Chapter 60 Summary
Charles I, the King of England, makes every effort to prevent the news of Buckingham's death from reaching France. He stops all ships from leaving Portsmouth so that nobody can pass messages between the two countries. However two ships leave the port before the King takes this measure. One carries Milady, and the other carries Lord de Winter.
Meanwhile, back in France, d'Artagnan is impatient to rescue Madame Bonacieux from the convent where she is staying. However, as a Musketeer, he must stay by the side of King Louis XIII. As long as the King remains at La Rochelle, no Musketeers are granted leaves of absence.
D'Artagnan has a stroke of luck when the King becomes bored with the siege and announces that he will take a short trip to Paris, bringing fifty Musketeers along as a guard. Monsieur de Tréville, who knows that d'Artagnan and his friends have an urgent mission near Paris, immediately assigns them to the group that will come along. The King travels quite quickly, but he stops occasionally for hunting excursions. Most of the Musketeers are happy about this, but d'Artagnan is quite impatient.
When the King and his Musketeers finally arrive in Paris, Monsieur de Tréville grants leaves of absence to a few favored Musketeers. D’Artagnan and his friends are in the first group who receive time off, and they immediately begin preparations for a trip to rescue Madame Bonacieux. D'Artagnan finds the planning tedious, and he insists that he should simply go alone. But Athos warns caution. In the conversation he overheard between the Cardinal and Milady, they made plans for Milady to stay in a convent in the same region. If she has somehow escaped Lord de Winter and returned to France, d’Artagnan might find himself at risk.
The four friends soon set out on the journey together, riding as quickly as they can to the town of Arras, where they stop for a rest. In the yard of the inn there, d'Artagnan sees his nemesis, the man of Meung, and tries to follow him to finish the duel he has been trying to start since the beginning of the novel. Athos holds d'Artagnan back because the stranger is riding in the wrong direction. Chasing him now could mean missing the chance to rescue Madame Bonacieux.
Just then, a stable boy runs out to the road with a paper that the man of Meung dropped on his way out of the yard. D'Artagnan buys the paper from the boy for a coin. On it is written the name of a town, Armentières. Athos reads it and says, with some trepidation, that the handwriting is Milady’s. Worried now, the four friends ride on.