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The Three Musketeers

The Return
D'Artagnan was astounded by the terrible confidence of Athos; yet many things appeared
very obscure to him in this half revelation. In the first place it had been made by a man
quite drunk to one who was half drunk; and yet, in spite of the incertainty which the
vapor of three or four bottles of Burgundy carries with it to the brain, d'Artagnan, when
awaking on the following morning, had all the words of Athos as present to his memory
as if they then fell from his mouth--they had been so impressed upon his mind. All this
doubt only gave rise to a more lively desire of arriving at a certainty, and he went into his
friend's chamber with a fixed determination of renewing the conversation of the
preceding evening; but he found Athos quite himself again--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 my tongue, which
was swollen and hot this morning, and by my pulse, which was very tremulous. I wager
that I uttered a thousand extravagances."
While saying this he looked at his friend with an earnestness that embarrassed him.
"No," replied d'Artagnan, "if I recollect well what you said, it was nothing out of the
common way."
"Ah, you surprise me. I thought I had told you a most lamentable story." And he 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, since I
remember nothing of the kind."
Athos did not trust this reply, and he resumed; "you cannot have failed to remark, 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 my mania is to relate all the
lugubrious stories which my foolish nurse inculcated into my brain. That is my failing--a
capital failing, I admit; but with that exception, I am a good drinker."
Athos spoke this in so natural a manner that d'Artagnan was shaken in his conviction.
"It is that, then," replied the young man, anxious to find out the truth, "it is that, then, I
remember as we remember a dream. We were speaking of hanging."
"Ah, you see how it is," said Athos, becoming still paler, but yet attempting to laugh; "I
was sure it was so--the hanging of people is my nightmare."
 
 
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