Chapter 31 Summary

D’Artagnan and his friends arrive on time for their duel with Lord de Winter and his friends. The English have a custom of introducing themselves before duels, so they all exchange names. Lord de Winter’s friends are annoyed when they hear the three Musketeers’ names, which are obviously fake. One of the Englishmen points out that it is only appropriate for gentlemen to duel other gentlemen. If he does not know his opponent’s name, how can he be sure that he is fighting someone of noble blood?

Athos, Porthos, and Aramis find this argument reasonable, so they each take one Englishman aside and whisper their real names. Afterward, Athos says calmly that he cannot allow his real name to become public; now that he has revealed his real identity to his opponent, he plans to fight to kill. His adversary chuckles, but it is not a joke.

The duel begins, and Athos kills his Englishman almost immediately. Porthos wounds his Englishman in the leg, and Aramis sends his Englishman running away like a coward. D’Artagnan disarms Lord de Winter, and then deigns to release him. This act of mercy pleases his opponent so much that he offers d’Artagnan his friendship. This is exactly what d’Artagnan was hoping for, and he asks to be introduced to Milady.

Athos’s dead opponent has a full purse in his pocket, but Athos is too noble to take spoils from someone he has killed. Lord de Winter suggests giving the money to the lackeys as a gratuity, so Athos gives the purse to the Englishmen’s lackeys. The Englishmen are so impressed by the nobility of this gesture that they tell the story all over Paris. Naturally, Grimaud, Mousqueton, Bazin, and Planchet are annoyed that they did not get to keep the money for themselves.

That night, d’Artagnan goes to meet Milady at her house. When he invites Athos to come along, Athos scoffs and says that a man should not go running after one woman when he claims to love another. He adds that Milady has ties to the Cardinal, which means that she will probably try to use d’Artagnan in some way.

None of this matters much to d’Artagnan. He makes his visit and finds himself captivated by Milady’s loveliness. He develops a vague impression that there is something evil about her, but he soon develops the habit of visiting her every evening anyway. She does not seem interested in him, but she does not tell him to stop coming. 

On his visits to Milady, d'Artagnan vaguely notices that the maidservant, Kitty, repeatedly attempts to make eye contact with him. Kitty does not belong to d’Artagnan’s social class, and she is not nearly as beautiful as Milady. Consequently, he takes no notice of her advances.