The Three Musketeers
How we cite our quotes:
D’Artagnan went out, but at the door his heart almost failed him, and he felt inclined to return. Then the noble and severe countenance of Athos crossed his mind; if he made the compact with the cardinal which he required, Athos would no more give him his hand--Athos would renounce him.
It was this fear that restrained him, so powerful is the influence of a truly great character on all that surrounds it. (40.59 – 40.60)
Is this proof that D’Artagnan is closest to Athos? Or that Athos inspires the most admiration and influence?
"You saw your wi--"
"Hush!" interrupted Athos. "You forget, my dear, you forget that these gentlemen are not initiated into my family affairs like yourself. I have seen Milady." (47.21 – 47.22)
Proof that Athos and D’Artagnan are closer to each other than any of the four?
"Well," said he, "they likewise have refused me."
"That, dear friend, is because nobody is more worthy than yourself."
He took a quill, wrote the name of D’Artagnan in the commission, and returned it to him.
"I shall then have no more friends," said the young man. "Alas! nothing but bitter recollections."
And he let his head sink upon his hands, while two large tears rolled down his cheeks. (67.125 – 67.129)
This passage demonstrates first, that D’Artagnan’s three friends know him better than he knows himself, and secondly, that D’Artagnan truly prizes their friendship more than fulfilling any ambition. He’s genuinely upset that he’s going to be parted from his friends.