The Three Musketeers Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The Three Musketeers, a historical novel, is arranged in five parts. In the first, the introduction, the reader meets the heroes: the cadet, d’Artagnan, and the king’s musketeers Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. They become the Inseparables. In the second part, the reader discovers that there is considerable intrigue going on in the court of Louis XIII. There is rivalry between the king and Cardinal de Richelieu, which is reflected in a rivalry between the king’s guards and the cardinal’s guards. What is more, scandal follows the king’s consort, Queen Anne of Austria, and the duke of Buckingham, who are in a liaison. In the third part, there is a religious war between the Catholics and Protestants of France. There is a siege at La Rochelle (an actual event). In the fourth part, a beautiful femme fatale causes the assassination of the duke of Buckingham, tries without success to poison d’Artagnan, and successfully poisons another character. In the last part, she gets her retribution. Her executioner is the brother of a priest whom she seduced and ruined. D’Artagnan is rewarded with a promotion.

The principal characters have their prototypes in real people. The king, queen, cardinal, and other important members of the court all existed in fact. D’Artagnan is based on a real person.

The king’s guards, an elite force whose job was to protect the king, were gentlemen trained from an early age in horsemanship and the use of arms. They were armed with muskets and rapiers. When guarding the king, they rode horseback and used their rapiers, but in war they fought on foot, with their muskets. When Cardinal de Richelieu saw this impressive military unit, he formed his own guard of musketeers. Both corps wore scarlet uniforms. They were distinguished from each other by whether they rode gray or black horses. Not surprisingly, the two corps were rivals.

Dumas tells a simple yet stirring tale. Aside from the dashing swordplay, the novel relies upon, and communicates to the reader, a complex set of social codes. The text supports the institution of absolute monarchy and the aristocratic values of France before 1789. The aristocratic conception of honor, for example, is promulgated in the actions and discussions of the characters.

The Three Musketeers Summary (Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

In the spring of 1625, a young Gascon named D’Artagnan, on his way to Paris to join the musketeers, proudly rides up to an inn in Meung. He is mounted on an old pony that his father gave him along with some good advice and a letter of introduction to the captain of the musketeers. In Meung he shows his fighting spirit by fiercely challenging to a duel a stranger who seems to be laughing at his orange horse. Before continuing his journey to Paris he has another encounter with the stranger, identified by a scar on his face, and the stranger’s companion, a young and beautiful woman.

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis are the three best blades in the ranks of the musketeers of the guard, in the service of King Louis XIII. D’Artagnan becomes the fourth member of the group within three months of his arrival in Paris. He has earned the love and respect of the other men by challenging each in turn to a duel and then helping them to drive off Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, who wish to arrest them for brawling.

D’Artagnan is not made a musketeer at once; he has to serve an apprenticeship as a cadet in a lesser company of guards before being admitted to the musketeer ranks. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis look forward to the day when he will become their true comrade in arms, and the three take turns accompanying him when he is on guard duty. D’Artagnan is curious about his friends but can learn nothing about them. Athos looks like a nobleman. He is reserved, he never mentions women, and it is said that a great treachery has poisoned his life. Porthos is a squire of dames, bragging incessantly of his loves. Aramis, who always dresses in black, insists that he is a musketeer only temporarily, that he is a churchman at heart and soon will enter a monastery and exchange his plumed hat for a monk’s cowl.

The three musketeers were earlier rewarded in gold by the timid king for their bravery against the cardinal’s guards, but they have since spent all of their money. They are trying to figure a way out of their financial difficulties when Bonancieux, D’Artagnan’s landlord, comes to D’Artagnan because he has heard that his tenant is a brave man. Bonancieux says that his wife, Constance, has been abducted; Constance is a seamstress for the royal court, and her devotion to the queen is well known. The landlord suggests that D’Artagnan find and rescue Constance in payment for long-overdue rent and for financial compensation.

When Bonancieux describes Constance’s abductor, D’Artagnan realizes that he is the man he had challenged at Meung. On these two scores, the Gascon is willing to help the stricken husband, but he becomes even more eager when he discovers that the purpose of the abduction is to force Constance to tell what she knows of a rumored romance between the queen and the duke of Buckingham.

Constance escapes her captors and returns to her home, where the cardinal’s men again try to seize her, only to be attacked and scattered by D’Artagnan, who has overheard the struggle. Later that evening D’Artagnan meets Constance as she is hurrying along alone on the streets at a late hour. He questions her, but she will not say where she is going. He tells her that he loves her, but she gives him no encouragement. Still later that evening he encounters her again as she is leading the duke of Buckingham, in disguise, to the queen.

The queen has sent for Buckingham to beg him to leave the city, where his life is in danger. As they talk she confesses her love for him and gives him as a memento a small rosewood casket containing twelve diamond studs that the king has given her. Buckingham then departs for London. Richelieu, through his spies, learns of the gift, and soon he suggests to the king that he should give a fete and ask the queen to wear her diamond studs. The cardinal then orders Lady de Winter, who is in London, to snip two of the studs from Buckingham’s clothing. This deed gives him a chance to strike at the king, the queen, and also Buckingham. Learning of this scheme, Constance goes to D’Artagnan. D’Artagnan loves Constance, and he wants to serve his queen, so he undertakes to recover the jewels. With his three comrades he starts out for London, but only D’Artagnan arrives there because the group is ambushed by the cardinal’s agents, and the three musketeers are wounded and left behind. D’Artagnan reaches the duke in time to recover the studs and return to Paris with them. Richelieu’s plot is foiled.

After D’Artagnan has received the thanks of the queen, he is to meet Constance that evening, but Constance is again seized and imprisoned by the cardinal’s spies, one of whom is identified as the man from Meung. D’Artagnan decides that he needs the help of his three friends, and, accompanied by his servant Planchet, he sets out to find them. First he calls at the inn where he had left Porthos and finds him still there, recovering from his wounds. Later, he finds Aramis talking with some doctors of theology and about to renounce the world. Athos has barricaded himself in a wine cellar. In his drunken state, Athos relates a story about a friend of his, a count, who, when he was young, had married a beautiful woman and had made her the first lady in his province. Later, however, he had discovered that she was...

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The Three Musketeers Overview

The Three Musketeers is a historical romance, filled with adventure. Its brave and gallant heroes are generous to those who need help,...

