The Three Musketeers Chapter Twenty-Five: Porthos Summary
Rather than go home, D’Artagnan goes to visit Tréville. He tells his mentor the full and honest truth, hoping for some advice.
Tréville is convinced that the Cardinal is behind it all.
Tréville promises to tell the Queen that Constance has been kidnapped, and recommends that D’Artagnan leave Paris immediately.
D’Artagnan heads home in order to pack for his journey, and spots Monsieur Bonacieux. He is suspicious, and the narrator tells us that "all falsehood is a mask…with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face."
D’Artagnan is determined that Bonacieux wears such a mask of falsehood and tries to brush past him, but Bonacieux starts chatting. He makes fun of D’Artagnan for coming home when everyone else is going out.
D’Artagnan says something about Bonacieux’s pretty wife, and the man pales.
Then Bonacieux says that D’Artagnan must’ve really been somewhere unusual, because there’s mud all over his boots. D’Artagnan looks down, and sees the same mud splotches on Bonacieux’s boots.
D’Artagnan determines that the small, "not-a-gentleman-man" from last night must have been Bonacieux. He aided in the kidnapping of his wife!
D’Artagnan is ready to kill Bonacieux then and there, but he restrains himself. Still, D’Artagnan looks so fearsome that Bonacieux is scared.
D’Artagnan opts for pointing out that Bonacieux’s boots look just as dirty as his own. Bonacieux says that he went to St. Mande to ask after a servant.
D’Artagnan, switching to interrogator mode, is now certain that Bonacieux was at St. Cloud last night, because St. Mande is in the opposite direction. He realizes that Bonacieux likely knows where his wife is being held, and resolves to get that information from him.
D’Artagnan asks for some water, and before Bonacieux can reply, D’Artagnan ducks into Bonacieux’s house. Bonacieux’s bed has not been used.
After drinking some water, D’Artagnan leaves for his own apartment.
When he walks in, Planchet is happy to see him.
Apparently a certain Monsieur de Cavois, the captain of the Cardinal’s Guards, paid the apartment a visit while D’Artagnan was consulting with Tréville.
The man did not come to arrest D’Artagnan; on the contrary he bore well wishes from the Cardinal and asked D’Artagnan to follow him to the Palais-Royal. Since D’Artagnan wasn’t home, the captain asked for D’Artagnan to call upon him at some point that day.
Planchet tells the captain that D’Artagnan has set off for Champagne.
D’Artagnan congratulates Planchet on his quick thinking; Planchet says he knew D’Artagnan would have time to correct the lie if he wanted, and that since he (Planchet) is not a gentleman, he’s allowed to lie.
The two of them get ready to leave Paris – in the opposite direction of Champagne. D’Artagnan tells Planchet that he was right about Bonacieux.
Before leaving, D’Artagnan visits his friends’ houses one more time to make sure that no new information has come. At Aramis’s house, there is a pretty and perfumed letter waiting.
The two of them travel with four horses in order to bring back their friends. (These are the horses, incidentally, which D’Artagnan used to ride back from Calais. They are English horses, a present from the Duke.)
They reach Chantilly with no problem and arrive at the inn where they left Porthos. D’Artagnan’s got four horses, so he’s looking like a VIP to the innkeeper, who comes over personally to serve him some wine.
D’Artagnan begins to ask about Porthos, and learns that Porthos is still at the inn, hasn’t paid his bill, and threatens to kill anyone who asks for money.
(Apparently Porthos gambled away the seventy-five pistoles, along with his horse.)
Porthos continues to hang out at this inn, occupying the best room, refusing to leave, and refusing to pay his bill. Mousqueton has also rejoined his master.
D’Artagnan tries to allay the innkeeper’s fears, pointing out that Porthos is favored by a wealthy woman who will pay the bill. The innkeeper’s expresses doubt, saying that he has knows all about this great lady
To make a long story short, Porthos’s mistress is the wife of an attorney. (Now, while attorneys make are well respected today, back in the 17th century they were distinctly part of the middle-class, and leagues away from the upper-class of dukes and duchesses.)
The mistress’s name is Madame Coquenard, and she is not exactly beautiful. In fact, she’s fifty years old and is very jealous of Porthos. (When she receives a letter from him about his wound and financial distress, she is convinced it is because of another woman!)
D’Artagnan asks if Porthos is really wounded, and the innkeeper confesses that Porthos forbids anyone to admit it. He was beaten up badly by his adversary, but refuses to admit it to anyone except his mistress.
D’Artagnan goes to visit Porthos. Before D’Artagnan leaves, he assures the innkeeper that if Porthos’s mistress will pay the bill. If she doesn’t, however, D’Artagnan promises that he will take care of the account, which is already upwards of twenty pistoles.
D’Artagnan enters Pothos’s room to find him gambling with Mousqueton while food cooks over a fire. Empty wine bottles line the mantles.
Porthos says hello, and soon entertains his company with highly embroidered stories. For instance, he says he beat up his adversary, but got a tiny little sprain in the process, which has confined him to his bed.
D’Artagnan fills Porthos in on his end of the story.
It transpires that the faithful Mousqueton has been poaching animals and stealing wine to keep the two well fed.
We learn a bit about Mousqueton’s background here.
During the war between Catholics and the Huguenots in France, Mousqueton’s father opted for a mixed religious system. When he saw a Catholic, all his Protestant beliefs would rise up and he would pull out his gun and talk religion until the Catholic handed over his money. When he saw a Huguenot, the reverse would happen.
In keeping with his mixed religious beliefs, Mousqueton’s father raised Mousqueton as a Catholic, and his older brother as a Protestant.
Mousqueton’s father was killed one day when a Catholic and a Huguenot both recognized him. Being a devoted son, Mousqueton later killed the Huguenot, and his brother took care of the Catholic.
Mousqueton’s father was also a poacher in his spare time, and he taught Mousqueton the basics.
The next story concerns the procuring of wine.
In Spain Mousqueton learned a number of lassoing techniques that enable him to use the ventilation window in the wine cellar to steal bottles of wine without the innkeeper noticing.
D’Artagnan tells Porthos that a horse will be left in the stables for him, and that he (D’Artagnan) must find Aramis and Athos.
Planchet comes in to report the horses are ready, and they bid Porthos farewell.