Chapter 34 Summary
D’Artagnan and his three friends have not spent much time together since they began looking for funds to outfit themselves for war. One day they all meet at Athos’s apartment. Only Porthos seems sure that he will succeed in his quest to get his battle gear in time. D’Artagnan feels optimistic in spite of a general lack of prospects, whereas Aramis is uncertain enough to have resumed his plans of entering the priesthood. Athos, as usual, claims not to care.
Not long after the friends meet, Porthos is called away by a worried-looking Mousqueton, who says there is something he must see. Moments later, Aramis is called away by Bazin, who says that a beggar has asked to speak to him.
Aramis returns home to find a man in rags waiting for him. The man says that he has something for Aramis, if Aramis can produce a certain handkerchief. As soon as Aramis presents it, the stranger rips open the seams of his shirt to produce a letter and a large pile of gold. Aramis is thrilled, more by the declarations of love in the letter than by the gold. Once again, he immediately forgets his ambitions to enter the priesthood. As usual, he refuses to admit anything to anyone about a love affair. He tells everyone that he received a great deal of gold in payment for the publication of a poem. Only Bazin believes this lie, but Aramis's friends understand what has really happened.
That afternoon, d’Artagnan sees his old yellow horse, the one he sold when he first arrived in Paris. Mousqueton is leading it up the street, along with a similarly aging and worthless mule. At d’Artagnan’s question, Mousqueton explains that he is returning the horse and mule to Porthos’s mistress’s husband, who gave them the animals as a practical joke. D’Artagnan laughs and admits that he recently sold the horse for just a pittance. Mousqueton leads the ridiculous animals to the Coquenard residence, where he ties them to the doorknocker so that they will make a great deal of noise and annoy everyone inside.
Soon after this encounter, Porthos meets with Madame Coquenard. It was really she, not her husband, who procured the horse and mule. She explains that she got them as payment from one of her husband’s clients who was behind on his bills. She admits that she does not really know what kind of horses a soldier and his lackey need. Porthos scolds her for trying to save money on something so important, and he demands that she give him enough money to buy a suitable horse for himself. She agrees and invites him to her house in the evening to talk over the amount.