Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised 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...
(The entire section is 378 words.)
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Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
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...
(The entire section is 2167 words.)
The Three Musketeers is a historical romance, filled with adventure. Its brave and gallant heroes are generous to those who need help, chivalrous to women, and above all loyal to each other as their famous motto proclaims: "All for one, one for all." Their adventures may sometimes appear far-fetched, but the musketeers believe in their own abilities so strongly and carry off their deeds with such style that the reader has little difficulty in believing them capable of all that they do. The individual characters are easily distinguishable, but they are not profoundly developed, for fast paced and suspenseful action is more important to Dumas's storytelling than is character. Dumas clearly differentiates good and evil characters, although the novel's treatment of good and evil is not as straightforward as it might first appear. The society of the period differs considerably from today's, and the novel provides an interesting look at seventeenth-century social hierarchy, religion, and relationships between men and women.
(The entire section is 160 words.)
Part I: Chapters One through Ten
Young, ambitious d'Artagnan goes to Paris to seek his fortune, bearing a letter of introduction to Monsieur de Treville, captain of the King's Musketeers. He is impetuous and proud, and at his first stop at an inn, he gets into a fight with a nobleman who makes fun of his horse. The man's henchmen beat up d'Artagnan, but when he returns to consciousness, he sees the man talking to a beautiful woman in a carriage, calling her "Milady," before they set off. When he checks his belongings, he finds out that the man has stolen his letter of introduction.
He goes to see de Treville anyway and is impressed by the dash and swagger of all the Musketeers he sees at de Treville's headquarters. De Treville says he will help d'Artagnan but that he can't be a Musketeer before proving his worth, so he makes d'Artagnan a member of the King's Guards, a position that will allow him to prove himself worthy. D'Artagnan sees his enemy from the inn, "The Man from Meung," and runs out to attack him. On the way, he inadvertently insults Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, three Musketeers, and they each challenge him to a duel later that day.
When he arrives at the dueling ground, the Musketeers are surprised that they are all scheduled to fight the same man. However, d'Artagnan is a man of his word and is determined to fight even though he knows they will probably kill him. This courage and honor impresses them. When...
(The entire section is 4096 words.)
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 townspeople see a young man, not quite fully grown, whose facial features indicate that he comes from Gascon, a province known for its quarrelsome people. This young man’s name is d’Artagnan, and the narrator compares him to a fictional character named Don Quixote. Both characters are lordly, adventurous, and prone to fighting.
Just a few days ago, d’Artagnan left his home in Gascon to seek his fortune. Before he went away, he received advice from his father, the elder Monsieur d’Artagnan, to be courageous and fight as many duels as possible. Along with these wise words, Monsieur d’Artagnan offered his son an old, ugly yellow horse; fifteen crowns in coins; and a letter of recommendation to Monsieur de Tréville, the captain of the musketeers, the elite fighting force that guards King Louis XIII. Before leaving home, d’Artagnan also said good-bye to his mother, who gave him a recipe for a medicine that heals wounds quickly.
When d’Artagnan arrives in Meung on his ridiculous yellow horse, a stranger ridicules the animal. D’Artagnan flies into a rage and challenges the man, who has dark hair and a scar on his temple, to a duel. The stranger thinks d’Artagnan is crazy, but d’Artagnan refuses to back down. The hotel staff attacks him with brooms and shovels, breaking his sword and knocking him out.
While d’Artagnan is unconscious, the hotel owner speaks to the dark-haired man, reporting that d’Artagnan is carrying nothing of consequence except a bit of money and a letter to Monsieur de Tréville. The dark-haired man thinks privately to himself that Tréville must have arranged the attack. He asks to see the letter, and then he hurries to leave.
(The entire section is 541 words.)
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 adviser of King Louis XIII, and he is widely known to hold all the real power in France. The people of France are fiercely loyal to both men, but the Musketeers are primarily loyal to the King. The Musketeers count themselves as enemies to the Cardinal and his separate group of bodyguards.
When d’Artagnan arrives at the headquarters of the Musketeers, he is amazed at the bravery, gallantry, and recklessness of the men he sees there. On his way to Monsieur de Tréville’s office, he sees four men fighting on the stairs, not with dull fencing blades, but with real swords. He finds this impressive.
D’Artagnan’s admiration turns to outrage when he arrives at the room outside Tréville’s office and hears people ridiculing Cardinal Richelieu. In Gascony, people are equally loyal to the King and the Cardinal, so d’Artagnan has never heard anyone speak disrespectfully of the latter. As he listens to the Musketeers make fun of Richelieu’s appearance and his mistress, d’Artagnan wonders if he might be arrested just for hearing this.
While d’Artagnan waits to speak to Tréville, he notices two of the Musketeers particularly. Porthos is a tall gentleman wearing an expensive gold cloak over his uniform, and Aramis is a slender fellow who seems obsessed with his own appearance. As he listens to these men’s conversation, d’Artagnan learns that Aramis wants to become a priest someday.
While d’Artagnan listens, Porthos and Aramis begin a strange argument. They mention many illustrious people, including the Queen of France, her friend Madame de Chevreuse, and a prominent English nobleman named the Duke of Buckingham. Both grow angry, but D’Artagnan is not sure why. When...
(The entire section is 436 words.)
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 attacked by surprise. Two of their men were killed before anyone could react, and besides, Aramis killed one of the Cardinal’s men with his own sword. This last piece of news seems to cheer Tréville somewhat.
During this conversation, it becomes clear that Athos was gravely wounded during the fight. Moments later, Athos appears in the doorway, proudly dressed in his Musketeer uniform even though he is pale and weak. He apologizes for losing the fight, and he impresses everyone present by acting gallant and brave in spite of his injury. When he faints from loss of blood, everyone rushes him to a surgeon.
After it becomes clear that Athos will live, Monsieur de Tréville turns his attention to d’Artagnan. The young man introduces himself, explains who his father is, and states his intention of becoming a Musketeer someday. Tréville is kind but says that newcomers to Paris must serve in some other fighting force for a couple of years, or distinguish themselves grandly in some way, before being accepted among the Musketeers. He offers to write d’Artagnan a letter to get him admitted for free into the Royal Academy, where he can learn fighting, riding, and dancing.
D’Artagnan expected a bit more than this, so he hurriedly says that he had a letter of introduction from his father, which was stolen by a dark-haired man with a scar on his temple. From the description, Tréville recognizes this man, who is a spy for the Cardinal. Tréville does not share this information aloud, and he grows suspicious that the Cardinal is using d'Artagnan to enact a plot against the Musketeers and King Louis XIII. Tréville tests d’Artagnan with several questions, trying to detect the ploy, but the boy...
(The entire section is 497 words.)
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 tangled up in the cloak. As he tries to extricate himself, he notices that it is not really all gold; in fact, it is rather cheap on the inside. He and Porthos exchange a few rude insults, and the next thing d’Artagnan knows, he has a second duel arranged for one o’clock.
There is no longer any sign of the man from Meung in the streets, so d’Artagnan has plenty of time to think over all that has happened in the last few minutes. He berates himself for running away from Monsieur de Tréville so abruptly, and for offending two Musketeers. It is a bad situation, partly because the Musketeers are the very people d’Artagnan admires most, and partly because they are known for being excellent fighters. Sadly, d’Artagnan resolves to face his two duels as bravely as possible and then, if he survives, to act more agreeable toward the Musketeers he meets in the future.
As d’Artagnan makes this resolution, he spots Aramis chatting with some fellow Musketeers on the street. Aramis drops a handkerchief and d’Artagnan, spotting an opportunity to make friends, picks it up to return it. Aramis waves it away, insisting that it does not belong to him. The others notice that it bears the crest of a noblewoman and begin to tease him. They say that Aramis must be having an affair with the owner of the handkerchief, and he flatly denies it. But he is annoyed, and by the end of this conversation, d’Artagnan has a third duel scheduled, this one at two o’clock.
By now it is almost time for d’Artagnan’s first duel. As he walks to meet Athos, he consoles himself with the following thought: “At least, if I am killed, I shall be killed by a Musketeer!”
(The entire section is 436 words.)
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. Someone would tell Monsieur de Tréville, and the fight would be prevented. After all, dueling is against the law.
Soon Athos’s seconds arrive, and d’Artagnan is amazed to see Porthos and Aramis again. Apparently these three Musketeers are best friends, and they always call on each other for support when they need to fight. However, all three seem shocked when they realize that they are all supposed to fight the same young Gascon.
Before beginning his duel with Athos, d’Artagnan apologizes to Porthos and Aramis. They frown, thinking that he is backing down, but he explains that he is only apologizing in advance in case Athos kills him and thus prevents him from meeting his other two obligations. This impresses them, and they accept his apology.
D’Artagnan and Athos draw their swords to begin their duel—but just then, five of the Cardinal’s guards ride into view. They threaten to arrest the duelers, and the Musketeers seem unsure of themselves. D’Artagnan listens as they debate whether it is more shameful to be arrested or to lose. They know that they will lose, if the three of them try to fight five guards alone.
This moment is a turning point in d’Artagnan’s life. He has no natural place in the general enmity between the King’s and Cardinal’s forces, so everyone advises him simply to run away. Instead he chooses to stay and fight on the side of the Musketeers. The three Musketeers do not think that such a young boy will be much help to them, but they appreciate his bravery anyway.
In the ensuing battle, d’Artagnan handles himself bravely. He fights so energetically that he wounds and disarms the leader of the guards. Afterward, he...
(The entire section is 496 words.)
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 does not know how to play, and he nearly gets hit in the face with the ball. Worried that he might get hurt and spoil his chances to meet the King, d’Artagnan chooses to watch from the sidelines instead.
Some of the Cardinal’s guards are nearby, and one of them taunts d’Artagnan for being afraid of a ball. D’Artagnan immediately challenges this man to a duel, and he does not seem fazed in the least when the man introduces himself as Bernajoux. As it happens, Bernajoux is known for being a ferocious dueler, but d’Artagnan is too new in Paris to know this. They fight in the street outside, and d’Artagnan wounds Bernajoux badly.
Near the end of this duel, Bernajoux’s friends notice his distress and attack d’Artagnan. The three Musketeers see d’Artagnan in trouble and join the brawl. Soon an outright riot begins. The Musketeers and their allies have more men, so the Cardinal’s guards retreat into the home of Monsieur de la Trémouille, a relative of Bernajoux’s.
After this retreat, the riot does not immediately stop. Some of the Musketeers want to burn down Monsieur de la Trémouille’s home, but the ringleaders—d’Artagnan and his three friends—need to leave and see the King. Their departure calms everyone else, and no more harm is done for the day.
King Louis XIII hears about this scandal and, with his characteristic weakness, runs away. Monsieur de Tréville tells d’Artagnan and the three Musketeers to lie low. In the meantime, Tréville conducts a series of nuanced political maneuvers to pressure the King to reward the victorious young men rather than punishing them for disobeying anti-dueling laws. Most importantly, he visits Monsieur de la...
(The entire section is 634 words.)
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 silence, he has trained his servant, Grimaud, to communicate in hand gestures instead of speech.
Porthos is large, overbearing, and talkative—although, to his credit, he does not care if anyone listens. He tries but fails to seem more lordly than Athos. Whereas Athos impresses effortlessly, Porthos spends a great deal of money and effort to make himself look noble—and he never quite achieves the right appearance. Mousqueton, his servant, is similarly bent on appearances. He accepts refurbished sets of Porthos’s old clothing as the principle payment for his work.
Aramis hopes someday to become a priest, and he often speaks in lofty, philosophical phrases that show how educated he is. He takes good care of his physical appearance, and everyone is sure that he has an important mistress—but Aramis refuses to brag about women because he is committed to preserving the privacy of the lady concerned. His servant, Bazin, dresses in black and acts dignified because he wants to be worthy of a master who will one day be a priest.
All three of these Musketeers are known to use false names in their daily life, and they refuse to reveal their real identities even to each other. Athos, in particular, is a great mystery because he almost certainly comes from an important noble family, but he refuses to speak about his past. His friends know that he has a few rich possessions: a beautiful bejeweled sword, a small portrait of a mysterious nobleman who looks a bit like him, and a locked gold box. However, none of these reveal much about him.
