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 wait for morning. After a while, d’Artagnan’s exhaustion catches up with him, and he falls asleep at his table. Shortly after dawn, he pays his bill and goes out to find his lackey.