The Three Musketeers | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers | Chapter 48 | Summary

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Summary

D'Artagnan finally wears the uniform of a Musketeer.

The friends meet to discuss what the two letters—one to Madame de Chevreuse, one to Lord de Winter—should say and which lackeys should deliver them. Aramis says the servant who wants money the most will volunteer.

Aramis is chosen as the best writer, but what should the letter say? Tell Lord de Winter Milady wants him dead for the inheritance and she could not have been legally married to his late brother because she was married to someone else. Furthermore, she had been branded with a fleur-de-lis. Astonished, Porthos and Aramis ask if the husband is still alive. Only d'Artagnan has known until now, but Athos finally reveals to Porthos and Aramis that he is that husband. Aramis writes it all without revealing identities, in case the letter falls into the wrong hands.

For the queen's warning, Aramis writes to his "cousin" (Madame de Chevreuse), saying he dreamed the duke was killed and his dreams always come true, and to tell her "sister." Bazin will take this letter, as he is known by the recipient. Planchet will take Lord de Winter's letter to England because he has been there before and he hates Milady.

Bazin returns quickly with a response, saying the sisters hope the dream is just an illusion. Planchet arrives with a response saying, "Thank you; be easy."

Analysis

Regarding the theme of identity, the layers of Milady's identity are peeled back to reveal she is a bigamist and thus not truly the widow or heir of Lord de Winter's brother. Milady is also not the widow of the Comte de la Fere because he is not dead as she believed. Athos's identity has been taciturn, secretive, and mysteriously without interest in women, even inscrutable to the other Inseparables. Now he reveals the "frightful treachery" that scarred him for life, much as the fleur-de-lis marks his wife.

Aramis writes in veiled language. Saying his dreams always come true makes his message a clear warning: Madame de Chevreuse will infer that the duke is truly in danger. Aramis's dream is a fabrication meant to convey the warning to the queen, but readers will recall the private conversation between the queen and the duke about their identical dreams of the duke's death.

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