D’Artagnan, an intensely curious person, tries to learn all he can about his new friends. However, each of them guards his own secrets...
(The entire section is 430 words.)
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 is trying to dream up ways to make money, his landlord comes to his door to ask for help. Monsieur Bonacieux is not a brave man, and he speaks hesitantly as he tells his story, but d’Artagnan gradually learns that Madame Bonacieux works for her majesty the Queen of France as a seamstress. Recently, Madame Bonacieux has been acting on the Queen’s behalf to stop a plot involving the Queen’s English lover, the Duke of Buckingham. King Louis XIII, a jealous man, has banished Buckingham from France in order to keep him away from the Queen. Monsieur Bonacieux believes that agents of the Cardinal have written a forged letter in the name of the Queen to request that Buckingham sneak secretly into Paris to see her. If he does what she asks and gets caught, he might be killed—and the resulting scandal will badly embarrass the King and Queen both.
In order to protect her Queen, Madame Bonacieux has bravely been helping to warn Buckingham, but something has gone wrong. Madame Bonacieux has been kidnapped. Monsieur Bonacieux cannot do anything to help her on his own, so he begs d’Artagnan to save her. In return, he promises free rent and a large sum of money. Additionally, Bonacieux points out that helping Madame Bonacieux is, in this case, the same thing as helping the King and Queen. To d’Artagnan, all of these reasons are quite convincing. His interest is clinched when Monsieur Bonacieux describes the person who kidnapped his wife: a dark-haired nobleman with a scar on his temple, most likely the man from Meung.
Near the end of his conversation with Monsieur Bonacieux, d’Artagnan looks out the window and sees that they are being watched by none other than the man from Meung himself....
(The entire section is 456 words.)
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 Duke of Buckingham, whom the friends respect for his lordly grace and excellent sense of style.
D'Artagnan shares the news that the Duke of Buckingham is in Paris, probably because the Cardinal forged a letter from the Queen that asked him to come. Hearing this, Aramis suddenly grows excited. He says that recently, some of the Cardinal’s men addressed him as “Duke” just when he and a young lady, both of whom just happened to be draped in clothes that concealed their identities, were boarding a carriage together.
Men do not often just happen to be traveling in disguise with women unless they are having an affair, so Athos and Porthos laugh and tease Aramis. In an attempt to maintain his dignity—as well as the privacy of the woman involved—Aramis makes up a lame lie about studying theology with the young lady’s uncle and then offering to escort her home afterward. Nobody believes him.
During this story, only d’Artagnan keeps focused on the real point: the Cardinal’s men mistook Aramis and his mistress for the Duke of Buckingham in disguise. Aramis thinks so too, and he says that he has approximately the same size and build as Buckingham.
At this moment, the door bursts open, and Monsieur Bonacieux runs in. He says that a group of guards has come to arrest him, and he begs d’Artagnan and the Musketeers for help. The three Musketeers are ready to defend the man, but d’Artagnan tells them not to. He whispers to his landlord that he must play along now in order to solve the mystery. Monsieur Bonacieux seems unconvinced. Nevertheless, he is dragged away, and d’Artagnan turns to his three friends to tell them his plan.
(The entire section is 428 words.)
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 Planchet to find the three Musketeers, then rushes downstairs to help the poor woman.
D’Artagnan easily beats up the guards in Bonacieux’s apartment and tosses them into the street. He looks around the room and sees Madame Bonacieux sitting unconscious in a chair. He also finds a monogrammed handkerchief on the floor—one that looks exactly like the handkerchief Aramis dropped the day d’Artagnan first met him. By now d’Artagnan has learned not to meddle in others’ efforts to exchange handkerchiefs, which is something people do when they are having an affair, so he tucks the cloth into the lady’s pocket before she wakes up from her faint.
When Madame Bonacieux awakes, she thanks d’Artagnan for his help. She explains that she was kidnapped by the dark-haired man d’Artagnan calls the man from Meung, but she does not know his name. She managed to escape, and she came home hoping to give her husband an important piece of information.
D’Artagnan tells Madame Bonacieux that her husband is in prison and offers to help her in any way he can. His kindness is motivated by his sense of duty and justice, but even more than that, he is moved by her beauty. Within moments, he has decided that he is in love with her and wants her to become his mistress.
The guards will likely be back soon with reinforcements, so d’Artagnan asks Madame Bonacieux to walk up the street with him while they decide what to do next. She says she needs to speak to a man at the Louvre—the residence of the King and Queen—but that it is not safe for her to be seen there just yet. D’Artagnan takes her to Athos’s apartment, and then he delivers her message for her.
(The entire section is 549 words.)
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.
D’Artagnan wanders aimlessly through Paris for a while, then decides to stop by Aramis's apartment for a chat. On his way, he spots Madame Bonacieux, who is wearing a cloak and approaching Aramis's window. He slips into the shadows and watches as Madame Bonacieux taps on the shutter and passes a handkerchief through the window to another woman. Aramis is nowhere to be seen, and d’Artagnan is perplexed.
When Madame Bonacieux leaves, d’Artagnan follows her and offers to escort her wherever she is going. She agrees, and as they walk, d’Artagnan professes his love for her. She refuses to say whether or not she loves him back. She also tells him that she cannot reveal what she has been doing, and she claims she does not know Aramis. This last part annoys d’Artagnan, who cannot imagine that someone would knock on a man’s window at midnight if she did not even know his name.
After leaving Madame Bonacieux at a dark, mysterious house, d’Artagnan returns home to find Planchet looking nervous. He explains that Athos has been arrested by soldiers who mistook him for d’Artagnan. Just before being dragged away, Athos whispered to Planchet that d’Artagnan needed to remain free to unravel the mystery involving the Bonacieuxs, the Queen, and the Duke of Buckingham. Athos has promised to remain in jail for three days before revealing that he is not d’Artagnan.
D’Artagnan immediately runs to Monsieur de Tréville to explain that a Musketeer has been arrested. Although d’Artagnan does not find the captain, he does see a man and a woman walking together, both disguised in thick cloaks. He recognizes the woman as Madame Bonacieux, and he thinks the man is Aramis. Without really...
(The entire section is 489 words.)
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 husband is jealous of any loyalty she feels to anyone except him, so he drives away virtually all of her Spanish friends as well as the few friends she has made in Paris. Cardinal Richelieu gets rid of anyone the King misses, purely to torment her.
As if all this were not enough, the Queen is now suffering from the worry that her husband will kill the Duke of Buckingham for coming to Paris and sneaking into the Louvre to see her. She made sure Buckingham was informed that she did not write the letter asking him to come, but he refused to leave without seeing her. Three days ago, Madame Bonacieux was abducted on her way to meet him and bring him to the Louvre. Since then, the Queen has been living in an agony of uncertainty—but now, finally, Madame Bonacieux has freed herself and fulfilled her role.
In a short conversation with the Queen, the Duke of Buckingham proclaims that he will never stop loving her, no matter how many obstacles separate them. She begs him to forget about her, but he refuses. He says that he would wage war on France just to gain the right to be near her. The Queen comments that this sounds more like cruelty than love, but she is obviously impressed.
The Queen does not admit she loves Buckingham, but she does admit that she has been worried about him. She confesses that she dreams of him fallen in battle, and he replies that he has the same dream. He insists that this is proof that she loves him: “Would God send the same dreams to you as to me if you did not love me?”
Ultimately the Queen begs Buckingham to leave and to find some peaceful way to be allowed into Paris, so that she can see him from time to time without fearing that the King will have...
(The entire section is 494 words.)
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 arrested, which proves he must have done something wrong. Almost as an afterthought, the official adds that Monsieur Bonacieux is facing charges of high treason—an offense punishable by death.
Terrified, Monsieur Bonacieux resolves to do everything possible to cooperate with his captors. He tells the official everything he knows about his wife’s abduction. The official looks grave when Monsieur Bonacieux says that he has seen and could recognize the dark-haired man who kidnapped her. Soldiers toss Monsieur Bonacieux into a dungeon.
The following day, the official comes to the dungeon and announces that Monsieur Bonacieux is guilty of a new crime: involving d’Artagnan, who is believed to have helped Madame Bonacieux escape from her captors. When the official suggests that it was outrageous for Monsieur Bonacieux to attempt to rescue his abducted wife, Bonacieux apologizes profusely and is quick to add that d’Artagnan betrayed him.
At this point in the conversation, a group of jailers brings Athos into the dungeon, believing him to be d’Artagnan. They are hoping to question both prisoners together, but Monsieur Bonacieux, hoping to be helpful, announces that Athos is not d’Artagnan. The jailers demand to know why Athos said he was someone he is not.
If Athos is amused by this ridiculous scene, he does not show it. He keeps a straight face as he explains that he never lied:
Someone said to me, "You are Monsieur d’Artagnan?" I answered, "You think so?" My guards exclaimed that they were sure of it. I did not wish to contradict them....
Athos remains calm even when the jailers decide to keep him imprisoned. Monsieur...
(The entire section is 474 words.)
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 idea what she does inside.
Just then, a dark-haired man with a scar on his temple—the man d’Artagnan knows as the Man from Meung—enters the room. Monsieur Bonacieux recognizes him at once as the man who kidnapped Madame Bonacieux. The dark man, Count Rochefort, does not deny this accusation; he simply ignores it. He tells the Cardinal that the Queen has seen the Duke of Buckingham, and that the Duke has since left Paris. Rochefort heard that he left the Louvre holding a little box, most likely the box that contained the diamonds the King gave the Queen for her birthday.
Monsieur Bonacieux listens to this conversation, and in the process, he figures out that he is in the presence of the great Cardinal Richelieu. After Rochefort leaves, the Cardinal explains to Monsieur Bonacieux that he has been unwittingly helping his wife carry messages to the Queen’s allies and lover. The Cardinal could punish Monsieur Bonacieux for this but blesses him and gives him money instead. Monsieur Bonacieux exits proclaiming the Cardinal’s justice and generosity.
When Monsieur Bonacieux is gone, Rochefort returns and asks what happened. Cardinal Richelieu said that he turned Monsieur Bonacieux into a spy against his own wife, and Rochefort is impressed. The two of them admit to each other that the Queen outwitted them, but they both feel they have plenty of ammunition for revenge.
As Rochefort stands by, Cardinal Richelieu writes to his ally in England, the beautiful woman he calls Milady. He informs her that the Duke of Buckingham will soon appear in public wearing the Queen’s diamond studs. The Cardinal instructs Milady to steal two of these studs and return to Paris as quickly as...
(The entire section is 440 words.)
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 visit and the Queen's gift of her diamond studs, the Cardinal visits the King to lay the groundwork for an intense public humiliation of the Queen. Such an outcome would reflect badly on the King, thus helping the Cardinal to keep his power and popularity secure.
The Cardinal does not immediately explain everything he knows. Instead, he prods the King into a rage by saying that Madame de Chevreuse, one of the Queen's old friends, recently visited Paris against the King’s will. The Cardinal adds that a Musketeer beat up some soldiers who were trying to arrest a conspirator—Madame Bonacieux—who helped Madame de Chevreuse and the Queen. (The reader should note that this last part is not quite true; d’Artagnan, who is not yet a Musketeer, beat up the soldiers.)
At this moment, Monsieur de Tréville enters to ask about Athos, who has not yet been released from prison. The King shouts at Tréville, accusing first Athos and then d’Artagnan of helping the Queen. Tréville swears that Athos and d’Artagnan were both accounted for at the time of the attack on the Cardinal’s soldiers. (Note that Athos had nothing to do with the attack and that d'Artagnan created an alibi back in chapter 10 by changing the clock to trick Tréville. Because of this, Tréville believes he is telling the truth.)
The Cardinal is annoyed at this development. He would like to toss a few Musketeers in prison to keep them from meddling in his politics, but he knows that Tréville would never lie to the King. Accordingly, the Cardinal accepts defeat on this issue. He advises the King to have Athos released and to leave d’Artagnan alone. Monsieur de Tréville leaves happy, but he knows that the Cardinal...
(The entire section is 462 words.)
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 Cardinal always uses the King, who is not too smart, to drive away her loyal friends and servants. Because of this, she is always alone.