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The Three Musketeers Summary

Part I: Chapters One through Ten
Young, ambitious d'Artagnan goes to Paris to seek his fortune, bearing a letter of...

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The Three Musketeers Chapter Summaries

Preface and Chapter 1 Summary

As The Three Musketeers begins, people in the town of Meung, France, run toward the sounds of a fight. It is the year 1625, and fights are common in France. King Louis XIII is always battling with Cardinal Richelieu, the pope’s representative, who is one of the most powerful people in Europe. But the King and the Cardinal frequently join forces to fight their common enemies: Spain, England, and all Protestants. Meanwhile, highwaymen and robbers are always attacking everyone, without bothering to be the enemies of any one group in particular. The narrator shares all this information in a light, unworried tone, as if war is a topic he considers entertaining.

When they arrive at the source of the commotion, the...

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Chapter 2 Summary

Monsieur de Tréville, the captain of the King’s Musketeers, is a bit like an older d’Artagnan, a man of “insolent bravery” and extreme loyalty. King Louis XIII values both of these qualities highly—especially the loyalty, which is rarer. Tréville is devoted, but he is highly intelligent and capable of navigating the various intrigues and power plays that are common at court.

Tréville is loyal, and he demands loyalty from his men. The Musketeers are, basically, a bunch of rogues who run around drinking, chasing women, and wreaking havoc. However, they fear and respect Tréville, and they would do absolutely anything for him or for the King.

Cardinal Richelieu is officially the most important...

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Chapter 3 Summary

Monsieur de Tréville calls d’Artagnan into his office, but he also calls three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Athos is not present, but the other two men follow d’Artagnan inside. D’Artagnan listens as Tréville begins to shout at them. Apparently six of the Musketeers—including Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—fought with and were badly defeated by an equal number of Cardinal Richelieu’s guards. Tréville is only a little annoyed at the men for the fighting, but he is livid that they lost. They gave Cardinal Richelieu a chance to ridicule the Musketeers—and, by extension, Tréville and King Louis XIII as well.

Porthos and Aramis seem ashamed for losing, but they defend themselves, saying they were...

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Chapter 4 Summary

As d’Artagnan runs out to catch the man from Meung, he bumps hard into someone’s shoulder. He excuses himself briefly and keeps running, but the man grabs him and shouts at him for being so careless. D’Artagnan looks up and recognizes the man as Athos, the wounded Musketeer. Although d’Artagnan tries to apologize, Athos is too annoyed for forgiveness. He suggests a duel at noon, and D’Artagnan is too proud to refuse. After agreeing, he runs onward, still hoping to catch the man from Meung.

At the gates of Monsieur de Tréville’s residence, d’Artagnan attempts to run past a couple of Musketeers, including Porthos, the man in the beautiful gold cloak. A wind picks up, and d’Artagnan accidentally gets...

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Chapter 5 Summary

D’Artagnan knows that a gentleman is supposed to bring two friends, called seconds, to a prearranged duel. However, he does not know anyone in Paris, so he is forced to meet Athos alone. Eager to undo some of the day's mistakes, d’Artagnan greets Athos politely and apologizes at length for bumping into him. As they talk, it becomes clear that they both regret their rash promise to fight. D’Artagnan does not want the dishonor of killing a wounded man, and Athos does not want the dishonor of killing a mere boy. D'Artagnan offers to postpone the duel for three days until Athos's wound heals. Athos, though clearly impressed by this gallant offer, refuses. He explains that the other Musketeers would find out about their argument....

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Chapter 6 Summary

After d’Artagnan and the Musketeers win their brawl, Monsieur de Tréville pretends to scold them for appearances’ sake, but he is actually pleased. Privately he praises the four men, especially d’Artagnan, to Louis XIII. The King asks to meet with them the following day at noon, but he asks them to come in through the back door so that Cardinal Richelieu does not see Musketeers being rewarded for defeating the Cardinal’s guards. Monsieur de Tréville smiles and agrees, reflecting privately that the King is like “a child” and the Cardinal “his master.”

D’Artagnan is so excited to meet the King that he can barely sleep. In the morning, he goes to see Athos, who invites him to a tennis game. D’Artagnan...

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Chapter 7 Summary

D’Artagnan shares his reward money with his three friends. At Athos’s suggestion, he holds a feast as well. With the help of Porthos, he hires a servant, Planchet. When Planchet sees the money in d’Artagnan’s pockets, he is thrilled—but when he realizes there is no bed for him in his new master’s tiny apartment, his enthusiasm wanes a bit.

Here the narrator pauses his description of the action to give the reader more information about each of the three Musketeers and their servants. Athos is a good-looking man of about thirty who holds himself with such a noble bearing that everyone respects him. He never seems to have a mistress, and he always looks bitter when other men talk about women. Because he prefers...

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Chapter 8 Summary

In about a month, d’Artagnan’s money from King Louis XVIII runs out. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis each take a turn supporting the group for a while, drawing on mysterious sources to do it. When these funds run out, Porthos tries gambling and loses their last few coins.

Without any money, the four friends get their meals by attending dinners held by a variety of acquaintances. Whenever one man is invited, he brings along the others, and all four servants as well. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis each know many more people than d’Artagnan, and they each get invited to several impressive dinners. D’Artagnan does not get invited as often as the rest of them, and he feels ashamed of this.

One day, as d’Artagnan...

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Chapter 9 Summary

D’Artagnan fails to catch up with the man from Meung once again. When he returns home, he finds all three Musketeers waiting for him. He tells them that he has an opportunity to make some money, and he retells Monsieur Bonacieux's story.

The four friends are eager to help the kidnap victim, Madame Bonacieux, and not only for money. They are loyal to the crown, and the matter of this kidnapping appears to be a result of some plan by the Cardinal to embarrass the King. Moreover, the Queen stands to be harmed, and they all sympathize with her. After all, she is married to a man who does not love her and who considers her people—the Spanish—as his enemies. Moreover, she is cut off from the man she really loves, the...

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Chapter 10 Summary

For the next several days, the Cardinal’s guards use Monsieur Bonacieux’s apartment as a mousetrap. This means that several guards sit inside in the dark, and anyone who enters is immediately arrested and questioned. D’Artagnan’s apartment is just upstairs, so he pulls up a floorboard and listens carefully to the interviews with the prisoners. For several days, he learns almost nothing—except that the questioners seem to know as little as he does.

