Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Pen and the Sword: The Three Musketeers

"Come, gentlemen, have you decided?" cried Jussac for the third time.

"It is done, gentlemen," said Athos.

"And what is your choice?" asked Jussac.

"We are about to have the honor of charging you," replied Aramis, lifting his hat with one hand and drawing his sword with the other.

"Ah! You resist, do you?" cried Jussac.

"S'blood; does that astonish you?"

And the nine combatants rushed upon each other with a fury which however did not exclude a certain degree of method.

Athos fixed upon a certain Cahusac, a favorite of the cardinal's. Porthos had Bicarat, and Aramis found himself opposed to two adversaries. As to d'Artagnan, he sprang toward Jussac himself.

The heart of the young Gascon beat as if it would burst through his side--not from fear, God he thanked, he had not the shade of it, but with emulation; he fought like a furious tiger, turning ten times round his adversary, and changing his ground and his guard twenty times. Jussac was, as was then said, a fine blade, and had had much practice; nevertheless it required all his skill to defend himself against an adversary who, active and energetic, departed every instant from received rules, attacking him on all sides at once, and yet parrying like a man who had the greatest respect for his own epidermis.

This contest at length exhausted Jussac's patience. Furious at being held in check by one whom he had considered a boy, he became warm and began to make mistakes. D'Artagnan, who though wanting in practice had a sound theory, redoubled his agility. Jussac, anxious to put an end to this, springing forward, aimed a terrible thrust at his adversary, but the latter parried it; and while Jussac was recovering himself, glided like a serpent beneath his blade, and passed his sword through his body. Jussac fell like a dead mass.

- The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas

9 comments:

  1. Really looking forward to reading this and other swashbucklers to my kids.

    Might start with Kingsley's "Westward, Ho!" this year sometime.

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    1. I read Westward Ho! to my kids when they were infants, just to expose them to the different cadence of the language. A great story.

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    2. Anything I should be concerned about? I've not read it before.

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    3. Auto-de-fe is the only thing that comes to mind.

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    4. I can live with that. Thanks.

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  2. You can never go wrong with The Three Musketeers, Mike :D

    Allan.

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  3. Well, thanks to your post I'm now re-reading The Three Musketeers now, Mike, and hope to continue on into Twenty Years After and then Ten Years Later as well (which I've not read previously) =)

    Allan.

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    1. That's cool, Allan. Reading the whole saga explains why Flashing Blades' careers work the way they do.

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