The Three Musketeers | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers | Chapter 12 | Summary



Mme. Bonacieux and the duke have no problem entering the palace because she works there and he is dressed as a Musketeer. The duke knows the letter was a trap, but he would not leave France without seeing the queen, even if their meeting was delayed by the abduction of their go-between, Mme. Bonacieux.

The duke admires himself in the Musketeer's uniform—he is confident in all matters, including pursuit of the queen. She arrives and he throws himself at her feet, kissing the hem of her robe. He is risking his life and her honor, and she says they must never meet again. He has loved her for three years, recalling everything she wore the day they met.

Thanks to the cardinal, the king had opposed the duke returning as ambassador to France. The duke says France will pay for that with a war. The duke intends to use La Rochelle to make opportunities to see the queen. He knows thousands of men will give their lives for his instant of happiness. The queen says that is not love; it is a crime.

The duke and the queen have the same dream: the duke is going to die from a stabbing. Frightened, the queen begs him to go, not wanting love to be the cause of his death. This gives the duke hope that the queen really does want to see him, and he asks for a token. Having heard the duke say, "Every time I see you is a fresh diamond which I enclose in the casket of my heart," it is appropriate the token she gives is a casket that is later revealed to contain diamond studs. He kisses her hand, and she nearly faints. Mme. Bonacieux escorts the duke out of the palace.


The shared dream foreshadows the duke's true fate. The queen is somewhat practical: they cannot have their love if the duke is dead. Her honor is at stake: the cardinal knows, the king suspects, and the Musketeers repeat rumors about her and the duke. The queen is not unaffected by the duke's wooing, but she sends him away as soon as possible, the gold casket being the price of his instant departure.

The duke, on the other hand, is more of the incurable romantic, counting the times they met and memorizing details of what the queen wore, vainly admiring himself in his Musketeer uniform, going to war to be close to the queen, and being willing to die for love. The duke's pride is wounded, too, by the king forbidding him to return as ambassador, giving him a selfish reason to go to war despite the fact that it will endanger countless lives.

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