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33. SOUBRETTE AND MISTRESS (continued)
D'Artagnan's plan was very simple. By Kitty's chamber he could gain that of her mistress. He would take advantage of the first moment of surprise, shame, and terror, to triumph over her. He might fail, but something must be left to chance. In eight days the campaign would open, and he would be compelled to leave Paris; d'Artagnan had no time for a prolonged love siege.
"There," said the young man, handing Kitty the letter sealed; "give that to Milady. It is the count's reply."
Poor Kitty became as pale as death; she suspected what the letter contained.
"Listen, my dear girl," said d'Artagnan; "you cannot but perceive that all this must end, some way or other. Milady may discover that you gave the first billet to my lackey instead of to the count's; that it is I who have opened the others which ought to have been opened by de Wardes. Milady will then turn you out of doors, and you know she is not the woman to limit her vengeance. "Alas!" said Kitty, "for whom have I exposed myself to all that?"
"For me, I well know, my sweet girl," said d'Artagnan. "But I am grateful, I swear to you."
"But what does this note contain?"
"Milady will tell you."
"Ah, you do not love me!" cried Kitty, "and I am very wretched."
To this reproach there is always one response which deludes women. D'Artagnan replied in such a manner that Kitty remained in her great delusion. Although she cried freely before deciding to transmit the letter to her mistress, she did at last so decide, which was all d'Artagnan wished. Finally he promised that he would leave her mistress's presence at an early hour that evening, and that when he left the mistress he would ascend with the maid. This promise completed poor Kitty's consolation.
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