Chapter 3 Summary
Monsieur de Tréville calls d’Artagnan into his office, but he also calls three Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Athos is not present, but the other two men follow d’Artagnan inside. D’Artagnan listens as Tréville begins to shout at them. Apparently six of the Musketeers—including Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—fought with and were badly defeated by an equal number of Cardinal Richelieu’s guards. Tréville is only a little annoyed at the men for the fighting, but he is livid that they lost. They gave Cardinal Richelieu a chance to ridicule the Musketeers—and, by extension, Tréville and King Louis XIII as well.
Porthos and Aramis seem ashamed for losing, but they defend themselves, saying they were attacked by surprise. Two of their men were killed before anyone could react, and besides, Aramis killed one of the Cardinal’s men with his own sword. This last piece of news seems to cheer Tréville somewhat.
During this conversation, it becomes clear that Athos was gravely wounded during the fight. Moments later, Athos appears in the doorway, proudly dressed in his Musketeer uniform even though he is pale and weak. He apologizes for losing the fight, and he impresses everyone present by acting gallant and brave in spite of his injury. When he faints from loss of blood, everyone rushes him to a surgeon.
After it becomes clear that Athos will live, Monsieur de Tréville turns his attention to d’Artagnan. The young man introduces himself, explains who his father is, and states his intention of becoming a Musketeer someday. Tréville is kind but says that newcomers to Paris must serve in some other fighting force for a couple of years, or distinguish themselves grandly in some way, before being accepted among the Musketeers. He offers to write d’Artagnan a letter to get him admitted for free into the Royal Academy, where he can learn fighting, riding, and dancing.
D’Artagnan expected a bit more than this, so he hurriedly says that he had a letter of introduction from his father, which was stolen by a dark-haired man with a scar on his temple. From the description, Tréville recognizes this man, who is a spy for the Cardinal. Tréville does not share this information aloud, and he grows suspicious that the Cardinal is using d'Artagnan to enact a plot against the Musketeers and King Louis XIII. Tréville tests d’Artagnan with several questions, trying to detect the ploy, but the boy seems honest and intelligent.
By the end of this interview, Monsieur de Tréville likes d’Artagnan but does not yet trust him. As Tréville writes the promised letter to the Royal Academy, d’Artagnan looks out the window at the street. Before Tréville can give him the letter, d’Artagnan sees the mysterious man of Meung—the man who stole his letter of introduction—and rushes out to finish their duel.