As the Queen is thinking this, the King bursts in and announces that he is having the Queen’s rooms searched. Then the King’s chancellor, Séguier, enters and searches the Queen’s desk. This is a mere formality because he knows that the Queen would never leave a secret document lying around in a drawer. She admits that she is carrying a letter in her clothing, but she refuses to hand it over. She does not think that he would dare to conduct a physical search on a woman of her royal position, but he says that he has been authorized to do exactly that. This horrifies her, but she hands over the letter.
Séguier takes the letter to the King, who reads it eagerly. It turns out that Queen Anne has been writing to her father about a plot to bring down the Cardinal. She asks her father to pressure Spain and Austria to threaten war on France unless the Cardinal is immediately fired. This letter proves that the King’s wife has been plotting treason, but he does not care. In his mind, it would be far worse for her to have an affair.
The King shares the letter with the Cardinal, who does not seem terribly concerned by the threat it implies to him personally. He suggests that the King apologize for having the Queen searched and offer to throw a ball to make it up to her. The King follows this advice but leaves it to the Cardinal to set a date.
The Cardinal, meanwhile, waits for a letter from Milady. When he hears that she has the diamond studs and is heading for Paris, he tells the King to hold the ball a day or two after Milady will arrive. The...
(The entire section is 522 words.)
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 and destroy her reputation forever, but Madame Bonacieux promises to prevent this. Her husband is a cowardly but sweet man who will do whatever she asks without asking questions. He will take the note to England and give it to Buckingham, who will surely help the Queen out of her tight spot. Seeing no other option, the Queen agrees. She gives Madame Bonacieux a ring—a gift from her brother, who will not begrudge its sale—to pay for Monsieur Bonacieux's journey.
Madame Bonacieux rushes home to her husband, whom she has not seen since her abduction and his imprisonment. She greets him hurriedly, brushing him off when he asks about her kidnapping. She does not show any interest in his adventure at the Bastille, either. This offends him, but she does not care. She tells him that she must ask him to do an important job for her.
Monsieur Bonacieux flatly refuses to go to London. He says that he will no longer undertake dangerous political errands without knowing what they are all about. After all, he does not want to risk angering the Cardinal again. He boasts that he has met the Cardinal and received a gift of money from him.
Madame Bonacieux is aghast. She says that she always knew her husband was a coward and a miser, but that she never expected him to side with “the Devil” over his sovereign Queen. She tries to bully Monsieur Bonacieux into doing what she wants, but he is unmoved. He knows that the Cardinal has more power than the Queen.
Eventually, Monsieur Bonacieux realizes that the Cardinal may want to know about the Queen's plan. Madame Bonacieux refuses to divulge more information now that she knows where her husband's loyalties lie. He tells her that he is going...
(The entire section is 470 words.)
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 immediately, but Madame Bonacieux points out that he needs to obtain permission to abandon his guard duties. He says that will be easy because Monsieur de Tréville will vouch for him to Monsieur des Essarts. Next, she offers him money—not the Queen’s ring, but rather the coins Monsieur Bonacieux received from the Cardinal. D’Artagnan accepts it, amused by the idea of using the Cardinal’s money to save the Queen.
At this moment, Madame Bonacieux hears her husband’s voice. D’Artagnan urges her to sneak up to his rooms with him. She is afraid, but he promises not to touch her. Again, he seems so sincere that she trusts him implicitly. The two of them tiptoe upstairs.
Rochefort and several of the Cardinal’s guards return with Monsieur Bonacieux. When d’Artagnan glimpses the Man from Meung—whom he still does not know by name—he wants to rush out and fight a duel. Madame Bonacieux holds d’Artagnan back, saying that the Queen’s need for help is more important than one young man’s personal vendetta. Reluctantly, d’Artagnan again gives up his chance to enact revenge on his enemy.
D’Artagnan and Madame Bonacieux eavesdrop through the floorboards as Monsieur Bonacieux reveals everything his wife told him an hour ago. This betrayal annoys her so much that she keeps muttering insults: “The traitor! . . . The dolt! . . . The swine!” D’Artagnan keeps shushing her so that she will not be overheard.
Rochefort and his friends are also annoyed by Monsieur Bonacieux’s story. They call him “a ninny” for refusing his wife’s offer when she first made it. But Monsieur Bonacieux seems confident that his wife, a weak-willed woman, will easily be induced to...
(The entire section is 523 words.)
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 is pretty sure that Madame de Chevreuse and Aramis are having an affair, and that the lady was forced to flee Paris when Buckingham did. D’Artagnan reassures Aramis that his mistress has not willingly deserted him. Aramis is amazed that d’Artagnan knows anything about the matter, but he grows more cheerful.
During this conversation, a note arrives for Aramis granting him two weeks’ leave from the Musketeers. He is stunned, as are Porthos and Athos when they receive similar notes. D’Artagnan brings them all together and explains that he needs their help. He needs to carry an important letter to London for the Queen, and he may encounter resistance on the way. He refuses to give them any more information, but he asks them to come along and fight by his side if necessary.
Aramis and Porthos are reluctant to risk their lives without knowing more. D’Artagnan points out that they would both gladly go to war for their sovereign rulers without knowing the reason why; to him, this is no different. Athos agrees, saying that they have all agreed to protect the King and Queen no matter what:
So let us go get ourselves killed wherever we are told to. Is life worth the trouble of asking so many questions?
D’Artagnan divides his money between himself and his three friends, and he carries the letter in his breast pocket. Athos suggests that everyone ride close together, including the four lackeys, so that they can fight off anyone who attacks the letter bearer. If anyone dies or gets stopped, the others will make sure they have the letter and go on. All that matters is that the Queen's paper reaches its recipient in England. The friends agree...
(The entire section is 433 words.)
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 also gets shot, and by the time they reach the next town, it becomes clear that he is unable to go on. He and his servant, Bazin, stop to rest while Athos, d’Artagnan, and their two lackeys ride on.
The remaining travelers spend the night at an inn, where they barricade themselves in the dining room for safety. They make it through the night, but the following morning, their horses are too tired to continue the journey. When Athos tries to buy new horses, the innkeeper accuses him of using counterfeit money. A group of officers bursts into the innkeeper’s office to arrest Athos, who pulls out his pistols and shouts at d’Artagnan to ride on. D’Artagnan and his lackey, Planchet, rush away. By now d'Artagnan feels quite sure that the Cardinal knows their plan. After all, it is not natural for travelers to encounter quite so many obstacles.
This impression is confirmed when d’Artagnan and Planchet reach the port. There, they learn that no ships are allowed to cross over to England without written permission from Cardinal Richelieu. D’Artagnan meets a man called the Count de Wardes, who has such a letter and seems to be an agent of the Cardinal. D’Artagnan fights de Wardes, wounding him three times and taking a minor wound in the chest himself. He leaves his adversary unconscious by the side of the road, takes his papers, and sails away. Before leaving, he describes de Wardes to a port official and claims that the unconscious gentleman is a wanted fugitive called d'Artagnan.
D’Artagnan sleeps during the journey to England, awaking refreshed enough to ride straight to the Duke of Buckingham. Buckingham finds a puncture hole in the paper—a souvenir from d'Artagnan's duel...
(The entire section is 443 words.)
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 back to her within five days so she can wear them to the ball. Second, he must prevent Milady from giving the two stolen diamonds to the Cardinal, at least until the Queen has her full set.
Buckingham’s first action is to close England’s ports so that no ship can sail to France. He knows that this is essentially an act of war against France, but he does not care. He tells d’Artagnan that he would do literally anything Queen Anne asked of him, no matter what the consequences for the rest of the world. D’Artagnan is shocked, and he thinks how strange it is that lives and nations can be changed forever—even destroyed—on royal whims like these.
Buckingham calls his jeweler, O’Reilly, who examines the diamonds carefully. Buckingham demands two more to fit the set and adds that they must be ready in a day and a half. He offers an enormous sum of money for the work and then says that O’Reilly will remain a prisoner at the palace until he is finished. O’Reilly dislikes the latter part of the arrangement, but he does not argue. Clearly he already knows that Buckingham always gets what he wants.
O’Reilly replaces the Queen’s missing diamonds with two jewels so perfectly cut that they could easily be the originals. D'Artagnan prepares to leave with the full set of diamonds, and Buckingham offers him money. D’Artagnan refuses, saying it would not be appropriate under the circumstances. After all, Buckingham has just declared war on d'Artagnan's country.
Buckingham directs d’Artagnan to a ship that will carry him to an obscure French port. Four beautiful horses have been stationed at intervals along d’Artagnan’s road to Paris, so that d’Artagnan can ride...
(The entire section is 556 words.)
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 diamonds. She looks radiant, but the King is suspicious. Could she be missing two of them? They are dancing with different partners during the first dance, so the King spends the entire hour in an agony of suspense.
As soon as the dance is over, the King stalks over to the Queen and says stiffly that he is returning two of her diamonds. She pretends surprise and says that now she has fourteen instead of just twelve. The King counts her diamonds and, sure enough, he sees that the Queen has the entire set he gave her.
Cardinal Richelieu has been beaten again, and he knows it. To back out of the situation as gracefully as possible, he claims that he wanted to give the Queen two more diamonds himself, so he contrived a little joke in order to do it. D’Artagnan, watching from his guard post on the front steps, sees what is happening and grins.
Just as d’Artagnan is about to leave the Louvre that evening, Madame Bonacieux appears and beckons him inside. He follows her through a winding series of hallways. Several times, he tries to get her to stop and talk, but she tells him to be quiet. Eventually she leaves him in a small chamber outside a dressing room. From there, he can hear a conversation between women. As he sits quietly, listening, he realizes that he is listening to the Queen and her ladies in waiting.
Suddenly a hand emerges from the dressing room through a part in a curtain. D’Artagnan realizes that it belongs to the Queen. His reward for all his troubles is an opportunity to kiss her hand. He does so gratefully, and in the process, she slips him a beautiful diamond ring.
D’Artagnan puts the Queen’s ring on his finger and waits. Madame Bonacieux...
(The entire section is 491 words.)
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 Bonacieux in the street, cannot resist bragging that he will see a young lady tonight. Monsieur Bonacieux looks upset, but d’Artagnan is too excited to notice. He goes away convinced his mistress’s husband is unaware of the affair.
Later that day, Monsieur de Tréville congratulates d'Artagnan but urges him to be careful. It is dangerous to act so flagrantly against the Cardinal, who is certain to attempt revenge. During this conversation, Tréville notices d’Artagnan’s new diamond ring, which is far too beautiful to be a token from some ordinary lady. Guessing that it is a reward from the Queen, Tréville urges d’Artagnan to sell it so that nobody else comes to the same conclusion. In Tréville’s opinion, the utmost caution is necessary:
If anyone picks a quarrel with you, even a child of ten, avoid it . . . if you are attacked, day or night, take to your heels shamelessly . . . if you cross a bridge, test every board of it for fear that one might give way underfoot . . . Suspect everyone: your friend, your brother, your mistress—especially your mistress!
D’Artagnan is not interested in caution, but he is curious about Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. When Tréville urges him to get out of town for a few days to investigate what happened to the three Musketeers, d’Artagnan agrees to go—but not until morning. Tonight is the meeting with Madame Bonacieux. Tréville urges d’Artagnan to cancel, but to d’Artagnan, nothing is more important than his budding love affair.
Planchet is also worried about d'Artagnan's meeting tonight. The lackey does not know what it is about, but he tells d’Artagnan that Monsieur Bonacieux has been...
(The entire section is 435 words.)
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 a tree in the yard of the lodge and peeks through the window. He is hoping to see Madame Bonacieux inside, asleep. Instead, he sees the aftermath of violence: broken furniture, torn clothing, shattered glass. Horrified, he realizes that Madame Bonacieux has again been taken by kidnappers.
D’Artagnan jumps down from the tree and looks for clues. He finds a torn glove and some wagon tracks leading toward the city, but he sees nothing to indicate specifically where Madame Bonacieux may have been taken. He wanders around town for a while, but he is able to gather only vague information. Eventually he returns to the lodge and pounds on the door of a small hut in the yard.
An old man lives in the hut, and he seems frightened by d’Artagnan’s sword. D’Artagnan begs for information, and after some hesitation, the man explains that he saw six gentlemen attack a young woman and drag her away. He seems upset that he could do nothing to help the woman, but a single old man had no chance against such a large group of armed kidnappers.
