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 with de Wardes. When Buckingham reads the brief note, he looks horrified.