However, the forty pistoles of King Louis XIII, like all things in this world, having had a beginning, also had an end, and since that end our four companions had fallen into tight straits. . . . The hungry men could be seen, followed by their valets, roaming the quais and guards’ quarters, gleaning from their outside friends all the dinners they could find; for, according to Aramis, in prosperity one should sow meals right and left, in order to harvest some in adversity.
Athos was invited four times and each time brought along his friends with their lackeys. Porthos had six occasions and let his friends enjoy them equally. Aramis had eight. He was a man, as we have already been able to presume, of little noise and much work.
As for d’Artagnan, who still knew no one in the capital, he found only a breakfast of chocolate with a priest from his part of the country, and a dinner with a cornet of the guards. He led his little army to the priest, where they devoured two months’ worth of his provisions, and to the cornet, who worked wonders; but, as Planchest said, you only eat once, even when you eat a lot.*
It’s good to be reunited (temporarily: I took it out of the library) with a book I loved so much as a child. To this day I don’t understand what a cornet of the guards is or how it could give them dinner, but I never forgot poor d’Artagnan, who could only rustle up a breakfast of chocolate with a priest for four dashing, full-size Musketeers.
*The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, translated by Richard Pevear (Viking, 2006). Did you know Dumas was a man of color? He was.