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It’s clear, however, that Aramis is in no state to ride his horse. D’Artagnan tells him to stay, recuperate, and make up with Bazin, who has been depressed since Athos changed his mind about taking orders.
D’Artagnan sets off alone.
Soon he’s immersed deep in thought about Athos. It’s clear from his thoughts that he thinks highly of the older Musketeer. Athos is the textbook definition of an aristocrat: he has the handsome looks, the perfect etiquette, the great sword fighting skills, and a complete understanding of Latin, aristocratic history, and falconry.
Yet it’s clear that something is missing. Deep down inside, Athos is sad. D’Artagnan is mystified by this, and hasn’t been able to figure out why.
So those are D’Artagnan’s thoughts as he rides to meet Athos. He also feels guilty at the thought of Athos being dead. Planchet points out that they also owe their lives to Athos.
They reach the inn and D’Artagnan’s first act is to menace the innkeeper, who promptly begs for mercy and apologizes for his earlier actions.
It turns out the innkeeper had been tipped off that a group of men disguised in the uniforms of Musketeers would try to use fake money at his establishment. Authorities had even sent reinforcements for arresting these known criminals.
D’Artagnan demands to know what’s become of Athos. The innkeeper explains that, after killing one adversary and seriously wounding two others, Athos barricaded himself in the cellar and refuses to leave. Grimaud arrived and joined Athos in the cellar, and together the two of them threatened everyone who wanted to enter with death.
The innkeeper complains that his business has suffered since all his provisions of food and wine are in the cellar.
D’Artagnan points out that this is a quite just turn of events.
Two Englishmen arrive at the inn and are very angry at the lack of food and drink. After the situation is explained, they want to break down the cellar door. As they descend to the cellar, D’Artagnan and Planchet follow after them with their muskets drawn. They kick in the door as D’Artagnan warns them that they will be attacked by Athos inside the cellar and from D’Artagnan, outside. At the last minute, the two sides succeed in making peace. D’Artagnan sends the Englishmen to their rooms and promises to supply them with food and wine soon.
Athos comes out "moist." So does Grimaud, (who is soaked in the innkeeper’s best olive oil to help his wounds). It turns out the two of them have been drinking in the cellar. Athos reckons he alone drank about one hundred and fifty bottles.
The host of the inn, as might be expected, is not happy. He and his wife go down to survey the damage.
Athos, Grimaud, D’Artagnan, and Planchet install themselves in the inn’s nicest room. Athos calls for some wine, which just makes the innkeeper more irate.
Athos and D’Artagnan tell the innkeeper that they should talk the issue over. It’s decided that Athos will give the innkeeper his horse to settle the score—after all, D’Artagnan has brought him a better one.
Athos calls for six bottles of wine and D’Artagnan calls for four bottles to be sent to the two English gentlemen.
Athos and D’Artagnan catch up on what’s happened since they last saw each other. D’Artagnan tells Athos the story of Madame Bonacieux’s abduction. Athos doesn’t think it’s a big deal; D’Artagnan tells him he (Athos) has never been in love.
Athos says, I’ll tell you a real love story.
It happened to a "friend."
So this friend of Athos was a young nobleman who fell in love with a beautiful sixteen- year-old girl. She and her brother, who was a curate, had come to the province only recently, and no one knew who they were, but they seemed like good people. Athos’s friend, being an honorable sort of man, married her.
The two of them were out hunting one day when the lady fell from her horse. She needed air, so her husband ripped open her clothes, to find a fleur-de-lis brand on her shoulder. (The fleur-de-lis is a royal symbol in most cases, but when tattooed on flesh, it is a standard mark for criminals, and prostitutes.) It turned out the girl had stolen sacred vessels from a church.
The count proceeded to hang his wife on a tree.
At this point Athos took a bottle of wine and downed it at once.
As for the woman’s supposed brother, Athos said, he was doubtless her first lover and was just pretending to be a curate.
D’Artagnan is so overcome by this story that he pretends to pass out from the wine.
Athos looks at him with some pity, saying that young men no longer know how to hold their drink.