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 looking suspicious. D’Artagnan does not see any threat in Monsieur Bonacieux, so he brushes off this warning and tells Planchet to get ready.