Phillip Poincare looked at these sons and heroes of France and there was a sadness in his eyes. They didn't know.
"That is not possible now," he said gently. "France has been at war with Germany for the past three years. It would be impossible for you to return there now."
"War!" D'Artagnan cried. His strong brown hand closed over the hilt of his sword. "Our France at war and we stand here idle!"
"All the more reason for returning immediately," Porthos said.
"But you don't understand," Phillip said desperately. "France lost the war over two years ago. They are now a subject nation."
D'Artagnan's blade leaped from its sheath. Its gleaming point swung to a stop, inches from Phillip's heart.
"Take care," D'Artagnan said tensely, "or I will forget the debt I owe you."
Phillip looked at the glinting point of the sword and he saw the grimness in D'Artagnan's eyes, but he felt no fear. Only a vast pity for these courageous adventurers from another time.
"Gentlemen," he said. "I am only telling the truth. France has been defeated."
"She will rise!" Athos said. His eyes were no longer warm and his full lips had flattened into a thin hard line.
"Who was her enemy?" D'Artagnan demanded.
"The Germans," Phillip answered.
"Ah!" D'Artagnan made a gesture of disgust. "To lose to those beer swilling swine is an insult to injury." He wheeled about, flinging his cape over his shoulder. "Well, comrades, what shall we do?"
"We return to France," Athos said simply. "What else could we do?"
Aramis nodded slowly and Porthos grunted in assent.
"There is no way to return to France," Phillip cried. "The sea lanes are no longer open. The entire world is at war."
D'Artagnan's eyes danced with pleased excitement.
"Excellent!" he cried. "My greatest fear has been that I would arise from my entombment in a world of dullness and peace. Comrades, we are in luck. From what our friend tells us we can step out this door and find enemies lurking in every street and alley."
"You will not find enemies here," Phillip said, shaking his head. "The people of America are now at war with the Germans. Their sympathies are and have been with France."
"This," said D'Artagnan, "is becoming more complicated each minute." He frowned thoughtfully. "Perhaps you had better explain everything in detail to us".
Phillip Poincare spent that night and the better part of the next morning attempting to bring the Musketeers up to date and to interpret to them the international situation with all of its various ramifications. Whether he succeeded he couldn't tell.
Athos and Aramis dropped off to sleep in the middle of the narrative and Porthos was nodding wearily before it was completed. Only D'Artagnan listened eagerly to the entire recital, and when Phillip had finished his account of the modern world, he had but one question to ask.
"Where can we find this man De Gaulle?" D'Artagnan said softly as his hand closed about the hilt of his sword.