Under d’Artagnan’s questioning, the old man provides a detailed description of the leader of the kidnappers. Once again, it was the man d’Artagnan met in Meung, whom the reader knows as Count Rochefort. The witness also describes a fat man who was with the kidnappers, a commoner whom everyone spoke to harshly. D’Artagnan considers this description for a moment and concludes that the fat man was probably just a servant.
D’Artagnan thanks the old man for his help and leaves in an agony of fear for Madame Bonacieux’s safety. He cannot do anything without his horse, which is with Planchet, so he goes to an inn to drink a bottle of wine and...
(The entire section is 462 words.)
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 aghast at the idea of a man helping in the kidnapping of his own wife, but he does not say so. He decides to keep quiet and do his best to find clues to her whereabouts.
At his apartment, d’Artagnan finds Planchet in an agony of worry. This morning, Monsieur de Cavois, the captain of the Cardinal’s guards, came to the apartment to speak with d’Artagnan in person. He claimed that d’Artagnan was in the Cardinal’s favor and was invited for a visit. Planchet lied and said that d’Artagnan had left town for a few days. This pleases d’Artagnan, who is grateful for the excuse to ignore the invitation.
Half an hour later, d’Artagnan sets out with Planchet to find out what happened to Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. They bring the three extra horses from the Duke of Buckingham, just in case the Musketeers are still alive and able to ride.
D’Artagnan soon arrives at the inn where he lost Porthos. The landlord explains that Porthos’s duel went poorly. He had barely drawn his sword when his adversary wounded him and made him withdraw. Porthos checked into the inn to recover, but he soon got bored and gambled away his money and his horse. He has no way to pay his bill, but he insists on living like a king. But when the innkeeper tries to refuse service, Mousqueton simply steals what they need.
Porthos has long boasted about his mistress, who is supposedly a duchess, and he has written to this woman to ask her for money to pay his inn bill. However, when the innkeeper sent a servant to deliver the letter, he found out that the so-called duchess was in fact an elderly lawyer’s wife called Madame Coquenard. She refused Porthos’s request for money, and now the innkeeper...
(The entire section is 601 words.)
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 suggests that Aramis write about whether a priest should use one hand or two when performing a benediction. D’Artagnan finds this the most boring subject imaginable, particularly because the Jesuit uses a great deal of Latin, which d’Artagnan does not understand.
Aramis understands the Jesuit perfectly but is not interested either. He is interested in philosophical topics. He wants to write a paper arguing that it is acceptable for a man to have regrets when he makes an offering to God. The Jesuit calls this idea heresy. He says that a man in the service of God must eschew all that is worldly without regrets. The other priest echoes these condemnations, but Aramis does not back down. In his opinion, offerings are worthless if they do not involve sacrifice. The priests find this somewhat convincing but are clearly uncomfortable with the subtext of the argument: Aramis clearly feels some regrets about the idea of leaving his worldly life behind and devoting himself to God.
When the priests leave, d’Artagnan tries to convince his friend not to join the priesthood. He guesses that Aramis is making this decision for the wrong reasons—partly because he was frightened by his recent injury, and partly because he suspects that his mistress has forgotten about him. Aramis insists that this is not true.
For the first time, Aramis tells d’Artagnan the story behind his desire to become a priest. As a boy, he began studying at seminary when he was nine years old. Just before he turned twenty, he felt ready to take his vows and enter a holy life. However, he killed a man in a duel, and this led to a scandal. He was advised to put off his entry into the priesthood until the matter blew over,...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
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 Athos.
The innkeeper seems to agree with d'Artagnan. He apologizes and explains that he has been paying for his mistake ever since. After d’Artagnan left, Athos fought off his accusers and retreated to the inn’s cellar, barricading himself inside along with his lackey, Grimaud. All of the inn’s wine and provisions are in that cellar, and Athos and Grimaud have been living in there for two weeks, eating and drinking everything in sight. Meanwhile, the innkeeper has been losing customers because Athos, armed and angry, will not let anyone access the inn’s provisions.
D’Artagnan finds this story funny, and he says that the innkeeper deserved what he got. However, he goes and persuades Athos to come out of the cellar. Athos emerges drunkenly and follows d’Artagnan to one of the inn’s rooms. D’Artagnan works out a deal to give the landlord Athos’s old horse as payment for what he and Grimaud ate, drank, and broke in the inn’s cellar. Athos agrees to this plan only after he learns that d’Artagnan has brought him a new and better horse.
Together, Athos and d’Artagnan drink wine and talk. During their conversation, d’Artagnan tells the story about Madame Bonacieux, and Athos says that d’Artagnan is better off without a woman anyway. He drunkenly warns d’Artagnan not to trust beautiful women. When d’Artagnan does not seem interested in following this advice, Athos tells him a terrible story. He claims to be talking about “a friend,” but D’Artagnan understands that Athos is really telling his own story.
Long ago, Athos was a count in the province of Berry. When he was twenty-five, he met a beautiful girl who had just moved to the region with her...
(The entire section is 546 words.)
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 give up his lackey, Grimaud, if his opponents won. Ultimately Athos got to keep Grimaud, and he also won back d’Artagnan’s diamond as well as the saddles of both horses.
D’Artagnan is angry at Athos for losing his horse. He plays dice in an attempt to win it back, but when he does win, Athos convinces him to take money instead. D’Artagnan is sorry to lose the horse, but ultimately he gives in. After all, he needs money to find and rescue Madame Bonacieux.
Soon d’Artagnan and Athos set out, riding their lackeys’ horses, to reunite with their friends and return to Paris. D’Artagnan complains that he is jealous of Aramis and Porthos, who still have their beautiful horses from Buckingham. Athos laughs at this, but it is not clear why until they return to their friends. As it turns out, both of them have sold their horses as well. Now all four friends are horseless, but all have kept Buckingham’s beautiful saddles.
When the four friends return to Paris, they learn that they have been called to serve in a war. This means that they all need proper uniforms, expensive weapons, and good, high-quality horses. None of them has enough money to buy a new horse, nor does any of them have a good plan for obtaining the necessary funds.
D’Artagnan is still a soldier among Monsieur des Essarts’ Guards, but he has recently received word that he will be transferred to the Musketeers very soon. Because of this, he is more cheerful than his friends. When he goes off to thank Monsieur de Tréville, the three Musketeers discuss money amongst themselves. Athos points out that they should have nothing to worry about: D’Artagnan is wearing an expensive diamond. If necessary, they...
(The entire section is 448 words.)
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. His presence attracts the attention of a woman in a nearby pew, who turns out to be his mistress, Madame Coquenard. To make her jealous, Porthos pretends not to notice her. Instead he pretends to be courting a beautiful and wealthy noblewoman in a nearby pew.
D’Artagnan recognizes this noblewoman as the woman called Milady—also known as Lady de Winter—who acts as an agent for Cardinal Richelieu. In the past, D’Artagnan has seen Milady with the man from Meung, the likely abductor of Madame Bonacieux. Because of this, d’Artagnan resolves to follow Milady when she leaves the church. In the meantime, he watches Porthos’s maneuverings with interest.
After the service, Porthos flirts with Milady and then feigns surprise when Madame Coquenard approaches him. As Milady leaves, with d’Artagnan in pursuit, Porthos and Madame Coquenard go for a walk. Porthos accuses Madame Coquenard of cruelty and stinginess because she refused his request for help when he was injured and stranded without funds in a faraway inn. He claims that he could have obtained money from any of several other mistresses, all of them wealthy noblewomen. These claims make Madame Coquenard extremely jealous.
Slowly, Porthos brings the conversation around to the fact that he needs money to buy a horse for battle. Once again, he claims that he could get the money from another woman or from his family in the provinces. He makes Madame Coquenard feel that it would be an honor for her to buy his horse for him.
Madame Coquenard begs Porthos not to go to some other woman for money. She offers him a loan and asks him to come to her house the following day for lunch. Before they part, they agree on a lie to tell...
(The entire section is 447 words.)
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 recognized, he leads both horses behind a hedge, out of sight.
While d’Artagnan tries to eavesdrop on the lackeys’ conversation, Milady arrives in her carriage. Lubin happens to step into his master's house just as Milady’s maidservant runs into the yard with a sealed envelope. She assumes that Planchet is Lubin, gives him the note, and says, “This is for your master.” Planchet accepts it, but he does not explain who his master is.
Planchet gives the note to d’Artagnan, who reads it eagerly, laughing when he sees that Milady wants the Comte de Wardes to meet with her in secret tomorrow night. Meanwhile, Planchet relays the information he heard from Lubin. As it turns out, de Wardes is still very weak from the injuries he sustained in his duel with d’Artagnan.
D’Artagnan pockets Milady's note and follows her. He watches as she stops and argues with a man in the road, an English gentleman whom d’Artagnan vaguely recognizes from one of his earlier adventures. The argument is in English, a language d’Artagnan does not understand, so he approaches and asks if the lady needs help.
Milady and the man both seem annoyed by d'Artagnan's interruption. She coldly explains that the man is her brother-in-law and that their argument is a private matter. With that, she departs, and d’Artagnan introduces himself to the man, who turns out to be an English baron called Lord de Winter. These two men find each other annoying, and their two countries are at war. For these reasons, they arrange a duel for the upcoming evening. Both men promise to bring three friends to the fight.
D’Artagnan returns home and informs his friends that they are going to fight...
(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 has revealed his real identity to his opponent, he plans to fight to kill. His adversary chuckles, but it is not a joke.
The duel begins, and Athos kills his Englishman almost immediately. Porthos wounds his Englishman in the leg, and Aramis sends his Englishman running away like a coward. D’Artagnan disarms Lord de Winter, and then deigns to release him. This act of mercy pleases his opponent so much that he offers d’Artagnan his friendship. This is exactly what d’Artagnan was hoping for, and he asks to be introduced to Milady.
Athos’s dead opponent has a full purse in his pocket, but Athos is too noble to take spoils from someone he has killed. Lord de Winter suggests giving the money to the lackeys as a gratuity, so Athos gives the purse to the Englishmen’s lackeys. The Englishmen are so impressed by the nobility of this gesture that they tell the story all over Paris. Naturally, Grimaud, Mousqueton, Bazin, and Planchet are annoyed that they did not get to keep the money for themselves.
That night, d’Artagnan goes to meet Milady at her house. When he invites Athos to come along, Athos scoffs and says that a man should not go running after one woman when he claims to love another. He adds that Milady has ties to the Cardinal, which means that she will probably try to use d’Artagnan in some way.
None of this matters much to d’Artagnan. He makes his visit and finds himself captivated by Milady’s loveliness. He develops a vague impression that there is something evil about her, but he soon develops the habit of visiting her every evening anyway. She does not seem interested in him, but she does not tell him to stop coming.
On his visits to...
(The entire section is 475 words.)
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 descriptions of her husband.
Madame Coquenard greets Porthos eagerly, but her elderly, wheelchair-bound husband is quite rude. As he halfheartedly plays along with the fiction that Porthos is a distant cousin eager to see his family before going off to fight in the upcoming war, he sends strong signals that he does not want Porthos to visit often.
Porthos is not disturbed by Monsieur Coquenard’s rudeness, but he is annoyed by the paltry meal he is offered. He is expecting rich and plentiful food, but all he gets is a light broth and a tiny piece of boiled chicken. The dessert is spare as well, and the wine is terrible. By the end of the meal, Porthos barely feels that he has eaten a snack. Meanwhile, Monsieur Coquenard repeatedly suggests that this modest meal is a vast extravagance. It is clear that he normally eats even less and feeds his employees almost nothing. The three clerks are given beans instead of chicken, and they are sent back to work before the dessert is served. As for the little errand boy, he only gets a piece of bread in the hallway.
After dinner, while Monsieur Coquenard takes a nap, Porthos and Madame Coquenard withdraw to a separate room to discuss the money and equipment he needs to outfit himself for battle. As usual, Porthos hints that he is honoring her with the opportunity to give him money. He actually has nobody else to finance his needs, but he follows his usual strategy of making her feel jealous. He pretends that he has a half dozen duchesses and princesses ready to pay his way.