One day, when d’Artagnan hears a scuffle below, he listens through his floor and realizes that the guards have just captured a woman. When she demands to know what is going on and where her husband is, d’Artagnan realizes she is Madame Bonacieux. He sends...

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Chapter 11 Summary

On his way home, d’Artagnan daydreams about the glorious love affair he is sure he is about to have with the beautiful Madame Bonacieux, who will be constantly gracious but also lead him into adventures. He imagines, too, that she will give him plenty of money. 

Here the narrator pauses to mention that d’Artagnan lives in “times of lax morality” when many men survived on lavish gifts from their mistresses. Although he admits that d’Artagnan ought not to forget that his prospective mistress’s husband is in prison, the narrator seems to want to forgive his hero. “Love is the most selfish of all passions,” he writes, and then he promises that Monsieur Bonacieux will not remain forgotten forever.

...

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Chapter 12 Summary

Madame Bonacieux guides the Duke of Buckingham through a maze of servants’ passageways in the Louvre. Eventually she leaves him in a small room where he will meet with the Queen. He is brave, reckless, handsome, aristocratic, and wealthier than most kings. In short, he is the sort of man who believes himself to be above all ordinary rules and laws. If he decides he wants something, he gets it—even if he wants something as outrageous as the love of a married queen.

After a moment, Queen Anne herself steps into the room. She is a beautiful and graceful woman in her twenties who has suffered greatly since marrying the King of France. She is cut off from her original home in Spain because of political tensions. Her...

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Chapter 13 Summary

In this chapter, the narration of The Three Musketeers jumps slightly back in time, to the hours after Monsieur Bonacieux's arrest. Soldiers take him to the Bastille prison, treating him roughly as they check him in. They take him to see a minor official, who delivers a stern lecture to the effect that mere commoners should never meddle in politics.

As Monsieur Bonacieux listens to this speech, he wishes inwardly that he had never married his wife. He used to think he loved her, but his principle character trait is cowardice, and it wins out now. He blubbers that his wife is at fault; he has not done anything wrong.

The official does not listen. He points out that Monsieur Bonacieux has been...

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Chapter 14 Summary

Monsieur Bonacieux’s carriage soon restarts, passes Traitor’s Cross, and stops at a large building. Soldiers carry him inside and dump him on a bench. Just as he realizes that he is not going to be executed, he is called into an office to speak to a haughty, noble-looking man. This man is Cardinal Richelieu, but Monsieur Bonacieux does not recognize him.

The Cardinal interrogates Monsieur Bonacieux, demanding to know all about Madame Bonacieux’s recent movements. Monsieur Bonacieux answers all of the questions honestly, not caring that he is betraying his own wife. He admits that he often escorts Madame Bonacieux on mysterious errands around Paris. He reveals the addresses of the houses she visits, but he has no...

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Chapter 15 Summary

King Louis XIII is a weak leader and a jealous husband. He often uses his power to torment his wife, of whom he is very jealous. This jealousy is not totally unfounded, because the Queen’s family background places her in a position of uncertain political loyalty, and her status as a beautiful and powerful woman makes her highly attractive to men.

The Cardinal, for his part, hates the Queen because she refused to have an affair with him. Also, he does not trust women. For appearances’ sake, the Cardinal pretends to take the Queen’s side when the royal couple quarrels, but behind the scenes, he works hard to encourage the King’s cruel behavior toward the Queen.

After finding out about Buckingham’s...

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Chapter 16 Summary

The King is outraged when he hears about Buckingham’s visit. The Cardinal pretends to think the Queen did not see Buckingham, but he also mentions that the Queen spent the morning writing a personal letter. When the Cardinal suggests having the Queen's room searched for this letter, the King agrees, thinking that this is a good way to catch his wife in the act of communicating with her lover.

Meanwhile, the Queen sits in her room thinking about how awful her life is. The Cardinal has tormented her for years, ever since she refused to have an affair with him. Part of her wishes she had simply given in and done what he wanted, but she knows that he would have tormented her anyway as soon as their romance ended. The...

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Chapter 17 Summary

When the King asks the Queen to wear her diamonds to the ball, she understands immediately that the Cardinal knows she gave them to the Duke of Buckingham. She cannot admit to her husband that she no longer has the diamonds, so she says that she will wear them. Then, when he leaves, she collapses into a chair and cries. She knows how angry he will be when he finds out the truth. Her reputation will be ruined forever.

As the Queen cries, Madame Bonacieux emerges timidly form the closet and says that she heard everything. After learning that Buckingham has the diamonds, Madame Bonacieux suggests that the Queen write him a short letter asking for them back. The Queen protests that such a note may get into the wrong hands...

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Chapter 18 Summary

D’Artagnan quickly explains to Madame Bonacieux that he can hear everything that happens in her husband’s apartment through his floor. This, he adds, was how he knew she needed rescue the day they met. Because of his eavesdropping, he already knows that Madame Bonacieux needs a brave and loyal man to do an errand for the Queen, and he begs to be that man—partly because he cares about the Queen, and partly because he loves Madame Bonacieux.

Madame Bonacieux hesitates to trust d’Artagnan. He is very young, and she does not yet know him well. In the end, d’Artagnan convinces her to trust him just by declaring his love and loyalty so sincerely that she cannot doubt it.

D’Artagnan wants to leave...

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Chapter 19 Summary

When Monsieur de Tréville learns that the Queen’s reputation is in danger, he agrees to help without even knowing the details. He asks his brother-in-law, Monsieur des Essarts, to grant d’Artagnan a leave of absence from his position with the guards. He also grants a leave to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis so that they can join d’Artagnan on his journey.

A few minutes later, d’Artagnan goes to visit Aramis, who has been acting depressed. Aramis claims he is upset because he is struggling to translate a certain Latin passage, but d’Artagnan suspects that it is actually because of the sudden disappearance of Madame de Chevreuse, the Queen’s confidante, who helped arrange the meeting with Buckingham. D’Artagnan...

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Chapter 20 Summary

The friends ride from London to the town of Chantilly, where they stop at an inn to eat and rest their horses. During this meal, a gentleman has a few drinks with them and then makes a disparaging comment about the King. Porthos challenges him to a duel and tells the others that he will catch up when it is over. The other two Musketeers and d’Artagnan ride on, wondering aloud if the man who challenged Porthos was deliberately sent by the Cardinal. They wait for Porthos in the next town, but after a long interval, they decide to go on without him.

