The Three Musketeers | Study Guide

Alexandre Dumas

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The Three Musketeers | Chapters 30–31 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 30

D'Artagnan follows Milady when she leaves the church, but he is on foot and cannot keep up with her carriage and horses. Returning home, he tells Planchet to saddle two horses and meet him at Athos's house. D'Artagnan tells Athos he is going to look for Milady in St. Germain where she had told her driver to take her. D'Artagnan tells Athos he believes Milady will have an impact on his future. Athos and d'Artagnan part.

Reaching St. Germain, d'Artagnan and Planchet see Lubin, the servant of the Comte de Wardes, on the terrace of a pretty house. D'Artagnan tells Planchet to find out from Lubin if his master is alive. Milady's carriage pulls up and a maid hands a note to Planchet, mistaking him for Lubin. In the note, Milady asks the Comte de Wardes to appoint a time to meet.

D'Artagnan catches up with the carriage and observes Milady arguing in English with a cavalier. She angrily swats the cavalier with her fan. D'Artagnan approaches and offers Milady his services. Milady says she would accept if the cavalier were not her brother. D'Artagnan and the cavalier trade insults and, rather than intercede, Milady tells her driver to take her home. Meanwhile, her maid, Kitty, likes the looks of d'Artagnan.

D'Artagnan and the brother recognize each other: the brother is the Englishmen of Amiens, Lord de Winter, who won d'Artagnan's horse. They agree to duel that evening. Each will bring three friends. D'Artagnan goes to Athos's house to round up the Musketeers.

Chapter 31

All the duelists arrive at a goat pasture. Lord de Winter refuses to fight anyone with the name of a shepherd. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis whisper their real names to their opponents. Athos says his opponent will be sorry he heard the name—Athos is presumed dead, and now he must kill his opponent to protect the secret.

Athos kills his opponent. Porthos wounds his in the thigh, and Aramis sends his running. D'Artagnan disarms Lord de Winter but does not kill him for his sister's sake. This had been d'Artagnan's plan all along. Lord de Winter invites d'Artagnan to meet his sister, saying maybe she could put in a good word for him at court.

Lord de Winter introduces d'Artagnan to Milady who has a scornful look on her face when she thinks no one is looking. Milady tells d'Artagnan that Lord de Winter is actually her brother-in-law. She is his brother's widow and their child is Lord de Winter's heir, at least until he marries. D'Artagnan detects some undercurrent, perhaps in the family, but it is unknowable for now.

D'Artagnan begins visiting Milady every evening, and every evening Milady's maid, Kitty, brushes past d'Artagnan in the corridor. He pays no attention to Kitty.

Analysis

Another case of mistaken identity involving the Comte de Wardes: Kitty gives Milady's note to Planchet, thinking he is Lubin. This recalls the events at Calais when d'Artagnan assumed the identity of the Comte de Wardes, and Planchet of Lubin. Perhaps one young cavalier looks pretty much like the next, but how does d'Artagnan get away with the later impersonation in Chapter 35 when Milady knows both men? The forged letters, yes, but an intimate meeting? Incredibly, Milady is not able to recognize d'Artagnan—somehow in the dark, she is fooled. These events are foreshadowed here by Kitty when she mistakes Planchet for Lubin.

Now that d'Artagnan is spending some time with Milady, readers get to know her. D'Artagnan begins to read her expressions, her face turning red and her foot tapping—connoting rage and impatience. He is aware Lord de Winter does not notice. Is Lord de Winter oblivious, or does he already know all about her? D'Artagnan looks behind him in a mirror to see Milady's furious expression when she thinks no one is watching. There is even blood on her handkerchief from biting her lips. Then she reveals her child is Lord de Winter's heir (the child is never seen or mentioned otherwise). D'Artagnan does not yet put it together with her greed and evil intentions, but her true face—the one when no one is looking—reveals her true character and foreshadows her future actions.

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