Porthos asks for a large sum of money, but Madame Coquenard is hesitant. She gives him far more than she is comfortable giving, but it is far less than he requests. She...
(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 that he loves her, as well. He spends the rest of the evening in her room with her, but she refuses to let him touch her.
That night when Milady wants to go to bed, she calls for Kitty to come and help her get ready. Kitty urges d’Artagnan to go home, but instead he hides in the closet and listens to their conversation through the wall. They discuss d’Artagnan, whom Milady calls “a ninny.” She hates him for outwitting her in the intrigue with the Duke of Buckingham and the diamonds. She is also angry at him for not killing her brother-in-law, Lord de Winter, whose death would have made her rich because she is his only heir. D’Artagnan listens in disbelief, amazed that such a beautiful woman is capable of thinking such cruel and cold hearted thoughts.
When Milady goes to bed, Kitty returns and, in whispers, begs d’Artagnan to leave. She says that Milady will hear them if they continue to talk, and then she will get in trouble. D’Artagnan refuses to go, reasoning that Kitty will not be able to refuse his sexual advances if she cannot speak. This plan works out exactly as he expects, and Kitty does what he wants. He remains with her until morning, feeling that “vengeance [is] the pleasure of the gods.”
D’Artagnan’s success with Kitty does not satisfy him, however. Milady has a strong hold over his imagination, and he wants to make her suffer for not loving him. Fortunately for him, Kitty is deeply in love with him. The next time Milady writes to the Comte de Wardes, Kitty brings the letter to d’Artagnan instead.
D’Artagnan can scarcely believe that Milady is making yet another attempt to meet with de Wardes. As revenge, d’Artagnan writes to Milady in...
(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 find a man in rags waiting for him. The man says that he has something for Aramis, if Aramis can produce a certain handkerchief. As soon as Aramis presents it, the stranger rips open the seams of his shirt to produce a letter and a large pile of gold. Aramis is thrilled, more by the declarations of love in the letter than by the gold. Once again, he immediately forgets his ambitions to enter the priesthood. As usual, he refuses to admit anything to anyone about a love affair. He tells everyone that he received a great deal of gold in payment for the publication of a poem. Only Bazin believes this lie, but Aramis's friends understand what has really happened.
That afternoon, d’Artagnan sees his old yellow horse, the one he sold when he first arrived in Paris. Mousqueton is leading it up the street, along with a similarly aging and worthless mule. At d’Artagnan’s question, Mousqueton explains that he is returning the horse and mule to Porthos’s mistress’s husband, who gave them the animals as a practical joke. D’Artagnan laughs and admits that he recently sold the horse for just a pittance. Mousqueton leads the ridiculous animals to the Coquenard residence, where he ties them to the doorknocker so that they will make a great deal of noise and annoy everyone inside.
Soon after this encounter, Porthos meets with Madame Coquenard. It was really she, not her husband, who procured the horse and mule. She explains that she got them as payment from one of her husband’s clients who was behind on his bills. She admits that she does not really know what kind of horses a soldier and his lackey need. Porthos scolds her for trying to save money on something so important, and he demands that she...
(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 by the name of another man. Nevertheless, he goes through with his scheme, spending the night with Milady and, in the morning, accepting the sapphire ring she gives to him as a token of her love.
The following day when d’Artagnan visits Athos, he wears Milady’s ring instead of the diamond from the Queen. Athos is shocked to see the ring, which he says looks exactly like one he used to own. His ring was a family heirloom, and he stupidly gave it to a woman. He asks to check the face of the jewel to see if it is scratched in a particular spot. It is, and this confirms that d'Artagnan's latest trophy is the heirloom ring Athos remembers.
Athos is badly shaken by the sight of the ring; he cannot imagine how d’Artagnan’s mistress could have obtained it. He begs d’Artagnan to stop seeing Milady, who is clearly dangerous. D’Artagnan feels bad about his dishonesty with Milady anyway, so he promises to cut off all contact with her.
When d’Artagnan arrives home, he finds Kitty waiting for him. She has, against her own inclinations, brought him Milady's invitation to de Wardes for another meeting. D’Artagnan writes a cruel and arrogant letter to break off the affair. Kitty is overjoyed, and she rushes to deliver the letter.
Naturally, Milady is furious when she reads the letter d’Artagnan has sent in de Wardes’s name. She falls into a chair, and Kitty tries to loosen her clothing to give her some air. Milady snaps to attention and demands to know what Kitty is doing. Frightened, Kitty says that she thought Milady had fainted. Milady sneers at this idea:
Do you take me for a half-woman or a simpering schoolgirl? When I am insulted, I do...
(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 warmly than ever before. When she says she loves him, she sounds so sincere that he thinks it might be true.
D’Artagnan’s hopes are soon dashed when Milady asks him for a favor: She needs him to kill someone for her. This convinces him that she is only pretending to love him because she wants revenge on de Wardes, but d’Artagnan does not leave. Instead he swears that he will kill any man who has insulted Milady.
Before revealing the name of the man she wants d'Artagnan to kill, Milady asks several questions to test his loyalty. D’Artagnan readily promises that he would kill his friend or even his brother for her, vows he makes only because he knows that she is not going to ask him to do so. When his answers satisfy her, she opens her mouth to reveal de Wardes’s name—and d’Artagnan says it instead.
Now Milady really is suspicious; she asks how d’Artagnan knows that she is angry at de Wardes. He lies and says that de Wardes spent the day yesterday bragging about his conquest and showing off the ring Milady gave him. This lie increases Milady’s fury because, within her culture, it is horribly impolite for a man to reveal his mistress’s identity in public.
Milady is tempted to ask d’Artagnan to go kill de Wardes immediately, but she knows that he will be more committed if he gets something from her in return. Accordingly, she invites him to visit her again in the evening, and he agrees. He leaves in a rush so that Kitty, who has overheard the whole conversation, cannot try to talk him out of sleeping with Milady again. As he walks home, he tells himself to be careful. Soon his revenge against Milady will be complete—but if he makes a single misstep, she...
(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.
D’Artagnan has misgivings at first, but he quickly gets lost in “the sensations of the moment.” Milady, too, seems genuinely to enjoy the “raptures of delight” that fill the next couple of hours. Afterward, she turns the conversation immediately to the duel d’Artagnan has promised to fight with de Wardes tomorrow.
Contrary to his promise, D’Artagnan has no intention of fighting a duel with a man who has done nothing wrong. He says offhandedly that it is too nice a night to think about fighting; sensing his reluctance, Milady accuses him of fear and cowardice. D’Artagnan misleads her for a while, but eventually he simply tells the truth: He intercepted Milady’s letters to de Wardes and, out of jealousy, pretended to be de Wardes in order to get what he wanted.
D’Artagnan expects Milady to cry and throw a tantrum. Instead, she flies into a rage and leaps out of bed. He grabs at her, stammering an apology, and accidentally tears her clothes. To his great shock, he sees on her shoulder a fleur-de-lis—the mark given to criminals.
As D’Artagnan recoils from Milady in horror, she attempts to stab him with a dagger. He grabs his sword, flees to Kitty’s room, and bolts the door. Milady shrieks in fury and attempts to stab him through the wooden door.
This situation leaves D’Artagnan helpless. He cannot honorably fight a woman, so he begs Kitty to sneak him out of the house. She points out that he is naked, and he concedes that he cannot go out without clothes. She gives him a flowered robe and a pair of ladies’ slippers and leads him down to the street.
(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 on one of Athos’s robes. As soon as he is moderately presentable, he relates what just happened with Milady—most particularly, the part about the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder. He describes the woman in more detail than ever before, convincing Athos that she is the pretty wife he thought he murdered years ago.
Neither Athos nor d’Artagnan has any idea how Milady managed to survive hanging and take on the identity of an English noblewoman. However, they both know that she is extremely dangerous, not only because of her coldhearted, cunning nature but also because she is an agent of Cardinal Richelieu. They decide to take their time considering whether and how to expose her to the authorities as a branded criminal. They think that this is a safe plan because they are about to leave for battle, where no woman can follow them.
Both Athos and d’Artagnan still need to buy their battle outfits. D’Artagnan gives the sapphire ring to Athos, who feels that it has been sullied by its contact with Milady. Eventually they decide to pawn it and use the proceeds to buy what they need. While they discuss the details of this plan, Grimaud fetches Planchet to bring clothes for his master.
Once dressed, d’Artagnan takes Athos and the two lackeys to his house, where he finds Kitty waiting. She says that her life is at risk if Milady ever figures out her role in d’Artagnan’s plot. D’Artagnan agrees, so he seeks help from Aramis. Aramis happens to know a wealthy lady in the provinces who needs a maid, and he writes a letter to arrange for Kitty’s hire. She goes away still professing her undying love and loyalty to d’Artagnan, who cheerfully but not very convincingly claims he loves her...
(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 advise d’Artagnan against going, but he decides to take the risk.
The second note is from the captain of the Cardinal’s guards, who invites d’Artagnan to meet with Cardinal Richelieu this evening. This appointment is set to take place an hour after the appointment with Madame Bonacieux, so it is possible for d’Artagnan to do both. The three Musketeers are a bit unsure what to advise him to do; they all agree that it would be just as dangerous to accept the Cardinal's invitation as to ignore it. D’Artagnan determines that he will go, and his friends plan to come along as guards in case the Cardinal tries to arrest him.
That evening, d’Artagnan goes to see Madame Bonacieux. His friends, worried about a possible trap, accompany him. However, they wait at a distance so that d’Artagnan cannot be accused of ignoring the instructions in the note. Suddenly a carriage passes, and its window opens. Inside, d’Artagnan glimpses Madame Bonacieux—only briefly—before the window slams shut and she is gone. He follows the carriage for a while, but he is too worried about bringing her into danger to pursue her far. He wonders how she was able to arrange this meeting, and whether she is still a prisoner. He has no way to answer either question.
Next, d’Artagnan goes to his meeting with Cardinal Richelieu. His three best friends round up nine more Musketeers to help protect d’Artagnan. When he goes inside, he leaves four Musketeers waiting, ready to fight for him, if necessary, at each of the Cardinal’s three gates. The Musketeers seem eager to skirmish with the Cardinal’s men if the opportunity arises.
For his part, d’Artagnan feels nervous as he enters the...
(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 yourself carry out their orders—all too well!
This brings the Cardinal to his point: he wants d’Artagnan to withdraw from Monsieur des Essarts’ guards and join the Cardinal’s guard force at the higher rank of a lieutenant.
This offer places d’Artagnan in a delicate position. On one hand, his loyalties are to the King, the Queen, Monsieur de Tréville, and his Musketeer friends. On the other hand, refusing the Cardinal’s offer could be dangerous. D’Artagnan points out that if he changed sides now, he would make enemies of the Musketeers and also join a corps of soldiers who hate him. When the Cardinal insists that his guards and the Musketeers are on the same side, d’Artagnan graciously says that he is unworthy of the position:
All in good time, Monseigneur. Hereafter perhaps I shall win the right of giving myself [to your service]; today I would seem to be selling myself.
This is a strong enough argument that the Cardinal cannot reject it. However, he is displeased. Both men know that d’Artagnan is only being polite; he has no real intention of changing his loyalties in the future.
When d’Artagnan rejoins his friends, he explains what happened, and they congratulate him for turning down the Cardinal’s offer. Athos’s approval comes along with a fair measure of worry. He says that d’Artagnan may end up regretting his choice in the end.
The following day, all the Musketeers and guards in the King’s and Cardinal’s service march off to war. Before they leave, Porthos makes one last visit to Madame Coquenard, Aramis writes a long letter to someone he refuses to...
(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 humiliating Buckingham.
D’Artagnan reaches the outskirts of La Rochelle quite soon, with Monsieur des Essarts and his Guards. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, as Musketeers, travel with the King, who is detained during the journey due to illness. Because of this, the friends are separated for a few weeks. This leaves d’Artagnan feeling lonely. He has few friends aside from the three Musketeers, so he spends his time alone, thinking about what the Cardinal and Milady may do to him.