Later that day, the three remaining friends meet a group of men who pull out muskets and fire on them. Mousqueton, Porthos’s servant, is unhorsed and left behind. Aramis...

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Chapter 21 Summary

D’Artagnan and the Duke of Buckingham ride fast toward Buckingham’s residence. On the way, d’Artagnan explains what little he knows about the Queen’s predicament, and Buckingham, who knows more, realizes how dire the situation is. He is so eager to return the diamonds and save Queen Anne's reputation that he lets his horse trample anyone in his path.

At his palace, Buckingham gets out the diamonds and immediately goes pale. The Queen gave him twelve diamonds, but he counts only ten in the box. He concludes correctly that the two missing diamonds were stolen by Milady, the Cardinal’s agent in England.

To help the Queen, Buckingham needs to do two things. First, he needs to get a full set of diamonds...

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Chapter 22 Summary

On the night of the ball, the King arrives late and seems annoyed when he sees that the Queen is not wearing the diamonds he asked her to wear. Looking miserable, she murmurs that she did not want to wear them because she was afraid they might get lost. This obviously annoys him. 

The King and Queen go to their private dressing rooms to prepare for the first dance. When the King emerges, Cardinal Richelieu approaches him and says that the Queen does not have her diamonds—or if she does, she is missing two. To prove it, the Cardinal hands the King a small box containing two diamonds. He urges the King to ask the Queen how she lost them.

But when the Queen emerges from her dressing room, she is wearing the...

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Chapter 23 Summary

When d’Artagnan arrives home, he finds Planchet looking spooked. While both of them were out, with the doors and windows all locked, a letter mysteriously appeared on a table inside the apartment. Planchet suspects witchcraft, and d’Artagnan should probably suspect foul play. But d'Artagnan is too happy about the letter’s existence to bother his head about how it arrived.

The letter is from Madame Bonacieux, and it instructs him to go to the town of Saint-Cloud and wait outside a certain lodge at ten o’clock that very evening. After reading this, he immediately launches into a series of daydreams about what may happen when he meets his young mistress. He sets out to run some errands and, seeing Monsieur...

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Chapter 24 Summary

Planchet acts worried and superstitious throughout the ride to d’Artagnan’s meeting with Madame Bonacieux. D’Artagnan is annoyed, he begins to suspect that Planchet is planning disloyalty. Ordering Planchet to check into an inn for the night, d’Artagnan goes on alone.

Just before ten o’clock, d’Artagnan arrives at Madame Bonacieux’s appointed spot, a remote little lodge. Her note said to wait outside, and he does exactly that. For half an hour, he stands still, happily daydreaming about the evening ahead. By eleven, he grows worried. He checks the note to make sure he has the right spot and the right time. He did everything properly, so where is Madame Bonacieux?

Eventually d’Artagnan climbs...

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Chapter 25 Summary

As usual, d’Artagnan goes to Monsieur de Tréville for help and advice. Tréville thinks the Cardinal must be responsible for Madame Bonacieux’s abduction, but he does not know what can be done. He promises to find out all he can and to inform the Queen. He urges d’Artagnan to get out of Paris in the meantime.

It is seven o’clock in the morning when d’Artagnan arrives home. Monsieur Bonacieux is standing in his doorway, and he teases d’Artagnan about being out all night and coming home with his boots covered in mud. D’Artagnan notices that Bonacieux looks tired and muddy himself, and suddenly he realizes that Bonacieux was probably the fat man with the kidnappers at the lodge last night. D’Artagnan is...

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Chapter 26 Summary

D’Artagnan rides to the hotel where he left Aramis, who is still there, still recovering from the gunshot wound he obtained on the road. When d’Artagnan arrives, he is told that the recent wound gave Aramis a religious awakening. He has decided to pursue his long-standing plan to leave the Musketeers and become a priest.

When d’Artagnan enters Aramis's room, his friend is deep in discussion with two priests about the topic he will choose for a thesis he must write before being accepted to the priesthood. The more educated of the two priests, a member of a branch of Catholicism called the Jesuits, feels that young prospective priests should train their minds by focusing on highly specific, concrete topics. He...

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Chapter 27 Summary

In the morning, Aramis sees his magnificent new horse, and he is thrilled. However, he is still too weak from his gunshot wound to ride. Because of this, d’Artagnan leaves Aramis behind and rides on alone to find Athos. On the way, d’Artagnan reflects that Athos is a mysterious person. He is effortlessly noble but also prone to deep periods of depression. Still, of the three Musketeers, d’Artagnan likes and admires Athos most.

Soon d’Artagnan arrives at the hotel where the innkeeper accused Athos of carrying counterfeit money. D’Artagnan finds this innkeeper and questions him sternly, making clear that no lowly commoner should ever dare to make accusations—especially false ones—against a nobleman like...

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Chapter 28 Summary

In the morning, Athos seems to regret having told d’Artagnan about his past. He pretends that last night’s story was made up. D’Artagnan does not believe this, but he does not know how to say so. As he hesitates, Athos changes the subject.

Athos explains that he has been awake since dawn. He got bored, so he decided to do some gambling. Unfortunately, he lost both his beautiful new horse and d’Artagnan’s. D’Artagnan is horrified, especially when Athos explains that in an attempt to get both horses back, he bet d’Artagnan’s diamond ring and lost it as well. Outraged, d’Artagnan says that Athos had no right to do such a thing, but Athos shushes him and says that he kept gambling, this time offering to...

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Chapter 29 Summary

D’Artagnan is worried, not only about money, but also about Madame Bonacieux. He spends all of his time searching for one or the other. Porthos and Aramis also spend their time looking for ways to raise money, but Athos refuses to leave his house. He tells his friends that money will find him before the battle. He adds that if it does not, he will simply challenge a series of Englishmen to duels. England is now France’s enemy, so if Athos gets himself killed by an Englishman—which he will be sure to do if he battles enough of them—then he will have died in the service of his king.

One day, d’Artagnan spots Porthos entering a church. Curious, d’Artagnan follows and watches as Porthos leans against a pillar....

