Montmartre, in order to reach the Rue Tiquetonne and the Hotel de la Chevrette, where he had appointed Porthos to meet him, he saw at one of the windows of the hotel, that friend himself dressed in a sky-blue waistcoat, embroidered with silver, and gaping, till he showed every one of his white teeth; whilst the people passing by admiringly gazed at this gentleman, so handsome and so rich, who seemed to weary of his riches and his greatness.
D'Artagnan and Planchet had hardly turned the corner when Porthos recognized them.
"Eh! D'Artagnan!" he cried. "Thank God you have come!"
"Eh! good-day, dear friend!" replied D'Artagnan.
Porthos came down at once to the threshold of the hotel.
"Ah, my dear friend!" he cried, "what bad stabling for my horses here."
"Indeed!" said D'Artagnan; "I am most unhappy to hear it, on account of those fine animals."
"And I, also -- I was also wretchedly off," he answered, moving backward and forward as he spoke; "and had it not been for the hostess," he added, with his air of vulgar self-complacency, "who is very agreeable and understands a joke, I should have got a lodging elsewhere."
The pretty Madeleine, who had approached during this colloquy, stepped back and turned pale as death on hearing Porthos's words, for she thought the scene with the Swiss was about to be repeated. But to her great surprise D'Artagnan remained perfectly calm, and instead of being angry he laughed, and said to Porthos:
"Yes, I understand, the air of La Rue Tiquetonne is not like that of Pierrefonds; but console yourself, I will soon conduct you to one much better."
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