Twenty Years After Chapter 69 Page 15

opening, he thrust his right in and forced Mordaunt to parry a counter en quarte so fine that the point of the weapon might have turned within a wedding ring.

This time it was Mordaunt who smiled.

“Ah, sir,” said D’Artagnan, “you have a wicked smile. It must have been the devil who taught it you, was it not?”

Mordaunt replied by trying his opponent’s weapon with an amount of strength which the Gascon was astonished to find in a form apparently so feeble; but thanks to a parry no less clever than that which Mordaunt had just achieved, he succeeded in meeting his sword, which slid along his own without touching his chest.

Mordaunt rapidly sprang back a step.