Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 28 THE RETURN

  • D'Artagnan was astounded by the terrible confidence of Athos; yet many thing_ppeared very obscure to him in this half revelation. In the first place i_ad been made by a man quite drunk to one who was half drunk; and yet, i_pite of the incertainty which the vapor of three or four bottles of Burgund_arries with it to the brain, d'Artagnan, when awaking on the followin_orning, had all the words of Athos as present to his memory as if they the_ell from his mouth—they had been so impressed upon his mind. All this doub_nly gave rise to a more lively desire of arriving at a certainty, and he wen_nto his friend's chamber with a fixed determination of renewing th_onversation of the preceding evening; but he found Athos quite himsel_gain—that is to say, the most shrewd and impenetrable of men. Besides which, the Musketeer, after having exchanged a hearty shake of the hand with him, broached the matter first.
  • "I was pretty drunk yesterday, d'Artagnan," said he, "I can tell that by m_ongue, which was swollen and hot this morning, and by my pulse, which wa_ery tremulous. I wager that I uttered a thousand extravagances."
  • While saying this he looked at his friend with an earnestness that embarrasse_im.
  • "No," replied d'Artagnan, "if I recollect well what you said, it was nothin_ut of the common way."
  • "Ah, you surprise me. I thought I had told you a most lamentable story." An_e looked at the young man as if he would read the bottom of his heart.
  • "My faith," said d'Artagnan, "it appears that I was more drunk than you, sinc_ remember nothing of the kind."
  • Athos did not trust this reply, and he resumed; "you cannot have failed t_emark, my dear friend, that everyone has his particular kind of drunkenness, sad or gay. My drunkenness is always sad, and when I am thoroughly drunk m_ania is to relate all the lugubrious stories which my foolish nurs_nculcated into my brain. That is my failing—a capital failing, I admit; bu_ith that exception, I am a good drinker."
  • Athos spoke this in so natural a manner that d'Artagnan was shaken in hi_onviction.
  • "It is that, then," replied the young man, anxious to find out the truth, "i_s that, then, I remember as we remember a dream. We were speaking o_anging."
  • "Ah, you see how it is," said Athos, becoming still paler, but yet attemptin_o laugh; "I was sure it was so—the hanging of people is my nightmare."
  • "Yes, yes," replied d'Artagnan. "I remember now; yes, it was about—stop _inute—yes, it was about a woman."
  • "That's it," replied Athos, becoming almost livid; "that is my grand story o_he fair lady, and when I relate that, I must be very drunk."
  • "Yes, that was it," said d'Artagnan, "the story of a tall, fair lady, wit_lue eyes."
  • "Yes, who was hanged."
  • "By her husband, who was a nobleman of your acquaintance," continue_'Artagnan, looking intently at Athos.
  • "Well, you see how a man may compromise himself when he does not know what h_ays," replied Athos, shrugging his shoulders as if he thought himself a_bject of pity. "I certainly never will get drunk again, d'Artagnan; it is to_ad a habit."
  • D'Artagnan remained silent; and then changing the conversation all at once, Athos said:
  • "By the by, I thank you for the horse you have brought me."
  • "Is it to your mind?" asked d'Artagnan.
  • "Yes; but it is not a horse for hard work."
  • "You are mistaken; I rode him nearly ten leagues in less than an hour and _alf, and he appeared no more distressed than if he had only made the tour o_he Place St. Sulpice."
  • "Ah, you begin to awaken my regret."
  • "Regret?"
  • "Yes; I have parted with him."
  • "How?"
  • "Why, here is the simple fact. This morning I awoke at six o'clock. You wer_till fast asleep, and I did not know what to do with myself; I was stil_tupid from our yesterday's debauch. As I came into the public room, I saw on_f our Englishman bargaining with a dealer for a horse, his own having die_esterday from bleeding. I drew near, and found he was bidding a hundre_istoles for a chestnut nag. 'PARDIEU,' said I, 'my good gentleman, I have _orse to sell, too.' 'Ay, and a very fine one! I saw him yesterday; you_riend's lackey was leading him.' 'Do you think he is worth a hundre_istoles?' 'Yes! Will you sell him to me for that sum?' 'No; but I will pla_or him.' 'What?' 'At dice.' No sooner said than done, and I lost the horse.
  • Ah, ah! But please to observe I won back the equipage," cried Athos.
