Twenty Years After Chapter 51 Page 10

departure would double mine; then, the court once safe, I might be forgotten. The great are often ungrateful.”

“Very true,” said D’Artagnan, fixing his eyes, in spite of himself, on the queen’s diamond, which Mazarin wore on his finger.

Mazarin followed the direction of his eyes and gently turned the hoop of the ring inside.

“I wish,” he said, with his cunning smile, “to prevent them from being ungrateful to me.”

“It is but Christian charity,” replied D’Artagnan, “not to lead one’s neighbors into temptation.”

“It is exactly for that reason,” said Mazarin, “that I wish to start before them.”