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Chapter 30 Summary

Milady leaves the church in a carriage, and d’Artagnan cannot follow on foot. He borrows two horses and tries to convince Athos to come along and help with his investigation into Madame Bonacieux's whereabouts. Athos refuses, saying that women are not worth saving and that d’Artagnan should let his mistress remain lost. This does not discourage d’Artagnan, who orders Planchet to come along instead.

As they ride up the road, d’Artagnan and Planchet happen to see Lubin, the lackey who serves the Comte de Wardes, the gentleman d’Artagnan injured in a duel during his journey to England. Planchet offers to speak to Lubin and find out what happened to his master. D’Artagnan agrees. Because he does not want to be...

(The entire section is 449 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

D’Artagnan and his friends arrive on time for their duel with Lord de Winter and his friends. The English have a custom of introducing themselves before duels, so they all exchange names. Lord de Winter’s friends are annoyed when they hear the three Musketeers’ names, which are obviously fake. One of the Englishmen points out that it is only appropriate for gentlemen to duel other gentlemen. If he does not know his opponent’s name, how can he be sure that he is fighting someone of noble blood?

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis find this argument reasonable, so they each take one Englishman aside and whisper their real names. Afterward, Athos says calmly that he cannot allow his real name to become public; now that he...

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Chapter 32 Summary

At lunchtime the day after the duel with the Englishmen, Porthos goes to the home of Madame Coquenard and her husband, a retired lawyer. Porthos has never been allowed to visit his mistress at home before. Upon arrival, he is feeling lovesick, but his tender feelings focus less on his mistress herself than on her money and its benefit to him.

When Porthos arrives at the house, he is not sure what to make of it. The building is dingy, which is a sign of poverty. However, three clerks and a messenger boy are all at work inside, and he knows that only a prosperous law practice would have so many employees. Porthos deduces that Monsieur Coquenard is wealthy but miserly—a judgment that matches Madame Coquenard’s...

(The entire section is 461 words.)

Chapter 33 Summary

Over Athos’s objections, d’Artagnan continues to visit Milady daily. After one of his visits, the maidservant, Kitty, takes him by the hand and leads him to her small bedroom. There she warns him to be careful: Milady secretly despises d’Artagnan and wants to hurt him. She shows d’Artagnan a note that Milady has written to the Comte de Wardes. The sight of it makes d'Artagnan furious. He grabs the letter, rips it open, and reads an invitation to an illicit nighttime visit. He is heartbroken at the realization that Milady has chosen another man over him.

During her conversation with d’Artagnan, Kitty admits that she loves him. D'Artagnan, sensing an opportunity to take revenge on Milady, immediately answers...

(The entire section is 520 words.)

Chapter 34 Summary

D’Artagnan and his three friends have not spent much time together since they began looking for funds to outfit themselves for war. One day they all meet at Athos’s apartment. Only Porthos seems sure that he will succeed in his quest to get his battle gear in time. D’Artagnan feels optimistic in spite of a general lack of prospects, whereas Aramis is uncertain enough to have resumed his plans of entering the priesthood. Athos, as usual, claims not to care.

Not long after the friends meet, Porthos is called away by a worried-looking Mousqueton, who says there is something he must see. Moments later, Aramis is called away by Bazin, who says that a beggar has asked to speak to him.

Aramis returns home to...

(The entire section is 463 words.)

Chapter 35 Summary

That evening, d’Artagnan goes to see Milady, who seems unusually cheerful. He knows that this good mood is the result of the note he wrote her in the name of de Wardes. When he leaves her, he sneaks into Kitty’s room, where he finds Kitty sobbing. She knows that d’Artagnan is planning to sleep with Milady tonight under false pretenses, and she begs him not to do it. D’Artagnan comforts Kitty but goes through with his plan anyway.

When the time for the supposed visit from de Wardes nears, Milady asks Kitty to turn out all the lights. In the darkness, d’Artagnan goes into Milady’s room and pretends to be de Wardes. She believes his lie, and he is surprised to find it painful to hear the woman he loves call him...

(The entire section is 456 words.)

Chapter 36 Summary

Intending to keep his promise to Athos, d’Artagnan avoids Milady for two days. On the third day, she sends him a letter asking why he has stopped visiting her. She invites him so kindly to see her that he decides to accept the invitation. Kitty, who is responsible for delivering his answer to Milady, begs him to change his mind. He rationalizes his choice by saying that Milady might become suspicious if he does not do what she wants.

When d’Artagnan arrives at Milady’s house, she looks ill and feverish. It is clear to him that the trick he played, sleeping with her and then rejecting her in the name of de Wardes, has badly upset her. In spite of her obvious unhappiness, however, she greets d’Artagnan far more...

(The entire section is 453 words.)

Chapter 37 Summary

D’Artagnan knows perfectly well that Milady is a cruel woman with no conscience and that she does not love him. Nevertheless, he is madly in love with her. He knows that he should confess that it was he and not de Wardes who slept with her and then spurned her, but he still wants revenge. He goes to meet her as promised.

When d’Artagnan returns to Milady's home that evening, Kitty begs him to turn around and leave. He brushes her aside and goes into Milady’s room. Kitty could stop him if she told Milady the truth—but she knows that she would lose her job, her future job prospects, and d’Artagnan’s goodwill if she ever admitted her role in his revenge scheme. She decides to do nothing.

...

(The entire section is 419 words.)

Chapter 38 Summary

People laugh and shout at d’Artagnan as he runs, half-dressed in women’s clothing, through the streets of Paris. He is so upset by what he has just seen that he pays no attention to their taunts. He sprints all the way to Athos’s apartment and lets himself inside.

Grimaud fails to recognize d’Artagnan, taking him at first for a woman and then for a madman in woman’s clothes. He shouts for help, but d’Artagnan just tells him to shut up and get Athos. At this moment, Athos wanders in and, seeing d’Artagnan’s outfit, bursts into laughter.

D’Artagnan tells Athos they need to speak privately, and the two of them retreat to the bedroom. There, d’Artagnan takes off the women’s clothes and puts...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Chapter 39 Summary

On the last day before leaving for war, the four friends all gather at Athos’s apartment. They are all in a good mood because they have good horses, good weapons, plenty of money, and an adventure to look forward to. As they chat among themselves, Planchet enters with two letters for d’Artagnan.

