Chapter 42 Summary
D’Artagnan is beginning to make more friends among the guards, but he is nevertheless lonely for his Musketeer comrades. As such, he is overjoyed when he receives a shipment of a dozen bottles of good wine from them as a gift. Eager to celebrate, he invites his two best guardsmen friends to dinner and instructs Planchet to take care of the arrangements. Planchet, in turn, asks for help from Brisemont, the common soldier who once attempted to kill d’Artagnan but is now loyal to him.
When the dinner begins, d'Artagnan decants a bottle of cloudy wine into a pitcher. Lower-class people do not normally drink anything as fine as wine, but Brisemont looks a bit sick, so d’Artagnan allows him to drink the dregs in the bottom of the bottle. Then, just before he and his friends take their first sip, everyone hears cannon fire. They rush outside and see the King and the Musketeers arriving at the camp.
D’Artagnan rushes to greet Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and to invite them to join his dinner. They accept gladly, but there is confusion on the subject of the wine. D’Artagnan repeatedly reminds them that they sent it to him, and they repeatedly tell him that they did not send him anything. Worried, they hurry back to the dining hall and find Brisemont on the floor, writhing in agony. The wine he drank was poisoned.
D’Artagnan rushes to help Brisemont, but he is clearly going to die. He assumes that the poisoning was intentional and curses d’Artagnan for pretending to forgive him and then killing him anyway. D’Artagnan pleads his innocence, but Brisemont dies believing himself to be the victim of a dishonorable murder.
The four friends all agree that Milady probably sent d'Artagnan the poisoned wine, but nobody knows what to do about it. D’Artagnan discusses the matter at length with Athos, who is uncharacteristically unsure of himself. They both know that d’Artagnan could report Milady to the authorities because of the fleur-de-lis on her shoulder, but this plan would require him to be in Paris. He cannot go there until after the battle is over, and he is not even certain that he wants to return to the city at that time. After all, he now has information about Madame Bonacieux, his true love. If he can find out which convent she is in, he can go there and rescue her. In the meantime, he must remain at the battlefront and hope to continue evading Milady’s murder plots.