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Dear Mrs. Muntean,

Because I have not seen you since our early years, I decided to write to you this letter which describes what is going on in my gratifying life which has been filled with many fulfilled days of aesthetic writing. I heard that you have been acquiring about my book The Three Musketeers for which I have received much praise and very little criticism. My magnum opus is about a young, dashing, and clever man d’Artagnan who, like I did myself, leaves home and goes to Paris. He and three musketeers subsequently attempt to foil Cardinal Richelieu’s schemes to gain control of the country during the years under the reign of Louis XIII and XIV. I put much thought and emotion into his character who is really much like me.

To write this book I have performed a great deal of research. A while back, while making researches in the Royal Library for my history of Louis XIV, I stumbled on the Memoirs of M. d’Artagnan, printed – like most works of that period, when authors preferred to tell the truth without going to the Bastille – at Amsterdam, by Pierre Rouge. The title pleased me. I took the Memoirs home, with the permission of the librarian, of course, and devoured them.

I found in them portraits drawn in a masterly style; and although these sketches are, for the most part, traced on barrack doors or the walls of the wine shop, I found the portraits of Louis XIII, of Anne of Austria, of Riechelieu, of Mazarin, and of most of the courtiers of the period, quite as faithful as those to be found in the history of M. Anquetil. But, as is well known, what strikes the capricious mind of the poet does not always create an impression upon the generality of readers. Now, while admiring, as no doubt others will admire, the details which we have pointed out, what most attracted us was a matter to which no one had previously paid the slightest attention.

D’Artagnan relates that at his first visit to M. de Treville, the captain of the King’s Musketeers, he met in the antechamber three young men, serving in the illustrious corps which he desired to join, called Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.

I was much struck by those names, and at once conceived that they were people of great interest to me. Imagine how great was my joy when, on perusing this manuscript, I found at the twentieth page the name of Athos, at the twenty seventh that of Porthos, and the twenty first that of Aramis.

My mind was blown apart. I have decided to use those fascinating names, that lingered in my mind for days, in my story which is already published as you know, and would like you to read it because if I keep writing I would spoil the entire surprise of such a historic masterpiece with a romantic twist in it.



Alexandre Dumas