D’Artagnan looked at Athos to know if he ought to reply to this intruder, who mixed unasked in their conversation.

“Well,” said Athos, “don’t you hear M. de Busigny, who does you the honour of addressing you? Relate what has passed during the night, since these gentlemen wish to know.”

“Did you not take a bastion?” asked a Swiss, who was drinking rum out of a beer-glass.

“Yes, sir,” said D’Artagnan, bowing; “we had that honour. As you may have heard, we even put a barrel of powder under one of the angles, which, when it blew up, made a very pretty breach—without reckoning that, as the bastion was not built yesterday, all the rest of the building was much shaken.”

“And which bastion was it?” asked a dragoon, with his sabre run through a goose, which he was taking to have cooked.

“The bastion St. Gervais,” replied D’Artagnan, “from behind which the Rochellais have been annoying our workmen.”

“Was the affair hot?”

“Yes, moderately so. We lost five men, and the Rochellais eight or ten.”

“Balzempleu!” said the Swiss, who, notwithstanding the admirable stock of oaths possessed by the German language, had acquired the habit of swearing in French.

“But,” said the light-horseman, “probably they will send pioneers this morning to repair the bastion.”

“Yes, probably,” said D’Artagnan.

“Gentlemen,” said Athos, “I have a wager to propose.”

“Ah, ha! a vager!” cried the Swiss.

“What is it?” said the light-horseman.

“Stop a bit,” said the dragoon, placing his sabre like a spit upon the two large iron dogs which held the firebrands on the hearth—“stop a bit; I am in it.—You dog of a landlord! a dripping-pan instantly, that I may not lose a drop of the fat of this estimable bird.”

“You are qvite right,” said the Swiss; “koose-krease is koot vith bastry.”

“There!” said the dragoon. “Now for the wager. We are all attention, M. Athos.”

“Ah, now for the wager!” said the light-horseman.

“Well, Monsieur de Busigny, I will bet you,” said Athos, “that my three companions, MM. Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan, and myself, will go and breakfast in the bastion St. Gervais, and will remain there an hour, by the watch, whatever the enemy may do to dislodge us.”

Porthos and Aramis looked at each other; they began to understand.

“Well, but,” said D’Artagnan, in Athos’s ear, “you are going to get us all killed without mercy.”

“We are much more likely to be killed,” said Athos, “if we do not go.”

“’Pon my word, gentlemen!” said Porthos, turning round upon his chair and twirling his moustache, “that’s a fine bet, I hope.”

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