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67. CONCLUSION (continued)
"We were beginning to grow impatient," said Athos.
"Here I am, my friends," replied d'Artagnan; "not only free, but in favor."
"Tell us about it."
"This evening; but for the moment, let us separate."
Accordingly, that same evening d'Artagnan repaired to the quarters of Athos, whom he found in a fair way to empty a bottle of Spanish wine--an occupation which he religiously accomplished every night.
D'Artagnan related what had taken place between the cardinal and himself, and drawing the commission from his pocket, said, "Here, my dear Athos, this naturally belongs to you."
Athos smiled with one of his sweet and expressive smiles.
"Friend," said he, "for Athos this is too much; for the Comte de la Fere it is too little. Keep the commission; it is yours. Alas! you have purchased it dearly enough."
D'Artagnan left Athos's chamber and went to that of Porthos. He found him clothed in a magnificent dress covered with splendid embroidery, admiring himself before a glass.
"Ah, ah! is that you, dear friend?" exclaimed Porthos. "How do you think these garments fit me?"
"Wonderfully," said d'Artagnan; but I come to offer you a dress which will become you still better."
"What?" asked Porthos.
"That of a lieutenant of Musketeers."
D'Artagnan related to Porthos the substance of his interview with the cardinal, and said, taking the commission from his pocket, "Here, my friend, write your name upon it and become my chief."
Porthos cast his eyes over the commission and returned it to d'Artagnan, to the great astonishment of the young man.
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