D'Artagnan rebukes King Louis XIV for sending Athos to prison:
"Sire; it is for you to choose. Do you wish to have friends or lackeys - soldiers or slaves - great men or mere puppets? Do you wish men to serve you, or to bend and crouch before you? Do you wish men to love you, or to be afraid of you? If you prefer baseness, intrigue, cowardice, say so at once, sire, and we will leave you, - we who are the only individuals who are left, - nay, I will say more, the only models of the valor of former times; we who have done our duty, and have exceeded, perhaps, in courage and in merit, the men already great for posterity. Choose, sire! and that, too, without delay. Whatever relics remain to you of the great nobility, guard them with a jealous eye; you will never be deficient in courtiers. Delay not - and send me to the Bastile with my friend; for, if you did not know how to listen to the Comte de La Fère, whose voice is the sweetest and noblest in all the world when honor is the theme; if you do not know how to listen to d'Artagnan, the frankest and most honest voice of sincerity, you are a bad king, and to-morrow will be a poor king. And learn from me, sire, that bad kings are hated by their people, and poor kings are driven ignominiously away. That is what I had to say to you, sire; you were wrong to drive me to say it."
- Of course, the all-powerful Sun King cannot resist the pure awesomeness of this speech and gives the order to set Athos free.