Chapter 37 Summary
D’Artagnan knows perfectly well that Milady is a cruel woman with no conscience and that she does not love him. Nevertheless, he is madly in love with her. He knows that he should confess that it was he and not de Wardes who slept with her and then spurned her, but he still wants revenge. He goes to meet her as promised.
When d’Artagnan returns to Milady's home that evening, Kitty begs him to turn around and leave. He brushes her aside and goes into Milady’s room. Kitty could stop him if she told Milady the truth—but she knows that she would lose her job, her future job prospects, and d’Artagnan’s goodwill if she ever admitted her role in his revenge scheme. She decides to do nothing.
D’Artagnan has misgivings at first, but he quickly gets lost in “the sensations of the moment.” Milady, too, seems genuinely to enjoy the “raptures of delight” that fill the next couple of hours. Afterward, she turns the conversation immediately to the duel d’Artagnan has promised to fight with de Wardes tomorrow.
Contrary to his promise, D’Artagnan has no intention of fighting a duel with a man who has done nothing wrong. He says offhandedly that it is too nice a night to think about fighting; sensing his reluctance, Milady accuses him of fear and cowardice. D’Artagnan misleads her for a while, but eventually he simply tells the truth: He intercepted Milady’s letters to de Wardes and, out of jealousy, pretended to be de Wardes in order to get what he wanted.
D’Artagnan expects Milady to cry and throw a tantrum. Instead, she flies into a rage and leaps out of bed. He grabs at her, stammering an apology, and accidentally tears her clothes. To his great shock, he sees on her shoulder a fleur-de-lis—the mark given to criminals.
As D’Artagnan recoils from Milady in horror, she attempts to stab him with a dagger. He grabs his sword, flees to Kitty’s room, and bolts the door. Milady shrieks in fury and attempts to stab him through the wooden door.
This situation leaves D’Artagnan helpless. He cannot honorably fight a woman, so he begs Kitty to sneak him out of the house. She points out that he is naked, and he concedes that he cannot go out without clothes. She gives him a flowered robe and a pair of ladies’ slippers and leads him down to the street.