The first letter is unsigned, but d’Artagnan recognizes the handwriting of Madame Bonacieux. Her note is brief, but it says that she is planning to pass by a certain road this very evening. She tells him that he may come and see her, but only if he comes alone and refrains from any attempt to speak to her as she passes. According to her, they will both be in grave danger if he disobeys these requests. The three Musketeers...

(The entire section is 472 words.)

Chapter 40 Summary

Cardinal Richelieu stares at d’Artagnan for a long time, so long that the young man’s nervousness grows to full-fledged fear. When the Cardinal finally begins to speak, he summarizes all of d’Artagnan’s activities over the past few months. Since most of these actions were harmful to the Cardinal, whether d’Artagnan specifically meant them to be or not, d’Artagnan is alarmed. However, when the Cardinal finishes his list, he says that he is not angry. On the contrary, he seems rather impressed:

Could you incur my displeasure for carrying out orders from your superiors with more courage and intelligence than most men would have done? I punish those who fail in obedience, not those who like...

(The entire section is 449 words.)

Chapter 41 Summary

The day after d’Artagnan’s meeting with the Cardinal, all of the Musketeers and guards in Paris march off to war. They have to travel to the coast of France to take part in the siege of La Rochelle, a military endeavor that will ultimately become one of the most important efforts of Louis XIII’s reign. The conflict is supposedly about religion, because La Rochelle is a stronghold of Protestants, whereas the French are Catholic. In actual fact, the conflict is about two men’s infatuation with Queen Anne. The Duke of Buckingham brings English forces to fight on the side of La Rochelle because he wants the right to enter France and visit the Queen. Meanwhile, on the French side, the Cardinal hopes to impress the Queen by...

(The entire section is 555 words.)

Chapter 42 Summary

D’Artagnan is beginning to make more friends among the guards, but he is nevertheless lonely for his Musketeer comrades. As such, he is overjoyed when he receives a shipment of a dozen bottles of good wine from them as a gift. Eager to celebrate, he invites his two best guardsmen friends to dinner and instructs Planchet to take care of the arrangements. Planchet, in turn, asks for help from Brisemont, the common soldier who once attempted to kill d’Artagnan but is now loyal to him.

When the dinner begins, d'Artagnan decants a bottle of cloudy wine into a pitcher. Lower-class people do not normally drink anything as fine as wine, but Brisemont looks a bit sick, so d’Artagnan allows him to drink the dregs in the...

(The entire section is 429 words.)

Chapter 43 Summary

Now that the King has reached La Rochelle, the fighting begins. At first, the campaign goes well for the French, with the tactics handled primarily by Cardinal Richelieu. He receives constant visits from poorly disguised spies who sneak into his headquarters under the cover of darkness. He also receives several visits from assassins who try to kill him. According to rumor, some of the assassins are fake, hired by the Cardinal himself so that he can accuse his enemies of poor conduct. 

The Musketeers’ role in the battle is primarily to defend the King, so they are not often on the front lines. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, as favorites of Monsieur de Tréville, often receive passes to go out drinking in town at night....

(The entire section is 420 words.)

Chapter 44 Summary

The three Musketeers wait for the Cardinal. Porthos and Aramis start a game of dice while Athos paces the room. Whenever he passes the stovepipe, he hears the murmurs of the conversation that is taking place in the lady’s room upstairs. On one such occasion, he hears the name Milady and freezes in place, realizing that the lady upstairs is his former wife and d’Artagnan’s enemy. The other two Musketeers join him at the stovepipe, and they eavesdrop on an important conversation between the Cardinal and his spy.

The Duke of Buckingham’s army has been forced to retreat temporarily from La Rochelle, and the Cardinal wants him to stay away. The Cardinal tells Milady to go to London and threaten to reveal detailed...

(The entire section is 444 words.)

Chapter 45 Summary

When the Cardinal comes downstairs after his conference with Milady, he asks what happened to Athos. Following Athos's instructions, the other Musketeers claim that he rode ahead to scout for thieves and assassins. The Cardinal accepts this explanation and asks the remaining two men to get ready to go.

Meanwhile, Athos has circled his horse around to a place where he can see the doors of the inn without being seen himself. He watches his friends leave with the Cardinal and then gallops back to the inn's doors. Somewhat breathlessly, he tells the landlord that the Cardinal sent him to give Milady one more bit of information. 

Athos runs upstairs, sees Milady, and sees that she is indeed the wife he thought...

(The entire section is 532 words.)

Chapter 46 Summary

The following morning, d’Artagnan tells his friends that the night’s battle was bad, and that both sides lost several men. When his friends hint that they, too, had an interesting night, he asks for details. Athos says that he does not want their conversation to be overheard, so he suggests talking over breakfast at a nearby inn.

Unfortunately, the inn is far more crowded than Athos expects. The friends sit down near a little group of soldiers and mercenaries, who strike up a conversation. The men are friendly, but Athos is annoyed because he does not consider it safe to tell secrets in front of such strangers. To get away from them, he suggests a bet: he, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan will spend an hour alone at...

(The entire section is 444 words.)

Chapter 47 Summary

At the bastion, the Musketeers and d'Artagnan take muskets and ammunition from all the corpses while Grimaud lays out their picnic. When everything is ready, the four friends sit down to eat. Athos sends Grimaud a little distance away with his own food, directing him to keep watch while he has his breakfast.

As the meal begins, Athos says calmly that he saw Milady yesterday. This is the first d’Artagnan has heard of her presence near La Rochelle, and the news makes him extremely nervous. After all, she has already tried to kill him twice and will certainly do so again. With breezy unconcern, Athos confirms that she asked the Cardinal to kill d'Artagnan just last night. D'Artagnan shudders.

At this point,...

(The entire section is 649 words.)

Chapter 48 Summary

As usual, d’Artagnan and his friends are out of money. On this occasion, their need is particularly great because it will cost money to send the dangerous messages that will thwart Milady's mission. Because of this, D'Artagnan finally gives in and sells his precious diamond ring from the Queen. Its sale provides plenty of money for everything they need to do. 

The four friends elect Aramis, who is the most educated of the group, to write the letters. First he writes a subtly worded note to Milady's brother-in-law, Lord de Winter. In it, he explains truthfully that Milady was already married before she married Lord de Winter's brother, that she has a fleur-de-lis branded on her shoulder, and that she wants Lord de...

