Course Hero. "The Three Musketeers Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 Nov. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2019. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Three-Musketeers/>.
Course Hero. (2016, November 28). The Three Musketeers Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved January 21, 2019, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Three-Musketeers/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "The Three Musketeers Study Guide." November 28, 2016. Accessed January 21, 2019. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Three-Musketeers/.
Course Hero, "The Three Musketeers Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed January 21, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Three-Musketeers/.
After Kitty leaves with the letter to Milady, d'Artagnan sets out for Athos's house. The four friends are reunited only briefly before Mousqueton calls Porthos home and Bazin calls Aramis home to speak to a beggar from Tours.
The beggar asks to see the handkerchief as proof of Aramis's identity, and tears open the rags he wears to produce a love letter. Aramis kisses the letter reverently. The beggar rips his rags again and takes out gold. Aramis does not even look at the money; he is rejoicing over his letter. Bazin and d'Artagnan enter, and they are dazzled by the money. Aramis will not admit its origin and says it is from his publisher, for a poem. Bazin is thrilled Aramis is a poet, which is almost as good as an abbot. D'Artagnan and Aramis talk of having good dinners again with plenty of wine. Athos, still not leaving his house, orders dinner to be delivered. D'Artagnan and Aramis go looking for Porthos and encounter Mousqueton driving a mule and d'Artagnan's old yellow horse. Porthos does not answer the door.
Mousqueton continues on and fastens the horse and mule to the door knocker of Mme. Coquenard's house. Porthos arranges a secret meeting with Mme. Coquenard. She took the horse and mule from a horse dealer who owes a debt to her husband. Porthos tells Mme. Coquenard he will find other friends. Mme. Coquenard, imagining all the wealthy noblewomen eager to have Porthos, begs him to let her make it right. They plan to discuss it further while M. Coquenard is out for the evening.
Ever discreet, Aramis claims the bag of gold is from selling a poem, but his talk of food and wine suggests a letter from Madame de Chevreuse has again chased away his thoughts of the church. This relationship contrasts with that of Porthos and Mme. Coquenard. Porthos works so hard to squeeze money out of Mme. Coquenard while Aramis does nothing and a big bag of money arrives. Madame de Chevreuse is the kind of wealthy noblewoman Porthos is always bragging about but does not actually have.
Thanks to Mme. Coquenard's bargain hunting, Porthos is the new owner of d'Artagnan's old yellow horse. Because the horse reflects the man, Porthos cannot bear to be associated with that humiliating beast. Porthos goes into hiding, as he does when he loses at gambling, his vanity suffering. When Porthos goes out again, he meets secretly with Mme. Coquenard and threatens to find other women to help him. Mme. Coquenard's desperation grows: the military campaign is approaching, Porthos needs equipment, and she cannot let some other woman provide it. Imminent separation intensifies her affection as well. Porthos knows time is short to get his equipment, and she is his only source of relevant income—he must press the issue with Mme. Coquenard, even fabricating rivals to motivate her. Money often gives the upper hand in a relationship, but Porthos has it in this case because he is young and handsome, and most of all, because Mme. Coquenard is in love with him. Their relationship revolves around love, power, and money.
Interesting to note, Dumas writes in the time of the courtesan and benefactor relationships of 19th-century Paris. These relationships center on the display of wealth—and by association—power. Lavishly decorated homes, clothes, and jewelry succeed in keeping a courtesan interested but have the more important task of showing off a man's wealth to other wealthy men. A courtesan is the ultimate status symbol. Dumas flips this cultural phenomenon, making the Musketeers "kept men," lovers to their married mistresses. Aramis is more interested in romantic inspiration than material wealth. Porthos is more like a typical courtesan, accepting all the trappings of wealth in exchange for his fashionable company. Mme. Coquenard makes the mistake of falling in love and letting her heart dictate this business relationship.