The Three Musketeers | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers | Chapters 13–14 | Summary



Chapter 13

At the Bastille, Bonacieux is taken to the examination room and accused of high treason. Bonacieux wishes he had not married Mme. Bonacieux, with the love for his wife rating well below selfishness, greed, and cowardice. He mentions his wife's abduction, does not know Rochefort's name, but tries to take it back when the guards are instructed to take him to the dungeon. Certain of his impending execution, Bonacieux does not close his eyes all night.

The next morning, the commissary enters the cell and asks Bonacieux where his wife is—she escaped. The commissary describes d'Artagnan fighting off the police and hiding her. Bonacieux cannot believe d'Artagnan abducted her. The commissary says Bonacieux can confront him, but they bring in Athos. Bonacieux says that is not d'Artagnan!

The commissary gets a letter, something about a plan between Mme. Bonacieux and her husband. Bonacieux says if his wife did anything wrong, he renounces her. Athos demands to be released because he is not d'Artagnan, but the commissary says Bonacieux and Athos are to be guarded better than ever.

At 9 p.m., the guards come for Bonacieux. Again, he believes he is about to be executed. They place him in a rolling prison surrounded by guards on horseback. Each time they pass a place where executions are performed, Bonacieux becomes hysterical. As they arrive at the last possible place, Bonacieux—a tad insulted he does not warrant a first-rate execution site—faints.

Chapter 14

Bonacieux wakes in a lavishly decorated room with a map of La Rochelle unrolled on the table. The man waiting for him looks like a cavalier, nothing to signify that he is a man of the cloth, yet readers know this is the cardinal, Cardinal de Richelieu.

Bonacieux is willing to talk, but he does not know anything. He does say each night he and Mme. Bonacieux stopped at the houses of linen drapers and he waited outside. He gives the addresses. The cardinal rings for Rochefort.

Rochefort enters and Bonacieux exclaims this is his wife's kidnapper. The cardinal rings again to take Bonacieux away. Bonacieux panics and says Rochefort looks nothing like the man who abducted his wife.

Rochefort tells the cardinal the queen and the duke had met in the palace. The informant was Madame de Lannoy. A laundress brought a handkerchief; the queen went pale with emotion and excused herself. She returned for a chest with her seal on it and went out again. The chest contains diamond studs, a gift from the king. When asked, the queen said she had broken a stud and sent the whole thing to her goldsmith. The goldsmith knows nothing about it.

The cardinal commands Rochefort to search the linen drapers' houses. The cardinal calls in Bonacieux and tells him his wife visited Madame de Chevreuse and the duke, not linen drapers. Bonacieux tells the cardinal he is so smart.

The cardinal gives Bonacieux money. Bonacieux pledges to serve the cardinal and leaves. The cardinal tells Rochefort that Bonacieux is now a spy against his wife.

The cardinal writes and seals a letter to Milady saying she should get close to the duke at the next ball he attends and cut off two of the 12 diamond studs he will be wearing.


When Bonacieux finds himself in the Bastille prison in Chapter 13, his true cowardice begins to show itself as he renounces his wife. When his description of Rochefort appears to get him sent back to confinement, Bonacieux backpedals with no concern for truth or justice, only for saving his own neck. In contrast to the brave Musketeers, who fight duels over the slightest insults and throw themselves headlong into perilous adventures, Bonacieux cries hysterically and throws fits when he thinks he is about to be executed. Yet, in a humorous manifestation of pride, self-important Bonacieux has a flash of disappointment when he believes he will not be dying at one of the high-end sites. The character lacks intelligence as well as bravery; he does not understand that renouncing his wife and taking money from her enemy makes him a spy.

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