Chapter 65 Summary
The four friends and their companions ride toward Armentières, continuing their journey even after darkness falls and a storm begins to blow. When the rain starts, everyone except d'Artangan puts on a cloak. D'Artagnan just takes off his hat and lets the storm soak him.
At Armentières, the travelers find Grimaud, who informs Athos that Milady has moved on. He leads them to a tiny house by the river, where they find Bazin and Mousqueton standing guard. They say that Milady is inside alone, so Athos approaches the window while d’Artagnan sneaks up to the door. When they are both in place, they break in and corner their enemy. D'Artagnan advances, clearly intending to kill Milady at once, but Athos calls him back. "We must judge this woman, not murder her," he says, and he invites the other gentlemen inside.
When Milady sees all her enemies in one place, she is terrified. She demands to know what they want, and they explain that they want her to pay for her crimes. D'Artagnan, Athos, and Lord de Winter take turns describing the crimes she has committed against them. During Lord de Winter’s story, the others are shocked to learn that Buckingham has been murdered.
Next, to everyone’s surprise, the man in the red cloak demands to testify as well. He says that he is the public executioner from a nearby town, where Milady spent her early years. As everyone listens in amazement, he fills in the story of Milady’s life before she arrived in Athos's province.
According to the public executioner, Milady was once a young nun who seduced a priest and got caught. Rather than accept their punishment, the two of them decided to flee. When they stole from a church to pay for their escape, they were caught and sentenced to be branded. Before the sentence was carried out, Milady seduced a guard and ran away. The executioner was forced to brand only the priest—who was his own brother. Afterward, the executioner was so angry that he hunted Milady down and carried out her sentence in secret.
When this final evidence of Milady's treachery is finished, the room falls silent as everyone ponders the depths of her evil. Then, one by one, they recommend that she be sentenced to death for her crimes. At first she tries to argue, but the evidence against her is strong, and she cannot fight off a group of six armed men who all know the truth about her. She falls into a stunned silence, and they lead her outside toward the river.