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Twenty Years After

Athos as a Diplomatist
D'Artagnan retired to bed -- not to sleep, but to think over all he had heard that evening.
Being naturally goodhearted, and having had once a liking for Athos, which had grown
into a sincere friendship, he was delighted at thus meeting a man full of intelligence and
moral strength, instead of a drunkard. He admitted without annoyance the continued
superiority of Athos over himself, devoid as he was of that jealousy which might have
saddened a less generous disposition; he was delighted also that the high qualities of
Athos appeared to promise favorably for his mission. Nevertheless, it seemed to him that
Athos was not in all respects sincere and frank. Who was the youth he had adopted and
who bore so striking a resemblance to him? What could explain Athos's having re-entered
the world and the extreme sobriety he had observed at table? The absence of Grimaud,
whose name had never once been uttered by Athos, gave D'Artagnan uneasiness. It was
evident either that he no longer possessed the confidence of his friend, or that Athos was
bound by some invisible chain, or that he had been forewarned of the lieutenant's visit.
He could not help thinking of M. Rochefort, whom he had seen in Notre Dame; could De
Rochefort have forestalled him with Athos? Again, the moderate fortune which Athos
possessed, concealed as it was, so skillfully, seemed to show a regard for appearances
and to betray a latent ambition which might be easily aroused. The clear and vigorous
intellect of Athos would render him more open to conviction than a less able man would
be. He would enter into the minister's schemes with the more ardor, because his natural
activity would be doubled by necessity.
Resolved to seek an explanation on all these points on the following day, D'Artagnan, in
spite of his fatigue, prepared for an attack and determined that it should take place after
breakfast. He determined to cultivate the good-will of the youth Raoul and, either whilst
fencing with him or when out shooting, to extract from his simplicity some information
which would connect the Athos of old times with the Athos of the present. But
D'Artagnan at the same time, being a man of extreme caution, was quite aware what
injury he should do himself, if by any indiscretion or awkwardness he should betray has
manoeuvering to the experienced eye of Athos. Besides, to tell truth, whilst D'Artagnan
was quite disposed to adopt a subtle course against the cunning of Aramis or the vanity of
Porthos, he was ashamed to equivocate with Athos, true-hearted, open Athos. It seemed
to him that if Porthos and Aramis deemed him superior to them in the arts of diplomacy,
they would like him all the better for it; but that Athos, on the contrary, would despise
him.
"Ah! why is not Grimaud, the taciturn Grimaud, here?" thought D'Artagnan, "there are so
many things his silence would have told me; with Grimaud silence was another form of
eloquence!"
There reigned a perfect stillness in the house. D'Artagnan had heard the door shut and the
shutters barred; the dogs became in their turn silent. At last a nightingale, lost in a thicket
of shrubs, in the midst of its most melodious cadences had fluted low and lower into
 
 
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