Chapter 52 Summary
Back in England, alone in her room in Lord de Winter's castle, Milady decides that d’Artagnan is to blame for her current predicament. He outwitted her in the affair of the diamond studs. He tricked her in the episode with de Wardes. It must have been he who told Lord de Winter about her former marriage and her fleur-de-lis. She seethes with hatred and vows revenge—but first she must escape her imprisonment.
In order to get free, Milady needs the physical strength to cut through the bars on her window or the speed to outrun pursuers. In other words, she needs the help of a man. She has spent the night raging and crying, but now she forces herself to stop. Within a few minutes, she looks as beautiful and composed as ever, and she feels ready to seduce a man to help her.
When Milady hears Mr. Felton and his fellow soldiers bringing dinner, she arranges herself limply in a chair with closed eyes. Mr. Felton murmurs that she is asleep, but one of his men says she looks like she has fainted. Mr. Felton sends for Lord de Winter, who soon arrives and says that Milady is only acting ill to inspire pity. He says that she is a brilliant actress, and that she will surely create several more performances for them before they can get rid of her.
Milady listens to her brother-in-law’s words in a cold fury. When the men shut the door on her, she seethes in anger and vows to find some other way to get past them. She grabs the knife from the dinner setting they just brought, but she is disappointed to see that it is a flimsy, rounded thing—no good for attacking a person. When she throws it aside in disgust, she hears a burst of laughter from the hallway. Lord de Winter and Mr. Felton have been watching her through a small window in the door.
The men open the door again, and Lord de Winter teases Mr. Felton for wanting to give Milady a real knife. Mr. Felton sounds regretful as he admits that he was wrong. He seems shocked that a woman could want to stab someone, but he cannot deny what he has seen with his own eyes.
When the men are gone, Milady eats a bit and considers her failure. As she sees it, she has learned one useful piece of information: Mr. Felton would have chosen to give her a real knife if he had not been ordered to do otherwise. “That man has at least a spark of pity in his soul,” she thinks to herself. She decides to focus her efforts on manipulating him.