One passage from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, and some published translations of it:


French text from Gutenberg

Cependant les quarante pistoles du roi Louis XIII, ainsi que toutes les choses de ce monde, après avoir eu un commencement avaient eu une fin, et depuis cette fin nos quatre compagnons étaient tombés dans la gêne. D’abord Athos avait soutenu pendant quelque temps l’association de ses propres deniers. Porthos lui avait succédé, et, grâce à une de ces disparitions auxquelles on était habitué, il avait pendant près de quinze jours encore subvenu aux besoins de tout le monde ; enfin était arrivé le tour d’Aramis, qui s’était exécuté de bonne grâce, et qui était parvenu, disait-il, en vendant ses livres de théologie, à se procurer quelques pistoles.

652 words


Trans Gutenberg [literal, illiterate]

In the meantime, the forty pistoles of King Louis XIII, like all other things of this world, after having had a beginning had an end, and after this end our four companions began to be somewhat embarrassed. At first, Athos supported the association for a time with his own means.

Porthos succeeded him; and thanks to one of those disappearances to which he was accustomed, he was able to provide for the wants of all for a fortnight. At last it became Aramis's turn, who performed it with a good grace and who succeeded—as he said, by selling some theological books—in procuring a few pistoles.

594 words


Trans Pevear (recent penguin) [very close, more readable, but foreign sounding]

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. At first Athos had supported the association for a time out of his own pocket. Porthos had succeeded him, and, thanks to one of those disappearances to which they were ac­customed, had met the needs of all for another fortnight. Finally had come the turn of Aramis, who had complied with good grace, and managed, as he said, to get hold of a few pistoles by selling his theology books.

574 words


Trans Anon (Oxford, Wordsworth) [close, appropriately old fashioned sound]

NEVERTHELESS, the forty pistoles of Louis XIII., like every­thing else in this world, after having had a beginning, had also an end; and, after the end, our four companions fell into difficulties. Athos, at first, supported the association from his own private funds; to him succeeded Porthos, and, thanks to one of his occasional disappearances, he supplied the necessities of his friends for about fifteen days. Lastly, came the turn of Aramis, who performed his part with a good grace, on the strength of a few pistoles, procured, as he asserted, by the sale of some of his theological books.

594 words


Trans SHJ [freer, more contemporary, aims for the spirit as well as the letter; shorter]

Meanwhile, king Louis’ forty pistoles had, as do all worldly things, both a beginning and an end. Now that they had come to that end, our four companions fell on hard times. At first, Athos kept the company going for a while from his own funds. He was followed by Porthos, who saw to everyone’s needs for nearly a fortnight, thanks to one of his customary disappearances. Finally, Aramis’ turn came: he carried it off well, acquiring several pistoles by selling his theology books, or so he said.

498 words


Trans Sudley (Penguin classics) [Goes for the spirit, cut loose from the letter, expansive]

IT was unfortunate but inevitable that Louis XIII's forty pistoles should, like everything else in this world, come to an end, and that our four friends should be reduced to living on practically nothing. Athos had been the first to pool his own little fortune for the common good. Then it had been Porthos' turn-, he had done one of his periodic disappearing tricks and had returned with enough money to keep the four of them going for another fortnight. Then Aramis had taken on the job of financing the party; he had set himself to the task with a good grace, and had managed to find a few pistoles to carry on with. Nobody quite knew where they came from, and his own explanation that they were the proceeds of the sale of some books on theology was taken with a grain of salt.

781 words