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We’re given some more history: the two generals of the war are Bassompierre and Schomberg, but they argue so much that they have to be given separate commands. In particular, the Cardinal fears that Bassompierre, a Huguenot at heart, may not fight his best.
The narrator says that without getting into the minutiae of military history, all that we need to know is that the French beat the English at the Isle of Loie—a great military victory.
The siege of La Rochelle can therefore continue in peace without fear of English intervention.
Word comes that Germany, Spain, England, and the Lorraine have allied together against France.
The Cardinal is blamed. He spends his time working night and day on a strategy. Couriers and spies are constantly going to and from his residence, and it is whispered that attempts have been made on his life.
Regardless of these attempts, the Cardinal still goes out and about alone, even at night.
On one night, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis are on their way home from the Inn of the Red Dovecot when they hear horses approaching. Fearful of an ambush, they stop and listen. Two men on horseback are at the other end of the road.
Athos shouts out for the identification of the other riders.
A clear and commanding voice demands the Musketeer’s identifications.
Athos decides that it’s a superior officer and replies that they’re Musketeers of Tréville’s company. The companions ride up for further questioning by this unknown superior.
When Athos finally demands to know the man’s identity, he is stunned to learn it is the Cardinal.
The Cardinal requests that the Musketeers guard his envoy. They are honored to do so. Before they leave, they tell the Cardinal that they fought some men at the inn who were going to attack a young woman staying at the inn. It is discovered that this is the very same woman the Cardinal was going to visit!
Together, they all ride back to the Inn of the Red Dovecot.
It is deserted, the owner having sent everyone away in preparation for his illustrious visitor.
The Musketeers are given a room on the ground floor where they can wait while the Cardinal conducts his business.