Chapter 38 Summary
People laugh and shout at d’Artagnan as he runs, half-dressed in women’s clothing, through the streets of Paris. He is so upset by what he has just seen that he pays no attention to their taunts. He sprints all the way to Athos’s apartment and lets himself inside.
Grimaud fails to recognize d’Artagnan, taking him at first for a woman and then for a madman in woman’s clothes. He shouts for help, but d’Artagnan just tells him to shut up and get Athos. At this moment, Athos wanders in and, seeing d’Artagnan’s outfit, bursts into laughter.
D’Artagnan tells Athos they need to speak privately, and the two of them retreat to the bedroom. There, d’Artagnan takes off the women’s clothes and puts on one of Athos’s robes. As soon as he is moderately presentable, he relates what just happened with Milady—most particularly, the part about the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder. He describes the woman in more detail than ever before, convincing Athos that she is the pretty wife he thought he murdered years ago.
Neither Athos nor d’Artagnan has any idea how Milady managed to survive hanging and take on the identity of an English noblewoman. However, they both know that she is extremely dangerous, not only because of her coldhearted, cunning nature but also because she is an agent of Cardinal Richelieu. They decide to take their time considering whether and how to expose her to the authorities as a branded criminal. They think that this is a safe plan because they are about to leave for battle, where no woman can follow them.
Both Athos and d’Artagnan still need to buy their battle outfits. D’Artagnan gives the sapphire ring to Athos, who feels that it has been sullied by its contact with Milady. Eventually they decide to pawn it and use the proceeds to buy what they need. While they discuss the details of this plan, Grimaud fetches Planchet to bring clothes for his master.
Once dressed, d’Artagnan takes Athos and the two lackeys to his house, where he finds Kitty waiting. She says that her life is at risk if Milady ever figures out her role in d’Artagnan’s plot. D’Artagnan agrees, so he seeks help from Aramis. Aramis happens to know a wealthy lady in the provinces who needs a maid, and he writes a letter to arrange for Kitty’s hire. She goes away still professing her undying love and loyalty to d’Artagnan, who cheerfully but not very convincingly claims he loves her too.
By that afternoon, the sale of the sapphire ring has funded the entire outfits of both d’Artagnan and Athos. Meanwhile, Porthos and Aramis are also outfitted with everything they need. Everyone seems pleased, especially Athos, who got what he wanted without ever having to go out looking for it.