One night d’Artagnan goes out to a tavern alone, and on his way home he spots the barrels of two muskets by the side of the road. He ducks just in time to avoid getting shot. As he runs away, a musket ball flies through his hat. Afterward, he examines the hole and realizes it comes from a precision rifle, which is not a weapon that most soldiers or thieves would own. The attack must have been directed at d’Artagnan personally, most likely by Milady.
The following day, d’Artagnan’s commanding officer gives him a chance to lead a small group of men on a reconnaissance mission. Eager to distinguish himself, d’Artagnan accepts this mission gratefully. He asks for volunteers to go along, and he accepts the first four that step forward—two guardsmen and two common soldiers.
D’Artagnan’s job for his reconnaissance mission is to find out how well defended a certain outpost is. Partway there, the two common soldiers slip away from his little group. At first does not think much of this, and he continues on on. The outpost turns out to be well defended, and one of the guardsmen gets killed while the other flees. D’Artagnan is thus left alone and vulnerable. Just then, the two common soldiers...
(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 bottom of the bottle. Then, just before he and his friends take their first sip, everyone hears cannon fire. They rush outside and see the King and the Musketeers arriving at the camp.
D’Artagnan rushes to greet Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and to invite them to join his dinner. They accept gladly, but there is confusion on the subject of the wine. D’Artagnan repeatedly reminds them that they sent it to him, and they repeatedly tell him that they did not send him anything. Worried, they hurry back to the dining hall and find Brisemont on the floor, writhing in agony. The wine he drank was poisoned.
D’Artagnan rushes to help Brisemont, but he is clearly going to die. He assumes that the poisoning was intentional and curses d’Artagnan for pretending to forgive him and then killing him anyway. D’Artagnan pleads his innocence, but Brisemont dies believing himself to be the victim of a dishonorable murder.
The four friends all agree that Milady probably sent d'Artagnan the poisoned wine, but nobody knows what to do about it. D’Artagnan discusses the matter at length with Athos, who is uncharacteristically unsure of himself. They both know that d’Artagnan could report Milady to the authorities because of the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder, but this plan would require him to be in Paris. He cannot go there until after the battle is over, and he is not even certain that he wants to return to the city at that time. After all, he now has information about Madame Bonacieux, his true love. If he can find out which convent she is in, he can go there and rescue her. In the meantime, he must remain at the battlefront and hope to continue evading Milady’s murder plots.
(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. D’Artagnan, meanwhile, spends a great deal of time in the trenches with the other guards.
One night the three Musketeers go out to a tavern while d’Artagnan is busy fighting. On their way home, the Musketeers meet a haughty, lordly man who demands that they explain their presence on the road at night during a time of war. At first they are annoyed, but they soon realize that their questioner is Cardinal Richelieu himself. They explain where they have been and admit that they had a little fight with some drunk men who attempted to break down a lady’s door. They say that their opponents left the tavern badly injured.
The Cardinal accepts this story and asks the Musketeers to follow him and guard him on his way to the same tavern they just left. They are surprised by this request because they have often worked against him in the past, and they know he knows it. However, the Cardinal surprises them by saying the following:
I am aware that you are not exactly my friends and I am sorry for it. But I also know that you are brave, trustworthy, honorable gentleman. I shall therefore ask you…to accompany me.
The Musketeers cannot refuse such a polite request from a gentleman of the rank and power of the Cardinal, so they follow him back to the tavern. There the Cardinal speaks briefly to the tavern owner to confirm the story about the fight. Then the Cardinal orders the Musketeers to wait in a cozy room by a fireplace. He ascends the stairs, apparently toward the room of the lady the Musketeers defended earlier. From the way he runs upstairs without directions, it is clear that he has visited this place before.
(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 information about the affair between Buckingham and the Queen. If England rejoins the battle at La Rochelle, the Cardinal will ruin the Queen's reputation forever.
Milady rapidly memorizes the Cardinal's message, including a list of details meant to convince Buckingham that the threat is real. Then she asks what will happen if Buckingham refuses to back off. After some hesitation, the Cardinal suggests that "a lucky accident" may eliminate the problem. When Milady presses for details, he says:
Well! we need but find some beautiful and clever young woman who has personal reasons to take revenge on the Duke.
In the conversation that follows, it becomes clear that Milady herself has loved and been betrayed by Buckingham, and that she is willing to hire an assassin to kill him if necessary. This seems to satisfy the Cardinal, who helps her make plans to set out for England the following morning.
Milady is still desperate to kill d'Artagnan. She insists that if she is going to take such huge risks for the Cardinal, then he must help her recapture Madame Bonacieux, who has been rescued by the Queen and placed in safety in a convent somewhere. Milady also demands that the Cardinal help her take revenge on d'Artagnan, whom she calls "a scoundrel." The Cardinal agrees to help and asks for a pen.
At this point, Athos pulls his friends into the opposite corner of their little room and tells them quietly that he needs to leave. They ask what to tell the Cardinal, who ordered them to wait, so Athos makes up a story about going out to scout for danger on the road back to camp. The other two agree to tell this lie, and Athos goes outside. He...
(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 he had killed long ago. She recognizes him and calls him by his real name, the Comte de La Fère. Athos calls her "a demon" and laughs bitterly over the fact that they would have killed each other by now, had they not both believed the other to be dead.
In a few words, Athos explains that he knows what Milady has been doing lately, and also what she plans to do next. He says that he does not care a bit about Buckingham, but that he will not let her "lay one finger on one hair of d'Artagnan's head." Milady says coldly that d'Artagnan "offended" her badly and that she intends to kill both him and Madame Bonacieux as revenge.
Rather than argue with Milady, Athos pulls out his pistol, cocks it, and points it at her head. He demands that she hand over the letter the Cardinal just wrote for her—or die. She gives him the letter, which says:
It is by my order and for the service of the State that the bearer of this note has done what he has done.
The note is clearly signed by Cardinal Richelieu, who is essentially all-powerful in France. Athos knows that the note would allow Milady to get away with literally any crime. Rather than leave this power in such dangerous hands, Athos takes the paper himself.
Satisfied that Milady's power is now somewhat limited, Athos leaves the hotel again. He rides across country, listening carefully for the sound of the Cardinal and his friends on the road. When he hears them, he continues on a little farther and then returns to the road so that he seems to have been ahead of them the whole time. The Cardinal suspects nothing; he merely thanks Athos for taking care of security.
Later, when he...
(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 Saint Gervais, the bastion where d’Artagnan fought last night, which is expected to be retaken by the people of La Rochelle this morning. This is an extremely risky place to have a picnic, and the strangers do not believe anyone would be brave enough to stay there for a whole hour. They accept the bet immediately.
Over his friends' muttered objections, Athos orders a picnic breakfast. When it is ready, he leads the way to the bastion. During the walk, he blithely explains that he made this crazy bet because it is the best possible way to discuss their new, dangerous knowledge about the Cardinal's plans. If they try to talk within earshot of people they do not know, one of the Cardinal's many spies will almost certainly hear them. If they go off alone to a secluded place, their choice to seclude themselves will be considered suspicious. But if they eat breakfast in the most dangerous spot available, people will simply assume that they are pulling a daring stunt. If they get attacked within the hour, they will fight. Regardless, they will surely find a few minutes to chat.
The others think Athos’s plan is reckless, but they are committed by honor now that the bet is on. Porthos grumbles that they should at least have brought muskets, and Athos laughs. He points out that the men who were killed last night surely had muskets. Why would anyone bother to carry a heavy weapon when he can simply pick one up off the ground?
Grimaud, Athos's lackey, is the only servant who accompanies the friends on this outing. When he learns where they are going, he is terrified. Athos does not allow Grimaud to complain, so he makes hand signals to indicate that he would rather not come along. This...
(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, Grimaud signals that some enemy soldiers are approaching. Only four of the men in the enemy troop are armed, and that they are still a decent distance away. Athos shrugs and commands the others to eat a bit more before getting up to fight. His friends obey nervously.
The enemy soldiers advance on the bastion without taking any precautions whatsoever, and it is clear that they have not seen the three Musketeers and d’Artagnan. Athos, unwilling to shoot at unsuspecting enemies, hops up on a wall and politely asks them to wait a while before coming to retake the bastion. Their only response is to shoot at him, but as he expects, they cannot shoot straight. The four friends shoot back, killing several enemies and wounding a few more.
When this little problem is taken care of, the four friends set up a napkin as a flag and return to their breakfast. When d'Artagnan hears the story about the job Milady has just accepted, he is eager to try to help Buckingham. Meanwhile, Athos says that he only wants to stop Milady from harming d'Artagnan. Stopping Milady, however, is a difficult problem, and he does not know how to do it.
Before anyone suggests a plan, a group of twenty-five soldiers approaches with the clear intention of fighting the four men on the bastion. The three Musketeers and d’Artagnan once again stop eating to fight. They shoot many men and then knock over a stone wall, crushing several more. In this way, they kill almost the entire enemy force, with the exception of a few dusty, wounded men who get up and run back toward La Rochelle.
The hour is up, but the conversation is not. Athos insists on remaining at the bastion for a bit longer, and he orders Grimaud to...
(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 Winter dead so she can inherit his money. The four friends hope that Lord de Winter will somehow manage to bring Milady to justice, thus preventing themselves and everyone else from her treachery in the future.
The next part of the plan is more difficult: the friends must warn Queen Anne about the danger to the Duke of Buckingham. Aramis writes a note to his supposed cousin, whom everyone by now knows to be his mistress, the Duchess de Chevreuse. She is a good friend of the Queen's, and she is capable of sending a message that will not be intercepted by the King or the Cardinal.
In his letter, Aramis does not dare state his secrets too openly lest the paper fall into the wrong hands. Instead he writes that he dreamed Buckingham was dead, and that his dreams often come true. He mentions this right next to a paragraph about the Cardinal, knowing that his mistress will understand that the Cardinal is planning Buckingham's assassination.
Musketeers are not allowed to leave camp in the middle of a military campaign, so they have to make lackey's carry the messages. Aramis's servant, Bazin, takes the letter to Madame de Chevreuse, who soon replies with a letter that is just as subtly worded as Aramis's. She says her "sister"—by whom she really means the Queen—hopes that Aramis's dream will not come true. She thanks Aramis for his help and asks him to write again whenever he can do so safely.
D'Artagnan's servant, Planchet, takes the other letter to Lord de Winter. Before he leaves, he secretly promises d'Artagnan that he will warn de Winter about the plot against Buckingham as well. The lackey rides off, and the Musketeers nervously await his return. He is gone for sixteen full...
(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 docks, an officer of the coast guard comes onboard for an inspection. The officer leading the inspection surveys Milady shrewdly and says that she needs to come with him. When she asks why, he says it is merely a normal wartime precaution. She follows him to a rowboat, which takes her to shore.
Onshore, Milady is surprised when the officer leads her to a waiting carriage, and more surprised still when it takes her out of town. She questions the officer closely, but he refuses to provide a full explanation. She shouts for help, but he does not react. She moves to jump from the carriage, and he does not try to stop her. However, he points out that she will kill herself if she tries it. Unnerved, she returns to her original tactic of demanding an explanation. He still refuses to answer, but he promises that she is not going to be harmed. His sincerity makes her feel a little better. He seems like a gentle man, even if he refuses to be manipulated.
After about an hour, the carriage arrives at a country castle. As Milady is brought inside, tall iron gates close behind her. The carriage stops, and the officer takes her through a series of hallways to a large, comfortable room with locks on the doors. This tells her that someone has decided to hold her prisoner here, but she does not know who or why.
Milady does not need to wait long to find out the answer to the first of these two questions. She soon hears footsteps in the hallway and turns to see her captor—her brother-in-law, Lord de Winter. He greets her politely but coldly, and he asks her to sit down and chat.
(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, and she says mildly that she only wanted to visit him. He says that this is natural, since she is his only heir. This shocks her into silence. She has been eager to inherit his fortune for some time, but she had no idea he knew it. She berates herself inwardly for having said aloud, on several occasions, that she wanted him dead.
Now that he has her attention, Lord de Winter reveals that he knows all about Milady’s original marriage, and about the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder. He says that he is too respectful of his brother's memory to have her locked up or hanged. Instead he is imprisoning her himself until he can have her shipped off to some faraway colony. He adds that he will have her killed if she attempts to escape before or during her upcoming journey.
