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28. The Place Royale. (continued)
"And are the first of men!" added D'Artagnan. "You excel us all."
Athos smiled with ineffable pleasure.
"'Tis then all settled. Gentlemen, your hands; are we not pretty good Christians?"
"Egad!" said D'Artagnan, "by Heaven! yes."
"We should be so on this occasion, if only to be faithful to our oath," said Aramis.
"Ah, I'm ready to do what you will," cried Porthos; "even to swear by Mahomet. Devil take me if I've ever been so happy as at this moment."
And he wiped his eyes, still moist.
"Has not one of you a cross?" asked Athos.
Aramis smiled and drew from his vest a cross of diamonds, which was hung around his neck by a chain of pearls. "Here is one," he said.
"Well," resumed Athos, "swear on this cross, which, in spite of its magnificent material, is still a cross; swear to be united in spite of everything, and forever, and may this oath bind us to each other, and even, also, our descendants! Does this oath satisfy you?"
"Yes," said they all, with one accord.
"Ah, traitor!" muttered D'Artagnan, leaning toward Aramis and whispering in his ear, "you have made us swear on the crucifix of a Frondeuse."
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