Chapter 29 Summary
D’Artagnan is worried, not only about money, but also about Madame Bonacieux. He spends all of his time searching for one or the other. Porthos and Aramis also spend their time looking for ways to raise money, but Athos refuses to leave his house. He tells his friends that money will find him before the battle. He adds that if it does not, he will simply challenge a series of Englishmen to duels. England is now France’s enemy, so if Athos gets himself killed by an Englishman—which he will be sure to do if he battles enough of them—then he will have died in the service of his king.
One day, d’Artagnan spots Porthos entering a church. Curious, d’Artagnan follows and watches as Porthos leans against a pillar. His presence attracts the attention of a woman in a nearby pew, who turns out to be his mistress, Madame Coquenard. To make her jealous, Porthos pretends not to notice her. Instead he pretends to be courting a beautiful and wealthy noblewoman in a nearby pew.
D’Artagnan recognizes this noblewoman as the woman called Milady—also known as Lady de Winter—who acts as an agent for Cardinal Richelieu. In the past, D’Artagnan has seen Milady with the man from Meung, the likely abductor of Madame Bonacieux. Because of this, d’Artagnan resolves to follow Milady when she leaves the church. In the meantime, he watches Porthos’s maneuverings with interest.
After the service, Porthos flirts with Milady and then feigns surprise when Madame Coquenard approaches him. As Milady leaves, with d’Artagnan in pursuit, Porthos and Madame Coquenard go for a walk. Porthos accuses Madame Coquenard of cruelty and stinginess because she refused his request for help when he was injured and stranded without funds in a faraway inn. He claims that he could have obtained money from any of several other mistresses, all of them wealthy noblewomen. These claims make Madame Coquenard extremely jealous.
Slowly, Porthos brings the conversation around to the fact that he needs money to buy a horse for battle. Once again, he claims that he could get the money from another woman or from his family in the provinces. He makes Madame Coquenard feel that it would be an honor for her to buy his horse for him.
Madame Coquenard begs Porthos not to go to some other woman for money. She offers him a loan and asks him to come to her house the following day for lunch. Before they part, they agree on a lie to tell her husband. When Porthos comes to the house, he will claim that he is her cousin.