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 him assassinated. Buckingham promises to do his best, but only if she is willing to take a risk: he wants her to give him some token of her affection to remember her by. She presses a small box into his hand, and he leaves happy.