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41. Paternal Affection.
Whilst this terrible scene was passing at Lord de Winter's, Athos, seated near his window, his elbow on the table and his head supported on his hand, was listening intently to Raoul's account of the adventures he met with on his journey and the details of the battle.
Listening to the relation of those emotions so fresh and pure, the fine, noble face of Athos betrayed indescribable pleasure; he inhaled the tones of that young voice, as harmonious music. He forgot all that was dark in the past and that was cloudy in the future. It almost seemed as if the return of this much loved boy had changed his fears to hopes. Athos was happy -- happy as he had never been before.
"And you assisted and took part in this great battle, Bragelonne!" cried the former musketeer.
"And it was a fierce one?"
"His highness the prince charged eleven times in person."
"He is a great commander, Bragelonne."
"He is a hero, sir. I did not lose sight of him for an instant. Oh! how fine it is to be called Conde and to be so worthy of such a name!"
"He was calm and radiant, was he not?"
"As calm as at parade, radiant as at a fete. When we went up to the enemy it was slowly; we were forbidden to draw first and we were marching toward the Spaniards, who were on a height with lowered muskets. When we arrived about thirty paces from them the prince turned around to the soldiers: `Comrades,' he said, `you are about to suffer a furious discharge; but after that you will make short work with those fellows.' There was such dead silence that friends and enemies could have heard these words; then raising his sword, `Sound trumpets!' he cried."
"Well, very good; you will do as much when the opportunity occurs, will you, Raoul?"
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