Milady is furious, but at the moment she has nothing to gain from showing it. She forces herself to look calm and compliant as Lord de Winter explains the rules of her imprisonment. She will remain locked in her room at all times, and she will not be allowed to speak with any guard except Mr. Felton, the officer who brought her to this castle. Of all of de Winter’s men, Mr. Felton alone is too loyal and too disciplined to be swayed by Milady’s feminine charms. At this, Lord de Winter calls Mr. Felton and reminds him of his promise to remain constantly suspicious of Milady.
Though inwardly plotting to find a weak spot in her brother-in-law's plan, Milady forces herself to look meek and beaten. Even after the men leave, she retains this expression for some time in case they try to spy on her through the keyhole. Then, when she is sure they are gone, she settles into an armchair to consider her plan for escape.
(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, since he does not know what has happened to her, he focuses on the task in front of him. According to his informants, the people in La Rochelle are starving and cannot last long without supplies. The end should come soon, but only if Buckingham does not arrive with supplies and reinforcements from England.
Amid his worries, the Cardinal goes out riding. He sees a group of Musketeers—Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan—having a picnic on a dune with their lackeys. They are all laughing and looking pleased with themselves. The Cardinal, in his bad mood, thinks this gathering appears suspicious. He sneaks up on the little group and tries to hear the contents of the letter one of them is reading aloud. However, the lackeys are keeping watch, and Grimaud calls out to warn his masters.
The four friends bow to the Cardinal, and everyone except Athos cowers in fear. Athos, with his lordly manner, meets the Cardinal's eye and explains that he and his friends are enjoying some time off. The Cardinal makes a few vague implications that the Musketeers are acting suspicious, but ultimately he does not have any evidence. He rides off in a huff, and the friends relax.
Aramis returns to reading his letter aloud. It is from Madame de Chevreuse but, as always, he claims it is from his cousin. She says that "our little maid"—by whom she means Madame Bonacieux—is in the Carmelite convent in a town called Stenay. Madame de Chevreuse offers to make a discrete attempt to relay a message to the convent if anyone wants to write a letter.
D'Artagnan is thrilled that he finally knows Madame Bonacieux’s whereabouts. He resolves to go and get her as soon as his duties at battle are finished,...
(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 ever, and she feels ready to seduce a man to help her.
When Milady hears Mr. Felton and his fellow soldiers bringing dinner, she arranges herself limply in a chair with closed eyes. Mr. Felton murmurs that she is asleep, but one of his men says she looks like she has fainted. Mr. Felton sends for Lord de Winter, who soon arrives and says that Milady is only acting ill to inspire pity. He says that she is a brilliant actress, and that she will surely create several more performances for them before they can get rid of her.
Milady listens to her brother-in-law’s words in a cold fury. When the men shut the door on her, she seethes in anger and vows to find some other way to get past them. She grabs the knife from the dinner setting they just brought, but she is disappointed to see that it is a flimsy, rounded thing—no good for attacking a person. When she throws it aside in disgust, she hears a burst of laughter from the hallway. Lord de Winter and Mr. Felton have been watching her through a small window in the door.
The men open the door again, and Lord de Winter teases Mr. Felton for wanting to give Milady a real knife. Mr. Felton sounds regretful as he admits that he was wrong. He seems shocked that a woman could want to stab someone, but he cannot deny what he has seen with his own eyes.
When the men are gone, Milady eats a bit and considers her failure. As she sees it, she has learned one useful piece of information: Mr. Felton would have chosen to give her a real knife if he had not been ordered to do otherwise. “That man has at least a spark of pity in his soul,” she thinks to herself. She decides to focus her efforts on manipulating him.
(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. They lead her to guess, correctly, that he is a Puritan. Immediately she forms a plan to make him trust her: she will pretend to share this faith. She easily adopts the mannerisms and speech patterns of the Puritans she has met, and she is thrilled when Mr. Felton seems to take her seriously. He does not reveal his own faith, so she pretends not to be aware of it.
When Lord de Winter comes to visit Milady later that afternoon, he mocks her for pretending to be religious. He says that she is atheist and evil, and she smugly replies that he is confusing her with himself. Milady is sure that Felton can hear her through the door, so she is careful not to say anything which would give away her game.
As evening approaches, Milady sings a few hymns she knows to be popular among Puritans. When one of the Catholic guards outside her door shouts at her to stop, Mr. Felton snaps that the guards' job is to keep Milady prisoner, not prevent her from worshipping God. It thrills Milady to hear him defending her, so she goes on singing in a perfect imitation of religious passion. This is too much for Mr. Felton, who flings open her door and stares at her, "dazzled."
Milady, still pretending not to know that Mr. Felton is a Puritan, apologizes for offending his Catholic sensibilities. He stammers that he would never dream of preventing her from worshipping God as she pleases, but he adds that her loud singing is "troubling and exciting." He begs her to be just a little quieter and then slips back outside. As he locks the door, Milady overhears someone say, "The lady prisoner has a lovely voice!"
(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 de Winter's cruel sarcasm and her own apparent sincerity, so she merely murmurs forgiveness for her brother-in-law's cruel words.
The next time she is alone with Mr. Felton, Milady hints darkly that she has been imprisoned not because of any crime she has committed, but because Lord de Winter and the Duke of Buckingham are planning a crime against her. It is not hard for Mr. Felton to imagine Buckingham taking part in such a plot; like many Puritans, he regards Buckingham as "the son of Satan.” However, Mr. Felton is deeply loyal to Lord de Winter and does not want to believe anything bad of him.
Milady refuses to make any direct accusations. She just speaks vaguely of shame and asks Mr. Felton to bring her a knife, which she promises to return moments afterward. He guesses that she wants to commit suicide, and she collapses into false sobs. Just then, they hear Lord de Winter approaching, and Milady begs Mr. Felton not to reveal what she has told him.
In the evening, Lord de Winter brings Milady an official paper which orders her to be brought to one of the colonies—either America or Tyburn, whichever she chooses—and confined to some small town. She will be given an allowance of six shillings per week, a sum that will leave her near poverty. He explains that he will send the order to Buckingham for a signature and then put her on a boat.
All this leaves Milady four days to finish her seduction of Mr. Felton. She is certain that she can bend him to her will by then, but only if she finds more opportunities to speak with him alone. That evening she sings her psalms again, hoping he will come to her. But he does not enter her cell.
(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 innocently that he is her brother, by which he means that he is her brother in Christian faith. She says that she is prepared to reveal the the truth, but then they hear Lord de Winter's footsteps in the halls.
When Lord de Winter enters, Mr. Felton backs away from Milady. Lord de Winter asks what is going on, and Mr. Felton admits that Milady wants a knife. Lord de Winter laughs and says callously that if she wants to kill herself, she could make a rope. This does nothing to reassure Mr. Felton, who just now saw Milady with a rope she had made.
Lord de Winter tells Mr. Felton to come away with him, and the officer obeys. An hour later, he returns to Milady's room looking upset. He says that Lord de Winter has told him the whole terrible truth about Milady's past. Now Mr. Felton does not know what to think. “Either you are a demon...or Lord de Winter...is a monster,” he says.
By now Mr. Felton is in a state of deep confusion. For years, Lord de Winter has been like a father to him, but Milady seems sincere. He offers her a chance to tell her side of the story tonight at midnight. He promises to give her the knife she wants when she is finished. Milady is thrilled, and when he leaves, she says to herself:
Oh, God, what an insane fanatic! Did I say God? I am my own God, vengeance is mine, I will repay. And that young Puritan fool will help me do so.
(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 like Mr. Felton, she is obliged to stimulate the sense of moral justice instead.
At midnight, Felton arrives and tells the guard in the hallway that he will spend the night on suicide watch in the prisoner's room. The guard, who is not nearly as high-minded as Mr. Felton, laughs and advises him “to look into her bed, too!” Mr. Felton ignores this and enters the room. Milady immediately asks to see the knife he has brought her. He shows her, then puts it on the table and demands to hear her story.
As Mr. Felton listens with rapt attention, Milady claims that, years ago, her beauty attracted the attention of a certain highborn nobleman. He tried, using trickery and violence, to make her betray her Puritan beliefs and give up her body to him—but she refused. Eventually he resorted to drugging a glass of water and giving it to her to drink. When she passed out, he carried her away.
Continuing her lie, Milady says that she awoke, naked, in a circular room with no doors. She got dressed and examined the room, but she could not find any way out. She remained alone, without food or drink, until about seven or eight in the evening, when a trapdoor opened in the ceiling. Above her stood the nobleman who had been pursuing her for so long, who gloatingly told her that he had raped her in her sleep. He asked her to give in and become his mistress. She refused, and this obviously annoyed him. He shut the door and left her alone again.
Mr. Felton believes every word of Milady’s story, and he is furious. He repeatedly interrupts her to ask the name of the man who treated her so horribly. Each time, she shushes him. She forces herself to look mournful, but inwardly she is thrilled...
(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 a show of forgiveness. As she does so, she reflects that from now on, Mr. Felton will believe anything of her and do anything she asks.
Now that she has Mr. Felton completely in her power, Milady reveals the name of the nobleman who supposedly abducted and raped her: the Duke of Buckingham. Mr. Felton hates Buckingham anyway, so it is easy for him to believe the lie. However, he has trouble believing that Lord de Winter, the man he most admires, is wrapped up in all of this. Milady smiles and says that her brother-in-law does not know the truth. At the time of her abduction, she was engaged to Lord de Winter’s brother, to whom she revealed her shameful story in every detail. He married her anyway and swore to assassinate her tormentor, but he died before he could accomplish the mission. He never confided the story to his brother. Lord de Winter, a good friend of Buckingham’s, naturally believed Buckingham over the sister-in-law he never particularly liked.
Milady proclaims that death is the only way to end her shame. She lunges for the knife Mr. Felton brought her. He shouts at her to stop, and the noise attracts the attention of the guards. Soon Lord de Winter is summoned, and he surveys the scene. Sighing, Lord de Winter tells his officer that whatever is happening is an act; Milady will never use the knife to kill herself. This is true, but Milady cannot let Mr. Felton believe it. She grabs the knife and stabs it at her breast, carefully aiming it so that it bounces off the iron part of her corset before continuing on to cut into her skin. The resulting wound is not life threatening, but it is bad enough to bleed profusely.
Mr. Felton thinks Milady has killed herself, and he...
(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 sail out tomorrow under the supervision of armed guards who have instructions to kill her if she makes the slightest resistance. Milady thinks she has lost.
Milady spends the evening in an agony of uncertainty as a powerful storm arises outside. Then, amid the clattering of the wind and rain, she hears a hopeful sound: a knocking at the window. She opens it and sees the face of Mr. Felton. He spends an hour sawing through the bars on her window, and then she climbs out, taking nothing with her except her money.
Milady is too weak to climb down Mr. Felton’s rope ladder in the high winds, so he carries her. Halfway down, they hear the footsteps of a passing patrol, and they freeze. Fortunately the guards do not notice them or their ladder in the darkness. Nevertheless, the excitement makes Milady faint in Mr. Felton’s arms.
Mr. Felton carries the unconscious Milady to a rowboat, which they take to a ship he has chartered for their escape. On the way, Milady awakes and asks what he is planning. He says that the ship will drop him off at Portsmouth and then take her anywhere she pleases. She asks what he will do in Portsmouth, and he replies that the Duke of Buckingham is there, preparing to sail to La Rochelle in the morning. “He will not sail,” says Mr. Felton, who is planning to kill Buckingham for his supposed crimes against Milady.
When they arrive at their ship, Mr. Felton and Milady climb aboard. They make some quick negotiations with the captain and set sail for Portsmouth. On the way, Mr. Felton and Milady discuss their plans, and she promises to wait while he visits Buckingham. He urges her to stay only until ten o'clock, and then, if he has not returned, to...
(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 Lord de Winter's orders but then tells Buckingham not to sign them. Buckingham waves away Mr. Felton's objections, saying he is condemning a criminal to exile, even though she deserves far worse. Outraged, Mr. Felton tells Buckingham to order Milady's release instead. When Buckingham refuses, Mr. Felton draws a knife and stabs him.
Mr. Felton flees just as Buckingham's servant enters with the stranger who arrived at the same time. The stranger is La Porte, the representative of the Queen of France, who curses himself for coming too late.
