Chapter 54 Summary
Milady's prospects are improving, but she has not won her freedom yet. She knows that she needs to put continuous pressure on Mr. Felton in order to bewitch him completely. She is trying to seem angelic to him, and she knows that he might see through her game if she makes even the slightest mistake. Therefore she resolves to behave perfectly at all times, remaining in character even when the door is locked and she is alone.
From then on, when Lord de Winter visits, Milady acts meek and silent, only occasionally speaking up if she can think of something pious to say. He clearly finds this annoying, and he tries to goad her into giving away her real personality. She wants Mr. Felton to see a strong contrast between Lord de Winter's cruel sarcasm and her own apparent sincerity, so she merely murmurs forgiveness for her brother-in-law's cruel words.
The next time she is alone with Mr. Felton, Milady hints darkly that she has been imprisoned not because of any crime she has committed, but because Lord de Winter and the Duke of Buckingham are planning a crime against her. It is not hard for Mr. Felton to imagine Buckingham taking part in such a plot; like many Puritans, he regards Buckingham as "the son of Satan.” However, Mr. Felton is deeply loyal to Lord de Winter and does not want to believe anything bad of him.
Milady refuses to make any direct accusations. She just speaks vaguely of shame and asks Mr. Felton to bring her a knife, which she promises to return moments afterward. He guesses that she wants to commit suicide, and she collapses into false sobs. Just then, they hear Lord de Winter approaching, and Milady begs Mr. Felton not to reveal what she has told him.
In the evening, Lord de Winter brings Milady an official paper which orders her to be brought to one of the colonies—either America or Tyburn, whichever she chooses—and confined to some small town. She will be given an allowance of six shillings per week, a sum that will leave her near poverty. He explains that he will send the order to Buckingham for a signature and then put her on a boat.
All this leaves Milady four days to finish her seduction of Mr. Felton. She is certain that she can bend him to her will by then, but only if she finds more opportunities to speak with him alone. That evening she sings her psalms again, hoping he will come to her. But he does not enter her cell.