"You suppose him to have perished then?" said I.
As they rode along, the duke endeavored to draw from D'Artagnan,not all that had happened, but what D'Artagnan himself knew. Byadding all that he heard from the mouth of the young man to hisown remembrances, he was enabled to form a pretty exact idea of aposition of the seriousness of which, for the rest, the queen'sletter, short but explicit, gave him the clue. But that whichastonished him most was that the cardinal, so deeply interestedin preventing this young man from setting his foot in England,had not succeeded in arresting him on the road. It was then,upon the manifestation of this astonishment, that D'Artagnanrelated to him the precaution taken, and how, thanks to thedevotion of his three friends, whom he had left scattered andbleeding on the road, he had succeeded in coming off with asingle sword thrust, which had pierced the queen's letter and forwhich he had repaid M. de Wardes with such terrible coin. Whilehe was listening to this recital, delivered with the greatestsimplicity, the duke looked from time to time at the young manwith astonishment, as if he could not comprehend how so muchprudence, courage, and devotedness could be allied with acountenance which indicated not more than twenty years.The horses went like the wind, and in a few minutes they were atthe gates of London. D'Artagnan imagined that on arriving intown the duke would slacken his pace, but it was not so. He kepton his way at the same rate, heedless about upsetting those whomhe met on the road. In fact, in crossing the city two or threeaccidents of this kind happened; but Buckingham did not even turnhis head to see what became of those he had knocked down.D'Artagnan followed him amid cries which strongly resembledcurses.