Chapter 4 Summary

As d’Artagnan runs out to catch the man from Meung, he bumps hard into someone’s shoulder. He excuses himself briefly and keeps running, but the man grabs him and shouts at him for being so careless. D’Artagnan looks up and recognizes the man as Athos, the wounded Musketeer. Although d’Artagnan tries to apologize, Athos is too annoyed for forgiveness. He suggests a duel at noon, and D’Artagnan is too proud to refuse. After agreeing, he runs onward, still hoping to catch the man from Meung.

At the gates of Monsieur de Tréville’s residence, d’Artagnan attempts to run past a couple of Musketeers, including Porthos, the man in the beautiful gold cloak. A wind picks up, and d’Artagnan accidentally gets tangled up in the cloak. As he tries to extricate himself, he notices that it is not really all gold; in fact, it is rather cheap on the inside. He and Porthos exchange a few rude insults, and the next thing d’Artagnan knows, he has a second duel arranged for one o’clock.

There is no longer any sign of the man from Meung in the streets, so d’Artagnan has plenty of time to think over all that has happened in the last few minutes. He berates himself for running away from Monsieur de Tréville so abruptly, and for offending two Musketeers. It is a bad situation, partly because the Musketeers are the very people d’Artagnan admires most, and partly because they are known for being excellent fighters. Sadly, d’Artagnan resolves to face his two duels as bravely as possible and then, if he survives, to act more agreeable toward the Musketeers he meets in the future.

As d’Artagnan makes this resolution, he spots Aramis chatting with some fellow Musketeers on the street. Aramis drops a handkerchief and d’Artagnan, spotting an opportunity to make friends, picks it up to return it. Aramis waves it away, insisting that it does not belong to him. The others notice that it bears the crest of a noblewoman and begin to tease him. They say that Aramis must be having an affair with the owner of the handkerchief, and he flatly denies it. But he is annoyed, and by the end of this conversation, d’Artagnan has a third duel scheduled, this one at two o’clock.

By now it is almost time for d’Artagnan’s first duel. As he walks to meet Athos, he consoles himself with the following thought: “At least, if I am killed, I shall be killed by a Musketeer!”