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27. The four old Friends prepare to meet again. (continued)
"Oh, mon Dieu! no, nothing at all. It was the way in which he spoke. It is incredible how these biscuit soak up wine! They are veritable sponges! Gimblou, another bottle."
The bottle was brought with a promptness which showed the degree of consideration D'Artagnan enjoyed in the establishment. He continued:
"So I was going away, but he called me back.
"`You have had three horses foundered or killed?' he asked me.
"`Yes, my lord.'
"`How much were they worth?'"
"Why," said Porthos, "that was very good of him, it seems to me."
"`A thousand pistoles,' I said."
"A thousand pistoles!" Porthos exclaimed. "Oh! oh! that is a large sum. If he knew anything about horses he would dispute the price."
"Faith! he was very much inclined to do so, the contemptible fellow. He made a great start and looked at me. I also looked at him; then he understood, and putting his hand into a drawer, he took from it a quantity of notes on a bank in Lyons."
"For a thousand pistoles?"
"For a thousand pistoles -- just that amount, the beggar; not one too many."
"And you have them?"
"They are here."
"Upon my word, I think he acted very generously."
"Generously! to men who had risked their lives for him, and besides had done him a great service?"
"A great service -- what was that?"
"Why, it seems that I crushed for him a parliament councillor."
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