Athos sprang up, but after an instant of motionless silence he said, to the astonishment of his friends, “Monsieur Mordaunt, a duel between us is impossible.
Submit this honour to somebody else.” And he sat down.
“Ah!” said Mordaunt, with a sneer, “there’s one who is afraid.”
“Zounds!” exclaimed D’Artagnan, bounding toward him, “who says that Athos is afraid?”
“Let him have his say, D’Artagnan,” said Athos, with a smile of sadness and contempt.
“Is it your decision, Athos?” resumed the Gascon.