The Man in the Iron Mask Chapter Four: The Samples Summary
Molière comes back to escort D'Artagnan and Porthos to Percerin's rooms.
Percerin is busy examining a piece of fabric, but goes to greet the guests.
D'Artagnan introduces the new customer: Monsieur le Baron du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds.
Percerin is not happy with the idea of making a suit for Porthos within two days. He tells D'Artagnan it is impossible.
A certain Monsieur d'Herblay, better known as Aramis, chimes in and asks Percerin to make the suit for Porthos. (In case you missed The Three Musketeers madness, Porthos, Athos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan are best friends.
Since Aramis happens to be a powerful guy, Percerin consents to make Porthos's suit. He tells Porthos to get measured.
Porthos is not pleased. Remember, he hates being measured and says as much to Molière.
Percerin, D'Artagnan, and Aramis are left alone in the room. Percerin resumes examining the fabric, and Aramis is annoyed that D'Artagnan hasn't already left.
D'Artagnan very cleverly asks if Aramis will also have a suit made for the party at Vaux. When Aramis answers in the negative, D'Artagnan then points out that neither of them have any business at Percerin's, and can leave.
Aramis is taken aback and stutters. D'Artagnan asks if Aramis meant to have a private conversation with Percerin.
Aramis stutters some more.
Aramis realizes that D'Artagnan is quite suspicious . Wanting to assuage these suspicions, Aramis urges D'Artagnan to stay for the private conversation.
Aramis tells Percerin that the great painter Le Brun is here. Percerin asks if he wants suit made for him like one of the Epicureans.
(We learn that the Epicureans are a poet's society under the patronage of Fouquet. The society meets at St. Mande, and its members include La Fontaine, Pelisson, Molière, and Loret. Percerin is making a suit of clothes for each of the Epicureans, who Fouquet plans on presenting to the King as part of a regiment.)
He asks Percerin if the King is having five suits made – one in brocade, one in hunting cloth, one in velvet, one in satin, and one in Florentine stuffs.
The information Aramis is after is the cut and the look of each suit of clothes.
Percerin is terrified. This is apparently an audacious request.
Aramis reveals the plan: Fouquet wants to present the King with a portrait (of the King) on the day of the fête, and it will be best if the King in the portrait is dressed exactly as the real king. Le Brun has been commissioned to paint the portrait.
Percerin is aghast at the idea of giving out information about the King's clothes.
Aramis convinces Percerin to give up the information.
Le Brun begins to paint, but Aramis interrupts him, saying that he has failed to capture the finer shades of each fabric. He asks Percerin for fabric samples from each suit, ostensibly so Le Brun will have more time to study the colors.
Clearly something is afoot. D'Artagnan is suspicious. Why does Aramis want fabric samples?
Fed up, D'Artagnan says he is going to join Porthos.
Aramis joins D'Artagnan and the two friends leave together.