The Man in the Iron Mask
by Alexandre Dumas
The Man in the Iron Mask Chapter Fifty-Four: The Friends of M. Fouquet Summary
- D'Artagnan arrives back in Paris after going to Belle-Isle and discovering no trace of his friends. He knows only that they killed a lot of men.
- Once the King is settled in Paris, D'Artagnan shows up with a sad face. He has learned of Porthos's death.
- The King admits he knew.
- D'Artagnan asks why he was not informed.
- The King says he wanted D'Artagnan to find out for himself. When asked how he received this information, the King admits to reading D'Artagnan's mail. Aramis had sent him a letter recapping the situation.
- D'Artagnan admits Louis is the only man who could possibly dominate over his friends.
- The King mentions that he could easily have Aramis killed in his hiding place in Spain, but since he's generous, he desists.
- D'Artagnan protests that the King's advisers will change his mind.
- The King admits that it is Colbert who actually advised sparing Aramis's life.
- D'Artagnan asks the King to receive three petitioners who have been waiting for a long time in the antechamber. They are the friends of Fouquet: Gourville, Pelisson, and La Fontaine.
- The three men are weeping.
- The King remains expressionless as the three men file in with faces contorted by grief. The men can't get it together to speak, and the King gets impatient. He tells them there is no hope of pardoning Fouquet.
- Pelisson finally speaks. They are actually there on behalf of Madame Fouquet, who has been abandoned and destitute since her husband has fallen out of favor.
- The friends ask permission to loan her two thousand pistoles.
- The King grants them permission and they leave.
- The King then gives D'Artagnan permission to see to the affairs of Porthos.
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