(The entire section is 445 words.)

Chapter 49 Summary

Milady's journey to England is slow and frustrating. She is desperately worried after her confrontation with Athos, and she repeatedly considers aborting the Cardinal's mission and returning to France to deal with her own problems. At one point she demands that the captain of her ship return to the French shore, but he refuses, unwilling to take extra risks during wartime travel just to satisfy a whim he does not understand.

After a difficult passage, Milady's ship finally approaches the English port. As it makes its way toward shore, she sees a proud military fleet and glimpses Buckingham on board. She gets excited as she thinks of the major role she is about to play in his demise.

Just before Milady's ship...

(The entire section is 414 words.)

Chapter 50 Summary

Alone with her brother-in-law, Milady remains silent for some time, calculating. She has, in fact, committed many crimes that might make him want to lock her up, but she is not sure which of them he knows about. She resolves not to say anything at all until she knows for sure; otherwise she might accidentally condemn herself twice.

Nevertheless, Milady is glad that, of all her enemies, it is Lord de Winter who has captured her. He is not terribly treacherous, nor is he very cunning. She has little doubt that she will outmaneuver him and escape in no time. However, for now she smiles politely, waiting for him to give away some clue about his intentions.

Lord de Winter asks why Milady has returned to England,...

(The entire section is 441 words.)

Chapter 51 Summary

In the camp outside La Rochelle, the Cardinal falls is beginning to worry. All of the news he hears from England is bad. Meanwhile, the King is getting bored with the state of siege. He thought warfare would be more entertaining, and he keeps pressuring the Cardinal to make the campaign more interesting. The Cardinal knows that his current tactics give him the best chance of winning, so he works hard to entertain the King by staging frequent executions of traitors and spies. 

Meanwhile, Milady has disappeared, and the Cardinal does not know what to think. He had thought he could trust her, not for her loyalty, but because she always seemed to be hiding some dark secret from which only he could protect her. However,...

(The entire section is 489 words.)

Chapter 52 Summary

Back in England, alone in her room in Lord de Winter's castle, Milady decides that d’Artagnan is to blame for her current predicament. He outwitted her in the affair of the diamond studs. He tricked her in the episode with de Wardes. It must have been he who told Lord de Winter about her former marriage and her fleur-de-lis. She seethes with hatred and vows revenge—but first she must escape her imprisonment.

In order to get free, Milady needs the physical strength to cut through the bars on her window or the speed to outrun pursuers. In other words, she needs the help of a man. She has spent the night raging and crying, but now she forces herself to stop. Within a few minutes, she looks as beautiful and composed as...

(The entire section is 455 words.)

Chapter 53 Summary

That night, Milady dreams of revenge against d'Artagnan. Because of this, she wakes up feeling happy. She spends the first few hours of her day making sure that she looks pale and beautiful. When Mr. Felton enters with her breakfast, she pretends to be ill. Mr. Felton offers to bring a doctor, but she refuses, saying that a doctor will merely mock her pain the way Lord de Winter did yesterday. Her pretended sincerity seems to render Mr. Felton unsure of himself, which pleases her. She feels she has the advantage as long as he is unsettled.

Later, when Mr. Felton brings Milady a prayer book, he betrays a mild distaste for Catholicism. This intrigues her, so she surreptitiously studies his austere clothing and mannerisms....

(The entire section is 417 words.)

Chapter 54 Summary

Milady's prospects are improving, but she has not won her freedom yet. She knows that she needs to put continuous pressure on Mr. Felton in order to bewitch him completely. She is trying to seem angelic to him, and she knows that he might see through her game if she makes even the slightest mistake. Therefore she resolves to behave perfectly at all times, remaining in character even when the door is locked and she is alone.

From then on, when Lord de Winter visits, Milady acts meek and silent, only occasionally speaking up if she can think of something pious to say. He clearly finds this annoying, and he tries to goad her into giving away her real personality. She wants Mr. Felton to see a strong contrast between Lord...

(The entire section is 434 words.)

Chapter 55 Summary

The following morning, Mr. Felton finds Milady standing on a chair holding a rope she has made of old cloth. She hops down, sits in the chair, and hides the rope beneath her. She insists that nothing untoward is going on, but she also makes sure that he sees just enough to think exactly what she wants him to think—that she was on the point of hanging herself. He begs her not to commit the sin of suicide, but she says that death is the only way she can avoid a worse fate.

As Mr. Felton listens in concern, Milady says that if she does not die now, Lord de Winter will give her to Buckingham. Mr. Felton begs her to be clear about what will happen after that, but she pretends to be too embarrassed to say any more. He says...

(The entire section is 409 words.)

Chapter 56 Summary

Milady spends the evening thinking about Lord de Winter's plans, as well as her own. She knows that if she somehow fails with Mr. Felton, she will be sent to the colonies. Naturally she will find her way back again, but she will lose a year or more in the process. By then, d'Artagnan will already be the winner of their little battle, and the Cardinal will no longer care enough to help her with her revenge. She could not stand that, so she cannot let Lord de Winter win.

Milady is quite confident that she can convince Mr. Felton to help her, but she wishes he were not a fool and a Puritan. It is far easier to manipulate a sinner like d’Artagnan, who is primarily interested in his own bodily desires. With a religious man...

(The entire section is 573 words.)

Chapter 57 Summary

Continuing the story she has made up to manipulate Mr. Felton, Milady says that she spent several more days in captivity. Her captor refused to free her, and he refused her any weapon with which to kill herself. She, in turn, refused to touch any food or water, and she continued to swear that she would denounce him if she let her go. Ultimately, he decided to make sure nobody would believe her denunciation. He had her branded as a whore.

After describing the pain and shame of the branding, Milady dramatically opens her dress and shows Mr. Felton the mark of shame on her shoulder. Aghast, he weeps and begs her to forgive him for unknowingly helping the men who have been tormenting her. She serenely offers him her hand as...

(The entire section is 480 words.)

Chapter 58 Summary

When the doctor arrives, he confirms that Milady’s wound is not serious. In the morning, she keeps to her bed, pretending weakness. However, by midday she decides to dress and eat so that she will be strong enough to escape if the opportunity arises. Unfortunately, she is not sure it will.

Mr. Felton does not come to see Milady, and the guards who bring her meals are not the ones she knows. The only good development is that someone has boarded up the small window in her door. This means she can pace the room and curse her brother-in-law without being seen from outside.

