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 Bonacieux, in contrast, continues to panic.

That night, several guards usher Monsieur Bonacieux outside to a carriage. They refuse to tell him where he is going, and he thinks he is going to be executed. He watches frantically out the window as he passes a number of places where prisoners are frequently executed. When the carriage comes to a stop at the final such location, Traitor’s Cross, Monsieur Bonacieux cannot stand it anymore, and he faints.