“But what are you going to fight about, Athos?” asked Aramis.

“Pon my word, I don’t very well know; he hurt my shoulder.—And you, Porthos?”

“ ’Pon my word, I am going to fight because I am going to fight,” answered Porthos, colouring deeply.

Athos, whose keen eyes lost nothing, perceived a sly smile pass over the lips of the young Gascon as he replied.

“We had a short discussion upon dress.”

“And you, Aramis?” asked Athos.

“Oh, ours is a theological quarrel,” replied Aramis, making a sign to D’Artagnan to keep secret the cause of their dispute.

Athos saw a second smile on the lips of D’Artagnan.

“Indeed?” said Athos.“Yes; a passage of St. Augustine, upon which we could not agree,” said the Gascon.

“By Jove! this is a clever fellow,” murmured Athos.

“And now you are all assembled, gentlemen,” said D’Artagnan, “permit me to offer you my excuses.”

At this word excuses a cloud passed over the brow of Athos, a haughty smile curled the lip of Porthos, and a negative sign was the reply of Aramis.

“You do not understand me, gentlemen,” said D’Artagnan, throwing up his head, on which was playing at that moment a ray of sunlight, gilding its clear and bold outlines. “I ask to be excused in case I should not be able to discharge my debt to all three; for M. Athos has the right to kill me first, which must much diminish the facevalue of your bill, M. Porthos, and render yours almost worthless, M. Aramis. And now, gentlemen, I repeat, excuse me, but on that account only, and—on guard!”

At these words, with the most gallant air possible, D’Artagnan drew his sword.

The blood had mounted to the head of D’Artagnan, and at that moment he would have drawn his sword against all the musketeers in the kingdom as willingly as he now did against Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.

It was a quarter past twelve. The sun was in its zenith, and the spot chosen for the theatre of the duel was exposed to its full power.

“It is very hot,” said Athos, drawing his sword in his turn, “and yet I cannot take off my doublet, for only just now I felt my wound begin to bleed again, and I should not like to annoy the gentleman with the sight of blood which he has not drawn from me himself.”

“That is true, sir,” replied D’Artagnan; “and whether drawn by myself or another, I assure you I shall always view with regret the blood of so brave a man. I will therefore fight in my doublet, as you do.”

“Come, come, enough of such compliments,” cried Porthos; “please remember we are waiting our turn.”

“Speak for yourself when you are inclined to utter such incongruities,” interrupted Aramis. “For my part, I think what they say is very well said, and quite worthy of two gentlemen.”

“When you please, sir,” said Athos, putting himself on guard.

“I was awaiting your order,” said D’Artagnan, crossing swords.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.