  • D'Artagnan looked much disconcerted.
  • "This vexes you?" said Athos.
  • "Well, I must confess it does," replied d'Artagnan. "That horse was to hav_dentified us in the day of battle. It was a pledge, a remembrance. Athos, yo_ave done wrong."
  • "But, my dear friend, put yourself in my place," replied the Musketeer. "I wa_ipped to death; and still further, upon my honor, I don't like Englis_orses. If it is only to be recognized, why the saddle will suffice for that; it is quite remarkable enough. As to the horse, we can easily find some excus_or its disappearance. Why the devil! A horse is mortal; suppose mine had ha_he glanders or the farcy?"
  • D'Artagnan did not smile.
  • "It vexes me greatly," continued Athos, "that you attach so much importance t_hese animals, for I am not yet at the end of my story."
  • "What else have you done."
  • "After having lost my own horse, nine against ten—see how near—I formed a_dea of staking yours."
  • "Yes; but you stopped at the idea, I hope?"
  • "No; for I put it in execution that very minute."
  • "And the consequence?" said d'Artagnan, in great anxiety.
  • "I threw, and I lost."
  • "What, my horse?"
  • "Your horse, seven against eight; a point short—you know the proverb."
  • "Athos, you are not in your right senses, I swear."
  • "My dear lad, that was yesterday, when I was telling you silly stories, it wa_roper to tell me that, and not this morning. I lost him then, with all hi_ppointments and furniture."
  • "Really, this is frightful."
  • "Stop a minute; you don't know all yet. I should make an excellent gambler i_ were not too hot-headed; but I was hot-headed, just as if I had bee_rinking. Well, I was not hot-headed then—"
  • "Well, but what else could you play for? You had nothing left?"
  • "Oh, yes, my friend; there was still that diamond left which sparkles on you_inger, and which I had observed yesterday."
  • "This diamond!" said d'Artagnan, placing his hand eagerly on his ring.
  • "And as I am a connoisseur in such things, having had a few of my own once, _stimated it at a thousand pistoles."
  • "I hope," said d'Artagnan, half dead with fright, "you made no mention of m_iamond?"
  • "On the contrary, my dear friend, this diamond became our only resource; wit_t I might regain our horses and their harnesses, and even money to pay ou_xpenses on the road."
  • "Athos, you make me tremble!" cried d'Artagnan.
  • "I mentioned your diamond then to my adversary, who had likewise remarked it.
  • What the devil, my dear, do you think you can wear a star from heaven on you_inger, and nobody observe it? Impossible!"
  • "Go on, go on, my dear fellow!" said d'Artagnan; "for upon my honor, you wil_ill me with your indifference."
  • "We divided, then, this diamond into ten parts of a hundred pistoles each."
  • "You are laughing at me, and want to try me!" said d'Artagnan, whom ange_egan to take by the hair, as Minerva takes Achilles, in the ILLIAD.
  • "No, I do not jest, MORDIEU! I should like to have seen you in my place! I ha_een fifteen days without seeing a human face, and had been left to brutaliz_yself in the company of bottles."
  • "That was no reason for staking my diamond!" replied d'Artagnan, closing hi_and with a nervous spasm.
  • "Hear the end. Ten parts of a hundred pistoles each, in ten throws, withou_evenge; in thirteen throws I had lost all—in thirteen throws. The numbe_hirteen was always fatal to me; it was on the thirteenth of July that—"
  • "VENTREBLEU!" cried d'Artagnan, rising from the table, the story of th_resent day making him forget that of the preceding one.
  • "Patience!" said Athos; "I had a plan. The Englishman was an original; I ha_een him conversing that morning with Grimaud, and Grimaud had told me that h_ad made him proposals to enter into his service. I staked Grimaud, the silen_rimaud, divided into ten portions."
  • "Well, what next?" said d'Artagnan, laughing in spite of himself.
  • "Grimaud himself, understand; and with the ten parts of Grimaud, which are no_orth a ducatoon, I regained the diamond. Tell me, now, if persistence is no_ virtue?"
  • "My faith! But this is droll," cried d'Artagnan, consoled, and holding hi_ides with laughter.
  • "You may guess, finding the luck turned, that I again staked the diamond."
  • "The devil!" said d'Artagnan, becoming angry again.
  • "I won back your harness, then your horse, then my harness, then my horse, an_hen I lost again. In brief, I regained your harness and then mine. That'_here we are. That was a superb throw, so I left off there."
  • D'Artagnan breathed as if the whole hostelry had been removed from his breast.
  • "Then the diamond is safe?" said he, timidly.
  • "Intact, my dear friend; besides the harness of your Bucephalus and mine."
  • "But what is the use of harnesses without horses?"
  • "I have an idea about them."
  • "Athos, you make me shudder."
  • "Listen to me. You have not played for a long time, d'Artagnan."
  • "And I have no inclination to play."
  • "Swear to nothing. You have not played for a long time, I said; you ought, then, to have a good hand."
  • "Well, what then?"
  • "Well; the Englishman and his companion are still here. I remarked that h_egretted the horse furniture very much. You appear to think much of you_orse. In your place I would stake the furniture against the horse."
  • "But he will not wish for only one harness."
  • "Stake both, PARDIEU! I am not selfish, as you are."
  • "You would do so?" said d'Artagnan, undecided, so strongly did the confidenc_f Athos begin to prevail, in spite of himself.
  • "On my honor, in one single throw."
  • "But having lost the horses, I am particularly anxious to preserve th_arnesses."
  • "Stake your diamond, then."
  • "This? That's another matter. Never, never!"
  • "The devil!" said Athos. "I would propose to you to stake Planchet, but a_hat has already been done, the Englishman would not, perhaps, be willing."
  • "Decidedly, my dear Athos," said d'Artagnan, "I should like better not to ris_nything."
  • "That's a pity," said Athos, coolly. "The Englishman is overflowing wit_istoles. Good Lord, try one throw! One throw is soon made!"
  • "And if I lose?"
  • "You will win."
  • "But if I lose?"
  • "Well, you will surrender the harnesses."
  • "Have with you for one throw!" said d'Artagnan.
  • Athos went in quest of the Englishman, whom he found in the stable, examinin_he harnesses with a greedy eye. The opportunity was good. He proposed th_onditions—the two harnesses, either against one horse or a hundred pistoles.
  • The Englishman calculated fast; the two harnesses were worth three hundre_istoles. He consented.
  • D'Artagnan threw the dice with a trembling hand, and turned up the numbe_hree; his paleness terrified Athos, who, however, consented himself wit_aying, "That's a sad throw, comrade; you will have the horses fully equipped, monsieur."
  • The Englishman, quite triumphant, did not even give himself the trouble t_hake the dice. He threw them on the table without looking at them, so sur_as he of victory; d'Artagnan turned aside to conceal his ill humor.
  • "Hold, hold, hold!" said Athos, wit his quiet tone; "that throw of the dice i_xtraordinary. I have not seen such a one four times in my life. Two aces!"
  • The Englishman looked, and was seized with astonishment. d'Artagnan looked, and was seized with pleasure.
  • "Yes," continued Athos, "four times only; once at the house of Monsieu_requy; another time at my own house in the country, in my chateau at—when _ad a chateau; a third time at Monsieur de Treville's where it surprised u_ll; and the fourth time at a cabaret, where it fell to my lot, and where _ost a hundred louis and a supper on it."
  • "Then Monsieur takes his horse back again," said the Englishman.
  • "Certainly," said d'Artagnan.
  • "Then there is no revenge?"
  • "Our conditions said, 'No revenge,' you will please to recollect."
  • "That is true; the horse shall be restored to your lackey, monsieur."
  • "A moment," said Athos; "with your permission, monsieur, I wish to speak _ord with my friend."
  • "Say on."
  • Athos drew d'Artagnan aside.
  • "Well, Tempter, what more do you want with me?" said d'Artagnan. "You want m_o throw again, do you not?"
  • "No, I would wish you to reflect."
  • "On what?"
  • "You mean to take your horse?"
  • "Without doubt."
  • "You are wrong, then. I would take the hundred pistoles. You know you hav_taked the harnesses against the horse or a hundred pistoles, at your choice."
  • "Yes."
  • "Well, then, I repeat, you are wrong. What is the use of one horse for us two?
  • I could not ride behind. We should look like the two sons of Anmon, who ha_ost their brother. You cannot think of humiliating me by prancing along by m_ide on that magnificent charger. For my part, I should not hesitate a moment; I should take the hundred pistoles. We want money for our return to Paris."
  • "I am much attached to that horse, Athos."
  • "And there again you are wrong. A horse slips and injures a joint; a hors_tumbles and breaks his knees to the bone; a horse eats out of a manger i_hich a glandered horse has eaten. There is a horse, while on the contrary, the hundred pistoles feed their master."
  • "But how shall we get back?"
  • "Upon our lackey's horses, PARDIEU. Anybody may see by our bearing that we ar_eople of condition."
  • "Pretty figures we shall cut on ponies while Aramis and Porthos caracole o_heir steeds."
  • "Aramis! Porthos!" cried Athos, and laughed aloud.
  • "What is it?" asked d'Artagnan, who did not at all comprehend the hilarity o_is friend.
  • "Nothing, nothing! Go on!"
  • "Your advice, then?"
  • "To take the hundred pistoles, d'Artagnan. With the hundred pistoles we ca_ive well to the end of the month. We have undergone a great deal of fatigue, remember, and a little rest will do no harm."
  • "I rest? Oh, no, Athos. Once in Paris, I shall prosecute my search for tha_nfortunate woman!"
  • "Well, you may be assured that your horse will not be half so serviceable t_ou for that purpose as good golden louis. Take the hundred pistoles, m_riend; take the hundred pistoles!"
  • D'Artagnan only required one reason to be satisfied. This last reason appeare_onvincing. Besides, he feared that by resisting longer he should appea_elfish in the eyes of Athos. He acquiesced, therefore, and chose the hundre_istoles, which the Englishman paid down on the spot.
  • They then determined to depart. Peace with the landlord, in addition t_thos's old horse, cost six pistoles. D'Artagnan and Athos took the nags o_lanchet and Grimaud, and the two lackeys started on foot, carrying th_addles on their heads.
  • However ill our two friends were mounted, they were soon far in advance o_heir servants, and arrived at Creveccoeur. From a distance they perceive_ramis, seated in a melancholy manner at his window, looking out, like Siste_nne, at the dust in the horizon.
  • "HOLA, Aramis! What the devil are you doing there?" cried the two friends.
  • "Ah, is that you, d'Artagnan, and you, Athos?" said the young man. "I wa_eflecting upon the rapidity with which the blessings of this world leave us.
  • My English horse, which has just disappeared amid a cloud of dust, ha_urnished me with a living image of the fragility of the things of the earth.
  • Life itself may be resolved into three words: ERAT, EST, FUIT."
  • "Which means—" said d'Artagnan, who began to suspect the truth.
  • "Which means that I have just been duped-sixty louis for a horse which by th_anner of his gait can do at least five leagues an hour."
  • D'Artagnan and Athos laughed aloud.
  • "My dear d'Artagnan," said Aramis, "don't be too angry with me, I beg.
  • Necessity has no law; besides, I am the person punished, as that rascall_orsedealer has robbed me of fifty louis, at least. Ah, you fellows are goo_anagers! You ride on our lackey's horses, and have your own gallant steed_ed along carefully by hand, at short stages."
  • At the same instant a market cart, which some minutes before had appeared upo_he Amiens road, pulled up at the inn, and Planchet and Grimaud came out of i_ith the saddles on their heads. The cart was returning empty to Paris, an_he two lackeys had agreed, for their transport, to slake the wagoner's thirs_long the route.
  • "What is this?" said Aramis, on seeing them arrive. "Nothing but saddles?"
  • "Now do you understand?" said Athos.
  • "My friends, that's exactly like me! I retained my harness by instinct. HOLA, Bazin! Bring my new saddle and carry it along with those of these gentlemen."
  • "And what have you done with your ecclesiastics?" asked d'Artagnan.
  • "My dear fellow, I invited them to a dinner the next day," replied Aramis.
  • "They have some capital wine here—please to observe that in passing. I did m_est to make them drunk. Then the curate forbade me to quit my uniform, an_he Jesuit entreated me to get him made a Musketeer."
  • "Without a thesis?" cried d'Artagnan, "without a thesis? I demand th_uppression of the thesis."
  • "Since then," continued Aramis, "I have lived very agreeably. I have begun _oem in verses of one syllable. That is rather difficult, but the merit in al_hings consists in the difficulty. The matter is gallant. I will read you th_irst canto. It has four hundred lines, and lasts a minute."
  • "My faith, my dear Aramis," said d'Artagnan, who detested verses almost a_uch as he did Latin, "add to the merit of the difficulty that of the brevity, and you are sure that your poem will at least have two merits."
  • "You will see," continued Aramis, "that it breathes irreproachable passion.
  • And so, my friends, we return to Paris? Bravo! I am ready. We are going t_ejoin that good fellow, Porthos. So much the better. You can't think how _ave missed him, the great simpleton. To see him so self-satisfied reconcile_e with myself. He would not sell his horse; not for a kingdom! I think I ca_ee him now, mounted upon his superb animal and seated in his handsome saddle.
  • I am sure he will look like the Great Mogul!"
  • They made a halt for an hour to refresh their horses. Aramis discharged hi_ill, placed Bazin in the cart with his comrades, and they set forward to joi_orthos.
  • They found him up, less pale than when d'Artagnan left him after his firs_isit, and seated at a table on which, though he was alone, was spread enoug_or four persons. This dinner consisted of meats nicely dressed, choice wines, and superb fruit.
  • "Ah, PARDIEU!" said he, rising, "you come in the nick of time, gentlemen. _as just beginning the soup, and you will dine with me."
  • "Oh, oh!" said d'Artagnan, "Mousqueton has not caught these bottles with hi_asso. Besides, here is a piquant FRICANDEAU and a fillet of beef."
  • "I am recruiting myself," said Porthos, "I am recruiting myself. Nothin_eakens a man more than these devilish strains. Did you ever suffer from _train, Athos?"
  • "Never! Though I remember, in our affair of the Rue Ferou, I received a swor_ound which at the end of fifteen or eighteen days produced the same effect."
  • "But this dinner was not intended for you alone, Porthos?" said Aramis.
  • "No," said Porthos, "I expected some gentlemen of the neighborhood, who hav_ust sent me word they could not come. You will take their places and I shal_ot lose by the exchange. HOLA, Mousqueton, seats, and order double th_ottles!"
  • "Do you know what we are eating here?" said Athos, at the end of ten minutes.
  • "PARDIEU!" replied d'Artagnan, "for my part, I am eating veal garnished wit_hrimps and vegetables."
  • "And I some lamb chops," said Porthos.
  • "And I a plain chicken," said Aramis.
  • "You are all mistaken, gentlemen," answered Athos, gravely; "you are eatin_orse."
  • "Eating what?" said d'Artagnan.
  • "Horse!" said Aramis, with a grimace of disgust.
  • Porthos alone made no reply.
  • "Yes, horse. Are we not eating a horse, Porthos? And perhaps his saddle, therewith."
  • "No, gentlemen, I have kept the harness," said Porthos.
  • "My faith," said Aramis, "we are all alike. One would think we had tipped th_ink."
  • "What could I do?" said Porthos. "This horse made my visitors ashamed o_heirs, and I don't like to humiliate people."
  • "Then your duchess is still at the waters?" asked d'Artagnan.
  • "Still," replied Porthos. "And, my faith, the governor of the province—one o_he gentlemen I expected today—seemed to have such a wish for him, that I gav_im to him."
  • "Gave him?" cried d'Artagnan.
  • "My God, yes, GAVE, that is the word," said Porthos; "for the animal was wort_t least a hundred and fifty louis, and the stingy fellow would only give m_ighty."
  • "Without the saddle?" said Aramis.
  • "Yes, without the saddle."
  • "You will observe, gentlemen," said Athos, "that Porthos has made the bes_argain of any of us."
  • And then commenced a roar of laughter in which they all joined, to th_stonishment of poor Porthos; but when he was informed of the cause of thei_ilarity, he shared it vociferously according to his custom.
  • "There is one comfort, we are all in cash," said d'Artagnan.
  • "Well, for my part," said Athos, "I found Aramis's Spanish wine so good that _ent on a hamper of sixty bottles of it in the wagon with the lackeys. Tha_as weakened my purse."
  • "And I," said Aramis, "imagined that I had given almost my last sou to th_hurch of Montdidier and the Jesuits of Amiens, with whom I had mad_ngagements which I ought to have kept. I have ordered Masses for myself, an_or you, gentlemen, which will be said, gentlemen, for which I have not th_east doubt you will be marvelously benefited."
  • "And I," said Porthos, "do you think my strain cost me nothing?—withou_eckoning Mousqueton's wound, for which I had to have the surgeon twice a day, and who charged me double on account of that foolish Mousqueton having allowe_imself a ball in a part which people generally only show to an apothecary; s_ advised him to try never to get wounded there any more."
  • "Ay, ay!" said Athos, exchanging a smile with d'Artagnan and Aramis, "it i_ery clear you acted nobly with regard to the poor lad; that is like a goo_aster."
  • "In short," said Porthos, "when all my expenses are paid, I shall have, a_ost, thirty crowns left."
  • "And I about ten pistoles," said Aramis.
  • "Well, then it appears that we are the Croesuses of the society. How much hav_ou left of your hundred pistoles, d'Artagnan?"
  • "Of my hundred pistoles? Why, in the first place I gave you fifty."
  • "You think so?"
  • "PARDIEU!"
  • "Ah, that is true. I recollect."
  • "Then I paid the host six."
  • "What a brute of a host! Why did you give him six pistoles?"
  • "You told me to give them to him."
  • "It is true; I am too good-natured. In brief, how much remains?"
  • "Twenty-five pistoles," said d'Artagnan.
  • "And I," said Athos, taking some small change from his pocket, "I—"
  • "You? Nothing!"
  • "My faith! So little that it is not worth reckoning with the general stock."
  • "Now, then, let us calculate how much we posses in all."
  • "Porthos?"
  • "Thirty crowns."
  • "Aramis?"
  • "Ten pistoles."
  • "And you, d'Artagnan?"
  • "Twenty-five."
  • "That makes in all?" said Athos.
  • "Four hundred and seventy-five livres," said d'Artagnan, who reckoned lik_rchimedes.
  • "On our arrival in Paris, we shall still have four hundred, besides th_arnesses," said Porthos.
  • "But our troop horses?" said Aramis.
  • "Well, of the four horses of our lackeys we will make two for the masters, fo_hich we will draw lots. With the four hundred livres we will make the half o_ne for one of the unmounted, and then we will give the turnings out of ou_ockets to d'Artagnan, who has a steady hand, and will go and play in th_irst gaming house we come to. There!"
  • "Let us dine, then," said Porthos; "it is getting cold."
  • The friends, at ease with regard to the future, did honor to the repast, th_emains of which were abandoned to Mousqueton, Bazin, Planchet, and Grimaud.
  • On arriving in Paris, d'Artagnan found a letter from M. de Treville, whic_nformed him that, at his request, the king had promised that he should ente_he company of the Musketeers.
  • As this was the height of d'Artagnan's worldly ambition—apart, be it wel_nderstood, from his desire of finding Mme. Bonacieux—he ran, full of joy, t_eek his comrades, whom he had left only half an hour before, but whom h_ound very sad and deeply preoccupied. They were assembled in council at th_esidence of Athos, which always indicated an event of some gravity. M. d_reville had intimated to them his Majesty's fixed intention to open th_ampaign on the first of May, and they must immediately prepare their outfits.
  • The four philosophers looked at one another in a state of bewilderment. M. d_reville never jested in matters relating to discipline.
  • "And what do you reckon your outfit will cost?" said d'Artagnan.
  • "Oh, we can scarcely say. We have made our calculations with Spartan economy, and we each require fifteen hundred livres."
  • "Four times fifteen makes sixty—six thousand livres," said Athos.
  • "It seems to me," said d'Artagnan, "with a thousand livres each—I do not spea_s a Spartan, but as a procurator—"
  • This word PROCURATOR roused Porthos. "Stop," said he, "I have an idea."
  • "Well, that's something, for I have not the shadow of one," said Athos coolly;
  • "but as to d'Artagnan, gentlemen, the idea of belonging to OURS has driven hi_ut of his senses. A thousand livres! For my part, I declare I want tw_housand."
  • "Four times two makes eight," then said Aramis; "it is eight thousand that w_ant to complete our outfits, toward which, it is true, we have already th_addles."
  • "Besides," said Athos, waiting till d'Artagnan, who went to thank Monsieur d_reville, had shut the door, "besides, there is that beautiful ring whic_eams from the finger of our friend. What the devil! D'Artagnan is too good _omrade to leave his brothers in embarrassment while he wears the ransom of _ing on his finger."