At this moment, Lord de Winter arrives breathlessly at Buckingham's residence. This morning, his soldiers noticed the ladder leading from the window Milady's room. When her cell was found empty, Lord de Winter guessed that she had succeeded in tricking Mr. Felton and using him to carry out her assassination plans against Buckingham. When Lord de Winter sees the blood on Mr. Felton's hands, his fears are confirmed. He curses and helps Buckingham's guards arrest Mr. Felton.
As soon as the guards have control of Mr. Felton, Lord de Winter rushes to see the dying Buckingham. Buckingham begs La Porte to read the message from Queen Anne. La Porte complies, but the note only says that the Queen is afraid for his life. She asks him to stop helping La Rochelle lest he end up killed for it. This message disappoints Buckingham, but La Porte adds that the Queen still loves Buckingham. Buckingham dies happy.
Upset, Lord de Winter goes back to Mr. Felton and asks how Milady induced him to commit such a terrible crime. Mr. Felton refuses to explain, but then he looks out over the harbor and spots Milady's ship sailing away. It is not yet nine o'clock in...
(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 will take a short trip to Paris, bringing fifty Musketeers along as a guard. Monsieur de Tréville, who knows that d'Artagnan and his friends have an urgent mission near Paris, immediately assigns them to the group that will come along. The King travels quite quickly, but he stops occasionally for hunting excursions. Most of the Musketeers are happy about this, but d'Artagnan is quite impatient.
When the King and his Musketeers finally arrive in Paris, Monsieur de Tréville grants leaves of absence to a few favored Musketeers. D’Artagnan and his friends are in the first group who receive time off, and they immediately begin preparations for a trip to rescue Madame Bonacieux. D'Artagnan finds the planning tedious, and he insists that he should simply go alone. But Athos warns caution. In the conversation he overheard between the Cardinal and Milady, they made plans for Milady to stay in a convent in the same region. If she has somehow escaped Lord de Winter and returned to France, d’Artagnan might find himself at risk.
The four friends soon set out on the journey together, riding as quickly as they can to the town of Arras, where they stop for a rest. In the yard of the inn there, d'Artagnan sees his nemesis, the man of Meung, and tries to follow him to finish the duel he has been trying to start since the beginning of the novel. Athos holds d'Artagnan back because the stranger is riding in the wrong direction. Chasing him now could mean missing the chance to rescue Madame Bonacieux.
Just then, a stable boy runs out to the road with a paper that the man of Meung dropped on his way out of the yard. D'Artagnan buys the paper from the boy for a coin. On it is written the name of a...
(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 convent happy, and anyway, this is the kind of storytelling she excels at.
As Milady talks, she watches for clues about the Mother Superior's political leanings. Slowly, it becomes clear that she is a Royalist—a person who supports the King and Queen rather than the Cardinal. When Milady is relatively sure of this, she begins to criticize the Cardinal and complain that his persecution has forced her to the convent. She is careful to seem sincere, and she soon gains the old woman's trust. At this point, the Mother Superior reveals that there is another young woman hiding from the Cardinal at the convent. The Mother Superior does not know many details about this, but she promises to introduce Milady to the other young woman sometime soon.
The Mother Superior declares that Milady needs rest. She leaves, and Milady considers her position. Now that she has succeeded in stopping Buckingham, the Cardinal is in her debt. This will make it easy for her to destroy d’Artagnan. She resolves to do this as soon as possible, and to include Athos into the bargain if she can.
Later that day, Milady meets Madame Bonacieux, who has by now been hiding at the convent for six months. The two have never met before, so they do not recognize each other. However, Milady figures out the truth when Madame Bonacieux mentions that she is friends with Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan. Sensing a chance to harm the true love of her worst enemy, Milady works hard to gain Madame Bonacieux's trust.
These efforts pay off almost immediately when Madame Bonacieux reveals that d'Artagnan and his friends are coming to the convent very soon, perhaps even today. Before Milady can absorb this information,...
(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 someday, and Porthos because he is an idiot who will be harmless outside his friends' influence.
Rochefort tells Milady to remain in hiding for a while. It is not safe for her to see the Cardinal because, given her recent role in several major intrigues, she could harm his position politically. However, Rochefort gives her money, a carriage, and a servant so she can move to a place where the four Musketeers will not find her.
Milady says that she will wait in a nearby town called Armentières. It is right on the border, so that she can escape France if necessary. Rochefort does not know this part of France very well, so he asks her to write the word Armentières on a slip of paper lest he forget it. He comments that the note could fall into the wrong hands, but that a note so small could never compromise her. “Anything can compromise anybody," she replies. But she is in too much of a hurry to argue, so she scribbles down the name of the town.
Next, Milady tells Rochefort that she will try to trick Madame Bonacieux into accompanying her to Armentières. She pretends to be doing this purely for the Cardinal, who does not like that the Queen outsmarted him by rescuing and hiding the young woman he was holding prisoner. But ultimately, Milady plans to kill Madame Bonacieux as revenge against d'Artagnan.
By the end of this short meeting, Rochefort and Milady both seem pleased. He now has good news to convey to the Cardinal, and she has a way of escaping the convent before her enemies arrive. They grin at each other, and Rochefort leaves. An hour later, he arrives in the town of Arras, where he happens to drop the paper containing the word...
(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. Milady answers patiently and ultimately convinces Madame Bonacieux to flee now and attempt to connect with d'Artagnan later. Naturally Milady has no real intention of allowing Madame Bonacieux to see d'Artagnan ever again, but at the moment, Milady needs her victim to accompany her willingly.
When Milady’s carriage arrives, Madame Bonacieux grows dizzy from excitement. She collapses onto the floor in fear. Just then, a group of men rides through the gate—and Milady sees d'Artagnan at the front. The half-conscious Madame Bonacieux does not see her rescuers, so Milady claims that they are enemies. This makes Madame Bonacieux even more distraught, and she cannot move at all. Milady is not strong enough to carry the poor woman, nor is she willing to leave her to be rescued. Milady poisons Madame Bonacieux and makes her escape.
Moments after Milady departs, d'Artagnan and his fellow Musketeers enter the room and find Madame Bonacieux gasping and choking. She stammers a few words to make clear who poisoned her, and then she dies. D'Artagnan faints from grief, and his three friends mourn beside him.
Just then, Lord de Winter enters. When sees the dead body on the bed, he comments wryly that Milady must have been here. Then he informs the Musketeers that he is after her too. Athos invites him to join them as they hunt Milady down and take revenge. D'Artagnan is distraught, but he gains control of himself when Athos reminds him that it is a man's duty to avenge his true love's murder.
It is getting late, so the four friends and Lord de Winter make their way to an inn. Before the others retire to their rooms, Athos tells them that he will take charge of the search for Milady. He...
(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 are unlikely to be noticed, and they are more likely to be trusted by workers and peasants who may have interacted with Milady on the road.
After the lackeys leave, Athos makes a strange, unexplained errand. He walks quietly up a dark road, stopping several times to ask for directions. The people he speaks to point him in the right direction and then scurry away as if they are afraid. Eventually Athos arrives at a creepy old house and speaks to a creepy old man. At first, the man shakes his head, but then Athos shows him a slip of paper. After that, the old man nods his agreement.
The following day, the four friends and Lord de Winter attend Madame Bonacieux's funeral at the convent. During the service, Athos searches the area and finds clues suggesting that Milady fled in the direction he suspected.
After the funeral, the Musketeers return to their inn and find Planchet waiting. He explains that he followed Milady to Armentières, stopping only to question the carriage drivers who drove her there. He ascertained that she was staying in the main inn in Armentières, posted the other three lackeys as guards, and returned immediately to give Athos the news.
Immediately the four friends, Lord de Winter, and Planchet prepare to ride to Armentières. D'Artagnan urges the others to hurry, but Athos tell them to wait. They obey Athos, and soon the creepy old man from last night’s meeting arrives wearing a mask and a strange red cloak. The old man does not speak, and Athos does not offer an explanation for his presence. Everyone else is quite curious, but they do not press the issue. They set out to find Milady.
(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 must judge this woman, not murder her," he says, and he invites the other gentlemen inside.
When Milady sees all her enemies in one place, she is terrified. She demands to know what they want, and they explain that they want her to pay for her crimes. D'Artagnan, Athos, and Lord de Winter take turns describing the crimes she has committed against them. During Lord de Winter’s story, the others are shocked to learn that Buckingham has been murdered.
Next, to everyone’s surprise, the man in the red cloak demands to testify as well. He says that he is the public executioner from a nearby town, where Milady spent her early years. As everyone listens in amazement, he fills in the story of Milady’s life before she arrived in Athos's province.
According to the public executioner, Milady was once a young nun who seduced a priest and got caught. Rather than accept their punishment, the two of them decided to flee. When they stole from a church to pay for their escape, they were caught and sentenced to be branded. Before the sentence was carried out, Milady seduced a guard and ran away. The executioner was forced to brand only the priest—who was his own brother. Afterward, the executioner was so angry that he hunted Milady down and carried out her sentence in secret.
When this final evidence of Milady's treachery is finished, the room falls silent as everyone ponders the depths of her evil. Then, one by one, they recommend that she be sentenced to death for her crimes. At first she tries to argue, but the evidence against her is strong, and she cannot fight off a group of six armed men who all know the truth about her. She falls into a stunned silence, and they lead her...
(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 already, on numerous occasions, escaped legal judgments by courts of law. She begs to be sent to a convent, but they say that they have tried lenient punishments, and she has refused to submit to them.
Although he wants Milady's death more than anyone else, d'Artagnan is so youthful and innocent that he cannot remain hardhearted against her pleas for mercy. He plugs his ears and says he cannot stand to see a woman die in such a gruesome way. Milady, seeing her chance, begs him to defend her. Athos steps between them and warns d'Artagnan that he will fight—to the death, if necessary—to ensure that Milady faces justice. D'Artagnan steels himself and stops objecting.
Before the public executioner takes Milady away, Athos and Lord de Winter forgive her for her crimes. D'Artagnan, in his turn, asks her forgiveness "for trickery unworthy of a gentleman." At these words, she seems to lose her resistance. She says that she must die, and she will go peacefully.
Naturally, this submissiveness is only a trick. As the executioner takes Milady across the river, she struggles free of her bonds. When she arrives at the other side, she tries to run, but she trips. The executioner approaches her from behind and decapitates her in one stroke. Then he dumps her body in the river, and everyone watches it float away. "God's justice and will and mercy be done!" the executioner says.
When this macabre deed is accomplished, the Musketeers return to Paris. They arrive exactly at the right time and report to Monsieur de Tréville, who asks mildly if they had a good time on their days off. Athos answers for everyone that they enjoyed themselves very much.
(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 d’Artagnan under arrest, by order of Cardinal Richelieu.
D’Artagnan does not find it particularly surprising that the Cardinal wants to arrest him, so he makes no objection and hands over his sword. The Musketeers are on their way to La Rochelle regardless, so d'Artagnan solemnly promises to report to the Cardinal upon arrival. He keeps this promise, and his friends accompany him. They stand outside, ready to fight in his defense if necessary.
When d’Artagnan enters the Cardinal’s office, he thinks that all may be lost. Even his friends’ fighting prowess is no match for the Cardinal’s power. Nevertheless, he defends himself bravely. When the Cardinal explains that Milady has accused d’Artagnan of several serious crimes, d’Artagnan replies that his accuser is not trustworthy. When the Cardinal asks for an explanation, d’Artagnan calmly explains that he and the other Musketeers put Milady on trial, found her guilty, and had her executed. The Cardinal says that they had no right to do such a thing, but d’Artagnan calmly produces his pardon, the Cardinal’s letter:
It is by my order and for the service of the State that the bearer of this note has done what he has done.
As both men know, these words were written to pardon the murderer of d’Artagnan rather than the murderer of Milady. Nevertheless, the Cardinal falls into a thoughtful silence. He is not sorry to have lost Milady, especially if she was really a murderer and an adulterer. He tears up the pardon and gets out a pen to write something else.
Watching the Cardinal, d’Artagnan thinks he is about to be sent off to prison, or even to the gallows....
(The entire section is 697 words.)