The Three Musketeers | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers | Chapters 18–20 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 18

D'Artagnan will take the queen's letter. When Mme. Bonacieux—whose name, he learns, is Constance—confides in him, it is their mutual declaration of love. He must obtain a leave of absence from work—he will ask Treville to settle the matter with Dessessart. She gives d'Artagnan her husband's bag of money—the cardinal's money—for traveling. They hear Bonacieux's voice outside. They sneak up to d'Artagnan's rooms through the interior passageway, fearing Bonacieux will discover the money is missing. They see through the shutter that Bonacieux is speaking to Rochefort. D'Artagnan leaps up to kill him. Mme. Bonacieux says not to, as the plans to help the queen must be the priority.

Bonacieux and Rochefort talk about Mme. Bonacieux: the husband should, of course, have accepted the task of conveying the letter. There is still time, he says. He will go to the palace and tell her he changed his mind, get the letter, and bring it to the cardinal. Rochefort leaves and Bonacieux begins howling when he discovers his money gone. He runs off down the street. D'Artagnan leaves for his mission, and Mme. Bonacieux falls to her knees and prays for God's protection.

Chapter 19

D'Artagnan visits Treville to secure a leave of absence. Treville insists d'Artagnan must take the Musketeers or he will not make it.

Aramis is pining for the woman who spoke to Mme. Bonacieux through his window who must have returned to Tours. Why did she leave without telling him? D'Artagnan says she was afraid of getting arrested and did not communicate further to protect Aramis. Relieved, Aramis joins the mission in good spirits. They proceed to Athos's home where they find him with leave of absence papers in hand. Porthos soon arrives with his.

D'Artagnan cannot divulge details about the mission, but says it is very dangerous and they are going to London to deliver a letter. They consider various plans but decide to stick together.

Chapter 20

D'Artagnan and the Musketeers (and servants) arrive in Chantilly for breakfast. Porthos gets in a fight over drinking a toast to the cardinal. The others leave him behind to kill the offender.

Aramis is wounded in a skirmish with road workers. Mousqueton is also injured and knocked from his horse. They all ride away (except Mousqueton). When Aramis cannot go on, they leave him at a cabaret with Bazin.

D'Artagnan and Athos proceed. They arrive at an inn in Amiens by midnight. They sleep a little, but suspicions are aroused. Grimaud is beaten by the stable boys. The remaining three are eager to depart, but the horses are too tired from the day before.

Athos tries to pay the bill, but the innkeeper yells the money is fake. Four guards instantly appear and grab Athos. He calls to d'Artagnan to run for it. D'Artagnan and Planchet jump on two saddled horses and take off.

The horses give out in Calais. No one can cross without permission from the cardinal. A gentleman ahead of them has the right papers. D'Artagnan follows him, demands his papers, and wins the subsequent duel. They board the boat as the Comte de Wardes and servant, and set out as the canon fires, closing the port.

When d'Artagnan and Planchet reach the duke's hotel, they learn he is hunting at Windsor Castle with his king. D'Artagnan continues on without the exhausted Planchet. Upon reading the letter, the duke and d'Artagnan gallop away to London.

Analysis

When Mme. Bonacieux confides in d'Artagnan and he agrees to take the queen's letter to the duke, they are in effect confessing their love for each other. Readers learn Mme. Bonacieux's first name is, aptly, Constance, meaning steadfast and loyal.

The Musketeers try to accompany d'Artagnan on his mission but are picked off one by one. Even though d'Artagnan had the support of his friends, he is accomplishing the mission alone and he alone is earning Mme. Bonacieux's gratitude and devotion. Love for Mme. Bonacieux brings him to Windsor, while love for the queen brings the duke racing back to London.

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