When Lord de Winter arrives to visit Milady that evening, he says that he has sent Mr. Felton away lest she finish corrupting him. She will...

(The entire section is 442 words.)

Chapter 59 Summary

At Portsmouth, as Mr. Felton says good-bye to Milady, he feels nervous. However, he believes in her completely, and he is committed to taking revenge for the crimes he believes were committed against her. He arrives at Buckingham's residence looking disheveled, and the guards are not inclined to trust him. However, he is carrying the sealed letter containing the orders for Milady's exile. The guards know that this letter comes from Lord de Winter, a friend of Buckingham’s, so they usher Mr. Felton inside.

Another man, whom the servants do not recognize, arrives at Buckingham’s residence at the same time as Mr. Felton. The stranger refuses to say whom he represents, so Mr. Felton is shown inside first. He hands over...

(The entire section is 496 words.)

Chapter 60 Summary

Charles I, the King of England, makes every effort to prevent the news of Buckingham's death from reaching France. He stops all ships from leaving Portsmouth so that nobody can pass messages between the two countries. However two ships leave the port before the King takes this measure. One carries Milady, and the other carries Lord de Winter.

Meanwhile, back in France, d'Artagnan is impatient to rescue Madame Bonacieux from the convent where she is staying. However, as a Musketeer, he must stay by the side of King Louis XIII. As long as the King remains at La Rochelle, no Musketeers are granted leaves of absence.

D'Artagnan has a stroke of luck when the King becomes bored with the siege and announces that he...

(The entire section is 456 words.)

Chapter 61 Summary

At this point, the narrator of The Three Musketeers skips back in time to the afternoon before d'Artagnan sees the man of Meung in Arras. When Milady arrives in France, she immediately sends a note to the Cardinal to say that Buckingham is either dead or gravely wounded. (She did not stay in England long enough to confirm the death for certain.) In the meantime, according to a prearranged plan with the Cardinal, she makes her way to a certain Carmelite convent to await further orders.

At the convent, the Mother Superior asks Milady for news. Milady tells several stories about intrigues at court, and the old nun seems very interested. Milady tries hard to please; it is in her interests to make the nuns at the...

(The entire section is 430 words.)

Chapter 62 Summary

In her room at the convent, Milady holds a hurried meeting with Count Rochefort. In a rush, she explains that she is almost certain Buckingham has been murdered. She minimizes her role in the events, saying only that “some fanatic” had attacked Buckingham. Rochefort calls this “a piece of luck.”  

As the conversation continues, Milady quickly explains her accidental discovery of Madame Bonacieux, as well as the news about d'Artagnan's imminent arrival at the convent with his three friends. Milady asks Rochefort to urge the Cardinal to arrest d'Artagnan and Athos. She says that Aramis and Porthos should be left alone, Aramis because his relationship with Madame de Chevreuse could prove useful to the Cardinal...

(The entire section is 436 words.)

Chapter 63 Summary

As soon as Rochefort leaves, Milady speaks privately to Madame Bonacieux, lying and saying that  the Cardinal has sent imposters in Musketeer uniforms to recapture her. Terrified, and convinced that Milady is trustworthy, Madame Bonacieux begs for advice. Milady says that they need to create an escape plan in place in case the imposters arrive before d’Artagnan does. Madame Bonacieux is not allowed to leave the convent without permission, but Milady devises a simple escape scheme that should manage to fool the nuns. 

In spite of her recent role in the Queen’s love intrigues, Madame Bonacieux is not nearly as experienced an adventurer as Milady. Full of doubt, Madame Bonacieux asks a dizzying series of questions....

(The entire section is 424 words.)

Chapter 64 Summary

After ensuring that d’Artagnan is safe in a private room where he can grieve, Athos finds the four lackeys and gives them detailed instructions to search the roads leading toward Armentières. Planchet, whom Athos considers the most intelligent, is chosen to follow the road she probably traveled. The other three are assigned to search the other available roads, just in case. He instructs the men to find her and keep watch surreptitiously while one of them returns to show the Musketeers where to find her.

At this point, the narrator comments that Athos is doing a good job organizing the search for Milady. Musketeers are highly visible, and if Athos himself pursued Milady, she might be warned. On the other hand, lackeys...

(The entire section is 414 words.)

Chapter 65 Summary

The four friends and their companions ride toward Armentières, continuing their journey even after darkness falls and a storm begins to blow. When the rain starts, everyone except d'Artangan puts on a cloak. D'Artagnan just takes off his hat and lets the storm soak him.

At Armentières, the travelers find Grimaud, who informs Athos that Milady has moved on. He leads them to a tiny house by the river, where they find Bazin and Mousqueton standing guard. They say that Milady is inside alone, so Athos approaches the window while d’Artagnan sneaks up to the door. When they are both in place, they break in and corner their enemy. D'Artagnan advances, clearly intending to kill Milady at once, but Athos calls him back. "We...

(The entire section is 436 words.)

Chapter 66 Summary

Grimaud and Mousqueton hold Milady by the arms on the way to her execution. As they walk, she mutters that she will pay them generously if they help her escape. Athos sees her talking and orders them away from her. To the others, he adds that it is not possible to trust any man to whom she has spoken. He sends Planchet and Bazin to guard Milady for the rest of the walk.

At the bank of the river, Milady begins shouting accusations. She says the men are cowardly to attack an unarmed woman, but they reply that she deserves it. She says they are planning murder, but they reply calmly that a public executioner has permission to kill criminals. She asks who gave them the right to judge her, and they point out that she has...

(The entire section is 424 words.)

Chapter 67 and Epilogue Summary

On the way back to La Rochelle, the King and his Musketeers are all in a dreary mood. The King, who gets bored easily, is not eager to return to the drudgery of the slow-paced siege. The Musketeers who guard him take their cues from his behavior. Even the few among them who tend toward natural cheerfulness—such as Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan—seem unhappy.

When the King stops to hunt magpies one day, d’Artagnan and his friends go to a tavern for a drink. Shortly after they sit down, a dark-haired man approaches. It is none other than the man of Meung, also known as the Comte de Rochefort. D’Artagnan leaps to his feet and demands a duel immediately, but Rochefort has other ideas. He has come to place...

(The entire section is 697 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear