|[The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas]@TWC D-Link bookThe Three Musketeers|
5 THE KING'S MUSKETEERS AND THE CARDINAL'S GUARDS
He flattered himself he should be able to frighten Porthos with the adventure of the baldric, which he might, if not killed upon the spot, relate to everybody a recital which, well managed, would cover Porthos with ridicule.
As to the astute Aramis, he did not entertain much dread of him; and supposing he should be able to get so far, he determined to dispatch him in good style or at least, by hitting him in the face, as Caesar recommended his soldiers do to those of Pompey, to damage forever the beauty of which he was so proud.
In addition to this, d'Artagnan possessed that invincible stock of resolution which the counsels of his father had implanted in his heart: "Endure nothing from anyone but the king, the cardinal, and Monsieur de Treville." He flew, then, rather than walked, toward the convent of the Carmes Dechausses, or rather Deschaux, as it was called at that period, a sort of building without a window, surrounded by barren fields--an accessory to the Preaux-Clercs, and which was generally employed as the place for the duels of men who had no time to lose.
When d'Artagnan arrived in sight of the bare spot of ground which extended along the foot of the monastery, Athos had been waiting about five minutes, and twelve o'clock was striking.
He was, then, as punctual as the Samaritan woman, and the most rigorous casuist with regard to duels could have nothing to say.
Athos, who still suffered grievously from his wound, though it had been dressed anew by M.de Treville's surgeon, was seated on a post and waiting for his adversary with hat in hand, his feather even touching the ground.
"Monsieur," said Athos, "I have engaged two of my friends as seconds; but these two friends are not yet come, at which I am astonished, as it is not at all their custom." "I have no seconds on my part, monsieur," said d'Artagnan; "for having only arrived yesterday in Paris, I as yet know no one but Monsieur de Treville, to whom I was recommended by my father, who has the honor to be, in some degree, one of his friends." Athos reflected for an instant.
"You know no one but Monsieur de Treville ?" he asked.
"Yes, monsieur, I know only him." "Well, but then," continued Athos, speaking half to himself, "if I kill you, I shall have the air of a boy-slayer." "Not too much so," replied d'Artagnan, with a bow that was not deficient in dignity, "since you do me the honor to draw a sword with me while suffering from a wound which is very inconvenient." "Very inconvenient, upon my word; and you hurt me devilishly, I can tell you.
But I will take the left hand--it is my custom in such circumstances.
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